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August 22, 2007


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Michael Martin

Same argument Schelling made for requiring hockey helmets. Just a more difficult rule to enforce.


Randy --

Interesting thoughts -- thanks.

One question: are you drawing a distinction here between in-game and capitalistic competition?

If so, I'm not sure there is such a bright line. Within games, certain forms of "rule-breaking" are good (e.g. inventive strategies). And in the market, there are rules that, when broken, lead to participant and consumer harms (e.g. trademark infringement).

Just a thought.


Hmm, the one thing I dispute in your article is that "Competition over enhancements puts pressure on honest players to cheat or risk becoming outmoded, and yet the game or the race will end up as before if every player starts popping pills."

I'm pretty sure that was not the case with respect to baseball. The Sammy Sosa and MacGuire home run year is credited for turning around baseball's fortunes. It was a major revenue year. Sure the competition isn't any better if everyone is doing it, but if everyone is 'roided, fans seem to eat it up even more. Home runs matter to fans, it brought people out to the ballparks. If the game moves faster with tommy-johned pitches and 'roided swingers, it's going to and did result in more home runs and strikeouts, which is what fans like. The game isn't the same when all participants decide to enehance, and that mattered to the bottom line, at least in MLB.

George Mitchell

Steroids, stimulants, blood transfusions, cow blood-based hemoglobin, chemo research drugs RSR-13, freaky doctors injecting all manner of cocktails into Olympians is where we are today. The Tour de France is a life science lab as is college football and NFL.

On Wall Street it is much the same, with synthetic fincial products created, sold repackaged and sold yet again untilthey blow up. (CDOs, CLOs, options trading hedging)

Man always cheats as Floyd Landis, Tyler Hamilton and Lance Pharmstrong proved.

Get ready for a recession in 2008.



I agree with the conclusions, but I am troubled that they are built on the premise that the value served by sport is entertainment. This leaves rather a large hostage to fortune: your argument means that if doping made sport more entertaining, we should favour it.

So it turns out that the key step in your argument is the one where you assert that doping doesn't make sport more entertaining. But that's a contestable claim. What if, when we look at it properly, doping does make sport more entertaining?

Fortunately, the point of sport is not to entertain, so this problem need not arise.

George Mitchell

Roid Landis = doping

Doping made the Landis stage 17 happen

Doping got him employed with Nike's Lance Pharmstrong & USPO and drug busted Phonak.

Doping lead to the death of his father-in-law, David Witt.

Doping lead to witness tampering by Roid and Will Geoghegan.

Howard Wasserman

Is there an aspect of absolute competition that can benefit from steroid use? Is "the game" played by equally competitive drug users "better" than the game played by equally competitive non-users? An equal game played by "clean" players yields 61 homers as a season record, 755 homers as a career record, and 383 strikeouts as a season record. An equal game of enhanced players might yield 80 homers in a season, 800 in a career, and, say, 450 strikeouts in a season. The players perform on a level playing field, but the level of performance is higher than without steroids because the quality of the "human equipment" is better. To the extent we hold numerical records dear, this is another argument against anything-goes use (the records are "tainted"). But to the extent we want an overall better game and steroids gives us that (as reflected in all-time accomplishments beyond wins and losses), might it then overcome the health trade-off?


I posted this on co-op as well, but another point is that there is an optimal level of competitiveness that the market is likely to demand. For example, if there are two leagues, Human Classic and New Human, the competition would *not* be exactly alike. Fans will likely prefer one over the other, depending on what the most intersting-to-watch level of athelete performance is. Doping frustrates our attempt to reach this market level by forcing everyone to a race to the bottom.

George Mitchell

Disney-ESPN & Nike already know that retail fans DEMAND steroid-based sport entertainment. That's why they only employ dopers (Lance, Floyd, Kobe, Baroid, Marion, Justin, Jason, Pacman, et al...)

Only parents would watch clean sport. never a consumer of cable TV or of a $100 NBA ticket.

Kimball Corson

This title is a truly superior question, even if it is a bit unChicagoan. I always thought every wicked deed in the book was doable without repercussion, as long as you did not competitively injure a competing big boy with sizeable market share. Shouldn't "competitive" acts designed to “annihilate” pesky and inventive "small fry" with minimal market share be off limits for starters. Now, I'll read your comment.

Kimball Corson

Oh, athetic competition. But, hey, if there are essentially no limits on market competition, why should there be any on athletic competition? Benchmark uniformity is less important than winning, just as getting profits out of the competitive system is more important than how we compete do it. Chicago taught me so, but not in these words.

Joan A. Conway

Chicago Cub fans have shown Carolos Zambrano that they are thinking just about themselves, as he speaks under a July-September 2007 cloud and suspiciously acts as a paranoid mess, quite defensive.

Can drugs be affecting the Cubs number 1 player, after his 91 million contract is a done deal?

He looks as if he is in a haze; and he is playing foolishly, as his loses and errors pile up; fans have had enough!

He needs a long rest, starting tomorrow.

Joan A. Conway

FAXED the Cubs a few weeks ago and told Pat and Ron to stay positive, it is just a game, and the investment might not pay off this year.

Ron had a fit and said the fans will not have it, in today's market winning is everything, and the idea that it is just a game doesn't cut it.

Pat thought the investment might have a 3-4 year window of an opportunity to pay off, liked the idea of staying positive, and that the fans were looking for a "high."

After the opening game with the Houston series that went into overtime, the Cubs couldn't accomplish it. My money is on them not accomplishing it, being positive takes lots of practice to change behavior.

Joan A. Conway

Of Concern that some athletes need more love then others. Carlos Zambrano needed more rest then Greg Maddux during his career, Jake Peavy's, gonna win Cy Young, done it 2-3 times this year, and Ben Sheets will do it tonight, 9/19/07.

Zambrano is still defensive, like a cheating husband, with "I felt good," and "It was a good game for me." Emphasis on 'for me,' is this the same guy who could do a leap-of-faith contract for $91.5 million?

One look at this seedy-eyed young male tells me he is an allegedly fraudulent player, who slipped through the ballpark gate.

Recently, the Cubs sought any excuse to pump more money into the club, as a reinsurance, for anticipatory ticket revenue streams, to cover fixed payroll costs already incurred, with their obvious Zambrano, READ: a black and red mythical zibra-like gamble, arbitrary decision.

Competition is never pure in any sport, and especially where the stakes are as high as the major league.

"In sports, competition is defined and is done so to make the sport entertaining." by Randy Picker.

Joan A. Conway

Zebra not zibra!

Joan A. Conway

Do you like your chances this weekend?

Remember the Cubs Organization has 3 to 4 years to recapture its investment of $400,000,000.

Anticipation or lost enthusiasm, tickets still sell!

Chicagoans are starved for home-grown entertainment and going to the ballparker on 87 degree days meets the ticket win or lose.

Anyway Cub fans are hardened to their Cubies inability to execute during the playoffs.

There is another year for us s_____(S).

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