September 2, 2014

Baseball: Over the Counter

January 12, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

MLB Owners used Mark McGwire and steroids to rejuvenate baseball.

Why couldn’t we use pharmaceuticals to fix all of baseball’s concerns?

On Monday afternoon, Mark McGwire officially admitted to using steroids.  In response, a riveted American public yawned, stretched, and changed the channel to MTV.  After all, Jersey Shore had come back from commercial.

At this point, do we really care about apologies from PED users?  Does any admission of guilt or apology change our perception of the steroid era in Major League Baseball?

To put it another way, my buddy Coco sent me the following email: “I filed McGwire’s admission under N, for No S–t Sherlock…I’m so sick of this garbage.”  I don’t know why he referenced the new Robert Downey, Jr. movie, but I share his sentiment.  I don’t want any more admissions, confessions, or fact-finding investigations.  I just want this whole situation to fade into obscurity, like Steve Guttenberg’s career.

In the mid-‘90s, the MLB brass decided that, in a sport where fans utilize statistics to compare players of different eras, they would sacrifice the integrity of those numbers in order to save their bottom lines.  Basically, all the snake oil salesmen that run professional baseball tacitly decided to accept the use of PEDs in the game so that these chemically enhanced sluggers could “save baseball.”  In the process, they gave a collective middle finger to their longtime fans.

Despite all that, look at the game today.  Baseball is financially stronger than it has ever been.  Advertising, attendance, and revenue have steadily risen throughout the decade, and Major League Baseball is now an international brand.  At the end of the day, the owners used steroids to fix a problem in their product.

What if we follow their lead?  The modern game has some flaws.  What would happen if we used the miracles of modern medicine to solve these issues?

Problem #1: Games are too long
The Solution:
A powerful laxative.  A few hours before the first pitch, we could slip some Ex-Lax in the starting pitcher’s pregame Red Bull.  With the equivalent of the Battle of Gettysburg raging in his large intestine, I would be very surprised to see the pitcher shake off his catcher, throw over to first, or even step off the rubber.

Nine innings of baseball would take less time than it would to watch the series finale of Seinfeld.

Problem #2: The specialization of the bullpen
The Solution:
Morphine.  It won’t make the pitching any better, but if we take it before the sixth inning, any appearance by Brian Bass would leave viewers a lot happier.

Problem #3:  Postseason games start too late
The Solution:
Viagra.  We might not be able to subsidize the difference between primetime advertising prices and what networks would earn at six or seven p.m.  However, we would be able to stay up longer.

Sorry.  Even I cringed at that last joke.

Problem #4: The growing competitive divide between big and small market teams
The Solution:
Marijuana, legally obtained of course.  Get Bud Selig and Michael Weiner, the head of the MLBPA, in the right frame of mind and then lock them in a room together.  Furnish Selig with an empty box of Oreos, Weiner with an empty bag of Doritos, and then tell them that they can only order a pizza when a fair deal has been reached for everyone.  Within less than an hour, the MLB would have a salary cap and payroll minimum, progressive revenue sharing, a thoughtfully constructed plan for fixing the World Baseball Classic, Selig and Weiner would have devoured an extra-large meat-lovers pie, and they would have single-handedly led America out of its financial crisis.

I’m pretty sure the Geneva Convention was carried out in a similar fashion.

I think we’re on to something here.  From misbehaving kids to high blood pressure, our society uses pharmaceuticals to fix all challenges.  Why shouldn’t we apply that to professional sports?

How would you use drugs to make baseball healthier?

Comments

2 Responses to “Baseball: Over the Counter”
  1. Rice Cakes says:

    “Gym, Tan, Laundy. GTL Baby!” This article shows a great and witty perspective.

  2. Jon Pessah says:

    Actually, talk of McGwire’s apology has dominated talk radio, the blogs, newspapers, and the networks. Seems that admitting his guilt was not enough for most observers. He’s been ripped for doing what we all knew he was doing and had no problem with until he got caught. Pharmaceuticals have always been a part of baseball. Wish we could move past ripping these guys and have an intelligent conversation as you have proposed here.

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