Blog Entry

Steroids and baseball, Will it ever end?

Posted on: February 11, 2009 1:10 pm
 

As I sit here writing this post I have a few thoughts concerning the ongoing steroid discussion as it relates to baseball and the stars in the sport.  This is the first blog entry I have posted in quite some time but I have not had the time to do so.  This may reflect my impatience with the entire subject and my desire to just see it go away.  Some may also believe that it has to do with me being a Yankee fan and growing increasingly sick of seeing my team's players outed in various reports, books and other media.  I believe, and hope, that I can be a little bit more neutral and impartial than that.  At this point, I would be as sick of hearing about steroids and baseball if it were Boston Red Sox players being named rather than New York Yankees players.  To begin, I would like to say that I am not defending or making excuses for the use of steroids or other performance enhancing drugs.

First, it has been obvious that there is certainly disparate treatment of athletes who test dirty depending upon what sport they participate in.  It seems that this entire week has been devoted to the story of Alex Rodriguez and performance enhancing drugs.  I am sure there are other stories in sports and this cannot possibly be all that is going on.  We also have seen the same treatment of Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, and many other baseball players.  Some have escaped as much wrath due to admitting use and acting humble, see Andy Pettite.  However, all of the baseball players named in any report will forever have their careers tarnished by this.  In fact, the entire era is probably tarnished by steroids.  It has even been said that none of these players should be allowed into the Hall of Fame because of steroid use.  For a contrast I turn to the NFL.  In the recent past Sean Merriman and Rodney Harrison have both been found to have used a performance enhancing drug.  Neither one of them were put through the media circus or called before Congress as baseball players have been.  They received a suspension and the biggest concern of fans seemed to be, when will they be back on the field?  If there is any validity to the argument that we don't want our pro athletes using any PED so that children and developing athletes won't use them, then the same rules and scrutiny should apply across the board.  Otherwise, we are really saying that it is really okay to use performance enhancing drugs if you play football, but if you play baseball it is a mortal sin to even consider it.  And let's face it, where do you think being bigger, stronger, and faster will pay off the most?

People have now been stating that the remainder of the 104 names of players who tested dirty in the 2003 testing should be released to the public as Alex Rodriguez's name was.  There are a couple of objections I can see to this.  First, this testing was done with the promise that it would be confidential, would be destroyed, and there would be no punishment assessed for a positive test.  It was absolutely wrong for any name, including Alex Rodriguez, to be released to the media, period.  It was through these guarantees that players agreed to that round of testing to begin with.  If the players cannot trust ownership and the league when it comes to these positive tests, can they trust them on anything else? For all of those who think that we have the right to know all the names, I will put one question to you.  If you took a medical test at your job, say for drugs, based on the promise that it would be confidential, and there would be no punishment for it, would you believe that it would be justified to publish your positive test result at a later date?  To add to the problem, your name is then trashed in the media.  While most of us would not have to worry about the media, you have to admit that it would be embarrassing.  Would you have any trust for your employer at that point?  Additionally, if the other 103 names were released does anyone believe that would end the steroid era and no other player would be suspected?  There is no way.  Releasing the names would do nothing except to provide tabloid fodder as no one can be punished for these tests anyway.  Truly, the only person wronged by the release of just one name out of 104 is Alex Rodriguez himself because he is now being singled out.  Who knows, even if they all came out he may still receive the most attention, but at least would be one among many.

Another subject that has been continually coming up is Cooperstown.  There have been many columnists and fans that say that no player ever tied to the steroid scandal should be eliminated from consideration from the Hall of Fame.  At this point that list would include many of the best players of this era.  The Hall of Fame is supposed to be a museum to the greatest achievements on the field.  The simple fact is that a lot of the greatest players of this era have been tied to steroids, or had their name mentioned in relation to the subject.  This naturally leads to the question of what standard of do we use to keep players out of Cooperstown based on steroid ties.  Would it be as little as an individual said they did it or would it have to be based upon a positive test?  Clearly there should be more than just the word of one person to keep a person out of the Hall forever.  It actually may just cast a doubt over every player who has played during the steroid era.  If all players are guilty by association, do we then keep them all out of the Hall?  That would certainly seem like an extreme solution.  To me the most reasonable solution seems to be to do as Bob Costas has suggested and put a sign up indicating what the steroid era was and what it signified to the sport and the nation.  People then could make up their own minds as to what it would mean to them.  This would also ensure that players who have accomplished some astounding feats would be enshrined.  Let's not forget that there have been other ways of cheating in the past and I am pretty sure there are some Hall of Famers who have engaged in some form of cheating.

Here's to the end of the entire steroid saga and a return to our great national past time in the very near future. 

Comments

Since: Dec 8, 2008
Posted on: February 13, 2009 6:05 pm
 

Steroids and baseball, Will it ever end?

The Steriod Era honestly is just the latest "Era".  In the 60s and 70s players were popping pills like speed to play better.  Then you have those using pine tar or trying to use foreign objects on baseballs when pitching.  Those players are all in the HOF.  Then you have the 80s and the use of "recreational drugs" and those players are hitting the HOF.  I can't tell you how many stories about Mickey Mantle and other players that are considered the best ever being drunk at games.  Players from all generations have done something either legal or illegal in the game.  Some is considered "no big thing" and some are just beyond forgiveness.  Honestly I don't condone PED or anything of that nature but it's a fact of baseball.  So does this mean that Bonds or A-Rod will be out of the HOF and instead the standard will be lowered and you will see players of lesser numbers getting in?  It will look funny when mid-level players are in there instead.  I agree that if no one will get in because of all the PED talks in future classes that have the leading numbers then close the HOF elections and just have it as a museam.  Honestly, I don't think it's fair that an anonymous test was leaked by this women that seems to have a personal issue with A-Rod.  Great A-Rod took PEDs so did 103 others and they will be in the HOF because I'm sure not all those players are mid-level or sub-par players like the biased Mtchell Report listed.  I still find it funny how not a single Red Sox player or really any other team was listed but the Yankees in the Mitchell Report....oh wait no I'm not Mitchell used to be part owner of the Red Sox.  Glad to see the government working in a fair way.




