Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 23, 2002
BASEBALL: Grant Roberts
The now-infamous Grant Roberts photo, if you missed it. Maybe it's just me, but I'm not getting my shorts in a knot over pitchers smoking pot. I mean, there's a basic social norm that says we can't have people openly admit to being pot-heads unless they're rock stars or something (and thus expected to lead self-destructively dissolute lives), but the main concern with pot is that it saps agressiveness and, well, reliability. I suppose that is problem if you've got concerns about a guy's conditioning, but pitching is a crazy business, and what a guy does off the field to deal with the stress shouldn't be a big concern unless he gets arrested.
Everyday players are another matter entirely - there's a much greater need to keep guys focused and aggressive (maybe there's a reason Tony Tarasco has never been able to develop enough to hold an everyday job), and far lesser concerns over people stressing themselves out to the point of being unable to function, which is a big problem with pitchers. (If I'm the Mets, of course, I'd be looking desperately for evidence that some of my big underachievers are doing anything that could be characterized as a breach of their contractual obligations, or at least that they're doing something that's more easily corrected than just getting old).
Look, I've never smoked the stuff and wouldn't, and maybe somebody who knows more about pot would disagree with me. My general reaction on the legalize-marijuana crowd has long been that I might be open to persuasion, but I've yet to be convinced that letting Phillip Morris market bongs to 14-year-olds is a good idea (don't kid yourself: you can't advocate legalization if you aren't willing to accept big corporations selling the stuff). The biggest problem with the pot aspect of the war on drugs is its rank hypocrisy, i.e., the fact that everybody knows that the law is widely violated and can't help but be selectively enforced. But as long as the world is as it is, I'm not going into a tizzy over this whole Roberts thing.