Friday, December 14, 2007

Would You Stop?

Suppose you were an employee at a bank, and you knew that millions and millions of dollars were kept in that bank. The amount varied, but there was always at least a couple million on hand at all times. Now suppose you found out that not just one or two, but many, many employees were stealing from the bank - on a regular basis. Now take this insane hypothetical situation one step further and suppose you learned that anyone caught stealing from the bank, no matter how much they took, never got a worse penalty than being fired from the bank. They didn't have to serve time, they didn't have to pay back any of the millions they stole; they just couldn't work at the bank any more. And they had to get caught stealing at least three times before they were fired. Would you stop stealing from that bank? Ever?

If this situation sounds more familiar than it does bizarre, I know something about you: You are a baseball fan. Because the situation I just described is the way baseball is dealing with the issue of steroids, HGH, and other drugs banned by all reputable professional sports.

Now I know that most of the folks who read this blog are science fiction and fantasy fans (and/or writers), and baseball is probably the last thing you expect to hear about from me. But I'm interested in other things besides SF/F and baseball happens to be one of them. I'm a big baseball fan, and as such I'm thoroughly disgusted by the response (or lack thereof) from baseball clubs - and especially baseball players - to the Mitchell Report, which came out yesterday. Disgusted, but hardly surprised.

Those hypothetical bank employees I was talking about earlier are the baseball players of the past decade, and until someone (the commissioner, the owners, somebody) gets really - and I mean really - hammer-down, take-no-shit serious about this issue, it is not going to change. And in a further does of ugly reality, change is not going to occur until something hurts the owners or the players where they hurt the most - their bankbooks. And that will have to come from the fans, one ticket at a time. So the question I opened with - Would You Stop? - has as much to do with fan attendance of Major League Baseball games as it does to the players who are cheating to gain a competitive advantage. Because that's the only things that's going to make areal difference.

Are the fans or the players likely stop, or even cut back? I find it less likely than the bank robbery scenario I opened this blog entry with.

My (continued) condolences to true baseball fans.


We now return you to your regularly scheduled SF programming...


Aliette said...

I don't think it's only the case in baseball--lots of sports, like football or tennis, aren't really regulated. It's all about the performance, and not really about honesty anymore.


Maria said...

Shoot, I read your analogy about the banks and assumed you were talking about all the loan stuff (subprime disaster and CDOs, losses and writeoffs by the big financial companies) going on with wall street.

I thought you were going to talk about the CEOs that run these companies, have to write off the losses, watch the stock sink and investors get burned--and then the CEOs sometimes get fired and walk away with million dollar payouts...

But the baseball thing, well it fit too.