Baseball's secrets revealed

Dec. 16, 2004, midnight | By Adith Sekaran | 16 years, 1 month ago

Steroids in baseball should be put to rest

Baseball's little dirty secret involving needles and a lot of testosterone was revealed last week. Their secret can be attributed to the Major League Baseball's (MLB) quest for money.

Americans baseball fans are living in the era of the home runs. The stands are filled to catch balls hit out of the park, and the last few years this has happened more and more often. Roger Maris' record of 61 homeruns was set in 1961 and was legit; it stood for over 30 years but then the juice got involved.

Fans and teams got caught up with the players that could hit harder and score with one swing. Baseball teams began handing out more and more multi-million dollar contracts to players who could slam the baseball. For example, New York Yankees first baseman and designated hitter Jason Giambi was never much of an athlete but the steroids helped him play baseball.

Giambi batted 43 homeruns in his 2000 season with the Oakland Athletics. This led him to be the American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) and a big winner in free agency, one year later. The Yankees offered him a $120 million contract.

Three years after leaving Oakland, Giambi's future does not look so great. Despite being rather young at only 33, his baseball future might be coming to an end. Since his 2000 season, he has never hit as many home runs and his health has been bad. In his 2004 season, Giambi had an array of ailments, which only allowed him to play for 80 games and bat .208 with 12 home runs.

San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds was another high profile hitter involved in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) case. Bonds, unlike Giambi, has not come clean yet. Instead, he has changed his stance from that of never taking performance enhancers to not knowing of taking performance enhancers.

The most ironic thing about Bonds' denials is he seems to be the prime candidate to take steroids. His physical growth and batting statistics appear unnatural and unreal. There is a gallery here, which showed Bond's physical growth through his career. Obviously as the years passed, something besides food and the gym were involved in the mix.

Bonds was always a classy hitter and knew every pitch coming. Going into the 1999 season, Bonds was a lock-in for the Hall of Fame. He averaged .300 and over 36 homeruns a year, tremendously high numbers before the steroid era. He was past his prime at this time and many baseball fans around the world thought he would be on his decline. Surprisingly, this was not the case.

In the five years after 1999, Bonds averaged 52 homeruns a season. This average includes his record setting season in 2001 where he hit 73 home runs, the highest in a single season ever.

These players who are using steroids should have learned the devastating effects of steroid use. In recent weeks, former MLB player and National League MVP Ken Caminiti, who admitted to taking steroids during his career, died. Caminiti's autopsy showed that he died of a drug overdose, which may have been related to his steroid abuse.

While, these steroid accusations have been centered on the names of superstars, steroids are a problem among the entire sport. While Caminiti was still alive, he predicted that approximately 50 percent of Major League players use or have used performance-enhancing drugs. Similarly, BALCO owner Victor Conte, who has been indicted for distribution of these drugs, predicts that the majority of baseball players use steroids. On an interview on 20/20, Conte estimated 50 percent of baseball players are taking anabolic steroids and 80 percent take a stimulant before games.

Steroids are ruining almost everything in baseball. The baseball that once was America's pastime is now just a bunch of genetically altered men, soiling the game. While they might be making more money than before, their health is worse than ever.

The only people benefiting from this are the owners and people high up in the baseball world. The sport is making more money than ever now because of fans' willingness to spend to see more runs. Tickets and merchandise cost more and the profits go to the people on top of the baseball pyramid.

This makes baseball's approach to the problem more uncertain. The league is more profitable with the steroids, which pose an ethical question. There are already meetings between the Players Union and owners about their future. Hopefully, they come to the conclusions that steroids give an unfair advantage and that stricter testing should definitely be implemented.

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Adith Sekaran. Adith Sekaran is finally a senior at Blair. Adith is a man who is a big time sports fan and can spend any day to its' entirety watching sports or ESPN. Football season is his favorite, which he spends cheering on his ‘Skins to no … More »

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