Wednesday, August 7, 2013

In Need Of A Fix

If you're a fan of baseball like some members of our staff, you were probably well prepared for the stack of suspensions that Major League Baseball handed out on Monday. Maybe you even felt a lump in your throat, or had a slight twist in your stomach when the punishments for drug use came down. We saw players we've enjoyed (and maybe even cheered for) revealed to be like so many other pro athletes caught cheating - just another group of technologically enhanced frauds.

There's a part of us that looks at the crumbling metaphorical pillars of our iconic national pastime and wishes that America still had baseball heros like Aaron, Maris, Ruth, and Robinson. Today we'd all be lucky to even get another Cal Ripken Jr.

Instead, we get guys like Alex Rodriguez, the one-time golden boy of professional baseball, now "the party guest that won't leave," in the words of USA Today's Christine Brennan.

Whether he stays or goes, Rodriguez may be just the kind of hero America currently deserves.

As Dave Zirin of The Nation noted earlier this week, the hypocrisy of Major League Baseball on the issue of performance enhancing drugs is legendary. That said, Alex Rodriguez is to Major League Baseball's doping scandals, as Lyndee England was to the Abu Ghraib scandal. We'd even be willing to go further and say that as duplicitous as Rodriguez has been about using banned substances, he's got nothing on modern America, a nation that has too often played a similar hypocritical position.

Just look at the recent headlines if you have any doubts.

After being conned into war by Dick Cheney and his chickenhawks, Americans spent most of the last decade supposedly making Iraq "safe for democracy." Yet, since the U.S. military left Iraq bombs go off there every day, killing scores of innocent civilians.

Our "Department of Justice" says the criminal banks on Wall Street, like Bank of America, screwed the nation with the mortgage crisis in 2008. While we're glad the DOJ is finally going after institutions like Bank of America, it's five years after the crime, and they're only going after a small fraction of the damage those Wall Street criminals caused.

The President was also on The Tonight Show last night saying America doesn't really have a domestic spying program - and by the letter of the law that's true. That said, there's been enough evidence recently revealed to know that too many of the spooks in our Federal government intelligence communities have traded their responsibilities over domestic surveilliance to private contractors, like pro baseball teams trade players - and many of those private contractors followed the letter of the law about as well as A-Rod followed the MLB rules.

America does need heroes again, like those our nation once had in Major League Baseball - maybe more now than ever before.

We're just not sure that the America we live in today deserves better heroes than the ones we're getting already.