It doesn’t take a report from George Mitchell to know that performance enhancement drugs changed the face of baseball forever. All it takes is quick glance at your Topps cards from the ‘80s to understand that the sport was once represented by the “everyman” and is now controlled by physical specimens that used to only be found in wrestling.
That comparison is actually quite fitting, considering baseball brings in $6 billion in yearly revenue by following the same blueprint Vince McMahon followed to build his World Wrestling Entertainment into the money tree that is today:
Larger than life sells.
It might as well be a tag line. From Bud Selig on down, baseball people watched their sport become more profitable because these Hulk Hogan type figures started to appear all over the game, bashing home runs, breaking records and putting more butts in seats than ever before.
The integrity of the game was being compromised, but everything was sound on the business end. That’s why no one ever bothered to question why there were more 60 homerun seasons in a five year span that at any other time in history.
Now we’ll finally hear Selig talk in depth about the use of performance enhancement drugs in his sport after we get a report that could name some of his biggest moneymakers as culprits. He’ll apologize to the fans, of course. Then he’ll say he wishes he did more when he started hearing about steroids.
And he’ll be prepared, as commissioner of the game, to take full responsibility for an entire era that deserves an asterisk.
But at the end of the day, just like McMahon, he’ll go to bed knowing his sport is in a better place financially than ever before.
Larger than life worked.
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