In the wake of the Jason Grimsley revelations that many ballplayers are now injecting undetectable human growth hormone to enhance their performance, it’s startling to see the NY Mets chastise rookie phenom, Lastings Milledge, for his post home run celebration the other night.
For those of you who may have missed it, Milledge hit a dramatic ninth inning home run to send the Mets into extra innings against the Giants (and their hated steroid king, Barry Bonds). As he was taking the field after his first MLB home run, the rookie walked along the right field stands and gave "high-five’s" to one fan after another. It was a great, and genuine, gesture on the part of Milledge to thank the fans for their ovation.
So, what do the Mets do? They tell him in no uncertain terms that such displays are unprofessional, and issued an immediate cease and desist order.
Talk about a bad move. Milledge is exactly what baseball needs right now. With the sport in total denial and taking little, if any, action to question or asterisk the suspicious records being set, they should at least be shining the spotlight on bright, young stars like Lastings. Instead, they curtail his post homerun celebrations and tell him to act more professionally.
I still think MLB needs to step up to the plate and launch a massive grass roots education campaign to educate kids about the dangers of steroids and human growth hormones. Baseball’s hierarchy should insist that, if they want to be considered for Hall of Fame inclusion, players like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and good ol’ Barry need to go out on the hustings, admit that they took illegal drugs and plead with the kids not to follow suit. Last, and not least, MLB should asterisk any and all records from 1998 on. That’s approximately the time frame when the big boppers began their doping. And, pitchers shouldn’t be excluded. Does anyone think Roger Clemens and Curt Shilling would still be throwing 98 mph fastballs without a little help from their pharmaceutical friends?
So, here’s a tip of the hat to Lastings Milledge and his demonstrations of pure, youthful delight. Let’s encourage him and his type to bring the joy back to baseball while we discourage Grimsley and his ilk from their ilegal actions. Maybe if more fans speak out, someone at MLB headquarters will finally hitch up his trousers and do the right thing.
Hat tip to Isaac Farbowitz for this.