Friday, December 03, 2004

Say it Taint So

Nobody should be shocked by the revelation that baseball superstars Jason Giambi and Barry Bonds took steroids. Ex-major leaguers Jose Canseco and Ken Caminiti, superstars in their day, admitted long ago they used performance-enhancing drugs, and Giambi's teammate on the Yankees, Gary Sheffield, admitted to using a steroid cream two years ago (unknowingly, he claims). On a more subjective level, look at Giambi before and after the period he used steroids, and look at the way Barry's bulked up over the last five or six years. Plain as day. Giambi apparently revealed in his court testimony that he injected steroids and human growth hormone into his stomach and buttocks. Think that's painful? Well, after signing a $120 million contract with the Yanks, he developed tendinitis in his patella, a rare stomach ailment, and a benign tumor in his pituitary gland: all clear symptoms, doctors say, of steroid use. He then lied about it, even after he withered away in the last offseason when he went off the juice. (Bonds claims he was unaware the cream his trainer gave him contained performance enhancers. We may never know.) There will be much fallout from these revelations. One situation to keep your eye on is the Yankees' effort to void the remainder of Giambi's guaranteed contract, worth over $80 million. ESPN's Jayson Stark reports that the Yankees could nullify the rest of the contract for, among other reasons, Giambi's failure to comply with the club's training policy and not keeping himself in "first-class physical condition." There are some clauses in the basic agreement (see Stark's report above) that make it difficult for the Yankees to get out of the contract, and in any case you can be sure the players' union will do everything in its power to make sure Giambi keeps his deal. But the union should allow the Yankees to nullify the contract. The first consideration is public relations: the public is going to be furious if the union protects the ill-gotten contracts of known dopers and liars. Yankees' fans are already pissed. (And how about this opening line in the NY Daily News: "Shrunken slugger Jason Giambi was exposed yesterday as a steroid-using liar who betrayed the Yankees and all baseball fans.") The second is the potential market fallout. In the short term, canceling Giambi's deal would set the precedent for nullifying the contracts of any players who use performance enhancers -- a situation the union can't find desirable. But the medium-to-long consequence could be even farther reaching: free agent sluggers might have to begin accepting discounted contract offers because of the inherent risk teams confront in signing players from a tainted pool. Clubs recently have had difficulty signing free agents with injuries like back problems because no insurance company in its right mind will insure them. I wouldn't be surprised to see insurance companies greatly raise premiums in the wake of BALCO-gate. If the steroid problem is not corraled, in the long run, non-doping super-sluggers' salaries might sag. The third and most important reason is that steroid use is, ultimately, a life and limb proposition. As much as the modern athlete worships money and glory, there are many aspirants in the minors, college and high school who will never attain the heights of Bonds and Giambi. The perceived tradeoff is potential fame, money and success on the one hand, and serious health problems on the other. By maintaining his deal, the message Giambi sends to the next generation of players is: dope up, dominate for a few seasons, hide the 'roid use, sign that big contract, and let the chips fall where they may. Allowing the Yankees to void the contract creates some deterrent to steroid use beyond the shame associated with it. And the union fighting to maintain that contract would implicitly condone the use of steroids. Tarnished home run records are one thing; a human being's health, and perhaps life, are quite another. Ask Ken Caminiti, who after a steroid-filled career killed himself a few months ago. Heck, ask Giambi, who has already had his share of health problems. The players' union should recognize that some things are more valuable than guaranteed multimillion dollar contracts.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent, love it! Laptop pentium m media player for pda bongosoft antispam 2004 4.501

March 1, 2007 at 1:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looking for information and found it at this great site... » »

March 6, 2007 at 7:38 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Technorati Profile Blogarama