Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Economist: If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’

An argument in favor of letting PED users into the Hall of Fame.

Only in 2005 did the sport formally and specifically prohibit the use of a long list of substances, begin to test for them, and suspend players with positive results. Before then, using steroids in baseball was roughly analogous to, say, using Adderall for high-stress office work: you had to break the law to get it without a prescription, and it might harm your health in the long run, but no one would test you for it, or punish you if you got caught.

Given that system, staying clean would seem to be a greater offence for baseball players, who are paid to do everything within the rules to help their teams win, than taking steroids is. Bobby Abreu got raked over the coals for being reluctant to chase after deep fly balls for fear of crashing into the outfield wall. So why does, say, Lance Berkman, whom the press has lionised for his criticisms of steroid users, get a free pass for putting his team at a competitive disadvantage (assuming he in fact did not use PEDs)? At least Mr Abreu can claim he was trying to avoid an injury that would have harmed his club even more than failing to catch the ball would. In contrast, the likes of Mr Berkman prioritised their own well-being long after retirement over their teams’ imperative to win now. Like all of us, professional athletes respond to incentives, and baseball players who doped did no more and no less than what they were paid to do.

The only way to prevent behaviour we disapprove of is to adjust the risk-return tradeoff so that it is no longer in people’s interest to try.

David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: January 12, 2013 at 10:45 AM | 7 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: steroids

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. ntr RdP Posted: January 12, 2013 at 11:50 PM (#4345987)
@tangotiger: Straight Arrow reader: "Football HOF finalists released today. No discussion whatsoever by the media about PEDs." #Hypocrisy

USA Today says [Ray] Lewis tallied a team-high 15 tackles in his second week back in action after tearing his triceps in October. His speedy recovery, a marvel in itself...

Yes, truly a marvel. How DID he do it?
   2. Bug Selig Posted: January 13, 2013 at 09:38 AM (#4346075)
He prayed - conspicuously. Then, he did a dance that included a throat-cutting gesture and everyone cheered.

Wait - what was the question?
   3. Bad Fish Posted: January 13, 2013 at 12:45 PM (#4346164)

The OJ, no doubt.
   4. salajander Posted: January 13, 2013 at 12:46 PM (#4346166)
I think the key quote is
But there are few worse crimes for a museum than whitewashing history, which is what leaving them out entirely would amount to.

   5. McCoy Posted: January 13, 2013 at 12:49 PM (#4346169)
Except being honored by the Hall of Fame is different than being in the museum. Barry Bonds is in the museum. Roger Clemens is in the museum. The museum isn't pretending that Clemens or Bonds don't exist by not choosing to honor them. The Hall of Fame is an award/prize/honor. If they don't wish to give Bonds a prize that is their prerogative.
   6. Srul Itza Posted: January 13, 2013 at 12:52 PM (#4346172)
They're in the museum. They are not in the Hall, which is a separate issue.

Can we not go through this every time that comes up, as we do with Pete Rose?

The museum records baseball history, including Pete Rose, the Black Sox, and Barry Bonds.

The Hall confers a self-declared "high honor" based on whatever standard the current BBWAA consensus and/or Veterans Committee(s) are currently applying.

EDIT -- OR WHAT McCoy said.

   7. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 13, 2013 at 02:33 PM (#4346234)
At least Mr Abreu can claim he was trying to avoid an injury that would have harmed his club even more than failing to catch the ball would. In contrast, the likes of Mr Berkman prioritised their own well-being long after retirement over their teams’ imperative to win now.

Now, that's funny.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.



<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF


Thanks to
ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick
for his generous support.


You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 2016 Discussion
(9 - 10:08am, Oct 28)
Last: DL from MN

NewsblogJoe Buck explains why calling World Series at Wrigley will be his career highlight | FOX Sports
(6 - 10:07am, Oct 28)
Last: Oren Thal

NewsblogIndians weighing Carlos Santana starting in left field; Cubs can’t do the same with Kyle Schwarber - Indians - Ohio
(2 - 10:07am, Oct 28)
Last: spycake

NewsblogOTP 2016 October 24: Breitbart Radio Exclusive: Curt Schilling Joins Breitbart News Rotation Weekdays 9AM to 11AM ET
(854 - 10:05am, Oct 28)
Last: Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad)

NewsblogWorld Series spotlight shifts to Chicago and Wrigley Field
(66 - 10:03am, Oct 28)
Last: Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™

NewsblogKyle Schwarber not medically cleared to play field as World Series moves to Wrigley
(13 - 10:00am, Oct 28)
Last: JJ1986

NewsblogRob Manfred Hints At Meeting With Indians Ownership To Discuss Racist Logo
(72 - 9:51am, Oct 28)
Last: Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network)

NewsblogOT: NBA 2016-17 Preseason Thread
(358 - 9:41am, Oct 28)
Last: jmurph

NewsblogJose Altuve voted Sporting News MLB Player of the Year for 2016
(12 - 9:39am, Oct 28)
Last: RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) This is why baseball is so white
(36 - 9:33am, Oct 28)
Last: There's a bustle in Misirlou's hedgerow

NewsblogPadres GM A.J. Preller addresses suspension |
(1 - 8:56am, Oct 28)
Last: Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad)

Newsblog2016 World Series Game 3 OMNICHATTER
(2 - 8:56am, Oct 28)
Last: Bote Man

NewsblogCutting class for the World Series is a valid excuse in Ohio
(23 - 8:19am, Oct 28)
Last: dlf

NewsblogCubs top Indians to even World Series |
(26 - 12:50am, Oct 28)
Last: SoSHially Unacceptable

NewsblogGold Glove Award finalists |
(14 - 12:47am, Oct 28)
Last: Cooper Nielson

Page rendered in 0.1772 seconds
47 querie(s) executed