Many have brought up the argument that Bonds, Giambi and Sheffield should not be singled out for the sins of what could be a substantial portion of the league.
While, in a perfect world, this isn’t fair, it is representative of the world we live in. And, as such, we cannot expect anything different.
Not everyone engaged in illegal, immoral, or otherwise bad behavior gets caught. That’s just reality. These guys were dealing with the wrong lab at the wrong time. If you ask many people incarcerated in prison, they’ll say the same thing about their situation. They’ll say they robbed the wrong bank at the wrong time with the wrong crew. They’ll say they sold drugs to the wrong person - an undercover officer. It’s the same thing when the average person gets caught speeding. He wasn’t the only one on the highway speeding. In fact, if you’ve ever been pulled over, you know the frustration of watching car after car pass by, doing the same thing you were pulled over for. It sucks, but it’s life.
On a slight tangent along the same theme, I had a discussion with a law enforcement friend of mine a while back. I asked why was it that pretty much every single DWI conviction resulted in an automatic referral to AA or some other form of counseling. Doesn’t the court recognize that someone who is DWI might not be an alcoholic, given that so many people do it?
His response was to point to a commonly held belief in law enforcement that fewer than 1% of all drunk drivers are actually caught. The rationale is that if you, as a motorist, are caught DWI, you have almost certainly done it many many times before. That’s why I feel that BALCO and these three players are merely the tip of the iceberg. I don’t ultimately feel that BALCO was the only supplier of steroids to these guys, they were just the best because they were able to provide undetectable substances. Conte bragged on 20/20 about his ridiculously low positive test rates. These labs are always able to stay one step in front of the technology available to the sports establishment and laugh at the rest of us trying to keep up.
That being said, baseball MUST enact a zero tolerance, no excuses policy carrying a multiple year suspension and a potential ban from Hall of Fame consideration.
What should be done to the Dirty 3 after the fact?
They should all get bounced (yes, even the Yankees), but that’s not going to happen.
In Bonds’ case, because all-time records are at stake, pitchers, especially those who were shown-up on Sportscenter every time Bonds launched a moonshot, should refuse to pitch to him. Let him pile onto the walks record all he wants but never give him a shot at breaking the HR record. I say this because this issue is not about what an institution should/can do to police its players. This is about HONOR on the most fundamental and individual level.
It’s been shown time and time again that science can stay one step ahead of legislation. The track and field community has had tough steroids laws in place for some time but it hasn’t stopped anything. As long as BALCO can invent substances that baseball has no tests for, then there will always be ‘roids in the game. Again, the image of Conte gloating over all of his low positives drives this home more than ever for me.
However, the one thing you can’t escape from is your peer - the guy next to you in the locker room, the guy you run laps with, the guy you win with, the guy you lose with, the guy you have to make contact against to put the game into extra frames, or more importantly, the guy whose family your family shared Thanksgiving dinner with.
Cheaters need victims to exploit. A con has to have a mark, otherwise, there’s no means of enacting a scam. Bonds will never have a need to take ‘roids if he never sees a pitch to hit. I mean, what’s the joy in winning, when you’re only playing against yourself?
Sadly, such a scenario is probably a justice/revenge fantasy beyond anyone’s on this message board.
One thing I’ve noticed throughout this whole scandal is, apart from a select few, the vast majority of players are very quiet on this, even before the league forbade comments. If I were clean and playing against guys who where dirty and making more money than me because of it, I’d raise the roof. Aside from Turk Wendell, I don’t see the outrage. Does this mean that the ‘50% of the league is using’ assertion by some of the less credible figures in the game is actually true?
Now is NOT the time for a blanket call to unity on the part of the players. It is the time for those honest, hard working ballplayers to step forward and take the game back from the losers who are intent on ruining it to serve their own egos and legacies. There is no one else that can truly cure baseball -not Bud Selig, not George Bush, not John McCain – only the average ballplayer, because it is still his game.
Hey, it is possible. Look at how the strike was recently averted.