Were the Good Old Days Better?
When a broadcaster or sports fan mentions drug abuse or steroid usage why do they always refer to the past as an indicator that what is happening now is wrong?
So yes, we know that David Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Maguire, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, etc. have all used or have allegedly used performance enhancing substances. I can debate the validity of such claims all day long but I would most like to focus on the assumption that everything in the past was perfect.
Throughout time, people really have not changed much – we still require food, water, shelter, and a means of making a living. In general we are no more or less loyal to our neighbors now as we were then, although some may argue that social behaviors have changed and people are a bit more independent now than they were then. All in all, people then were just as much willing to try to get an edge competitively over the next guy as they are now. In fact the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and on, were not nearly as rosey as is made out to be. The 20’s ended with the greatest depression ever in the U.S. proceeded by a massive crime wave spawned by Prohibition. War littered the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and on – I think you get the idea.
My point is – it is a sacrilige these days to question or attack history or even the character of our nationall heros or institutions. For example if I said Babe Ruth was an alcoholic and that he quite possibly may have played in games drunk. First someone would explain that Babe Ruth was not using performance enhancing drugs and then they would immediately question my intelligence and probably find it offensive that I would question the “integrity” of the game. I find it abhorring that people assume that for the last 100 years of athletics, players have not cheated or found ways to enhance their competitive performance – after all it is a part of human nature.
In general, I would love to see this whole debate pertaining to performance enhancing drugs end abruptly for all sports and not just baseball. Here is a guiding principle that I would like to see applied to the whole situation.
If you are caught using / distributing illegal substances you will be turned over to the authorities and prosecuted. For the items on the banned substances list (not illegal) deemed as performacne enhancing for sport XYZ, if you are caught using these you will face a mandatory suspension XYZ for first offense, suspension 123 for second offense, and indefinite suspension for third offense. Random tests will proceed with a less than 24 hour notification period.
With that…..I ask you…….were the good old days really that much better than now?