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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Editorial:’Roid Rage: Congress Takes On Major League Baseball

To show your loyalty to America, love baseball.

How does one love baseball? Easy. Pick a team, then buy the team hat, the team t-shirt, followed by excessive amounts of team knickknacks, doodads, hodgepodge, trinkets, and paraphernalia. Then idolize some of baseball’s heroes like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Jose Canseco, Rafael Palmeiro, Curt Schilling, and Frank Thomas.

And what a dream it would be if our sons could grow up to be like them. Even our president, George W. Bush, recognizes baseball athletes as sound role models for our children. After all, Curt Schilling reversed Boston’s curse and then kindly proceeded to endorse our friendly president right before the 2004 elections. Don’t we feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

Except these same six heroes, mentioned above, are all witnesses to baseball’s dirtiest secret: rampant steroid abuse in the major league. As it turns out, our baseball heroes are nothing but syringe packing, needle poking juice users.

Steroid use and the baseball scandal has had Americans up in arms since the February release of Canseco’s book, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big.

But even before that, George Bush, in the State of the Union Address in January 2004, told Americans that, “athletics play such an important role in our society, but, unfortunately, some in professional sports are not setting much of an example. The use of performance-enhancing drugs…sends the wrong message…So tonight I call on team owners, union representatives, coaches, and players to take the lead, to send the right signal, to get tough, and to get rid of steroids now.”

Last Thursday, March 17, the six athletes, McGwire, Sosa, Canseco, Palmeiro, Schilling, and Thomas, were called by Congress to appear in front of the Committee on Government Reform.

But, you ask, isn’t Major League Baseball a privately run sports league?

It is indeed.

Tom Davis, Committee Chairman leading the investigation, justifies government’s intervention by referencing the rules of the House: “Rule 10 clause 4C2 gives us the ability to hold a hearing on any matter at any time.”

“Any matter at any time?!,” cried a disbelieving John Stewart during a recent Daily Show, “Enron, Halliburton, no WMDs, Abu Ghraib, and you went with…baseball. Way to go.” Our sentiments exactly.

Then why is the Committee on Government Reform investigating steroid abuse among athletes when it should be up to Major League Baseball to solve their own problems? Admittedly, other pro sports leagues, such as the NFL and NBA, have taken the responsible route of enforcing a strict drug policy and it is shameful that baseball has gone this long without one, but is this really worthy of being considered a congressional priority?

It seems, these days, the minds of Americans should focus elsewhere, like social security, healthcare, or the War on Terror-not on Mark McGwire pleading the Fifth last Thursday. And that’s exactly the problem. It is quite blatant how the drug problems within Major League Baseball have been used to detract our attentions from the nation’s larger, more complicated issues.

Stay tuned next week for the president and Congress’ two cents on Terry Schiavo.