I don't like cheaters and I don't like perjurers and I couldn't care less if Alex Rodriguez spends the next nine years getting booed (if you're sympathetic, envision Madonna giving him a nightly cuddle to soothe his bruised ego and saying "Now now, Alex, it will be all right. Here, count some more of your money.") But does no one find it unusual that less than two weeks before we began bewailing the Shame of A-Rod, we celebrated the biggest day of the sports calendar by crowning the champion of the National Manifestly Juiced-Up League? How is it that we don't care if the bonecrushing behemoths of the gridiron build themselves up to the size of rhinos, but every time we find out some baseball player has been using, we act like we've just lost our virginity. To Santa Claus. Who also shot Bambi's mother. And, we're told, doesn't really exist.
Perhaps it's the records. The quarterbacks and running backs and receivers of today are not so dramatically eclipsing the achievements of their hallowed predecessors that we feel we're being made fools of when we cheer. But when Roger Clemens wins six Cy Young Awards and says he's clean, or bulky Barry Bonds passes Hank Aaron and credits exercise, the insult to our intelligence is just too great. It's embarrassing enough to hero-worship these self-absorbed jocks, but it's outrageous to be scammed.