I’m Just Saying with former Northwest Herald columnist Kevin Kaduk

Published: Sunday, Aug. 4, 2013 12:12 a.m. CDT • Updated: Sunday, Aug. 4, 2013 9:41 a.m. CDT
Caption
Former Northwest Herald columnist Kevin Kaduk says baseball fans just need to accept the fact the game has never been clean and that substance use is just part of the game. (File photo).

Former Northwest Herald columnist Kevin Kaduk now oversees all of Yahoo! Sports blogs, including Big League Stew, which encompasses all things baseball. In a season when the Pittsburgh Pirates are among the games’ best and the Cubs and White Sox are among the worst, Kaduk has enjoyed emerging storylines complete with the on-going performance enhancing drug issue, which is expected to claim another big fish in Alex Rodriguez, whose New York Yankees visit U.S. Cellular Field starting Monday – the day Major League baseball is expected to move forward with suspensions.

For the last five or six years, it seems like a season hasn’t passed without at least one big name kind of falling into the [PED] trap. Whether it was Manny Ramirez or Melky Cabrera or Bartolo Colon. I think the thing that’s surprised me is how big of an issue MLB has made this and how much Bud Selig has made this his own pet project and that he’s going to really lay down the law no matter what kind of stain it leaves on the game. It seems he really wants to send a message and with this being the final years of his commissionership, I think he thinks this will really be part of his legacy – that he was so tough on the steroid users. I think it remains to be seen how the public will view that. But I’m watching the Pirates pull off a great season, I’m seeing teams like the Orioles and Indians being competitive and they’ve found this competitive balance in baseball. I think [Selig] should be as proud of that and saying that’s his legacy – that they’ve been able to bring some of these small markets back into play instead of [just] going after these guys. But I guess it's nice for him to be able to nail the pelts of A-Rod and Ryan Braun to the wall for whatever it's worth. I think (Rodriguez) is the (last big name). I don't think there will be any surprises because we would have heard about it by now if there was a Player X.

I think people are just tired of [the PED scandal]. At some point, you’re just going to have to accept it’s part of the game. If you’re a real baseball fan, why are you going to invest your time in something that you cry and bellyache over so much? [Fans] can only do so much hand-wringing and I think a lot of that was done already with Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds and now we have a new round of it. The outrage gets tiring. At some point you have to say, ‘Look – it’s out there, it’s a fact of life’ and you have to acknowledge that baseball was never a pure game like some of the old-guard journalism people want to pretend it was. It never has been. People have always looked for an edge. So it’s like how much emotional capital can you invest into this? You just want to sit down and watch a baseball game.

It’s crazy. I can’t remember a season when Chicago was more indifferent to both teams in my lifetime. I think a lot of that has to do with the Blackhawks stretching so far into June so you didn’t have to pay attention to [the Cubs and Sox] and why would you? The White Sox are looking at their first 100-loss season of my lifetime and the third or fourth overall. On the North Side of town, I think there’s a little more reason to watch with all of these youngsters – you want to see Junior Lake come up and see him do well. It’s nice to get someone like [Alfonso] Soriano out of the way and even a guy like Anthony Rizzo – who people will say, 'Well, he's not doing very well', but who is what – 24 years old? This is the part you want to be interested in and be invested in - seeing those guys and saying, 'I do remember when they struggled and we saw them fight through that.' On the South Side, with Kenny Williams' strategy over the last five years, they were pretty competitive, but you could kind of see it heading for this kind of conclusion and it's finally coming through. That farm system is just so barren and there's no top-level talent and you look at it and it's a shame when you look at a guy like Chris Sale. It's kind of hard to watch and they're going to have to take their lumps. They're not going to have the luxury the Cubs where the fans are still going to come. The fans will not come if you don't put a winner on at Sox Park.

• I’m Just Saying is a regular Sunday feature. If there’s someone you’d like to see featured, write to me at jarnold@shawmedia.com or send me a message on Twitter @NWH_JeffArnold.

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