Lasik vs PEDs

Steen with an interesting question:

Matty offers the low-five:

SSI finds the question commendable.  I totally agree that the torch-and-pitchfork media lynchings on steroids is hypocritical and unfair.  The level of ostracism that McGwire and Sosa have received is laughably out of proportion.  I don't know what repressed angst the crusaders have lurking, but it isn't about steroids per se, I know that.

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Dr. D does quibble with the word "arbitrary", mayhaps...

Ultimately, the FDA and similar federal agencies decide whether Lasik vs. roids vs marijuana are okay or not.

Not sure how it could be otherwise, in a democracy -

Certainly human oversight committees are subject to error. But the alternatives to U.S.-style republics, those pile up the negatives associated rather quickly :- )

The FDA's decisions are certainly subject to debate, but don't know if I'd use the term "arbitrary." Fortunately, where we live, the government is subject to checks and balances.

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As respects MLB's own decisions on what is okay or not within the realm of "legal," that's a tougher question, granted. Right now MLB is *not* under fire for being too INtolerant of substances. Rather, they're being told, tighten it up or we'll tighten it up for you.

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Bill James, as so often, waded into the steroids brawl with a shocking argument that steroids are (or will be) actually good for you -- that they slow down aging, and that in fighting them, MLB is putting itself in a position it cannot possibly win, long-term.  50 years from now, saith the Founding Father, we'll look back on this argument like the 1950's argument that a freshman football player ought to be thrown out of school for drinking coffee.

Perhaps true in the most abstract sense, but have you ever googled "dangers of steroids"?  Read an article or two and it's a cup of cold water in the face.

This may not apply to the supplements that Steen was referring to, but health problems associated with steroids ... Addiction, aggression, high blood pressure and stroke, heart attack, prostrate enlargement, liver toxicity, enlargement of the heart, etc etc. 

In this case it seems there is a reason that the doctors want many PED's to be dispensed by prescription only.

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James' reply, we're sure, would be that the day will come when anti-aging drugs and PED's will have health benefits that outweigh the risks. 

I don't doubt that this is true, but also don't doubt that there are substantial reasons that many PED's are controlled substances. 

Lasik, like weightlifting and wheatgrass, comes with few dangers associated and so it's fine for athletes to better themselves with these.  What I'm wondering is why some hitter doesn't fit himself with 3x mag hi-contrast goggles and revolutionize hitting :- )

Or not,

Jemanji

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Might be because is never more than an equalizer. Theoretically most baseball players, like most human being's eyesight is 20/20, which is generally the target for Lasik if I'm not mistaken. It's not significantly different from a player getting a torn ligament repaired, or bone spurs removed, or having knee surgery or any other kind of procedure to repair something that players can probably play through. It is used to get them back to normal. Unlike PEDs or steroids that can give an already gifted player further advantage in physical strength or recovery times, Lasik cannot be used to give a person that already has 20/20 vision 20/10 or 20/5, or if it can, then that is the case in which it should be disallowed.

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Johnson just had his eyes corrected to 20/10 with LASIK...they do as much good as they can possibly do...they don't stop at 20/20

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The results of Lasik are kind of random, they do what they can, but websites I'm reading say to expect 20/40 vision, as good as 20/25 or 20/20. I think the 20/10 thing is a lucky fluke

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That doesn't mean they aren't TRYING to get you more than 20/20 if they can. Players and their medical advisers will do anything...ANYTHING to get an edge and maximize their potential earnings. PEDs are just the latest in a long line of such treatments as amphetamines (taken by most of the players currently in the HOF), nutritional supplements, luxuries like personal masseurs and trainers (and you can't call THAT an equalizer...only the richest athletes can afford such things)...the list is much longer than this...just naming the things that come to mind.

