You may remember Scott Schwartz from “The Toy” or from “A Christmas Story.” What you might not know is that he’s a long-time collector and had a guest editor stint here at Beckett Media last year. He’s decided to share some of his views on the sports world with us …
I am sitting here the day the clean baseball player died. Props to Don McLean, but here we go…
Alex Rodriguez tested positive in 2003 for steroids. Is anyone really surprised? Anyone who is familiar with MLB players knows that in the words of “Jose” that 70 to 85 percent of players did some form of steroids. So, now here we go. Barry Bonds will go on trial for perjury, A-Rod tests positive. (Funny, wasn’t he playing for Texas just like Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmeiro and Jose Canseco?) What is the world coming to? Realize this: The tests from 2003 were supposed to be anonymous. So, how in the world can this be possible?
Really, who cares! I heard from a former Rangers player who said “This was MLB’s dirty little secret.” I have a problem with this. It’s not the positive test results, it’s the fact that being anonymous means nothing and people are leaking who tested positive!
Many players, 104 tested positive that we know of. So it wasn’t just one or two guys here. BEFORE 2004, it wasn’t against the rules of baseball, folks. I’ll repeat myself, before 2004 it wasn’t against the rules of MLB to take steroids. Against the law and against the rules of MLB are two different things! I have written about this before, but here we go again. Now, do we terrorize A-Rod for something he “may or may not have done” six years ago? Or do we chalk it up to the era? Any sports writer with any sense would say “hey, tons of guys were doing this, so let’s just try to get past this.” Instead they come up with Hall of Fame bologna, the “integrity” of the game. (Aren’t there drug addicts, alcoholics, and other wonderful people in the Hall already?) Let’s just laugh at that garbage talk, OK?
It’s time to start sharing blame with the owners, managers and commish, you think? Folks, everyone knew. Everyone! Let’s start putting the commish on the stand, owners and managers questioned and stop putting all this stuff on the players. EVERYONE is to blame! Players used what they used, but the owners and MLB reaped the benefits! Billions were made by owners. Where is their blame in all of this? Wake up and stop blaming ONLY the players. Everyone is geedy in this, but everyone is to blame if you need to blame someone.
Alex Rodriguez has apologized. Apology accepted.
I was fortunate to meet Alex back in 1995 in Seattle. He was a calm soul. Not arrogant, no ego. Just a regular guy.
Alex smiled a lot back then. Now, he’s with Peter Gammons apologizing to the world. Really, it’s not right. He did what he felt (at that time) he needed to do to stay above the others. $252 million worth of pressure will do that to you. Why is he apologizing to the fans of the Rangers? He gave them what they paid for, the best young player in baseball hitting home runs, knocking in RBIs and trying to help his team win. He did that ! I believe Alex will educate kids not to do them, he’ll spend some time and lots of money educating against steroids. Good for him! You try playing in Texas’ 120-degree heat for 81 games a year. Not going to happen unless you are Superman. Alex isn’t abnormal. He isn’t a “bad person” for wanting to play everyday, give the people their money’s worth.
Now, six years later, we are going to lambaste this guy? WRONG! Forgive all those players who did take performance enhancing drugs. Let it go! Do you really think that the 104 names on the list are the only players who took something? Now we are plucking names out of a barrel to see who comes up next. Is finding out some “B” player coming up positive in 2003 going to have any affect in 2009? Most if not all of those guys are long gone and that’s where they will stay.
I have said this before, but apparently no one on the planet seems to grasp something. Before 2004 performance enhancing drugs were not against the rules of baseball! Steroids, HGH, testosterone etc. NOT against the rules! So, if something is NOT against the rules, how can you be cheating?
I’m not talking “legal or not”, I’m talking about the RULES OF BASEBALL!
