All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Sunday, June 03, 2012

To Cheat or Not to Cheat

There's a fascinating story about steroids by Tom Verducci in SI. It articulates very well the problem I have with 'roids. It's not the damage steroids can do to a player's health, the bad example set for kids, or the superstars with their "tarnished" records that bother me. Rather, it's all the guys who played the game clean, who lost out to the cheaters.

Ninety percent of all drafted players never spend one day in the big leagues. Steroid users made the odds even worse for clean players.

Thirty-three players appeared in at least one game for the 1994 Fort Myers Miracle. Only six of them reached the majors long enough to earn $500,000 in their careers. Half of those players are known PED users: Naulty, outfielder Matt Lawton (who tested positive in 2005) and pitcher Dan Serafini (who flunked a test in '07).

The article explains how the juicing worked. Players would do it in the off-season, and show up in spring training much bigger or faster than they'd been the previous year. Nobody asked any questions, and making a good impression in spring training was key. That could get you on the roster. Players who did not impress during spring training would be released. You might lose some of your new bulk as the season went on, but nobody thought that was suspicious.

The article also puts paid to the idea that "everyone" was cheating. A lot of players were, but many, many were not, and were shocked and angry when they found out a teammate was.

"I was pretty upset," Roberts says. "Gosh, it's hard enough trying to make it in this profession. You want to make it on your own abilities and work ethic, and all of a sudden, when you think it's an even playing field, you've got somebody cheating. I was very upset, knowing my chance to get to the big leagues was cut short. I was jealous, hurt, frustrated, angry ... all that stuff.

"I guess I should have been suspicious. How can a guy go from 85 miles an hour to 95 in three or four years? As I look back on it, it's so clear and obvious that I can't believe I was that naive and incredibly stupid. All the signs were there."


posted by BubbaFan, 7:40 PM


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