Jon-Truman James Professor Julia Reineman English 1001 19 November 2010 The Steroid Effect in Professional Baseball In past twenty years, steroids have become a huge problem in major league baseball. Many players were using them because they assumed there was no chance in being caught. In the last five years the league has decided to crack down on testing and really try to clean up baseball. A large number of players have tested positive, and the punishment is much worse than in past years.
Steroids are harmful to the human body, they have changed baseball, and ruined player’s careers and reputations. Also, baseball has the strictest punishment for players who test positive for using steroids. Anabolic steroids are defined as the synthetic version of the male hormone testosterone (Bathe, “The Controversy”). “They can exert strong effects on the human body that may be beneficial for athletic performance”(Hartgens and Kuipers, 514).
When testosterone is supplemented with steroids, players have an increase of muscle mass, a reduction of body fat, and enhanced endurance (Bathe, “The Controversy”). “It is easier to understand why paid, professional athletes might partake in steroid use; keeping up with the competition, sustaining or improving abilities, salary incentives and endorsements based on performance are but a few reasons”(Petrocelli, Oberweis, and Petrocelli, 1187). Players believe they can hit the ball farther, throw it harder, and react quicker.
Athletes who suffer serious injuries use steroids to recover faster so they can get back to playing. Players that use steroids for this reason are usually about to be cut and really need playing time so they can save their job. Steroids sound like they can do nothing but help, but there are several harmful side effects to using them. Physically they do enhance muscle, but steroids can cause liver failure, cancer, severe acne, excessive hair growth or loss, and testicular atrophy (shrinking) among many other things (Balzaretti, “Science”).
Psychologically, the effects range from becoming aggressive or violent to being very quiet and depressed. These are a few reasons that show why major league baseball wants to ban all use of steroids and recently they have really started striving to eradicate steroid use. Presently, there is random testing so players cannot plan out a time frame of when the hormones will be out of their system. In the past, players knew when they would be tested so they planned out a time frame from when they took the steroid until the day of the test.
In that certain amount of time, the hormones would be out of their system, and they would pass the test. There are still types of steroids that have been going undetected like the hormone noreblethone. It was never marketed but studies have shown it can increase an athlete’s androgenic activity. Players are still finding ways to bend the rules but with all the new types of testing, drugs like noreblethone will show up in tests. On December 14, 2007 a list of eighty-six names of players who had been using steroids was released to the media. Jenkins, “Players”). This list, known as the Mitchell Report, was formed by Senator George Mitchell and the MLB’s commissioner, Bud Selic (Hosenball. “Now”). Senator Mitchell conducted a twenty-one month long investigation into the use of anabolic steroids and human growth hormone in Major League Baseball. Superstars like Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Andy Pettitte were included in the report (Kuenster, “Major”). The big argument was whether to strip them of their records and ban them from the hall of fame.
Barry Bonds is the home-run champion and Roger Clemens is a seven time Cy Young award winner. These are two of the greatest accomplishments in the history of baseball, and is it fair to take them away just because they were using steroids? In a time frame where many players were using steroids and testing was a joke, these players thought they should join the crowd. The use of steroids was obvious in these years because of the increase in the number of home-runs and the distances the balls would travel.
Now, many fans have lost respect for players like Bonds and Clemens, because they cheated. Before this report these two were icons in the eyes of America and now their fan base has dramatically decreased. The argument to strip players of their awards will continue for many years because there were so many names on the Mitchell Report. “With records and reputations sullied and the integrity of the game in shambles, the fallout from the Mitchell Report embroiled MLB in arguably its most prolific scandal ever”(Gillerman, 541).
Many people also wonder why baseball is the only sport that is being focused upon for steroid use. Why is football, basketball, or any other sport for that matter being investigated? If a baseball player is caught using steroids, he is ridiculed, looked down upon, and could be stripped of his records. In football, first offense of using steroids is a four game suspension without pay, second offense is an eight game suspension, and third offense is a one year suspension. (Hosenball, “Now”).
In basketball, first offense is a five game suspension ans entrance into the NBPA Anti-Drug program, second offense is a ten game suspension with reentry into the program, and third offense is a twenty-five game suspension with reentry into the program(Hosenball, “Now”). In baseball, first offense of using steroids is a fifty game suspension, second offense is a one hundred game suspension, and third offense is the player receives a lifetime ban from baseball (Hosenball, “Now”).
The punishment for baseball is much more severe than the punishment for football or basketball. There has been nothing like the Mitchell Report for football, basketball, or any other sport for that matter. Sports like hockey or professional bodybuilding have a large number of steroid users and their testing is a joke. Before the Mitchell Report and baseball’s new punishment for steroid use, there was zero testing in the NHL, and there is still zero testing in professional bodybuilding (Associated Press,“ Steroid”).
Now, the NHL has a twenty game suspension for first offense but there is still no greater punishment for multiple offenses. Even in collegiate sports steroids has become a problem. At least the punishment now is very strict and it results in disqualification from playing sports and loss of scholarships (Pope, “Anabolic”). Steroid use has been mainly focused on baseball, and to the public, steroid use in other sports does not concern them. Steroids have drastically affected baseball and the persona of many players.
It is an issue that is not taken lightly and is really trying to be taken care of. With all the testing and the heavy suspensions of players that have been caught, most players will stop using steroids and try to play the game the right way. For any other professional sport the testing and punishment is still very lenient, so many players will continue to use steroids. The only way to purify the other sports is to make the regulations and punishments the same. It is imperative to take action now, or we will forever reap the consequences of cheating role models and a dirty game.