Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ends Justifies the Means...

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from MLB the past few years, it’s that the ends justify the means. Or at least that’s what I’ve learned from A-Rod, Andy Pettite, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens.

Two of the four have admitted to steroid use, and the other two deny it, but there’s so much evidence that it’s hard to believe them.

Rodriguez said he wanted the competitive edge. He wanted to be able to live up to the rich contract he signed with the Rangers after abandoning Seattle. In a small way, I feel sorry for him. There is pressure to live up to expectations. He was in a very public role. However, does the ends justify the means? He certainly lived up to the expectations of the public at the time, but now what? Now they’re looking back, and feel like they were cheated out of a real player. Instead, they got a non-human performance.

Then again, where are you going to draw the line? Many athletes get eye surgery to give them better vision than they naturally have. This is an advantage to them in sports. Tommy John often replaces a torn ligament with a much stronger ligament, enabling some pitchers to actually throw harder than they did pre-surgery. Tommy John is a bit of a risk, though, because not every pitcher makes it back. (The difference, of course, is that as far as has been studied, there are no long term negative effects to these surgeries; whereas, the long-term effects of steroids have been studied.)

Steroids are not bad. People take steroids quite often. The cortisone shot that so many get to relieve pain is a steroid. Many asthmatics take steroids--that’s what’s in the inhalers (I’m uncertain if there are any athletes in this situation). Premature infants are given steroids in the hospital to help lung development. Granted, these steroids are taken openly under the watch of a doctor as opposed to behind closed doors for no medical necessity.

I’m being a little facetious here; there are different types of steroids. Steroids, unchecked, have long-term affects. The players who take steroids are giving themselves an unfair advantage (although wouldn’t you say being born with athletic talent is an unfair advantage, too?). If left unchecked, this will grow, until players need to take steroids in order to compete. And the more athletes that take steroids to compete, the more teens that will take steroids to be considered good enough to be drafted and pretty soon parents will have to give their toddlers steroids. Leave it to me to take things to an over-dramatic extreme! However, the more professionals that take steroids, the more teens/college athletes will feel pressured to do so.

The ends do not justify the means, unless the means are justified by themselves.

Timberwolves update: 20-48 (1-3 since last time, 16-33 since McHale).

Marian Gaborik Injury Status: He’s skated some practices with the team, but is still a ways off according to coaches. I’m betting he doesn’t play for Minnesota again.

Joe Mauer Injury Status: Latest rumors are that his back problems are not serious, but he has yet to take part in baseball activities, so take that for what it’s worth.

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