I totally understand why a baseball player would be tempted to use a performance-enhancing drug.
I think that most ballplayers, at any level, aspire to improve their level of play, all the time, and would love to be among the best to play the game.
And, when it comes to professional baseball players, the drive to get to the major leagues is very strong. It’s an uphill battle too. I would estimate that less than 9% of the players in the minor leagues at any point in time will ever go on to appear in a major league game. Further, as many who have made it will tell you, getting to the major leagues is incredibly hard. However, staying there, and forging out a major league career, is even more difficult to attain.
And, to be the best of the best in the majors? Well, put it this way. If you’re going to make it to the Hall of Fame as a player, you’re going to have to be in the top 1/1000th of all players to ever play in the major leagues. (Yes, about .001 of the some 207,000 men to play in the big leagues made it to Cooperstown as a player.)
Oh, and, by the way, there’s the money angle. The minimum salary for the 2013 major league season is $490,000. And, the highest paid players in baseball today can make as much as $20 million in a single season.
When you factor all this together, it’s not hard to fathom why ballplayers would use a performance-enhancing anything (much less a drug).
This all said, the issue here is that major league baseball, as a result of pressure from sundry fronts, does not want players using performance-enhancing drugs. And, when players do use them, quite often, they are obtaining them illegally. But, again, the players, wanting to be better, in the majors, and making a lot of money, will continue to do whatever they can do to enhance their performance.
At this point, the only thing that will prevent players from using performance-enhancing drugs will be a penalty which makes the risk much greater than the reward.
My daughter is almost 11-years old. Since she is getting older, people will sometimes ask me how I will handle it once she starts dating. To that, my answer is always the same: “I am going to kill the first boy who asks her on a date and hang him from the tree in front of my house – as a warning sign to all the other boys who are thinking about chasing after her.”
Of course, I am kidding (when I say that). But, the notion is an effective one.
If baseball really wants to scare the bejeezus out of someone considering using performance-enhancing drugs, then they need to make an example out of someone which will leave an indelible mark in the minds and memory for ballplayers today and those in the future.
This brings us to Alexander Emmanuel “Alex” Rodriguez (aka “A-Rod”). If baseball had the balls to void his contract, ban him from the game, and make his ineligible for the Hall of Fame, that would set one helluva example (and strike fear into the hearts of potential future offenders). Yet, we know this cannot happen because of baseball’s CBA, the MLBPA, and the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
I guess that’s one of the differences between baseball in 1921 and 2013. Baseball should ban “A-Rod” today. But, the can’t – so, they won’t. And, this chance to make a move and set an example will go down looking…