Wednesday, January 19, 2011

2010 Sports Writing Part 6: Baseball

In the late nineties, baseball entered its ‘Steroids Era.’ For the next ten years (at least) players would inject themselves with tissue building hormones to increase the equilibrium level of sustainable muscle mass in their bodies. Wooden bats, pigskin balls, and faux pastoral ballparks that were built for Michelangelo’s properly proportioned athlete became lighter and smaller in the shadow of the new colossuses. Statistics geeks, drunk on the history crunching comparisons made possible by baseball’s encyclopedic records, were dismayed to find that 70 Home Runs by a man with a stovepipe for a neck were perhaps of a different order than poor, balding, Roger Maris’ 61. When rumours began to crystallize into confession, Congress held an inquiry, the tenor of which was, “Woe is us, America has been betrayed by its role models.”

Break it down!:

Boys are going to think that manliness is big muscles, just like girls learn that womanliness is having a waist that can fit in the aforementioned stovepipe. Boys grow muscles, larger and larger, penis enlargement, the man whose arms exploded, man wins and crushes. Kiss her with big, fat, muscular, man lips. This is baseball. An eternal present where the batter gets bigger and bigger, the pitcher’s arm more and more maximized until his tendon snaps. Go to Alabama, visit the hallowed Dr. James Andrews, come back with a dead man’s elbow, pitch some more you oblivious android. Roy Halladay was traded to the Phillies, and he was happy. They come from the farm, a smaller town, with fewer seats and less equality – the journeyman knowing they will need a real career soon, the punk-ass shit-for-brains bullies who could never play a team sport that involved thinking like a team, and the star-crossed kids who have yet to be spoiled by their career-ending injury or eight figure contract. They are weeded, they grow. Bigger towns, almost cities, one hundred thousand populations, some of which come to the bigger ballpark. Still on a bus, but the future is friendly. Then you’re there, and fuck shit, happy to be here help the team one hundred and ten fucking percent. Who wouldn’t use steroids? It is American.

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