People can argue one way or another but the facts are the facts. Before 2004, baseball was OK with PED. I don’t care what owners, managers, trainers say NOW. It’s back then that matters, and not one of them said “Oh no, don’t do that. You’d be cheating.” Say what you will, but in my mind 10 years from now we’ll all realize that more than 75 to 80 percent of players did some form of steroid to improve their play, and keep them off the DL. It will be long forgiven.
The Baseball Hall of Fame will induct Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, maybe Rafael Palmiero and Sammy Sosa. Mark my words, 10-20 years from now, they will all be Hall of Famers!
2009 and beyond … where do we go from here ??
With the new White House and President Obama taking over where do we go with the sports marketplace?
The 2008 crop of Football rookies was amazing! From Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan, Jake Long, Johnathan Stewart, Desean Jackson to the future stars, Colt Brennan, Glenn Dorsey, Felix Jones (He got hurt, so I’ll put him on next year’s early star list.) and lastly Ray Rice (This guy will be amazing once he plays more) … who didn’t want to pull these rookie cards?
Donruss Threads was an early hit, then Premier came with some incredible four-piece autographed memorabilia Rookie Cards. And Playoff National Treasures? WOW! Just awesome stuff !!
On to more talked about topics … redemption cards!
Everybody the past few years seems to be up in arms over redemption cards. Well, let’s get the record straight, the consumer (meaning you) want the cards as fast as possible, signed (on the card, no stickers), and no redemptions.
OK, it’s not possible people! Joe Montana hasn’t signed cards that he has sitting at Upper Deck for 14 months. (I know, one of them is MINE!) The players can/will only sign so many at a time and so fast. When the NBA/NFL Draft happens, the card companies don’t have enough time to know the order of the draft and print the cards with the players in their professional uniforms. SO, they get the stickers signed! A sticker is as good as on-card as long as the player keeps the signature inside the border of the sticker. Most players don’t care! They just scribble whatever they feel like is their signature.
The players make so much money, the last thing they want to do is sign autographs. Really, every player I have ever met is not big into signing their name. So, when it comes to signing for the card companies, it’s like them going to the dentist. Every company wants every cards signed on cards without stickers, however when you send a player their cards months in advance and they don’t come back on time, guess what? You get a redemption! Players such as Jordan, LeBron, Kobe, Montana, Favre — what’s more important to them then their TIME! Their off-time they want to spend with their families, not sitting at their kitchen table or in a hotel signing 800 auto’s for the card company who pays them six-figures each year? Since money means nothing to them, they stay at home with their families. Redemptions are here to stay, can’t get around them.
Time for spring training
People flock to Arizona and Florida each year for MLB at a huge discount on tickets (compared to the regular season) and it’s 50/50 on whether it’s really a discount. The star players only play a few innings of most of the games, then you get to see a group of minor leaguers. Is that enjoyable? The real enjoyment is being closer to the stars, the fences are closer, the stadiums are smaller but the chances for fans to touch the stars and get an auto is much better than during the season. Go to practice early, like 7 a.m. each day hang out, be polite, don’t rush any players and you might just get that auto you so desire. Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols, Todd Helton, Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder, those few I have seen several times sign for fans. And I heard Josh Hamilton was really amazing last year signing literally hundreds of autographs every day!
Now the ones that don’t sign too much? Jeff kent (OH, he’s retired, thank goodness), Alex Rodgriguez (at $200 per sig from Steiner, would you ever sign for free?), Ichiro (that’s more the language barrier, right? Nine years later, nope), and several others I won’t mention.
Really, the special thing about spring training is seeing the OLDER retired players. IF you go to Florida and get a chance to run into Eric Davis, Barry Larkin, Todd Zeile, Lenny Dykstra, Mark Grace … those guys are awesome and sign. All are friendly to fans and you will walk away smiling from ear to ear. Also, of course, the legends of the game, Willie Mays, Nolan Ryan, Paul Molitor, Sandy Koufax (doesn’t sign too much, but he does), Yogi Berra, you get those auto’s and you have gold.
Till next time when busting those incredible boxes … keep a 180-pt holder ready.
— Scott Schwartz