Sunday, December 05, 2004
Steroids And Fury
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.Which means any such testing regimen would be a prima facie violation of said amendment. McCain, however, exhibits all the true tendencies of a man of his class and stature. He knows how to hold a press conference. He is infinitely pliable. He contains enormous seas of bluster, backed up with a shrewd capacity to keep himself inoffensive in the eyes of his colleagues and of the voters. That is to say, he has no intention of actually doing anything, but he needs a pig to roast in public. The experience with the Fiscal Year 2005 Omnibus Appropriations Bill is instructive. Certainly, he announced his indignation about the pork contained therein -- but after the pig had left the pen, that is, only after passing the federal budget did he raise his mighty objections. He is a man the lords of baseball -- and the union -- can deal with.
Men like Gammons, on the other hand, who roar and thunder about the game being tarnished because of steroids should know better. We do not erase the records of Hank Aaron because he played in an era of 162-game seasons, nor do we break out the sledgehammer at Cooperstown because Sandy Koufax had possibly the widest strike zone in history. David Pinto, who initially fell for this guff like a man pushed down a basement stairs, in his very next article concludes steroids wouldn't have affected performance that much. So why the paranoia? Why the public hyperventilation? Is it because obvious shams like DARE might get found out for what they are? Is it because William Sessions' comment that "winners don't use drugs" is so transparently wrong that it requires public and illegal beatdowns of anyone proving otherwise?
Near as I can tell, the objections to steroid use come down to these:
- Lyle Alzado got brain cancer from using steroids. Well, that was what he said. Anyone who recalls Mr. Alzado becoming learned in the arts of oncology, please let me know.
- They're illegal. This is hardly an argument.
- They're cheating because they're illegal. Ditto.
- They're bad for kids. This might, maybe, be an argument. However, scotch and soda are probably not good for kids, and we allow both to be sold in the majority of the country.
I’m sure that if you were to ask Ken Caminiti (you know, if years of steroid use hadn’t ripped-apart his cardiovascular system thus contributing to his untimely death) he would tell you that steroids are what won him the NL MVP in 1996. And I don't think it's a simple coincidence that the majority the premier power hitters of the past decade are known to have used or are the focus of well-placed suspicion. (Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, Giambi, Sheffield, Canseco, etc.)
The most compelling argument against steroids is simple: you shouldn’t have to mortgage your personal heath to compete on a level playing field. Liver dysfunction, heart disease, and shrunken testicles should not be the price one should have to pay to be a star.