Today is a black day for Major League Baseball. The Mitchell Report, a 400+ page document, came out detailing the use of steroids and named the names of allegedly 80 players that George Mitchell was able to confirm used steroids.
The fact that there are MLB players that have used steroids is not a surprise. Anybody who looks at Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, or Jason Giambi three years ago, cannot have a hint of doubt.
What hurts me as a fan though is learning that some of the best pitchers in the game, Roger Clemens and Andy Petitte, were also users.
Pitchers have a special place in my heart. To me, a well-pitched game is the most exciting thing in all of baseball. Forget the homerun. Homeruns are overrated. But a guy who can pitch a full nine innings is a hero - bar none. A guy who can load the bases but then battle all the way back to strike the next three hitters out is a hero. Pitching makes or breaks the game (caveat - you do need to have good hitters - but if you have great pitching, you don't need great hitters - just good hitters). There is nothing more exciting than a pitcher's duel. That is why, though Josh Beckett is now a hated Red Sox, I still love him - he is one of the most awesome pitchers in the game right now.
That is why this hits me so hard. Being a diehard Yankees fan, I have to live with the hatred of everyone for their dominance in baseball. Now I learn that players on my beloved team, and pitchers nonetheless, cheated!! I mean even Chuck Knoblauch was named!! Knoblauch! The disappointment and hurt runs deep.
I just hope that in the end, all the youth and college ballplayers that I come in touch with, will take this whole scandal as a warning and not try to cheat the game. I have seen quite a few of the college guys come through who were so big, that it just isn't natural. I hope that they realize that the path they are walking on is a perilous one before it is too late.
That hope is what makes the disappointment and hurt less painful.