Monday, August 3, 2009

Sports News from Boston

One of the side benefits of our family’s annual vacation in Maine is that we end up getting a copy of the Boston Globe to read at the cottage each morning. One of the big stories out of Boston this past week is that two of their top baseball players, Manny Ramírez and David Ortiz, had tested positive for using illegal performance enhancing drugs in 2003. This was shortly before their big 2004 season when they won the world series for the first time since the pre-Babe Ruth period.

Perhaps the only surprising thing about this story is that people were surprised by it. Historically, baseball players have had their homerun production start to fall off mid-career. When their homerun count suddenly shoots up in mid-career, I’m afraid that the introduction of performance enhancing drugs has to be the standard assumption. The benefits of improved drugs, and the financial incentive to use them continue to grow each year. Presumably so does the ability to hide them from various tests. Many experts claim that it will someday be revealed that the past Olympics in Beijing were the first ones in which genetically modified athletes competed. Tiger Woods had Lasik eye surgery a few years ago which improved his eye sight to better than 20/20. Is he the first surgically modified professional golfer?

The logical conclusion of this trend, as I stated before, is the end of many professional sports as we know them within the coming decade. They will still be around in some form – they are a big business. But athletes who have not been chemically, genetically, or surgically modified are becoming ever more uncompetitive.

By the way, the initial reaction by the Boston Red Sox to the latest drug scandal was - to fire two security guards. I can’t make this stuff up.