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Sunday, February 20, 2005

Cheating Hearts on Pine Benches?

David Pinto of Baseball Musings has a couple of interesting things today. One is a link to The Home Run Guys' Flash cartoon about THG. The other is a link to a story about Roger Clemens' use of the now-banned prescription painkilller, Vioxx, and the uncertainty that its unavailability creates for/about Clemens in the coming season. Talking about the Clemens story, Pinto asks how to define cheating:

So where do we draw the line? Does the drug have to encourage muscle mass development to be cheating? Or does it just have to allow you to exercise more (which also encourages muscle mass development)? Or does it just need to allow you to perform on a day you otherwise could not?
As far as I'm concerned, the only way to define cheating is by using the rulebook of the game with which you are concerned. If the rules prohibit something, then doing or using that something is cheating. If the rules don't prohibit something, then doing or using that something may be shady but it is not cheating. If a particular activity, such as use of performance enhancers, is viewed as a problem then changing the rules to define it as cheating is a good idea, bearing in mind that rules changes are not retroactive: a thing is only cheating from the moment it is defined as cheating; before that moment it is only a shady activity.

John Perricone of Only Baseball Matters, in specific reference to Barry Bonds:

First of all, prior to the 2003 season, steroid use was not against baseball's rules. Any type of disqualification for talking about it now is absurd. Second, Bonds' "admission" is nothing of the sort. In point of fact, Bonds denies any inference that he used steroids ever, under any circumstances, and more importantly, during the last two seasons, he has been tested by MLB and has apparently passed.
In that post, Perricone also has some interesting things to say about the overlooked use of amphetamines in baseball.

note: The question of what is ethical (whether you're talking about sport, business, politics or life in general) is a different question than that of cheating, I think. In other words, I'm of the opinion that it's possible to do something unethical without actually cheating.

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