If I weren't a grown man, Thursday's release from Major League Baseball in the form of the Mitchell Report would have brought me to tears. Frankly, as I write this piece, if there were no one around me in the office, I would cry my ever-living eyes out.
Baseball is a game for heroes. Tom Seaver, Kirby Puckett, Joe Carter, Luis Gonzalez - they all came through for us. Now, those in charge of America's pastime - commissioner's office, owners and players - have once again punched us fans right in the face. It's time we punched back.
Donald Honig told the story in 1973 about the correlation between hard work and becoming a hero in his children's book, "Way To Go, Teddy." A small town baseball hero struggles in the minor leagues, and is able to redeem himself by the end because of his work ethic and an attitude adjustment.
As a result of the Mitchell Report, many questions have been brought to the forefront. Most predominantly, what now?
What is MLB going to do with the information that it has been presented with? Do they need to do anything? What are some of the options available?
To even begin to ponder questions like these, some of the information contained in the Mitchell Report needs to be reviewed. According to espn.com, there were 86 players named. These 86 combined for 34 World Series titles. The pitchers won 1,803 games while striking out 22,188. The hitters combined for 7,477 home runs. Nine of these players were on the 2000 New York Yankees team that won the World Series. And, most interesting of all, Barry Bonds hit only 23 home runs against the pitchers named.
We, the fans of baseball, must demand action by MLB. Once again, this league has violated our trust, and we have to make MLB earn that trust. In order to do that, we have to judge the future actions of MLB to be in fairness, or professional baseball will be no better than professional wrestling. We can be entertained by a show, or we can be entertained by a game. I choose the game.
It's 1994 all over again. MLB spit in the fans' face back then, and I'm not going to allow myself to go through that again. In 1994, the Montreal Expos were playing like the best team in baseball, and Matt Williams had 43 home runs in 112 games played. Oh, never mind, Williams' name is in the Mitchell Report.
I boycotted MLB for three seasons after 1994. I did not make any purchases of MLB memorabilia, nor did I watch any games, even on television. They were dead to me. I wish now that the league had stayed that way.
As a sports reporter, I'll have to feign some interest in the league next season. Go D-Backs! (If you didn't notice, I just head butted my monitor.)
For baseball to regain my trust, I have set the following conditions:
1) Every statistical feat accomplished by a suspected steroid user must be removed from the official records of baseball.
2) Every award that a suspected steroid user has been given must be stripped by MLB.
3) Every team that has won a league championship and/or a World Series with a suspected steroid user must be stripped of the appropriate title.
4) Every suspected steroid user is to lose access to the Hall of Fame.
5) Every ticket purchased in the next five years must be accompanied with an apology from the commissioner's office, owner's group and player's association for the steroid era. No form letters allowed.
These are difficult conditions for MLB to meet. I intended them to be. They have some hard work ahead of them. Taking the easy way out, i.e., steroids, is no longer an option.
One last requirement from MLB is needed. Every person in the employment of MLB and its affiliates are required to read "Way To Go, Teddy." These persons will be required to pass a test about the book, and I must administer it.
Hope I don't see you at a D-Backs game.