Friday, February 13, 2009

Oh my God! ARod used Steroids!

With all the mania surrounding the discovery that Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids, I thought I'd chime in with my thoughts. First, the more pertinent story is that 104 players tested positive in 2003. When you consider that many of the performance enhancing drugs are not detectable, 104 is a very large number to test positive. It is further evidence that performance enhancing drugs were and perhaps still are rampant in the game. I think it's likely that thousands of players have used performance enhancing drugs at all levels of baseball. So, the ARod discovery is hardly news.

Why all the shock and outrage over steroid use in the first place? Steroids have been used in professional sports for decades. They were used in the NFL back in the 1970s with the Steelers being one of the featured teams. It became fairly common knowledge that steroid use was rampant in football in the 1980s and a drug program was put in place in 1989. So , why the big surprise when it was learned the Major League Baseball players were also using performance enhancers?

If you've gone to a gym in the last 30 years, you've probably noticed a lot of huge guys in there. Many of those bodies have been enhanced by steroids and it starts early. One study found that 6.5% of high school boys used steroids without a prescription. That wasn't in 2000. It was 1989. It's known that use of performance enhancers has been widespread for a long time in the general population. So, why wouldn't MLB players with all the pressures of professional sports and so much money at stake also be using?

We know that amphetamine use was commonplace in baseball in the 1960s. In fact, they were introduced to the game in the 1940s. So, for those who think that the modern players have ruined game, there is no telling how many of you childhood heroes from the 40s, 50 and 60s may have cheated by consuming unnatural chemicals.

Don't forget the Cocaine scandal of the late 1970s and early 1980s. It centered around the "We are family" Pirates but was part of the general MLB scene of that period. Now, Cocaine is not generally a performance enhancer but this was further evidence that large numbers of Major League players have long been using illegal drugs.

Contrary to popular belief, steroid use did not begin with Jose Canseco in 1991. Former pitcher Tom House was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle in May , 2005 saying that it was rampant as early as the 1960s:
"I pretty much popped everything cold turkey', House said. "We were doing steroids they wouldn't give to horses. That was the '60s when nobody knew. The good thing is, we know now. There's a lot more research and understanding."

House, 58, estimated that six or seven pitchers per team were at least experimenting with steroids or human growth hormone.
Former Houston Astro Ken Caminiti claimed that over half the players were using by the mid 90s. Jose Canseco said it was 85%. Yeah, Canseco likes to exaggerate and tell stories but his reports on steroid use have turned out to have as much credibility as anyone. In late 2007, the Mitchell Report uncovered use by dozens of players and this was done with virtually no cooperation from players at all.

So, Bud Selig and MLB in general needs to stop feigning outrage and pretending that baseball is a clean game tarnished by a few arrogant superstars. It should be pretty clear to most by now that steroids have been around for a long time in baseball and that their use has been widespread. Alex Rodriguez's steroid use is not a story that needs to covered 24 hours a day on the MLB Network or any place else. It shouldn't be news at all at this point.


  1. Clap, Clap, Clap

    You're preaching to the choir here. I just wish word like this could get out. The only thing more frustrating than Selig's phony indignation is the media's overreaction to the stories.

    To think, this whole steroid crackdown was simply started by many's desire to bring down Barry Bonds after his great seasons.

  2. Selig's outrage is so hypocritical. The owners and managers turned a knowing, blind eye to steroids because the game needed a boost. They're as guilty as anyone for not doing anything to stop steroids when they knew exactly what was going on. Now Selig wants to say it's breaking his heart, blah, blah blah. What a joke, and another black eye on our sport.

  3. Thanks for giving a dose of perspective. I still believe that, no matter what you inject, swallow, rub or snort into your system you can't create ability where there is none. No matter what I did, I could not catch up to Todd Jones' fastball much less Justin Verlander's.
    I'd prefer that they didn't use, but let's not kid ourselves about what they will do to increase an edge.

  4. Dead Nuts Right On!

    Everyone is to blame! Management - Selig and Company, Owners, GMs, Other Front Office Personnel, Managers, Coaches, Trainers, and other club house personnel; Union - Fear, Orza, and company; Players; Media; and yes we the fans.

    The only answer is blanlet amnasty for past behavior and the strickest testing and punishment of any sport for the present and future.



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