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2007 ALCS Blogpost: Paul Byrd Took HGH Edition

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So, we've gotten to the point where I'm not even surprised that Game Seven of a League Championship Series--the second most dramatic, the second most suspenseful of all possible games, mind you--has been upstaged by a PED story.

My immediate reaction upon reading the news was to seize upon Byrd as a hypocrite.  And rightfully so, I think:  after all, it was Byrd who most recently contacted the media to promote his upcoming book about being a Christian athlete.  It was he who did the interview with ESPN detailing the difficult path he walks, having to turn away from the copies of Penthouse he sees in teammate's lockers, needing to somehow ignore the profane lyrics blasting from his teammate's locker-room boomboxes.  

At the time, it seemed like Byrd's worst sin was being self-righteous.  Yet you were inclined to forgive, since he also told us how his relationship with the Lord had kept him away from steroids.  So at least there was that.  

Except I guess now we're finding out that after all, there  wasn't that.  Byrd HAD taken performance enhancers, and all we're left with is the self-righteousness, and the hypocrisy.

Glass houses, Mr. Byrd.  If you wish to expound some simplified morality where a girly-mag possesses the same invitation to ruin as does the idol of Ba'al, great.

"Whatever gets you through the night," is what I said at the time.  But before you point your double-windmilled arms at the sinners around you, I'd be sure your own house was in order.

****

But you know, the hypocrisy of Paul Byrd isn't even the issue.  It's how I fear to become a hypocrite myself.

The thing is, I really think that steroids and HGH are wrong.  I didn't make my stance up, I didn't suddenly decide that Cheating was Bad, because I somehow needed to find a perceived sin to hang on Barry Bonds.  (He had plenty already, right?)  

Fans of the Home Run King Without a Home have for years called those of us pointing out the obvious with Bonds hypocrites for being blind to the fact that most of the rest of baseball was on the Juice, too.

I for one chose to believe otherwise; sure, there were some users, but they were the exceptions, and not the rule.  

OK and fine, except now we've got Kirk Radomski and the The San Francisco Chronicle investigation into that slimy clinic down here in my home state, and we've go the Mitchell report, which is gonna name some names, right after the World Series is over.

Say what you will about Byrd (and you should), but at least the guy is trying to walk the straight and narrow.  If somebody like him, a junkballer, skinny and religious, is taking, or was taking, then how many hundreds of others were?

And here's where it gets back to my own hypocrisy.  All those Bonds fans have been saying for years that the only problem I had with Bonds is that he was a Giant, and that if he was an Astro, I'd have loved him like they had.  

And I screamed, no!  Steroids are wrong!  For Barry and for everyone else, including those employed in the city of Houston.

Well, a non-entity like Paul Byrd was taking, and we've got that Mitchell report coming, and what if half the Houston roster is implicated?  What if Berkman's name is there?  Or Bagwell's?  Or Christ, Biggio's?

What do I do then?

Or more precisely, I know what I should do, but if it comes to that, will I have the strength to go through with it?

****

Oh yeah, Game Seven.

My predictions aren't worth the screens they pixellate upon, but I've got this sneaking feeling about tonight, that Dice-K is gonna choke, that Westbrook'll be OK, 4 over 5 or something, and Dice-K'll lose it all, give up 7 or so over three innings.

I've been rooting for the entertainment complex that is Boston, but I can't get this image out of my head.