08 February 2005

Should Canseco Confessions be Commonplace?

In light of Jose Canseco's recent statements alleging several high-profile teammates used and assisted others in using performance-enhancing drugs, the 360the Pitch.com writers weigh in on whether Canseco's actions should be standard in Major League Baseball.


Travis Nelson
Yes...with qualifications

Should players call each other out for steroid use? Yes, but not the way Jose Canseco has. Naming names in a published book, especially once your own baseball career is over, is not the best way to weed out problems like this. Players and others with this kind of inside knowledge ought to go through private channels in an attempt to remedy the situation before going public like this. Canseco's mixed motives in writing this book cannot be overlooked when considering his credibility, but they cannot make us simply discard his allegations either.

The integrity of the product that Major League Baseball puts on the field absolutely depends on players being held accountable for their actions, not only with regard to steroids and other performance-enhancing substances, but also with any form of cheating or unfair play. There is no "Right to Privacy" in the U.S. Constitution, and public figures in particular must be held to a higher standard, as they set examples for a lot of the world's youth, whether they like it or not. Performance-enhancing drugs have skewed the game of Major League Baseball unlike anything since the end of the Dead Ball Era, and it's got to stop.

As exciting as it's been watching players on the juice obliterate all kinds of records for the last half a decade, I think most of us would have preferred to let the players who actually earned those records keep them. And when I say "earned" I mean via dedication and hard work, not "better living through chemistry". The fact that we even have to call the credulity of an icon like Mark McGuire into question is an absolute shame, one that could have been avoided if the owners and the MLB Players' Union had done something about this in the late 1980's, when the issue first reared its ugly, muscle-bound head. I don't know if McGuire is guilty or not, but any rational person would have to admit that the evidence is mounting against him. I would rather that he would have restrained himself from "saving baseball" by surpassing Roger Maris in 1998 than to accomplish what he did dishonestly, if he did.

If a player becomes aware that an opposing player or even a teammate is cheating, it is his responsibility to inform the appropriate people to see that the cheating stops. Tell a coach. Tell the manager. Tell the GM or the owner. But tell somebody who has some sway over the player, to get it to stop. Canseco may only be slightly more credible than a talking mouse, but we must at least acknowledge the possibility that he's telling the truth. If the players around him had told the truth 15 years ago, or if his club and others had taken the appropriate steps to keep the game honest, this conversation wouldn't be necessary now.


See what my colleagues at 360thePitch.com have to say...

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments: