Let's be honest with ourselves. When Sports Illustrated "broke" the Alex Rodriguez story over the weekend, were you surprised by the findings? Were you shocked that the guy who has been anointed as the heir to Barry Bonds "dirty" Home Run King title was caught juicing? Were you bewildered, as I was, when some jackass reporter asked President Obama his opinion about this fracas when Obama was "attempting" (and I use this word very loosely) to explain his economic stimulus plan?
Baseball is argued to be a sport about professionalism, dignity, and honor. So when baseball's most talented player tests positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs, many expect the story to send shock-waves across the planes of the sports world. And boy has it. Turn on the television and you will undoubtedly find this breaking news steroid "scandal" from ESPN all the way to the Food Network. But I am asking, what is the big deal. So, Alex Rodriguez took PED's. Why is everyone so shocked and appalled? I am asking all of you to come off your high and mighty throne and listen to some common sense for once.
Why do performance enhancing drugs have this stigma? Saintly critics commonly state that it corrupts the sanctity of a sport that is above all others (theoretically). When a star football tests positive, it is expected. But when a star baseball player does similarly, we need to string him up by his toes and hurl tomatoes. People, it's either one way or no way! PED's like Human Growth Hormone and EPO have long been used to maximize and elongate the quality of life of cancer patients , arthritic joints, and general surgical procedures. It is a new way of life. But by placing these unfounded stigmas upon drugs in general, we are basically hindering and slowing a scientific movement.
Why do individuals believe that professional sports will not be the same if performance enhancing drugs were legalized? In fact, I would argue it would be better than ever. If steroids were legal, it would legitimately level the playing field (which is the primary argument of denouncer's), it would increase the available research and then in turn would keep all players healthier not just for their playing careers, but into retirement. This would be especially important for football players who need to walk with a cane in their early forties. I don't want to get into the economic benefit legalization would provide, less medicare costs, etc, but if legalization actually occurred, it would be a profound scientific movement for all walks of life.
So Alex Rodriguez took steroids. Big Deal! Some people want to say that he cheated the sport and it's fans, but I say he was just ahead of the curve. Performance enhancing drugs will be legalized in sports at some point partly because testing in itself will always be two steps behind. Drug testing will never be able to catch up with the numerous drug cocktails that are constructed monthly. For those that want to preserve "legendary" records (which is humorous on another level), then level the playing field and allow everyone to use if they choose. Is there any difference between a "clean" pitcher and hitter squaring off and a "dirty" pitcher and hitter doing the same? Absolutely not! It is a new age people. This isn't the roaring twenties despite what some believe. It is time to roll with the tide and get aboard, or you might be looking at becoming an old, crotchety man who yearns for the good ole' times....just like the select few who believe football should still be played with leather helmets.