Shame on us – and PLAY BALL!

Here is why I don’t write about baseball & steroids very often…

Honestly, I’ve had it about up to here with all this pharmacological intrigue. The bottom line is competitive guys do whatever they have to do to get ahead. They are competitive. They want to, and must win. If there is some edge they can get, whether mental, physical, psychological…they will take it. They try to intimidate their opponents, they work out obsessively, they study hours and hours of film to identify the slightest nuance of how they might get ahead of the other guy. We want our athletes to be single-mindedly competitive, we all want winners on our team.

I know people in the corporate world that have their assistants dial the phone, put the caller on hold, then pass the call to their master. They have big corner offices, with high back leather chairs, a huge desk and offer their guests a glorified stool that is 5 inches lower in height – all to gain some edge or advantage.

Athletes have access to the best workout equipment, professional trainers, and nutritionists. They have state of the art video surveillance to study their opponent (or themselves) frame by frame from multiple angles. They have security guards and private parking. They have agents, managers and publicists that develop and promote their personal brand. Why does it come as a surprise that they also have access to whatever “nutritional supplements” that might be available to keep them performing at a high level? How can this possibly come as a surprise?

For years – especially for day baseball – it has been rumored/known that ball players take stimulants prior to game time. Maybe it’s 3 or 4 cups of coffee during pre-game, maybe something stronger. Maybe something that requires a prescription. Maybe a guy has a sore wing that might get him DL’d, released or sent down if it doesn’t heal fast. What’s he going to do? He’s going to get treatment. Ben Gay only takes you so far – if your career is on the line and you know there is something out there that might make the difference, a competitive guy is going to jump at that. I’m not saying it’s right, but it sure is human nature.

I think the “good” guys push against crossing that line. But really, when your back is up against a wall and you might lose your gig, I can see where a competitive guy can commit this crime of passion. Again, there is right and wrong, legal and illegal, within the rules and against the rules. I am not advocating use of anything that is wrong, illegal, or against the rules. But stuff happens and I think we as a society have a tendancy to look the other way when our purposes are served. I was right there with everyone when Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire were pumped up like the Michelin Man and cranking out 500, 600 foot home runs. I was cheering with the rest of you. It served our purpose. But to pile on now as it comes to light that at least 104 active Major League baseball players tested positive for banned substances in 2003, seems hypocritical to me.

I am not in favor of going back and persecuting violators in an era that was full of them. Frankly, I am sick and tired of the constant barrage of who knew what when, and who was doing what and how. It makes for “good” radio, but I don’t feel the need to take out my disappointment on those who were guilty – because we were all complicit in this conspiracy.  Even MLB itself – remember the ads “Chicks dig the long ball.”? It was an official marketing piece for MLB!

My position is let’s all bow our heads in shame for a moment, and then move on. That was then, this is now.  We are all guilty to some degree. Live and learn. Turn the other cheek.  Shame on us – and PLAY BALL!

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    February 17, 2009  Tags: , , , , , ,   Posted in: controversy, game of baseball, legal issues, observations, players, the media

    One Response

    1. administrator - February 17, 2009

      For further reading, I *highly* recommend reading former Cub Doug Glanville’s op-ed in the New York Times on the situation with A-Rod:

      Very interesting to see this from the view of not only a former player, but teammate of A-Rod, and union rep involved with the 2003 testing.

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