Michael Phelps and a few other American athletes have voluntarily
submitted to a higher level of drug testing in an attempt to head off
any questions about their impressive victories. If the US Olympic team
can do this, why hasn’t baseball taken similar steps to get rid of the
drug stigma surrounding the game today?
In a way, Major League Baseball, behind the leadership of Bud Selig and an overwhelmingly grumpy push from the US Government, has taken similar steps to get rid of the drug stigma, Mr. Krause. I’m not sure if you heard about it this past winter, but the Mitchell Report made quite a stir all over the baseball cosmos, and got a great number of ballplayers thinking “Hey, maybe I shouldn’t put this crap in my body anymore.”
While the drug screening program in baseball is still somewhat lax and random in its procedure, it is still light years better than what it was (non-existent) and does an adequate job by simply scaring people into doing the right thing. This is progress that at one time seemed improbable. Why? Because the don’t-ask-don’t-tell secret of performance enhancing drugs was bringing people to the ballpark. Whether it was the greenies of the 70s or the HGH of the 90s, fans were coming out to games in droves to witness the high octane occurrence of homeruns and 100 mph fastballs. You’ve said it here a million times, Mr. Krause, money is what makes the world go round and if shooting up brings it in then so be it.
Unfortunately, we US Americans sometimes have a conscious; and that’s the only reason why this phase has transitioned to a foreseeable end.
Are players still using PEDs? Probably. Are they using them as much as they used to? No. Not at all. Need proof? How about Richie Sexson, Eric Gagne, Paul Lo Duca just for starters. These guys are mere shadows of what they used to be while on the juice; because of that, I’m convinced that the biggest proverbial battles have already been fought and won.
Could more be done to ensure the sanctity of the game? Probably.
Will a more stringent array of tests similar to those of Olympians Michael Phelps and Dara Torres (both voluntarily) ever be instituted in Major League Baseball? I doubt it.
And here’s why: Player’s Union, Agents, Club Owners, the Players themselves. Try to get anything past these guys that could theoretically threaten profits and you’ll quickly realize you’re dealing with a much higher power than voluntary amateur athletes who compete for a friggin’ medal that everyone will forget about two months from now.
The difference between asking Michael Phelps to take a rigorous amount of drug tests to prove his purity and asking Manny Ramirez to do the same can be summed up in two words: Scott Boras.
Boras, evil incarnate, who single-handedly changed sports forever, will hunt down your children, cut off their heads and sell them to Colombian witchdoctors if it means he’ll get 10%. I guarantee you, if Boras represented Phelps (which would never happen whilst Phelps maintains amateur status), Andrea Kramer would be lucky if Phelps even acknowledged her existence after winning 8 gold medals.
Money. Money money money money money. Money. Money money money money. Money. Money money MONEY!
Of course, public relations and digesting the fact that hardworking US Americans actually do want to be assured that their national pastime isn’t being abused both factor into MLB’s stricter regulations; but MLB and its myriad components, from the owners to the players to Joe Blow who spent $48.50 of his paycheck to sit in the upper deck, will continue to do whatever they have to to straddle the precarious line between profit and purity.
It hasn’t been perfected in politics (see Bill Clinton, the Kennedy’s, John Edwards) yet, so it’s no surprise that baseball hasn’t a clue either.
I’m just glad that I can go to sleep at night knowing that I am PED free. A bulging forehead, weak libido and distending testicles wouldn’t be good for my image.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.