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December 13, 2007

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BumperStickist

Revenge is a dish best served on Broadway - Why not just put on a production of 'Damn Yankees' starring the current Mr. Olympia, Jay Cutler, as Joe Hardy.

http://www.jaycutler.com/

Lou Ferigno could play Joe Boyd.

Appalled Moderate

Nah.

The best, best revenge against the Yankees is when they revive the show again in 20 years, and rename it "Damn Red Sox".

Sue

As long as Nolan Ryan isn't named, I'll be happy. For sure no current Texas Ranger will be on the list. I say that with confidence because they all suck. ::grin::

vnjagvet

Let's just say that many will be "shocked, shocked" that steroids and HGH have been used by aging ballplayers.

Not me. These guys tried to get every edge possible, and as long as it was not explicitly illegal or tested for, guess what? They are going to what those in other sports were doing.

Hello. It was ramapant in track and field; why not baseball?

And Lyle Alzado was not the last NFL star to use them either.

Cortizone is a steroid. It has been prescribed for 40-50 years for folks with joint problems and muscle damage. Athletes are prime users. No problem, right?

In their minds, it is not too far to go to the next level of anabolic steroids and HGH.

Like cortizone, it works. What's the difference?

Devil's bargains have been a great fictional plot line forever. Damn Yankees was just one in a long line.

Other Tom

What has always galled me the most about this whole thing is, natch, the performance of the players' union.

The union is comprised of two kinds of members: those who use steroids and those who don't. It was obviously in the interest of the users to avoid drug testing, and it was conversely in the interest of the others to have testing implemented.

When suspicions first arose and MLB proposed testing for steroids, the union sided with the users and thus against the non-users. Way to go, assholes.

Jane

I guess this means Clemons is retiring....

vnjagvet

...again

Topsecretk9

FYI...the list available at Drudge - siren

Charlie (Colorado)

Is there anyone on JOM who is even less interested in this story than I am?

vnjagvet

Now Charlie. We do have sports fans here.

vnjagvet

Here's the list that wnbc pulled back:

Brady Anderson, Manny Alexander, Rick Ankiel, Jeff Bagwell, Barry Bonds, Aaron Boone, Rafaeil Bettancourt, Bret Boone, Milton Bradley, David Bell, Dante Bichette, Albert Belle, Paul Byrd, Wil Cordero, Ken Caminiti, Mike Cameron, Ramon Castro, Jose Canseco, Ozzie Canseco, Roger Clemens, Paxton Crawford, Wilson Delgado, Lenny Dykstra, Johnny Damon, Carl Everett, Kyle Farnsoworth, Ryan Franklin, Troy Glaus, Rich Garces, Jason Grimsley, Juan Gonzalez, Eric Gagne, Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Giambi, Jeremy Giambi, Jose Guillen, Jay Gibbons, Juan Gonzalez, Clay Hensley, Jerry Hairston, Felix Heredia Jr., Darren Holmes, Wally Joyner, Darryl Kile, Matt Lawton, Raul Mondesi, Mark McGwire, Guillermo Mota, Robert Machado, Damian Moss, Abraham Nunez, Trot Nixon, Jose Offerman, Andy Pettitte, Mark Prior, Neifi Perez, Rafael Palmiero, Albert Pujols, Brian Roberts, Juan Rincon, John Rocker, Pudge Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa, Scott Schoenweis, David Segui, Alex Sanchez, Gary Sheffield, Miguel Tejada, Julian Tavarez, Fernando Tatis, Maurice Vaughn, Jason Varitek, Ismael Valdez, Matt Williams, Kerry Wood

Sue

Pudge? Sheesh. Juan? Sheesh. It didn't help the Rangers any. Well, maybe it did one year. They actually made it to the playoffs only to lose promptly to the Yankees, who apparently had more steroids on the field than we did.

cathyf

I guess I don't really understand the problem. The difference between a hardworking dedicated good-but-not-fantastic ballplayer and a hardworking dedicated major-league talent, is, well, talent. We all know what "talent" is -- a genetic property. And, for those not paying attention in grade-school science, a gene is a section of a chromasome which spells out how much of a particular hormone you produce. When we talk about one person having "talent" that another one does not have, we are saying that the person, because of the miniscule variations of genetic material that makes each of us an individual, has some slight elevation of this or that hormone.

So why should it matter that this ballplayer's "talent" came from injecting some hormone into his body, while this other ballplayer's "talent" comes because he produces the elevated levels of the hormone "naturally"? -- i.e. 10,000 years ago some ancestor of his happened to stand in the right place at the right time so that a gamma ray hit her egg cell and caused a favorable mutation.

TM

I guess I don't really understand the problem.

I have very few concerns about the health implications of steroid use for a guy making $5 to $20 million per year and advised by trainers, nutritionists, doctors, and anyone else with whom he cares to consult.

However... it is almost inevitable that, with such a bright shining light at the top, marginal players - high school kids looking for a contract or scholarship, minor leaguers looking for the next step up, and so on - will feel obliged to use steroids just to maintain parity or get an edge. And there are probable health issues there.

