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John Baxter

John Baxter

Posted: May 7, 2010 12:23 PM

Milestones in Baseball Under-Achievement Imperiled by Performance-Diminishing Substances

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A group of retired major leaguers has asked Congress to investigate allegations of rampant performance-diminishing drug use in Major League Baseball. The group claims that players who use substances that impair performance such as marijuana, LSD, ecstasy, heroin, crystal meth, crack, hallucinogenic mushrooms, angel dust, mescaline, peyote, and Morning Glory seeds are giving their opponents an unfair advantage -- and themselves an unfair disadvantage -- by skewing the stats.

90-year-old Archibald "Thumb-Less Joe" McSweeney, who played for the Cardinals, Indians, Senators, and Tigers over a three-week span in June of 1938, says he doesn't mind if someone breaks his record of 57 throwing errors in one month as long as it's done the old fashioned way. "Once upon a time, you got booed and pelted with spoiled produce because of your own naturally lackluster performance on the field," recalled a wistful McSweeney. "And if you wanted the distinction of being called a worthless bum, you didn't take a pill to get the job done -- you had to earn it by reaching deep down inside yourself, day in and day out, for that little bit less than the next guy. These kids today, though, they're all about short cuts, what with their mediocrity-in-a-bottle and all. Is dulling your senses and slowing your reaction time with intoxicants a euphoric fast track to baseball infamy? Of course it is. But is it worth violating the sanctity of stinking up the joint?"

The group says that recreational substance abuse not only threatens vintage statistical low points like McSweeney's mark, but also the many failures in the clutch, career nadirs, and notable slumps of the modern era as well. A case in point is that of recent Hall of Fame inductee Jim Rice, who hit into an astonishing 36 DPs in 1984 while stone cold sober. Rice is reportedly outraged that his single-season record -- once thought untouchable -- is now in jeopardy of being surpassed by several active players who some baseball insiders insist are underperforming because of their drug-impaired motor skills. However, the MLB Players Association has called the allegations "patently absurd," pointing to the many instances of dazzling play from Mickey Mantle when he was clearly still sloshed from the night before, and repeatedly citing the no-hitter famously hurled by Dock Ellis while tripping on acid. Said one MLBPA rep, "If a pitcher can toss a no-no under the influence of LSD -- and I mean that ridiculously clean, high-potency stuff that I'm told was available in the early 70s -- then surely a ketamine addict can go 0 for 5 at the plate with no more sinister an explanation than that he had an off day."