What to Believe?

How are we supposed believe anything anymore?

Performance enhancing drugs have seemingly taken over everything that is special in sports.

Melky Cabrera was suspended 50 games today because he tested positive for testosterone. Out of nowhere, the Melk Man had transformed himself into one of the game’s best players over the past couple of years. He currently leads the MLB in batting with a .346 average.

Steroids…of course.

That’s the easy explanation these days. Anytime something extraordinary happens, it can’t be natural. It is guys like Melky Cabrera that are making people lose faith. As expected, Cabrera was a fan favourite in his first year with the San Francisco Giants. No one could have foreseen him slashing .346/.390/.516 even after a career year with Kansas City in 2011.

I am not going to vilify Melky Cabrera. Oddly enough, he admitted to his wrongful use of performance enhancing drugs. Melky Cabrera is just another example of the sad truth of not only the baseball world, but the sports world as well.

We can’t believe anymore.

In all likelihood, Melky Cabrera isn’t the only star player receiving some sort of unnatural aid. There are others out there that haven’t been caught and will probably never be caught. The technology of the drug is always ahead of the technology to test for it.

The London Olympics brought awe-inspiring moments and moments that you will want to tell your grandchildren about. Seeing Usain Bolt dominant the 100 metre sprint was magical but it was as suspicious as it was magical. No one can be that good, can they? Despite being a 6 foot 5 freak of nature, running that fast with that much ease might be too good to be true.

Shiwen Ye, you know, that Chinese female swimmer who swam her final 50 metres of the 400 IM faster than gold medal winner Ryan Lochte. Ye beat a world record set by those fast swimsuits in Beijing regardless of the fact that she appeared to only swim her hardest for the last 100 metres of the race. Her performance was truly unbelievable but not in a good way.

These days, living by the innocent until proven guilty motto is about as realistic as communism being instituted into western society. It is impossible to have faith in athletes when we are constantly being reminded why we can’t.

Former BALCO owner Victor Conte said to the London Times that the more rigorous drug testing is easy to beat and estimated about 60 percent of the Olympic athletes at the London games were doping. Yeah, you read that right, 60 percent!

Steroids are supposed to be out of baseball yet two of the National League’s best players in the last two seasons have been found to have tested positive for a banned substance. One is being suspended and the other got off on a technicality.

The reason why sports are so appealing to the masses is that we can be amazed at the unbelievable. Most of the general public cannot fathom doing what these athletes can do on a daily basis. Special actions by athletes subsequently create special reactions from fans. However, the enchanting lure of the athlete significantly diminishes when the feat is accomplished through artificial means.

In 2012, the special has become the questionable.

We want to accept what we see as real but when we are given every reason not to accept, it becomes harder and harder. No one enjoys being deceived yet that is the feeling that surfaces every single time an athlete is exposed for using performance enhancing drugs.

I wonder how Cabrera’s legion of Melk Men feel now.

Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Marion Jones, Shawn Merriman, Bill Romanowski, Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens, the entire cycling world.

It has never been harder to accept the extraordinary than it is, right now, in 2012.

There is only one first thought that comes to mind these days when anything special is witnessed in sports.

Unfortunately, it’s steroids.

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Buster Posey Silliness

In one of the most famous plays in baseball history, Pete Rose trucked catcher Ray Fosse in the 12th inning to win the 1970 all-star game. The all-star career of Ray Fosse was never the same.

As far as notable collisions at the plate go the Rose-Fosse crash ranks at number one. Notable collisions leading to career threatening injuries? The Rose-Fosse collision is the only one I can recall without taking a peek at Google. There’s a reason for that.

Until May 26th. On Thursday night, Buster Posey was run over by Scott Cousins, which lead to one of baseballs bright young stars fracturing his leg. Everyone from Buster Posey’s agent to the local butcher is now clamouring for the MLB to make a rule change.

Give me a break.

