Thursday, March 16, 2006

Tri-Clops by Proxy

Warning:  Zero Poker Content

I would imagine a bunch of those who read this blog read Tri-Clops.  Their current topic is about baseball and steroids and whether the artificial onslaught of homeruns saved the game.

I offer my opinion:

What other sport is as tied to numbers and statistics as baseball?  I’d wager none.  I can simply quote numbers, and to many of you, even non-baseball fans, you’ll know what I mean.

714 and 755
1918 (well, that used to matter)

I could go on with more obscure ones that baseball purists would surely know, but I don’t have to.  In a baseball season, each team plays 162 games.  Many players have over 700 plate appearances and some pitchers throw over 2000 pitches.  Why does that matter?  Because those are enough samples to make baseball statistics meaningful.

Sure other sports have statistics, but none so hallowed as those in baseball.  Much of baseball’s charm is watching a player over the course of any one season or over the course of his career chase an existing record.

And now, thanks to artificially enhanced physical abilities, much of baseball’s charm is gone.

I’ll admit, during the great homerun chase of 1998; I was enthralled, just like the rest of the nation.  So in the short-term, I’d wager that the increase in power production numbers brought more fans to the game (just like the juiced ball of 1987 did.)  But only because records were being broken and because those records meant something.

Players like Canseco, Caminiti, Palmiero, Bonds, Sosa and McGwire have tarnished players of yesteryear whose accomplishments on a fair playing field look pale in comparison.  Players of my youth like Jim Rice who I watched every day during the summer months are only just now being given second looks for their accomplishments.

The game can survive, but it’s forever tarnished.  Right around this time of year, I used to eagerly anticipate Opening Day.  But now, there’s something missing.  And the eight-year old still inside me is saddened that the game he used to love is no more.

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