In times of distress, it’s in our fabric to say things we don’t mean. As children, it’s threatening to run away when our parents scold us; as adults, it’s threatening to move to Canada when our President pisses us off. But when it comes to steroids in baseball, our reaction tends to be a little different. Rather than overreact, we’ve been conditioned to say we don’t care or that we aren’t surprised.
But we do and we are. So even though Manny Ramirez is now just another guy on what is clearly an endless list, it still bothers us, particularly those of us who grew up watching him hit. These stories still matter. It’s like fighting when you have no shot to win; the punches still hurt even when you know they’re coming.
But now that Manny becomes the latest star to knock us down, you have to wonder how long it will be before we just stop getting up.
Almost 30 years ago, it was Jimmy Carter who suggested that for the first time in American history, the majority of the population believed the future would be worse than the past. Well for the first time in the history of baseball, a generation has been more regressive than progressive.
If you’re under the age of 30, chances are no player you grew up idolizing was fully clean. That’s something anyone older than that can’t quite comprehend. Manny and ARod and Clemens and Bonds are all we know, which essentially disqualifies us from any conversation about the history of the game. Our opinions are basically invalid to anyone older than us because of what our players represented.
All that leaves is a jaded generation. We’re always going to be a little more cynical and a little less trusting of the guys putting up big numbers. No one will pass the eyeball test. We’ll continue to assume everyone is on steroids.
That is, unless the next punch knocks us out cold.