Since: Dec 31, 2007
Posted on: February 12, 2009 11:03 pm
 

Steroids and baseball, Will it ever end?

Stopping steroids in baseball is as hopeless as stopping illegal drug trafficking in the US. I wish there was more that could be done, but players will often go undetected, and if they are tested positive, will still deny any use. When a large amount of big baseball stars are taking steroids, it really defeats the point of the sport. The MLB should test every player and test often, but there will always be loopholes for the players. I would like to think that the majority of baseball players are still clean, but it is getting harder to give anyone the benefit of the doubt.You are so right wahoo.  After 20 years in the military and some pretty stringent urinalysis on board subs, you should be able to keep the major majority of players clean. Granted there is no test as far as I know that detects HGH so I am not sure how you would go about testing for that.  However if we made life more restrictive in terms of where they could go and what is off limits there could be some people that really may quit the game because it becomes more about the integrity of the game that the player.  Selfish people will leave the sport and we will get back to people playing for the love of the game.  People are joining an all volunteer force even during war for education benefits, job security, retirement, etc.  Could you imagine paying lump sump bonus at retirement and steller playing on the field rather than up front before they perform? 




Since: Aug 22, 2007
Posted on: February 12, 2009 12:32 pm
 

Steroids and baseball, Will it ever end?

As far as steroids being used in baseball and other sports is concerned, testers will always have a hard time staying ahead of the chemists.  Take "The Cream" and "The Clear" for example.  At the point in time when any authorities discovered these, they had already been in use for some time.  Consider this, if a disgruntled individual had not sent in a sample of these substances, we might not know about them yet.  Balco, Bonds and the rest of the story might not have ever taken place.  These were used by athletes in the Olympics who tested clean even though they were using.  It was only later that their use was discovered.  It is entirely reasonable to believe that there is already another undetectable PED on the market right now which is absolutely undetectable to current testing.  Therefore, unless testing agencies devise a way to stay ahead of the chemists, there will always be some type of PED out there and being used.  Given that, is there any athlete from here on out who will be above suspicion, particularly the great ones?




Since: Jan 20, 2009
Posted on: February 12, 2009 12:21 pm
 

Steroids and baseball, Will it ever end?

As far as A-Rod goes, I do agree that he was unjustly treated in this situation.  Just imagine someone tattling on you when you thought they were your friend.  I think that steroids testing should be mandatory, not optional, and that positive test results must be punished.  Maybe give each player one or two strikes, but after three violations, they get kicked from the league forever.

By the way, I find it hard to believe that A-Rod has been clean since 2003.  He has gotten older, yet still puts up numbers comparable to those in 2001-2003.  If he initially flat out lied about ever taking steroids, he probably has other incidents to hide, as well.




Since: Jan 20, 2009
Posted on: February 12, 2009 12:16 pm
 

Steroids and baseball, Will it ever end?

Stopping steroids in baseball is as hopeless as stopping illegal drug trafficking in the US.  I wish there was more that could be done, but players will often go undetected, and if they are tested positive, will still deny any use.  When a large amount of big baseball stars are taking steroids, it really defeats the point of the sport.  The MLB should test every player and test often, but there will always be loopholes for the players. 

I would like to think that the majority of baseball players are still clean, but it is getting harder to give anyone the benefit of the doubt.




Since: Aug 22, 2007
Posted on: February 12, 2009 11:12 am
 

Steroids and baseball, Will it ever end?

Hey Mac, I have to agree with you there.  I believe Congress has a lot more to worry about right now than some athletes taking PED's.  With the economy, and arguably the environment, in as bad a shape as it is in today, they really need to get their priorities straight and deal with that first.  Let baseball take care of itself, at least until Congress has no other important business to take care of.




Since: Aug 22, 2007
Posted on: February 12, 2009 11:09 am
 

Steroids and baseball, Will it ever end?

Clim, thanks for the comment and I will read your link soon. 

As far as steroids being illegal, it has been my understanding that steroids have only been illegal if you do not have a prescription for them from a doctor.  I am not saying anyone who used had such a prescription but in the event that a doctor did in fact sign off on a prescription, I do not believe there would be anything illegal about their use.  I know I have been prescribed a couple of steroids when ill, such as prednisone.  Now that is not an anabolic steroid and I have never gained a lot of mucle mass from them.  However, many types of steroids have a legitimate medical use as well, so you cannot make a blanket statement that they are all illegal.  The same holds true for HGH as there are medical conditions that HGH is prescribed for as well.




Since: Dec 13, 2007
Posted on: February 12, 2009 11:03 am
 

Steroids and baseball, Will it ever end?

What in the hell is the Government, such as the Congressmen and Senators sticking their big nose in baseball anyway. These idiots can't even run the government, unless you consider them running it into the ground being successful. Now I guess they will try to ruin baseball, as they have this country!!!I say to these idiots mind your own business!!! 




Since: Aug 5, 2008
Posted on: February 12, 2009 9:56 am
 

Steroids and baseball, Will it ever end?

"As soon as it became illegal to use performance enhancing drugs in babseball he quit."

Are you kidding me?  Last I checked it's illegal to use steroids period.

 




Since: Dec 31, 2007
Posted on: February 12, 2009 7:45 am
 

Steroids and baseball, Will it ever end?

Very interesting read. I am particularly in what you have to say about the Hall of Fame. I hope you will take time to read my thoughts. 5 Stars!



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