That said, if we lived in some weird world where steroids were enforceably banned at every level *except* the Bigs, I would probably be OK with it, mainly because I am not a player; however, that (weakly-held) position is a bit weird because, in effect, we would be paying folks huge sums and expecting them to risk their long term health in exchange.

Kind of like the current NFL, or boxing (or, except for the huge sums, coal mining, or lumberjacking, or the military, I guess.)

bgates

But cathy, steroid use is dangerous (I know of one long-time user who almost lost his bid to be re-elected governor). People who gain an advantage through potentially health-threatening activities like weightlifting, eating meat, and steroid use can't be allowed to compete against athletes who prefer yoga, restricted calorie diets, and no steroids.

vnjagvet

Most law schools and medical schools are highly competitive.

Even 50 years ago, I personally knew fellow law students and medical students who took "dexies" (dexedrene) and "bennies" (benzedrine), both forms of amphetimine to stay awake while studying for and taking final exams, or while staying on call for 24 or 48 hour shifts. I was always afraid to take them. (That fear probably saved my life because I now know, but did not know then that I have a genetic heart condition, an "electrical anomaly", that is aggravated by such drugs. The first symptom of such aggravation is often sudden death.)

These folks generally acquired these drugs in the black market, not by prescription.

My point: Trying to get an edge is not new and is not going to go away.

cathyf

Well you are the people who created a world where we give high school kids contracts and scholarships, and minor-league players that next step up, based upon whether millions of years ago an ancestor stood in the right place at the right time to catch a gamma ray to the gamete. If you reward people for having a particular biochemistry, then more people will have that biochemistry -- it's simple supply and demand. If you want people to stop trying to alter their biochemistry, then you should stop paying people based upon their biochemistry.

(Hmmm... Didn't MLK have a dream along those lines?)

s1c

No Nomar, Mike Lowell, Damon, Varitek, Ortiz or Manny Ramirez on the PDF that has been released. Basically, that is all that I looked for just because I thought Varitek and Damon were likely candidates. The names will not surprise anyone and it was good to hear Mitchell say, there should be no reprisals or punishments. I am just glad that it is over.

vnjagvet

Here's the official list according to the NYT. As noted Tom's latest revision, it is different from the list taken down by WNBC:

Chad Allen
Manny Alexander
Rick Ankiel
Mike Bell
David Bell
Gary Bennett Jr.
Marvin Benard
Larry Bigbie
Barry Bonds
Kevin Brown
Paul Byrd
Ken Caminiti
Jose Canseco
Mark Carreon
Jason Christiansen
Howie Clark
Roger Clemens
Jack Cust
Brendan Donnelly
Lenny Dykstra
Bobby Estalella
Matt Franco
Ryan Franklin
Eric Gagne
Jason Giambi
Jeremi Giambi
Jay Gibbons
Troy Glaus
Jason Grimsley
Jose Guillen
Jerry Hairston Jr.
Matt Herges
Phil Hiatt
Glenallen Hill
Darren Holmes
Todd Hundley
David Justice
Chuck Knoblauch
Tim Laker
Mike Lansing
Paul Lo Duca
Nook Logan
Josias Manzanillo
Gary Matthews Jr.
Cody McKay
Kent Mercker
Bart Miadich
Hal Morris
David Naulty
Denny Neagle
Jim Parque
Andy Pettitte
Adam Piatt
Todd Pratt
Stephen Randolph
Adam Riggs
Brian Roberts
John Rocker
F.P. Santangelo
Benito Santiago
Gary Sheffield
Scott Schoeneweis
David Segui
Mike Stanton
Miguel Tejada
Ismael Valdez
Mo Vaughn
Randy Velarde
Ron Villone
Fernando Vina
Rondell White
Todd Williams
Jeff Williams
Matt Williams
Steve Woodard
Kevin Young
Gregg Zaun

NB: Albert Pujols is not on this list.

Jane

Neither is Jason Veritek. He's the only Red Sox player I recognized (fair weather fan that I am).

Forbes

Report is the biggest dud under the sun. Names named include players who've been reported in the press as having a rumored connection with "performance enhancing" drugs--whether actually prohibited, or not. Allegation by gossip. It doesn't get much lower than that.

It looks as if much of the alleged use is a of a limited nature during a rehab period.

Granted there are a couple trainers involved that admit to securing steroids and/or HGH for a number of players--but again, for rehab purposes, not as part of a regular training regime.

The report serves to paper over Barry Bonds usage by distracting with dozens of players long gone from the game.

Lenny Dykstra is named, and he hasn't played a game since 1996.

If this were as big a problem as claimed, there would be more than 29 players--active in 2007--that were in some way associated in an investigation that goes back more than a decade.

Geez, is the Humanitarian Bowl on tonight?

Sue

Great, the official list took Pudge and Juan off. That's a relief. /s

Sara

I have been to games with less than a thousand fans in the stands and many of those tickets were comp tickets. I've been to sell outs. Fans pay and come out in droves to watch a Barry Bonds break the record or to see a Roger Clemens pitch. The "performance enhancing contracts" of big name talent lead to "performance enhancing drugs."

