This site started in 2005. It was supposed to be a website about the San Francisco Giants Baseball Club. Back in those days, an author of such a site was supposed to have Big, Important Opinions about Barry Bonds, steroids, and performance-enhancing drugs.
But I didn't have Big, Important Opinions. I felt like I had to force them occasionally, and they were usually the dumbest posts on the site. I follow baseball because I wanted to get away from the moral ambiguities and nastiness of real life. But you can't have baseball without real life. There are always horrible things like political debates, greed, and A.J. Pierzynski talking. There are off-field legal concerns and heartbreaking injuries to prospects that never get a chance to play a single major-league inning. It's a childish fantasy for me to think I can follow baseball like it's a storybook read aloud in a padded room.
The Melky Cabrera news pisses me off for a lot of reasons. It pisses me off as a fan because I enjoyed watching him, and I root for the Giants. It pisses me off as a writer because now I'll have to read a bunch of turgid, rehashed arguments about ethics from baseball writers, which sucks as much as reading baseball-themed poetry written by ethicists. It pisses me off because, once again, the baseball world is focusing on the San Francisco Giants and performance-enhancing drugs, and I'm sick of it.
And it pisses me off in general because, dammit, Melky, really? You couldn't have rejuvenated your career without taking that risk?
It's possible he couldn't have. And now we're into one of those ethical voids. I'd be thrilled if you offered me $1 million to do what I do, but you wouldn't believe what I'd inject into my body for $80 million. I'd take a syringe filled with Tommy Lasorda's urine and plunge it straight into my eyeball for $80 million. I would have my limits to what I'd do, of course, but when it comes to intangible ethical dilemmas, where I can't actually see the people I might or might not be actively hurting? I'd do a lot.
Maybe it wasn't about the money, though, but rather it was about being the best baseball player Melky could be. This is always why I figured Bonds went down that path -- he saw the slobbering over McGwire and Sosa, and he was jealous. I'd take all sorts of things if they'd make me as creative and funny as Jon Bois. And if I watched my peers go from sorta funny to Bois funny because of something that had a few side effects, I'd think about it. Writing's not a competition, but I'm insecure. I'd think about it.
So I can't get too judgmental when it comes to the people who take the stuff.
It's a complicated subject that goes beyond "cheaters" and "sanctity of the game." I don't care about the records, or the stuff that usually rankles the baseball purist. The hypothetical scenarios that always bothered me were the ones that had to do with the players on the fringes of a 25-man roster. One guy refuses to jeopardize his health and his future to do what everyone else is doing. The other says, "We sure had some time together, didn't we, testes?" and ends up winning the last spot on the team. He gets a pension and a baseball card. The other guy gets the satisfaction of being, what, right and pure? That'll really help him in 20 years when he doesn't have health insurance or a few years of the major-league minimum socked away.
So I don't enjoy reading the people who make it a badge of honor not to care at all. Take anything! Everything! Perform for our amusement, circus animals! Cheat, ingest, do what you must! It's all for meeeeeeee to watch!
This all pisses me off because it makes me think about human nature, and human nature scares me. I've read The Road. I've seen the Home Alone movies. Y'all are craven pig-men out there. I just wanna watch Madison Bumgarner saw hitters off at the hands with his cutter. I wanna watch Brandon Belt gangle out a double. I watch baseball to enjoy life and forget it.
This stuff, man. This stuff. I thought we were through this stuff. I'm caught between wanting Melky to come back in the NLCS with a six-hit game and wanting him to drift away into the land of NRIs. That's what this stuff does.
I still miss Barry Bonds, you know.
Dammit so much. They say there are different stages of grief. But I'm going to stay in anger for a while, if that's okay with you. We went to bed on Tuesday night thinking the Giants had a normal lineup. We woke up to human nature and real life kicking us in the sternum. Gross.