Friday, December 14, 2007

When Steroids Are Banned, Only Cheaters Will Have Steroids

The Mitchell Report has shocked the world of baseball with its revelation that many of the sport's biggest stars, including Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco, Roger Clemens, Lenny Dykstra, Eric Gagné, Paul Lo Duca, Andy Pettitte and Miguel Tejada have used steroids. In the wake of the report many are calling for Congressional hearings and saying that the Major League Baseball needs to get tough about steroid use. They blame MLB and the MLB Players Association for being slow to act. I think this is exactly the wrong approach. The real problem is that baseball banned steroids in the first place. It is a fact that when you ban guns, only criminals have guns. The same is true with steroids. When steroids are banned, only cheaters will have steroids.

When only some baseball players take steroids, they have an unfair advantage over those who don't. Just as law-abiding citizens don't have guns to defend themselves against gun-wielding criminals when guns are banned, baseball players who don't take steroids are unable to compete with those who do. Distributing guns to everyone and requiring everyone in the community to know how to shoot levels the playing field and gives everyone a fighting chance against criminals. In the same way distributing steroids to all baseball players and requiring every player to take them would level the baseball playing field and give everyone a fair chance to compete. No longer would players like Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa have an unfair advantage. It's not cheating if everybody does it.

As I pointed out back when the U.S. performed so badly in the World Baseball Classic, the problem with American baseball players is that they don't take enough steroids. "The poor performance of the U.S. team, which lost against such second-tier teams as Mexico and Canada, gives ample evidence that American players need steroids to play effectively," I wrote back then about our humiliating defeat. This disaster made us look weak in the eyes of the rest of the world and as I predicted then, the repercussions have been felt beyond the world of baseball, making us look weak to our enemies.

President Bush should not only be supporting the use of steroids by American baseball players (or at least looking the other way as he did when he was an owner of the Texas Rangers), he should order the Pentagon to distribute them to our soldiers in Iraq. But is adisppointing statement that bowed to the forces of political correctness, he said that the steroid "scandal" sends "a terrible signal to America’s youth." I agree that the wrong message is being sent. Young people are being sent the message by those who refuse to use steroids that you shouldn't be all you can be, that you should settle for being second-best to someone who cared enough about winning to take steroids. Do we want a generation of young people who are not willing to do whatever needs to be done to win? Do we want them to fight the wars of the 21st century against an enemy that will stop at nothing to win?

The real heroes in this story are the players who were not afraid to take steroids because of some old-fashioned notion of fair play. They were the ones who had the courage to do what they needed to do to win, even at the risk of throwing away their careers and being shut out of the Hall of Fame, denying them the ability to charge young baseball fans even more exorbitant prices for their autographs at baseball shows. It's the baseball players who were afraid to take steroids, who didn't have the guts to risk the wrath of sports writers, who, let's face it, used to be the kids they beat up in high school, that are the real cowards here. What are these players going to say to their disillusioned young fans who looked in vain for their names on the Mitchell Report list: "Sorry, kid, I just didn't want to win bad enough"?

Some are even going so far as to propose that players who have take steroids should have their awards rescinded and their records erased, or even be subjected to the most severe punishment in baseball, to have their records permanently tarnished by tainting them with the fearsome asterisk, a fate that is worse than death or at least worse than playing for the New York Mets. In fact, I think that the records of player who did not take steroids should be the ones that are asterisked. Clearly, these players were not playing to their true potential. Shouldn't those who refused to take steroids be asking themselves if they could have done better?

It's no accident that the man chosen to lead the commission that wrote this 409-page report was George Mitchell, the former Senator from Maine and the Democrats' Majority Leader from 1989 to 1995. There is already a word for people like the baseball players who refuse to take steroids, people who would rather play by the rules than win, people who are so afraid of what journalists might say about them that they aren't willing to take any risks. They are called Democrats.

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41 comments:

JasonC said...

yes yes, my sentiments exactly. part of it, i believe is an image problem. for example, instead of calling them "performance enhancers", which connotes something that may or may not be seemly or--to speak down to your more liberal readers--"unfair", start calling them "Flintstone vitamins for grown-ups."

-JC

rotus said...

If it's good enough fo Marion Jones It's good enough for Barry Bonds.

