Column: Juicing the masses

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Sometimes I wish performance-enhancing drugs didn’t exist. They make me sad. So sad that other times I wish we all just took them.

I was in the dark when Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa had their mid-90s home run party year, like most folks.  can’t fairly condemn PEDs completely because I wholly enjoyed that video game display of hitting power. I liked watching Ryan Braun beat out Matt Kemp for the MVP because I’m a Rockies homer and I don’t like the Dodgers.

The change we’ve seen since the “eradication” of PEDs from baseball is the better pitching. I like watching no-hitters. Maybe someday we’ll learn these guys have radio transmitters inside the baseballs, giving them extra swoopy, divey junk pitches. We’re watching you Mr. Dickey.
As you can see, there are many lines one can take in the performance-enhancing drug sports discussion, and they’re all so dang flimsy and unsatisfying.

We’ve all been fooled so many times that let’s just get it all out there with some blanket drug use. Infect the sports populous. Juice the masses. We’ll never be lied to again.

While we’re at it, let’s make the stuff a part of sports writing. Since all these sportswriters (me, doing it now) have so many opinions about PEDs, give them the option to better their career and increase their salary with drugs that help increase quantity and quality of writing. Imagine a sub-sub-millionare professional, presented with the option of increasing their salary by using a drug, with the only risk being image destruction. Lifetime bans are pretty rare. [crosses fingers, thinks, ban A-Rod]
Throwing those stones would be a lot easier with super-swelled forearms for faster typing. Think a few reporters wouldn’t cheat?

Yeah. OK. Right.

Nobody likes losing. This is the toughest time of year to be a Colorado Rockies fan — you feel the hope being ripped slowly from your  sports fan soul. They lose to uninspiring teams like the D-Backs and the Giants, slipping slowly again into the insignificant depths of NL West standings. Soon, you’re sitting down next to the Padres. The boring Padres. Like being stuck in a monastery with a bunch of real life Padres and no TV to watch baseball.

The Rockies lost three of four to the Marlins this week. [swears under breath]. The Brewers are up next, try not to falter against a team still subdued by the public shaming of its best player. Or do. Who cares. We all know that six-game deficit in the NL West only becomes 12 from here. We all know how it works.

I frequently lose hope in our regional-but-distant MLB darling, the Colorado Rockies, haunted by bad dreams of them becoming the new Cubs. Is this what a 100-year drought looks like in year 20?
Todd Helton is my favorite baseball player for a reason. He never cheated. What if he did, though? Juice at 40, extend your already lengthy career 10 more years by reinvigorating those torn-down back muscles until you’re half-man, half-robot. Win the Rockies a World Series. While we’re at it, pitchers, put some radio transmitters inside your baseballs. Build massive invisible fans along the outfield walls that turn on in the top of every inning against opposing batters looking to use the Coors Field ball flight advantage.

Get your whole team to cheat, and a fiction writer will wow millions of readers with a classic story, convincing them that because of you, like the 1919 Chicago Black Sox, some crazy Iowa farmer up and intentionally decimated all his crops and there was a happy ending instead of the logical one — bankruptcy, property forfeiture, alcoholism and eventually, divorce.

Give people the benefit of the doubt and Lance Armstrong happens. Nothing makes a sports fan feel more infantile than being revealed things by Oprah. I’d rather Maury Povich tell me Lance was cheating right after another one of his “You are NOT the father” jaw-droppers.  Maury’s daytime drama show could have handled all PED fallout. Shoveling out the crap.

At this point, without my blanket solution, the best approach is to pray your favorite player isn’t named in the next wave of damning drug reports. I’d rather be a fan of Pete Rose than Barry Bonds. Bonds and A-Rod and their nose-in-the-air haughtiness deserve that lifetime ban. It’s easy to say “I don’t like Alex Rodriguez.” Just say it and you feel refreshed. He’s overpaid, and for most of that time he has under-performed. Oh, hey, give back that Yankees 2009 World Series.

There’s another sweeping behavior amid PED scandals. The “Hey give that back,” or “That record doesn’t count.” That’s such a bitter and grasping snap-reaction. An immeasurable metric used as rationale in the midst of the mass shock of a rule-breaking announcement.We’re back on the practice field, making up rules as we go, trying to get away with as much as we can, arguing about balls and strikes.

Why is it so surprising that players cheat? Still, still, still, so shocking. Oh my gosh, someone is not a good person? Schockinger.

Really, there is no reason it should be at this point. There are bad dudes and good dudes and sports are no different. Baseball is baseball, and it’s beautiful no matter how many wars it starts, debts it creates or things it brushes under the rug. Wait, America, I mean, baseball.

Why aren’t NFLers better policed for performance enhancing drugs? I heard someone say this week baseball records are more sacred than NFL records. People don’t care that football players are sinewy, superhuman creatures, loaded human slingshots of bone-crushing despair for opposing quarterbacks? Built for one purpose: knock Tom Brady’s pretty little head off. Baseball is a numbers game, but records are records, a product of discussion and debate. Something Americans love, sports talk.

But are something as trivial as records really the dividing reason for the baseball media’s investigation and public lynching while football operates with blinders on? The MLB is J. Edgar Hoover, the NFL is marijuana policing in the U.S. I guess it’s because the NFL is at its popularity peak — boxing in a long-past violently beautiful heyday. I know some say football is poised for a fall, but I’m rooting for the concussion-inducing bully in this bout.

When it all comes down to it, we know we can’t cheat, and trolling aside, there’s only one performance enhancer you need to be a good ball player: One pair all-black PF Flyers.

By |July 26th, 2013|

About the Author:

Sheridan Press sports editor