Designated Steriod User
By Chris Rodell

April 2005

The new era of baseball isn’t even a month old and I’m already feeling a surge of nostalgia for the days when mighty steroids reigned. I know 20 years from now, fresh-faced kids will be asking grizzled baseball fans like myself, "Hey, old-timer, what was it like? Where you there when McGwire and Sosa were slugging it out? Did you ever see Bonds bomb one?"

"Yes, I saw it all and, let me tell you, it was great."

Baseball has presented us with another hand-wringing moral dilemma and like Janet Jackson and nipple-gate, we’re overreacting. Ban all steroids? That’s excessive.

The steroid era gave us some of the greatest thrills in baseball history. But, of course, uncontrolled steroid use has made a shambles of the record books. That’s why I’m proposing a sensible compromise:

Give every Major League Baseball team a designated steroid user. As a purist, I’ve always loathed the designated hitter rule. It makes more sense to eliminate that position and replace it with a league-wide position player who is sanctioned to take as many performance-enhancing drugs as he could handle without collapsing in the batter’s box from heart failure.

There would be no need to asterisk sacred baseball records because baseball would have created an entirely new category: most home runs by a steroid user. And since we’re going for sensational fireworks, sure, designated steroid users can swing away with corked bats.

The rule change would have the added benefit letting the medical community carefully study what happens when players ingest enough steroids to turn lab rats into a tiny Clydesdales. We know athletes become muscle-bound and their heads become inexplicably larger. But that’s all short term.

With prolonged use -- who knows? -- maybe their brains expand to fill their enlarged noggins and, as a result, they become super intelligent. Think of what that could mean for the future: "And in today’s news, Dr. Barry Bonds was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for settling centuries-old hatreds between Arabs and Jews, Catholics and Protestants, and Yankees and Red Sox fans."

Maybe then the esteemed Dr. Bonds could apply his staggering, super-sized intellect to a really vexing problem: how baseball and its tarnished superstars can ever get their good names back.
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