UPDATE: Major League Baseball has suspended Alex Rodriguez for nearly all of the 2013 and all of the 2014 seasons for performance enhancing drugs. Jesus Montero of the Mariners is among 12 other players suspended for 50 games for PED violations.
Major league baseball is trying to show us that it’s serious about performance-enhancing drugs; that it’s serious about making baseball pure again – so that maybe one day we’ll get back to inducting players into the Hall of Fame who are still alive.
The Rodriguez suspension is the biggest steroid related penalty and most severe punishment against a player or manager since Pete Rose’s lifetime ban for gambling back in 1989.
But David Epstein of Sport Illustrated says it’s going to take a lot to police this. “Someone who is doping smartly, still, should never test positive. So now, the real way to catch sophisticated dopers is through these investigations. It’s a bit messy.”
Enforcing purity is going to require extensive surveillance of athletes.
But if this is so important, then why is this kind of scrutiny limited to sports? What about other competitive fields? Suppose you’re a med student competing against med students who use some energy drink to stay up all night, is that fair?
I realize that baseball is our one sacred sport, and this sanctity must be preserved or America will fail as a nation – but who are we protecting from the bad influence of juiced athletes? The fans? The same fans who are pretty much bathed in marketing campaigns for performance-enhancing sports drinks? And performance-degrading alcoholic beverages?
Or is the problem that the drug scandals are endangering the whole concept of athlete worship? Which is important, because without a strong culture of athlete worship – you simply cannot charge $40 for a baseball shirt. You know how I know that? Because when you Google Lance Armstrong shirts, they go for less than $30, and they say Dope Strong across the chest. Which I believe means that the $30 is not going to Lance.