Baseball's Watergate Marred Sports' 2005


Sports fans will forever remember 2005.

Teams made history.

In a sport that wants to be known for its parity, a dynasty flourished in New England. Southern California fielded arguably the greatest college football team of all time. Not since 1917 had a baseball team in Chicago been world champion.

Individuals made history.

Lance Armstrong won his seventh consecutive Tour de France, and then retired. Danica Patrick became the first woman ever to lead a lap in the Indianapolis 500. Lebron became Oscar Robertson. At 81-4, Roger Federer became the best male tennis player ever. Peyton Manning out threw Dan Marino.

Unfortunately, twenty, forty, even sixty years from now, only baseball will be remembered.

Our national past time ruined history.

Thursday’s in mid-March are supposed to be about one thing: The NCAA Tournament. But instead of watching Wisconsin-Milwaukee stun Alabama this year, I was tuned in to ESPN News for coverage of baseball’s steroid scandal.

It was a long time coming. For the past few years, speculation was building. Offensive output exploded. Records were broken. Suspicion had set in.

Then Jose Canseco, an admitted steroid user, released a book that changed the game.

Canseco indicted several current and former players, airing out all of baseball’s dirty laundry in the process. Most notably, he wrote that he had injected Mark McGwire with steroids more than one time.

The world listened, Canseco got paid, and Congress stepped in.

They called on a host of people to testify. Canseco, McGwire and Sammy Sosa all ruined their reputations forever.

Only one player, Rafael Palmeiro, gave a convincing and motivating testimony. He pointed his finger and shouted that he had never used a steroid.

Four months later, he was caught cheating.

How deceiving.

That’s the problem with the game. We just can’t trust the players anymore. How will I someday be able to look my children in the face and tell them that the homerun chase of 1998 was real? Was it real? I can’t even answer that.

Twelve major leaguers were suspended in total this year for using. I have no reason not to believe that plenty got by. But the one that really sticks out is Palmeiro. He’s had one of the ten greatest careers in the history of the game, but my kids won’t hear that from me.

Yes indeed, sports fans will forever remember 2005.

Even if they wish to forget it.


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