Odds and Ends
Couple of things to talk about now that Baseball Widow is gearing up for the season.
First, check out this Dave Pinto post about Roger Clemens's "cheating". More specifically, read Capybara's insightful comment. Baseball Widow won't retread old ground here, but she will pause long enough to say once again: the legal/illegal distinction should be inconsequential to the discussion of Performance Enhancing Drugs in baseball. It's simply not germane, and it belittles the true seriousness of the possible consequences to the game to argue the simplistic (not to mention simply wrong) line that, "It's only cheating if it's illegal."
Isn't the issue (or, at least, shouldn't it be): what substances have what effects on the game, and which of those effects are undesirable? Marijuana, cocaine, and heroin were all legal at some point in baseball history, but no one's really concerned that the players who used them harmed the game. Why? Because no one really thinks that smoking pot will magically make you a better player. The myth persists, however, when people talk about steroids.
Speaking of cheating and people who make stupid arguments. . .I was flipping channels the other day and saw a New York Daily News reporter yapping about steroids in baseball. He made a comment along the lines of "the only thing connecting the past of baseball to the present is the records, and they're now tainted." He went on to say something like "the homerun records that have been made in the last few years aren't real." Aren't real? Look, crazy guy, they happened. We all saw the replays. We had lawsuits over the record-setting balls. Just because you might feel that some players had advantages over others doesn't erase the fact that those players played (and changed) the game. Besides, with your reasoning, all pitching records set in the post-Tommy Johns surgery era "aren't real" because that particular advantage didn't exist previously. And for goodness's sake, don't anyone respond to that argument by saying, "Yeah, but Tommy Johns surgery is legal," 'cause if you do, Baseball Widow will come after you.
Crazy New York Daily News Guy did make one astute observation, however. He said you can't prosecute the past. There's no way to find out with scientific proof who was using in the summer of 1998--or any other time, for that matter. The only thing to do is to talk about the game today. Since CNYDNG seems to argue against his own ideas pretty well, I'll let that comment end this post.