Baseball, Steroids, and Childhood Lessons

I grew up with a lie. I collected cardboard fraud. Each crack of the bat, each number, faked. I loved baseball. I tuned in to listen to Marty and Joe every chance I had. Marty’s voice soothed me during long road trips in Dad’s dusty green truck, my legs charred and stuck to the vinyl seats. I memorized stats, and pretended that I hit 49 home runs as a rookie.

When I chose a theme for my room, it had red stitches. I emulated my favorite players at the plate, mimicking the stances. It was all for nothing. As with most things that are stained, I threw it away. Baseball broke my heart.

Millions of men would pay to be in your spot, instead, you get paid. The love of the game just isn’t good enough, is it? You had to stick a needle in your backside, giving an advantage. You weren’t satisfied being great. You wanted more. You found it. You found greed.

Even though you have destroyed me, spit at me, and called me more names than Marge Schott, I want to love you again. I want to sip sweet lemonade and open a box of Cracker Jacks. I want to turn the dial and hear each pitch hit the mitt. I want to smell the October sky pretending I’m you, game seven. I want to chase childhood dreams with my eyes closed.

I was just a kid, a freckle-faced boy. You took my innocence. My glove, broken in with sweat, is now just broken. You were my heroes, defeating legends. Enjoy the asterisks.

If you need to cheat, stay at home. You will not be my son’s heroes. I can’t let him go through the pain. I can’t set him out in the world believing your lies. Each day, a new media story squashes the best you have to offer. Each story digs at the wound.

Please earn your awards. Earn your salary honestly. Teach our children right. They are watching.