Baseball is a game that involves the use of balls and bats and it is played by two teams with each team comprising of nine players. Steroids on the other hand are drugs that are taken by the players in order to enhance their performance in the field. The issues related to the use of steroids can be traced back to the year 2002 when major league baseball carried tests on the use of steroids during the performance. The use of steroids to provide a competitive edge for the players is a subject that has been discussed for a long and has always formed part of the sports news. The steroids that are used by baseball players are normally referred to as anabolic steroids. They resemble the normal testosterone hormone structure. Anabolic steroids work to increase the level of testosterone in the body which then stimulates the body to build stronger and larger body muscles. The use of steroids is not only in the baseball game but it has also been found in other sports especially the athletes. The use of steroids may be used to improve the performance of the baseball teams but this comes at a great cost to the individual’s health and the integrity of the game (Rao, 2004).
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The use of steroids in baseball was triggered by the fact that any player who managed twenty runs in a season was considered a star in the game. This was during the early 1990s. The players, therefore, sort for a way that could help them hit this target, and most of them found the solution in the use of steroids. During this period, the demand for very competitive teams was very high and the team managers opted to purchase the players rather than raise their own. The managers, therefore, kept raising the prices of the best players and this created a very high demand for them (Yesalis, 2000). With the increasing demand, the players had to ensure that they were perfect for the laid down requirements. The owners and the sponsors also placed big rewards for the stars and this also increased the use of the drug by the players. Many turned to the power of steroids to satisfy the market demand. As the performance of the players gained public attention due to their high performance, many more individuals started to use them to rise with the exhilarating statistics of good performance. Baseball now became a game of playing just to rise up and break records in the public eye. The use of steroids by baseball players was not really a big issue in the past. However, as the effect of the use of steroids started to manifest themselves in the players it raised a lot of concern and this has lead to declaring the use of the drugs as illegal (Liaboe, 2007). The issues about the use of steroids in a baseball game were heightened in the year 2005 when the top players such as Sosa, McGwire, Curt Schillings Canseco, and Rafael Palmeiro were summoned before a congress over the use of steroids to maintain their high performance. Most of these players tested positive and they accused congress of being unable to control the use of steroids by the players. Congress then resolved to mount a lot of pressure on the Baseball association to enforce more strict measures to arrest the situation. This saw many of the baseball players suspended due to the use of steroids which had now been declared illegal.
In the following year, research was undertaken to establish the level of use of steroids among the base ballplayers in the past and in the current period. The report from the study carried indicated that there were eighty former and current players who were on steroids. Many of the baseball players were then investigated for the use of steroids. Since the fight of steroids took ground in 2005, a policy that stated the penalties for using the drugs was put in place and it stated that if a player tested positive for the first time, he would be suspended from playing 10 games, a second positive test attracted a penalty of suspension of thirty games, a third test would result to suspension of sixty games, a fourth positive test would award the player a full year suspension while a fifth positive test would lead to a penalty that would be directed by the commissioner. Many players were suspended at this time since most of them were using steroids to enhance their performance (Wire services, 2003).
The use of steroids by the players is very risky to their health especially if they are taken for a long time. They disrupt the normal functioning of the male and also female hormones in the body. Some baseball players have reported the effects of the steroids on their normal production of testosterone while most women have been found to have problems with their monthly cycle. The use of steroids has also resulted in death for example in the case of Steve Bechler who collapsed during training due to a heat stroke. It also destroys the moral support given by the fans since they feel deceived by the player since the high score has only being aided by the use of drugs (Yesalis, 2000).
The best solution to the use of steroids is to strictly penalize the culprits and they should specifically face legal charges for using the drugs. The legal charges should include jail terms, a total ban from participating in any baseball team, withdrawal of previous awards such as medals and trophies, and also cash fines (Rao, 2004). The annual testing of steroids in the players has been very unsuccessful since it is always thought that some officials may have tipped off the information on testing. The punishments that are given to the players are very lenient and this, therefore, does not work to solve the problem. The current methods used to test should be more tough and harsh to the players who violate the rules on the use of steroids. Since the testing is done annually, the MLB should avoid programmed testing sessions and instead focus on random testing since this will get the players unawares. Other solutions that have been included in Mitchel’s report suggest that the players should be put under educative programs on the effects of the use of steroids in the game. He states that the players should be tested regularly by very independent bodies. The organizations that fun in the game should also sponsor the clubs and assist in advocating for players who are free of any drug influence. He urged the major league baseball to create a department of investigation that would enforce the laws formed regarding the use of steroids in baseball. He also urged the commissioner’s office to be more cooperative in dealing with the challenges brought by the use of steroids. Other recommendations include the performing of random tests on the players. The MLB which has previously been accused of non-compliance and lack of strict measures should institute better policies to deal with crises of drug use during the baseball field events. The players themselves should be encouraged to feel responsible for the solution since they are the major culprits of drug use. There should be very strong bargaining power that would encourage the players to upgrade their performance through fair play (Wire services, 2003).
In conclusion, the use of steroids in baseball and also other games reduces the integrity of the game. It also makes the fans of such games lose confidence in the players since they cannot perform the same if they are not under the influence of the drug. It also brings unfairness in the game where teams who have players under the influence of steroids always emerge as the winners over the innocent teams. This kills the morale of the game and also reduces self-confidence in climbing up the ladder (Hyman, 2007). We have also seen that steroids not only affect the perception of the game but also affect the health of the users. With continued use of the drug, it would simply mean that the teams would lose their prominent players to the effects that result from long-term use of the steroids. The use of steroids in baseball is today illegal and it should always remain illegal in order to encourage the players to work hard and star in a fair manner.
- Charles Yesalis. (2000). Anabolic Steroids in Sport and Exercise. Human Kinetics Publishers
- Mark Hyman. (2007). Will Steroids Finally Hurt Baseball? Business week magazine, 2007,
- Philip James Liaboe. (2007).Use of Steroids in Baseball. Web.
- Vivek Rao. (2004). Squeezing the Juice out of Baseball. The tech newspaper, 2004 Wire services. (2003).Baseball to penalize steroid use. St. Petersburg Times, 2003