If men are so stupid to take steroids and want to live with their shrunken balls as a consequence, in order to hit that extra homerun, who am I to care as a fan who pays to go to a game to see that homerun?

I care, because as a Mother, I fought coaches in both football and baseball who told me, "your son is a natural, but he could be a super star, if ...." The "if" for me was unacceptable.

I say the baseball management and owners have only themselves to blame. The fans like their stars. The only thing that suffers is the statistics and we all know that baseball prays to the god of statistics. So, an asterisk next to Barry Bonds to distinguish his record from the supposedly clean record of Hank Aaron, big deal.

I'm still mad that something Pete Rose did off the field denies him the recognition he deserves as a talented player/manager in the Hall of Fame.

Playing baseball, as opposed to football, takes good hand/eye coordination. No amount of steroids will improve someone's natural coordination. Barry Bonds still needs to be able to see the pitch and judge the timing of his swing. The fact that steroids will improve power so that the ball goes not just over the fence but to the upper decks at the furthest point is an enhancement, the fact that a solid double might turn into a power home run. But the talent to connect with the ball has to be there first.

Money is the name of the game. Owners, look to yourselves, clean up your "game."

Other Tom

"Well you are the people who created a world where we give high school kids contracts and scholarships..."

Pure bullshit. Beneath contempt. Don't ever give us this crap about how "we created a society." In every society people do right and people do wrong, and in fact all people do some of both. That doesn't mean we shouldn't ferret out and identify those who do wrong when they in fact do.

I couldn't care less if some jock wants to shrink his balls to the size of peanuts and shorten his life by using this stuff. What I care about is that in doing so he improves his ability in the game, and crowds out people who love the game, are good at it, and don't want to destroy themselves in that way.

Sara

Who is actually more valuable? I asked my son, who is a baseball coach, this question. He says the guy who can lay down the bunt or hit the single at the critical point in a game is the more talented and more valuable, but the big slugger is still what puts a team on the map or a player in the sights of the pro scouts and most importantly the paying fan in the bleachers and enables those who play for the love of the game to have a game to play in and the equipment to play with.

As a coach, he preaches keeping your body clean of toxins and your physical body flexible. He stresses flexibility over bulk. It is a constant conflict with young ball players (18, 19, 20 year olds) who equate the size of their muscles to their manhood.

cathyf
I couldn't care less if some jock wants to shrink his balls to the size of peanuts and shorten his life by using this stuff. What I care about is that in doing so he improves his ability in the game, and crowds out people who love the game, are good at it, and don't want to destroy themselves in that way.
What I'm saying is that the jocks who are good at the game -- really good, professional good -- without injecting/ingesting steroids are good because their own genetic endowment causes them to synthesize the drugs in their cells using nothing more than the food that they eat. And that "natural talent" just like "unnatural talent" causes the same sorts of health effects. Those high school athletes who drop dead because of "taking" steroids are not, biochemically speaking, all that much different from the high school athletes who drop dead because they synthesize the hormones on their own and those hormones kill them.
bgates

[Y]ou should stop paying people based upon their biochemistry.
OK. I'll start paying them according to the market demand for their abilities.

(Hmmm... Didn't MLK have a dream along those lines?)
No, he didn't. His dream was that people would be judged for considerably more complex aspects of their biochemistry than skin color.

bgates

What I care about is that in doing so he improves his ability in the game, and crowds out people who love the game, are good at it, and don't want to destroy themselves in that way.

People who practice all the time also improve their ability and crowd out people who love the game, are good at it, and don't want to sacrifice the time and effort. Let's make dedication illegal, too.

Other Tom

Bgates, I've yet to see any evidence that being dedicated poses a serious risk to one's health or longevity. Taking steroids does. Can you spot any difference?

If not, try another one: being dedicated is not against the law. Taking steroids is.

Want more? Or are you and Cathyf just pulling our leg?

Other Tom

Back in the 70's, there were several instances where the Canadian Mounites had burned the barns of Quebec separatists. People became very concerned. The consummate fool Pierre Trudeau commented that "if people are upset about illegal barn-burning, I'll make barn-burning legal, and that should calm them down." One of the opposition members pointed out to Mr. Trudeau that barn-burning wasn't wrong because it was illegal, it was illegal because it was wrong.

And so it is with the use of dangerous substances to improve athletic performance.

To continue the thought for the slow-reading group, dedication is not good because it is legal, it is legal because it is good.

Other Tom

"And that 'natural talent' just like 'unnatural talent' causes the same sorts of health effects."

What on earth is the source of this inanity? Is Cathyf simply deranged?

cathyf
I've yet to see any evidence that being dedicated poses a serious risk to one's health or longevity.
Well, I've seen lots of kids sacrifice their educations (and chance for a middle-class adulthood) by spending 30, 40, 60 hours per week in practices and weight training and games and travel to games. Professor assigns 5 hours of homework? No way! They would have to stay up late or wake up early to get it done! Coach tells them to be at the track running sprints at 6am? Well, they'll set their alarms...
bgates

being dedicated is not against the law. Taking steroids is.
Gee, if taking steroids is against the law, it must be wrong. Otherwise the government itself would have made (gasp!) a mistake! You must be looking forward to the Huckabee administration, OT. I understand he plans to outlaw any number of things that "pose a serious risk to one's health or longevity."

