White Hat Sports Headlines

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Memories you can't forget.

I know I haven't posted here in a while, but I just turned on my tv to the 1999 Home Run Derby at Fenway, and as I watch Jeromy Burnitz hit in the first round it has given me inspiration.

When Manny Ramirez was suspended for 50 games this season I was shocked. He's The Natural, the goofy guy that has all the talent in the world and wouldn't know what a steroid was if his life depended on it. How could he test positive? The more I thought about it the more frustrated I became. Manny has been my favorite player for years, I stuck with him even after he was traded to the Dodgers, enduring the ridicule of Sox fans.

Then I had a realization. What would I do if I had the chance to be great in the sport I loved as a youth, basketball? If I made the NBA and found something that could give me an advantage would I do it? As a sports reporter and anchor, if there was something I could take to make my highlights better, my writing witty, my questions deeper? And I found myself answering that yes I would, and in fact probably had at some point or another.

If that's the case, how can I judge baseball players for using steroids? The fact is we are all hypocrites if we do. 99% of us, if given the opportunity, would take something if we knew it would help us. Hell, we cheered them on as they hit homer after homer out of parks, McGwire and Sosa were glorified perhaps more than any other players in an individual season. They gave us what we wanted. Manny and David provided us with not just one but two World Series championships. Am I just supposed to forget those? The seasons Manny had, the goofy plays, the mammoth shots to give the Sox a win.

I can't, or more importantly, I won't. For better or worse, those memories are a part of me, just like Rex Chapman's miracle shot from the corner that convinced me I needed to practice 3 pointers falling out of bounds.

Players have always used whatever they can to improve their performance, whether it be different bats, "greenies" or steroids. As a society we are taught to do just that; perform at the highest level you can, oftentimes regardless of how you get to that point. To fault these players, to "taint" them, for what they have done, is wrong.

As I watch Mark McGwire hit shots over the green monster while Sammy Sosa watches a smile comes to my face, just like it did when I watched it live. It's just another memory I can't forget, and maybe that's the way it's supposed to be.

~Aaron Jackson

No comments: