Fire Jim Tracy

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Where to Begin?

Please. And hip replacement surgery. And Botox. And wart removal. And Tommy John.

But, remember kids. It's not steroids that are bad for you. It's anti-steroid propaganda coming from the evil Republicans that's bad for you! Oh, and people who try to live morally even if there is no law on the subject. Terrible, awful people like that.

As to Jon's revised points, these are the ones with the most obvious problems:

4) "Additionally, no one should be pressured to use these supplements by the idea that they need them to stay competitive."

Meaning what? As I've already discussed, the pressure is inherent in their use by some MLB players. If this is Rule 4, then it is alone a sufficient reason to ban steroids, and you don't need the other 12.

5) "That being said, despite what individual people are convinced is true, there is debate in the scientific community about how harmful steroids are. (Indeed, steroids are prescribed to promote health in certain cases to people of all ages and ilks.) They might be harmful to athletes, but some respected people say that you cannot conclude that they are harmful to athletes. No matter how convinced one is about one’s position, this debate undeniably exists."

This is not relevant. The unknown nature of the health effects of steroids (even if you're wacky enough to believe that they are some sort of magic health benefit) would be all the more reason to ban it. If they are "found" "not" to be "harmful," then MLB can mandate their use, or at least use will climb into the 95% region.

6) "In the face of this confusion, it is not automatic that baseball should ban steroids"

Backwards. That would be an excellent reason to "automatically" ban steroids.

8) "A ban on steroids, or any other regulation, should have the support of both management and the players. This is critical."

In the sense that all self-governing societies should be governed by the consent of the masses, this is critical. If this requires doing the "silly dance" with Marvin Miller and Don Fehr, neither of whom face the competitive pressure to juice up when talking to Rob Manfred, then the leadership must be destroyed in order to free the masses. Neo-Con baseball fans, unite!

9) "That support should manifest itself in a punishment structure that is carefully vetted, and that includes both reprimand and, if appropriate, rehabilitation."

Second chances? I don't know. Since nobody's had any first chances, it's very hard to see second chances. Looking at guys like Giambi, it looks like you don't get any post-steroid chances anyway (But they're good for you! Not with a fifth of gin.)

10) "In particular, the institution of drug-testing has serious human rights consequences (and some amount of fallibility)."

No, it doesn't. This is Marvin Miller spin, and probably the weakest of the 13 points. It is completely irrelevant what they do or how much money they make (i.e. the argument that they make millions of dollars playing a public game and kids look up to them, etc.). They can't lose a right they never had. A private employer can require drug testing. There is NO "right" TO PROTECT. Can you imagine? U.N. Peacekeepers descending on Dodger Stadium to protect the "rights" of baseball players? If this point were revised to say something like "Drug Testing invades a person's personal space, and therefore considerations should be made to ensure that testing is done with a minimum of invasion," I could agree with that. But all this rights stuff is red herring.

And remember that when we're talking about the privacy interest, WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT THE PRIVACY TO COMMIT ILLEGAL ACTS. There is none, either on the Federal scale, or if you analogize over to MLB. The problem with drug testing is that a urine sample (for example) can wield much OTHER medical information about an individual (see Jose Lima) which courts have agreed constitute private information without a government interest in knowing that information too (remember, this is when the government is involved, not when Bud Selig is). This would be the interest that might burden baseball drug testing, and where MLB and the Players need to come to agreement on making sure that such testing is limited. But, still, there is no "right."

In any event, the only reason baseball players aren't tested like every other athlete is an accident of history; nothing more. The last bastion of human rights in America is the MLB Players' Association? Don Fehr might want you to believe that, I guess.

11) "Punishment should not be applied retroactively"

"Best interests of the game" rule. Look it up. He'll be punished now and into the future, unless somebody built a time machine I'm not familiar with. I suppose there is an argument to be made that such a rule would be selectively enforced, but the Furcal example is not the one to hang your hat on. Baseball has always drawn rules so as to separate off-field acts from on-field acts. You can look at Steve Howe, who probably pitched high, but 1) he was given eight different suspensions, several of them substantial and 2) he was given plenty of chances for "rehabilitation." This seems to be the sort of regime already being suggested for steroids.

12) "Players should have the right to petition for the approval of enhancements, supplements, etc., on the chance that one or more can be shown to be safe and worthy of use."

I like this idea, but there is a problem with it upon further review. People will likely be hesitant to actually use it. Perhaps blind submission would overcome this problem (that MLB wouldn't know who was asking for it, just that there is this substance being requested).

But I agree with 12 and 13 generally.

Also, I would recommend a point 14, which would say something like "Given the exposure to civil and criminal liability that comes to both MLB and individuals within it that comes from the trafficking and use of controlled substances, not to mention the embarassment of being dragged into civil and criminal litigation, MLB may take steps to ensure that it does not get put in such a position."

I have one word for you: RICO. The defendants as BALCO, Bonds, Giambi, et. al. The enterprise used for criminal activity: MLB. If you're wondering what's taking so long. RICO. And that my friends, is "Major League."


  • The NBA, Golf, Tennis, sailing, and many other sports have lax to no testing of drug use. And there is performance drug use in almost every sport. Ok, not sailing. Do you really think the Williams' sisters aren't on roids?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/05/2004 12:17:00 PM  

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