MLB announced yesterday that more than five percent of baseball players have tested positive for steriods. Random testing will continue in 2004. The mainstream media is sounding the alarm of course. I picked up the papers early this morning and both the Daily News and New York Post have a photograph of a needle sticking out of a baseball on their back covers. A guy standing next to me was already reading the story and I asked him what he made of it. "I'm not surprised," he said. "Look at these guys."
Dave Anderson offers a stern lecture in the Times and Filip Bondy is positively shrill in the News. You've got to love it when sportswriters become moralists.
Am I surprised by the finding? Not a bit. Does it bother me? Not especially. Unlike Mr. Bondy, and perhaps many casual sports fans like the one I encountered this morning, I'm not a romantic. I assume there is cheating and drug use in sports just like in other parts of our culture. (Thankfully for Pete Rose and the players of a previous generation, baseball didn't test for greenies.) You are naive and foolish if you think this is a new problem. I don't think a majority of the players cheat, and my enjoyment of the game isn't ruined because there are some that do.