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Papi Pills

First, I'll admit that I am a biased Red Sox fan. Second, I'll tell you that I have not been one to talk about the steroids era and baseball cheating much.

I have left myself willfully ignorant of all things "controlled substance." The fact is that baseball is entertainment. These men are not my - nor should they be anyone's - moral beacons.

On the other hand, I do not condone cheating. That said, it is less offensive to me when it does not mean a competitive advantage.

The fact is, as so many players names are exposed from the list of 103, it has become clear that so many players - elite and plebeian alike - were taking things to enhance their skills.

As this interesting and seemingly reputable recent op-ed in the NY Times points out, baseball players - and I'm guessing all elite athletes in all sports - have always done everything they can to physically and psychologically survive and excel during a season. He notes the substance use of the era-diverse likes of Paul Molitor, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Sandy Koufax and Mickey Mantle.

I have no doubt that the David Ortiz of 2003 - and other years I'm sure - who was taking or using something to enhance his ability was batting against pitchers who were also chemically enhancing themselves and hitting into the shift played by infielders who were pharmacologically innovative. As Dan Shaughnessy inartfully, crassly and typically self-righteously noted, "our cheaters were better than (the Yankees') cheaters." What Shaughnessy fails to understand is that cheating is much less of an offense when most of your competitors are cheating.

And, again, this is cheating in a form of entertainment. I adore baseball - as perhaps my favorite distraction, entertainment, and sport - but it is still a form of entertainment, not the hypocrisy of philandering religious "leaders" or the like.

Maybe I'm just numbed to these abuses. But, I prefer to think that Papi's abuse was simply not a serious competitive advantage.

I want the "steroid era" to end. I think it did once they started testing players. And I want more clarity as to what folks like Papi and others supposedly took.

Finally, I do not, in any way, in any form, in any light, accept the idea that the Red Sox championships are now diluted, that they mean less. So if the Yankees had won that year that would have been as pure as the white driven snow? I sort of doubt that.

Our cheaters are better than your cheaters and that is a championship within the league and the time period in which the championship season was contested.


Bill & Carole said…
nice new look!

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