Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Judge Lest Not Ye Be Judged

I know it makes my liberal brethren shudder when I wax biblical but indulge me….I’m home recuperating from major back surgery and maybe it’s the euphoria of being released from the hospital and my 500 lb. pneumonia stricken roommate (his hacking cough nauseates me to even think about) or perhaps it’s the Oxycontin I’m taking for the pain but, whatever the case I am compelled to share my thoughts with you, my fellow Bleacher brothers and sisters. Let me scream this loud, clear and long….
Judge not, that ye be not judged! For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? A big shout out to Matthew 7 for the contribution.
YES!!! I BELIEVE THE ROCKET!! He didn't do roids.....but then again neither did I (wink, wink) and my crumbling body is only me at 41 falling apart piece by piece....and not the 'roids I didn't do when I had the foolish inkling to body build. I had no career on the line, save for my legacy as a legendary softball All Star in the Kings County Softball league. I have been competitive all of my life; growing up in a home with two other brother’s close in age to me the competition started at the breakfast table and didn’t end until I fell asleep at night. I was always looking for an edge in everything I did. Not to cheat necessarily, but just to get me from point A to point B in life quicker than the next guy. When I began body building at the age of 34 I had no knowledge of steroids, no knowledge of legal supplements or vitamins, etc. I became a gym rat and soon my workout partner became a former WWE wrestler. It was then that I got clued in quickly to the fact that unless I was so genetically blessed (I wasn’t) that elusive 6 pack would elude me forever unless I started using supplements legal and illegal. To make this long story short, I started by using Andro (when it was still legal) and soon advanced to Deca-Durabolin and Winstrol. The results were amazing. When my body finally started breaking down about 2 years ago I was bench pressing 325 lbs. I was 200 lbs with 9% body fat. I looked great but I felt awful. I had nothing to gain by using steroids, except satisfying my intense desire to compete and win in everything that I did. At the end of the day, vanity defeated sanity and I made a choice I rue to this day. There are many more people out there like me who use steroids but have NO financial gain forthcoming. The choices people make are personal sometimes we are motivated by finance, sometime by vanity, or sometimes just merely because everyone else is doing it. The point is we have all made mistakes and we have all used poor judgment at times.

I have read all the judgmental, self serving, bullshit from the goody goodies who want to crucify Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens and whoever else was named in the Mitchell Report. Let me break it down like this.....far be it from me, you or anyone else to pass judgment on anyone else for their actions. Yes, I have done steroids, Yes I have done other illegal drugs.....and Yes I have lied....(ask my wife, lol). Am I in a position to judge Andy's apology....Roger's denials or Jason's admissions? NO!! AND NEITHER ARE ANY OF YOU. Look in the mirror and if perfection stares back at you then please by all means, feel free to feel betrayed insulted or whatever the fuck. I hate to sound like a Preacher but, hey....until you walk a mile in someone else's shoes DO NOT JUDGE him or her. It is as simple as that.

Let us for a moment put ourselves in the shoes of a 28 yr old career minor leaguer, holding on for his last shot at the "bigs" his last shot to cash in and take care of himself and his family for years to come, playing the game he's loved forever. Someone tells you, that if you take Deca, Winnie V's and maybe one or two other legal supplements you can put an extra 5 mph on your heater; turn that warning track power into home run hitting power (see Jack Cust for more info). You can turn that $52,600 minor league paycheck into a $316,000 major league paycheck (http://mlbplayer.mlb.com/pa/pdf/cba_english.pdf.) In just one off season you can remake your entire body and advance to a level you have strived for since little league. You can set yourself and your family up for life. Given that line of thinking, who are we to crucify someone for making the decision to use performance enhancing drugs? Especially since the MLB policy on HGH and steroids was very sketchy until recently, it’s hard for people like us to be so judgmental. The piling on, unruly mob mentality of the world has always bothered me. So many people who know so little about the topic have turned themselves into self proclaimed experts in order to offer their condemnation of Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens and the like. I am living proof that steroids ultimately harm you and I fully condemn their use. However, I cannot and I will not condemn someone for using them to advance his career in a sport where so few are fortunate enough to cash in on the riches it has to offer.