There are ways to grow muscle without taking steroids; one historically popular avenue has been eating. A lot. Mostly red meat, whole milk, and eggs. OT, would you like to argue that diet should be outlawed, or would you like to argue it does not "pose a serious risk to one's health or longevity"?

Want more?
Yes. If you have any arguments that aren't laughable, try some of those.

Sara

cathyf, on that I take great exception. My son would never have finished school at all if it weren't for sports. The only reason he ever studied at all was to stay eligible to play with at least a B average. I loved school, didn't need an incentive, the love of learning was enough for me. For him, who we later discovered was exceptionally far-sighted and suffered from ADHD and was so blind in one eye, he would qualify as disabled, was the Defensive Captain of the football team, finished school with a solid B average, played All Star Baseball, went on to manage 3 Restaurants for years and then went back to school and got his degree and is now doing what he loves best, working with young athletes as a teacher and a coach at about 1/4 of what he made before. He's happier than I've ever seen him.

Without sports and by his own admission he would have been a drop out and most likely a drug addict or alcoholic. From sports he learned leadership, teamwork, dedication, discipline, sharing, hard work ethic, nutrition, good health practices, and a whole host of other lessons far more important to his "middle class adulthood" than reciting the periodic table or knowing Keats from Browning. He learned percentages and fractions by the stats on the back of baseball cards long before it was taught in school. He was reading biographies of his favorite sports heroes and histories of great events and places long before he studied them in school. He studied the architecture of stadiums, instead of the great churches, so what? He learned geography from tracking the leagues on a map. I thanked God every day for sports when my son was in school. And when he was at those endless practices, at least I knew where he was and he wasn't sitting in front of a video game or mindlessly vegging in front of the TV or hanging out on street corners smoking pot with the rest of the kids.

Academic elitists drive me nuts.

bgates

Alcohol consumption: good from 1781-1919 because it was legal then, then bad from 1920-1933 because the law changed, and good again 1934 to the present because the government said so.

To continue the thought for the slow-thinking group, perhaps the law is not dispositive on moral issues.

glasater

All the above comments seem pretty valid but I would like to interjet a couple of observations.
These folks taking enhancements are going to suffer health consequensis because of taking the medication. When their situation becomes dire--who is going to foot the medical bill?
The way the dems are talking now--all of us will. This is something to contemplate.
The other thought is--I play golf. I don't have a clue as to how steroids would improve my game.

Other Tom

Bgates, I'm going to try to help you as best I can. Let's take one point at a time, being as patient as possible.

The fact that steroid use is against the law does not make it wrong, nor did I suggest that it does. It would be wrong regardless of whether it was illegal. The government can make things illegal whether those things are wrong or not. In the case of steroid distribution and use, as with barn-burning, it happens that the government has outlawed activities that are wrong. (I had hoped that the anecdote involving Elliott Trudeau would illustrate this point for you, but it seems only to have confused you.)

It is wrong to distribute steroids, and wrong to have them become nearly essential to athletic excellence, because they pose extremely serious risks to health and life and, at the same time, they substantially improve athletic performance. And as I made clear to all but the most dim-witted, I do not care about its use by anyone who wants to harm himself (ditto red meat, alcohol or heroin) provided that his doing so does not have serious third-party effects. When professional athletes do steroids, it has precisely such effects: it gives them a decided advantage over those who want to participate without using the banned substances, and requires that in order to be competitive they must subject themselves to serious risks unrelated to their participation in the athletic events.

I would never argue that red meat, eggs or whole milk should be outlawed, although I do not consume them myself. I discern no unfair competitive advantage accruing to those who do, inasmuch as it is entirely possible to perform at the highest level athletically without those foods. In any event, while I don't know the extent to which they pose a serious risk to health or longevity, I do know that whatever risk they pose is trivial compared to that posed by steroids.

Alcohol did not become right or wrong according to whether it was outlawed by any government at any time, nor can any sensible person believe that anything I have said suggests that it did so. It has always been fine, at least by me, if a person wants to get drunk for as long as he lives. I have always believed it wrong--and it has always been unlawful--for a person to operate an automobile while drunk. During prohibition, alcohol was wrong solely because it was illegal. Driving drunk has always been both wrong and illegal. Get it?

