On Cheating

Here’s another thing about A-Rod and using performance-enhancing drugs.

In all honesty, when A-Rod was alleged in the Sports Illustrated report to have used PEDs, I was a little disappointed.  He apologized, and now I don’t care.  As baseball fans, I think we’re all past the point of being surprised by any admission of using steroids or performance-enhancing drugs.  I’ve said it before, but here it is again: I think that about 85% of players from 1995 to about now have used performance-enhancing drugs, with the likelihood that those numbers have been declining in the past three years.

So why don’t I care about these guys being found to have taken PEDs? As Rodriguez put it, that was “part of the culture.”  In 1998 when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were assaulting Roger Maris’ home run record, people ran to the ballpark.  Owners and the union loved it – more money in their pockets.  They turned a blind eye at the drug use because it was making them money.  These drugs were part of the game much as the spitball, another form of cheating, was also part of the game.

Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry was widely known to have doctored the baseball and use a spitball, but he’s enshrined in Cooperstown?  If he is, why shouldn’t the steroid users be in the Hall?  I’m sure it was a level playing field where both hitters and pitchers were on ‘roids, so who cares?  The numbers were inflated, but so what?  Let’s face it.  As of 1998, the home run records stopped mattering.  It’s a shame that the most hallowed records in all of sports stopped mattering, but the home run was always such a small portion of the game that we, as fans, should just move on.

I care about .400 hitters. I care about Perfect Games and No-Hitters.  I don’t care about home runs.


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