In today's New York Times, Harvey Araton reports and opines on steroids in baseball. Here are two facts from the article. On incidence:
Where were Bonds and Sheffield and the others when it took management and labor about 20 minutes to agree on a weak testing plan that was designed to disappear, and would have if enough players — 5 to 7 percent of the tests were positive — weren't so arrogant or ignorant they couldn't pass a test they knew was coming?
As Christine Brennan wrote Thursday in USA Today, the 5 to 7 percent "might sound pretty low until you consider that in the U.S. Olympic movement last year, the percentage of those who failed tests was 0.4 percent, according to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency." And those results were derived in part from unannounced testing, far more stringent than baseball's. The happy spin baseball put on its first round of testing was a bigger disgrace than anything out of Pete Rose's mouth.
On the trickle down effect:
….Taylor [Hooton], a high school pitcher, committed suicide by hanging last year in what was believed to be a chemical reaction upon discontinuing the use of anabolic steroids. … [Hooton's father] said that he had read Dusty Baker's steroid comments while traveling last week and reacted viscerally. "I believe he said he had never seen steroids and wouldn't know it if someone was taking them," Hooton said. "Well, Coach, whose job is it to know? And it's that same attitude, the same silence, high school coaches are mimicking."
While I don't believe it was Baker's job, it is baseball's job to police itself in a manner which is a) consistent with U.S. law, and b) society's view of what constitutes legitimate sport. It did not, so it will pay a price. The episode displays poor foresight and a lack of will on baseball's part. "Steroids? We're too busy arguing about how to split the money." Chalk one more up in the negative column for Selig.