In May of 2009, Boston Red Sox Superfan and writer Bill Simmons wrote a column about the possibility that many players on his beloved 2004 Sox World Series Champion team had been on steroids. The article was written as a dialogue between him and his son 5 years in the future, at the boy’s first game at Fenway Park.
It’s a hard line for a Red Sox fan to read, I’d imagine. While there was never any solid proof, the entire team stinks of impropriety, even in the eyes of its greatest supporters. It makes me glad, even in my end-of-season gloom, that I won't be having a similar conversation with my own son.
Ever since Boston won the World Series 10 years ago, I always imagined pointing to that 2004 banner and telling my little boy, "That's the team that changed everything."
So that's what I do. I point at the banner and tell him, "That's the team that changed everything."
"Isn't that the team that cheated?" he asks.
When reports surfaced linking a Virginia chiropractor accused of dealing steroids to the Washington Capitals and Washington Nationals, it was shocking. Not because we believed it but because we didn’t (and still don’t). Thorough investigations concluded no link between the dealer and the team, other than a few chiropractic appointments.
Then, strangely, when we all though the issue had been put to bed, the issue popped up again during the Caps 1st round series with Montreal when a Sports Illustrated article accused the Caps and the NHL of not actually performing an investigation. The Caps and us fans shrugged it off, again, as there wasn’t really a story there.
I wonder if the Caps had lived up to their expectations and indeed won the Cup, would the first round of articles on the win include mention of the steroid scandal earlier in the season? Would an entire exposés be written on the matter, with unnamed sources and juicy quotes like so many baseball steroids stories? Would the first Cup win by our beloved Caps include a Barry Bonds-sized asterisk in the minds of our competition and members of the media, looking for scandal? While I hope not, we've all seen it happen in baseball.
So if there is any silver lining to the premature end of this amazing Washington Capitals season, it’s that I will never have to hear an opposing team's fans or some off-base writer talking about the 2009-2010 Washington Capitals as ‘the team that cheated’ their way to the Cup. And I will certainly not have to explain it all to my own son in 5 years.