When I was young, I think there was nothing more exciting than going to a Baltimore Orioles game with my dad. I looked forward to baseball, I looked forward to going to the game and being part of the crowd, a part of the excitement, and most importantly a part of the tradition filled culture.
I was excited when Ken Griffey Jr. turned his hat backwards and when Nomar adjusted his gloves. I was excited when Larry Walker wrote 'I'm hitting .400' in the sand and when Joe carter jumped for joy. I looked forward to Cal Ripken breaking Lou Gehrig's consecutive game streak and watched in awe when he hit homers on back to back nights, when tying and breaking the record.
But somewhere along the lines that excitement I felt for the game has changed to an expectation of disappointment. Maybe I'm jaded, maybe it's just been a rough few years, but since Roger Maris's record fell in 1998 nothing good has come to the game.
With the news breaking today of the Nats prized prospect being a phony and a liar, it only capped off what has been a stunningly disappointing week and a half of baseball. This season has yet to begin and already three scandals have hit the news wires. Former Oriole star Miguel Tejada may be going to jail, the hope of the game Alex Rodriguez is a cheat, and now one of the hopes of the Nationals is an apparition.
It has come to the point where I just expect the worst from the best. I cringe at the thoughts of stars like Albert Pujols or David Wright being caught up in a scandal. I worry that inspirations like Josh Hamilton will be ruined by something, anything, that stands for the opposite of the hope they bring.
It doesn't help that the commissioner, the so called leader or figurehead of our game is a buffoon. The man seems to make the wrong decision on everything, and under his watch all of this has happened. Worse than Bud Selig making the wrong decision is when he refuses to make one at all. Too often do we see him say the words, 'well I'm not going to say that,' or 'it's something I'll have to think about.' The man who is supposed to guide the sport can't even decide what do think or say.
I hope that this is just the fallout of an era that was corrupt, and not a trend of the future. The game has been infused with money, and we know what that has historically done to all institutions. I pray that the game cleans up and I hope that one day I can look forward to opening the sports page, and not dread inevitable disappointment.