Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Last Word on Steroids

I'm going to try to make this quick, because I think over the past five years we've talked about it pretty much to the point of exhaustion.  We all have differing opinions on it, and I think when it comes to the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, there's a spectrum of opinions on which all of us fall a little differently.  As we're wrapping it up, I just want to summarize opinions that come from many different places:  As a professional athlete in a dirty sport, as a purist who enjoys what historical baseball statistics used to be, and as one who is not blind to the fact that people respond to incentives.  Here we go.

1.  The steroid era in baseball is largely over.  It will never be completely over until the disincentive to use is greater than the incentive to use.  As the players and owners continue to BS around about an HGH test, the disincentive (between probability of being caught and the punishment that comes when you are caught) is still lower than the incentive to use for some.  However, public outcry has probably influenced prospective PED users to be more scared to do it or more scared to actually do the math and say "what's fifty games?"

2.  The players were not the ones to blame.  Think about this:  Darnell McDonald got busted for steroids in 2005.  Can you blame him?  By juicing (or by being in an organization with a center fielder who wanted to take a year off due to sore ribs), he might get his cup of coffee in the major leagues.  You know, maybe make a couple million dollars.  By not juicing, he stays in the minors, rides buses until he's 32, and gets a real job.  If you were him, would you do it?  This is why I find it amazing that Lou Merloni, in his new Boston sports media gigs, doesn't flip out about it.  Merloni (who has admitted to doing amphetamines), was one of the guys who probably wouldn't have had so many trips between Boston and Pawtucket either if he had used himself or if nobody else did. 

The people to blame are Bud Selig and Donald Fehr, who let it happen.  And I care because in my sport, I am Lou Merloni and guys like Alene Reta, a guy who shows up to races with big money and no testing, are Manny Ramirez.

3.  Fehr and Selig deserve this on their conscience.  I hope the record books remain unchanged, as the fact that many of the record holders were in the 1990s and 2000s can be a footnote of an era of heinous, borderline-criminal mismanagement.  Cross-referencing the record books with the Hall of Fame and trying to figure out where Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa are, is further historical confirmation that these guys sucked at their jobs, particularly Fehr, because if these guys start dropping dead at 60, it's clear that he didn't work in the best interest in his constituents.

4.  The Mitchell Report was crap.  Imagine writing a term paper with one source?  Imagine being paid millions of dollars to write a term paper and only get one source?  Maybe you'd get an A at George Mitchell's alma mater, Bowdoin.  The bottom line is that Mitchell decided to tell a stupid story about the tip of the iceberg instead of either actually investigating with any kind of depth or delving into this issue.  The issue was and continues to be economic at the very core, and this very obvious fact completely glosses over the root of the problems.

This is now the seventy-sixth, and probably final, post about steroids on How Youz Doin Baseball.  I feel that we covered more ground and made more progress than almost anywhere else.

3 comments:

Ross Kaplan said...

The worst thing about the Steroid Era is that while my dad got to tell me about watching Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson, et al while he was growing up I will always having a gnawing doubt in my mind that the best players of my era weren't cheaters.

the gm said...

Tank,

No doubt. Similar to the recent financial crisis, everyone wanted a piece of the pie and everyone benefitted by growing the size of said pie fraudulently. Maybe someone will occupy Allan Selig's New York office.

HAHAHA, that's not actually true because Commissioner Selig is either too self-important or too aloof to have an office alongside his underlings in New York, instead having an office all to himself in Milwaukee. What a joke.

The GM said...

A quick programming note: After a good amount of searching, some of which took place during business hours, I found the infamous "Chinos and Cartigans (sic)" quote. If you want a sneak peek, it's from the post "A Good Negotation to Win" from April 8, 2008, post 506 in the blog's history.

As you guys probably already know, I've been doing a lot of searching for some of our greatest hits over the past five years, some of which I've found, some of which I haven't, and some of which I've probably just forgotten about. The Chinos and Cartigans comment and resultant recurring theme will play a prominent role in our final sign-off, which will last probably about three posts and which will take place probably sometime around Thanksgiving.