Reclaiming America’s pastime

I love baseball.  Grew up with heroes like Robin Yount and Dave Winfield and in awe of superstars like Reggie Jackson and Mike Schmidt

Say what you will about these guys, and I could say a lot, but it boils down to one thing that defined them and ballplayers of previous generations – respect for the game.

The sad, sad stories of pathetic non-heroes like retired “stars” Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens and active miscreants like Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez almost makes me want to walk away from this game as a fan.

But I cling to hope – and I cling to the new breed.  Ryan Braun, Tim Lincecum, and Ryan Zimmerman are some of the leaders of this new school.  And we should all hope that they have learned the lessons of their elders the hard way. 

Respect the game and your place in history will forever be reliant solely on your positive contributions rather than the unseemly blemishes striking down so many players whose careers (and biceps) exploded in the steroids era.

My favorite of all of the new breed might just be Evan Longoria

Evan Longoria

Evan Longoria

The third overall pick in the 2006 MLB draft (after going undrafted out of high school just three years earlier) is featured as the cover story in this week’s issue of ESPN The Magazine. 

In just 13 months since his Tampa Bay Rays’ debut, he has established himself as perhaps the first player that might be chosen in a redraft of all the players in the majors.  And he carries himself with the requisite poise of a superstar. 

Read Buster Olney’s piece and I guarantee that you will get a greater sense of what an impressive ballplayer Longoria is and why the future of the game might just be more secure than ever.

It’s going to take years for MLB to shake the effects of what the aging class of ballplayers did to this great game.  I can’t wait to see how Longoria, Braun, Lincecum, Zimmerman and others are going to restore it by claiming it as their own.

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~ by acm213 on May 10, 2009.

One Response to “Reclaiming America’s pastime”

  1. Great post. It’s definitely disheartening to think about the damage that Canseco, Bonds and the rest of the performance enhancers did to the National Pastime, but I have to say that it’s equally uplifting to see that the next generation of stars has decided to learn from, rather than imitate, the lifestyle and choices of their older peers. I covered Big West baseball when Longoria was at LBSU with Jered Weaver, and I have to agree that Longoria is one of the most level-headed individuals I have ever run into. His interviews were always very professional, and though he never downplayed his accomplishments, he was always more focused on improving than tooting his own horn. This is what baseball needs–marketable, personable, relatable personalities that come across as human beings rather than larger-than-life prima donnas.

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