*as long as they don’t find out.
One thing that flummoxed me during the 2005 Congressional hearings on steroids use in baseball – and confounds me to this day – is the reaction to the players’ testimonies. Sammy Sosa went up there and lied, and no one seems to care (later reports showed that he tested positive in 2003. Oh, plus he used to suck, and then he crushed over 60 HR in multiple seasons.) Rafael Palmiero went up there and lied, and the public later turned on him after he tested positive. The outrage, however, seemed to be that he had looked us in the eye and lied to us. However, when Mark McGwire was the only one not to perjure himself and basically pleaded the 5th, he’s the one who came away with the most tarnished reputation that day. It never seemed fair to me that the most honest among them (granted, he could have admitted it all that day, and although he didn’t, he would a few years later) was the most vilified.
With that in mind, I call your attention to the fact that Manny Ramirez tested positive for steroids – again – and rather than serve his 100-game suspension he has elected instead to retire from baseball. Here’s what Jayson Stark – a rather respected ESPN baseball writer, had to say:
Not just one, but two unfortunate infringements of the PED law of the land — both of them coming at a point in his career when his Hall of Fame ticket had already been punched, had he just been savvy enough to avoid apprehension.
Do you see what I see? There is a kind of longing in that statement: he just wishes Manny could have been smarter, not gotten caught, and then he could have enjoyed his performances and antics and stats so much more. Even if his twilight year stats were bad, Manny was already good enough that it wouldn’t have mattered.
That seems to be one of the main lessons from steroids in baseball. We were always ok with them, as long as we didn’t know about them. And if given the chance to learn whether our favorite players are users, we prefer not to.