Among the things that ain’t what they used to be: the shame and disgrace of being busted for steroids.
Exhibits C and C: Bartolo Colon and Melky Cabrera.
They’re both back in baseball - although Colon has five games left on his suspension - and will be earning nice paychecks, without having to go the Hester Prynne route (look it up, you lazy kids!) where you wear your sins forever.
When baseball had work stoppages, minor-league players who crossed picket lines were marked forever as “scabs.” But if you’re a convicted juicer, hey, play ball.
Colon and Cabrera are doing fine. Cabrera, now a Toronto Blue Jay, is tearing up the Grapefruit League, .361 with power. If he carries that bat into the regular season, how long before Moose-Melk Men appear?
...If any of Colon’s or Cabrera’s teammates have a problem with a teammate who just got sprung from the PED slammer, those complaints have not been heard.
And I wonder if Cabrera and Colon - and other juicers - might even earn a little quiet, dark respect from other players. Hey, he loves the game so much he’s willing to take risks. If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’, and I want teammates who are tryin’.
As for fans, there will be the odd catcall on the road, but it’s doubtful we’ll see anyone toss a giant syringe at Colon or Cabrera.
...The moral, I hope, is not that juicing is OK, even beneficial. Reputations and legacies are still tarnished, bodies are harmed in ways we don’t entirely know yet, team and individual triumphs are cheapened, character is compromised.
Juicing is not the way to go, kids. But punishment-wise, it beats robbing banks.