We Also Correct Vision

The winds of rumor and suspect have been whipping around Bartolo Colon as information has surfaced regarding a controversial form of stem-cell therapy Colon took part in during his sabbatical. The therapy was two part, with the first involving the extracting of stem cells from bone marrow and fatty tissue in Bartolo’s hip. The stem cells were then injected into his right shoulder and elbow. Through wishful thinking, and holistic vibe thought, doctors hoped the stem cells might begin to work their experimental magic.

Six weeks later, psychedelic witch doctors drew blood. They then spun the blood in a medical blood spinner. These voodoo practitioners injected the blood back into Bartolo (I assume they injected straight into his heart, but I’m not one for details). This injection was followed by the killing of a virgin goat. Bartolo was forced to drink the sacrificial blood as the animal writhed and bled to the primal groove of Santana’s Abraxas.

What was their diabolical purpose? What was their evil ploy? The witch doctors and Bartolo Colon wanted to enhance performance.

Bartolo Colon’s story is a good one. It is interesting. It is, dare I say, inspiring. There is a weird stigma that comes with the enhancing, with the repair of muscle. On some primal level, we want our heroes to break. We are inspired by longevity, as long as the longevity is meek and mild. We get excited when we watch our heroes fly dangerously close to the sun, but scoff when their wings melt and they fall. We fear muscle in sport.

We live in a society that finds it perfectly acceptable to pump heavy addictive stimulants into children. We do this as a means of enhancing their performance. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It is a huge ethical quandary that has seemingly been ignored.

We also correct vision.

Specs Toporcer is widely considered to be the first major league baseball position player to wear eyeglasses while playing. He was fortunate enough to have the first name Specs (unless you believe in self-fulfilling prophecies). His eyesight was incredibly horrific. Branch Rickey, in speaking with sportswriter Norman L. Macht told the following story, "I watched this kid and saw him take off his glasses and, with his hands outstretched, grope his way along the wall to the showers. My captain turned to me and said, For God's sake, who sent him up?"  He went through five operations to save his sight. Blindness got him in the end. He lived until he was ninety. He got to play seven seasons.

I’m not sure what any of it means. Muscle is feared. Performance should only be enhanced naturally, unless society as a collective whole approves of the unnatural means. I imagine individual safety and a level playing field are motivators. LASIK isn’t exactly safe. It is a complicated procedure that improves life and enhances performance. It also has its detractors. Quality of life is often compromised, but, for now, the choice is seemingly in the hands of the individual.

The Bartolo Colon story is just starting to pick up. I imagine the therapy will come under intense scrutiny. Maybe it should, though I tend to side with the person and the right of the individual to make an informed decision. Goat blood and Abraxas aside, Bartolo Colon took a chance that seems to be paying off. His performance might not sustain. Time is the great equalizer, no matter what we do. It just seems that some people are, on some level, jealous of muscle, jealous of time and time’s relative random treatment. Some people break and some don’t. Maybe what Bartolo Colon is doing will help people break less. Maybe it won’t. Only time will tell.

Jesse Gloyd, usually can be found writing essays about baseball (among other things) at Follow him on Twitter at @jessejamesgloyd.

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