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My Baseball Boycott

Right Here, Right Now

Posted: March 3, 2008 10:08 p.m.
Updated: May 4, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 
I have decided to boycott baseball this year. Stop the presses. Inform Leno that I am available this Thursday to explain my actions. Please hold the front page of The Signal for the story. I have had it. My two favorite passions, politics and baseball, have collided and baseball has lost.

On top of everything else, my beloved Dodgers were highly tainted by the Mitchell Report, an investigation performed by a former senator on allegations of steroid and hormone use in Major League Baseball. The report named numerous players including 22 on the New York Yankees alone. Figures. Yankees are cheaters. And they smell bad. Almost as much as the Giants.

But, the Dodgers? The good-guys of the MLB? The Vin Scully, Dodger Stadium, Dodger Dog, Steve Garvey, Mike Piazza, Walter Alston, Tom Lasorda, Blue Crew Dodgers of my childhood? Dirty? Yep. The Dodgers had 15 players implicated in the report, the fourth highest overall total. Headliners with names like Gagne, Sheffield, LoDuca, Brown and Hundley (Hundley?) were mentioned prominently.

Just out of curiosity, I reviewed the Dodgers' record during the five central years of the steroid abuse, 1990-1994 and found that the Boys in Blue were a collective 381-381. That's a 0.500 record. They cheated up a storm and were still lousy. My Uncle Earl always said that if you are going to cheat, might as well be good at it. Cheating and sucking is a bad combination.

Now along comes a Democratically-controlled Congress to add to baseball's woes.

Democrats have long had it in for baseball. Ever since the landmark case in 1922 (Federal Baseball Club of Baltimore, Inc. v. National Baseball Clubs) granted baseball an exemption from federal anti-trust laws, Democrats have been trying to eliminate baseball's special status. As I've written previously, Democrats hate baseball because the sport emphasizes personal achievement based on skill, strength, cunning and strategy. This goes against all the core beliefs of the Dems who want to win through whining, law suits and socialism.

Baseball is the only professional sport to enjoy this exemption. But, what does it mean? Essentially, to remain a "sport," baseball relies on equality and balance throughout the league. Otherwise, the big market teams would kill all of the smaller market teams since their money would always buy the best players. There would be no balance or parity. Also, the exemption means that the league can control where teams move, preventing seven teams from playing in New York. By spreading teams across the United States and forcing a "level" playing field, baseball can be enjoyed by all Americans from coast to coast. And, baseball profits by continuing as the national past-time being interwoven into our cultural fabric.

A few years ago, the Raiders' Al Davis sued the National Football League when they tried to prevent him from moving back to Oakland from Los Angeles. Al prevailed since the NFL has no exemption that can prevent owners from blocking moves. Why Al would leave the second largest media market in the nation that had no competition (the Rams having moved several years before) is still one of the most bewildering decisions in sports history.

On the basis of MLB's exemption, Congress believes it has the right to hold baseball accountable for its actions. This is done through the House Government Reform Committee, run by the screaming liberal Henry Waxman, a Democrat from California's 30th Congressional District. During the hearings, many congressmen grand-standed and pontificated while one of the greatest pitchers of all-time possibly perjured himself (he used to be a Yankee, so that fits).

Why doesn't baseball hold itself accountable instead of placing itself at the mercy of a Democratically-controlled Congress that smacks its lips at the possibility of eating baseball alive? Baseball was very slow to come to the table. A few years ago, it took five infractions (five!) for a player to be hauled into the commissioner's office. Now, baseball players are tested throughout the year but are still given three chances to get clean.

Here's my solution. I call it the Kenesaw Mountain Landis solution after the legendary commissioner who saved baseball in the 1920's from the Chicago Black Sox scandal. Fully randomized, surprise, year-round drug tests are required of all players. There will be a minimum of two but not more than six tests per year. This covers both MLB and minor league players. Any player testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug receives a lifetime ban from the sport. Any coach or trainer caught dealing in these materials likewise obtains a lifetime ban. Also, any college program implicated will receive a 10-year suspension from the MLB draft for all players associated with their program. It can and should be done.

While we are at it, we will put a star (*) next to Bonds' name in the record book and place him in a special box labeled "steroid era." The true record will still belong to a good, courageous and honorable man named Aaron.

That being said, if Major League Baseball and the Dodgers want to apologize to me and end my boycott, I am willing to listen. However, I hear much better sitting in a field box seat on the third base side, Dodger Dog in one hand and peanuts in the other.

Steve Lunetta is a Santa Clarita resident. His column reflects his own views, and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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