4

To say no to Lasik for Rob Johnson (assuming his vision prior was something worse than 20/40) would be the same as saying Adrian Beltre can't have his bone spurs removed, and Ken Griffey Jr. can't have his knees arthroscopically repaired. It's not the same as PEDs because a player that already has 20/20 vision cannot expect to benefit from it. And I would disagree about most players being able to afford personal masseurs and trainers, certainly those that are under team control would have trouble affording them, though masseurs and trainers would not be out of their reach as league minimum salary is $350,000, I can't imagine that a personal trainer, unless you were adhering firmly to them training only you, would not cost more than 20 or 30,000 dollars a year. So out of reach for most minor leaguers certainly, but not for major league athletes. And just so that no one continues to make the mistake, PEDs are not A drug, it is a catch all term for Performance Enhancing Drugs that include amphetamines and steroids, this includes legal baseball drugs such as cortisone. I'm not trying to shove that in your face, as obviously I made the same mistake, that's just for the sake of neither of us continuing to make the error.

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The point I was making re: amphetamines was not that they were different re: PED labeling than steroids...I know they're included...the point was that we all love Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle and Johnny Bench and Mike Schmidt unconditionally even though you had BETTER BELIEVE they were taking PEDs (greenies) to enhance their game. Sosa and McGwire were no different. Their drugs just worked a little better.

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"It is important that anyone considering LASIK have realistic expectations. LASIK allows people to perform most of their everyday tasks without corrective lenses. However, people looking for perfect vision without glasses or contacts run the risk of being disappointed. More than 90 percent of people who have LASIK achieve somewhere between 20/20 and 20/40 vision without glasses or contact lenses. If sharp, detailed 20/20 vision is essential for your job or leisure activities, consider whether 20/40 vision would be good enough for you.

You should be comfortable with the possibility that you may need a second surgery called a retreatment or that you might need to wear glasses for certain activities, such as reading or driving at night."

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.. that Steen and SABRMatt make, that if you can have eyesight augmented by medical technology, why not strength, durability, or anything else...

It's a whale of a point they make...

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I think it has to revolve around the idea of a return to normal by general human standards. For the most part, a professional athlete devotes his or her life to being more physically capable than normal human beings, certainly there's natural talent to compliment that, but for most there still has to be a dedication to pushing that talent as far as it will go. A person can train to improve their muscles and reflexes, but eyesight is almost entirely out of their hands. Really, all you can do is try not to damage it and some people will still have it fade rapidly or never have it to begin with. Lasik is a surgery to repair damage, and I suppose that's what it comes down to, surgery is completely legal in baseball, I cannot think of a surgery that would be against the rules. What is illegal is the use of certain drugs, I think the better argument would be against the use of painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs like cortisone. I agree, that eventually baseball has to bend one way or the other, outlawing all drugs, and then potentially all surgeries in an effort to keep hundred year old records pure, or we can accept that humanity, and the game of baseball itself, is evolving and allow at least the drugs that are considered legal by federal standards. Of course that kind of attitude should extend to other things such as instant replay, robot umpires, a DH in the National League and a restructuring of the divisions to allow for greater competition.

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Steen's picture

Steen

Its widely hypothized if tested the top level athletes in strength/speed sports would show to as having their mysostatin gene inhibited. The gene puts a limiter on the amount of skeletal muscle the body will carry. (Google "Belgian Blue" is you'd like to see it in action)
My point being that *we* are not equal, not even at the highest levels, there is a definite genetic caste system. Obviously some people have the work ethic and luck to overcome this inequity but that doesnt mean we should ignore the playing field. I think what this really comes back to is that some of us need desparately to believe that we all are created equally. Those people can call me when an NFL team starts a white guy at RB, or a dude from sweden wins the gold in the 100 meter dash. (Heck, call me if he reaches the final heat.)

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If the only cards you're dealt are those that enable you to stay up later than anybody else, you gotta pwn the 4 a.m. internet crowd. Take the good with the bad, bro :- )

If Ken Griffey Jr. or Erik Bedard ever dare to come on here and try to out-type me after 2 a.m., I personally guarantee I will remove their will to compete.

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Great thread.

