Steroids, steroids everywhere

One of the checkout guys at the Raleigh Hills Fred Meyer is on steroids.


I don’t know what he’s using, whether it’s THG, hGh, GHt, or HgT. To be honest, I’m not even sure what all those abbreviations mean, much less what they do. All I know for sure is that “John” is doping.

How do I know, you ask?

How else could he have possibly bagged the two jars of nacho cheese dip, the three 6-packs of beer and the two cartons of eggs as quickly as he did without breaking anything – not even a sweat!

It had to be steroids.

Thanks to the high-profile winter of athletic steroid accusations, I’m seeing steroids everywhere I go.

The red-shirted pre-schooler dominating the kickball game in the Park Blocks? Doping.

The hulky construction guy renovating the third floor of Smith? Obvious user.

At least I know I’m not alone in my steroid paranoia.

No less than the president himself was so overwhelmed by the plague-like spread of steroids that he took time out of his State of the Union address to emphasize the need to “send the right signal … [and] … get rid of steroids” right alongside life-or-death issues like the war in Iraq, the fight against terrorism and the failing economy.

Since the president opened the gates, the flood of steroid allegations has gained a seemingly unstoppable momentum of its own that threatens to wash out the baseball season.

First came the federal indictments of four men associated with a Bay Area laboratory that allegedly developed and distributed an until-recently-undetectable designer steroid. One of those men happened to be the friend and trainer of Ruth-ian San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds, whose physique more and more resembles the Incredible Hulk’s as he approaches 40.

Soon the radio and television waves were inundated with former and current baseball players fanning the flames McCarthy-style with ignorant accusations of steroid abuse that would make the boy who cried wolf ashamed. Everybody claimed to know somebody who was using. Hot and heavy finger pointing reached levels previously unseen outside the Bush White House and tawdry reality television.

The situation wasn’t helped by the mysterious winter slimming-down of many of the game’s best power hitters. Many stars reported to spring camps noticeably lighter and with their Macho Man bulging muscles much closer to human-size, as if someone had found the release valve and carefully deflated them. “Pilates,” they said, or, “Just time to get in shape.” Yeah right. Clearly, they were off the steroids, because they feared getting caught in the heightened scrutiny. More proof that everyone had been ‘roided up over the last few years.

Sports Illustrated went so far as to ask if all the modern baseball statistics needed asterisks to indicate the taint of the lingering cloud of steroids.

That same cloud is threatening not only the game but the good faith of fans around the country who are left wondering, “Is there anything to be done?”

Clearly effective steroid testing is the first step to resolving the steroid-driven hysteria. The accusations and whispers currently consuming the discussion only further the paranoia.

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Last year’s league-wide confidential steroid tests indicated that more than 5 percent of major leaguers were using steroids, while most estimate the actual percentage is significantly higher. That proves the problem exists and should be more than enough motivation to deal with it.

Many non-roided players have recognized that until steroids are eliminated from the game, they too will fall under the cloud of suspicion. But to this point their calls have been blunted by the ingenious tactics of their own union officials who have downplayed the danger of steroids by claiming to “have no doubt they [steroids] are no worse than cigarettes.”

Over the course of the last week there have been signs that maybe, just maybe, rationality will prevail over such blatantly ignorant Dark Ages logic, and an effective procedure for steroid testing and punishment will be devised that will end steroid-use in baseball and quash the atmosphere of steroid hysteria that has seeped into the rest of society.

Here’s one baseball fan hoping it does, because I’d hate to think I’d unfairly maligned “John.”