Posts tagged sport
Baseball (yes, baseball) has been dropped from the London Olympics… take a look at some other sports that have been dropped over the years.
This year’s Tour de France opens Saturday morning, the first day of a grueling 2,172-mile, three-week event that for decades has been dogged by doping scandals — most recently against seven-time Tour champ Lance Armstrong.
Despite the continuing controversies, blood tests collected over the past decade shows that the peloton is actually getting cleaner. It’s the first scientific evidence that anti-doping efforts may be paying off. The sport of cycling, though, has had a long history of doping. It’s a practice that has been a part of cycling since early 20th-century riders downed cocktails of strychnine, cocaine and caffeine to power their pedals.
But riders are pedaling slower despite lighter bikes, more aerodynamic wheels and other technological improvements. Uphill climb times have been impacted by the use of drugs in the sport. In the 1990s and early 2000s, a time when the use of EPO was likely at its peak, the winning time up Alpe d’Huez was usually less than 40 minutes. Italian Marco Pantani’s record of 37:35 still stands, even though it was set in 1997. Second is Armstrong’s 37:36 in 2004. But the winning times have slowed. In 2011, for example, the winning time of Frenchman Pierre Rolland was 41:57, a mark that would have been good for 8th place in 2004 or 40th in 2001.
When Tampa Bay Ray’s relief pitcher Joel Peralta was ejected from a game last week because there was pine tar on his mitt, he joined a century-long list of Major League baseball pitchers who have done whatever they needed to do to get the upper hand.
From spitballs to scuffed balls, pitchers have been cheating as long as there have been rules.
Whether Peralta’s technique actually gave him any edge, though, is up for debate. No one has ever studied the effects of pine tar on the flight of a baseball. And so far, nothing egregious has shown up in Peralta’s pitching stats to suggest that his cheating techniques have given him a leg up.
Still, rules are rules, and they exist for a reason. Theoretically, putting any kind of foreign substance on a ball could make it move erratically, confusing and possibly even endangering batters.
Image: Joel Peralta Credit: Getty Images