Play Bull!


The new baseball season is finally upon us, and you know what that means -- more horrendous writing from George Will. His latest state-of-the-game column includes praise for the baseball's uncapitalist "revenue sharing," for its oxymoronic "competitive balance tax" on teams that choose to pay well; then he uncorks this Bo Belinsky-style wild pitch of a passage, about (I think) statistics, steroids, Homeland Security, and democratic unionism. Italics mine:

That pleasure is the comparison of players across many generations. Until now such comparisons have been complicated by only one substantial discontinuity in the game's nature -- that between the dead and lively ball eras. Steroids threaten to define a second discontinuity -- a parenthesis -- in baseball's narrative.

The parenthesis opened in the 1990s. It must be closed to remove the cloud of suspicion that hovers over all players. Americans standing in stockings while their shoes and luggage are X-rayed at airports doubt that privacy considerations should prevent random, year-round testing, backed by serious sanctions, for illegal drugs that traduce baseball's integrity. The Players Association is too democratic, and its head, Don Fehr, is too intelligent, to continue to countenance the damage the status quo is doing.

In other words, airport security sucks, so ? urine tests for everybody! It gets worse:

[Baseball Commissioner Bud] Selig has been -- baseball is a game of inches, but this is not a close call -- the greatest commissioner.

The greatest at pickpocketing billions of dollars of taxpayer money, maybe ? but then, Will has long lived by the credo that socialism in the defense of baseball is no vice. (Via the invaluable Selig-despising baseball economist Doug Pappas, who points out that the commish has previously appointed Will to a baseball marketing committee and a Blue Ribbon Economic Panel.)