Tuesday, March 15, 2005

More springtime (sort of) in Boston

Ah, it's springtime, when a young (right, I'm being generous) gal's thoughts turn to...performance-enhancing drugs, of course. Congress has been attracting more attention to the steriods and baseball issue by deciding to hold hearings on the subject. Now, I have no idea why they are doing this, except maybe that they want to meet Curt Schilling (and, if so, why not just hold a Republican fundraiser...). Schilling has quite rightly expressed his dismay at having to take time off from his (already compressed) pre-season training schedule to essentially just express his opinions on steroids (he's agin 'em).

I think the use of performance-enhancing drugs like steroids in baseball is an insult to the very idea of professional sports that makes them enjoyable and inspiration to watch. Why Congress should be involved is a mystery to me, but so is the view of some that this is just part of a general attack on person choice regarding drug use. Andrew Sullivan, the blogger I would most like to be when I grow up, has stated in the past that he thinks the steroid issue is just another way that society tries to limit individual choice regarding drug use. But pro sports aren't the real world, they're artificial worlds created for the express purpose of playing a specific sport. It's like the salary-cap issue. Whenever you bring that up, some genius calls a salary cap "socialism" as if the National Football League is comparable to the U.S. economy. But it's not. Pro sports leagues are entirely artifcial constructs. And sports are all about rules, rules that everyone has to follow and then compete. Why do you only get four downs in American football? Canadian football gives you three. Well, I don't know, but who cares? It's just the rule, everyone has to follow it, and then see who's clever or talented enough to succeed within the artificial constraints of the game.

In my view, steroids fall into the same category. The key here is that they are PERFORMANCE ENHANCING drugs. I agree that it's nobody's business if ball players smoke pot or snort cocain -- well, it's the business of law enforcement, since we have decided in the U.S. that the government knows best when it comes to enjoyment-enhancing drugs. But it should be no more the business of Major League Baseball if players smoke a little weed at home, than it would be the business of my boss. But steroids are different -- the key being that they give a player an advantage over a non-drug-taking player. That makes it an artifically-uneven playing field. If we have steroids, why not allow corked bats? Why not give one guy a bigger strike zone than another?

Steroids matter because they affect how the game is played.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?