I’ve determined that I simply can’t get worked up about steroids in baseball. I just can’t do it. Even though I’ve written about this issue in the past – and in this piece, most significantly – it doesn’t have the same inflaming effect on me that it apparently does on many other people. It is, at its core, a rather simple issue. Major League Baseball didn’t have strict rules against or testing for performance-enhancing drugs. Baseball players, who are fiercely competitive and enjoy the accumulation of money (just like everyone), dabbled in or abused these drugs that were essentially condoned. And in recent years, when the problem because too obvious and big to ignore, Major League Baseball retroactively vilified and persecuted the same players off of whom it had previously profited, and perhaps had done so with knowledge of steroids’ proliferation. Many choose to focus on the immorality and duplicity of the most prominent players involved in this era, but to me, what I just wrote is the story in its purest and most important form.
What I absolutely can get worked up about is the overwhelming sanctimony put forth by the brainless writers, analysts, fans, and former players that this issue seems to attract. In the interest of brevity and maintaining a minimally civil discourse, I’m going leave completely untouched the first three groups in that sequence and focus on the last – former baseball players. Some of these men have been understanding of the so-called “Steroid Era,” recognizing that athletes habitually seek ways to gain an edge, and that many baseball players had way more reasons to experiment with performance-enhancing drugs than they did to eschew them. Sure, they frown up the decisions some of their contemporary peers made, but they understand them. Most importantly, they appear to be genuine in their desire to move on.
Then there are former players like Goose Gossage and Jack Clark. These men not only appear unwilling or unable to forgive users with any modicum of understanding, but they also appear to be relentlessly ignorant of the inconsistency (and occasionally outright hypocrisy) of their condemnations. And, as I hope you will see, it’s infuriating. Read the rest of this entry »