Steroids? Don't be silly. "The use of anabolic steroids, in retrospect, will seem almost prehistoric," says Jerome. "Steroids are like the early biplanes. People got in them and crashed. But now people fly everywhere without a second thought. Steroids have negative connotations because of harmful side effects, but get rid of the harm associated with enhancement, and where is the controversy?
"It's a shame Bonds broke the rules, but the desire to go beyond will not end. What's the smartest way to embrace the future, rather than fight it? What we need to do is think it through beforehand. What if we'd done that with steroids? Would we be in this mess?
"We can invent this future if we start thinking about it now. Do we accept the interchange of human and pig DNA? Will there have to be two leagues, two standards for every sport? Because there's no way a 'natural' will be able to compete with a player augmented by drugs, bionics, genetic engineering and nanobots. The naturals will exist side by side with the augmenteds and then will vanish because the augmenteds will be more interesting to watch. But who knows? Maybe naturals will want to watch naturals, and they will survive."
How can Jerome be so sure all this is coming? Didn't he see the glare in the eyes of that white-haired congressman from Vermont? And isn't there a problem with getting rid of the harm: the possibility that you won't know you're harmed ... until it's too late?
"Mothers who want the best for their kids--that's who will break the back of the naturals," says Jerome. "Humans becoming cyborgs is what we're talking about. Hopefully we're just beginning, and we ain't seen nothin' yet."
SOMETIMES YOU ask 25 people a question just to avoid having to answer it yourself. Sometimes the more convoluted and confusing the responses are, the surer you grow that you know the answer deep inside.
I hang up the phone. I close the scrapbook full of photographs from the Summer of Long Balls and Love. I put it back where it's always been, on the shelf with the wedding and birthday and vacation albums. Because every picture tells a story, and sometimes even two.
I was there, that June at Wrigley, when the great fraud began. See, that's me and the three other dupes in the bleachers that weekend when....