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Like many others, I was disappointed today not to hear Mark McGwire stand up and say (truthfully) that he had not used steroids when he broke the home run record. He admitted some time ago to having used something back in his Oakland days, but his lack of testimony today and his "focus on the future, not the past" casts a shadow on his achievements.
But wait a minute, isn't this just another example of "The End Justifies the Means" or perhaps "It's Not a Level Playing Field"? Let's see, who was asking McGwire and the others these questions? Senators? If a senator could ingest some substance with the understanding that it would increase his or her odds of winning an election, would he or she try this even if the substance were illegal? And suppose it's known or presumed that the opponents of the prospective senator is already taking the substance. Suppose it's also conceded that the substance may cause harmful side effects. Also, it's known that once the election is won, use of the substance can be discontinued.
Place a human in a circumstance like that, and make sure it's a goal-directed human who has spent his or her life with ambitions of winning, and see how many of them fall. Is it right for people to do this? I don't think so, but then who am I to judge these people? If I had McGwire's talent and could have broken records by taking steroids, am I so sure I wouldn't have taken them? I'd like to think not, but none of us can really understand that kind of pressure.
Also, where was the testing that could have revealed use of steriods during that season? Gee, were the managers of baseball reluctant to uncover steroids as Sosa and McGwire whacked the hell out of a ball and TV ratings? Would those managers have been satisfied with a level playing field if it meant no headline-catching, stands-populating homers?
Am I letting McGwire off the hook. Well, yeah, I guess I am. But...I suppose that if the truth were known, and if that truth involves McGwire using steroids to achieve the homers, then a (*) could be placed next to McGwire's achievements so that others can come after him and try to beat "natural" records without recourse to steroids. I think he owes the game that much.
I'd like to see the managers, players and owners start cleaning themselves up and do something about this steroid issue. Bottom line, many of the drugs are harmful and illegal. But at a little higher level, steroids are changing how baseball is played. It's my belief that the strategic game is suffering at the hands of juiced up home run hitters.
Posted by: Chris2 at March 23, 2005 4:07 PM
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