Merloni was on Comcast SportsNet's "The Baseball Show" on Saturday, when he told the story of a verrrrry interesting meeting that took place in the Boston Red Sox clubhouse during his time with the team. (He played there from 1998-2003.) He says the organization held many such meetings, where doctors would sit down with players to discuss the dangers of steroids and instruct them on the basics of the league's substance abuse policy. (Such as it was.) But Merloni said there was one meeting in particular that stood out in his mind, when a doctor felt it best to provide instruction on the proper way to juice it.
No. He spins it and says, 'You know what, if you take steroids and sit on the couch all winter long, you can actually get stronger than someone who works out clean. If you're going to take steroids, one cycle won't hurt you; abusing steroids, it will.'
"He sat there for one hour and told us how to properly use steroids while I'm with the Boston Red Sox, sitting there with the rest of the organization, and after this, I said, 'What the heck was that?'
"And everybody on the team was like, 'What was that?' And the response we got was, 'Well, we know guys are taking it, so we want to make sure they're taking it the right way.' Where did that come from? That didn't come from the Players Association."
Merloni says he doesn't remember the date of the meeting or who the doctor was—he was not one of the regular Red Sox physicians—and former GM Dan Duquette claims that the team would never have done such a thing. Perhaps it was just a rogue doc trying to get some customers for his fertility drug side business.
But ... the "we know guys are taking it, so we want to make sure they're taking it the right way" argument is oddly compelling. Was Major League Baseball like the "cool parents" who supply their kids with kegs and condoms so they keep their underage sex parties in the basement—instead of the backseat of a used Camaro? If not, should they be? What if pro athletes were allowed to use steroids under a doctor's supervision? Would that change your opinion of "cheating" or the tape measure home runs that come with it?