Baseball probably hasn’t fully rid itself from performance enhancing drugs --no sport has—but you could certainly make the argument that the game is as clean as its been in 15 years. But while it deserves credit for at least slowing down the cheaters, the fact is, this season has been about as boring as any I could remember.
And the future doesn’t look too bright.
For guys between the ages of 18-30, the long ball and monstrous run production is all we know. It’s not even so much the 50 and 60 homerun seasons I think we’ll miss as it is those 30 homerun guys who are now going to barely make it to double digits. To the purist, the sport is going back to its hey-day, when pitching dominated and runs were manufactured, but to me, it is just a watered down version of the one I know.
That’s not to say there are not great things happening this season. The Tampa Bay Rays, Florida Marlins and Arizona Diamondbacks have been exciting stories and will continue to be throughout the year. But part of baseball’s problem is that in places outside the major markets, the emerging superstars are about a recognizable as NFL linemen. Be honest, would you know Evan Longoria or Justin Upton if they walked past you on the street?
Now you can say that baseball was never good at marketing itself or its players –even during the steroid era—but it still had players like Ken Griffey Jr. and Derek Jeter. Unfortunately, those two are well past their prime and nobody has picked up the torch.
Who is the face of baseball in this clean era?
The answer has yet to be found, and because even the best players are going to be putting up smaller numbers than we’re used to, it’s going to be increasingly difficult for baseball to generate excitement.