“Breaking” News

This just in to The Heap news desk:

Mark McGwire used steroids.

Let that sink in for a second. Or did you just chuckle to yourself, and just shake your head whispering, “It’s about time.”

Today, the former king of swing (dethroned only by another fellow ‘roider) finally came clean after the quite physical evidence of his choices were captured by cameras and seen by the nation for the past decade.

Come on, who of you out there were wholeheartedly surprised by this announcement? In fact, as a baseball fan, I am a bit offended by the timing of his announcement. Not even a week ago, McGwire might have even been voted into the Hall of Fame! Looks like it was one and done. What could have motivated him? Why now? I think he knew he could never shake the stigma of The Juice. He conveniently waited to see if he would make it this one time. He was a long shot, and one, he will forever remain.

Mark McGwire, as a normal sized Human Being

But then, is it plausible to say that the theatrics of the Steroids Era was engineered and puppeteered by Big Baseball itself? You’ve heard it all before all over the airwaves. Baseball, America’s Game was sagging behind the NFL in attendance and popularity. A strike towards the beginning of the decade only made the situation worse.

Enter the Home Run. The pinnacle of offensive explosion in any sport. A timeless play in a timeless game.  The individual’s effort in order to help the efforts of the team, but for those brief moments, the spotlight is on the batter as he rounds the bases. The home run personifies the American individual and the nation. (Check out my essay on Japanese/American baseball in the Original Works page)

Mark McGwire, as a chemically altered beast

In a decade of almost unfettered economic growth, of getting ahead at all costs, the 90s and the Steroid Era go together quite well. But in the end, it all falls down on itself. McGwire and Enron, A-Rod and Bernie Madoff, even Palmeiro and US Banks all had their heyday only to be exposed for what they were. Living the American dream.

Using performance enhancing drugs is cheating. Mark McGwire is a cheater. But don’t you worry, he and (I can’t believe I’m saying this) Sammy Sosa had quite the supporting cast- many of which are still TBD. The steroids era (we can only hope) is in its final act. They will have their curtain call soon.

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

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“Ray”volution

pena

You can take those rally caps off. They’ve done it again. The ninth walk-off victory of the year may have been the most surprising. I mean, I must admit, going into the 9th, I had the loss penciled in on The Rays Page. How wrong I was. Down 7-4 going into the bottom half of the 9th, the Rays managed to score 6… yes, SIX runs to pull off an improbable win. Thanks to doubles from Jason Bartlett and Eric Hinske, a determined hustle down the line from Akinori Iwamura resulting in him beating out a close play at first, and a four pitch walk to Ben Zobrist, the Rays had the base runners needed to begin chipping away at Cleveland’s authoritative lead. The rest of the responsibility was left to Gabe Gross and Carlos Pena to deliver in the clutch. And they did. Gross hit a gargantuan home run off the bottom of the video board in right field to tie the game at 7, while Pena hit the walk-off shot over the center field wall, sending the Tropicana Field faithful into a frenzy. (27,000 at an afternoon game? I am impressed!).

Up next for the Rays is a 10 game, 11 day road trip. Brutal. THIS will be one of the most critical stretches of games for the Rays, who, while as of late have been an improved road team, aren’t the best team on the road. Going out west isn’t the best in terms of rest, but at least it IS the Mariners, followed by Oakland and the Texas Rangers.

Make sure to check the Rays page for standings, game info, and of course, our magic number countdown!!!

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