Well, I’ve waited nearly 24 hours for Mark McGwire’s name to appear on this homepage. As I write this blog, we’re 26+ hours and counting – with no devotion to the guy who shattered Roger Maris’ single season homerun record, a mere decade ago.
They’re talking about it on CNN …..
They’re talking about it on Fox News …..
And, of course, they’re talking about it on ESPN …..
But, here, where REAL SPORTS FANS hangout and gather their daily diatribe of coverage between the baselines and sidelines, not a single ‘NST blogger gave Big Mac any print. And, the topic hasn’t dominated our airtime, either.
The relevant question is WHY ??? As sure as we know pro rasslin’ ain’t real ….. and, as sure as we know Paul Tagliabue doesn’t own any Ravens gear – we’ve also known Mark McGwire was a steroid user. We just KNEW it.
And, on the day following his admission, of sorts, there is very little dialogue and banter about it.
I think the reason is pretty clear – Baltimore’s sports fans don’t care. I’ll suspect you deemed Mark McGwire’s achievements as “ill-gotten” a long time ago. Regardless of what he says – or doesn’t say ….. your mind is made up, and rightfully so.
Maybe this story is a big beal in St. Louis or Boston. Heck, it might have some importance in Los Angeles or New York – or Chicago – or Atlanta – or Philadelphia – or Minneapolis. But, it’s obviously just a mitigating piece to the daily sports news, in Baltimore.
Yep, a couple distinctive, indigenous reasons are probably impacting a story like McGwire’s – as it relates to Baltimore.
ONE – this town’s football team is preparing to play it’s most meaningful game of the season – fresh on the heels of last week’s most meaningful game of the season.
TWO – and it honestly hurts me to suggest this – my hometown might be falling out of love with baseball. And, like a wife or husband who’s the victim of so many years of disappoinment and turmoil, we simply harden to the existence of anything related to something we no longer love.
I’ve got an uneasy feeling in my stomach. It’s a feeling of angst and inevitability wrapped into one.
When the Ravens lose their next game – OR win their 5th in a row ….. the clock will start, and nearly SEVEN MONTHS will pass before another meaningful contest is played by a team from Baltimore. If you think this raw, chilling weather sucks, just wait a short while. It’s gonna be a SUCK SUNDAE, with a cherry on top, real soon.
Baltimore’s fans haven’t been excited or attuned to Major League Baseball’s standings, storylines or salacious scandals for a few years. We’re beyond disgruntled. We’ve grown indifferent, and that’s a telling result for the discerning eye.
A team located closer than Ocean City has appeared in two consecutive World Series matchups. How many of us drove up to see them over these couple seasons? Oh, that’s right -we’ll go to THAT SAME CITY to watch a bunch of guys fight in a cage. But, baseball ??? Nah …..
And, don’t tell me baseball fans don’t travel. Do you know what Yankees and Red Sox fans get for Christmas? You guessed it ….. tickets to Camden Yards.
We don’t care about Major League Baseball’s annual awards. Who’s the defending AL MVP?
We don’t care about Major League Baseball’s statistics. Who hit the most homeruns, in 2009?
We don’t care about Major League Baseball’s Free Agents. Who’s coming to Baltimore? Umm …. seriously, WHO IS COMING TO BALTIMORE?
We honestly just don’t care.
It’s really not about Mark McGwire. He’s just a byproduct of the game’s era of dysfunction and deceit. McGwire has nothing to do with this town’s woes.
A fair share of steroid users have played baseball here. But, their presence didn’t cause our indifference. Perhaps, their effort and contributions lent to the problem ….. but, it wasn’t the performance enhancing drug usage, per se’.
We know the reason(s). It’s LOSING and BEING TREATED POORLY. After a decade of both, I just don’t think people have much left in their hearts. We’re stuck squarely in the middle of a LOSING LIFESTYLE, as it regards baseball.
Terrible, isn’t it?
So, when Mark McGwire and his honesty, or lack thereof, don’t really resonate in this town, I’m not surprised. In fact, ‘ole Big Mac can get in line with every other baseball story to hit Baltimore over the last few years.
To be honest, he could feasibly grab a first baseman’s mitt and head to Sarasota, in five weeks. After all, it’s not like the team has a better option on the roster. In fact, this reality is a perfect example of why people just don’t care.
God help us when the Ravens season ends.