America’s pastime has been revitalized with a new wave of athletes.
Gone are baseball’s shadow of the steroid era, as the illegal enhancer has withdrawn and the sport is starting to flourish again with no juice needed.
“I think it’s in good shape, there’s some good young talent coming up so I think it’s in a great state right now,” said Delta College baseball Head Coach Reed Peters.
After fans began questioning how the typical baseball player started looking less like Mickey Mantle and more like Bigfoot’s hairless cousin.
In 2005, former Home run slugger, Jose Canseco, wrote a tell all book called “Juice” in which he adnowledged steroids were the cause of many players massive muscle growth.
This would lead to a dark time in the sports history known as the steroid era.
Baseball was missing the combination of power and speed, or more typically known as the five-tool players.
That type of player is someone possessing the ability to hit for average and power, with the speed to steal bases, can play terrific defense and throwing the ball with the best.
With legendary players like Willie Mays and Mantle gone, most recent to bring such talent to the game would be the bittersweet career of Ken Griffey Jr. who struggled with injuries that stopped him from reaching his full potential.
Baseball was considered a sport with robots as players; no emotion, predictable and boring.
Just when baseball seemed to be on its last strike, the clouds opened and rays of sunlight began to shine upon fans of the 130 year old sport.
A new wave of baseball players have arrived in the forms of Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Kris Bryant, Manny Machado and many more.
Early last month, Harper was in the news for his remarks on the state of baseball:
“Baseball’s tired, it’s a tired sport, because you can’t express yourself. You can’t do what people in other sports do. I’m not saying baseball is, you know, boring or anything like that, but it’s the excitement of the young guys who are coming into the game now who have flair. If that’s Matt Harvey or Jacob deGrom or Manny Machado or Joc Pederson or Andrew McCutchen or Yasiel Puig — there’s so many guys in the game now who are so much fun.”he said in a Tim Keown story in ESPN The Magazine.
Peters differs with Harper’s bold statements with his own beliefs, “I’m old school, having played it when I played it you didn’t show the opponent up, you respected your opponent. I think a lot of what goes on today is not respecting your opponent.”
Harper and Trout are at the forefront of a new age of baseball.
In Trout’s first four seasons, he’s been the American League’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) once and has finished runner-up in the other three.
Last year he became the first ever to win the All-Star game MVP award two seasons in a row.
“I think Trout definitely will be (remembered), he plays the game the right way. Five tool guy that can contribute to his team in every single way,” said Peters on who he believes will be remembered.
Although Harper put up solid numbers in his first three seasons, becoming the youngest player to start an All-Star game since Griffey Jr., he didn’t quite live up to expectation.
Harper ended the skepticism last year with 42 home runs, 99 runs batted in and a .330 batting average, earning his first National League MVP.
The exciting prospect of such players entering the game is the kids playing in little league or tee ball right now that watch Harper and Trout with hopes of being like them.
This makes it foreseeable that it’s only the beginning of an exciting future for America’s Pastime.