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The Steroid Show Trial

I don't usually find myself rushing to point out the simple logic in a George Will column, but given the contrived spectacle conceived and performed in Congress today his recent column on the event seems appropriate:

America's ambitious educators - the likes of Princeton's Rev. John Witherspoon (1723-1794) and Harvard's Charles William Eliot (1834-1926) - now include Reps. Tom Davis and Henry Waxman, chairman and ranking member respectively of the House Government Reform Committee, which, come Thursday morning, wants to instruct the nation, and especially all the little boys and girls watching C-SPAN. The committee's topic will be steroids in baseball, the committee having decided that there has been a serious insufficiency of talk about that subject since its much-talked-about appearance in the president's State of the Union address 14 months ago.

The committee has discovered that its duties include informing all Americans, and especially children, that dangerous and illegal behavior is dangerous and illegal. So the committee has subpoenaed some baseball and players association officials and some current and retired players, including Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. Committee staffers say it has not subpoenaed Barry Bonds because his presence might make the hearing a media circus. Heaven forfend.

Cynics will say that, absent television, congressional behavior would be different. But to be fair to Waxman, he is a liberal representing Beverly Hills and Hollywood, so he is not expected to have a lick of sense regarding the limits of government, and he rarely sees a human activity that he does not think merits increased federal supervision. Davis, however, is a Republican whose Northern Virginia district is just up the road from Montpelier, home of James Madison, from whose writings Davis seems to have learned nothing about a government - or a committee - of enumerated powers

Steroids are obviously still a large problem, and baseball's new testing program appears to misrepresent what MLB claimed it would be last year. Still, todays show trial hearing doesn't really move baseball (or the nation) any closer to solving the problem. As AP reported it, it was a day of "extraordinary theater."

Perhaps the answer is explicit commercials that borrow the "this is your brain on drugs" theme from previous ONDCP anti-drug campaigns. I'm thinking, "this is your rampant acne on steroids", "this is your uncontrollable rage on steroids," or even "these are your shriveled testicles on steroids."


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Comments (9)

George Will is The Man. Ho... (Below threshold)
McCain:

George Will is The Man. However, as long as MLB continues with this charade of an anti-trust exemption, there is at least an argument for overbearing supervision of this industry. McGwire rocks. Steroids suck. Go team.

McQwire is a cheating wease... (Below threshold)
ptritsch:

McQwire is a cheating weasel who got caught and tried to blubber his way out from under a stinky pile of do-do of his own making.

I agree with Sen Bunning. Strip the records of the cheaters. Failing that, allow Pete Rose back into baseball.

Well you can forget MLB com... (Below threshold)
tmac:

Well you can forget MLB coming anywhere near to particpating with Congress from here on out. This is most likely head to court now - nice work Congress. How about working on the things that really matter to people.

This whole "roid" deal matters and shocks on only those (many could care less - play ball!), who have never had to drag a broken body up to the plate year after year and make a living.

Yeah, roids are bad, roids are wrong, should be dealt with. But cheating? I don't care if you are the "roid queen", it ain't gonna make you hit 70 home runs. That - even if you have big muscles - takes talent. But Cheating? Is wearing any type of clothing that enhances play cheating? What's next, NIKE Air? Gatoraid? That is known to enhance muscle response. How about vitamins, protein drinks, nuclear jock straps?

What if they find out the Babe was juiced? Well, he was, but we don't know if it was roids. However, roids were available during his time. He could could have? I guarantee that if they got any indication he did they would drop this like Charlie Brown dropping a fly ball.

It isn't that I think stero... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

It isn't that I think steroids are good things.

I really think MLB has done a sucky job of controlling abuse.

But at times like these, I can think of a lot better things for congress to do than this little grand stand. Just seems like a waste of time and money, as frivolous way for some congressman/woman to get their face on the news.

Oh, and I agree that anyone who is a known drug user should have the records removed-or at least a big CHEATER stuck next to their name in the books, and they should not be eligible for the Hall of Fame. Shoot if Pete Rose can't get in, they shouldn't either, at least Pete played the game honestly.

I'm still trying to connect... (Below threshold)

I'm still trying to connect "Government Reform Committee" with "Major-League Baseball." Am I missing something?

--|PW|--

'Perhaps the answer is expl... (Below threshold)
Jack Tanner:

'Perhaps the answer is explicit commercials that borrow the "this is your brain on drugs" theme from previous ONDCP anti-drug campaigns. '

No the answer is if you test positive once you're gone for a year, if you test positive twice you're banned for life.

Frankly, steriods are used ... (Below threshold)
timothyb:

Frankly, steriods are used by athletes at all levels and in all sports in some form or another. It's time to make it legal.

Just Me sez: "I really thin... (Below threshold)
Bucky Katt:

Just Me sez: "I really think MLB has done a sucky job of controlling abuse."

Agreed, but we the fans bear some responsibility in this. We keep giving 'em our dollars no matter how outrageous the act by MLB. We're like crack addicts, we just can't say no.

I freely admit, that I will, in all likelihood, purchase
Nats tickets this year. After 30+ years of having nothing (exception being the Orioles, but Angelos has pissed me off to such an extent *I* ain't spending one nickle there) I'm looking forward to baseball back in DC.

Anyhow..in rehabilitation isn't step 1 admitting you have a problem? ;-)

Baseball sucks...T... (Below threshold)
Schwerv:

Baseball sucks...

This is not to say that Steroids are not found in any other sport. I just think baseball sucks and I can live without ever seeing or hearing about it ever again.





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