Columnist embraces the end of the MLB season

By Mike Romor

While students are just getting accustomed to the beginning of a semester, I am embracing the end of something that started over five months ago: the MLB season.

Over the years, my interest in America’s pastime has waned to the point where I actually question whether or not steroids hurt or helped the game. From childhood to now, my fascination of the game went from crying whenever the White Sox lost to nearly holding back tears when forced to watch a single inning.

I am a product of the “Steroid Era,” headlined by then-idols Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens. Growing up, I emulated every movement Sosa made on the diamond. Imagining I possessed tree-trunk arms that led down to bear-like hands holding an uncorked Louisville Slugger, I would assume his batting stance.

Next came a wild swing, followed by Sosa’s patented hop. Then I looked up to the clouds as a nonexistent Rawlings, unstitched itself and flew for miles, all while a fictional crowd went into a frenzy.

That was, of course, when I was a child living in a culture that was either naïve or ignorant, or both, to the fact that baseball had been taken over by performance-enhancing drugs.

My interest in baseball peaked around 2002, when I was ten years old. That season, the Home Run Derby during the All-Star break, featured four players that have either admitted to or been widely accused of taking steroids during their career. Sosa joined Jason Giambi, Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds.

Among that year’s All-Star game starters, six were steroid users.

In the years after, I lost respect for my childhood heroes, which led to me distancing myself from the game in almost every way.

While there are still millions of Americans who religiously follow the MLB, I find it harder and harder to find any positive aspect of the game. Even in the MLB’s current era, which years from now may be referred to as the “Era of Lost Hope”, the league’s “idols” are getting caught in the middle of the same messes as yesteryear’s icons.

Last year’s National League (NL) MVP, Ryan Braun, failed a PED test but successfully appealed the mandatory 50-game suspension. This year’s leading NL MVP candidate was Melky Cabrera, until he too was caught for taking steroids.

Whether the MLB makes a full-blown effort or not to rid the game of steroids, it will make no difference to me. My love for the game is as vacant as Bates Motel.

Maybe it was the removal of the illegal substances that helped players from my childhood defy the limits of baseball. Maybe it was the loss of trust in every power-hitter and flame-throwing pitcher I grew up watching. But one thing is certain about my lost love of baseball: it will never return.