Hello, Twins fans. Some of you may remember me from my old blog, Undomed. Some of you may know me from my Twitter account, @ejoh24. Or, more likely, most of you have no idea who the hell I am. Regardless, allow me to state two things:
1. I love this Twins Daily page. Most importantly, it allows Twins fans to congregate in one place. Less importantly, it allows wayward bloggers like myself to write occasionally without people wondering why we disappeared from our blog for six months.
2. I need to start this post with a preface, and let me be perfectly clear about this: I DO NOT THINK JOE MAUER DOES STEROIDS. Got that? We good? Because if so much as one person tries to call me out as a “Baby Jesus” blasphemer, I will beat you to death with a copy of Seth’s Prospect Handbook and run you over with the Territory Train. I know how the internet works, so let’s all just agree to not put words in my mouth and avoid that whole mess. Capiche?
Having said that, allow me to transport you to a mystical fantasy-land for a moment: A Candyland of needles and pills. A pretend world where Joe Mauer does steroids.
How would you react if the Twins’ superstar was in Ryan Braun’s shoes?
It’s pretty safe to say that public opinion of Braun is that of vitriol and accusations. He weaseled his way out of his suspension on a technicality, and seems to have lucked his way to innocence. He even had gall to make a Clinton-esque, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” defense. The only difference being that Braun was allegedly injecting himself with a needle and Clinton was allegedly injec—er…moving on…
Braun’s “acquittal” is irrelevant to me. I, for my part, don’t care if a player does steroids. In fact, there is a part of me that wishes Joe Mauer would do steroids if it gives him a competitive edge and he can get away with it. If he isn’t caught and the Twins win a World Series, for my part, Mauer has done his job. Is that cheating? Sure. But it’s also winning. And as a fan, what do we want more than a World Series?
The ultimate example of steroids is the home run chase of 1998. Now that we are afforded the luxury of hindsight, we scoff at memories and mock Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. But try, momentarily, to do the impossible and jump in a time machine. Remember how much fun 1998 was? Nobody can change that. Yes, in looking back, you can convince yourself that the home run chase wasn’t magical. But it was. 1998 is one of the most memorable baseball seasons of all time, and no level of hindsight can take that distinction away. You can’t undo a feeling, no matter how hard you try.
Maybe it’s because I’m cynical, but I want my players to do everything they can to win. If Joe Mauer takes steroids and wins the Twins a World Series, I’ll be the first person to say it was worth it, because you can’t take the feeling of victory away, dammit.
Let me leave you with a question: What’s more important, perception or reality? Particularly in the world of sports. Is reality truly reality without perception?
Who would you rather have on your team: A clean player who everyone assumes is dirty, or a dirty player who never gets caught?
I’ll take the latter, especially if it means a World Series.
So ‘roid up, Joe, especially if can you get away with it.