For the better portion of my life, I was under the impression that I had been born into one of the most athletically talented generations of all time, and I felt as though I was witnessing history at every sporting event I attended.
I was influenced at a young age by the great superstars of the MLB, and it is extremely unfortunate I was too young to pick up on the ridiculous weight gains and statistical peaks of the doping athletes of the time.
The great Mark McGwire, the powerful Giambi brothers — they were my role models, but I overlooked their distasteful tactics.
I hate to say that all my “childhood sports dreams” have been ruined, but I can regretfully say that at the age of 18, I am still hurt by the betrayal my former heroes performed on the game of baseball.
I can remember anxiously watching Barry Bonds dethrone the great Henry Aaron and break the all-time homerun record.
Bonds, as you may know, turned out to be an avid user of amphetamines and is now hardly spoken of in the sport.
I think it is this absent result that saddens me the most.
As I have grown to understand the truth about steroid use, I have been forced to leave behind the childhood memories of heroism I so deeply cherished.
These memories have been brought back into my everyday conversations by the most recent Hall of Fame induction ballots and the discovery of new offenders, such as Melky Cabrera of the World Champion San Francisco Giants.
The MLB’s stars of the '90s, such as Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa are all beginning to show up on Hall of Fame ballots, and it has become a pivotal discussion as to whether or not they should be permitted to enter the Hall of Fame in spite of their steroid use.
Supporters of these athletes say steroids can only take a player so far in his career; they believe the athletes’ natural talent should supersede their steroid use in history.
This is a nice thought. However, the majority of baseball fans — including myself — feel that in the event these individuals are allowed into the Hall of Fame, the sport’s reputation would be tarnished, and the deserving athletes who have been inducted in the past will be disrespected.
It is sincerely painful to think such incredible talent will go unrecognized, but it is important to look at the situation from an unbiased perspective and realize that leaving them out is best for the sport as a whole.
I appreciate the plays they made and the seats they filled throughout their careers, but doping athletes have no place in Cooperstown.