Diamond Dirt: PED users make Maris' light shine brighter

DOMINIC GENETTI dominic.genetti@courierpost.com @DominicGenetti #DiamondDirt

I know what most of you are thinking, "Here he goes again with another Roger Maris rant."

But given the latest baseball news involving performance enhancing drugs supplied to stars like Alex Rodriguez, Gio Gonzalez and Nelson Cruz from a Miami clinic, I honestly can't imagine any baseball purist, enthusiast and overall fan of the game not thinking of Roger Maris right now.

Here's a guy whose natural ability, athleticism and passion made him the true, legitimate home run king. A player who is the reason why the New York Yankees won five pennants and two World Series Championships between 1960 and 1964, the reason why the St. Louis Cardinals were World Champions in 1967 and National League Champions for the second consecutive year in 1968. Maris did his job every day, sometimes not even at 100 percent health and took nothing. He didn't take steroids, performance enhancing drugs, absolutely nothing. He just played ball.

Yet Maris' plaque at the National Baseball Hall Of Fame does not exist, his overall status is a one-season wonder.

Meanwhile all these players get linked to drugs or caught with drugs banned by baseball and they still get to play. They still get to climb back from cheating and try to rejuvenate their careers. But Maris who did nothing wrong never gets acknowledged. What else does a man have to do? Seriously.

The ballplayers who get caught these days — well truthfully at any time — are nothing but a bunch of cowards, nothing more than men who know they can't amount to anything in this game because they rely on drugs. They don't deserve the blessing, the honor, the distinction of being called a professional baseball player. Baseball is a game of true, honest men who work hard every day in hopes of winning the World Series.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. If you use drugs you're out for a year. Do it again, you're done for life. It's simple. That'll make folks think twice.

And Maris shines brighter and brighter each time a player comes up red handed. His natural efforts will never be justified though until he is enshrined in Cooperstown.

Follow on Twitter: @DominicGenetti #DiamondDirt