Fire Jim Tracy

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

More on Steroids, If You Can Stand It

This analysis by Buster Olney is a bit over-done, particularly Olney's claim that Giambi could have loaded up at home plate. And it's not quite complete; Orza and Fehr were incompetent on the steroid issue, but only because by failing to manage the problem, they opened their "union brothers" up to far greater problems than a few meaningless (in the long run) suspensions from MLB. Whatever you think about the theory, the practice was incompetent.

But here's the part that interests me.

"A longtime major-leaguer said last spring he thought about the pros of taking steroids. "Now," he continued, "there are the cons. Is it going to eat out my liver? Is it going to rip my heart apart? Is it going to take years off my life? Those are questions to be answered regardless of whether you have kids or you don't. Is it worth it if I make more money and die two years earlier? Not for me. It's my kids. They're why I decided not to take steroids. I have graduations I want to see, weddings to attend. It's my babies."

Now, I guess you can call this player stupid. Or misinformed. Or ignorant. Or brainwashed. But if it is, in fact, true that there are "no studies" on the issue, it is hard to see how this player is to become more informed on the issue than he otherwise could be. These become, in fact, fair questions. Is it, Mr. Civil Libertarian? Mr. Orza? And our unnamed player doesn't want to be coerced into making a "choice" that no one should have to make even in a non-competitive setting. So the issue is reframed as "Do I want to take the risk of having steroids eat out my liver to play professional baseball?" For us to ask them to take that risk for something that amounts to bread and circuses is appalling. Libertarians (and everyone else, for that matter) should recognize the difference between free choice and false choice.

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