By Jared Max
» More Columns
I feel badly about it. I cannot seem to help myself, though.
Like a catchy, old chewing gum jingle, images and concepts from a popular Pixar film that I saw this week continue to surface in my brain. Since I went to the movies on Tuesday, many of my emotions have become compartmentalized — in animated form.
After certain baseball players have hit home runs over the last few days, I have envisioned a group of little monsters inside my brain. A little green bugger snarks Disgust. A bug-eyed, purple-face screams Fear. A feisty, red malcontent barks Anger. Blue Debbie Downer bursts Sadness.
From the “Inside Out,” the imaginary engineers tell me how to think. In turn, they allow me to wonder why I think and feel as I do.
I ask myself, “Why is it so difficult to not be suspicious when certain players hit home runs?”
Do you feel this conflict, too?
As badly as I want to believe in the sincerity of every mammoth hit and homer, doubts linger. They taint. But what is the offense?
I wonder why it matters to me if players employ underhanded methods to increase their power. While it has forever irked me when fans say they aren’t bothered that players use banned performance-enhancing substances, I have started to question my beliefs. After all, baseball is my leisure; it is the players’ profession.
I choose to watch baseball and allow myself to become immersed in it. If disgusted, scared, angered, or made to feel sad by something that is supposed to be a pastime, I should render myself a fool and choose to not waste time and energy on such a practice.
“I believe that what I’m feeling changes how the world appears,” resonates a 1996 Rush lyric. Another from 2002 says, “You can’t tell yourself how to feel.”
Unless I change how I feel about players who cheat, I will have to lie in a bed that I would have allowed cheaters to make for me.
I will not give up baseball. But it is time, perhaps, to reach a level of acceptance.
If I were a Major League Baseball player, this would be a different story. Disgust would be based on colleagues who choose to cheat. Fear would rest in belief in my abilities to compete naturally against those who cheat. Anger would surface when an opposing player who cheats hits a game-winning home run. Sadness may reign if I were to believe that the only way to succeed would be to cheat.
But, I am not a player. I am a fan.
I do not excuse those who cheat. Though, if I want to enjoy this game as entertainment, I must part ways with my PED malaise. I must come to terms with the fact that it is a disservice to myself to let the actions of those unrelated to me to cause strife. It’s a lost cause to fret over others; self-destruction.
If certain players want to shorten their lives by sacrificing their health for the glories that may accompany their use of banned substances, so be it. They are not my sons, brothers or cousins.
“But what about the kids?”
I expect that parents know enough to educate their children to not emulate every aspect of another’s seemingly attractive career.
I am a baseball fan in recovery.
If — or when — we learn that certain players have been using undetectable substances to cheat this year, I will monitor my reactions from the inside out. If fully recovered, the creatures named Disgust, Fear, Anger and Sadness will rest in a dark corner. And Joy will trot around the bases, carefree.
Jared Max is a multi-award winning sportscaster. He hosted a No. 1 rated New York City sports talk show, “Maxed Out” — in addition to previously serving as longtime Sports Director at WCBS 880, where he currently anchors weekend sports. Follow and communicate with Jared on Twitter @jared_max.