Lupicass tries to make a point in his column today that Roger Maris should get the home run record back, since McGwire, Sosa and Bonds are all big question marks about their, um, natural ability. I agree (GASP) with him to a point, as it IS unfair to wipe away a legit record with a tainted one. But then he gets all Lupicassian high and mighty about the subject, and can't seem to see past the nose on his face:
There should be an asterisk next to Maris' 61 for as long as there is baseball, like some kind of spotlight, because we know that the number was true and real.
And no lies.
That might be one of the dumbest things I've ever read from Lupicass, and it doesn't even have to do with Alex Rodriguez.
Come ON, people. If Maris and Mantle and Ruth and all the other guys from The Good Old Days (when players merely killed themeselves with alcohol instead of steroids) could hit home runs without performance enhancing drugs, who's to say that someone from this generation can't? That's right, Lupicass, there ARE players who are clean. And there is proof to the naked eye, too. Just look at these players who aren't built like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
I remember people speculating about Alfonso Soriano being on the juice and just looking at them like they were crazy. Because, correct me if I'm wrong, don't you use steroids to help you get bigger muscles, which will then help you hit the ball further? Soriano is a beanpole. And steroids aren't this magic potion that you shoot into your eyes that help you see the ball better and then you hit lots of home runs because of it.
I was afraid this was going to happen. That the older generation, who grew up with the "pure" game would take this as their cue to wax poetic about how much better the game was back then and that it will never be that way again. I blame the athletes who did cheat for this, but I also blame those who are lamenting for the good old days and are so disconnected from the game now. Because that's throwing out the baby with the bathwater. And I give you living proof of a player who I'm going to bet is 100 percent steroid free and you tell me you can't root for this guy: Derek Jeter.
This is a man who goes and busts his ass every night because he 1) Makes a lot of money and believes he should earn it 2) Loves what he does and 3) He's The Man. And you can't tell me that there aren't more players who are just like Jeter in that they are just as clean and ass-busting; players who are doing this honestly and only suffering this current "baseball is going down the drain" thing because of the acts of their stupid commrades in bats.
This man deserves your scorn? Oh, puhlease.
And you also can't tell me that if one of those natural players hits 62 home runs (and there's drug-test proof that he wasn't using) that Maris' record is still the better record. Because that new record holder will be EXACTLY on the same level as Maris.
The sport DOES need to clean up its act, don't get me wrong, but you're doing a disservice to the players who are clean by telling them their records will never matter -- just because the Good Old Days, that these athletes weren't even alive for, were better.
I close with two quotes by Billy Joel that seem utterly fitting:
"The good old days weren't always good and tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems." -- Keeping the Faith
"They say that these are not the best of times, but they're the only times I've ever known." -- Summer Highland Falls