The Harbinger Online

Sports Column: Let Loose The Juice

When did baseball scores start resembling soccer scores?

Looking at the final scores of the first five World Series games, you should notice a pattern. 3-2. 2-1. 16-7. 4-0. 4-2.

At least we had game 3.

I’ve always loved baseball. I always supported the elimination of steroids in the league, but it’s times like these that make me miss steroids. In the past two years, the MLB and its commissioner Bud Selig have made huge strides towards its goal of eliminating steroid use. So kudos to you, Bud. And what has your little crusade accomplished? The league is cleaner and more respectable than it’s been in decades.

It’s also soooo boring.

If I’d known that watching baseball without steroids would be about as exciting as a block hour of Precalc, I never would have supported banning the juice in the first place.

I miss Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, Ramirez.

Juicers like them may have lost my respect when they chose to use steroids, but I wasn’t watching them because I respected them; I watched them because they could hit a little round ball harder and farther than I could.

In the last 20 years, baseball has never been as popular as it was the summer of ‘98, the year that two sluggers named Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa competed to see who could break the single-season home run record first. And I’ve never enjoyed any season more than I enjoyed Barry Bonds’ 2001 season, when he broke Mark McGwire’s three-year-old record. Sure, these guys were cheating and shortcutting their way into the record books, but at least they hit the damn ball out of the damn park.

I miss home runs! I miss slugfests! I could care less about the sanctity of a game that I no longer like watching. Especially if the sanctity of that game is what makes it so boring. The games are closer, sure, but without much offense, they’re just not exciting to watch. I don’t care how close a game is, if I have to watch players striking out or grounding out all game, I’m gonna get bored before the fifth inning. Especially if EVERY game is a pitching battle.

Is it too much for me to ask for the MLB to just turn a blind eye? To pretend that steroid use is down while allowing it to run as rampant as ever? I’m not asking the MLB to endorse steroid use. I’m not asking it to promote players who use them. I’m just desperate for baseball to be fun again, to be popular again. I don’t see any other easy solutions.

If the league doesn’t do something soon about the falling offensive numbers, it could be in trouble. This World Series, although dramatic despite its low scores, has seen the lowest ratings in World Series history. The numbers for the last two regular seasons have seen substantial drops, too.

The bottom line: the MLB is losing fans. As home run totals dropped, the ratings have dropped. The league must realize this: no one wants to watch baseball without home runs. They’re the most exciting event in the sport, and without steroids, they’re occurring a lot less. After all, not everyone is Albert Pujols. Very few players can put up huge power numbers without steroids.

So turn a blind eye, Bud. Stop sacrificing popularity for ethical standards. I can’t continue to watch the league toil into obscurity. Something must be done.

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Matt Hanson

Matt is a senior and the Head Copy Editor for print. He enjoys the KU Jayhawks, basketball and the Breakfast Club. Read Full »

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