I have explained to you why steroid use for the purpose of improving athletic performance is wrong, regardless of whether it is illegal (thankfully, the government got this one right). Should I explain to you why barn-burning is wrong also, or can you figure that one out for yourself?

cathyf
For him, who we later discovered was exceptionally far-sighted and suffered from ADHD and was so blind in one eye, he would qualify as disabled, was the Defensive Captain of the football team, finished school with a solid B average, played All Star Baseball
I think your son must have some exceptionally narrow variety of ADHD, and must have perfect vision in the other eye. I know a few kids with ADHD or bad eyesight, and they are typically the designated victims of the jocks' bullying. And the coaches, who have enormous influence over the kids, who could put a full instant stop to the bullying with a few sharp words and a hairy eyeball -- they stay silent and smirk, apparently because they believe that their precious athletes' hard work and dedication entitles them to the reward of kicking around the slow awkward dorky kids.
bgates

OT, you responded to my comment "let's make dedication illegal" by saying
being dedicated is not against the law. Taking steroids is.
I had taken that to mean you were indeed suggesting that steroid use was wrong because it was illegal. Now it sounds like you were saying dedication should not be outlawed because it is currently not illegal. I apologize for thinking you were making a weak argument, when you were making no argument at all.

You say there must be no advantage to a red meat diet, because it is possible to compete at the highest levels without it. Can I infer that you think it is not possible to compete at the highest levels without steroid use, or is this another point you haven't thought through? Or would you rather say that while it is possible but harder to compete at the highest level without steroid use, since plainly not every major league ballplayer is a steroid user, steroid users crowd out nonusers on the margins? Go ahead and latch on to that more defensible point if you like; but why does that marginal effect not hold true for a muscle-building diet high in cholesterol and animal fat?

I suppose you will reiterate that the danger posed by such a diet - though you don't know what that risk is - is much less than the danger posed by steroid use. All steroids, at any dosage? Or is that the third issue you haven't really thought through?

Tell you what, why don't you go ahead and pontificate on why burning other people's property is wrong. You're probably up to it. I believe in you.

bgates

One other thing - Major League Baseball can do whatever it wants. They can keep the DH and rule out DHEA or vice versa. But you're saying it's not enough for MLB to do this, you favor government involvement - not to protect the health of the users, which you've made clear you don't care about, but to protect the game.

300 million people, guys in their 50s, volunteer firefighters should all be prevented from taking steroids under pain of federal prison time to protect the integrity of baseball?

Sara

cathyf: please, a kid with natural athletic ability isn't held back by any bullying. My son's hyperactivity was used to advantage and the athletic activity tired him out, and he responded well to the regimentation and discipline. Once we discovered his vision problem, he began to wear 1 contact lens and protective goggles when he played. He was always a great 2nd baseman in baseball, but once the vision was corrected, he also became a decent, not great, but decent hitter. But, his biggest advantage was he was a leader and sports came easy to him. Kids who do not have natural athletic ability shouldn't be out there. There are plenty of other ways to learn competitive skills and have fun. In football, my son would have been a lousy quarterback, but he was a star on defense, mostly because he had no fear, much to my dismay many times. He had an uncanny knack of knowing where the ball was and that was a skill that many defensive players never get the hang of. He was quick, but he wasn't fast, so he knew being a wide receiver wasn't for him. He also understood that when he grew to 6'2" and stayed at 175 lbs. his playing days were going to be limited as he got to the level where the guy across the line was 280 lbs. He had coaches that tried to get him to bulk up, but fortunately he had also had coaches that put the fear of God into him about bulking up and when I got wind of it, I added my voice to the dangers and stupidity. He turned his interest into becoming a student of the game and really learning what makes a great coach.

I've seen alot of kids over the years whose parents should never have brought them to tryouts. They aren't really that interested, they don't have any natural athletic skills, are not particularly coordinated and don't really care. But some Mom or Dad will be all bent out of shape that their little Johnny sits on the bench or feels put upon by the other kids.

And dorky kids tend to get bullied because they are being dorks. Kids can be cruel, but this is the real world, rubber padding their lives isn't doing them or society any favors. Sports isn't for every kid, but it is everything to some kids. My son had two extra close friends, one was the team quarterback, who went on to college ball and then into a business career and his own development company, the other was a Civil War and history buff and the team Mascot. He couldn't take 3 steps without tripping over his feet. He couldn't score the winning TD, but he sure could work up the crowd. He became a college professor at a top university and participates in Civil War reenactments and community theater on the side.

Other Tom

You make one valid point, Bgates: I should have said "dedication is neither wrong nor against the law." Of course, in the case of that particular virtue, it should go without saying that the reason it is not against the law is that it is not wrong, and indeed is a trait to be fostered.

Apart from that, I can explain this stuff to you, but I can't understand it for you--that part is up to you, and apparently it is a struggle for you.

"Can I infer that you think it is not possible to compete at the highest levels without steroid use...?" You can absolutely, without any question whatsoever, infer that for a number of people it is not possible. Think, for a moment, of the East German Women's Swimming Team. And ask yourself why so many major leaguers use the stuff. My point applies precisely at the margin, as you suggest; I should think that also would go without saying. I am far less certain about any marginal effect of a red-meat diet as opposed to a diet rich in full protein that does not include red meat, but I am entirely certain that in any event such a diet does not pose anything remotely like the health risk that steroid use poses. And I don't think it serves much purpose to quibble over dosage. Suffice to say that a dosage sufficient to have the desired effect is sufficient to pose extremely grave risks to health and life. Your argument here, if you have one, is not with me but with medical science.

