With the whole A-Rod ordeal, I've begun to think about the undeniable parallels between baseball history and American history. Here are a few things to think about.
The fixed 1919 World Series and Prohibition: People consistently broke the law during prohibition and would drink all the time. See The Great Gatsby as evidence. Alcohol was part of the culture, despite its illegality. The World Series was fixed despite it being against the rules. A huge scandal in the eyes of many Americans, the 1919 series mirrored the nation-wide disregard for rules and the law.
Babe Ruth and the Roaring 20's: The 20's were a time of immense changes in culture, from the Harlem Renaissance to women's rights. Babe Ruth challenged the conception of a traditional athlete. He enthralled the nation and brought baseball to a bigger national stage, changing the game forever with his tremendous home run power. You could say the roaring 20's changed America forever as the independence of all Americans, specifically women increased forever. The power to challenge the traditional and to be an individual was present both in America and in baseball in the form of Babe Ruth.
Jackie Robinson and the breaking of the color barrier and the Civil Rights movement: Jackie broke the color line famously in 1947, beginning the integration of major league baseball. By integrating America's heroes, this helped integrate America's people. The trouble that Robinson and Larry Doby and all the black players changing to MLB from the negro leagues endured, was similar to that of black activists in the 60's. Jackie's move to MLB foreshadowed the American move towards integration.
The Steroid Era and the Medical Help Era: We all blame baseball players for using PED's, and that is justifiable. But, in our society today we use drugs to solve almost all our problems. Have trouble concentrating? Take aterol. Have erectile deficiency? Get viagra. Stressed? Turn to marijuana. Overweight? Get a fat burner. With such a modern day emphasis on using drugs to try and solve our problems, we really shouldn't be surprised by baseball players turning to steroids. I'm not saying that that justifies it. And I certainly think that taking illegal drugs or prescription drugs that weren't prescribed is a serious crime, but with so much of America trying to find it's answers in a bottle of meds, it seems only natural that ballplayers would try to do the same.
Baseball is just a condensed version of life, and we are sure to continue to see these parallels between America and it's past time.