Bukko_in_Australia said...

It's a shame that the brave U.S. soldiers who have brought peace and to the Middle East cannot use steroids. But mercenaries -- I mean "protectors" -- use steroids in Iraqnam. And look at how well their team has been doing. I'll bet their kill/be killed average is waaaaay better than the military's.

Wit that in mind, isn't it also a good idea for schoolchildren to take steroids? This might make them as smart as those Asian kids. By that, I mean whilte children. The smartypants Asian kids should have psychoactive substances such as Haldol ground up and put into their soda so they don't have an unfair advantage. And the black and Hispanic kids could continue to take whatever horrid street drugs their culture already encourages them to smoke, snort and shoot. Only the government could provide them for free, out of the stockpiles seized from illegal drug dealers. Sounds like a rational solution to me.

Anonymous said...

Pretty weak effort there, Jon.

Is there any satire enhancing drug available to lampoon minded liberals masquerading as reasonable conservatives?

The attempted analogy with firearms was a particularly transparent and lame bit of overreaching. Perhaps the intensity of your own feelings on that topic caused the satiric misfire?

And, then, there's that oddly frantic note creeping through as you wave your parodic tar brush at Republicans, in what is supposed after all, to be by its very nature a subtle thrust. [Well, its nature as you would construct it]

Anyway, here's wishing you better success - technically at least - your next time out.

Anonymous said...

<<< Bukko_in_Australia said...
It's a shame that the brave U.S. soldiers who have brought peace and to the Middle East cannot use steroids. But mercenaries -- I mean "protectors" -- use steroids in Iraqnam. And look at how well their team has been doing. I'll bet their kill/be killed average is waaaaay better than the military's.

Wit that in mind, isn't it also a good idea for schoolchildren to take steroids? This might make them as smart as those Asian kids. By that, I mean whilte children. The smartypants Asian kids should have psychoactive substances such as Haldol ground up and put into their soda so they don't have an unfair advantage. And the black and Hispanic kids could continue to take whatever horrid street drugs their culture already encourages them to smoke, snort and shoot. Only the government could provide them for free, out of the stockpiles seized from illegal drug dealers. Sounds like a rational solution to me.

12/14/2007 3:38 PM >>>


Say, Jon:

There are misfires and then there are misfires.

You look pretty competent next to the guy quoted immediately above.

His cap didn't even snap.

Remember kids, rage is the enemy of effective satire.

Sam said...

Who are you, anonymous 4:39pm? I am entranced by your one-two punch of pretension and bad syntax.

Anonymous said...

Bush owned the Rangers, not the Astros. It's relevant in this discussion because it was in Jose Canseco's book that Bush knew of steroid use in the Ranger clubhouse in the early 1990's (as Canseco played in Texas at the time).

Jon Swift said...

Thank you for your correction. I've fixed the piece. If you keep this to yourself, hopefully no one will notice.

new day said...

I used to own a restaurant back in the day. I had a regular customer who always complained about something...the music, the temperature, the food, the service. One night he called me over, and with wild gestures and a red face, sputtered, "I have been coming in here every week for two years and it has always been just awful."

Maybe someday there will be a sufficient number of restaurants and blogs, such that people won't have to keep suffering through something they find so inadequate. Til then, this anonymous fellow obviously finds Mr. Swift well worth the investment of his valuable time and limited brain cells.

Anonymous said...

I think that Mr Anonymous 4:39pm should be applauded. He's holding down the fort until the Right finds someone with wit to take over. It must be terribly difficult for him to compose these posts. I know that he leaves me exhausted when I read them. I can only imagine how he feels after he writes them.

Bukko_in_Australia said...

I am pleased as punch (a nice rum punch, with fresh lime juice and a maraschino cherry) to be insulted in almost the same breath as the Reverend Dr. Swift was insulted. If one lacks the talent to bask in the glow of the master, one can at least be spattered with some of the pulp that ricochets off him when yobs in the cheap seats are hurling tomatoes.

OutOfContext said...

I have recently learned that Samuel Taylor Coleridge was juiced when he wrote the Rime Of The Ancient Mariner? How is he still in the Norton Anthology?

a said...

To say the Democrats are interested in fair play seems horribly naive.

sparkyfarkle said...