Hear me out on this one and then make your decision on how insensitive you think I am. I understand that the reigning Rookie of the Year was brutally injured in a play that some of you obviously think is unnecessary.

However, why has this suddenly become such a hot topic? It happened because of an extreme event. In other words, something that doesn’t occur on a regular basis. This cry for a rule change is a classic overreaction to a problem that has been virtually non-existent for a very long time.

This isn’t an epidemic like head shots are in the NFL or NHL. This is a single incident that people are reacting to in a completely illogical fashion. Unlike other more important things, catcher collisions haven’t been a persistent problem over the years.

Remember when 1st base coach Mike Coolbaugh died after being struck in the head with a line drive? That was a tragic incident. Nevertheless, the fact that all base coaches now have to wear helmets because of one freak event is ridiculous. One coach gets struck in the head and its panic everywhere. I don’t mean to be insensitive but it isn’t only professional baseball where base coaches are at risk, it’s also baseball being played around North America and the world. One coach, that’s it.

Buster Posey was never at risk of dying on that play. Catching isn’t for the weary and Posey was involved in a typical baseball play. Catchers are aware of what they sign up for when they play professional ball.

Head first slides have become somewhat of a problem around baseball so why isn’t everyone clamouring for head first slides to be made illegal? Cold hard facts will tell you that more guys get hurt sliding head first than colliding with a catcher. No risk of death but serious injuries are involved. Just ask Josh Hamilton or Aaron Hill.

Many of you have probably been to the airport and recently been patted down or had your bag checked excessively by your friendly neighbourhood TSA agent. It’s kind of amusing when the 80-year-old lady is examined in front of her two little granddaughters because all this nonsense stems from the governments nonsensical reaction to a couple of radical incidents. At least people’s lives are on the line here.

A more apparent issue that the MLB is facing, that most are oblivious to, is baseball’s own version of the head shot. Intentionally beaning a player merely for revenge or because they are crowding the plate much should be scary thought yet to most fans it isn’t.

It will be a scary thought when someone dies. This is a part of baseball culture that should be banished. A 95 mph heat seeking fastball to the head is a much more important issue than collisions with the catcher. Nothing has happened yet but when something does you will see that similar panic reaction from around the country and rightfully so.

The thing is, throwing at someone’s head is far different from colliding with a catcher or a foul ball hitting a base coach. A collision with the catcher doesn’t pose nearly the same risks and a foul ball is entirely unintentional. A pitcher who chooses to aim for a vulnerable part of the body is something that can be controlled. If a line drive can kill a base coach than a fastball can too.

It’s okay though, nothing has happened yet so we shouldn’t worry about it. Right?

Old school NFL fans feel that the new rules are ruining the integrity of the game of football. They don’t care or understand the real danger that is concussions. With all the information we are learning about concussions, having a player knocked out each week because of an unnecessary hit is, well, unnecessary.

Buster Posey may not have been blocking the plate but this is a baseball play that certainly does not carry the same great risk. Excessive preventative measures are not in order here. By changing the rule the MLB would be putting its own version of the “may cause drowsiness” label on the bottle of sleeping pills.

This isn’t little league folks, where I’m sure you would be happy to learn that initiating contact with a catcher is illegal.

What’s almost worse is that this silly reaction is because Buster Posey is a star player. If this was Rod Barajas the issue would be swept under the rug.

The whole logic behind the reaction to Buster Posey’s injury is misguided. An insignificant issue wrongly thrust into the spotlight because of a rare accident involving a star player.

Last year, Kendry Morales suffered a broken leg celebrating a walk-off home-run. Suddenly, rowdy walk-off celebrations became a thing of the past because of another freak incident. Doesn’t make any sense does it?

Major League Baseball does not need to respond in this type of manner to the Buster Posey incident. Contrary to Harold Camping’s belief, the apocalypse is not upon us so let’s not react to this as if it is.

The rule doesn’t need to be changed. This isn’t helmet-to-helmet NFL style. Buster Posey was the victim of a legal baseball play that has to stay legal.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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