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The Prick That Should Burst the Balloon

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We haven’t even reached the all-star break yet, and another big name from baseball has been outed for his use of PED’s. Another name from the list McGwire and Sosaof 104 phantom players that were caught cheating. And as the names slowly leak out like an ignored hole in the dam, baseball takes another blow to its already damaged credibility.

The list IS confidential and should be kept that way, but it isn’t. The names are being leaked in a (in my opinion) tactical manner to undermine the game. The players that have had names leaked haven’t been the fringe players struggling to stay in the show, but more often superstars who have their names ranking high on the list of baseball records.

At this point what baseball should do? What it needs to do is come clean: reveal EVERY name on that list. To do that will once and for all expose how bad the problem was. Hopefully this will finally get the ball rolling on addressing this long overdue "elephant in the room."

People want to believe that the current form of testing is working. And the only people allegedly getting caught now are young kids in the minors trying to impress a scout to get a call up, or at least keep a spot on the team. With Manny Ramirez getting caught however, it proves that the elite of the game are still trying to push the envelope.

I won’t for one minute pretend that baseball didn’t know this was going on. As the heroes of my youth swelled into obscene caricatures of themselves and started knocking the skins off baseballs, the great race between McGwire and Sosa captivated the country that summer. People were watching the game again, and the sins of the strike were starting to be forgiven. Baseball saw this as a chance to regain fans, and the integrity of the game be damned they were going to do it.

Mad Magazine's take on Barry BondsAnd that is what is at the heart of the problem: in NO game are the records as sacred as baseball. When I grew up, you knew who the greats were. Those records would never fall, the single season and career totals were untouchable. Now, the people that occupy those records aren’t clean and you have to doubt everything they did. Bonds, McGwire and Sosa were all tremendous talents. That more than anything is the ultimate insult because they were already Hall of Fame worthy. When they were young they knew those records and respected them. In the end, THEY tainted them.

And now baseball has allowed a cloud to form so that if any player has a big season, he MUST be juicing. What follows are unfounded whispers that can tarnish a player's reputation. We saw that first hand this season when some blogger that was itching for some publicity brought Raul Ibanez into a discussion he had no business being in.

This is the bed that baseball has made, and now they have to lie in it. For the good of the game, extreme testing procedures must be used. I am a proponent of the suggestion that the same testing performed on Olympic athletes should be done with baseball players. To do that would finally clean the game up, leave this era in the past, and we can move on. No game is rooted more in the fabric of this country. And most importantly, this can’t be allowed to erode the love of this great game.