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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Not Cheating

I am sick of all these baseball writers whining about steroids. “It’s cheating!” Bullshit. The fact that people talk seriously about whether or not people like Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire should have asterisks put on their record home run seasons is just asinine. If they were found to have used corked backs or juiced up balls that would be different. That is changing the objective rules of the game in which all players are expected to compete on a level playing field playing field with only themselves and their skills to measure who is better. Steroids are no different than lifting weights, working out, and other things players do to prepare their bodies to perform.

But steroids make it an unlevel playing field right? Again that’s bullshit. Players like Tony Gwynn and Ichiro clearly don’t use steroids but they obviously have unfair advantage over the Felix Fermins of the world. As Dan Bern Says in his brilliant song “73”, if you are going to run Barry out for the game for steroids then you have “burn all the poems by poets who took lithium as boys”. (You can download this gem here.)

Elective surgeries that enhance players’ skills. I’d long known about pitchers getting Tommy John elbow surgeries that they probably did not need and becoming better pitchers than they ever were before because of the extra kick the surgery gives to their pitches. But I was completely unaware how widespread LASIK eye surgery has become in sports, until I read this article on Slate. Tiger woods had LASIK to get 20/15 vision? Mark McGwire wore contacts that gave him 20/10 vision? None of this is considered cheating but steroids is? Bullshit.

Steroids isn’t cheating. LASIK isn’t cheating. Tommy John style robo-elbows isn’t cheating. No, gambling is on baseball is cheating. Throwing a game is cheating. Corking your bat is cheating.

But what do I know? I don’t think Barry Bond is an asshole. In fact he’s been my favorite player for almost 20 years.

3 Comments:

At 4/20/2005 4:11 PM, Blogger TerryBradshawisMyBitch said...

I agree with everything up until you said barry's not an asshole. If I looked up asshole in the dictionary I would see barrys picture but if I looked up cheater I would see Sammy. Who didn't know that his bat was corked. That one I will call bullshit on. If I played baseball for a living I would know the difference between 8oz and 10oz bats or what ever the weight difference.
And on the subject that pro who use Steriods sends a bad message to teens, you should test the hell out of high school sport and collage.

 
At 4/20/2005 11:31 PM, Blogger merychippus said...

Amen! And screw teens.

 
At 4/26/2005 2:07 PM, Blogger Scott said...

I respectfully disagree with the everybody does it argument. The drug companies and corporate style medicine driving elective surgery are some of the worst vultures in the known world. The damage done by legally certified drug pushers (MD's) has destroyed countless people, and too many who were close to me.

There are statistics that show what happen when hospitals experience work stoppages, elective surgeries are shut down until the strike is over. These statistics show two things, death rates shrink by huge margins until the strike is over. The need for critical care also shrinks. It is not because people in need of critical care are turned away; it has been shown over and over the elective surgeries themselves not only cause unacceptable mortality rates, they also generate much of the critical care business.

Now, if baseball wasn't marketed so shamelessly as family entertainment I would not find the promotion of dangerous drugs and surgery for convenience to be so reprehensible. I'd still disagree, because of the side effects if nothing else. I was a naval aviator and people who had surgery or drug treatments to 'improve' things like vision or strength were disqualified because the long-term side affects could be deadly in that environment, and I don't believe the freeway is much safer.

 

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