Baseball needs to be more proactive in dealing with performance enhancing drugs...
Steroids are a dark mark on the legacy of baseball. By no means is baseball the only sport that has been infected with the disease of performance enhancing drugs. Sprinters have tested positive long before any baseball players were even thought to have been using steroids. Professional football locker rooms have been infected with all manner of performance enhancing drugs since the late 1970’s. What hurt baseball more was the way that steroids were brought to light, and how players continue to be exposed as performance enhancing drug users.
Baseball in the mid nineties seemed to be forgotten. After a long and painful labor dispute a large portion of baseball’s fan base were turned off. Attendance and television ratings were way down and it appeared that baseball might fall to the level of NHL hockey. Yet, there is something that brought fans back in large numbers. The home run. The most exciting play in baseball. Nothing is more exciting than seeing a hitter crush a long fly ball which screams over the outfield fence. During the late 1990’s the home run was back, and the fans were watching. Legendary home run records were being broken, and the ultimate home run mark, of 715 held by Hank Aaron and once by Ruth, was being approached and challenged. The problem is that baseball came back and is now once again popular due to performance enhancing drugs. Baseball, in a way, owes the illegal narcotic for its success.
One of the problems with baseball’s spoiled blood bargain with steroids is that they are sending mixed signals to all those training to be a future ball players. Baseball has been forced to support anti-steroid campaigns, but it still has a culture of encouraging upcoming players to gain a pharmaceutical edge. Future prospects are faced with a tough decision of gaining an edge through steroids or watching teammates who are using outperform them on the field. The decision is still being placed on prospects and high school athletes because baseball refuses to draw a hard line in the sand banning illegal and harmful performance enhancing drugs. The current policy of three strikes and your out is laughable at best. There are hardly any long term repercussions if a player is found using.
What baseball needs to do is to support healthy supplements. There are supplements on the market that will help a player to add muscle mass, and improve their physical conditioning. Creatine is an excellent example. Creatine hasn’t been proven to have any long term medical side effects. Creatine is a substance that is naturally produced in your body. It is also not a steroid. Creatine just helps players to lift weights more often, without suffering such drastic lactic acid build up in their muscles which causes soreness. Many people are reluctant to take any supplements fearing that the supplement will become banned and they will be retroactively guilty.
If baseball would come out and support the healthy training drugs, like Creatine, and ensure people that they won’t be punished for searching for a legal performance edge; then it would lessen the pressure that players feel to either take no supplements at all, or go all the way to using illegal performance enhancing drugs. Competitive people play baseball, and they are looking for an edge. They shouldn’t fell afraid to use legal supplements to train. If baseball wants to get the steroids out of the game, then they need to help young players know just what they can take to get an edge.