Let me give you a "what if". What if there was something unnatural that allowed a boxer to recover from injuries in such a fashion as to be back at 100%, not from one match to the next, but from one round to the next? The end of round three rolls around. Before round four, the boxer is injected with something and, lo and behold, the injuries have miraculously disappeared, and that fighter can continue in tip-top shape in the next round.
Is that an unfair advantage?
Let me give you another "what if". What if there was something unnatural a Tour De France cyclist could do so that he wasn't as tired from one stage to the next and his muscles could recover that much quicker so that he's as close to 100% every single day of the race.
That sounds a lot like an unfair advantage.
People describe the baseball season as a "marathon" and part of a marathon is having the endurance and physical makeup to not have your body fail over the course of the competition. We, as fans, know that one game is just one game. It's the bigger picture that's important. Some guys are made to stay healthy and be strong at the end. Some guys aren't. That's part of the game.
Pettitte and Vina are trying to make it sound like they were being so unselfish for taking performance enhancers. They were doing it so they could get back to playing quicker after injury. As if injury were an unnatural thing and therefore they should be allowed to do something unnatural. They were doing it for their team, therefore, they aren't as bad as people doing it to hit more home runs.
I call hogwash. Injuries may happen because of freak accident or they may happen because you're not conditioned properly. Regardless of which, they're part of the game. For pitchers especially, part of the strategy from game to game is saving relievers or seeing how long your starter can go without potentially wearing himself out for his next start. Quicker recovery through banned substances is just as bad as more home runs through banned substances.
The morals of the story.
- Even if you were just trying to recover from an injury quicker, you were still cheating.
- Gaining an unfair advantage for your team is still gaining an unfair advantage.