I feel sorry for baseball. Not the players on the field or the suits in the suites. Not even baseball fans, even though they still remain (mostly) innocent bystanders.
Instead, I offer sincere condolences to the game of baseball. Yes, the game. What a shame.
With Alex Rodriguez battling his suspension by Major League Baseball as a result of his continued connection to performance-enhancing drugs, it's become apparent that America no longer trusts its own pastime -- for good reason.
Trust is earned over time, while trust is broken instantly. And, right now, the game itself is suffering from a compound fracture.
If only we could truly buy MLB's tough talk against PEDs. Alas, that's neither feasible nor plausible. And it's not intentional or disingenuous on the part of baseball.
Rather, it's simply beyond the scope of their limited abilities. It's the sobering realization that baseball doesn't control baseball. Truth is, it's the players who run (ruin?) the game, and baseball is the bystander.
How many years now have officials acted like a third base coach throwing up the stop sign? And how many players have ignored those halting hands and raced right through that sign? Some have been thrown out at the plate (McGwire, Sosa, Clemens, Bonds, Pettitte), but how many others have crossed home safely (uh, too many to list)?
Just last week, 42-year-old admitted PED user Jason Giambi became the oldest player in MLB history to hit a walk-off home run. Guess who he surpassed and left behind? Hank Aaron. Geez, does somebody stinkin' owe Hammerin' Hank or what? If the former/legit home run king sued for damages, would anybody blame the man?
And that's the truly criminal act -- Grand Theft Record Book. No matter how you score it, baseball will never resolve or reverse the damage that has been wrought on the record books. It's been permanently corrupted. Enron accounting has cooked the books of Cooperstown.
So, pity the poor game. It can slather on the sunscreen now, but baseball has been basking in the bright rays for nearly a quarter-century. The real damage has been done. Permanently.