Prohibition of alcohol in the US is a classic case of an activity being malum prohibitum but not malum in se. For that reason it took hold only in the US, and was scorned throughout Europe and the rest of the Western Hemisphere. More important, in the US itself a very substantial slice of the population ridiculed it and ignored it altoghether.

In contrast, the understanding that steroid use in competitive athletics is malum in se is held by every government in the world, and by innumerable non-governmental bodies including the IOC and the national sports governing bodies in every nation I know of, now that the weird aberration of East Germany is no longer with us. Those who thought prohbition of alcohol was silly, and were opposed to it, were legion. The group who thinks steroids are acceptable in competitive athletics appears to consist of you and Mr. Jose Canseco. And, who knows, perhaps Ms. Cathyf.

Other Tom

"300 million people, guys in their 50s, volunteer firefighters should all be prevented from taking steroids under pain of federal prison time to protect the integrity of baseball?" Now you're being sillier than I thought you could be--and that's a statement of majestic dimension.

The government prohibition of the unlawful manufacture, distribution and use of steroids, as with countless other drugs, is utterly unrelated to their use in competitive athletics. The integrity of baseball should be protected by Major League Baseball, and in my opinion the government should have no role in that activity whatsoever.

The "pain of federal prison" is applied only to those who manufacture and distribute steroids unlawfully, as is the case with innumerable other drugs, and for very good reason. So far as I am aware, possession of steroids for personal use remains a misdemeanor.

I believe it is a legitimate function of government to regulate the manufacture and distribution of any number of substances that affect the mind or the body, and I take some comfort in the fact that such a view is almost universally held. It is by no means inconsistent with that belief to be indifferent to what an individual decides to do to himself with unlawfully distributed materials, and the law generally recognizes a sharp distinction between the two activities. I take a different view where the use affects third parties, as with the drunk driver, the steroid-using athlete who surpasses the non-user of superior talent, or the meth freak who decides to go on a shooting spree.

Other Tom

Meanwhile, here's a little light reading in the form of a 2004 statement before Congress of one Joseph T. Rannazzisi of the DEA:

"The issue of steroid trafficking and abuse has recently received national attention in the context of professional sports. But the importance of stopping steroid abuse extends far beyond our national pastimes; the importance is to give our children a healthy future. Abuse of anabolic steroids among young Americans has reached dangerous levels, and it puts our kids at increased risk of heart disease, liver cancer, depression, stunted growth, and eating disorders, not to mention increased episodes of hostility and aggression.

"Anabolic androgenic steroids are synthetic chemicals based on the structure and pharmacology of testosterone originally developed in the 1930s to help rebuild body tissue and prevent breakdown of tissue in individuals suffering from debilitating diseases. They promote the growth of skeletal muscle and the development of male sexual characteristics, in addition to other effects. Their popularity with athletes exists due to the muscle development and physical performance enhancements they provide. Unfortunately, this popularity has filtered down to our nation’s teenagers and young adults, who are lured by easy shortcuts to greater athletic prowess and more muscular physiques.

"Steroid use among young Americans has already passed the danger zone. The 2003 Monitoring the Future Study conducted by the University of Michigan indicates that approximately 3.5 percent of American high school students have used illegal anabolic steroids at least once by grade 12. In that same study, an incredible 45 percent of all 12th graders did not believe taking steroids posed a great risk.

"This report came on the heels of earlier studies, including the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) report of 1999, which stated that more than a half million 8th and 10th grade students where using anabolic steroids. A Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey conducted by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated that in 2001, five percent of all high school students reported use of steroids pills/injections without a physician prescription during their lifetimes."

Porchlight

Sowell has a good column on this subject: Say It Ain’t So

Bud Selig is no Kenesaw Mountain Landis, that's for sure.

Other Tom

Interesting note about Roger Clemens. Apparently this trainer guy told Mitchell that he gave steroids to Clemens at the end of the 2000 season so he could use them in preparation for the post-season. In Game 4 of the ALCS against Seattle pitched a 1-hit shutout. Then against the Mets in the World Series he pitched eight innings of two-hit ball, allowing one run. That's 17 innings, 3 hits, one run--and he also struck out 27 batters. These were arguably the two greatest back-to-back performances in post-season history.

Note also that up through age 33 Barry Bonds averaged one home run every sixteen at bats. From age 34 through age 43 it was one every eight at-bats.

bgates

I take a different view where the use affects third parties, as with the drunk driver, the steroid-using athlete who surpasses the non-user of superior talent, or the meth freak who decides to go on a shooting spree.
OT, one of those things is not like the others.

