When a player uses a substance banned by Major League Baseball, they immediately get labeled a "cheater", someone who breaks the rules of the game in order to give themselves or their team an unfair advantage. But many players have done this over their careers ... many of whom are in the Hall of Fame. By their own admission, both Hank Aaron and Mike Schmidt have used "greenies" ... amphetamines that are considered performance-enhancing drugs. Players like Gaylord Perry threw spitballs, a pitch deemed illegal by the rules of the game.Rob Neyer, SB Nation, January 8, 2013:
These players don't seem to be considered with the same type of venom as Bonds and Clemens, both of whom will likely not reach the Hall this year. But aren't these players, by definition of the term, "cheaters" as well?
What makes a player a "cheater?"
I have another, bigger issue with Verducci's argument. While he seems to acknowledge that amphetamines and spitballs constituted cheating, just like steroids, he seems to consider the latter far worse because of its impact. Why does the impact matter. I'm trying to imagine a player's thoughts here ... "Gosh, those amphetamines seemed to help a little, so even though it's cheating I think they're okay to use. But golly, these steroids everybody's talking about ... I'd better not mess with those, because they seem to help a LOT."Michael MacDonald and Colin MacDonald, Beyond the Box Score, January 10, 2013:
That just defies everything we know about human nature and, specifically, the nature of world-class athletes. If there's a small advantage to be taken, big-time athletes will take it. If there's a larger advantage to be taken, they'll take that. ... [T]he notion that baseball before steroids was a pure game, a fair game, is (to use one of Verducci's words) a canard.
Bonds did not set the rules. He played within rules that were set, implicitly and tacitly, by the guardians of the game.***
The purpose of rules is to establish and enforce level playing field. But if rules are written but are not enforced, like when umpires call a letter high pitch a ball, they are not real rules. Players must adjust to the game as it is called. When baseball celebrated the 1989 A's without reservation, when it glorified McGwire and Sosa, and when insiders chose not to see evidence that would dash their illusions, they sent a clear message to Bonds and those who came late to steroids.
Sadly, Jose Canseco will not (cannot, actually) run against the proudly ignorant right-wing bully/buffoon/world-class asshole Rob Ford in Toronto's mayoral by-election:
I do want to run. It's a good cause and I know I can do well. But I am not a citizen so it's a moot point. Unless the rules are different.The rules are not different.
Alex Speier, WEEI: "Pipeline Overfloweth? Why Outlook For Red Sox Pitching Prospects Is Promising"
Gordon Edes ESPNBoston: Sox Prospect Bradley Full Of Promise
Mike Andrews has the projected 2013 lineups for Pawtucket, Portland, Salem, and Greenville.