Do Rhoids - not roids.
Baseball & virtue
It seems natural that Rhoids should check in on roids. So here goes. Steroids are bad for baseball. OK, thatís out of the way. But why are steroids bad? For that, we need to examine why we play sports, and what virtues and values we embrace towards playing, winning and excellence. In sports, or any other walk of life for that matter, we play primarily because we enjoy the game, and we take steps to make us better at it. Some of us are blessed with an abundance of natural skill, but all of us get better when we exercise, practice, train, study the game. We are pleased that when a team or player that practices hard wins, because we naturally want to reward these virtuous practices. These practices are virtuous not only because they improve our performance in that sport, but they are disciplines which enhance the overall quality of life.
Among the techniques that improve our performance is we ingest certain substances. No one will begrudge the athlete who eats healthy foods a competitive advantage. Some take vitamins, and itís difficult to find fault with that either. Almost all will take aspirin or such to get through minor aches and pains. Being able to play through minor pain is a very desirable attribute, just like getting through a day at the office when you have the sniffles. Others will take much more serious pain killers. Some of us, who believe you should sacrifice your body, family, and God for your career and company, find this a remarkable attribute, while others are not so certain. Then there are steroids. No doubt, steroids help us win. They make us bigger, stronger, more able to outplay our opponent. But there is also no doubt that they can shorten you lifespan. So what is the virtue in taking steroids? It seems that if one is willing to risk their life, then steroids will give you physical competitive advantages. Now, while working through minor pain is one of the virtues we seek promote, risking your life is certainly not among them.
Thereís still some unsettling issues behind the whole steroids issue, though. First, and foremost, the whole issue is inextricably linked with Barry Bonds. Forget, Giambi or Sheffield, theyíre Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in this drama. The black man who is hard to like sure doesnít look like the 180 youngster who broke in 15 years ago. He is bearing down hard on Babe and Hank. Lots of people would like to see him taken down before he gets there. Even more people than would like to see Billy Beane taken down. If Barry retires tomorrow this issue disappears.
The other issue that has disappeared from the radar screens is the juiced up ball. Apparently the ridiculous post-strike offensive prodigy is product of steroids, not a lively ball. Try this, though, whatís more likely Ė that the entire major leagues goes on steroids during the strike or that the single manufacturer of baseballs alters its production procedures?
So letís get rid of them. Penalize the offenders, put the issue to bed. Should records produced by users be voided? I donít see anyone putting asterisks next to teams that win championships while on financial steroids, so letís not go there. Itís very frustrating to watch the delays in getting a definitive ruling on steroid usage, but thatís standard operating procedure when dealing with the players union. The owners arenít to keen to kill the post-strike offensive golden goose, either.
The hunch here is that there will be a continuing fuss over steroids, nothing will get done, Barry will go on to break the career home run record, then the whole issue will be quickly forgotten.