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Friday, December 14, 2007

laughing all the way to the bank

So now that the Mitchell Report is out there and the finger pointing and backtracking can really begin. Do you think that most of these players are really that upset or sorry for what they did? From a financial stand point I think not. In a league where the difference between a $750K salary and a $2.2 million salary can be a couple of RBIs, a few percentage points on the batting average, or a few more innings pitched, what did the fringe players ( for instance, Harriston Jr., GlennAlan Hill, Jay Gibbons) have to lose? It is not like they were going to be superstars, so why else would they take steroids than to stay in the league a few extra years, and maybe rake in a few million extra dollars in the meantime. It might be different for the likes of Bonds, Clemens and Pettite who had great careers prior to the late 90s and early 2000s. It is their names that are going to be the lasting legacy of this thing. The other guys will just try to not get noticed when they go to buy their new Bentley.

I can sum up how little this will effect the money in baseball in one simple statement. Mitchell report comes out and A Rod signs a 10 year 275 million dollar deal at the same time. The fact is people are slurpping up this report because it is dirty and back alley. People are still going to fill the stands in big market cities and cheer the long ball so in the end I just enjoy talking about baseball in December and referring to Benny Santiago!

Sidenote I am commenting my ass of today.
I actually got in an argument with a libertarian friend about this.

He uses the old standby libertarian argument of "it's their body, as long as it doesn't affect me, they can pump themselves full of as many horse pills as they want."

However, my contention is that steroids completely alter the free market and competition. And the Mitchell Report validated my argument (in my humble opinion).

What I mean by that is look at the majority of the people that turned up on that report: role players and relief pitchers. Steroid use didn't determine whether or not Barry Bonds would be on a Major League roster. It helped him break records and boost his bank account, sure--but he was an All-Star before steroids. It was his roster spot drug-aided or drug-free either way.

But it does affect AAA guys who are battling to make the Bigs. Say you take two minor leaguers--same fielding ability, same stroke, same throwing arm, same patience at the plate, same everything. Player A does things the right way. Player B, pining for millions in his account and to stay at a decent hotel every night, decides to cheat and take steroids. So, because he took a banned substance, and ONLY because he took a banned substance, his power numbers increase. So who would you rather call up? Player A who is a really solid player, or Player B who is the same player but suddenly "found" his power stroke?

I think that is the real unfortunate aspect of the Steroid Era, that people were making millions and in the big leagues that without steroids had no business being there. This whole era took away the livelihood of countless ballplayers that in any other era would have fulfilled their life dreams to play in the big leagues. I, in a way, could care less that the awesome baseball players took them. I just feel bad for the guys that never made the show because Cheater McCheaterson came along with his syringe and back pimples.
There were 31 all stars on the list. Not exactly role players and relief pitchers.
Out of what, 80? The majority was.

And of those All-Stars, most of them were role players that had one or two really good years (see Mercker, Kent).

An "All-Star" relief pitcher is a total crap shoot, outside the dominant closers. Not to pick on Mercker--although I like to, because he was a giant douche bag that I place almost all blame on for the Cubs getting rid of Steve Stone and Chip Carray, and I hope he rots in hell for that--but he made an All-Star team just because he was the best option that year from the Cubs. Not because he was genuinely an All-Star.
Say what you will, but when I shell out anywhere from $20 to $100bucks to go watch a sporting event I want to see the best possible product on the field. If that means a bunch of roided up players out there, then thats what I want to see. These players are getting paid millions to play a game. If earning that kind of money requires them to take a substance that my in some why have long term negative effects on their body, thats the choice that they are going to have to make. I'm sure Chris Farley would not have been nearly as enjoyable and wold not made near the amount of money he did if it weren't for all of the substances he put in his body. Just like nobody would have a damn clue who Tower, Laser, Turbo, or Nitro are if they weren't on the juice. Simple matter of the fact is, if you want to get to the top, you have to do what ever it takes to get there. And if professional sports expect me to pay out my hard earned money to watch their products, they need to put their best product in front of me.
Sunshine, why do steroids have to fuel the best product? There are plenty of players putting up great numbers and fantastic play with the use of drugs. I mean afterall, this Mitchell report was supposed to be the most in depth report on steroids and it only produced 86 names. And that is over, what, a 5 year span. That is not that many players. Granted, the list probably missed quite a few, but still, if steroids was a rapant problem you would think more names would have been released.

Not to mention, that even with steroids, todays players are having a hard time breaking records that were set by guys not using state of the art homrones. Looking at baseball's past, you can't possibly say that a good product is not possible without drugs. I don't know about you, but I would pay to see many former players. Hell, even Barry Bonds was a phenomonal player that many people paid to see before the steroid era.

Also, by saying that the best product needs to be fueled by steroids doesn't set a very good example for future players. Yes, Chris Farley would not have been as funny if he were not on drugs, but he also wouldn't have been as funny if he were not fat, and comedians hardley hold as much influence over young kids. You grow up watching sports and idolizing particular stars. There also does not seem to be the same pressure that you have to do drugs to be funny. However, the pressure to do steroids in sports seems to be growing. Look at the scadals and the measures that are being taken a the high school level to curb steroid use. It is obviously a problem.

Lastly, rules are still rules. If it is illegal to use steroids in baseball, than it doesn't matter how entertaining the product is, it is still against the rules. I mean some might think it would be entertaining for the batter to carry the bat with him and take swings at defensive players, however, this is against the rules. And no matter how much the fans may pay to see this happen and no matter how great that particular product might be it won't happen and the fans just deal with it.
In the above statement I meant to say "without the use of steroids" in the second sentence.
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