Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Where The MLB Went Wrong

When talking about baseball in recent decades, it's very easy to divide things into two different periods: the "Steroid Era," and the "Post-Mitchell Report Era." Yes, baseball was more fun when people were on drugs and hitting homers every other at bat. But baseball did the right thing by cleaning up the game. People were cheating, plain and simple. The integrity of the game had to be preserved.

That's another conversation for another time.

When I look at baseball of recent years, I divide it into two different eras: the Brawl Era and the Post-Brawl Era. Baseball was more fun when every night was fight night in the MLB. It was a rare break from the monotony: Pitch. Pitch. Ground out. Pitch. Pitch. Single. Pitch. Pitch. HIT BATTER CHARGES THE MOUND AND THE PITCHER TAKES A SWING AT HIS FACE! Pitch. Pitch...

So why did the brawl disappear? I don't know. Maybe "roid range" died down when people stopped taking the drugs. More likely, however, MLB wanted to clean up its entire image, and the higher-ups figured fighting would be a good place to start. It's a lot easier to punish guys who start brawls than it is to catch guys using newly developed illegal substances.

But last night's Cardinals-Reds scuffle got me thinking: wasn't baseball better to watch when fights were the norm? Brawls add excitement. And players rarely get injured; most of the "fight" is just posturing. Fighting was part of the game once, and the fisticuffs last night reminded me that it needs to become a part of the game once again.

Here's to you, John Rocker.

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