Sunday, July 14, 2013

PED's & Politics

I sent along an article about the Oakland A's and their history of PED involvement to my sports-informed son, including the "miraculous" resurgence of Bartolo Colon.  He noted that after Canseco, a lot of teams were essentially in the same boat in terms of any destruction of baseball. This is true, but seemed a little blase, a little not-as-outraged as he might be. I continue to be more angry about the imbalance and disruption in fairness that PED's cause than he does, and I wonder if this is generational.  Not that the next generation disapproves of steroids more mildly - they may, but I don't know that - but because that train had already left the station by the time they came on the scene. I recall a time when performance-enhancing drugs were not on the radar in sports, except perhaps during the Olympics, when we became aware of funny things happening behind the Iron Curtain. (In my day we took performance-destroying drugs.)

Football players had already begun using anabolin as far back as Lyle Alzado in 1969, and maybe earlier than that, but as each sport gradually revealed its involvement - track and field, baseball, and then everything - we observers felt something had been taken from us. Relatedly, many Celtics fans seem to be angrier at Ray Allen for leaving than Doc Rivers.  Allen's contract was up, he was treated worse by the media and team.  But when he left, he went to a direct rival, and the change in balance pretty much guaranteed we weren't going to the finals after that.  When Doc left that dream was already dead.  So we blamed Ray, even though he really didn't screw us like Doc did. (Note: Doc didn't screw us any worse than is normal in the NBA, and he seems a nice guy, but still. Contract.)

We react emotionally to the proximate causes, likely, rather than deeper causes.  Johnson started the White House recordings, Kennedy's cheap tactics are now pretty well-known, but Nixon is the one who pushed us over the edge.  Some of that was a change in media protection of presidents, some of that was change in journalists' politics, but Dick Nixon kept being revealed in this paranoid, petty, unscrupulous crap more than a few times, and we could no longer pretend.  He robbed us.

We now live in scandal upon scandal out of Washington, and no one, or not enough people, seem to get worked up anymore.  The partisans do, but it doesn't seem to filter out into the general consciousness; or, when it does, it's for some smaller but sexier scandal that catches the imagination.


james said...

Could this be habituation? The first big announcement get the excitement, the next less...
My kids were never as excited about the shuttle as I was about Mercury. It isn't news anymore.

Rarity and novelty punch our buttons. My eldest loves watching birds, and though he'd be wall-climbing excited if he could see a ivory-bill woodpecker, he enjoys watching ordinary sparrows too. They're just as amazing, but I get blase about them.

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