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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Where are my horse pills?

Major League Baseball may be the only sport in the world where the past is more important than the present.

With 162 games in the regular season, it’s easy to struggle with the irrelevance of a three-hour game, and records are a welcome distraction from the meaningless present, measuring players in different eras.

Fans imagine that they are witnessing part of something historic during a record bid, and not merely 1/162 of an attempt at one-eighth of a shot at the World Series title.

This grand historical context of baseball gives the sport an added feeling of significance, like letterboxing in an epic wide-screen film.

Although statistics can appear to be a level playing field for players throughout history, they are innately deceptive.

If Barry Bonds had things as tough as Hank Aaron did during his career, there would be 100 less unqualified pitchers in major league baseball for Bonds to tee off on because of expansion and five-man pitching rotations. Score one, Aaron.

If Hank Aaron had things as tough as Barry Bonds did during his career, he would have encountered hard sliders and breaking balls with a frequency that Aaron had never dreamed of. Score one, Bonds.

The increased number of those breaking pitches deteriorated pitchers’ arms and led to the necessity of the five-man rotation.

Every single era-related “advantage” only exists because we measure past players as though universal statistics reflect separate games equally. There are really no advantages or disadvantages in the game today, players are simply competing against their own set of peers.

Considering the player’s perspective, it’s hard to blame them for doping, or to justify putting asterisks next to the names of steroid-users in the record books.

Without any real standards of enforcement set by MLB, steroid use was essentially legal during the long-ball years. If Barry Bonds wanted to be the best power hitter in the league he needed superhuman bat speed. The best way to do that was to juice. So he did.

Now we’re left scrambling to find some objective moral voice that will somehow make this problem easier to bear, even though this is not a definable moral issue.

The use of steroids only highlights the merits of players who were able to accomplish things without them, at least for fans like myself. The recent exposure made me wonder who was the last totally legitimate 50 home run guy (probably Alex Rodriguez twice and Jim Thome in 2002, but Cecil Fielder is the safe bet back in 1990).

We already knew that Barry Bonds was taking steroids-the scandal arose from it being made “official.” He said, “You guys wanted me to jump off a bridge, and I finally did.” Right. He didn’t make the decision to start taking steroids this spring, but long ago-without any inspection by the media, which is entirely reactionary.

So what does it really mean if Barry Bonds breaks Hank Aaron’s record in a hitter’s era after using steroids? Are retired baseball players denied access to heaven when their marks are broken? Is there some injustice that I’m missing?

The scope of historical achievements is not dependant on today’s standards. Alexander’s vast empire would’ve had a tough time defending against a single Apache helicopter, but that does not make him an insignificant historical figure.

It’s fine to encourage Major League Baseball to change their standards and rid the game of doping, but keep your morals to yourself.

And don’t whine about the legacy of Hammerin’ Hank in rants about Bonds. I won’t forget 756 even if Nikolai Bonds suddenly fills out and smacks his 1,500 in 2028. Did anybody forget about Babe Ruth?

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