Steroids vs. Milk

August 27, 2005–Chronicle News Services reported today that an unnamed Florida Marlins batboy was suspended by the Marlins for accepting a dare from LA Dodgers pitcher Brad Penny. The dare was to drink a gallon of milk within an hour without vomiting. Penny offered him $500 to do it.

According to the article, Penny told the Miami Herald, "It’s kind of ridiculous that you get a 10-game suspension for steroids and a six-game suspension for milk."

Perhaps it was really a 6-game suspension for willingness to perform an act some people might consider to be gambling. When you consider steroids in sports, or the dangerous alcoholic beverage games involved in some college fraternity pledge rituals, drinking milk is rather a tame dare, especially to this inveterate milk drinker.

If there was to be a sanction, perhaps it should have been on Penny for offering a minor money to perform a dare, even though it involved no illegal substance.

But Penny’s point should be well-taken. When I went to the third game of the Orioles-A’s series at the Coliseum, someone further down in my section had a cardboard sign that read "Sosa and Palmeiro cheated. Boo!" That started the steroids conversation among three guys behind me. They decided that somebody caught using steroids should get a 100-game suspension on the first offense, and a lifetime ban on the second.

Ten days for steroids, six days for milk. How serious is professional baseball about stamping out the use of performance-enhancing drugs? You make the call.

Kéllia Ramares
Oakland, CA

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