Thursday, June 06, 2002

steroids and baseball Send this entry to: Spurl Ma.gnolia Digg Newsvine Reddit

steroids and baseball I am not a baseball fan, but ["hence"?] the fallout over Ken Caminiti's recent "revelations" about steroid use in MLB intrigues me. There is predictable hand-wringing from baseball purists, including the author of the TCS article I linked yesterday:
As a baseball fan, I believe that an outcome that bans steroids is better than the competitive outcome. However, that is because for baseball I value continuity more than progress.
[Hello, Virginia!] But many baseball fans seem excited by "progress." Check out this 1998 attendance statistic for Androstenedione-popping St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGuire:
Cardinals' average paid attendance: 38,091 Attendance when McGwire sat out a game: 31,183
The St Louis fans, it appears, are all for ability-enhancement. Yet the part of this story that leapt out at me was this quote:
New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine thought [estimates that 85% of players used steroids] were overblown. "Only if it's in the water or there's some way players are ingesting them without knowing it," Valentine said before his team's home game against Philadelphia. "I think it's a total exaggeration unless you're saying some of the stuff like MetRx mix and the blender stuff is a steroid, then I stand corrected."
So most baseball players are using some supplements, if not necessarily steroids. This seems to poke holes in the purism argument against steroid use. Now it is true, as critics claim, that steroids can cause serious health problems. But the libertarian in me wants to let people choose their own risks, whether with cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, creatine, or -- yes -- steroids:
"I've made a ton of mistakes," admitted Caminiti, who is also a recovering alcoholic. "I don't think using steroids is one of them."
More info - Here is a pretty-thorough pro-steroid article.

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