Here’s one take:
This was the year that Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s lifetime home run record. Combined with his 73 home runs in 2001, this makes Bonds the greatest home run hitter in history. He is now the Babe Ruth-Hank Aaron of all time.
But is he? Of course not! His record will be tainted by the smell of corruption, the hint of steroids. Even without proof, everyone in America is certain that he used steroids. During his career his hat size increased, and he grew a full inch in his mid-30s. That is not normal. Those body changes seem proof enough that he was juicing – taking steroids, growth hormones, or something to make him bigger, stronger, and presumably better.
How should baseball, and America, deal with this?
In the end, I would favor a very strict enforcement of the bans on steroids and similar drugs because they harm players, and force players into a race to the bottom – those who do not use steroids will lose out to those who do. This is why the players’ Union should have been fighting for very strict bans – to protect the members. But, the Union has fought against strict enforcement and been complicitous in harming players and the game. And MLB – led (sort of) by a gutless commissioner – has done virtually nothing to stop the practice.
Unfortunately the idea that we can honestly regulate steroid use (and other designer drugs) is naive at best. Testing is remarkably expensive and generally WELL behind the users ability to evade the tests. The drugs are always getting better. We in the Strength Training world (where steroids made their first appearance) know all about this. To us, these are old arguments, some dating back 30 years! Sure you can test, and sometimes you’ll get somebody, but you’ll miss most of them. And there is no way around that. Too bad.
Many arguments abound against the use of steroids in Professional Athletics.
Queen Liberal Nancy Pelosi was on hand last night as Barry Bonds further tarnished major league baseball’s reputation. A fully ‘roided-up bonds finally broke Hank Aaron’s all-time home run record at 756 homers.
You are more than a little naive if you don’t understand that professional athletes will do ANYTHING to win. Professional Athletics isn’t about “good ole American sportsmanship”. It ain’t little league. Even little league isn’t little league.
And it never has been. If steroids were around when the Babe was playing, rest assured, many if not most of the players would have used them.
I’m not a proponent of steroid use by any means. (As a trainer, I’m staunchly against them.) But, I’m a pragmatist. Politicians must lie if they want to get elected. That’s a fact, even if we despise that fact. And Pro athletes must do what it takes to win, because winning is how they make their money. If you always lose, you will get dropped. Period.
I don’t approve, but I understand.
So, what should we do about it? Nothing. Let them. Let them fuck up their bodies. Professional athletics isn’t healthy anyway. That kind of wear and tear on the body has lasting consequences even without steroid and growth hormone use. That’s their choice.
Ain’t we supposed to be in a free country? Athletics at that level is highstakes, high intensity competition, and we all eat it up. We can’t pretend that it’s about some kind of boyscout ethics promotion. That’s just dumb. It’s about entertainment of an extreme type. So, don’t get weird when you finally wake up and realize the athletes are doing what they feel they have to do to keep the game interesting.