Steroids in MLB
Steroids and Other Performance-Enhancing Drugs in Major League Baseball Steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs have become a major part of sports at all levels, especially in Major League Baseball (MLB). However, the role they have played is not a positive one. Not only do steroids create an unlevel playing field, but they also have scarred the record books. In a 2005 study by USA Today, 79 percent of the 568 players surveyed said that they believe steroids have played a role ”both big and small”in record-breaking performances by current high-profile players Oenkins).
Therefore, steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs should be monitored more closely by Major League Baseball because they create an unfair playing field, are harmful to the user’s body, and cause a distortion of records and accomplishments. To better understand the role of steroids in MLB, it is beneficial to know the history of steroids. “Anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) are synthetically produced variants of the naturally occurring male sex hormone testosterone. ‘Anabolic’ refers to muscle-building, and ‘androgenic’ refers to increased male sexual characteristics.
Steroids’ refers to the class of drugs” (Drugabuse. gov). In 1935, a group of German scientists, led by Adolf Butenandt, created anabolic steroids to treat testosterone deficiency. However, the first case of steroid use to increase athletic performance did not occur until 1954 and involved the Soviet Union weightlifting team (Shore). The biggest inclination of steroid use in baseball came in 1998, when a bottle of an injectable steroid, called androstenedione, was found in Mark McGwire’s locker. However, no punishment was issued because steroids were not on MLS’s list of banned substances at the time.
Four years later, in 2002, Bud Selig, the commissioner of Major League Baseball, instituted the game’s first performance-enhancing drug testing policy. Another major performance-enhancing drug scandal occurred in 2003 when a “high-profile” track coach said that the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO) and its founder, Victor Conte, made and distributed many steroids that were unable to be detected. An ensuing investigation led to the connection of these steroids with many star athletes, such as Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, and Gary Sheffield. Then, on December 13, 2007, the Mitchell Report”a 21 month long nvestigation by former Sen.
George Mitchell into performance-enhancing drugs in MLB”was released and it connected 89 current and former players to steroid use, including Roger Clemens and Andy Pettite (Shore). Steroids have many useful and acceptable medicinal purposes, such as treating testosterone deficiency, combating symptoms of cancer patients, and treating delayed male puberty. But, the main purpose of athletes using performance- enhancing drugs is to gain an edge over other players, which creates an unfair playing field. However, most people will ask if performance-enhancing drugs really make a difference.
To answer this question, John Brenkus states in The Perfection Point, “First, in case you’re wondering whether performance-enhancing substances really work, the answer is an emphatic and unambiguous Yes. The improvements can range from the subtle to the truly immense. ” Everything an athlete ingests is a chemicals that have more immediate and visible effects (77-8). Can a player not using steroids do the same things a player who is using steroids with hard work? The answer is no. A player using performance-enhancing drugs will always be bigger and stronger than if he was not using performance-enhancing drugs (Brenkus 89).
There are also statistical facts to show the effectiveness of performance-enhancing drugs. First, there is Babe Ruth, who is third on the all-time homerun list. He averaged 46 homeruns per season from age twenty-nine to thirty-three. Yet, in the five years after that, his average dropped to 43 homeruns per season. This is common due to the fact that as an athlete ages, his performance decreases. In contrast, Mark McGwire, who confessed to using steroids throughout the second half of his career, averaged 31 homeruns per season in the first seven years of his career.
Interestingly enough, his verage homerun total Jumped to 49 homeruns per season in the last seven years of his career (Brenkus 83). It should now be obvious how much of an impact performance-enhancing drugs play in the game and how much of an unfair playing field is created. The main counter argument to the first point is to allow all players to use steroids in their respective sport. “Norman Frost, a professor of pediatrics and ethics at the University of Wisconsin, argued that steroids should be allowed in sports because steroids are far less dangerous than the sport itself” (Driffill).
There has been only ne death that occurred while playing baseball. In 1920, Roy Chapman, a shortstop for the Cleveland Indians, was struck in the head by a baseball. There has only been one death directly linked to performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. In 2003, Steve Bechler, a pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles, collapsed and died of a heatstroke and abnormal liver function, a side effect of the performance-enhancing supplement, Ephedra. This is only one of the many effects of steroid and performance-enhancing drugs.
Steroids have a grave list of side effects, especially when taken at certain oses. Therefore, allowing all players to use steroids would subject players to these potential side effects. “Without question some of these substances are harmful, although there’s a pretty good argument that in small, ‘reasonable’ doses, the side effects are negligible” (Brenkus 77). Yet, to create an edge, players do not take small, reasonable doses of performance-enhancing drugs. There are quite a number of physical side effects, as well as, mental and emotional side effects.
Some physical side effects include: the reduction of the production of natural hormones, liver and idney damage or failure, sterility and shrinking of the testes, lowering of “good cholesterol” and raising of “bad cholesterol”, development of breasts (gynecomastia), acne, stunted growth, and baldness. In the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, five cases of liver damage were documented in young, healthy men, who had been on a supplement for no more than four months (Epstein and Dohrmann). The mental/emotional side effects can include “roid rage”, withdrawal syndrome, and addiction. Roid rage” is an increase in aggressiveness and violence by people who use steroids. This is a rare symptom, but still has been seen on multiple occasions (Steroid. com). Withdrawal syndrome includes mood swings, depression, and other emotional effects caused from abrupt cessation of steroids (Dupre-Neary). Finally, addiction can become a major problem, especially because of the increased risk of Recently, the supplement industry has become Just as dangerous as the listed steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.
In a 2007 study, 25 percent of 58 supplements tested would have made an athlete test positive for a banned substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). However, six years earlier, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) funded a study of 634 supplements commonly used by athletes. Of these supplements, 15 percent of them would have caused an athlete to test positive for a banned substance. In 1994, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) said that supplements could be sold without proof of effectiveness or safety and without approval from the FDA (Epstein and Dohrmann).
Also, it should be known that you can own a supplement store without being a chemist, or even having a chemistry background. Such people are making and/or selling products in which they have no idea what ingredients are in their roducts. Sometimes “supplement makers, prohibited by cost and their lack of expertise from creating novel ingredients, fall back on what they know works and sells: anabolic steroids and prohormones that have not yet been added to the DEA’s list of controlled substances” (Epstein, Dohrmann).
According to Brent Musburger, a play-by-play college football analyst, said that professional athletes could use steroids under a doctor’s approval and supervision to improve athletic performance (“Report”). Yet, if performance-enhancing drugs are legal, then the athletes could go to doctors to learn how to properly use them, correct? Wrong. The reason athletes take performance-enhancing drugs in the first place is to gain edge over their fellow athletes. Why would they stop even if they knew how to properly use steroids? The answer is that they would not stop.