Monday, March 28, 2005

Steroids and Amphetamines

There was an AP Poll released on Friday showing that of the 155 sports writers that responded who are eligible to vote on induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Mark McGwire would not receive enough of their votes but Barry Bonds would. I am getting so sick and tired of the blatant hypocrisy coming from the sports-writers. They are so blinded in their anger, that they are willing to let all the blame fall on one person – Mark McGwire. And the blame is falling on him because he chose not to talk – although he also chose not to lie. Dodging questions is the biggest sin you can commit in the eyes of sports writers, even bigger than lying. They hate players like Eddie Murray and Kevin McReynolds despite the fact that they were some of the best team players in baseball. Now that McGwire refuses to answer questions, he has become the new punching bag for the press – taking that role away from Barry Bonds.

Let me be clear about something, if McGwire was the only one who took steroids, and managed to do it despite a strong testing policy by baseball – I would admit that was cheating, and I would join in the attacks. But the only sin McGwire is guilty of is taking a substance that baseball knew was a problem, but refused to ban and test for. Baseball allowed the Cansecos, McGwires, Caminitis and everyone else to use, in order to make the game more exciting.

And the problem with performance enhancing drugs in baseball is much bigger than one person and one word. Amphetamines have been around in baseball for 30 years and it is estimated that about half of baseball players take (took) amphetamines before a game. This appears to be a much more widespread problem than steroids. And if anyone thinks the press doesn’t know about this, you are naïve. In fact, the press knew about steroids too – and so did the fans. We just chose to turn a blind eye, and now that we can no longer ignore it, we act surprised and offended.

My biggest problem is a lack of consistency with this whole situation. If Congress is going to investigate performance enhancing drugs and the effects on baseball’s records, then it needs to call in all Hall of Fame baseball players from the last 30 years, and ask them under oath if they took amphetamines. If they choose not to answer, allow sports writers to kick them out of the Hall of Fame. If they say they didn’t, but the writers don’t believe them, kick them out also. In fact, lets allow these self-righteous sports writers to kick out anyone who may or may not have used some sort of performance enhancing drug – at least that way we will be consistent. Or, we could tell them to get off their high horse, write about what they know - today’s game – and leave out their unfounded speculation. Steroids and amphetamines were part of the game of baseball – like it or not. Everyone chose to ignore the problem – and we did it for one reason – the home run is sexy. Unless we know exactly who took them and who didn’t, any decision to prevent players from going to Cooperstown would be inconsistent and unfair.