Work in Sports
Reactions: SI's Life of Reilly
Steroids spell problems for the National Pastime
In his latest column The 'Roid to Ruin , Sports Illustrated's Rick Reilly writes about perhaps the biggest reason for baseball's home run boom. Here's a sampling of feedback:
The steroid issue is another example of so-called "unions" for professional entertainers (sports stars) clearly having their heads up their backsides. They are not representing the good of the game, or protecting the long-range future of all players. They are simply out to protect the big bucks contracts for the chosen few. Their attitude is "if steroids are a necessary evil to get these contracts, then so be it."
Not only should all these baseball "natural's" be tested, but when found positive for steroid use -- à la Roy Hobbs -- they should be banned for life and have all of their statistics stricken from the record.
I never miss Rick Reilly's articles. The "'Roid to Ruin" was right on the money. If "The Babe" would have had a couple of testosterone cocktails, they would have had to put a bomb shelter around the Statue of Liberty!
When will you and the rest of the save-you-from-yourselves crowd start minding your own business? If some half-wit wants to enhance his ability with drugs, so what? It is his body and his choice. Worried about the "sanctity" of baseball records? Well, get over it. I am not willing to give up my liberty just to keep some unimportant "apples-to-apples" comparison alive, and I'm sure most players aren't either. Worried about the player's health? Well, get over it. It is, after all, their health, not yours. What this country needs is more personal responsibility and less collective responsibility.
I completely agree that baseball's lack of a ban on steroids (and the testing for it) is hypocritical and a travesty to baseball history. It's obvious that owners (and the player's association) have an unspoken agreement that juiced players = more home runs = more fan interest = more $$$$. The scare baseball received after the '94 strike has led to this mess. After baseball realized that the fans came back in droves for the McGwire/Sosa home run circus, all the suits in power auctioned off baseball's cherished historical perspective for big hitters, big home runs and big profits -- and only the fans lose. Mediocre players get Hall of Fame numbers and multi-million-dollar contracts while owners and MLB execs make billions. But the fans can't compare Joe D's home run record to Canseco's -- it's blasphemy. Glad someone had the guts to turn on the lights, Rick.
Is baseball the most crooked of the four major spots? I think it is, especially with the sweet deal the players union has. They would never approve drug testing or even a salary cap, for that matter. I still like the game but I wonder what it was like during the '40s, '50s, '60s, and '70s, when steroids were unheard of and stolen bases were the norm.
Reilly brings up a great topic. I always thought the idea of the middle-infielders and pitchers playing "home-run derby" on a weekly basis, had nothing to do with anything but steroids. Obviously training and diet has improved since the '50s and '60s, but since the early '90s? I work out with a trainer twice a week. Just last week we were discussing the topic of steroids in sports. He said that he knows trainers who work out with ballplayers in the off-season. This other trainer put the percentage of players who take such drugs as closer to 60-65%. It seems like the baseball union should step to the plate and offer baseball a fair testing procedure to make sure the players are clean. However, fans should also realize that once the players stop juicing, the long ball, at least as we know it, would cease to exist.
Reilly is right on -- baseball is screwed up on so many levels: the drugs, the money, etc. It needs some major work or it will continue to lose fans.
In regard to your commentary on steroids and MLB: Wow. Have I had my head stuck in the sand or what? This soon to be 50-something-year-old baseball fan has watched the player's physical development erupt in a little more than the past decade and I guess I just wanted to see the sport of baseball stay pure in my eyes. "Must be all that stuff they're feeding cows causing these Herculean off-shoots of ball players." Guess not, huh? One thing I certainly agree, if these guys are juiced it decimates the accomplishments of their noble predecessors in the Hall. Were any of the pro ballplayers except his sons listening to Tony Perez's induction speech a couple of weeks ago? I guess I knew the damn bubble would burst a long time ago. Wow.
Rick's right on target with this one (again). And it's not only baseball. Look at hockey too. The game is getting more and more physical. I don't have the stats on hitting injuries and concussions, but I'll bet they're way up. It's no mystery: the bigger they are, the harder they hit, the more they get hurt. No need to call Columbo on this one.
Excellent article, Reilly. It's good to read someone calling a spade a spade. But the real problem is not with the multi-millionaire, idiot jocks. The real problem is that this sort of thing is happening with high school kids. Talk about a waste of a life!
First, I'd like to say that because of my consistent enjoyment of your column, I read SI from end to beginning. Secondly, I have a 15-year-old son (future stud: 5'10", 214 lbs., bench presses 315) who was tempted to take supplements to hasten his "development". The doctor said O.K. to Creatin, as long as mom and dad monitored its use. After much discussion, Andy decided to see what he could do "on his own", and in one year increased his bench press 130 lbs. There is a lot to be said for discipline and hard work. Thanks for your informative article.