Tuesday, March 09, 2004

The lastst steroids news is having a tangeble impact on me - it's more fuel for my Dad's fire when he starts in on his favorite topic - how today's players don't measure up to those from his era. Now he's talking about setting up a different record book since it not fair that the home run records are falling to players that are juiced. This is just the lastest reason to add to his his list which includes: juiced balls, bandbox ballparks, diluted pitching and postage-stamp strike-zones. How do I deal with this guy?

I'd love for this controversy to just go away - but how to solve it?
The current solution in the CBA is not going to accomplish anything except create bad PR for the league (they are experts at this). The NFL "solution" is a joke. The only organization that SEEMS like it has this handled is the Olympics. Do they really, or do they just have good PR?
Would the, until recently, all-powerful MLBPA ever allow Olympic-style anti-doping regulations? It could be the only way out from under a perpetual dark cloud over the game.

I think that the MLBPA would allow Olympic style anti-doping regulations. They would do so because they are secure in the knowledge that whatever tests the anti doping guys dream up, the steroid scientists are 2 leaps ahead. Don't forget that the latest BALCO scandal only exists because an informant sent in a used syringe of the steroid so they could develop a test.

Honestly and realistically I don't think there is any way to "stop" the use of steroids for those that really want to use them. You can catch the stupid users but you're not going to catch the smart ones.

I think the only thing that MLB can do is educate the hell out of the players so they truly know how dangerous these chemicals are. Then put rules in place to really sock it to the stupid users who they manage to catch. First offense, 1 year (paid) suspension, second offense, gone from the league, contract voided.

As far as arguing with your Dad. I can't refute any of his points.

I think that the ball is harder and smaller than it was in the 50's
I think that most modern ballparks are made too small (exceptions, Safeco and Comerica)
I think the strike zone is too small.
There is no argument that there are more MLB pitching positions available now than there were 40 years ago.....


Modern ballplayers are in much better shape than they were even 20 years ago.
Modern travel is easier than it was through the 70's.
Modern ballplayers swing harder and miss more often, when they do hit the ball it goes a ton.
Modern equipment is helping out ball players, forget the gloves and bats, think of how video swing analysis would have helped players in the 30's and 40's
The modern game draws from a much larger talent pool than even 20 years ago.
Careers are becoming longer than they were 20 years ago due to changes in workout, diet and the potential windfalls ($$$$)

Simply spouting that the records are falling because the players are juiced is a simplistic argument. I just hope that I'm not a crusty old curmudgeon and that my mind is still open to new ways of thinking when I hit my later years. There is no way to refute a point when the person making it has closed the book.


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