The League

Zach Leibowitz
Sideline Reporter

Zach Leibowitz

A former sideline reporter for ESPN

Base Bawl

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Baseball is America's so-called "Pastime." Its beauty lies in its history and analyzed through its century of statistics. Baseball's numbers, records, dates and box scores are all we have to connect our future to our past. It's argued that the hardest thing to do in sports is not avoid a Ray Lewis tackle, but rather hit a baseball. Few human beings can successfully hit a 96 mile-per-hour fastball followed by an 88 mph curve from 60 feet, six inches away. And fewer can do it consistently over a grueling 162-game schedule year in and year out.

Baseball is a warm weather game with no time element. There are no clocks nor quarters. There are no helmets preventing the fans from seeing a player's face. With that comes the purity of baseball, the ability for families and friends to come together, watch a ball game, and root for the home team on a glorious summer night. Kids can get autographs from their heroes. Adults can tell their kids about getting their own heroes' autographs decades earlier.

So when we talk steroids and are forced to admit our beloved baseball is not the idyllic game we've longed it to be, we lose a piece of our own innocence. The realization that our generational superstars such as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and now Alex Rodriguez allegedly took performance enhancing drugs is just devastating. We begin to question everything and everyone, including ourselves. How can we justify paying to watch games we can't even look at as credible? How can we root for our heroes -- and wear their jerseys -- if they're alleged cheaters? How can we be sure any of their statistics are verifiable.

The inherent, instinctive pain you feel as a baseball fan when you talk steroids is why a positive test is more negative in MLB than anywhere else.

Is there nothing sacred anymore in our most historic professional game?

Is anything or anyone even legitimate anymore?

I hope so and I'd like to think so. But I just don't know.

And that's the most painful thing of all.

By Zach Leibowitz  |  February 9, 2009; 7:09 AM ET  | Category:  Steroids , Zach Leibowitz Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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