McGwire and Steroid Use - Players' Union

=== The Players' Union ===

As pointed out at LL, the aggrieved parties in steroids are the players who do not use steroids.  No doubts there.  Which raises the question, if they don't object, why should we as onlookers?


=== We Are the World Dept. ===

In the real world, I don't buy the idea that any of my son's football teammates used steroids because pro athletes do.  I give these kids credit for intelligence.  I think that a 17-year-old high school star knows everything that is at stake, and chooses clear-headedly.

It's a little different with (say) movies and songs selling counterculture, where the message is insidious.  IOften the audience is being affected despite not being aware of such on a conscious level. 

I just asked a young lady whether the anti-militaristic, enlightened-savage-trumps-greedy-white-man themes in Avatar bothered her.  She was  dumbfounded at the question ...

(One movie reviewer compared James Cameron to a guy taking a joyride on the moon buggy while flipping off NASA.  Who is more White Corporate America than James Cameron?  How much did that movie cost to make?  ... we digress...)

I would argue that when it comes to steroids, young people are essentially in thinking mode.  And for that reason, the influence argument doesn't weigh heavily with me.

I couldn't care less if you tried to persuade my son, intelligently and using rational arguments, to go move in with three girls.  I do object if you try to influence him to do so, without his knowing you're doing it.

Steroid use doesn't bother me as much, in terms of influence, because free Americans are free to present both sides of the case with no holds barred -- and let the young people decide for themselves.


It's frustrating to me, that the things that I do worry about with my kids -- alcohol abuse, partying, condoms in high schools reinforcing the idea that premarital sex is the norm, entitlement, greed, etc --

The things I do worry about, one right after the other BOOM BOOM BOOM it's like Ichiro going 12-for-12 in a weekend series -- the published authors argue that you have to leave it alone.  You just can't influence young people.  So you might as well give them the tools to limit damage, and accept that they'll partake...

Then the things where I feel like my own kids are in no real danger of being insidiously persuaded -- cigarettes, steroids, or missing the recycle bin with their pop can -- those things, the media suffers the vapors and swoons away at the "irresponsibility" of public figures exemplifying these things.

You remember when Alicia Silverstone nearly got blackballed from Hollywood for smoking cigarettes indiscreetly?  I was thinking, it needed to have bud in it, and then she'd have starred in Titanic.


The owners have tried many times to convince the Player's Union to toughen up on steroids.  The union consistently warns the owners that it is a strikeable issue.

The Player's Union itself has institutionalized steroids.   And the players are the only real victims here.   So what do the rest of us care?


=== Psychoanalyst Joe Dept. ===

So why do the HOF voters get so crazy about steroids?  What do they care?   I don't buy it being about the kids.  There are 9,000 other things in society to be more scared of kids imitating.

What, then?


It ain't the sanctified history of the game. 

'roids wouldn't have made Babe Ruth's top 20 vices.  Baseball has spitball eras and color-line eras and World War eras and Greenie eras and Coke eras and game-fixing eras and eighteen other eras.  


It was Abbie Hoffman or Bob Dylan or somebody who put it in a way I could understand it.  :- )  I think it was in one of Hoffman's amazing New York City leaflets.  He said something like, "at that time I was in college, man, just your typical Leftie in search of a cause..."

When a young man rejects his father's ideals, he'll search for others.  But what if Dad and Grandpa already were interested in most of the 10 weightiest causes?

Many of the Causes in America are, in my view, lightweight, compared to the things that Eisenhower and Roosevelt stood up for...

Bob Costas delivers sermons against steroid use.  Is this the best item left that we can safely preach against -- without being tagged as preacherly?

Everybody wants to preach about some Inconvenient Truth or other.  The question is, which sermon can I safely deliver?  

When I find the right sermon, the one my friends will admire me for, heaven help the unbeliever... behold the heretic with the Scarlet S, weeping on national television, anguishing justly in the fires of his sins.   Siggghhhhh.  Example-Making is the New Tolerance.


Straining at a gnat, and swallowing a camel.  John Lennon and his heroin use are iconic with most of these media-preachers.  Everybody wishes he wuz Ozzie.  'ypocrites, the lot o' them.  

Chill about the steroids.  The players have the game they want.  And the HOF ain't as legit without the HR leader in it.

My $0.02,





Nice one, Doc.
All time hits leader - Pete Rose -- (not in Hall ... gambling)
All time HR leader - Barry Bonds - (Hall? - likely not, steroids)
Single Season HR leader - Bonds - (Hall? - likely not, steroids)
First to 70 HRs - Mark McGwire - (Hall? - nope - PEDs)
7 Cy Young Awards - Clemmons - (Hall? -- likely not, steroids)
You could add Shoeless Joe to the list -- or bring up any number of other "character-challenged" players who have been denied entry.  Of course, if you keep locking out the most productive players for character reasons, who actually ends up IN the Hall? 
This year, Andre Dawson.  Dawson had a nice little career, and was certainly an above average player.  But, why did it take (13?) tries before they let him in?  Well, because he really wasn't THAT good.  Everyone's heard the arguments with basic stats - but what about some of the more modern stats?
Dawson finished with a 119 OPS+.  That ranks 358th on the all-time hitter list, (Sexson is currently sitting at 120).  McGwire finished at 162, (12th all time.
Career offensive winning percentage?  Dawson .5944 (463rd all-time).  McGwire (.737 - 36th all-time).  Mike Sweeney is in slot 442, just fyi.
Adjusted batting wins - Dawson sits at 22.14 (220th all-time - which isn't all that bad.  Mike Hargrove (21.63) ranks 226th.  McGwire is at 54.76, (28th all time).
There are other measures where they end up closer.  There's LOTS of different ways to examine a career.  But, my position is that the more Andre Dawson's that go in, while the Pete Rose's and Mark McGwires, (and likely Barry Bonds), are locked out - the more TRIVIALIZED the baseball HoF becomes. 
How many people out there have ever driven a car over the speed limit?  Just 5 mph?  Didn't get caught?  Why do *YOU* not march down to the police station and hand over $25 for each time you did.  It *IS* against the law.  It *DOES* put lives in jeopardy, (including, but not limited to your own).  It *DOES* set a bad example, which children learn from.
The truth of the Steroids Era is that if a law/rule is *NOT ENFORCED*, it is not a law or rule.  Prior to 1992 steroids weren't illegal.  After that - baseball's policy was that the penalty for illegal drug use was mandatory rehab.  And that didn't change until 2004.  They didn't test.  They didn't punish.  It was an unenforced law -- just like driving 5 mph over the speed limit. 
The excuses are identical.  The detrimental outcomes of speeding are VASTLY more severe and more immediate.  But, fine -- no way for me to prevent all the self-righteous "hang the cheaters" crowd from flogging the players (or me) with their hypocritical rhetoric as they drive home from game with 3 beers in them with the kids in the backseat while ranting on their cell phones about what a bad example those cheating ballplayers are setting for the kids.
There will always be speeders.  There will always be cheaters.  But, at least, today, they are actually policing the issue - while during the entirety of McGwire's career, they weren't.

geo's picture

Isn't this an extension of the war on drugs.  I mean if the FBI had not spilled the beans the owners, players, managers, GM's etc. would still all be looking the other way.  Chicks do dig the long ball.  It literally took an act of Congress for the league to get serious.  Health is a good reason to ban steroids, so players are not forced to cut their life short to compete.  Even if not always successful you have to try to level the playing field -like splitting the NY market for instance :-).  America has a complex relationship with sex and drugs and rock 'n roll.  In all three morality and health get all dazed and confused. (Oops, think I just gave away my vote.)

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