I’ve referenced Bill Simmons here before. While I do get tired of his unabashed belief that the world of sports revolves around everything Boston he usually writes very in-depth pieces that could apply to any team. With his latest piece over at ESPN.com, he hits the crux of what drives me (and most other baseball fans) up the wall regarding the steroids discussion.
What bothered baseball fans this decade wasn’t the cheating as much as the lack of accountability. Some players lied to our faces. Some twisted the truth. Some hid in shame. Some said nothing but probably wake up every morning thinking, “I wonder if today will be the day I get caught.” I can’t think of one player who admitted wrongdoing and just came clean. You know, something like, “I did it because everyone else was doing it. I did it because there were no rules in place that I couldn’t do it. I did it because I’m a competitive guy, because my professional and financial success, as depressing as this sounds, was at stake to some degree. If you were me, what would you have done?”
This is what I think bothers most fans about the steroids thing. Personally, I couldn’t care less that a bunch of guys were taking some sort of performance-enhancing drug to make an extra buck or to keep up with the rest of the competition. I completely understand it. What I wish they would do is quit insulting my intelligence with claims of “I didn’t know what I was really taking”/”I didn’t realize XYZ supplement was banned.”
Is it likely that some of these guys legitimately took something over-the-counter that happened to be banned? I’m sure it happened. The problem is that these guys are PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES. Their body is their temple. They damn well know what they put in their body because that is the basis of their career. Quit treating me like a five year old and just man up to it. I’m not that naive and neither is the majority of baseball fans.
Update #1 : Bronson Arroyo gets it. (H/T: Deadspin)