Use of Steroids in Baseball
Since Major League Baseball all-star Ken Caminiti openly admitted to Sports Illustrated to have used steroids during his career, steroid use as a muscle and performance enhancer has been uncovered and become a big issue Major League Baseball is wrestling with. The “ongoing and delicate subject, baseball’s dirty, little secret that is no secret anymore,” is a huge and growing problem (Curry B20). Now that light has been shed on the issue, critics are beginning to realize the magnitude of this problem and do not like it. Steroids are a cheating virus that is spreading quickly. Users cheat other players, themselves, the fans, and the game itself. Action must be taken to rid Major League Baseball of this virus before it takes over the game.
Steroids are illegal in the US, and banned from baseball, however in the past they have not been suspected to be such a big problem. Therefore, Major League Baseball has failed to properly address it with preventative measures. In the 2001, the Major League Players Association’s contract with Major League Baseball protected players on the 40 man roster against testing. As for the minor leagues, testing only occured in-season, and was restricted to some players. Many players use in the off season and know how long the drugs will remain in their bodies (anywhere from 2 weeks to 18 months). If tested positive, they receive a warning about the hazards of the drug and are not punished at all. Five to ten percent of minor leaguers tested positive, and which fails to account for users not tested, those who used out-of-season, and those who found measures around the test. In the majors, some suspect that 50% of players use steroids and some, such as Jose Canseco, as high as 85%. Caminiti told reporter Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated “It’s no secret what’s going on in baseball. At least half the guys are using steroids” (Caminiti in “Totally Juiced”). Verducci commented, “Steroid use, which a decade ago was considered a taboo violated by a few renegade sluggers, is now so rampant in baseball that even pitchers and wispy outfielders are juicing up” (Verducci). Though the real number probably lies under twenty percent, it is a significant enough number to have a detrimental impact on the game.
The correct term for the steroids being used is anabolic androgenic steroids. Anabolic describes its effect of increasing muscle mass. Androgenic describes its effect on the development of male sexual characteristics. They are commonly referred to as anabolic steroids, “juice,” “‘roids,” or simply steroids. Despite all the negative accusations of using anabolic steroids as a muscle enhancer, the fact is they do work. They increase strength and muscle mass, improve fast twitch muscles, and ultimately allow an athlete to transcend physical limitations and reach a higher level of performance. Texas pitcher Kenny Rodgers said:
Basically, steroids can jump you a level or two. The average player...