The period can be referred to as the worst times in the baseball world for two reasons. As stated in the document, the sport found itself for the first time having to deal with allegation of doping (Rader 262). This refers to a situation, where the players used performance enhancing drugs in order to record better performances in the game. Previously, baseball never had to deal with this before, since the sports that had these allegations were football and athletics. Due to the fact that there had never been cases, or even suspicions of players who were enhancing their performances with drugs, there was no mechanism that was put in place for testing players for drug use, and neither were there any establishments to deal with the punishments given to those players who would test positive in the doping tests.
There is an illustration of the doping in baseball about Barry Bonds, who started to roll out better outcomes than he had been capable to give in the five years . Bonds had a lot of problems with the public that eventually led to the slack in his performance. For instance, he was not respected by his teammates, trainers and several other people whom he came in contact with during the game, because they claimed that he was difficult to work with and was arrogant. Instead of mending his ways, Bonds blamed his behavior on the experiences that he had faced in the country as an African American (276).
After a while, he was followed by a series of scandals that involved his engagement in the use of performance enhancing drugs. His prolonged use of drugs not only assists in better performance but also stimulate the growth of the user saw the increase in size of the player. With time, fans also began to lose interest in him as a player. Owing to the reality that he had been confirmed to have been one of the best players of all time, Barry became detested and lost many fans. The problem of drug use among the players of baseball grew to be one that could no longer be overlooked to the extent that the matter even took the interest of the then American president, George Bush.
In the beginning, most people had turned a deaf ear to the allegation of use of drugs by the players until after a while the issue could no longer be denied, owing not only to the fact that most of those who had been accused tested positive, but due to being compelled, some of them actually agreed to have been using the drug (276). Bonds, had admitted to have been given the drugs against his knowledge. He said that at that time he had not been aware of the fact that his trainer was giving him performance enhancing drugs.
Another reason that season was one of the worst times in the game of baseball was the occurrence of the Second Great Strike. During this period, there had been a severe reduction in the number of people who favored the game (263). Baseball found that it had to resort to serious activities of marketing in order to get back their fans. Basketball was taken as an example of how a game can get a large fan base and form a formidable force that would not only ensure the continuity of the game, but also make sure that everyone concerned with the game for the sake of making a living managed to do so without any hiccups. This led to the contract that was signed between baseball and Pepsi. The latter was expected to assist in making baseball popular once again. This would be done through sponsoring the giveaways, exhibition of team logos and television ad productions.
This time can also be seen as the best time for baseball. The reason for this is that when the management of the game found out that they were losing fans, especially as a result of the strike. There were certain marketing strategies put in place that helped the game to get in an even better position. This began with a contract with Pepsi where the company would assist in certain marketing strategies, such as the production of television advertisements that promoted the game and coming up with logos of the baseball teams and showing them in their several franchises. This was soon followed by several other corporations that also signed deals that helped with the marketing of the game (270). Soon after the game also realized that in order for it to have fans that would never lose interest in it, they would have to trap in the younger market, since it is commonly known that if a person develops a certain liking for a product, this liking will stay with them for a long time, probably for their entire lives. They also realized that at that time, young people were fond of music, especially of the hip hop culture. Therefore deals were signed with two artists, Aretha Franklin and LL cool J, to do a hip hop version of the baseball song. The notion was that when the game is associated with the musicians that young people liked, there was a possibility that they would develop a serious interest in it.
It was also discovered that giving away free items was another excellent method of ensuring that the interest of the people is kept intact. As such, several franchises began producing baseball branded items, such as hats, mugs, beer and more; most of those would be given away at matches, major events, or even in areas where there were crowds that were deemed potential fans.
The game was also able to reap largely from the development and spread of the internet all around the country. They realized that there were many people who loved the game but had begun to leave due to the gap that had formed in their access of information. These were people who, for some reason, or the other, would not be able to watch all the games live, and, therefore, had to look for alternative routes to gain access to information regarding baseball. As such, a website was put up where several league members would post their information and at the end of each month, all the involved parties would share the earnings from the site equally. The sites would also broadcast games as they happened, giving these people an opportunity to continue to be a part of the game, despite their inability to be present. The sites proved to be instrumental because they provided information about the present, such as the games that were taking place, with details, such as venue time and scores. Apart from this, they were also able to give adequate information about historical facts of the game for those who would be interested. The site would also give a schedule of the games that were yet to be played, and due to the fact that people got to have enough information beforehand, most of the matches began to record an increase in audience attendance (275).
Another strategy that was put in place was ensuring that the game served the same purpose as several other games that are played in the world. This is bringing people together due to their ability to share in a particular sport despite their varying backgrounds. An example was taken of soccer, which the whole world gets to enjoy every four years in a tournament that involves thirty-two best teams. In this case, sixteen teams were selected from certain countries that already had active baseball teams. These teams were sponsored to participate in a tournament. This strategy proved to be successful because, first of all, it saw the participation of over one hundred of the biggest names in baseball at that time.
Despite all the success that was drawn from the marketing strategies that were put in place, there were still some ways in which the game still had disadvantages. For instance, the fact that the patches on the uniform of the players were being sold did not go well with some of the fans. This also includes the inclusion of spiderman themes on the jerseys of players for the promotion of the movie (Rader 262). This was, perhaps, seen as a ploy by the baseball management to reap the fans of all money in the name of the game’s promotion. In fact, it felt as if the production of spiderman was trying to ride on the success of baseball, without putting in as much effort as the latter did.
All in all, it can be said that these times were both good and bad for baseball. However, the evidence presented leans more towards the fact that the times were good. This is because, although a losing streak, bad publicity and loss of fans were present first, they are the ones that led to the major decisions made later about the various marketing strategies, that saw baseball rise to become an international game that no longer looked at other games, such as basketball and football with the envy of knowing that it would never get to that level. In fact, the success of the marketing in popularizing the game became so apparent that baseball became a franchise through which other businesses sought endorsement. In the beginning, baseball had to look up to certain companies, such as Pepsi to promote it among its consumers and the general public.
However, by the time that the game was getting to the top, certain productions would seek the support and endorsement of baseball. The game faced a tough time in having to deal with the issues of players using performance enhancement to better their skills at the game. This caused uproar for a long time regarding measures that should be put in place to make sure that players are clean. The situation was not made easier by the fact that some of the people who were caught in the drug scandals had for a long time been considered the best at the game, such as Barry Bonds. Despite the fact that Bonds was found guilty of the allegations, he was still arrogant about it, claiming that the things players consumed should be none of anyone’s business. Despite all these, over the years, the game was able to grow to become one of the favorites of the American population.
 Rader, Benjamin G. Baseball: A History of America's Game. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992.