Book research has taken me to some pretty awesome places, like the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, for She Loved Baseball. And the Jim Evans Academy of Professional Umpiring in Kissimmee, Florida, for a mostly written novel that is patiently sitting in a drawer, awaiting its proper time.
That same novel led me to do a lot of reading, years ago, on steroid and amphetamine use in major league baseball. Much of what I read made me think that once MLB officially banned amphetamines, baseball might start to look like a different game.
And here we are, in the post-postseason days of the Year of the Pitcher, an hour before the announcement of the NL’s Cy Young Award.
It was a year when throwing a no-hitter was no longer surprising news. Halladay threw two—one that was perfect, and one that was only the second in postseason history.
But don’t you wonder what the year would have looked like if amphetamines were still widely available in all those major league clubhouses? Would it have been different? Would more hitters have shown up ready to play? Would it have been the Year of the Pitcher?
I also wonder—who’s going to win the AL Cy Young? I find myself pulling for Felix Hernandez. So what if he had a 13-12 record? (I’m trying to say that with conviction, but I still need to work on it.)
As a side note, it is my fervent wish that if Roy Halladay’s name is announced as NL Cy Young winner today, as it should be, New York sports radio jocks will stop pronouncing his name Holiday. That would be a nice way to honor this so-called Year of the Pitcher. (I’m talking to you, Joe Benigno.)