Now, I’m not particularly trying to mock the National Pastime (that’d be Baseball - “beys-bahl” - for those of you who were not raised in the US) (and yes, I say “National Pastime” with a mildly ironic and sardonic tone), but this story on the newswires today was too rich not to mine and comment upon.
It seems that sports attracts a fair number of those annoying children who tend to disrupt class. But, the good thing is that these heretofore maligned individuals are able to admit their problem, and receive the help - er - dosages that they need.
If the above link doesn’t work for you, here’s the punchline; According to the NYTimes article, the number of players in pro baseball who are claiming to have Attention Deficit Disorder - ADD - jumped from 28 to 103 between the 2006 and 2007 seasons. (That’s something like 7.6% of the players, vs 2-6% estimates for the general population.) The solution is that they take Ritalin or Adderol, which are trade-name versions of methylphenidate - “a central nervous system stimulant. (Its effects are similar to, but
more potent than, caffeine and less potent than amphetamine.)”
Here comes the snarky comment.
It’s a helluva thing when when your sport is so monumentally boring that the players have to take speed to stay awake during a game.
But here’s the other thing, and it is probably spurred by the amount of comments that otherwise non-cycling-knowledgeable-folks have made over the past few years - it just underscores the complete lip-service approach which pro baseball brings to their flailing and posturing about drug use within their sport. I mean, when co-workers went on about how “Lance must’ve doped” or what a druggie Floyd or Tyler was, I smiled and said little. The latter pair had in-competition tests to dispute and the former was included by the old favorite - guilt by association. These were folks who had only been tangentially aware of the Tour de France, but when the scandals broke across the papers, it became their great sport to mock those who now stood naked in the spotlight.
And I’m not niave enough to think that there isn’t (or hasn’t been) drug use in the pro cycling ranks. But, recently they’ve also done more, been tested more and have consistently tightened screening processes than any other sport I’m aware of. They are not “off the hook”, but are at least engaged in a relatively painful and public vetting. It’s a bit painful to watch, but as a fan of the sport, I think it’s a necessary step.
Baseball on the other hand has danced around the issue considerably. Steroids weren’t illegal until recently. Turns out the amphetamines weren’t illegal until a couple years ago. And when I read the article, in which the baseball league apologist suggests that suggested that “the attention deficit disorder numbers might be higher
in baseball than the general adult population because baseball players
have a younger average age…” - it was reasonably hoot-worthy.
I mean, they test the players twice a year for amphetamines? And that wasn’t illegal until 2006? At least the players were staying awake…