Roid Amnesty Now

A little late to be bringing this up, but had Bud Selig and the Players Association any sense at all, they’d have declared amnesty for all PED users with the introduction of the new CBA, admitted there was a steroid epidemic and asked for forgiveness and fresh start long before Washington got involved. With the Mitchell Report due to drop Thursday, they’ll wind up doing that anyway, only with dozens (hundreds?) of reputations ruined and a whole new layer of suspicion upon baseball.

Surely this report will only serve to further muddy up the entire whodunnit, witch-hunt aspects of the investigation, and will likely leave a false impression of the supposed “innocence” of those ballplayers whose names don’t appear. What we won’t hear nearly enough is the idea that for the guilty parties, PED use was a matter of course. If the pitcher is using, so must the batter. With millions on the line in a game where performance is obsessively quantified, a player who does not use obviously ran the risk of losing his job to one who does. And so on. That’s the nature of an epidemic.

Another bad idea we’ll hear thrown around this week is that of affixing astericks to the published accomplishments of those whose names may appear. Do your sport a favor and don’t support this. Contextualizing statistics for their eras has been a part of properly understanding baseball thoughout history. Ruth’s records were set before integration and air travel. Other eras require mental adjustments for circumstances like the dead ball or the higher mound. In the future we should look back to see accomplishments of the late 1980s to early 2000s as those that came in the “questionable training methods era” and leave it at that.

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