This week, Major League Baseball released the terms of a new substance abuse policy focused on performance enhancing drugs. For years there has been speculation that certain players have been using such drugs, and some even admitted to it. Mark McGwire, the short-lived single-season homerun leader, openly discussed his use of androstenedione, a drug now banned under the new policy. Ken Caminiti, the 1996 MVP, admitted using steroids during that season. Caminiti died of a heart attack at age 41. Barry Bonds, the poster child for suspected steroid abusers, admitted to “unknowingly” using steroids.
Clearly, this policy is much-needed and long overdue. Not only for the integrity of the game and the long term health of players, but perhaps most important as a message to the youth of America. The onslaught of inflated homerun numbers and inflated players’ bodies helped put this issue in the spotlight. By most accounts, there is a set of usual suspects brought up surrounding suspected steroid users. The BALCO brothers, Bonds and Sheffield. Giambi, who may be experiencing the unwanted effects of steroids. Sosa, he of corked bat fame.
Personally, I am very happy that steps are being taken to resolve the problem. My question: how would Red Sox Nation deal with the news that one of their own tested positive? I am not a doctor, but I am guessing that all people taking performance enhancing drugs do not suddenly become musclebound bodybuilders. So what if a Manny or Johnny Damon or Big Papi were to fail? Honestly, I would be devastated. I think of us as “the good guys”. We wear white hats and hold doors for the ladies and always say please and thank you. We fight the bad guys, this year finally beating them, and we do it drug free. Naive? Maybe. I hope the policy works and the cheaters are exposed. I just hope they aren’t wearing a Red Sox uniform.