How about three: I don’t care.

Okay, I care a little.  I don’t want players to have to think about using steroids just to keep up.  And as for stimulants, baseball is a marathon, and seeing your team battle through a day game several hours after losing in extra innings the night before is part of what makes the sport great.  I’d prefer that players deal with it the way I would: with a stiff cup of coffee (or three).

But, really, I no longer care.  MLB has testing in place.  It’s not perfect, but I believe it’s good enough for players to not have to think about using just to keep up.  There may be a user here or there; but even if you can fool some drug tests all of the time, or all drug tests some of the time, you can’t fool all drug tests all of the time.  PEDs may not be fully eradicated, but now we’re talking random weeds in sidewalk cracks, not a scraggly lawn that’s tough to look at.

I’m not going to try to convince you that you shouldn’t care.  If the only parties with legitimate PEDs gripes are the players who were displaced and the teams who faced falsely inflated performance — D-backs fans may have as good a beef as any.  As AZ Central has reported, the testing evidence shows that Ryan Braun’s testosterone was at its highest while putting the Brewers over the top in the best-of-five 2011 NLDS.  I’m not going to try to convince you that you shouldn’t care about that.  But it’s a little like assuming a caught stealing cost a team a run because a few pitches later, someone hit a home run.  There’s a butterfly effect that we’ll never be able to account for.

More than anything, I don’t really care because I have something else to care about: baseball.  I think that worrying about PEDs, at least since testing has been in place, has suffered from a kind of circular logic.  We worry about PEDs because it affects the play on the field.  I’ll say that again: we only care about PEDs at all because if players use, it might affect the game of baseball.

While we divert our attention to talk and inquire about PEDs, the game is still being played.  There’s just so much to unpack or predict, even in the offseason.  While we wondered about Biogenesis, which may have affected a small fraction of the plays in a small fraction of games, rookies broke through and veterans made adjustments and pitchers unveiled new pitches.  Since Alex Rodriguez officially appealed his suspension on August 7, nearly 400 Major League Baseball games have been played.

You won’t find me talking about PEDs again in this space, except for a cursory reference or link.  It just seems silly to me to spend more than a few minutes worrying about PEDs when, in terms of how much it’s mattered to the game in the last few years, it’s just one of thousands of other interesting storylines — and one of the few with the least direct relationship to baseball.


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