[Against the backdrop of the Biogenesis scandal and probably-impending suspensions, the specter of performance-enhancing drugs looms once again.]
Awesome. Super awesome. I loooooooove reading about PED scandals. It’s sooooooo interesting.
Just kidding, that’s all sarcasm. I’m sooooooo good at it. Okay, I’ll stop I’ll stop now.
But really. I hate when PEDs are in the news.
Ryan Braun and a bunch of other idiots are going to be suspended soon for their role in the Biogenesis scandal. I’ve dubbed it, “Bio Scandal” (no word yet on if Pauly Shore is staring). It’s really just a matter of time until roughly 20 players (including superstar Bartolo Colon?) are suspended for at least 50 games. I’ve spent a good part of today trying to decide if I care or not. I still haven’t decided. Besides, no Cubs have been implicated. But here’s where I’m at:
The PED dilemma is obviously an extremely polarizing topic – as it should be. It’s pretty serious. It seems that (and I’m over-simplifying here) you either believe (1) it’s illegal and all record-holders associated with “using” should not be allowed into the Hall of Fame and their stats expunged OR (2) it isn’t a big deal, it makes baseball more exciting, and why not allow it with some regulations?
There are also two huge counter points in both. In opinion 1, we lose out on roughly 10 (probably more) years of baseball. In opinion 2, the worst case scenario is that steroids find their way into high school locker rooms and become extremely prominent for young athletes.
Ugh. Both suck.
So where does that leave me? Part of me agrees with resident crazy person John Rocker in his belief that steroids made the game more exciting – I see the merit. Who wouldn’t want to watch another McGwire/Sosa home run race? I think a little part of you is lying to yourself if you say you wouldn’t want to see giants hit balls onto Waveland and Sheffield every game. It would be extremely entertaining. However I think most of me is simply angry that players blatantly try to break the rules to get ahead. Hence why I hate discussing PEDs in general.
The bottom line is that as it stands right now, doping is illegal in Major League Baseball. The rules have not been changed and, believe me, the players know the rules. This is the fact that most baseball fans have to understand: the way the rules are written presently, it’s not okay.
What bothers me even more than that actual act of cheating are the arrogant attempts to deny and cover-up. A-Rod denied for years before he came clean. Melky Cabrera created a fictional website to prove his innocence. Ryan “Gotcha” Braun got off a technicality and made sure we all knew it. Roger Clemens wasted all our tax dollars. At least Manny Ramirez had the decency to move to Japan when he got caught the second time.
If you are going to cheat (and, again, that’s what using PEDs are under the current rules: cheating) admit it when you’re caught. That’s all I, and other fans of the game, ask. We know you messed up, you know you messed up, let’s move on. [Brett: Yahoo's Jeff Passan wrote a solid piece on this point.]
I’ve heard some people say, “Who cares? It’s not like everyone is using.” That’s partly true. There are 1,280 professional baseball players at the Major League level. Not all are using. But the fact that some of the more high-profile athletes have been caught is discouraging. It’s the old saying that one person can ruin it for the whole bunch. There are huge implications in this and the effects are going to be felt for an extremely long time.
Every time another star is caught, it leads us to ask questions about others. It causes us to cringe when a player wins the Triple Crown because we don’t want it to be a sham later on. [Brett: Don't tell me that several of you don't have your butts clenched with every otherwise exciting home run Chris Davis hits. We want it to be legit, but we've been burned.] It makes us have to reassure ourselves that every perfect game is earned and not bought at the pharmacy. It creates the second-guessing of every crowning achievement that a player may have. All because we have seen things happen before.
This is beyond sad.
Maybe some players and fans do believe that steroids should be legal in some fashion. Fine. Talk about it at the next collective bargaining agreement in 2016. For now, it’s cheating. Don’t do it. And if you do, admit it if you’re caught. Your fans aren’t dumb.
I guess I do care after all.