Actually, the first is not a baseball story so much as a human interest story involving a major league baseball player. The story is about the player’s parents and it really wouldn’t be much of a story if it weren’t for the fact that his parents are a lesbian couple. (His father left prior to his birth.) The interesting thing about this is the amount of acceptance his parents have received from his friends throughout his baseball career, which, when you consider that he went to college in Alabama, is somewhat surprising. Ultimately, it is testimony to the fact that much of people’s fear of gays stems from lack of knowledge, and that almost always with acquaintance comes acceptance. Someday our current battles over equal rights for gays will be a relic of another day, and it will be in part because of stories like this.
The other baseball story is truly a baseball story. Former Braves pitcher (and former major league pitching coach) Tom House recently gave an interview where he claims that steroid use was widespread among players in the 60s and 70s when he played. Now, one of the things that causes the most hand-wringing among sports columnists when it comes to recent steroid use in baseball is “What shall we do about the records? We don’t know how many homers X would have hit if he hadn’t been on the juice! Course, we don’t know that he was on the juice, but still.” But if it is indeed the case that, as long as there have been being paid to play the game, there have been players looking for an extra edge, then it really doesn’t matter what you do about the records. You can assume that everyone in the past was clean, you can assume that everyone in the past was juiced, you can assume that some were clean and some were juiced. You can assume all sorts of things, but you can’t prove any of them about the past. So let all records stand as they currently are, no asterisks, and move forward from there.