Thursday, December 13, 2007

Steroid Report

So I'm finding myself unable to get into any kind of uproar over the Mitchell steroid report. Granted, a lot of this report refers to users who are now out of baseball, so there really are only two "sexy" names named: Clemens and Petitte. Now, I think Clemens is a d-bag of the nth degree, and Petitte seems like an overrated mercenary to me, but I don't find the revelation that they used steroids as particularly offensive. Perhaps this is because part of me wants to say, "well, duh."

However, I think I'm just not bothered by the steroid "scandal" because I don't see it as being fundamentally any different from a host of legal medical techniques that are used to prolong seasons and careers. The issue with steroids (or HGH) is that it is performance-enhancing. How do they enhance performance? By repairing muscle at a faster rate than one would achieve without them. So when you work out, you rebuild muscle faster. When you are injured, you rebuild faster. What these drugs do is make your body capable of something that it would not naturally be capable of.

How does this differ from Tommy John surgery? When Kerry Wood blew out his elbow, it meant that he was not naturally capable of throwing curveballs at 90 miles an hour. Should he have quit? No, he had surgery to put a cadaver's tendon into his elbow, and a year later he could pitch again. This is not "natural". He's got a dead guy's tendon in his elbow - not his own. His body basically said, "I can't do this", and he used modern medical innovations to override this signal. Isn't this what steroids are for? Overriding your body's natural signals?

I just can't get up any anger at guys using steroids. They're going to die young, probably with massive complications and a scrotum the size of a Peanut M&M. But that's their problem, not mine.

(And don't give me this "bad example for the kids" crap. If my kids are taking cues from professional athletes on what is right and wrong, then I failed as a parent a long time ago.)

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