On July 31, 1997, Mark “Big Mac” McGwire was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals by the Oakland Athletics.
McGwire was a fan favorite when he started playing with the Cardinals. The 1998 season was a face off against Chicago Cub Sammy Sosa to see who could hit the most home runs. Fans were jumping on the band wagon for their teams slugger. The goal for both of the big time batters was to get the most home runs ever in one season. Now, the winner does not seem to matter as much.
McGuire ended up with a total of 583 home runs at the end of his 16 year career. He hit 220 in his five years with the Cardinals. The late ’90’s and early ’00’s were the beginning of an era for the baseball world.
Fast forward to recent news and you find a very similar pattern. In the last week a number of players have been newly listed as steroid users including Ryan Braun of the Brewers and Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees. Some players that have been found to use steroids took part in the 2013 All-Star Game.
Cheating is costing baseball some of its fans. People do not take time out of their day to watch the television or pay to go to the ball park to watch an unfair game. The fact that players are getting punished when they are found using performance enhancing drugs, but is that when the public finds out or when the team’s management finds out?
As a child Sammy Sosa was my hero. Today children look up to A-Rod and other big name players, some of them have been found using drugs. This is an issue that must be dealt with more seriously. Prevention is the best way to deal with it. Cheaters do not belong in the Hall of Fame. There is a good reason players like Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Ty Cobb are the greatest baseball players ever, and baseball should encourage fair play like it used to be.