Monday, February 09, 2009

Yay Roids! 

I just posted this to the Curt Schilling blog, where the topic is A-Rod and Curt has taken the time to reassure his readers that HE, of course, is pure...


All one need do is look through the different comments on this post to see the catch-22 that baseball is in and will be in for the foreseeable future.

Even if the 104 names are released, then what? People will stop asking questions and casting suspicion? What if the report missed certain steroid users? How can a single report be taken as the end-all, be-all? It certainly won’t be.

The label “steroid-user” is close to that of “communist” during the Cold War or “terrorist” during the Bush era– anyone can be one, no matter how innocent you look. It’s a trap that taints everyone. Guilt by association? That is what steroids is; that is their real effect.

This effect should not be limited to baseball. In the end, if we let it, it will taint every other sport as well, every achievement, everything.

We do, however, have another option, perverse as it sounds. We can simply come to ACCEPT that players were and are using these drugs, that it is NOT, in fact, cheating. There is no way to truly establish what cheating is when you do not really know who is cheating. The “steroids era” creates an impossible purity that no one can live up to. It is we, the fans, who have to adjust our expectations about what athletes are doing in their preparation for performance.

We also must accept, as fans, that the institutions such as MLB that we have allowed ourselves to be entertained by have quite publicly not been serious about checking for this stuff. We accepted that at the time, so why now are we suddenly so much holier than our former selves? Why is guilt limited to the players? We aren’t really that stupid, are we?

I’m sure that there are plenty of gray areas here, things that could be changed. But I can see where all this logic is going, and I know the solution. If we lose our pathetic need for our athletes to be utterly perfect world leader models for all humanity, and accept that they struggle within an insanely competitive field that demands any edge they can possibly get, we might be able to once again allow ourselves to appreciate what they do, juiced or not.


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