I don’t write much about steroids in baseball, because to be honest, I’m sick and tired of hearing about it. Problem? Yeah. Do I want it gone? Yeah. Do I want to hear about it anymore? HELL NO!
Still, from time to time, one has to pay attention to it, and I ran across a great article by former Ranger Doug Glanville about steroids. Doug has a reputation of being one of the brightest players in baseball (well, retired now, but you get my point). Doug’s article from the New York Times this past Wednesday talks about his feelings on steroids, and why players do such a thing. It’s a great read, here’s a few quotes from it..
In 1998, I was the new kid in Philadelphia, battling Lenny Dysktra for the center field job. Five years later, I was mentoring another new kid, Marlon Byrd, so he could replace me. Faced with that rate of career atrophy, players are capable of rash, self-serving and often irresponsible decisions. Enter steroids.
There is a tipping point in a playerâ€™s career where he goes from chasing the dream to running from a nightmare. At that point, ambition is replaced with anxiety, passion is replaced with survival. It is a downhill run and it spares no one.
Weâ€™re scared of failure, aging, vulnerability, leaving too soon, being passed up â€” and in the quest to conquer these fears, we are inspired by those who do whatever it takes to rise above and beat these odds. We call it â€œdriveâ€ or â€œambition,â€ but when doing â€œwhatever it takesâ€ leads us down the wrong road, it can erode our humanity. The game ends up playing us.
It’s an interesting thought, and could explain why some players never seem to give up the ghost. Growing up in Philadelphia when I did, the best pitcher we had for the longest time was Steve Carlton. “Lefty” as they called him came to Philly in 1972, and stayed a Phillie until 1986. At that point it was obvious he wasn’t what he had been before, but he was a prime example to me of not knowing when to stop. Glanville’s article talks about that a bit. After leaving Philly in mid season 86, Carlton was a Giant, a White Sox, an Indian, and a Twin, going into the 1988 season when he appeared in four games with the Twins (1 start, 3 relief appearances). Heard stories he tried Japanese ball after that. Anyway, some players don’t know when to stop, and that coupled with what Glanville says about this issue makes sense.
Give Doug’s article a read. Thanks to the Phillies blog “Balls, Sticks, & Stuff” for the link.