Once again the baseball world is rocked with news of Performance Enhancing Drug use.
In case you live under a rock or something to that effect, The Miami New Times News printed an article Thursday that reported on the busting of a Miami clinic that has sold performance enhancing drugs to professional athletes, including several Major League Baseball players. Think BALCO-East. This is news, no denying that, but the whole PED thing in baseball is old. MLB continues to try and crack down more when it comes to not only preventing PEDs from finding their way into MLB clubhouses, but also punishing those who get caught with said PEDs. But in light of these recent events, many have to, and have, asked if the current punishment is enough to scare players away. First of all, these are the ones who get caught, which is not necessarily all, or close to all, of the players who have used PEDs. The first offense is 50 games, which clearly has not scared off every, if any, ballplayer from taking the risk. So naturally, many people think maybe there should be a harsher penalty, which may be true, but I feel like there is a simpler answer that we are all overlooking. Allow PEDs!
Yeah, you heard me! Is this not the most obvious answer? The biggest concern for fans, other players, Bud Selig, etcetera, etcetera, more or less, is that using PEDs is cheating and gives these players an unfair advantage, right? Some might even say it “enhances” their “performance”. Well? Go ahead and allow a free for all! Level the playing field, so to speak. Now, all of a sudden, it becomes about who can get the best stuff and utilize it. In theory, aside from the fact that certain players could get better “stuff”, there would not really be any advantage to taking PEDs, as everyone who wants to be, will be, bigger and stronger without that pesky worrying about being caught and punished. Homeruns would be leaving the parks, left and right! Straight away center too, I suppose. We know MLB loves the longball, after all there’s no Opposite Field Single or Sacrifice Bunt Derby at the All-Star break. Only a Home Run Derby, folks. Plus the free for all with the ‘roids and other PEDS would help us really determine how much these help players who are just not as skilled and talented. PEDs won’t necessarily help you hit Uncle Charlie, right? (For those not up on baseball slang that means curveball, not some old uncle that gets rolled out to be hit repeatedly.) That is one arument, sure, and it is has a bit of a point. You do need to have some talent to begin with, but let’s not completely dismiss what PEDs can do. But isn’t this kind of just the rich getting richer, so to speak?
Well, sure, the players who are more talented and are already making more money as a result of this can probably afford better PEDs and whatnot, but how would this be different than if no one used PEDs? In that no-PED scenario the more talented players are better and make more money, in theory, anyways. So if everyone used PEDs this would not change the overall tiers of talent in Major League Baseball. Everything is back to a level, or at least the same, already off-kilter, playing field that would exist without PEDs, right? It would be like playing a friend in a video game where you both know all the cheat codes, would it not? So, where’s the downside? Players have no advantage, really, other than their natural skill levels, which they had to begin with and they can go ahead and shatter home run records to the delight of fans all over! Well, wait a tick, there is that whole side-effect, danger of doing these drugs, thing.
Do you remember that SNL sketch from the 90s, where they had the All-Drug Olympics? If you don’t, let me lay it out for you. Basically the sketch starts with Dennis Miller as the Weekend Update Anchor leading in with, “In response to what its sponsors claim is an idea whose time has come, the first All-Drug Olympics opened today in Bogota, Columbia. Athletes are allowed to take any substance whatsoever before, after, and even during the competition. So far, 115 world records have been shattered!” Miller then goes to Kevin Nealon, as the correspondent at the All-Drug Olympics. Nealon informs us he is at the weightlifting competition, where a Russian competitor is about to compete. Nealon goes on to list off the drugs the weightlifter is on and that the Russian is about to attempt lifting 1500 pounds which would triple the existing world record. Well, the weightlifter attempts to lift the weight and, basically, he pulls his arms off, to which Nealon says, “Oh! He pulled his arms off! He’s pulled his arms off, that’s gotta be disappointing to the big Russian!” It is hilariously delightful. I am not sure if I can link the clip through this post, but if you just enter “SNL All-Drug Olympics” in the search engine of your choice everything else is gravy. But the point is, yeah, there are consequences beyond just being penalized.
Aside from the penalty of being caught, in the simplest terms, PEDs are really not good for you. But the dangers and side-effects of most, if not all, of these drugs are known and these effects go a lot further than backne (on an unrelated note, typing “backne” made me wonder want Brandon Backe is up to). So without risk of penalty, there is still a “do this at your own risk” caveat. But there it is! At your own risk. Perfect! You know what you’re getting into, you’re adults, go for it! If you think it’s worth it, then do it tto it! Let’s start the All-Drug MLB!*
*If not obvious enough to you, the reader, this proposal was in jest. It is an oversimplified and, quite frankly, asinine idea that I would not seriously propose, although I am sure there are some that would throw this idea out there. PEDs should never be allowed and they probably do need harsher penalties that will actually make players think twice about using them.