Friday, October 29, 2010

Baseball - a Modern Solution

Now that my home team, the San Francisco Giants are deep into the hysteria of the World Series, it takes me back to the last time they were in the series - 2002.  Unlike this series, where an unlikely hero seemingly steps up each game for the Giants (Cody Ross, Freddie Sanchez, Edgar Renteria), in that series, the buzz was mostly around Barry Bonds, who had broken the single season record for home runs (73) the previous year.

Anyone who went through that season can remember what a bizarre summer it was.  Bonds was chasing a mark just recently set by Mark McGwire in 1998, but nobody seemed to care.  Unlike the record chasing season of 98, in which McGwire and Sosa captured the imagination of a nation, Bond's accomplishment seemed more like a begrudgingly forgone conclusion.  The reason was simple.


Ken burns did a great job examining this complex issue in his recent update to his outstanding Baseball documentary - Baseball: the Tenth Inning.

Although it is clear now that McGuire and Sosa were obviously juiced during their amazing home run derby, the public was under a haze of denial.  The story was too compelling to let shady accusations of drug use get in the way.  Fans wanted heroes and they got them.

By 2002 however, things had changed.  Accusations had become too many to overlook, and Bonds' sudden offensive explosion at the end of his career was too obvious to take at face value - not to mention his huge friggin' head!  By the time Bonds went after the all-time career home run record in 2007 most of the country didn't want him to break it and the commissioner didn't even bother to attend the record-breaking game.

It was a strange time to be a Giants fan.

I never want any fan to have to go through that again.  And I don't want any more Grand Jury or Senate inquisitions into the state of steroids in baseball, so I offer you a simple solution:

The Designated Steroids Hitter.

Think about it for a second.  Wouldn't you love to see another season like 1998?  Home runs jumping out of the ballparks.  Previously scrawny utility infielders jacking obnoxiously huge bombs into center field.  Endless hyped-up replays on ESPN.  And all of it legal, out in the open and blessed by the league.

Here's how it works:  Everyone on the team is drug-tested on the team except for one player.  The Designated Steroids Hitter can do whatever he wants.  Any kinda crazy souped-up concoctions dreamed up by Eastern European block countries in the 1980's are totally fine.  Joe Canseco injections in bathroom stalls? - go for it!  Cream & Clear? Bring em on!  HGH? please, ingest 'em until you look like Andre the Giant.  The more the merrier!

Then, once a batting order, you'll get to see some freakishly hulking michelin-man looking bobble-headed maniac jack impossibly long home runs into the feverishly screaming throngs of bleacher fans.

What could be more American than that?

Hey, I can dream can't I?...


  1. Congratulations to your team in winning the World Series. They have converted me to a Giants fan with their fun performance in the postseason - I can't believe I've only recently learned of Lincecum, Posey and Brian Wilson. Brilliant fun, great team to watch, I wish them all the best for next year.

    And your thought is one I've had many times when considering baseball and especially boxing. If everyone is going to do it anyway, maybe there should be serious consideration given to somehow making it both legal and moderated, and perhaps safer for all involved.

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