Don't worry: Rick wasn't the only person to notice that our Cardinals sure do seem to have a lot of steroid folks on their team.
By our count, the following folks have had some sort of connection with this whole steroid business:
• Rick Ankiel.
• Ryan Franklin.
• Troy Glaus.
• Juan Gonzalez.
• Ron Villone.
And Tony La Russa was interested in Barry Bonds, remember. (And boy, what could have possibly gone wrong there?)
We've been asked if we have some problem with this, if we are some sort of Tony La Russa apologist, the same way he has been an apologist for all the steroid abusers he's managed over the years. We're not sure why this is; LaRussa is one of the most fun people to make fun of in sports. (He does it to himself.)
Our issue is not with LaRussa, who's just a guy who wants to win some games after all. (Is it a manager's job to kick guys off his team for doing steroids? That would seem like the exact opposite of what a manager should do.) It's our general exhaustion with the whole steroid business, which, we suspect, most of you share. Juan Gonzalez did steroids, Paul LoDuca did, Shawne Merriman did ... at the risk of sounding "cynical," how does this affect the price of butter in Egypt again?
The joy of being a sports fan, rather than someone involved in the echo chamber of sports as profession (ahem), is that sports doesn't have to be this big morality play for us. We can all hope that our favorite players are not on steroids, and we can boo those on other teams who are (or at least rumored to be), but we don't have to carry this stupid weight on our shoulders, as if our games have been ruined. This is not our life, this sports; this is something we enjoy to get away from our worldly woes. We didn't grow up worshiping Mickey Mantle; we grew up worshiping Michael Jordan, who probably got kicked out of the NBA for a year for gambling. We have no illusions about our heroes. They are flawed people who probably took some drugs to get ahead because it's really stressful and difficult to be a successful athlete and sometimes you feel like you need some help to stay in the game. It doesn't excuse it. It just makes the whole issue so tangled and so overwhelming that eventually you have to just say, "Aw, fuck it ... just play ball already." Boo, cheer, hiss, whatever: Just win, team, would ya?
This is the healthiest attitude we can imagine a sports fan mustering, and it's why when we boo Tony LaRussa this year, it'll be for starting Aaron Miles, and not for starting Juan Gonzalez. Though we suspect we'll probably end up doing that too.
Cards Reject Portrayal As Lax On Drug Use [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
(Throughout the upcoming baseball season, we'll be doing occasional Cardinals-centric posts that the millions of humans unfortunate enough not to be Cardinals fans won't care about. We'll label them accordingly and try to keep them out of your way. Consider this the first one.)