LaRussa on Mark McGwire

So, what I’m wondering is this:

Tony LaRussa says Mark McGwire took no steroids. But Mark McGwire says he took andro, which helps promote the growth of the body’s own hormones at steroidal levels. The two years or so McGwire took andro his injury wracked body become suddenly quite resilient and he broke Roger Maris’ record.

McGwire stopped taking andro because of the hue and cry about it and soon had to retire because his andro-less body was unable to sustain the strain.

I know that doesn’t in any causal way prove anything, but shouldn’t it be talked about as much or more than the goofy anecdote about Brady Anderson’s 50 homer year? Wouldn’t it be interesting to hear McGwire’s take on this, or La Russa’s?

BTW, while I personally wouldn’t take anything that made my testicle shrink to the size of peas, especially if it made me prone to rages and zit-faced self-hatred (hey, been there and done that naturally a long time ago), it’s hard for me to see how the lines between allowed and disallowed performance enhancing techniques aren’t always going to be blurred. Banning the drugs seems like a simple thing, but it isn’t going to make the problem go away.

As Malcom Gladwell said to Rob Neyer last week, the reason Barry Bonds can say unequivocably that he doesn’t take steroids is because he doesn’t. Steroids are last year’s or last generations performance enhancer. If Bonds is taking something it’s something newer, something harder to detect, something that may be found naturally in the body. And no doubt when the testers figure out how to figure out what and how much of it there are, Bonds (or whomever is actually taking performance enhancing drugs, because we don’t really know) will have moved onto something else.

I’m not saying that everything should be mindlessly allowed, but there are a deep philosophical and practical issues that are begging for resolution. Banning whatever isn’t going to much difference at all without that.