Baseball players using steroids has always perplexed me.
I understand wanting to hit the ball harder. Home runs brings in viewers brings in money brings in yippie fucking skippie. Fine, whatever. I still find the beauty in the double play ballet and the sliding curve ball that gets hit in a rolling grounder up the third base line, forcing said baseman to decide if he should throw to home, even though it won’t be a force out, or whip it over to first for the secure out. That’s baseball to me. Home runs are, eh, whatever. Not that I don’t admire the well placed Grand Slam, but I also drool over that perfect bunt that just stops on the grass, and the catcher overshoots his run since he thought the ball would keep rolling, and now the sac-bunter is safe and the runner on first is now on third and the pitching team is hoping to high heaven that the pitcher can strike someone out, or a sac-fly will bring in the winning run.
That, my friend, is baseball.
But. In the new age media hyped world, people don’t appreciate the little things. They want the fireworks, the big bang, the show. They, like Andrew Lloyd Webber, have the one theme and they pimp it to death. Ogg like home run. It’s their baseball, and while my inner soul screams and wails, rends garments and sobs, it also chugs a brewski and mutters that people are entitled to their opinions. They are. I’m resolved with that crisis. I don’t drama-mamma the situation unless I’m talking with friends. Baseball has always been about the show, and I just like a different part of the show.
So in the era of linebackers playing DH (or first base or right field) and crushing the ball out the center, we have the current steroid scandal.
I read about it over the summer and I was flabbergasted that some of the guys said that they had their trainers putting unidentified substances in and on their body.
[Barry] Bonds told a U.S. grand jury that he used undetectable steroids known as “the cream” and “the clear,” which he received from personal trainer Greg Anderson during the 2003 season. According to Bonds, the trainer told him the substances were the nutritional supplement flaxseed oil and a pain-relieving balm for the player’s arthritis.
Now Bonds goes on to say they didn’t work. This from Mr 73 fucking homeruns? Uh huh. I’ll let that slide. Other baseball players admitted they used the stuff, knowing it was steroids.
Here’s the part that kills me, though. That Bonds (a) didn’t check to make sure the supplements weren’t going to hurt him and (b) there are guys willing to take the risk of physical hard just for a good season or two.
Oh, I should mention that the career risk is negligible. A ten-day ban and a publicizing of your name or a $10,000 fine. These guys shit $1000-bills, so ten craps and they’re covered.
Back to the risks, everyone knows how fucking dangerous steroids are. I took steroids (as a pill) when I had an outbreak of poison ivy so bad that I was having trouble breathing. It was seen as a last resort and I agree. Steroids fuck you up. Just go talk to my friend with a brain tumor and a brittle spine from having taken them in High School, at the behest of his coach (it was the 80s, we were stupid).
Now, with the blow up of stuff like Vioxx and other FDA approved, legal to get and use drugs, and how they can seriously screw you over, it brings up the nasty question of where do we draw the line? If you, as I do, begin with the platform of “Performance enhancing drugs are bad, m’kay?” you have to ask where to next? What about pain-killers, anti-inflammatory, asthma inhalers and so on? What about herbal remedies?
Essentially, what constitutes an illegal performance enhancing drug?
Personally, I feel if you make your living based on your physical abilities, you owe it to yourself to get a long career out of it, which means taking care of your body as much as you can. Don’t do drugs/creams if you don’t know what they are, be pro-active and aware of what you’re putting on and into your body.
So here’s my two ‘decisions’ on the matter.
Ballplayers: Don’t do shit that might hurt your chances of having a long career. Even if you think that you only need one season as a star to make it rich, who’s to say Steinbrenner won’t sue your ass for cheating him out of his money? This is a lawsuit happy world, and you could be next. Know what you’re putting into and onto your body and take care of it.
MLB Committee Members: Define illegal drugs (any and all steroid or steroid like drugs, except when openly declared and prescribed by a AMA/CMA licensed physician) and then set a lifetime ban on their use. Leave it open to be updated incase someone wants to add in herbal remedies that are natural steroids, or other drugs we decide should be illegal.
Simple? Yeah, well it’s too simple and I know it, but it’s a start.