Well, news broke today that Troy Glaus received steroids through what appears to be an illegal internet distribution network. This allegedly occurred between September 2003 and May 2004, when the shipped substances, testosterone and nalderon, were on MLB's banned substances list. Glaus, then with the Angels, missed much of the 2003 season with a tear in his right rotator cuff and frayed labrum and underwent season-ending major shoulder surgery in 2004.
This was already noted by Torgen in a diary but I wanted to say my piece as well.
I know most bloggers don't agree with me on the steroid issue and basically don't care what players used banned substances. On the other side, the media is ridiculously sensationalistic about the issue, after doing virtually nothing about it during the days where it was obvious that many players were on the juice. I agree with the bloggers that there is not a lot of evidence to suggest that taking steroids improves one's baseball performance, or by how much. But that's about as far as I go.
I don't think this is a question of demonizing anyone, nor do I think it particularly matters how much, if at all, steroids aid your baseball performance. The players believe it does, even those who don't use.
I'm of the opinion that you either believe in fair play or you don't. I do, and won't root for someone I believe is a clear cheater. Granted, this is subjective and I do not give people the benefit of trial by jury, but I believe that those protections are appropriate for our judicial system (which uses trial by jury to deprive people of their rights and freedoms), not our own personal feelings about people (which do not).
In my own profession (law), I have seen people cut corners and cheat, and use that to get ahead. The payoff is huge, Giambi-contract huge. (Incidentally, Giambi complaining publically and bitterly about Ichiro winning the MVP instead of himself, after he spent the entire season cheating, is perhaps one of the low all-time moments in sports.) I have also seen the contrary. In my career, I try to model myself after people who practice fair play, and I don't apply any different rules to being a baseball fan. You can apply the argument that people cheat and have always cheated to any profession, not just baseball - but I have always been of the point of view that anything that is worth caring about is worth being done fairly. I love baseball and therefore care that it is played in a fair manner. I don't think this makes me naive because I understand that cheating exists, has always existed, and probably will always exist, but I don't think that makes me obligated to accept it. quite the opposite.
If Glaus received and took steroids without a prescription while on the banned substances list, he violated the rules of baseball (cheating, by definition), and the controlled substances laws of the United States. Of course, I don't dislike Troy and would not villify him or other players. I understand why someone would take steroids, but I won't root for such a person or teach my daughter (future HS/College Athlete if her genes are any indication!) to do so, not because I think someone who uses steroids has an unfair advantage or is a bad person, but because I believe in fair play and because I love baseball and because anything you love doing is worth doing properly.
Chengy, I agree with your point in the diary about how players should have access to the best medical attention, but I don't think that argument washes here. That's why steroids are often prescribed for medical reasons. In that case, they're not against the law, nor against the rules of baseball. If it is for medical purposes, it is very easy to get a prescription rather than ordering from an illegal internet company.
Well, I have soapboxed enough for now, but just wanted to get my thoughts out there.