I hope Albert Pujols was injecting human growth hormone, I hope he was using human growth hormone-scented body soap on his loofah, and I hope he was putting human growth hormone powder in his coffee. This isn't to be a craven jerk about the situation. My intent wouldn't be to point at the Cardinal fans with a, "See? See?" kind of attitude. This isn't misery loving company. I have very specific hopes.
I would love for the debate to change from its current level, which is to label performance-enhancing drugs as wrong, and the users as evil. A beloved figure getting caught in the net would help. I would love for people to understand baseball players seek advantages like this because we're all freaking animals. We're encoded to have the biggest tusks, or brightest tail feathers. We're encoded to want to be the best in our field, whether that field is securing and consuming locusts, or hitting home runs.
Success like that means a choice of some pretty outstanding mates, and two outstanding mates can make a sweet pile of new animals. That's how we're wired. It doesn't excuse each and every action as we claw our way past our peers. It isn't far-fetched to hope that compassion, logic, and equity are the next step in the evolution of the human race. But taking the debate away from the loaded assignment of "right" and "wrong" is the best way to start solving the problem, doing it in a fashion that doesn't mark baseball for the next fifty years. The fact that Barry Bonds has been a longtime proprietor and clerk at the jerk store never helped. A more affable player might change some opinions.
If Pujols did get caught up in this, I would hope the Cardinal fans would continue to cheer him, letting him know he's still a great player in the context of his era. I would hope opposing teams would show the proper respect, with an attitude of, "Yaay! We don't blame you for what you did in the context of your era, but, you know, we should probably figure out how to stop this crap." And maybe baseball could move on.
Baseball does need to do something. The extent of the side effects is still debated, but their existence isn't in doubt. Some players aren't willing to sacrifice future health for present success. That isn't a choice people should have to make. Jason Grimsley had a career, with an unknown boost coming through scientific means. His career might have come at the cost of someone not willing to use. In a chemical-free environment, perhaps Ernie Young is collecting a pension instead of Armando Rios. That means a whole heck of a lot more than the "sanctity of records" blubbering. If Pujols were involved in something sordid, it would take away the readymade scapegoat of Bonds. That might lead to actual results.
One statement by Jason Grimsley isn't exactly a rock-solid case, and it would be pretty despicable to start lumping Pujols in by second-degree association. I also must admit, I really don't want to see Pujols get tangled up in this. It wouldn't end like a G.I. Joe public service announcement, where people would suddenly realize exactly how they were being goofs after a well-timed example and anecdote. Pujols would get the boos and the hisses, too. If my idyllic scenario up there could be achieved, I would prefer Pujols to go down, taking Derek Jeter with him. But that's not going to happen, so I'm hoping the whole affair ends with all of baseball coming up clean. Which it wouldn't, but that's the high road.
People are just going to have to stop being idiots on every side of the debate. That's my solution. I'll take my Nobel cash award in the form of an oversized novelty check, please, and throw the roses at my feet whenever you're ready.