In response to the "dangers of steroids" note --- steroids are ROUTINELY used in various medical treatments. In some cases, they are prescribed long-term. The point here is that "when used properly" many of the worst dangers of steroids cited are either removed or severely limited.

One of the problems with the steroid issue of today is that it is too often takes on a nearly religious zealotry. Yes - ABUSING steroids is extremely dangerous. Same with alcohol. Same with aspirin. (dozens die of aspirin overdoses per year -- nobody has EVER died of a marijuana OD).

But, obviously, the worst-case scenario of aspirin use isn't the final arbiter of whether it is a legal drug or not.

A HUGE problem in America is that many of these drug laws are NOT being created as a response to medical experts - but are being written in response to any number of lobbies. (go back in history, and you'll see that the anti-pot laws were largely a result of a major push by ROPE manufacturers - whose goal was to destroy the Hemp competition on the market -- and they were successful by creating a drastically overstated fear of the substance. Prohibition can have legitimate concerns - but we've seen the cure can often be worse than the disease).

My view? I think any substance that "can be" used safely -- but which is dangerous when abused -- is ideal for being a perscription substance. And, I'd have no problem with every MLB player lining up to get their perscriptions as long as the substances were tightly monitored and regulated by the league.

Oh, you'll still have a few who might decide if a little is good, more is better, and cheat anyway. You do what you can to police that. But, you completely do away with the dangers of unknown suppliers. You remove the self-medicating problems. The question of "who is on, who is not" could be completely public. (No requirement to use them - so players could CHOOSE to pass).

In that scenario, I think you'd see steroids become a staple of injury recovery - but likely be less widely used (and mis-used) than they were in the 90's and 2000s.

