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From the Bleachers

By Staff
All that glitters isn’t gold
By Adam Prestridge
What is the game of baseball all about these days?
During the time when famous baseball greats like Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and Hank Aaron played America's favorite pastime, it’s meaning was so much more.
Ruth, who was known as the “Hercules of Baseball,” Mantle and Aaron earned their fame status the old fashioned way, playing the game of baseball the way it was meant to be played.
Now players become famous by being caught with prostitutes, testing positive for drugs, illegitimate children and felony arrests.
Back then, the sport meant something to the players, team owners, managers and more importantly the fans. It’s amazing how players today take advantage of the fact that they are playing the sport they love to make a living, and a very nice living at that.
Fans would pack stadiums and cheer for their favorite player and/or team. They would cheer for their heroes, the athletes they looked up to. Today, there are not many players to look up to.
Now baseball has become a stop after the minors for players to make millions upon millions of dollars and smear the good name and history of baseball in the dirt.
Take Barry Bonds for instance. The only publicity you hear about baseball these days, besides the daily highlights, surrounds the controversy behind steroid use.
Bonds had his place in the Hall of Fame even without the home run record, but his greed got in the way. Now he’s sitting in the stands without a job and attending court proceedings attempting to save face.
But Bonds isn’t the only one giving baseball a bad rap. You could look on the field during most professional baseball games today and point out at least one player that has been in the press for at least one controversial matter.
Major League Baseball official need to rethink their priorities.
Last weekend while attending the Opening Day ceremonies for the Atmore T-ball League, I thought back to when I was those children's age and how much I looked up to my baseball heroes. Names like Wade Boggs, Cal Ripken Jr., Ozzie Smith and Don Mattingly came to mind. Maybe I was too young to remember or care, but I didn’t recall any of those players causing any major controversy during their long careers. The funny thing is, their names still went down in the history books as some of the greatest players of the game.
Now pumped up players step up to the plate and either smash a homer or strike out. Get real, “The Babe” was fat.
Baseball may not be the same as it was when I was a kid, but it’s still fun to watch on T.V. or to attend in one of today’s multi-million ballparks. So don’t abandon the game of baseball itself if you are fed up like I am with all the controversy, abandon the game’s bad apples.
There’s always a few rough edges on a diamond. All it takes to make it shine is some polishing.
Adam Prestridge is publisher of the Atmore Advance. He can be reached at 368-2123 or email him at adam.prestridge@atmoreadvance.com