Friday, August 24, 2012

The Steroid User Narrative, Or, Why We'll Conveniently Forget About Bartolo Colon As Soon As Possible

The new face - and chins - of steroids in baseball
Can't wait to see how the Bartolo Colon suspension affects the narrative of the jacked up, totally ripped,   mega-noggined steroid abuser. Seriously, Colon's the sort of guy who looks more likely to test positive for P-I-E than P-E-D, and who presumably took his synthetic testosterone after it was batter dipped, deep fried, and wrapped in bacon. When you think "steroid user", you think Barry Bonds' giant dome and ripped physique, and conveniently forget that that Bonds' workout regimen was so legendarily brutal that it broke freak-of-nature Gary Sheffield. You don't think "guy who looks like he stars on Man vs. Food Nation"; you think one hit of steroids is like Popeye sucking down a six pack of spinach and Hulking out immediately.
But then again, that's always been the case. The bulk of steroids guys busted in baseball haven't been uber-athletes. They've been fringe guys trying to hang on, end-of-the-bullpen arms and scrappy middle infielders looking for a way to hang on to another year of major league service time. Think back to the Mitchell Report. How many of those guys had you even heard of?
But the public perception of steroid users is set in stone, at least for the moment. It's all about the record-breakers and the superstars, because it's a lot more fun to tear down a guy who's famous than it is to put the final kibosh on the dreams of a guy who's been cut six times and is desperately trying to hang on in Durham or Indianapolis or Scranton. And so the narrative won't change, which means that honest debate on the issue - which is sorely lacking - will continue to remain an impossibility.
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