If someone offered you a pill, that would practically guarantee that you would get a substantial raise at your job next year, would you take it? Keep in mind that you notice a lot of the higher paid associates at your office are taking the same pill, and while some of them have been caught, most of them haven’t. What if even after getting caught, and getting suspended from work, some people have come back from the suspension, and STILL got a pretty good raise? If you answered any of these questions easily with a resounding “No!”, then you’re either one of the most morally upstanding people in America, or you’re just plain lying.
There are not many people who condone P.E.D. usage, most find it an outrage, but I find myself at least understanding why some players make that choice. Just getting to the AAA level of baseball means overcoming substantial odds, and a tremendous amount of skill and luck. And even if you’re so lucky to reach the major leagues, you’re facing the best players in the world, who are paid millions of dollars to hit a baseball past you, or throw a baseball by you. Multiple millions of dollars rest on your ability to play a game better than as many other players as possible. And while the ones who are caught are labeled cheaters, liars, and criminals, the more important question the fans should be asking, is why these players took the drugs in the first place. While players such as Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds allegedly used these drugs to make history and cash $100 million dollar checks, my concern lies with the bench player who wants to crack the starting lineup. Or the career minor leaguer looking to finally make it to the show. Most professional baseball players are either drafted out of high school, or majored in “Baseball 101” at college. They are completely under-prepared for the morally ambiguous decisions and temptations that await them further in their career. Other than being told “Don’t do it!” by management and outside entities like the media, the more important conversation has to happen between players. Whether it’s bringing in guys such as McGwire and Pettite to talk to teams about why they used in the past, or one on one conversations with teammates who have been offered PED’s and turned them down.
While watching the Alex Rodriguez 60 minutes segment, I of course came away with the same conclusions that the program was trying to get across: That Alex Rodriguez is guilty of not only taking PED’s, but possibly some other more serious crimes as well. However I know that there are 3 sides to this case: 1) Tony Bosch’s, 2) Rodriguez’s, and 3) the actual truth. I feel the 162 game suspension is fair, but I also feel that Rodriguez was made an example of, mostly because he has done few positive things for Major League Baseball with his off-field activities. And while I could probably write a 1000 more words about corruption both by the players and owners in the MLB, the only real point I wanted to get across, was that what has been convicted of doing Rodriguez did was against the rules, his punishment fits the crime, and the bigger problem is not with superstars using PED’s to break records and make tens of millions of dollars, but with the overall culture of professional baseball, and the unfortunate and tremendous pressure that is heaped on young, under-educated men.
What do you have to say about PED’s in general? What about the ARod case specifically? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!