The Barry Bonds Harry Potter Greenhouse effect

There must be something wrong with me. Not only did I go out of my way not to be interested in Harry Potter (and found myself in wholehearted agreement with Dr. Helen's post about what I consider aging adolescent hysteria), but now I'm finding myself having a Harry Potteresque reaction to the Barry Bonds uproar.

So I find myself in agreement with Megan McArdle:

I'm not sure about this controversy over Barry Bonds. Yes, the guy 'roided it up. But then so, I imagine, did the pitchers he faced, which should have made their pitches faster and harder to hit. This kind of grumbling seems odd in team sports, when everyone with a chemical or training advantage should see it offset by the same behaviour on the opposing team.
It's just a big yawn as far as I'm concerned. I cared more about Rush Limbaugh's drug issues, because they touched on political principles, but in general I am not interested in what entertainers do. Rock musicians often use drugs to enhance their performance, and while I can understand the argument that baseball is supposed to be kept "clean," what's clean? I've been addicted to chewing tobacco at various times in my life, and there's no question that it's both a high and a performance enhancer. In the early days of this blog, I wrote posts late at night, and they were largely nicotine fueled. (Nicotine also provided fuel for Harkonnendog.) Now the fuel is usually coffee, aggravated by a natural, despair-be-damned curiosity to discover what I think. (And occasionally I'll have a couple of beers in the evening, and I'll react to especially dire nonsense, but these days blogging is usually a morning thing.)

Sorry, but I just can't get into Barry Bonds and steroids.

It's about as exciting as the idea of erotic pictures of Linda Greenhouse. (Via Ann Althouse, who doesn't link to any.)


posted by Eric on 08.12.07 at 04:58 PM


As an avid baseball fan, I also care almost nothing about Barry Bonds' alleged use of performance enhancers. I'm not convinced he used banned ones, not convinced they would help hit a baseball, and not convinced that it matters even if all of the foregoing could be proved.

Socrates   ·  August 12, 2007 10:09 PM

As an avid baseball fan, I do care about Bonds' alleged use of performance enhancers. I don't think Megan McArdle understands baseball. Pitchers may gain a mile or two on their fastball, but there have been very few pitchers who could get out major league hitters with only a fastball. As Ray Miller taught, "work fast, change speeds, throw strikes" is the answer. And hit your spots.

A Bonds (or a McGwire or a Sosa or a Canseco) would gain a large advantage with more strength and bat speed, as long as their batting eye and hand-eye coordination were unaffected. Being able to maintain control and bat speed with a two ounce heavier bat imparts that much more kinetic energy to the ball. Fly balls that would fall into an outfielders glove at the warning track would carry the extra 20 feet and land in the stands. It's a small margin that can make the difference.

By the way, careful about that coffee. Too much is ... too much.

Giacomo   ·  August 12, 2007 11:18 PM

I'm pro choice. The way I figure, it is Barry's body and he can do what he wants with it according to the ninth ammendment.

Papertiger   ·  August 13, 2007 4:26 AM

A computer beat Kasparvo at chess. Should computers now have world chess rankings? Play in tournaments? Should chess fans get excited to watch computers play a game?

Special effects used to be really cool when they were models and neat tricks. Now that they're just cartoons, who cares? Special effects are no longer interesting. No longer inspiring.

So the Bondbot hit 751 homeruns? So what? I bet any well equipped geek can make a robot that will hit more homeruns than the Bondbot.

Most of us watch sports to view great human acheivement. The Bondbot is the CGI of sports--taking something spectacular and making it ho-hum, not by doing it better, but by having artificial contraptions do part of the work.

tim maguire   ·  August 13, 2007 4:08 PM

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