The On Base Percentage Era
The last eight or nine years are known as the home-run era, and I think justifiably so, if for no other reason than Roger Maris' home run record was broken three times, by Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. But all three of those players are also suspected of steroid use, so now people say this is the steroid era, which makes sense, too, depending on how you want to look at it. Another steroid user was Jason Giambi, and, like Bonds, he hit a lot of home runs, too. Another thing Giambi and Bonds had in common was high on-base percentages, and that's something that the Moneyball people don't like to talk about.
Now of course I believe it's important to get on base. If no one got on base then there would be no need for sacrifice flies or bunting or stolen bases. But the problem with the Moneyball/steroid people is that they want to sacrifice those things in favor of bases on balls because the Moneyball people know that steroids improve vision and patience and so they like bases on balls. I think the base on balls is bad for baseball because it sets a bad example for kids wanting to play baseball, in that it encourages drug use.
So when you see something like Moneyball, which glorifies steroid use and was written by two steroid proponents in Billy Beane and Jose Canseco, and you hear people outside of baseball talk about what a good book it is and that sort of thing, it makes those of us close to baseball nervous about the future of baseball. So far the steroid craze hasn't spread past the Oakland A's clubhouse and we can be thankful of that. But if people like Mr. Bean and Jose had their say, we'd all be juiced right now with needles in our butts and none of our hats would fit right. And that's not good for the game.