|A Brewers fan displays his opinion|
of the suspended Ryan Braun before
a game at Miller Park.
Fifteen years ago, when Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire were pumping up in private and pursuing home run records in public, steroids were a quiet gray area. Technically they were a violation of the rules, but nobody — owners, players, media — was interested in enforcing the rule. Baseball's ethos — from spitballs to cutting the bases — has always held that cheating is fine as long as you don't get caught.
In that environment, nobody should be surprised that performance-enhancing drugs became widespread.
Today, however, is a markedly different environment. There is testing. There is a vocal outcry from the bulk of the players to get the PEDs out of the game.
We have gone, in a generation of players, from an implicit expectation that a player seeking to be better would use to an explicit contempt for users.
It is more understandable to me that a Barry Bonds would use steroids than that Braun would, just because of the time and place for each.