Say It Ain't So

By Daniel Akst

I see that Manny Ramirez is the latest slugger caught up in the steroids scandal. Inevitably, testing will become more widespread; one of my sons is precociously adept at hitting a 60 mph fastball, and while he's out I plan to scour his room for signs of performance enhancing substances (his bamboo bat doesn't count; it says "Little League Approved" right on it).

This 60 mph business is yet another of those things, piling up like the fateful bricks in the Cask of Amontillado, that my kids can do but I can't. Each is a bittersweet reminder--well, never mind all that solemn hooey, we were talking about baseball.

Did you ever see a game from maybe 25 years ago on ESPN classics? Probably there are snippets on YouTube. Anyway in those days ballplayers were built more or less like the rest of us, before the Herman Munster look became so widespread. Testing can help, but in the long run it may be difficult to stem the rising tide of technology in this arena. Consider the impact it's had on the literary world, where performance-enhancing substances are little noted but widely used--as this testimony makes clear.

I struggle with this every day. Can I really earn my keep here at the Atlantic without pharmacological assistance? If I suddenly start hitting the ball out of the park on this blog, you'll know I found something in my young slugger's room.


This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2009/05/say-it-aint-so/17285/