I want to stray from the normal topics covered in this space, but not by much.
I see where Major League Baseball wants to punish Alex Rodriguez for allegedly using what they call “performance enhancing drugs”.
Because he’s a capitalist?
Rest assured that a career like A-Rod has had is NOT the result of drugs. No chemical could duplicate the hours of batting practice, the hours of work with a glove, and his attention to the fundamentals of the game that Rodriguez has put in.
The drugs maybe gave him an edge, but they didn’t do the work to turn A-Rod into statistically one of the greatest ballplayers ever to stand in a ballyard.
Why do we even care about high end baseball, football, basketball, and hockey players taking a drug or two to extend their, on average, fairly short careers?
I, for one, don’t.
Professional athletes, except in the rarest of cases, have very short careers. The ones who put butts in seats get paid very well. It is only natural for them to want a way to extend that career a little.
Whatever these guys are putting in their bodies, we have not yet been able to create a drug that takes you or I and turns us into Michael Jordan.
Now, when that happens, simply to protect the game, I might be in favor of a little disclosure or regulation. But until that happens, why do I need to get involved?
I hear these vague statements from the old, fat guys who run the games and pay the salaries. They talk about the sanctity of the game and bullhockey like that.
What they really mean is that they’re under pressure from the Federal Government to “just say no” in a general sense to drugs. Because, as any Congressman or Senator who gets free tickets to Washington Nationals’ games (that would be all of them) will tell you, these players are role models for our youth; and we can’t have them playing on drugs.
Ty Cobb was a wifebeating racist who mostly played drunk. Yet he is revered today as one of the greatest players ever to pick up a bat. Babe Ruth played drunk.
And we’re worried about A-Rod’s little science fair project?
When you read the bleatings of mostly liberal sportswriters who never played the game, you’d think that these guys were threats to national security.
That’s because most of those sportswriters spend their time in air conditioned press boxes that resemble suites, with free food from the owners and free drinks. Their coverage of these things—like much of the mainstream media—is influenced by exactly the wrong people.
Baseball isn’t a sport at that level. It’s a business; and if it had to operate under the same rules as, say, the computer business or the real estate business, they’d be broke in a week.
But it has an exemption from the anti-trust laws and the House and the Senate on its payroll.
Which is why we’re all worried about “performance enhancing drugs” in the first place.
The best thing we could do is to pass a law forbidding government at any level from involving itself in professional sports.
No stadium subsidies, no anti-trust exemptions, no war on drugs, no boxing commissions, no sponsorships that even have the smell of government money.
That would level a playing field one hell of a lot faster than worrying about a player trying to extend his career with a chemical edge.
One last thing. A quote from Charles Barkley, the round mound of rebound. “I’m not a role model… Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids.”
And that’s the final point I would make. If you are a parent, you should be a role model. If you are a professional athlete, you should be a capitalist. We don’t have the right to demand more. Or less.
Photo credit: psgreen01 (Creative Commons)