Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Rooting for Dirty Laundry

The Mitchell report, released last week, told us pretty much what we'd suspected all along - that a lot of players used steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs in the last 15 years or so, the owners knew about it, and nobody did much of anything until Barry Bonds became a made-to-order fall guy.

But for me it's the last straw.

Rooting for the laundry, as Jerry Seinfeld said? Sure, that's what I've been doing, with less and less real interest each year.

After all, when a fan needs a working knowledge of contract law to follow the migrations of talent, it's fair to state that the Baseball Experience has lost some of its innocence. Am I rooting for laundry or an agent?

I certainly don't feel much kinship with fellow fans. It's more like the camaraderie inspired by being part of the same massive class-action lawsuit.

I am part of a tribe that used to root for the New York Mets, and now pulls for a corporation to make good personnel moves and hefty profits. "Hey, didja see the quarterly report?!" has replaced the excitement when a homegrown prospect makes the jump from AA to the bigs.

Following major league baseball is a lifelong habit, and it's dying hard. I won't even try to break it off cleanly; I'll listen on the radio during the summer and check the box scores.

But the Mitchell report makes it clear to me that the people who get rich off this game have nothing but contempt for the suckers who make it all possible.

Why this has taken so long is a tribute to my own nostalgic delusions and willingness to absorb endless indignities on the way to a World Series.

But no more. I will not expend one smidgen of emotion on my favorite gang of sullen multi-millionaires.

Unless, of course, the Mets get hot in September.

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