I haven't been paying attention to the New York Daily News' Roger Clemens beat lately — I think the paper has romantically linked the Rocket to both Loretta Lynn and Wally the Green Monster when I wasn't reading — but this morning's story made me stand up and take notice.
According to the paper's latest report, Clemens and other athletes have used or are using the little blue pills of Viagra for a performance-enhancing boost on the diamond instead of in the bedroom. Perfectly legal under the MLB's drug code, Viagra is "one of the hottest drugs in locker rooms," according to the report.
And because runners, cyclists and other athletes are using the drug to improve blood flow at high altitudes, the World Anti-Doping Agency is considering adding Viagra to its list of banned substances.
Says Balco founder Victor Conte in the NYDN: "It's bigger than Creatine. It's the biggest product in nutritional supplements."
Viagra doesn't just improve blood flow and its distribution to muscle. Among its other off-label uses is its ability to "counteract the impotence that can be a side effect of testosterone injections."
I've heard stories in the past about teenagers and college kids experimenting with non-prescribed Viagra in the way the drug was intended. But now that these side-benefits are out there in the public sphere of knowledge? Well, let's just say high school locker rooms are going to become more awkward than they already were. Thank god I'm not a high school baseball coach.
As for Clemens, I'll let you supply your own jokes if you feel like you're missing them. Bonus points for those who can avoid using the words "stiff," "limp" and "little rocket" in the punchline.