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."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.
House, 58, estimated that six or seven pitchers per team were at least experimenting with steroids or human growth hormone.
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.