Your argument here, if you have one, is not with me but with medical science.
Many medical scientists say so, butAccording to Adrian Dobs, [for one,] an endocrinologist at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, for most steroid users the likelihood of "something terrible or catastrophic" happening is "probably pretty low." The point appears debatable.
I am entirely certain that in any event such a diet does not pose anything remotely like the health risk that steroid use poses.
Well, you were certain enough that steroid use wasn't a felony to be insulting about my intimation that it is. Let's see what Rep. Cliff Hearns has to say:
"The Anabolic Steroid Act of 1990 makes it a felony to use and distribute these drugs."
But to the point that steroid use is dangerous and should therefore be illegal, you seem to be fleeing into Latin rather than presenting an argument. Why is alcohol prohibition not malum in se? Because France won't prohibit it too? Because 'Abuse of [alcohol] among young Americans' has not 'reached dangerous levels, and it puts our kids at increased risk of heart disease, liver cancer, depression, stunted growth, and eating disorders, not to mention increased episodes of hostility and aggression'?
[T]he understanding that steroid use in competitive athletics is malum in se is held by every government in the world
Which does not address those not involved in competitive athletics. I said earlier that MLB can do whatever it wants for all I care. I perhaps have spelled out for you that other organized sports organizations can do the same.
The group who thinks steroids are acceptable in competitive athletics appears to consist of you and Mr. Jose Canseco.
Again, sports organizations should be free to set their own rules. I think people should be free to make up their own minds otherwise; presumably more than Mr Canseco agree with me, since "Anabolic steroids are not controlled in most countries" (that's from Mr Rannazzisi's testimony.) Apparently those who think people should be free to ingest even harmful compounds like testosterone and ethanol are 'legion'.

I can't understand it for you
If you could understand it for yourself, that would be progress.

Look, I don't expect you to be convinced by my argument, I don't expect you to stop making easily correctable factual errors, and I don't expect you to stop being condescending. But could you do one of those three?

Other Tom

Dear Bgates:

When you are not digging deeper, you are branching off into new and irrelevant ground.

(1) I'll go with the "many medical scientists"; you can go with this fellow Adrian Dobbs if you wish. You may contend that the point appears debatable; I maintain that the debate is largely settled.

(2) I expressed very little "certainty" that mere possession was a misdemeanor; my words were "so far as I am aware." To the extent I can discover anything on the subject through the miracle of Google, simple possession is, indeed, a misdemeanor under the 1990 Act. I don't mean to parse unduly the words of Rep. Cliff Hearns, but "use AND distribution" is indeed a felony. The punishment for simple possession under federal law is up to one year in prison, which is the widely-used definition of a misdemeanor.

(3) You missstate and misinterpret me by attributing to me the position that "steroid use is dangerous and should therefore be illegal." My libertarian instincts suggest to me that the use of anything that is dangerous only to oneself should not be illegal. It is the point where an activity becomes dangerous to others that it is appropriate for the state to intervene. Hence the laws against drunk driving. Hence the laws against manufacture and distribution of a host of pharmaceuticals, including steroids, without proper medical supervision.

(4) When you ask "why alcohol prohibition is not malum in se," I confess I have no idea what you mean. I'll assume that you mean to ask why its consumption is not malum in se. The answer requires the application of some nice adult judgments, but the simplest explanation would be to go back again to the notion of harm to others. Drink all you want; don't drive drunk; don't provide booze to kids who are too young to handle it.

(5) It is certainly true that the universal prohibition against the use of steroids in competitive athletics does "not address those not involved in competitive athletics." I believe we are in complete agreement here: every sports organization should be free to set its own rules, and indeed, as I have said, every sports governing body in the world from the IOC on down has most emphatically prohibited the use of steroids. In this respect they and I are in complete agreement; whether you also agree that their use should be banned in athletics is not clear to me. As you will recall, I began by saying, "What I care about is that in doing so he improves his ability in the game, and crowds out people who love the game, are good at it, and don't want to destroy themselves in that way." You responded, or at least purported to respond, by suggesting that dedication ahould be "made illegal too." From that I drew the inference that you were placing dedication and steroids on the same plane, and that you understood me to be making an argument for the illegality of steroids. In fact, my contention was merely that they should be banned in athletics, for all the reasons I have stated.

(6) "I think people should be free to make up their own minds otherwise." So do I, and I said so: "I couldn't care less if some jock wants to shrink his balls to the size of peanuts and shorten his life by using this stuff." Remember? As for illegality outside the realm of sports (where steroid use unfairly affects third parties), I have laid out as clearly as I know how the case for providing harsh punishments for their unauthorized manufacture and distribution, and lesser penalties for their mere use. With the respect to the latter, I am being somewhat of a devil's advocate, for if I were making the rules I would continue to punish the makers and distributors, but I would leave the users alone. Most people disagree with me on what should be done with users, and the laws reflect this.

As for my easily correctable factual errors, I don't recall your pointing any such errors out. And I decline to be convinced by your argument, and similarly decline to stop being condescending--it's too much fun. So I guess it's Oh-for-Three.

Elliott

glasater:

The other thought is--I play golf. I don't have a clue as to how steroids would improve my game.

From a Golf Digest article on the subject:

The first piece of any golf doping regimen involves ambitious weight training and cardio work. Anabolic steroids have no effect on a player who isn't adding muscle by working out. The chemical component most commonly mentioned by trainers and experts interviewed for this story was a 5 percent testosterone cream, applied just before each workout. A week's supply of that cream would cost approximately $40. "That level of steroid would have minimal side effects," says Yesalis. "Certainly nothing that would prevent a golfer from being able to concentrate on the course. At least five different studies have shown that doses far, far larger than this cause no psychological response."

