December 24, 2004

Steroid Rationalizations:

A baseball blog called The Hardball Times writes:

Unlike, I suppose, pretty much everyone, I don't consider steroid abuse to be cheating at baseball. It's cheating at working out, it's probably cheating other players out of playing time in some instances, and it's certainly cheating those players and teams out of money -- but it's not cheating at baseball. The positive effects of steroids are the same as exercise, just dramatically increased. When you take steroids, the ball doesn't jump over the fence on a bunt. Foul balls don't suddenly curve fair, and you can't suddenly hit any ball anywhere at any time. It makes you a better hitter, but you could achieve the same results with actual hard work. The results in the gym are a fraud, the results on the field are not, because the other team will be able to ascertain very quickly your physical attributes, and play you accordingly.

Exactly how can other teams play Barry Bonds accordingly? By buying their outfielders seats in the bleachers?

And how could anyone achieve the same results as Barry "with actual hard work?" After the age of 35, Barry has enjoyed the three greatest offensive seasons in baseball history. By taking steroids, Barry can work out and more often than anybody who isn't taking steroids.

I've noticed that in the blogosphere, unsophisticated libertarianism and hero-worship of manly athletes frequently combine to turn bloggers into saps for steroid-abusers. Look how many bloggers have endorsed the idea that, well, we shouldn't ban steroid use, just limit it to a safe, moderate amount.

What a stupid idea that is! The whole point of using steroids in baseball is not to use the same amount as your competitors, but to use more. If you all just used the same moderate amount, you'd all be better off using none at all. If they implemented that rule, then to get an advantage, you'd have to take the kind of massive jolts that the late Ken Caminiti started taking in mid-season 1996. (Soon, Caminiti came down with terrible depression when not full of steroids, which led him to self-medicate by smoking crack, which led to his recent death in the gutter at age 41.)

Further, if they allowed any level of steroids, it would make it vastly harder to catch cheaters, since each time they caught anybody it would end up in an endless court suit over whether they actually had the illegal 101 parts per zillion in their blood stream or the legal 100 parts per zillion. Now, all they have to prove is you had a single one of these illegal molecules in your bloodstream ... and it's still hard to win the court fights today.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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