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SpectatorTotally agree they need to find an additional bat or two, ideally RH. I just don't understand putting hope in Montero or Kelly performing in the bigs, and not putting hope in Hart heating up. He's the only one who's actually done it, and he's done it lots and lots. But I'm not counting on any of them.4 min 26 sec ago
SpectatorIf you adjust Hart for park/MLE, then you need to adjust Montero and Kelly too, and then they look mediocre too. And Montero's MLB track record actually is mediocre. And Kelly doesn't have one. Not being argumentative with you Matt, just pointing out.9 min 5 sec ago
SABR Matt6 games, 7 runs. That's all I'm saying.10 min 26 sec ago
SABR Matthe also hit .208 before getting injured with minimal power and no on base.15 min 44 sec ago
SABR MattIn fact, as currently stacked, the Mariners would play Anaheim in the WC game, and then Oakland in the ALDS...if we miraculously beat Oakland's buzz-saw, we'd play the winner of Detroit vs. Baltimore (which will probably be Detroit)...so we have to beat the best teams consecutively. With our ridiculously pathetic offense...there is no chance. NONE.17 min 8 sec ago
SpectatorParticularly since Hart's Tacoma numbers actually match what he did for 7 straight MLB seasons. He has 4000 MLB PAs with an ISO of .211, and .217 vs. LHP (over 1000 PAs vs. LH). His last three healthy seasons were all over .500 SLG. And he's only 32. Has his health deteriorated so far that he can't even sniff that kind of thing again?17 min 26 sec ago
SABR MattOr...put it another way. As currently constructed, the Mariners have perhaps a 60-70% chance of making it as a WC team...but a 0.1% chance of doing anything more than that.19 min 54 sec ago
SABR MattI agree that we have an excellent chance to make the playoffs. But if your goal is to limp backwards and blindfolded into the wildcard game and pray we somehow can get past Anaheim and Oakland in the ALDS/ALCS, your goals aren't aggressive enough.21 min 7 sec ago
SABR MattHart hit OK in AAA...park/MLE adjusted, it comes out to like .240/.300/.41022 min 44 sec ago
SpectatorWe have to be a bit wary of Tacoma stats at face value, since they play in Reno, Vegas, Salt Lake, Colorado Springs, Albuquerque and now El Paso -- all very different environments from Seattle. Smoak's 2 HR last night in Salt Lake at altitude, 91 degrees and wind blowing out. Not usual Safeco conditions. But also, I don't think you can use everyone else's Tacoma stats and ignore Hart's (.297/.366/.514).26 min 11 sec ago
drmThe M's just need a bat and Paxton to come back and be his usual self.1 hour 41 min ago
drmI actually think the stars are aligning up for the M's this year. The Jays' players are dropping like flies, Tanaka has an elbow problem, Royals are also losing players to injury, and the Orioles have no pitching.1 hour 41 min ago
SABR MattUnless they make significant moves to upgrade the offense, it's all academic. This team is a joke. A particularly cruel one since they can pitch with the best of them. But the punch line is another year of bitter disappointment.1 hour 47 min ago
SABR MattWe are basically forced to give Hart another month because we committed a lot of money up front and the Mariners don't like it when those commitments are immediately proved to be a waste. He looks done to me. As for those of you saying LoMo is identical to Smoak, I disagree in theory, but not numerically. Morrison, numerically, is very similar. But looking at him, I think it's an attitude thing. Smoak is afraid of failure. Constantly. Morrison is confident and relaxed. That's why he looks better.1 hour 48 min ago
rick82I don't mind penciling Hart in there for a couple weeks or three. I think it's easy for older players to look washed up. I remember thinking that about Ibanez early last season. Swisher has looked hopeless all season, but has actually slugged .500 over the past week. When you look bad, you look bad. There's a lot of upside in Hart that you can see on the back of his baseball card. There, he looks like the guy who can carry a team. Morse looked washed up last season. It turns out he was injured, and that may be the main problem with these older guys: they are playing hurt. Buchner said on TV the other night that if you are an everyday player, you play every day. So he did. It probably cut down on this career long term to do so, he was hobbling a lot at the end of it. Anyway, I could see the Hart thing going either way at this point.2 hours 1 min ago
moethedogAs I've said before, Hart worries me more and more. 2 homers in his 38 starts since April 8th and just 19 hits in his last 30 starts. I'm not seeing any rockets from him. I know I would prefer to see Montero as DH vs. lefties. Smoak homered twice in Tacoma last night, but I'm not yet ready to jettison Morrison for him again. There is probably decent 3 to make 2 arrangement with Montero/Smoak/Morrison. But the same is probably true if you delete Smoak and include Hart.3 hours 54 min ago
moethedogI miss not having Tenbrink in Tacoma beating the snot out of RHP. We wouldn't call him up (the Orcs would) but I could wish for him in a platoon role that way. Anybody know what his 80 game injury is? More Ackley: Did you know he's .190-.244-.317 at home this year? OPS of .561....... He did OPS in the .680's at home last year, which is where he is on the road this year. But I keep reminding myself, on Opening Day we would have all been tickled if we were told we were ahead in the 2nd WC race at this point......and our chasers were getting more wounded. I'll hold onto that until we make some LF or DH move.3 hours 55 min ago
rick82You really have to squint to see it. It mostly seems that way because we've watched so many warning track balls by Smoak that it's indelibly marked into our brains. But Smoak has crushed a lot of pitches into the seats as well. Let's face it, we're talking about two identical players. Flip a coin. But I guess we knew that going into the season, didn't we?9 hours 29 min ago
IcebreakerXRegarding LoMo vs. Smoak, I prefer the former only because he seems to drive the ball. All Smoak can do is hit a lazy can of corn. And it's those giant Costco sized cans that are pretty much impossible not to catch unless it hits you in the face.10 hours 13 min ago
IcebreakerXAll of the option rules are basically off the deck if there's any sort of injury involved, but the M's are clearly using the All Star break to cobble together whatever they feel will give them the best advantage. However, I'm kind of baffled at the fact that the M's are also shredding any kind of offense (Buck, Gillespie, Romero, Montero, Franklin... duh, okay, yeah, whatever... But still...) for pitching. You'd think there'd be diminishing returns... Ha.10 hours 17 min ago