The question of whether Barry Bonds did steroids did steroids has long since left the park, so to speak. Major League Baseball's greatest homerun hitter will no doubt be linked with steroids along with other prolific baseball players of the era. Not only is Bonds' baseball reputation suffered a black eye, but his legal reputation is now stained with a guilty conviction of obstruction of justice. But Bond's story is just a small part of the larger picture that is the steroids era of the 1990s and early 2000s.
Tarnished eras of Major League Baseball, and all major sports for that matter, are nothing new. Between the Black Sox Scandal of 1919 and Pete Rose's banishment from the game for his role in bets made on a game he coached, America's love of the game is almost as cyclical as the economy. After the Black Sox Scandal, which involved betting, baseball ushered in it's long “Golden Era”. The time between 1920s a nd 1960s saw the likes of Babe Ruth, Ted Willaims, and Willie Mays make America fall in love with the boys of summer. Between the increasing popularity of both basketball and football, the MLB's marketshare of the professional sports world decreased. When fans saw the greatest hitter in baseball history, Pete Rose, thrown out of baseball for life, baseball suffered further loss of its image as America's pasttime. The image improved when power sluggers entered the game in 90s. In 1998, Mark Mcgwire and Sammy Sosa had the greatest home run race in history, as Mcgwire would eventually win, hitting 70. (Bonds would end up breaking that record with 73.) And Mcqwire would eventually admit to using performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career. So the media fire storm that erupted from the Mitchell report, which listed every player that tested positive for steroids, in 2007.
Four years later, the scrutiny surrounding baseball as somewhat resided, as commissioner Bud Selig and the MLB have taken leaps and bounds to ensure every team tests their players for steroids. In the midst of an ongoing NFL lockout, and an NBA lockout possible after this summer, baseball could be the only sport played in August and September this year. Major league baseball is in the best possible position itself as the fun sport everyone loved growing. What's one step that would make it more popular? Make it more fan friendly. For anyone ever hoping to look for a highlight real of Ian Kinsler on Youtube or a video montage of Pudge Rodriguez's cannon arm, it's near impossible. The MLB has such a strict hold over all visual material and past game's that fans can't have fun with it. One of my attractions to football is that if a player has enough material to make a highlight film, I can find the video somewhere. If I want to watch Adrian Peterson run all over the Chicago Bears, I can. Another way to increase fans is bring down the price of accessing that media. A MLB app for the iPhone can run as much as $15 while a similar app for the NHL is absolutely free. Which do you think encourages fans more? MLB has a prime opportunity to make its stand in the professional sports world.