Thursday, August 27, 2009

Steroids in Baseball

In a victory for the baseball players' union,

A federal appeals court in California ruled Wednesday that prosecutors improperly seized the drug tests for the roughly 100 major league baseball players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003.

“This was an obvious case of deliberate overreaching by the government in an effort to seize data as to which it lacked probable cause,” Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote in support of a 9-to-2 decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco.


The broader issue raised by the case is why steroid use in baseball is a concern of the federal government. The people potentially harmed by such use are the players themselves, non-using players who suffer a competitive disadvantage, and fans who want to watch sports contests not affected by "performance-enhancing substances."

The right entity to address these concerns is Major League Baseball, which can make steroid use rare by adopting a serious drug-testing policy (as it has). Federal intervention is unnecessary and a waste of resources.

Side-Note: Alex Kozinski, who wrote the opinion in this case, is a well-known libertarian.

20 comments:

Shake Mouth said...

I take issue only with this part of the post: "...fans...want to watch sports contests not affected by 'performance-enhancing substances.'"

Fans DO want to see 80+ home runs in a season, 105+ mph pitches, and ridiculous outfield and baserunning achievements. These will (likely) only occur with the help of performance-enhancing-equipment, -dieting, -surgery, and/or "-substances" of one kind or another.

Perhaps the same stigma that propagates the War on Drugs propagates the War on Steroids...

Mike Huben said...

"The broader issue raised by the case is why steroid use in baseball is a concern of the federal government.[...]"

As I wrote in your comments two years ago:

The major problem with steroids is not that high-ranking professional or amateur athletes are taking them. It is that the vast pipeline of high-school (or younger) athletes should not be based on steroid usage. They are too young to be making such decisions responsably. All the vast number of unrealistic hopefuls should not be taking excessive amounts of steroids in desperate hopes of making up for their other lacks (talent, body type, practice, etc.)

This sort of externality (or is it inefficient rent seeking?) should be obvious to an economist.

But I suspect Professor Miron will not respond to (nor learn from) comments.

Steve M. said...

Mike,

Is there any intervention by the federal gov't that your externality argument doesn't justify?

Anonymous said...

Mike,

I'm pretty sure that steroid use by teenagers is already illegal, so the externality problem is already solved. Steve M. is correct, of course, that your argument justifies federal involvement in virtually anything.

Steve M. said...

Of course Mike is assuming that any kind of federal gov't action or prohibition would be EFFECTIVE. Like the previous comment said, it already is illegal for people to use it. And?

Mike Huben said...

Steve and anonymous, do you realize that your sniggering doesn't actually refute my point? All it does it expose your ludicrous biases to ridicule.

Steve M. said...

yes, Mike. We are biased against unnecessary intervention by the gov't. Oh me, oh my.

Anonymous said...

Mike,

to claim that a legitimate adult activity should be illegal because it might encourage children to engage in an illegal activity is just nonsense and I doubt you even believe your own argument. Adults can drive cars, children cannot. By your argument, we should make car driving by adults illegal in order to discourage children from doing so illegally.

Mike Huben said...

Oh, Steve, you are so ignorant even of libertarianism. Any libertarian anarchist could tell you that there is NO necessary intervention by the government.

The point of progressivism is that BENEFICIAL interventions by government are worth having. Including the health of the populace.

Anonymous, evidently you are too stupid to realize that steroids are NOT legitimate for adults: they are illegal without a medical prescription. And most PRIVATE sports organizations ban their usage even with a prescription for good reasons. With the concurrence of the players' associations. They recognize that there are harms to steroid use.

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