Last night on Costas Now I watched as he took on steroid use in baseball. It included a panel discussion with former players Bob Gibson, Tim McCarver and Joe Morgan.
It also included an interview with Willie Mays that I found to be thoroughly enjoyable.
Here are a few thoughts about all of this. Baseball has a real issue on its hands that it needs to deal with. The prevailing world opinion is that steroid use is simply wrong and should not be used. For a while I sat on the fence on this issue and even downplayed it but I have changed my mind.
I want to see steroids removed, completely, from baseball.
I thought that it was interesting to hear Bob Gibson say that given the chance he thinks that he might have used them, that he wanted to win that badly. I didn’t like Joe Morgan’s answers, there is something about him that I am just not fond of.
I loved Willie Mays. It just made me smile when he said that there was no one better than he was and although I don’t remember seeing him play that is probably a fair statement. He could do it all.
I know that Barry Bonds is his godson, but at this point Mays has got to accept that Barry took steroids and that it is senseless to try and defend him. That is it for me, for now. Here is a snapshot of what Costas has to say about all this.
“So what’s the big deal about the steroid era in baseball? All performances are to some extent a product of prevailing conditions. After all, if Tony Gwynn, Rod Carew, or George Brett had played around the turn of the century, they surely would have had seasons where they hit .400. Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux can’t get anywhere near Cy Young’s 511 career wins not because they aren’t as good, but because no modern pitcher gets the ball as often. Changes in ballparks, travel, scheduling, strategy, rules – comparing era to era is not always a case of apples to apples. But here’s a key distinction: As the game evolved, those variations affected all competitors equally, and in their time, all those performances were authentic. The steroid era is not a mere variation. It’s a gross and unnatural distortion, both of the game’s history and of contemporary competition, since many used and many did not.
There are three seismic shifts in post-1900 baseball history. Two – the advent of the lively ball and the breaking of the color line – helped the game tremendously. The third, the steroid era, now haunts the game. Only segregation represents a greater blot on the game’s history and integrity. The Black Sox scandal of 1919 involved one team, one year. Pete Rose – one guy. The steroid era, still ongoing, likely involved every team, and more players than we can count. Baseball can’t have it both ways: It can’t celebrate its history and revere its records, and then turn a blind eye when its history and its record book are poisoned.”