I hope you won’t think ill of me, but I have given this a lot of thought and I have a confession to make. I would have considered taking steroids. I would not have discounted it outright.
I won’t ask you to condone the use of steroids, but I would be comfortable with my decision and think I can at least express it so that you might accept my position.
From the time I started T-Ball, I had wanted to play professional baseball, like millions and millions of other children all over the world. But when you’re in T-Ball, you don’t think about the money or the fame. You think about putting on the uniform and playing at the highest level. People talk about how steroids have ruined the purity of the game. I won’t comment on that. I will, however, caution that the purity of the game is viewed with rose-colored glasses. No one knows what previous generations of ballplayers did to get ahead, whether it be throwing spitballs or sharpening spikes, so I think it may be disingenuous to argue for the purity of the game.
For every player who makes it to the big leagues, there are thousands who don’t; so many of them toil in the minor leagues, never getting a shot to live out their dream. I never thought about baseball as a career. I thought of it as a fantasy. A fantasy to put on the uniform, smell the grass, and step onto the field in front of thousands of people. So for the chance to live out a fantasy, even just for one day, would it be worth it? Would I be able to live with myself, knowing that I had cheated to get to that level?
And the answer is, maybe. Who gets the chance to live out a dream like that? If the difference between living out the dream and not was taking steroids only once, how could it not be worth it? Now I do have a problem with steroids for two reasons, and this is why. First, the most noteworthy people who took steroids were those who already had immense talent. Without pointing fingers, the people who have been identified as having taken steroids were superstars to begin with. So their taking steroids was just the rich getting richer. That was a slap in the face of the purity of the game. These people already were playing at the highest level; what was to gain by taking steroids other than to stoke their own ego.
Second, there are other people who took steroids to get paid and I don’t agree with that at all. That is tantamount to spitting on the game. Baseball players already get paid way too much; if you were already getting paid and took steroids to get paid more, you are just plain greedy.
Let me give you another example. How would you feel about me if I told you that I told a client to lie while on the witness stand because I knew we couldn’t win without the client lying and if we won the client would give me a huge bonus? Wouldn’t that be unethical? Wouldn’t I be proving all of those nasty jokes they tell about lawyers?
So I go back to me as a baseball player. I never considered baseball for a career; I thought of it as a privilege and an experience that so few people get to have. And if I was that close to reaching the big leagues, to live the professional baseball player life for one day, to travel with the team for one road trip, to take batting practice, run the bases, step out onto that field… if I could do all of that just once and to do so I would have to take steroids one time, I would be hard pressed not to do it. I didn’t say it definitely, but I would really think hard about it.
Of course, that is easy for me to say, considering I am as clean as clean can be and have led an uneventful and non-experimental life thus far…
I can say this now with little compunction because my baseball ship has sailed; the Dodgers will NOT be calling me to suit up. Also, I don’t think that there is anything else in the world that I could do that would cause me to think twice about breaking the rules. I just don’t have it in me. But to live out a little boy’s dream?