It's been a rough week in sports, with three scandals hanging over the nation's three largest sports. I don't expect athletes to be angels, and while I don't like hearing about arrests and other unpleasantries, I still love sports more than ever. When someone launches a home run or throws down a slam dunk or fires a 50-yard touchdown pass, I still get excited. I don't think, "Wait a second, has that guy been arrested lately?" I base my fantasy rosters on stat sheets, not rap sheets, and I'm glad I do. There are enough bad things going on in the world and I find sports to be an escape. Of course, as in any business, there are ugly sides to sports.
I think part of the blame -- but it's not really blame, it's more of an explanation -- has to go to the media and the current celebrity-crazed American culture. Sixty years ago, most American citizens didn't even know that their president was wheelchair-bound because of a serious illness. Today, our president is on TV virtually 24 hours a day and we know all about the latest exploits of far less important people, like Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and the Cincinnati Bengals.
Today's Baseball Hall of Fame Ceremonies were an inspiring look at two consummate professionals, Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. Even better news is the fact that 717,478 fans walked through the turnstiles yesterday at 15 major league ballparks, an all-time single-day record. Major League Baseball has already drawn over 50 million fans this season and is on pace to break its attendance record for the fourth consecutive year. It's great to see so many teams engaged in playoff races, including atypical entries like Milwaukee, Seattle and Colorado. If you're a real sports fan, you're able to see through the arrests, trials and allegations and realize that you still love these games.