Reminiscing about when sports news was about sports, not jail

7/27/2013

Gather around kids, and I'll tell you about a time when the sporting news used to be about sports.

Gather around kids, and I'll tell you about a time when the sporting news used to be about sports.

When you turned on the radio you could listen to a ball game, or the local sports guy would read scores.

When you turned on the television, you could watch a game or boxing match or a horse race.

That thump on your front door was the newspaper being delivered. Inside was a sports section that told about those games and boxing matches and horse races, complete with pictures.

Oh, yes the good old days.

I'm afraid things have changed.

Of course you can still listen and watch and read about all those sporting events, but they don't make the headlines like they used to.

It's a sign of the times. As sports have become more and more about the money, everybody wants a piece of the pie — and they want a big piece.

I could go on for days about all the changes that have occurred, all the way from Little League to the big leagues, but who wants to listen to an old man prattle on about the good old days.

I will tell you that everybody wants to be a rich superstar, but not everyone wants to do it honestly.

Just last week, Ryan Braun, a Milwaukee Brewers outfielder, was sent home for the final 65 games of the baseball season for using substances banned by baseball.

This is the same guy who got off on a technicality the first time he was accused of doping. He said the sample was not handled properly, and then pointed fingers.

He swore nothing illegal ever entered his system.

He shouldn't have sworn.

This is the tip of the iceberg for Major League Baseball as it attempts to rid the game of juicers. Several more players are in line to be penalized.

Interestingly when this happens in football, the news does not trump the games on the field.

I guess we have come to expect to see grossly inflated bodies on a football field.

Sadly, we are no longer too surprised when these football players end up in jail.

Murder charges, vehicular homicide, weapons charges — they have almost become commonplace.

Journalists covering teams comment with some surprise when all is quiet on their beats. That's like opening up your newspaper and reading a headline that states "No News Today."

But that's not all that replaces game stories.

There's cheating scandals in colleges as boosters try to buy high school kids to come play at their alma mater.

There's coaching scandals, some that would make politicians blush.

Of course not all of this is new.

As long as there have been rules, there have been people trying to get around them.

But the magnitude of the cheating and the money involved has grown.

I've even gotten to the point that it is hard to make me raise an eyebrow when the latest scandal hits the sports section.

These stories all start sounding the same, only the names change.

So kids, just remember, it wasn't always like this. There was a time when sports meant sports.

If you want proof, head to your local library or museum to read about the good old days.

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