You've been snarked again,Jon, by those pesky neo-cons who don't understand irony but are one. Try defending yourself now, you gun defenderer, you.

a said...

The anonymous, or me? What I meant is that Democrats don't play fair either, and that they're as evil as the Republicans, complicit in evil at times, explicitly evil at others. The Republicans only looked like they'd won when they were in control of all three branches of the government. Now it should be clearer.

Mt said...

Our President should also be required to take steroids.

Sure, Commander Decider Guy would need to stuff a sock in his flight suit, but could you imagine Fred Thompson 'roid ragin'?

Mt said...

anonymous at 4:39

I'm so sorry but I must grade your screed C-

I know, I know, it's use Big Words Week for you home skoolerz.

But anonymous at 4:39, I read, and reread, your comment and jotted down notes each time. Oddly, each note read the same: "whaaaa?"

You need to firm up your writing. Instead of saying "The attempted analogy with firearms was a particularly transparent and lame bit of overreaching", you should be more subtle and write something along the lines of "Fuck you, you gun hating hippy! I'll shoot you in the face muthafucker!"

Most everyone can understand that.

Also, you forgot to sign your name, for which I ding you 10 points.

"Anyway, here's wishing you better success - technically at least - your next time out."

LarryE said...

instead of calling them "performance enhancers"

How about "enhanced competition techniques?"

Carl said...

Not unsurprisingly, sir, I concur.

Carl said...

Anonymous said...
I think that Mr Anonymous 4:39pm should be applauded. He's holding down the fort until the Right finds someone with wit to take over.


I was not aware that Mr Swift was retiring or taking a vacation. Why would he need to be "taken over" for?

moneymonk said...

Mickey Mantle, Billy Martin, and Babe Ruth all enhanced their performance with liquor, hot dogs, and Chesterfields. I don't see any asterisks by their names in the record books.
Anyway, I agree with Swift. We should definitely distribute guns to all baseball players in order that they better defend themselves against accusations by all the nit-picking ex-Senators and dour-faced autograph seekers.
Now... what did you say about Steroid Sammy?

Anonymous said...

Mt said:

<<< anonymous at 4:39 ... You need to firm up your writing. ... you should be more subtle and write something along the lines of "Fuck you, you gun hating hippy! I'll shoot you in the face muthafucker!"

Most everyone can understand that.... >>>

No doubt that is the case with the majority of Jon's fans.

Anyway, is that how you wish to be addressed?

I had no inkling you were a hippy or a gun hater. Though, the other does not surprise me.

liquiddaddy said...

Mr. Swift,

I think you are on the wrong track.

After Doc Ellis threw a no-hitter on LSD in 1971, MLB has slowly moved in the other direction. Some of the best performances in history. Who could play better than Darryl Stawberry on a quarter ounce of blo? Who could forget Earl Anthony's 1968 perfect game performance in Akron while amped on crystal meth? Tom Dempsey could not have kicked a ball 63 yards (with half a foot) without powerful psychotropic drugs and scotch.

This is a winning plan for major league sports.

LD

fish said...

There is the parable of the drowning man:

A sailor passes a drowning man and offers him a ride in his boat. The man replies “no, God will save me.” A while later, a second boat sails by and again offers the man a safe ride home. “No thank you” he replies, “God will save me.” The man drowns and meets God in heaven. “Why didn’t you save me?” he asks. God replies “I sent you two boats!”

God has sent these men steroids to improve the bottom line for their poor helpless owners, yet they choose not to alleviate the suffering. The level of selfishness is unimaginable. They are defying God’s will.

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

Steroids for the troops. Now, there's a thought.

Carl said...

Then there is the parable of the NASCAR fan.

A man goes to the Daytona 500, gets drunk and wanders onto the track, dodging cars left and right.

One car slows down to wave him on, but he says "No, god will protect me." A second, a third car do the same, but he shakes them off.

A fourth car comes along and WHAM! smacks him five levels high into the seats, where he takes out two rednecks sitting about five seats apart.

He goes to heaven and meets God.

"God, why did you not save me?"

"I was trying to pick up the split, you idiot!"

God wants us to have steroids so we may cull the herd.

Rob Coover said...

