Monday, April 18, 2005

Cheaters, cheaters everywhere

Slate's William Saletan wonders why nobody's calling Tiger Woods a cheater.

Wait a minute. If the [steroid] that helped McGwire hit 70 home runs in 1998 was an unnatural, game-altering enhancement, what about his high-powered contact lenses? "Natural" vision is 20/20. McGwire's custom-designed lenses improved his vision to 20/10, which means he could see at a distance of 20 feet what a person with normal, healthy vision could see at 10 feet. Think what a difference that makes in hitting a fastball. Imagine how many games those lenses altered.

You could confiscate McGwire's lenses, but good luck confiscating [Tiger] Woods' lenses. They've been burned into his head. In the late 1990s, both guys wanted stronger muscles and better eyesight. Woods chose weight training and laser surgery on his eyes. McGwire decided eye surgery was too risky and went for andro instead. McGwire ended up with 70 homers and a rebuke from Congress for promoting risky behavior. Woods, who had lost 16 straight tournaments before his surgery, ended up with 20/15 vision and won seven of his next 10 events.


Dan said...

Great article!

By the same token, is a truck-driver that uses caffeine pills to stay alert on long drives "enhancing his performance unnaturally?"

How about if he uses coffee instead of pills?

What about a student that takes adderall before an exam?

Where do we draw the line?

This natural/unnatural dichtotomy is really quite artificial. Thanks, congressman. Keeping steroids out of baseball is keeping America safe and free.

Clara said...

I agree that it's none of the government's business (protecting us from unnaturally able sportsmen and entertainers). I don't follow baseball at all, really -- BUT if I did, I'd be dismayed at the rise of steroids. It's like finding out your favorite singer has been lip-synching (to someone else's -- or a machine's -- voice).