If MLB was an oil tanker, it'd be the Exxon Valdez. Bud Selig's good ship lollipop, much
like Exxon's vessel, contained a high-energy product that made everybody filthy rich,
but when it ran aground years ago, its steroid-fueled contents spilled out and poisoned
everything, just like the Exxon Valdez did in 1989 when it struck a reef in Alaska.
Today, Major League Baseball is still trying to clean up a steroid mess that's harmed the game,
one just like the massive oil spill from the Exxon Valdez that caused irreparable damage to our ecosystem. Like the executives of Exxon, those in baseball have been criticized for their slow response in trying to prevent, contain, and clean it all up.
Experts have said the effects of the oil spill may be seen for another 15 years, which could be
about the time it takes MLB to fully rid itself of the toxins that both re-vitalized the game and
destroy a small part of it.
Baseball was a game built on a numbers, records, and the pursuit of breaking them. Fans knew
what 61, 715, and 755 meant to the game. We immersed ourselves in the summer of 1998 when
Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa chased the magical single-season home run record of Roger Maris
(61). Big Mac smashed it, hitting a mind-boggling 70 home runs. 70! 70 home runs in a season. Unbelievable.
And it was all one big fraud. McGwire was juiced up like Arnold Schwarzenegger, hitting
home runs further and at a faster rate than anybody had ever seen before. We all thought McGwire
was a good guy who did things the "right way". He never failed a drug test. Oh, sure, there was
Andro in his locker but it was legal.
Then McGwire cracked under the pressure admitted what many of us thought; he cheated
himself and the game. Major League Baseball's ocean of stars and players we loved and
admired, was polluted. Jose Canseco called many of them out in his book, "Juiced".
He turned out to be right.
Jose Canseco was dead on and the only one telling the truth. Imagine that.
Every record in baseball has been rendered meaningless because of MLB's steroid spill.
The all-time record set by Barry Bonds? 73! LOL. Once the most coveted records in the
game held by the highly-respected Hank Aaron, became insignificant once Bonds, perhaps,
the most hated and juiced up player in the game has ever seen, shattered it.
Few people recognize Bonds as the true home run king because he was dirty, playing in an era poisoned by steroids.
Like the disaster of the Exxon Valdez, it could've been avoided. The radar device on the oil
tanker, the one that could've helped detect the Bligh Reef the vessel struck, wasn't even
turned on. In fact, it wouldn't have mattered if it was because it was inoperable. Executives
at Exxon believed it was too expensive to fix.
MLB's radar during the steroid era was turned off, as well. There was not even a testing
program in place. Bud Selig, the captain of the ship, wasn't sleeping in his bunk like the
skipper of the Exxon Valdez, but he clearly had his head in the sand. He could've fixed the
problem, but cowered to a players union that had some serious industrial strength.
In the congressional hearing in 2005. Selig asked rhetorically, "Did we have a major
problem? No. Let me say this to you: There is no concrete evidence of that, there is no
testing evidence, there is no other kind of evidence."
Right, and executives of the Exxon Valdez didn't find any evidence of that reef because
the radar was turned off. It didn't even work.
MLB never had the radar device on and it wouldn't have worked because it would've been
too expensive to fix. Things were going too well, everybody was getting filthy rich, why
should they kill the golden goose?
But MLB hit that reef in the ocean and created one big mess, not with oil, but steroids.
Now, long after the "steroid era", they are still dealing with the consequences. Ryan
Braun, Alex Rodriquez, and 11 other players were outed in the Biogenesis scandal. 13
players in an ocean of 700. Do we really think those are the only ones who are polluted?
Yeah, right. The game is still dirty.
We don't trust it, we don't love it as much as we used to, and many of us will always be
suspicious of players like Chris Davis who suddenly hit home runs in bunches.
The oil spill of the Exxon Valdez caused immediate death to wildlife. As many as 250,000
seabirds died. At least 2,800 sea otters, approximately 12 river otters, 300 harbor seals, 247
Bald Eagles, and 22 orcas were killed.
The effects on the players who have poisoned their bodies with steroids won't be known for
awhile. But the damage will take its toll. We've seen it in the world of wrestling where
several athletes who were juiced up, starting dying off in their 50's and 60's. It may not
be pretty for MLB players
Like the disaster of the Exxon Valdez, the steroid spill in MLB could've been avoided if
everybody didn't have their head in the sand.