Cost Control

As a result of winning a Mad Lib contest on Dayn Perry’s blog $8 Beers, he’s letting me control the price and distribution of alcohol at his blog for a day. In other words, he’s letting me choose what gets covered on there for 24 hours. Check it out, it should be at least mildly amusing.

Here’s what I suggested that Dayn cover on his blog today:

1.) Cover why the steroid issue in sports is only a U.S. government creation (or at least an issue only made big by an easily-scared U.S. public).

2.) A blog entry complimenting Barry Bonds, noting his place among baseball’s all-time greats (at least 200 words, and proofread it, I’ll be grading it without a curve).

3.) What the heck is Ed Wade doing this offseason?

4.) Mockingly stereotype people who are anti-Sabermetrics.

5.) Explain to everyone why Guitar Hero will become a national sport in the near future.

In other news, the Phillies signed Geoff Jenkins! Oh yeah, and Chad Durbin, too. Do you think Pat Gillick was reading my blog? Yeah, probably not. I’ll break down the signings shortly.

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8 comments

  1. CJ

    December 21, 2007 01:10 PM

    On steroids…I read your previous post on how the government is duping us rubes in making this an issue, and I don’t get it.

    Barry Bonds showed why it’s a problem: records will mean nothing. When you take away the ability to compare performances, following baseball year after year becomes a pretty shallow, almost meaningless act. (Same as players/managers gambling on games. If fans doubt the integrity of the outcomes, it’s over.)

    So drinking Red Bull gives you energy and baseball doesn’t ban it, but they ban steroids, so…what? You just decide where to draw the line. Coffee-OK. Human Growth Hormone-Not OK. It’s that complicated.

    I know that when politicians are involved and the media hype is in overdrive, a backlash is expected. But the steroid issue is not “only a U.S. government creation.” A lot of fans get it.

  2. Bill Baer

    December 21, 2007 03:15 PM

    Why will records “mean nothing”? Why can’t you compare performances across eras?

    The line is arbitrarily drawn by the U.S. government. There should be no line, only a circle labeling all substances either as all legal or all illegal. Once you start drawing lines you move into the realm of hypocrisy, which is exactly what the steroids issue is.

    Thanks for the comment and I would appreciate it if you could clarify your statements on records meaning nothing and the inability to compare performances.

  3. CJ

    December 21, 2007 10:01 PM

    First, as someone else who’s been watching the Phils crash and burn since 1981, I appreciate your site.

    You can compare stats across eras, of course. But the comparison is meaningless when one era is boosted by artifical ehancement. What does George Foster’s 50 homerun season mean when a guy like Brady Anderson can pull it off? What does Bond’s joyless march to the homerun title mean? Do you really want to see a parade of similar records fall in a similar, joyless fashion?

    This is true regardless of the stance of the government. Lines need to be drawn in athletic competition. The act of enforcing any rule is a matter of line-drawing. I don’t see the hypocrisy.

  4. Bill Baer

    December 22, 2007 12:13 AM

    Why do you care about steroids, but not about Cortizone shots? Both help athletes recover from injuries, and both have detrimental health effects.

    Why do you care about steroids, but not about protein shakes? Both help athletes build muscle.

    Why do you care about steroids, but not about tobacco, alcohol, etc.? They’re all unhealthy for athletes.

    That’s the hypocrisy. Using steroids is no more artificial than anything else. Willie Mays and Mike Schmidt used amphetamines. Should I discount their accomplishments?

    When you get down to it, depending on your definition of the phrase, athletes are either completely natural or completely artificial.

    If you’re of the mindset that everything is made from something grown and made from the Earth, then all athletes are natural.

    If you’re of the mindset that if an athlete has to put anything in his body that is created in a laboratory and manufactured in pill, balm, or syringe form, then no athletes are natural.

    Lines need to be drawn in athletic competition.

    Why does there need to be a line when it comes to substances?

    The act of enforcing any rule is a matter of line-drawing.

