Friday, December 14, 2007

The Level Playing Field

First of all, it’s good to be back. I was hard at work on my first big freelance assignment since hanging out my shingle. It was for a web magazine, and my task was to motivate readers to improve their health so they won’t have to pay for higher health insurance premiums when the consequences of their bad habits catch up with them. Among others, I interviewed lots of consultants, an adventure in itself, and I’ll tell you more in detail what I learned later on.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

I was momentarily shocked (or maybe I wasn’t) when I heard the list of alleged steroid users in baseball, among them some of my favorite players. (Johnny, how could you?) Putting aside the argument for the moment that HGH (human growth hormone) is given to help heal injuries faster and in some drug trials, has been used as a treatment for fibromyalgia, this issue, I think, is more about the entertainment factor in baseball rather than sport.

I mean, didn’t all this business start after the strike in the mid 90s? Owners wanted butts in the seats, and what better way than to give them hard-hitting home run sluggers? So have we then crossed the line even farther into entertainment?

Steroid use is called cheating by some, but in the entertainment field, things like this are done all time under the guise of getting more work and getting more butts in the seats. Actresses get their faces done, even some actors, and the breast implant and liposuction businesses are booming. Do we call these men and women cheaters, and deny them their Oscars and their stars on the walk of fame, and put an asterisk next to their names in the record books? No. The world lined up to see Angelina Jolie’s breasts star in “Tomb Raider”, and many, many actresses are still getting work as romantic leads into their 40s, 50s, and 60s, looking like women half their age thanks to Botox and other "injectibles."

I’m not saying this is right either. I just think we shouldn’t judge baseball players so harshly. Yes, they make a boatload of money, but so does Pamela Anderson.