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Steroids in Baseball

Unpatriotic or Natural Evolution of the Sport
June 17, 2007
June Newsletter Issue 3


Steroids in Baseball: Unpatriotic or Natural Evolution of the Sport
Steroids are commonly used by bodybuilders and athletes of all levels. You will find steroids in High School sports, steroids in baseball, steroids in football, and, of course, steroids in the Olympics. All these sports, and many many more, use anabolic steroids in one form or another. DO NOT be fooled into thinking that any NFL players are natural and steroid free. Even retired NFL players admit that at least 70% of their team was using human growth hormone (HGH)!

Of all the sports out there, it seems that baseball has drawn one of the largest controversies when it comes to steroid use by the players. There are many speculations as to why this has happened, but many people think it’s because baseball is considered “America’s Past-time” and such use is often seen as a defecation of something that symbolizes our patriotism. While this seems like a fair analysis of the thought process behind steroid use, there is another side to it. Others feel that it was an inevitable step when all sports are moving ahead with the help (be it illegal) of steroids in order for baseball to be able to keep up with ratings and the “wow” factor.

All of the hype given to steroid use in baseball has led to surveys giving some startling statistics. Surveys of the players show that over three-quarters of them believe that the newest trend in record-breaking is due to the use of steroids to some extant. Furthermore, more than a quarter believes that this trend is strongly related to steroid use (USA Today).

Regardless of how this has affected baseball statistics, we know that this steroid use is illegal. The real controversy comes in when you look at contributing factors, however. First of all, even if it’s illegal according to federal law, should it be considered cheating? If you do think it’s cheating then what about people who were using steroids and other performance enhancers before they were technically illegal? That then leads to the question as to whether or not these record-breaking achievements should be recorded as records or if they should be discarded. The biggest issue is that it’s difficult to go back and find out proof-positive if someone was using steroids when they broke a record or had an especially note-worthy run. It’s easy to speculate, but near impossible to prove.

The sad thing is that baseball, which used to bring people together, is no longer the sport that everyone is talking about – the sport that has magical seasons, the underdog climbing to victory or the losing team finally pulling it together to have one great memorable moment. When there is a record about to be broken or an amazing run by a team or player, it gains popularity and is great publicity for the sport. So players, and baseball as a whole, is stuck in a challenge trying to “keep it clean” but keep up the ratings at the same time.

Another issue is that effect that steroid use (or even alleged steroid use) has on others. While it may seem to many people that what these players choose to use to help them achieve is their choice – if they can get an edge then go for it – many others realize that it doesn’t stop there. Steroid use does up the ante for expectations and these expectations trickle down into college-level sports and, eventually, high school level sports where we know that steroid use is particularly unhealthy.

No matter where you stand on the issue, however, one thing is true. The speculation and controversy has cast a shadow on the sport and upset many longtime loyal fans. Until there is a clear-cut answer as to where steroid use stand in baseball there is always going to be that lingering question when a player has a great run and a record breaking season.

Sources:

*Bathe, Bill. “Baseball and Steroids: The Controversy.” EZine Articles. Ezinearticles.com
Jenkins, Chris. “Players Admit Steroids Changed Baseball.” USA Today.
www.usatoday.com.
* Steroids in Baseball and Sports. Ezine Article. Steroids in Baseball and Sports.


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