    Not necessarily. What if there was a rule that said that “all artificial substances are illegal”? That’s circle-drawing — there’s no room for hypocrisy.

  5. CJ

    December 23, 2007 12:10 PM

    CJ: “Lines need to be drawn in athletic competition.”

    Bill: Why does there need to be a line when it comes to substances?

    Why? Common sense. An appreciation of competitive athletics itself. Concern for kids.

    Shlould players be allowed to snort coke before a game too? Is that “hypocrisy”?

    Cortizone and ampetamines are fundamentally different than steroids. They don’t build muscle mass. Tobacco? Alchohol? They don’t boost performance. Which is the whole problem with steroids. So, there is no hypocrisy there.

    I don’t get the obsession with “hypocrisy.” I like baseball. Steroids and human growth hormones make it impossible to know which stats matter and which do not. Making the whole point of watching the game moot. That’s more important to me than whether or not a rule is hypocritical.

  6. Bill Baer

    December 23, 2007 02:52 PM

    Why? Common sense. An appreciation of competitive athletics itself. Concern for kids.

    Why is your “common sense” right?

    I appreciate sports just fine with the “steroids issue.”

    And concern for kids shouldn’t be an issue. Athletes are not baby-sitters.

    Shlould players be allowed to snort coke before a game too? Is that “hypocrisy”?

    Considering that cocaine should be legal, yes, a player should have the freedom to put whatever substances he wants in his body. And yes, it is hypocrisy.

    Cortizone and ampetamines are fundamentally different than steroids. They don’t build muscle mass.

    You’re ignoring the obvious connections — this is cognitive dissonance.

    Cortizone has negative health effects and boost a player’s performance, just like amphetamines. Building muscle mass has nothing to do with it since most athletes use steroids and HGH to recover from injuries. And if your concern is about building muscle mass, why aren’t you campaigning for protein shakes to be banned, and for lifting weights to be illegalized?

    Tobacco? Alchohol? They don’t boost performance.

    Again, an exercise in cognitive dissonance.

    Which is the whole problem with steroids. So, there is no hypocrisy there.

    Here’s the hypocrisy, plain and simple. Look at the reasons steroids are supposedly banned:

    1) They artificially enhance a player’s performance.

    Just like: Any other substance.

    2) They are dangerous to one’s health.

    Just like: Tobacco, alcohol, fast food, dangerous hobbies.

    3) They build muscle mass.

    Just like: Protein shakes, weight-lifting, high-protein diets.

    For it to be not hypocritical to outlaw steroids, you’d have to outlaw everything I just listed.

    Steroids and human growth hormones make it impossible to know which stats matter and which do not.

    Does the higher mound make it impossible? Does the Dead Ball Era make it impossible?

    You’re just creating problems for yourself that prevent you from enjoying the game. I feel deeply saddened for people like you who intentionally set out to prevent yourself from enjoying the great game of baseball, simply because of an issue you have been duped into buying.

    That’s more important to me than whether or not a rule is hypocritical.

    You have gone from “this is not hypocritical” to “this is hypocritical, but I don’t care.”

  7. CJ

    December 24, 2007 04:57 PM

    “I appreciate sports just fine with the “steroids issue.””

    Really? You enjoyed the sad spectacle of Bonds surpassing Aaron? I didn’t. Just a different approach to being a sports fan I guess.

    “And concern for kids shouldn’t be an issue. Athletes are not baby-sitters.”

    This isn’t about athletes. It’s about the game as a spectator sport, and what we’re willing to tolerate as a civilized society. Society cultivates civilized behavior in its young. Part of that is demonstrating that we don’t put winning before everything.

    “Considering that cocaine should be legal, yes, a player should have the freedom to put whatever substances he wants in his body. And yes, it is hypocrisy.”

    Except that it’s not legal. And steroids is not legal. So it isn’t hypocrisy.

