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Immitation of Jonathan Swift’s Modest Proposal

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Immitation of Jonathan Swift’s Modest Proposal

A Meek Proposal

For preventing an uneven playing field in the sport of baseball, and for making the game more enjoyable for fans.

Ever since the creation of America’s favorite pastime, baseball, cheating has been an integral part of the game. Each era of baseball has offered new and improved techniques for cheating the game of baseball. Cheating has become a common occurrence in baseball, from the 1919 Chicago “Black” Sox, who were paid to throw the World Series, to Ty Cobb sharpening the spikes on his shoe to scare off fielders from tagging him out. Other famous cheating acts include Gaylord Perry’s illegal spitball, Pete Rose betting on baseball, and the grounds crew manipulating the condition of the field to help specific pitchers. Then there are my personal favorites: Mike Scott using sandpaper to make it more difficult for players to hit, Whitey Ford using his wedding ring to cut the baseball, George Brett applying too much pine tar on his bat, and Graig Nettles who put super-balls in his bat. Most recently, cheating has been found in the cases of Albert Belle and Sammy Sosa, who both had their bats corked. Although cheating has always circulated the game, there is a new philosophy to cheating that has become widespread. Apparently, many players are getting away with this new form of cheating.

The way to cheat to which I am referring to is the use of steroids. In the past twenty years steroid use has skyrocketed. A good friend of mine, baseball analyst Dan Patrick, once told me, “The estimate of the number of players on steroids in MLB rises and falls more than the Dow Jones.” This is a quintessential example of the ambiguity surrounding the number of players using steroids in Major League Baseball. There are some facts concerning steroid use in recent years: Ken Caminiti, the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 1996, admitted to steroid use which ‘coincidentally’ began the same year he won the MVP. Mark McGwire, who in 1998 broke the homerun record by hitting seventy in one year, has testified to Congress that he had used steroids while playing. Testifying with McGwire were fellow superstars Jason Giambi and Rafael Palmero. Giambi admitted to abuse of steroids while Palmero, who denied ever using steroids, acknowledged that he knew of people who did use steroids. (He was later caught).

Following an investigation by Congress, Major League Baseball (MLB) was forced to establish a testing policy with severe punishments for all those testing positive to performance enhancing drugs. In 2004, MLB replaced a lax policy with a rule that would give players a 10 game suspension for a first time offense, 30 games for a second offense, 60 games for a third offense, and an entire year for the fourth. After continuous harassment by Congress, MLB decided to insert a new policy where the first steroid use would be penalized with a 50 game suspension, the second time a 100 game suspension, and the third time an expulsion from baseball. Since 2004, thirteen major league baseball players have been suspended for steroids, and over fifty minor leaguers have been caught as well. One of the major league players who was caught is Rafael Palmero, who a few years earlier, testified to Congress that he had never used steroids.

Even though the attempt to clean up the game has been relatively successful, it has failed to catch all users. There have been many books published about the dirtiness of the game, such as Juiced by Jose Canseco, who is known as the father of steroid use. Another such book is Game of Shadows, by two journalists from San Francisco. Juiced is filled with many allegations against numerous ball players. Although originally it was suspected that the book was full of fabrications, many of Canseco’s claims have been found to be true. Game of Shadows is a book about BALCO, the main suppliers of steroids, and their interactions with several players. It is obvious that there are players currently cheating the game of baseball that are not being caught. Specifically, Barry Bonds, who is chasing Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron to become the homerun champion, has been accused of taking steroids. There are numerous allegations and evidences that have been brought against Bonds, currently the face of Major League Baseball.

Baseball has become unfair sport because some players are using performance enhancing drugs to elevate their performance, while others are following rules and playing the game the way it’s meant to be played. It is not fair to the players who do not use steroids if other players are getting away with it. The steroid scandal also tarnishes the name of baseball; if a player is suspected of using steroids, fans of the opposite team often ‘boo’ the player. The scandals surrounding the game have hurt the sport recently,

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