By Jason Klein
Steroids are bad. I get it.
They’re bad for people and they’re bad for baseball.
Even if I felt otherwise, I’m bombarded by anti-PED messages almost every day. I’m told that players who use steroids have an unfair advantage and have cheated the game, the fans, and themselves. They are branded as frauds, vilified by the public, and relegated to pariah status.
The wrath felt is justified.
Let there be no confusion. Steroids are drugs. They can cause harm. They can kill. They are banned within Major League Baseball and are illegal, for recreational use, in our country…as they should be.
For a minute though, put the legal implications aside. At face value, a steroid is a foreign substance, entered into the body, intended to give an athlete an advantage or improve their physical capabilities. Strictly from a performance standpoint, I’ve often wondered: how is this any different than wearing contact lenses to improve vision? There are plenty of other examples – using an inhaler to improve breathing or drinking coffee to stay alert – but just focus on contacts for a moment.
Like taking steroids, contact lenses allow an athlete to overcome their body’s natural limitations – in this case vision – in order to compete at a high level.
This week, in the wake of Ryan Braun’s 65 game steroid suspension, former MLB pitcher, and current ESPN analyst Curt Schilling said: “Steroids help average players become good, good players become great, and great players become Hall of Famers.”
There are plenty of “great” players who wear contact lenses. Without them, would they just be “good” players? Would they even be capable of seeing?
Without steroids, some guys would probably have to call it quits when their abilities deteriorate at an early age. Without contact lenses, some players would probably have to do the same.
I would never condone the use of performance enhancing drugs in sports, or in life. Steroids are bad. I get it. Those who violate MLB’s steroid policy deserve all the ridicule and backlash they receive. Conceptually speaking, though, I just wonder how different they are from some other benign “performance enhancers.”
See my point? Without your lenses in, you might not.
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