The Times They Are A-Changin’?
It seems like yesterday when Randy Wolf, then on the Phillies, proclaimed baseball and Congress were on a “witch hunt” when it came to investigating steroid use. If I remember correctly, some in the media agreed with him that Congress shouldn’t get involved in the situation. I thought it was a good thing, because baseball wasn’t doing enough itself. We all remember that the MLBPA was being stubborn when it came to instituting new PED policies, too. But it seems like the union has changed its tune.
Fast-forward to today, and you’ve probably heard of the Biogenesis investigation going on in baseball. Here’s a very informative article on the whole situation from ESPN.com. The writer believes that there are quite a few players now who approve of harsher penalties for the PED use. And the players union has certainly come around as baseball now has the strongest system in place to combat PED use of the four major American sports. Is it good enough? No, because players still get away with it. I don’t think it’ll ever get all users out of the game. Look at the Tour de France or the Olympics. They have very stringent policies, yet users are caught every time. But baseball has come a long way, and I do think it has helped.
One interesting story from the article is how the Giants basically shunned Melky Cabrera after he was found to have taken PEDs. That peer-pressure can be very effective as Jerry Hairston, Jr. notes: “When you’re in a fraternity, you don’t want to have a bad name or be looked upon in a negative light. You don’t want to be on another player’s bad side. That’s even worse.”
One reason I brought this up is that on WIP today the question was asked, if Chris Davis of Baltimore ends up close to 61 home runs by the end of the year, say with a week left, do you care? Does it matter anymore after the record was broken by two players that used PEDs? I would not be too interested in it myself. Even if we toss out the McGwire and Bonds totals, I really don’t think it’s that exciting anymore because people will always wonder if it was done cleanly. And that is really a shame. And, yes, I know that players had been taking amphetamines for years before that, which muddies the water, but the single-season home run record was probably the most cherished in the game.
If Miguel Cabrera goes back-to-back with Triple Crown years, there will be people who will wonder if he did it cleanly. And I think that’s why more players are on board with testing for PEDs. I think my thoughts on PEDs in baseball align most closely with this piece by Tom Verducci which I have posted before. I wonder if we’ve become too cynical to think there can be any more “heroes” in sports. Watch the trailer below and try not to get goosebumps. Hopefully there are still good guys out there.