Friday, December 14, 2007

The McCarthy Era vs. The Steroids Era: It's Been 50+ Years And We Still Attack Our Great American Heroes!?!

In the last 57 years, what have we really learned? Not much by yesterdays new conference. In 1950, Senator Joe McCarthy became the most visible public face of a period of extreme anti-communist suspicion inspired by the tensions of the Cold War. In 2007, former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell wrote in his much-anticipated report on performance-enhancing drugs inspired by political bullshit! McCarthy said, "can there be anyonehere tonight who is so blind as to say that the war is not on? Can there be anyone who fails to realize that the communist world has said, "The time is now" -- that this is the time for the showdown between the democratic Christian world and the communist atheistic world? Unless we face this fact, we shall pay the price that must be paid by those who wait too long." Mitchell said, ""The illegal use of performance-enhancing substances poses a serious threat to the integrity of the game. Widespread use by players of such substances unfairly disadvantages the honest athletes who refuse to use them and raises questions about the validity of baseball records."

Those who have illegally used these substances range from players whose major league careers were brief to potential members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Barry Bonds showed up more often. So did Jose Canseco. Andy Pettitte, Eric Gagne and Miguel Tejada also became part of baseball's most infamous lineup since the 1919 Black Sox scandal. I'm surprised that Mitchell didn't make claims that there were large numbers of Communists and Soviet spies and sympathizers inside the MLB and elsewhere. Ultimately, McCarthy's tactics and his inability to substantiate his claims led to his being discredited and censured by the United States Senate. If any of Mitchell's accusation are found to be false, what can happen to him. Not a friggin' thing.

The term "McCarthyism", coined in 1950 in reference to McCarthy's practices, was soon applied to similar anti-communist pursuits. Today the term is used more generally to describe demagogic, reckless, and unsubstantiated accusations, as well as public attacks on the character or patriotism of political opponents. Today, we just call it "The Steroids Era." But we haven't learned that naming names really helps anyone, have we? Attacking baseball isn't just the beginning and I can't wait for the other sports to catch on. Remember Marion Jones? This should be a heck of a lot of fun. Just compare the lists for those accused. Any similarities?

Leonard Bernstein
Charlie Chaplin
Aaron Copland
Bartley Crum
Jules Dassin
W.E.B. DuBois
Howard Fast
Lee Grant
Dashiell Hammett
Lillian Hellman
John Hubley
Langston Hughes
Sam Jaffe
Gypsy Rose Lee
Philip Loeb
Joseph Losey
Burgess Meredith
Arthur Miller
Zero Mostel
Clifford Odets
J. Robert Oppenheimer
Linus Pauling
Paul Robeson
Edward G. Robinson
Waldo Salt
Pete Seeger
Artie Shaw
Howard Da Silva
Paul Sweezy
Tsien Hsue-shen
Orson Welles
...and more!

Chad Allen
Rick Ankiel
David Bell
Mike Bell
Marvin Benard
Gary Bennett, Jr.
Larry Bigbie
Barry Bonds
Kevin Brown
Paul Byrd
Jose Canseco
Roger Clemens
Lenny Dykstra
Eric Gagne
Jason Giambi
Matt Herges
David Justice
Chuck Knoblauch
Tim Laker
Mark McGwire
Kent Mercker
Rafael Palmeiro
Andy Pettitte
Adam Piatt
Scott Schoeneweis
Gary Sheffield
Ismael Valdez
Mo Vaughn
Randy Velarde
Ron Villone
Kevin Young
...and more!

McCarthy was never able to substantiate his sensational charges. Nor will Mitchell or Bud Selig.We all know that problems didn't develop overnight and there is plenty of blame to go around. Money is a big factor. The better you are, the more you make. Professional sports has gotten way out of hand but we do not need the government to step in, make accusation and try to reform it. Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said decisions on any action would come "swiftly" on a case-by-case basis. That should of happened in the first place! Can we stop all of the hype in the news about this. We know there's a problem folks, fix it. In other words, "Play Ball!"