In the American Spectator, Mark Corallo tries to get inside the mind of the steroid using ballplayer:
Or imagine you’re a rookie. You just arrived with the big club. And looking around the locker room, you can’t help but notice that 80% of the veterans are looking like something out of a superhero comic book. You heard the whispers when you were down on the farm. It was almost a joke. But now it’s just there in front of you. As you look at some of your new teammates, still pinching yourself to make sure it’s not a dream, you think, “If those three guys who are legitimate all-stars without the juice are juicing, then what the hell am I supposed to do?”
Suddenly, it’s not so cut and dried. Suddenly, the “cheaters” have a face, a real life and real responsibilities. They’re not all Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, but we the fans demanded that they try to be. That doesn’t excuse them one bit, but it does make us complicit.
Corallo runs us through the thought process of the hypothetical veteran and minor league user too. Maybe the examples are a bit too cliched — The 32 year-old veteran he sketches would likely have already made millions and thus the multiple appeals to his three year-old daughter ring a bit hollow — but his overarching point is a good one: these guys aren’t villains. They are the products of a complex system that is flawed on many levels, and though we’d like to think that they would have transcended that system and made better choices, it’s asking way too much to expect that most let alone all of them would have done so.
(thanks to B. Jones for the link)