1. Personally, I don’t care that much if players are using performance enhancing drugs (hence PED). I agree that it would be nice if they didn’t, but it doesn’t keep me up nights knowing that they are.
2. It is impossible to stop athletes from using PED. The International Olympic Committee and other organizations have been trying to clean up the sports in their purview for decades with just about as much success as any drug war. Generally, they only catch the imcompetents and the extreme cases. In a number of sports, notably track and field and cycling, the question is not if a performer is on drugs but what drugs he’s on.
3. That “steroids” (the name used for a large class of muscle-building substances) have had a major affect upon baseball performances is widely acknowledged but not, in fact, proven. I’ll probably do another post on this sometime, but almost no large event has a single cause, and there are a number of things that happened in the nineties that tilted the balance in favor of the offense.
4. This is only a guess from someone with no medical training but who reads a lot… I think it’s quite likely that baseball players gain little added ability from steroids use, but that they increase the player’s ability to stay in the lineup and stay healthy. That is, they don’t make a player better, but increase the amount of time he can perform at his peak ability. Just a guess.
5. I think it’s absolutely certain that the steroids mania currently gripping the country is going to look like Reefer Madness to the next generation.
6. (Nonpartisan political gripe, please let’s not get too much into this.) It is disgusting that with all the problems that this country faces, such as (name your own), the Congress is spending its time harassing baseball players.
7. I’m not sure that the players’ union can actually make all the concessions it made on behalf of its constituents; some player and agent are going to test it. At the same time, the players generally wanted a tough policy. That’s what they got.
8. As I’ve said, my feeling is that amphetamines are and always have been a bigger problem in baseball than steroids. They’ve been around for at least forty years, and this has been widely known since Ball Four was published almost thirty-five years ago. And nobody did anything about it. Since 1970 we had the whole cocaine thing (which made this steroid problem look like a case of drinking too much Dr. Pepper) and a number of “steroid” scares, and nobody’s tried to do anything about amphetamines at all. Until now. I’m not sure that it will do any good but it’s time they at least noticed.
9. I haven’t studied the plan in detail, but in general most professional sports testing programs can only be failed by the arrogant and idiots. However, many baseball players are arrogant idiots.