Friday, September 25, 2009

Down year for baseball

I understand that the season doesn't end when the Cubs aren't in the playoffs, but interest in baseball seems to be pretty low across the league. The Cy Young Award will likely go to Zac Greinke, a member of the lowly Kansas City Royals. In the AL East, the Yankees are dominant again and look to win it all. The National League is filled with disappointments like the Mets, Brewers, and Cubs, all who were picked to make a playoff run. As always, the All-Star game was a joke as the American League gained home field advantage in the World Series.

While these are all marks of a lackluster season, there is a single underlying reason for all of this. Drug testing picked off all of the major stars within the past couple seasons. It has gradually decreased the use of performance enhancing drugs across the league. But after a decade of home run blasting and legendary performances, people are less impressed by the game. It doesn't have the thrill level that it had during the late 90's and into the 21st century.

As Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire chased Roger Maris' home run record, millions tuned in to witness history. Every game kept fans on the edge of their seats as these athletes approached a record that had been around since 1961. Then Barry Bonds came along a few years later and powered his way into the record books. Soon, the home run title would lose its glory as more and more players turned out 50+ home run seasons.

It wasn't just the glory of the home run that was affected by PED's, they allowed players to reach a new level. Pitchers could throw faster, injuries healed quicker, and the game was a bit more exciting. That game was not "real." In order for baseball to make a recovery and get back in the limelight, a new group of stars needs to step to the plate. This generation needs to prove that baseball is a display of skill, athleticism, and teamwork, not a showcase for artificial talent.

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