Let's play a game - everyone's favorite game of "What If??". You may want to call it "Hindsight is 20/20" or "shoulda, woulda coulda" or one of any number of other similar names. The dreaded hypothetical. Here goes.
What if there was a young man (let's not get into whether women should play in a men's league) who wanted to play professional baseball. This hypothetical young man is 19 years old these days. He's fast and has good athletic skill and has been playing baseball most of his life. He's very strong, so he can hit the ball a country mile. And he can throw from right field like there's a cannon out there. He strikes out a lot though, so scouts for major league teams have concluded that he likely won't do much in the majors. After much review of his mechanics and studying film and whatnot, this player and his coaches determine that he can't see the ball very well. He can see just fine to drive a car, but needs glasses to read a book.
So the kid needs glasses to play. Except glasses are too dangerous to wear on the field, so he gets these tiny lenses to place on his eye to improve his vision. Contact lenses make his vision pretty close to 20/20. Ballplayers a couple generations ago couldn't dream of that advancement, but now it's pretty standard. He starts striking out less, which is good!
His fledgling career is going aces until he slides awkwardly into third base legging out a triple and tears his ACL. Bummer. He has it surgically repaired and is as good as new in about a year. Players a generation ago would have had a new career selling cars, but modern medicine allows for his baseball career to continue, this just being a speed bump on his way to stardom. He's 20 years old now, almost 21, and still considered a future All-Star!
That is, until he crashes into a wall making a spectacular catch in right field. His knee again, this time the cartilage. Good news for him - there is a new procedure called micro-fracture surgery, and he can keep playing! Players just five years ago or so with this injury would have been done, but this is now a lifeline for his baseball career. Twelve short months later, he's playing again!
Our baseball man is now 25 years old and fresh off his first All-Star season. His vision starts bothering him again in Spring Training, and he's not hitting very well. It gets worse, and he drops in the batting order. He sees a specialist, who recommends laser eye surgery. Zap - one week later his vision is now better than ever, being a tested 20/15! Amazing - he starts tearing the cover off the ball again.
Fast forward four or five years. Our boy is pushing for that big free agent contract a year from now. One game he uncorks a throw from right that nails the runner at the plate, and he feels a pop in his arm. It's his elbow, and he needs surgery. This one has become fairly routine, the procedure commonly known as Tommy John surgery. Twelve months later, still with time left to push for that contract, he's back on the field and can seemingly throw even harder. Players 40 years ago may have had to quit, or at least switch to first base maybe, but not out modern player!
Move forward another five years. After corrective lenses, two surgeries on his legs, vision enhancing surgery on his eyes and a procedure on his arm, our guy is still playing at a fairly high level, but wants one last big contract. At this point in time, medicine has developed a pill that can reverse, or at least forestall, the effects of aging at the cellular level. It's not approved by the FDA yet, but Canada has it readily available. Upon taking this pill for a while our 36-37 year old feels ten years younger, can run as fast as he did when he was 25, can see better and does not get tired anymore. He continues putting up good numbers as an outfielder.
Ten years later our guy retires from professional baseball, having made over $300 million in his career and putting up numbers that will make him a sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer, including a 75-homer season when the League expanded to 34 teams (more bad pitchers in the L).
Is it just me or is the line between ALL OF THIS and steroids and greenies really, really, fuzzy? Is it simply the illegality of the particular enhancement that bothers people? If so, that I can get on board with. But much more often than not I see the moral argument being made, that the steroid user "cheated the game" (as entirely distinct from "broke the law") and had an unfair advantage. And THAT'S that reason Bonds doesn't really compare to Ruth. Help me find the line, people!