Cycling takes the brunt of our frustration

Man may penetrate the outer reaches of the universe, he may solve the very secret of eternity itself but for me, the ultimate human experience is to witness the flawless execution of the hit-and-run. Branch Rickey

No other sport in America comes close to baseball in achieving hallowed status. When you talk baseball, you must show reverence for the sport. No one is allowed to in any way bring dishonor to the sport. In fact, the following six words have given the Commissioner of Baseball virtually unlimited power over the years. “In the best interest of baseball.”

What I don’t get is why sports writers are so outraged at the doping problem in cycling while at the same time chronicling Barry Bond’s assault on the most sacred of baseball’s records. The all time home run record. Why does Sports Illustrated write an article called “The circus formerly known as cycling.” in the aftermath of baseball’s senate hearings that were a circus in a bigger tent? Why the hypocracy?

I’ll tell you why. In my opinion, sports fans of every ilk are angry at the rampant doping in sports. All this anger has been building over time and is at a boiling point. Instead of attacking the sport they all love, like baseball, they need to vent their ire somewhere else. Enter cycling stage left.

Here we have a perfect storm. A sport known by all, loved by some and beloved by few. A sport run by arrogant and egotistical people who seem hell bent on killing the sport. What an easy target to vent your doping frustrations without attacking your own sport. Cycling has made its doping problem public. It has done this for many good reasons and some self serving ones. This openness has also allowed other sports to draw a bead on cycling. They have done so with deadly precision.

Do not get me wrong. Cycling has problems. Big problems. Here is the dirty little secret. So do all the other sports. You would think that since the popularity of our past time is exponentially greater than that of cycling, the amount of news print  devoted to doping in baseball should also exceed that of cycling by a significant amount.

What if the same effort was put into looking for proof that Barry Bonds was a cheat than is being put into trying to find evidence on Lance Armstrong? Has anyone searched the San Francisco Giant’s garbage during a road trip? Doubt it.

I believe that cycling fans are willing to do what is necessary to clean up their sport. Are baseball fans willing to do the same? If so, why is Jason Giambi still playing? If not, that’s fine, just get off your high horse and shut up, we have work to do.

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One Response to Cycling takes the brunt of our frustration

  1. Ed says:

    Well said, Jim. I often invoke the baseball hypocracy to my friends who rib me about the doping in cycling. MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and probably NCAA are all guilty of looking the other way, knowing that the stars of their respective sports are doping, getting high, DUI-ing, etc., on a daily basis and hoping that the stars don’t get caught. God forbid, that would cause an interuption in the TV revenue stream!

    (It is still mindboggling to me that the NBA players contract has a stipulation against vigorous testing for THC, Unbelievable! What a bunch of thugs!)

    I sincerely hope cycling gets is crap together real soon so we cycling fans can point the clean and sober finger at those guys for a change.

    In the end however, it all comes down to what the fans are willing to tolerate before they stop watching and buying tickets. Clearly we haven’t reached that watershed moment yet. Perhaps when Bonds passes Aaron in a few weeks, it will compel the nation to have serious dialogue about stopping the cheating…but I doubt it.

    Maybe this explains the exponential growth in the popularity of NASCAR. Drugs won’t make you a better driver and the cars are checked by officials prior to every race to catch cheaters.

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