It's not like I know these people anyway, and since I'm pretty sure most of them are jerks, I say more steroids. I want to keep being amused by grotesquely overmuscled freaks.

kathleenmaher said...

Correct me if I'm wrong (and I often am), but aren't there steroids and then...steroids. Aren't some relatively safe (look at Arnold's long and successful life as first a world-class bodybuilder and then a powerful Republican albeit married to one of the many Kennedy off-springs)?
Guns, of course, seem a perfect analogy, and long has my father wondered why everyone boarding an jet isn't stripped naked and handed at least for the flight's duration a semi-automatic if not a faster model?

new day said...

And God sayeth: Do not despair my child; just when your shoulders are made stooped, and your head heavy, by the burdensome weight of Anonymous, I shall send you a Carl. And all will be right with the world.

Carl said...

New Day,

The joke told about me goes as follows:

A priest, a rabbi and Carl walk into a bar. The priest says, "There's only one God." The rabbi says, "I agree!" Carl mutters, "Thanks for noticing..."

Bukko_in_Australia said...

Kathleen, because you asked a legitimate question (a rarity here; if it's a jape than it's too subtle for me to comprehend) about steroids, allow me to explain. I am a hospital nurse -- I have a licence to do this.

Broadly speaking, there are two classes of steroids -- anabolic (muscle steroids) and glucocorticosteroid (anti-inflammatory steroids).

The latter include prednisone and hydrocorisone. They are used to reduce swelling, especially in breathing passages inflamed by asthma and other lung diseases. They do not build muscle up. In fact, they can cause muscle wasting (among their many side effects) with prolonged use.

Anabolic steroids, the type that athletes should be allowed to use in order to show how much bigger and better they are than us mere mortals, build muscle mass. They are a controlled substance, and when I worked as a nurse in the U.S., we had to sign them out and account for them just as we did with narcotics like morphine. That's because of the silly fear that they would be sold on the black market or otherwise abused. While anabolic steroids are great for separating the boys from the girly-men, they also cause "roid rage," testicular shrinkage and brain cancers like what happened to
Lyle Alzado of the Oakland Raiders football team. But premature death is not too great a price to pay for athletic glory, is it?

I return you now to the regularly scheduled programme of serious conservatism. BTW, are you Bill Maher's sister? You sure look like him...

Micgar said...

What was the "oddly frantic note" that anonymous mentioned?
Its difficult to tell which anonymous is which!

Carl said...

Bukko,

Do anabolic steroids build muscle mass, or just allow for faster recovery when they are "injured" (which is essentially what strength training does)?

Do we really want these brownskinned athletes to be that much more powerful than us white folks?

fish said...

Do anabolic steroids build muscle mass, or just allow for faster recovery when they are "injured" (which is essentially what strength training does)?

Human Growth Hormone (not an anabolic) is being used by some athletes to speed up recovery (not really clear it actually works). Anabolics actually build muscle mass- essentially everywhere. Hence Barry Bonds forehead muscles being somewhat, um, overdeveloped.

Carl said...

Thanks, Fish

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jurassicpork said...

I, for one, am still firmly of the opinion, despite the Mitchell Report, that Roger Clemens did indeed happen to gain 126 pounds since leaving Boston.

He's not a cheater and is a legitimate fat fuck as he claims on his video blog.

Ben Ledeen said...

>But mercenaries -- I mean "protectors" --
>use steroids in Iraqnam

Are you implying, sir, that we should get the Robot Council to assist us in Vietraq, or instead that we should send out Blackwater to secure the strategically valuable asteroid designated "Chiron Beta Prime"? Those would seem to be our only two choices.

Merry Xmas!

Anonymous said...

One minor quibble: You opine that President Bush "should order the Pentagon to distribute (steroids) to our soldiers in Iraq". You might have bolstered the validity of your modest proposal by pointing out how steroids have (allegedly) remarkably enhanced the gung-ho, get-'er-done attitude of the unfairly maligned Blackwater security force.

Indeed, it might be said that when steroids are banned, the terrorists have... well... made them smile or something like that that we don't want. At any rate, it would be a dark day for all our country's efforts to compel peace, calm and trust in troubled parts of the world.

Britney Spears Fan said...

Yes...If it's good enough for Marion Jones It's good enough for Barry Bonds too...

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