Friday, May 08, 2009

When "Everyone's Doing It" Is Your Best Defense

The revelation that Manny Ramirez is using steroids has caused the baseball world to go into another frenzy of denial and hand wringing. Especially Red Sox sycophant Bill Simmons, who penned a lengthy essay imagining how he would explain the steroid era to his child.

Without completely defending users, he eventually gets to the point of saying cheating is bad, but since everyone was doing it, it wasn't that bad. But as a fan of baseball who knows there are teams outside of New York and Boston, it's easy to point out that that's simply not true.

The Twins, for example, have never been in the middle of a steroid scandal. Sure, we had one minor relief pitcher get in trouble for using, but that's not quite the same as a 50 home run clean-up batter using. Throughout the entire steroids era, the Twins never had a guy suspiciously bloom into a giant, home-run hitting monster. In fact, we had guys like David Ortiz hit 48 homers in 6 years with the Twins and then go to Boston to hang out with noted steroid users and was suddenly able to easily hit that many homers in a single season...

This could go on and on, but the point is that not everyone was cheating. And while the Twins were always competitive throughout the first half of this decade, they kept getting bumped out of the playoffs by teams with hulking monster men who suddenly got a lot smaller when the steroids investigations got going. Maybe if the Twins had been cheating as well we could be looking back fondly on some tainted championship banners instead of a string of disappointing playoff runs.

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