    “You’re ignoring the obvious connections — this is cognitive dissonance.
    Cortizone has negative health effects and boost a player’s performance, just like amphetamines. Building muscle mass has nothing to do with it since most athletes use steroids and HGH to recover from injuries.”

    First, that’s not true, especially for non-pitchers. Injury-recovery use doesn’t make a doubles hitter a homerun hitter. Second, you’re sticking to the fatally flawed ‘we can’t draw arbitrary lines’ argument, in which we pretend cortisone alters the game as fundamentally as steroids and human growth hormones.

    “For it to be not hypocritical to outlaw steroids, you’d have to outlaw everything I just listed.”

    No you wouldn’t. You just say “Anything that alters the game as much as steroids is outlawed.” Why is that so radical?

    “Does the higher mound make it impossible?

    Sure, it gets difficult. The difference is, that’s a quantifiable, rare rule change that applied to everyone. The ever-changing nature of drugs and how their administered makes them 1. not quantifiable and 2. not rare.

    Please don’t feel sorry for fans like me. I wasn’t “duped” into thinking this way. In fact, I was ahead of the curve. I felt this way the first time I heard the Lenny Dykstra rumors in the 90s, when he joke that he took some “vitamins.” I didn’t need “the government” to tell me why it took some of the magic out of that ’93 team. I’m an adult, so I know that your way will win out. It’s hard to enforce societal standards of civilized behavior, which is why we don’t much of it anymore.

    “You have gone from “this is not hypocritical” to “this is hypocritical, but I don’t care.””

    No I didn’t. I said they were not hypocritical, and that the focus on “hypocrisy” has nothing to do with the question at hand, which is What is the right thing to do? Doing the right thing, and avoiding hypocrisy are not the same. Merry Christmas.

  8. Bill Baer

    December 24, 2007 05:58 PM

    You enjoyed the sad spectacle of Bonds surpassing Aaron?

    Considering that Aaron most likely used performance-enhancing drugs (Willie Mays and Mike Schmidt admitted to using them, and amphetamine usage was wide-spread as early as the 1950’s in baseball), I had no problem with watching the best all-around player in baseball history take over the HR crown.

    Society cultivates civilized behavior in its young. Part of that is demonstrating that we don’t put winning before everything.

    With that logic, then, shouldn’t we stop keeping scores and statistics?

    Except that it’s not legal. And steroids is not legal. So it isn’t hypocrisy.

    Just because steroids are illegal doesn’t mean they SHOULD BE illegal. I agree with the notion that if they broke the law or MLB rules, they should be punished, but it doesn’t mean that the law or rule is valid.

    It’s hypocritical to illegalize steroids but not the countless amounts of other substances that are similar.

    Injury-recovery use doesn’t make a doubles hitter a homerun hitter.

    Neither do steroids. Ask Alex Sanchez.

    Injury recovery is MORE of a performance enhancer than building muscle mass since you’d be riding the pine instead of being out on the field.

    Second, you’re sticking to the fatally flawed ‘we can’t draw arbitrary lines’ argument, in which we pretend cortisone alters the game as fundamentally as steroids and human growth hormones.

    As mentioned, Cortisone does alter the game. Without Cortisone, Chipper Jones doesn’t touch the field half as much as he has over the past 5 years.

    You just say “Anything that alters the game as much as steroids is outlawed.” Why is that so radical?

    You can’t quantify how much steroids affects the game.

    Sure, it gets difficult. The difference is, that’s a quantifiable, rare rule change that applied to everyone. The ever-changing nature of drugs and how their administered makes them 1. not quantifiable and 2. not rare.

    You just helped my argument.

    Doing the right thing, and avoiding hypocrisy are not the same.

    Again, you are helping my argument by ceding that it is hypocritical.

    Hypocrisy takes precedence over “the right thing.”

    The law is a joke if you have hypocritical standards. And morals are subjective. “The right thing” may be right to you, but wrong to another.

    Thanks for the intellectual discourse — enjoy the holidays.

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