The Father’s (and Mother’s) Dilemma

Look, I’ve been over all the arguments.  I think I know them all.  Steroids weren’t illegal ten years ago.  Everyone was doing them, and the game, if not outright encouraging their use, at least turned an incredibly blind eye to their use.  Nobody died, but some records were broken.  New drug policies are now in effect and steroids should pretty much be a thing of the past (maybe).

All true, but there are some things about the steroids era that still rankle me as a parent.  One, if it was so much a culture of the game and so accepted, then why have all of the players either lied outright about using them, flatly denied using them when they were caught by tests, or pretend they don’t nothin’ about nothin’?  My little boy puts posters of his favorite players up on the wall; how many of them have lied to us about their drug use?  How many of them cheated?  Joe deserves to know who the clean players were, so he can make his choices of who to worship.

Two, why hasn’t a single player (as far as I know; correct me if I’m wrong) come out BEFORE they were named and said, “Sure I did them.  AND THEY’RE REALLY BAD FOR YOU, AND NO KIDS SHOULD EVER CONSIDER TAKING DRUGS TO PLAY GAMES BETTER.”  Why hasn’t there been a player who got out front on this issue? 

And Three, are our baseball heroes healthy?  From what I gather, people like A-Rod and Ortiz and Roger Clemens took “supplements” from shady characters, and God knows what kind of nasty crap they ingested.  Manny Ramirez was suspended last year not for steroids, but for possessing a substance that tries to get your testosterone levels back into balance when they’re haywire.  Has anybody stopped to ask about the health of these young men?  And as a parent and fan, am I just a little bit complicit by encouraging this drug use five years ago when everyone was bombing homers and getting grotesquely large?  No thanks, don’t wreck your health for my sake, or the sake of my kid.  I don’t need baseball that badly.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “The Father’s (and Mother’s) Dilemma

  1. Nobody died? Actually, I believe a high school player died directly from steroid use and Ken Cameniti (sp?) was a big user and he died of cancer I think.
    1. Speeding is sort of accepted by our culture, yet most anyone pulled over and asked by the police “How fast were you going?” will say a lower speed than the truth. Players know how steroid hysteria is played by the media so initial reaction is to deny.
    2. They don’t do that because they don’t believe it is in their best interest to do so. I do believe Bronson Arroyo last year basically admitted using without being caught.
    3. Good question. We have players like Feller, Berra, Kiner living to a ripe old age. Will this generation of players be gone much sooner.

    All you can tell your son is we know some who used but have no way of being 100% certain that any specific player did not use. Explain that the players are extremely competitive and some probably used out of fear that other players were getting an advantage. The whole steroid mess is a great lesson on why it is a bad idea to try to cut corners or cheat. The temporary gain results in a long term loss.

    • Thanks for the good and thoughtful comments. The high school player you’re thinking of was Taylor Hooton, who hung himself in 2003 on a steroids-induced depression; a link to his family’s website is at right. Interesting to note that in 2003 ‘roid use was rampant and that was the year the 104 MLB players tested positive. We can add young Taylor to that list. And yes, Caminitti is the closest thing that baseball has had (yet) to an Alzado situation. But it’s early in this game, and these guys are just now hitting middle age. Jose Canseco was recently quoted as saying, “I have no sex drive; nothing,” and is doing all sorts of things to try to restore his testosterone levels. I have to wonder if any of these players who bought and used stuff they got from some guy off the street knew what the side effects could be.

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