So with another day, another giant falls. The giant this time, David "Big Papi" Ortiz, designated hitter for the Boston Red Sox.
How has he fallen? Like many other MLB stars, he was named as one of the many who took steroids.
Yes, say it ain't so, but it’s true. The big monster with the bat needed help.
Remember A-Rod? He never needed them; he was too good for that. And so, we thought, was Ortiz.
He's now to be forever linked to those who cheated. Those who needed help to become a star in their sport.
After watching all of our heroes fall—Big Mac, Slammin Sammy, A-Rod—they weren't the superstars we thought. They were at their great level by drugs.
That's it, plain and simple. They took drugs to make themselves better. Some say that at the time they weren't illegal, so its OK. But was it?
As a stellar athlete in three sports, I got that way because I worked at it. I had to work hard, and if I didn't, I didn't play.
If I missed a practice due to an injury, I would lose my spot, so I played with pain. I wasn't alone. I know hundreds of athletes like myself who worked hard to get what they got.
So when I see another star fall, not because of injury, but because they took drugs, it tears at my heart. It makes me sad.
I've never been a pro, so I don't know what they have to go through to get where they’re at. I have a friend who is a pro. I know what he did to get there.
My friend? Clint Barmes. He plays for the Colorado Rockies. He was a star at Indiana State under the great Hall of Fame coach Bob Warn.
I love to follow my friend. Every time I hear his name mentioned on ESPN's Baseball Tonight I perk up and smile.
I smile because I know that Clint got where he is today with hard work. I've watched as he's taken extra ground balls. I've watched as he's hit for what seemed like hours in the batting cage.
Clint probably won't make it to the MLB Hall of Fame. He's never made the All-Star team, yet. But he's made mine. To get in my HOF, you have to work.
You have to take decent talent and work it into very good talent. Clint's done that and more.
I've been lucky and have gotten to go to watch Clint play in “The Show.” I got to go to Chicago and go down on the field and see my friend.
I watched as he took grounder after grounder. Then I watched as he hit in the cage. Trying to make the very best out of every swing.
I watch and stood amazed. He worked just as hard for the Rockies as he did for the Sycamores. I was proud as he took the timeout to come over and spend a few minutes with me.
We talked about the old days at ISU. We talked about the long bus rides. The many dinners on the run.
The MVC championship, where the Sycamores made it all the way to the championship game. We lost, but what a great time we had.
As I look back now and hear of all the "superstar" players, the ones who took drugs to get better, I see how hard Clint works, and I'm proud to say he's my friend. I'm also proud to say he got there the old fashioned way, with hard work.
After hearing of the fall by Big Papi, I can't say I'm really surprised he was one of the cheaters. I will be honest and say I was shocked when I heard that A-Rod cheated.
I was shocked because I saw the 60 Minutes story where he said he never cheated; he said he never had too. I guess time has hardened us all. When we hear new names now, most just shrug their shoulders and move on.
I guess that I too am getting that way. To be honest, I'm sick and tired of it all. Would I have done it if I were in their shoes? I'd like to say no, but I'm not a pro ball player and coming on 50 years, I won't ever be.
But I am a fan of MLB. It’s the one sport I follow 365 days a year. I own a 10-team keeper fantasy baseball league, and I play in over 30 Yahoo leagues. I love the game.
I'm a Cub fan, but I love them all. I just love baseball. That said, I think it’s time to move on.
Make the entire list public. If one of today's players are on the list, let him apologize and be on with it.
MLB needed the home run race between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. That one race brought many back to the sport they loved. I was one of them.
I swore I'd never come back after their strike killed my baseball card shop business. But the race between the two sluggers forced me back.
MLB knew something was going on, but it chose to overlook it. Maybe it would just go away on its own.
So here we are some six years later, and it hasn't gone away yet. It’s not going to go away until MLB and the Players Union decide to fess up.
Throw it all out on the table. Let's clear the air and move on. If you’re caught again, take your punishment like a man, Manny.
Like Gomer Pyle said to Andy Griffin, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, and shame on me.”
I will be honest, with the addition of Big Papi, Roger Clemens, and A-Rod to the list, I can't help but wonder who's next?
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