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Monday, May 16, 2011

Steroids Versus Gambling

I’ll admit I have next to nothing today. The Phillies aren’t hitting, but it’s a marathon season and I think the season might hinge on the return of Chase Utley. The winter teams are in moth balls, and the lockout in the NFL is just one big bore.

So, today I heard 97.5’s Harry Mayes with Brian Baldinger and Larry Bowa comparing Pete Rose betting on baseball versus the steroid users in the game. I was surprised to hear Mayes say he thought gambling on a game by a manager affected the outcome of a game more than a player using steroids.

In fact, I tweeted him just to make sure I heard him correctly. I included my disagreement, suggesting the offenses equally affected outcomes. He confirmed that I had heard correctly, adding that pitchers were on performance enhancing drugs as well as hitters during the steroid era.

I thought his second point that Rose could manipulate a game easier as a manager than a player on steroids was actually a better argument. Bowa made the point on the air quite well describing a scenario where Rose, as a manager, might not like his team in a Friday game but like them (as a bet) the next night. Rose could easily not use a reliever Friday knowing he had a bet for Saturday because he wanted the guy ready to go for that game.

It’s a tough point to argue.

Yet, I counter with the thought that every single at-bat by a guy on steroids is fraudulent. And any baseball guy will tell you that a stud batting fourth is going to affect how the entire lineup is pitched to. That affects every game in which the guy is in the lineup. If the hitter went from an average guy to a Hall of Fame caliber slugger thanks to steroids, it’s phony.

The fact that the pitcher might be just as “juiced” makes it worse, not better, in my opinion.

Call it a mildly interesting debate on a slow Monday.

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