Experts estimate a player could generate 10 percent more clubhead speed using testosterone cream in addition to working out. That translates into roughly 30 more yards of carry for a tour player swinging at 110 miles per hour with a driver. Managed with expert supervision, a player could get the benefits from that relatively small amount of testosterone without even triggering a positive result on a drug test.

And, from the same article, something to stay cool under pressure:

Beta-blockers -- known as nerve-calming "helpers" for players with shaky putting strokes -- are designed to block the flow of adrenaline and keep the heart rate and blood pressure under control for patients with heart arrhythmia, high blood pressure or glaucoma.

Malum in se atque prohibitum.

bgates

"300 million people, guys in their 50s, volunteer firefighters should all be prevented from taking steroids under pain of federal prison time to protect the integrity of baseball?" Now you're being sillier than I thought you could be....
The "pain of federal prison" is applied only to those who manufacture and distribute steroids unlawfully....

OK, so there's you being condescending because I thought recreational use of steroids could be punishable by prison time.
When you wrote that, you weren't certain that you were right, but, like I said, you were certain enough to be insulting to me for thinking otherwise.

And here's you in a later comment:
The punishment for simple possession under federal law is up to one year in prison
Hmm. Well, the people sentenced to a year in federal prison can take heart in knowing they're serving time for a misdemeanor rather than a felony (looks like Rep Hearns slid one past me there.)

It is the point where an activity becomes dangerous to others that it is appropriate for the state to intervene.
Quite right. You presented three examples of 'danger to others' earlier. Two of them were someone who drives while under the influence of alcohol, and someone who shoots many people (a 'spree') while under the influence of meth. These are obvious dangers to other people. Your other example was 'the steroid-using athlete who surpasses the non-user of superior talent'. To me, that's not the kind of danger that should subject a person to federal prison time.

[Y]ou understood me to be making an argument for the illegality of steroids. In fact, my contention was merely that they should be banned in athletics
Oh. OK.
[S]teroid use for the purpose of improving athletic performance is wrong, regardless of whether it is illegal (thankfully, the government got this one right)
Oh. OK.
In the case of steroid distribution and use, as with barn-burning, it happens that the government has outlawed activities that are wrong.
Oh. OK.
[I]f I were making the rules I would continue to punish the makers and distributors, but I would leave the users alone.
Oh. OK.

glasater

Elliot--my point would be to the fact that bulk on a golfer can hinder the turn for the swing. And wrist action is critical. Although certain exercises can make a body more flexible and provide the pop for the extra thirty yards. And its all about the short game anyway....isn't it?
Going to look into beta blockers....hmmmm.

Elliott

...bulk on a golfer can hinder the turn for the swing...

Yes, that seems to be what someone taking these odious measures would have to guard against per this highly Dowdified bit from the same above linked article:

Dr. Jim Suttie, former PGA Teacher of the Year...who holds a Ph.D. in biomechanics...believes players taking steroids would be able to hit the ball longer -- provided they didn't get too bulky and lose flexibility.

Human growth hormone, meanwhile, helps maintain both the suppleness and mass of muscles.

Also, increased distance is not the only advantage of greater strength:

As Sorenstam well knows, the place where men's superior strength and speed really make a difference is from the rough and in producing spin on short shots around the green.
kim

Speaking of athletes, Uma Thurman says that listening to Al Gore speak is 'like watching a beautiful racehorse run'.
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kim

Speaking of semiretired politicians pronouncing ex cathedra, get a load of the Gorebellied Fool in Oslo.

One hundred scientists have sent a cogent letter to the UN Secretary General debunking the efforts to control carbon.

Michael Hirsh in Newsweek, 12/13/07, has the latest genuflection to the Marbled Nude; he pleads that Big Al is the only person on earth who can save it.
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kim

Time will smooth the sands, but whose gonna fix the Greenies?
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kim

Anybody notice Thomas Boswell's comment in the WaPo about this? As a tease, he talks of heroes and supermen.
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Other Tom

Bgates, I think I made it as clear as it can be made that my objection to various forms of self-destructive personal behavior arises only when the behavior has third-party effects, a term I used seveal times. I desribed two kinds of such effects--those that are dangerous to others, and those that provide an unfair advantage in athletics. Concerning athletic competition, I made no mention of criminal sanctions until you weighed in with this non sequitur:

"People who practice all the time also improve their ability and crowd out people who love the game, are good at it, and don't want to sacrifice the time and effort. Let's make dedication illegal, too."

I'm not sure why you elected to raise the issue of illegality, but you did. So I have addressed the issue of why there are criminal sanctions against certain forms of behavior, including the unauthorized manufacture and distribution of pharmaceuticals, including steroids. I support such sanctions, but personally oppose sanctions against the consumer. If you disagree with those criminal sanctions, I suppose you and Mr. Canseco could start a petition drive.

I'm also not sure why you would compare dedication to the use of anabolic steroids, nor why you would later suggest that a red-meat diet was comparable to such use. It seems to me that those kinds of comparisons took us off into Neverland, but uh, OK.

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Wilson/Plame