12/18/2004: Thought for the Day:
Baseball fans are understandably disturbed by the news that several top players, including Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants and Jason Giambi of the Yankees, may have used illegal performance-enhancing drugs. Yet we have little or no idea what these drugs accomplish. Do stronger players hit the ball farther, swing the bat quicker or throw the ball harder? Does using steroids reduce fatigue so that they can do any of those things more effectively than "clean" players?
While there is no doubt that these chemicals are effective at their stated goal, albeit with significant complications, the question of how their effects manifest themselves in a baseball game has not been answered. There are no credible studies that connect drug use to improved performance, nor any that determine what cost these athletes may be paying. In 2004, Major League Baseball financed its first research grants with the pathetic sum of $100,000. The league values science about as much as one-third of the salary of the last player on the bench.
--Will Carroll [NY Times op-ed]
Len on 12.18.04 @ 07:15 PM CST