Friday, December 14, 2007


By Carl

I'm going to flash my libertarian side here for a moment:

Steroids and Sports

So what? If an asshole is dumb enough to poison his body for the fleeting fame that a record holds, or the small promise of a megamillion contract if he performs that much better than everyone else, let him I say.

Baseball’s obligation to athletes in terms of doping should be this: show them video and photographs of Lyle Alzado and Ken Caminiti just before each of them died of cancer, likely induced by steroid use.

You want to cut 40 years off your life? Be our guest! Nobody's stopping you and if they are, there are clearly ways around it, as Lance Armstrong's case shows. Or Alex Rodriguez. I'd rather see you be up front and honest about it, and let kids know that what they are seeing, like in professional wrestling, is an unattainable sham. It will likely stop many of them from trying it, since who takes wrestling seriously, even among kids?

Likewise, if EVERYONE has access to ‘roids, suddenly those “remarkable accomplishments” of Bonds et al become pedestrian. We'll yawn when the first 100 home run season comes to pass, because we'll know that it was dope-induced. Indeed, sport itself will lose an awful lot of its power over society. Athletes will become celebrities in the way that Hulk Hogan or The Rock are: if they have no other talent, they won't be admired at all.

And I'm fine with that...why?

Here's why: the owners ought to pay a very very harsh fine to the Players’ Association for this. Why?

After 1994’s strike, baseball was desperate for good news. Voila, miracle of miracles, McGwire and Sosa have their tete a tete HR derby. Ripken has his Ironman streak (possibly not roided, but I wouldn’t put it past Cal).

BASEBALL’S OWNERS PROFITED MIGHTILY FROM THE USE OF STEROIDS, and for them to suddenly get all red-faced and tut-tuttish about their use is hypocrisy on the order of magnitude of the Bush administration (which many of them supported). They paid these contracts with the incentive clauses and then pretended that the players were pure as snow, meanwhile knowing the guys were juicing.

Steroids put baseball back on the map, and these guys ought to be ashamed for themselves.

There's a real simple solution to this problem, as well as the obscene amounts of money both owners and players make: limit the profits an individual team can make.

We've done this in other areas, and it worked like a charm. Take the utilities of electricity or telephone. In exchange for limiting competition in those fields, we allowed local utilities to set whatever prices they wanted to. The catch? They were limited by statute in the amount of net profit they could earn, and were required to spend the largest share of their revenue on their customers and the infrastructure.

The result? It didn't take nine days to reverse a blackout, like it did in Astoria, Queens in 2006. The regional blackouts of 1965 and 2003 in the northeast covered approximately the same region of land. In 1964, the lights were back on the next day. In 2003, it took up to ten days to restore power on the grid. Why? Because the utilities had a golden opportunity to up their customer service expenditures AND raise their rates (which as I recall, they did).

The most reliable piece of equipment until the telecom deregulations of the 1980s was the phone. No, we didn't have the fancy features that they had in Europe, but in Europe, you couldn't be guaranteed a call would go through, either.

Here in the States, not only did it go through, but the clarity was unparalleled, something you noticed anytime you had to call internationally.

Too, sports have traditionally be given anti-trust exemptions, much like utilities had. It's time now to lock those down properly, and take the money out of the game. Imagine ticket prices actually returning to normal.

(Parenthetical side note: check out this comment I found on
Google News. Does the name look familiar?

Comment by Marc Mukasey, Bracewell + Giuliani
Comment by Marc Mukasey, leader, White Collar Criminal Defense and Special Investigations, Bracewell + Giuliani - 15 hours ago

The report is a wake-up call, but not an indictment because the proof is too flimsy and overly dependant on one person. The single best recommendation is that baseball create a Department of Investigations with an independent head who reports to the MLB president. That would work wonders to maintain the integrity of the game.

As in stepson of our Attorney General...working for Rudy Giuliani...partnering with Rudy Giuliani...

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