On the topic of HGH, I have not used HGH; however, there is a clinic in my neighborhood in Miami Beach that specializes in administering HGH, legally, to people who are in pain, etc. When I am healthy enough to fly, I plan to go home to Miami and visit that clinic. If after consulting the doctors, I feel that HGH will help me heal and get back to where I can be a productive, husband, father and son, and then I will by all means use it legally. I plan to spend a month in Florida and I would use them under doctor’s care and fully monitor the effects. There was a great article on HGH in ESPN Magazine a while back. In short, the doctor who wrote it feels that if it is used properly than it can be a great catalyst in getting someone who is healing back to good health. The doctor was also a huge, loud, opponent of steroid users and abusers. He was vocal about steroid abuse back to the 70’s, when it was prevalent in the football and weightlifting world.

Now let’s all take a deep breath and calm down before we continue the hysterics on what I believe to be a real non-issue. There are way bigger issues for us to be pondering like; will our big 3 really succeed on the next level? Will Giambi give us any production? Will we get real bullpen help? I don’t know about you guys but Latrell Hawkins is so 2002. I am not impressed. Will we ever replace the two headed monster that was Stanton and Nelson?

Hey, its less than 2 months till pitchers and catchers.....the stars are aligned and all is right with world. As for me? I've learned my lesson....I'm healing and dealing. Life is too short to stress over the small issues so I'm anxiously waiting for March 31 @ 1pm. My season tix have unfortunately been paid for since October past and I am raring to be back in Sec. 39 Row HH Seat 3 (I'm on the aisle Davis!!!!) watching Mike play volunteer usher.
Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year to all, Go Yanks!

*(Please excuse the grammatical errors, I'm on drugs, remember???LOL)*

5 comments:

Michael in New York said...

Neil, really sorry to hear your medical issues are related to steroids. That really sucks and I hope everything works out for you health-wise. It's a shame you had to find out so painfully what a danger they are. But you chose to use steroids the way other people choose to get plastic surgery - you knew there were risks but you wanted the physical benefits. That is HUGELY different than using it to cheat. I understand the temptations of a minor leaguer who can make it to the majors and maybe cash in; I can empathize as to why someone in that situation would cheat, but they're still cheating. Athletes are not any different than anybody else -- we ALL face moral decisions every day. I worked a cash register at a grocery store and in a deli. I could pretend to ring up a purchase and sock away the money any time I wanted. Did I want to shortchange a company (the grocery store and hey it'll never miss it) or the owner of the deli I knew and worked with? My family was eligible for food stamps at some points growing up. It's not like I would steal the money to buy an iPod. But it's stealing. Can you just drop all the crap and start with the simple fact that these guys cheated? Fine, you don't think cheating on a massive scale is a big deal,; it's a "non-issue." Fine you think it's perfectly reasonable for them to cheat (hey, their dream of playing in the majors was just within reach, if only they would cheat). But can we at least agree it's cheating? Answer me again, if we were playing poker, would you palm a card off the bottom of the deck to beat me? If you saw me palming a card off the bottom of hte deck, would you remain friends with me? If you saw your kid cheating a neighbor's kid at a game, would you "understand" or would you tell them that wasn't how you raised them and be disappointed in them? Millionaire ball players (which is what Andy and Roger are) ain't any different from you and me. They're just cheating to extend their glory and the spotlight and make even more money. To me, when you're already rich, that should be easier to resist than the choices you and I make every day not to rip each other off.

Neil said...

Michael, let me clarify. I have no proof that my health issues are related to steroid use. I will likely never know that for sure but there is a chance that they are related and I wanted to qualify my comments by illustrating that I see steroid use as bad,very bad. To answer your question, NO I do not cheat at cards, sports, Monopoly or on my wife. If I get an extra dime from a cashier, I return it. I grew up in a household where honesty and intergrity was a really big deal. Given that, I still think I might've been tempted to use steroids as a ballplayer. The main reason being that the MLB policy on performance enhancing drugs was sketchy at best and that it wasnt really cheating. Look, Larry Bigbie used, did he ever materialize into anything spectacular? You have to have had talent to begin with to be a ballplayer. Steroid use is not the end all and be all of being a great athlete. With respect to Pettitte, he used HGH when it was not a banned substance by MLB. Therefore he was NOT cheating. Case closed.

joe said...

I just want to say that cheating at a game amongst friends is not even in the same universe as cheating to gain a competitive advantage when it comes to your livelihood.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Who knows what drives different people to do different things. Doesn't make it right by any means, but you just can't compare it to a card game or friendly tennis match.

dasnootz said...

I wonder how many times I've cheated at Madden....

joe said...

I want a rematch and a piss test out of you, dasnootz.