Saturday, December 04, 2004

My cup runneth over..with news on the juice.

I have been hooked by the steroid scandal. I can't stop reading the columns and editorials on the various sites. My previous post on this explained my position. Giambi is a cheater. I think that Bonds is a cheater. I think that there should be intense fan outrage about this and we will see how many other teams are hit with a similar scandal. At this point I would think that any major leaguers out there still on the juice will be getting their shit straight because by the beginning of next season there will and should be some serious drug testing in the league. But not everyone agrees with me in my outrage simply because these things have always happened. The always brilliant (even when I don't agree with what he has to say) Mr Peter Gammons had this to say over at ESPN.Com.

The problem is that this is not about athletics for the sake of athletics. It's business, big bucks, doing whatever it takes. It is comical to read outraged comments about "cheaters." There are anywhere from four to 10 pitchers in the Hall of Fame who cheated in some form or another; Gaylord Perry wrote a book about it. The 1951 Giants cheated to help them win the Miracle of Coogan's Bluff. Corked bats predate the Eisenhower administration. Do we want to get into amphetamines? How many players damaged their eyes or their stomachs with red juice in the 1960s and 1970s? Yeah, sure, those 340-pound 17-year olds out there at the top of the Rivals College Football Recruiting Charts all got there because of Wheaties. Why do you think "Playmakers" so upset the NFL? The truth hurts. Did all those 280-pound power forwards in the NBA get that way drinking Ovaltine?

And I suppose I would agree if I had lived through those scandals but right now this is a bigger scandal than 1994, bigger than Pete Rose, and bigger than Sammy Sosa's corked bat. This scandal puts the home run explosion into question. All of it, every player and forever throws doubt on their numbers. But that is all big picture stuff. What can Giambi do now? Buster Olney tells it.

You'll walk down the runway leading to the dugout, and in your heart, you won't even know if you're a good player any more. You batted .342 in 2001, sure, but that's when you were taking steroids. You led the Yankees in RBI in 2002, batted .314, were the star of new YES Network. But that's when you were taking steroids. Then you hit .250 in 2003, your left knee buckling as you swung the bat. Patellar tendinitis, a prime steroid symptom; it's the runny nose of steroids. Your knee bothered you so much that you failed to start in Game 5 of the World Series -- a moment when you lost the respect of many of your teammates.

Let's see how this shakes out. Major league baseball has a huge problem right now with more angles to it than PR. By and large the fans of baseball want to see HR's more than they care how the bodies were built to hit them. The league now has to worry about congress...

"To restore the integrity of baseball, Commissioner Selig and Don Fehr must meet immediately -- not merely by spring training as the commissioner has promised -- and agree to implement a drug-testing policy that is at least as stringent as the one observed by the minor league program," McCain said in a Friday statement.

McCain added in a Washington Post interview that "I'll give them until January, and then I'll introduce legislation."

It is unclear how much support such a proposal would have in Congress -- the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., complained last year that McCain's idea would rewrite baseball's collective bargaining agreement.
I am scared about any government involvement in baseball but I do think that a real drug policy on testing needs to be written and enforced in a big way next season so that the cheaters can be weeded out and bring back the integrity of the hard working players out there.


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