Everyone’s SAFE “Steroids and the Hall of Fame” “Going, Going, Gone, Home Run! ” everyone knows what this means when an announcer says it. The game of baseball is a different sport, unlike basketball and football; you do not necessarily need strength to be dominant. So, why are steroids a big issue in baseball? Steroids, in particular, anabolic steroids, build up cellular tissue or muscle. However, they do not give you the necessary skills to play the game. I am almost certain the world’s strongest man could not hit a home run on a major league field, so why punish those who have used steroids?
Steroids are not like magic and transform and average man into a baseball icon, so players should not be held out of the Hall of Fame for an “illegal substance. ” Critics argue that steroids are illegal and harm the game of baseball. Major League Baseball (MLB) did not enact its anti-steroid policy until 2004. So, why are athletes getting punished for mistakes made in the past? Everyone has made mistakes in their past, our own President Barack Obama smoked marijuana in his younger days, but yet he is still the President of the United States.
You can’t punish someone for making mistakes in the past, because in reality everyone in the world has made a mistake in their life. Critics also argue that the use of steroids is being mimicked by younger athletes. But, how about the rap videos and music videos that promote violence, you do not see the television companies taking them off of the air. Young teens are going to do whatever it takes to get better, so you cannot blame professional athletes. If baseball players never took steroids young men would still use steroids because there is a desire and will to get better.
If steroids were that big of a deal with young teens then the government should regulate its use just like tobacco and alcohol. Baseball is based mostly on your hand-eye coordination. There is no steroid in this world that will improve your hand-eye coordination. Just because you are strong does not mean you are fast or quick enough to hit a 95+mph fastball. On television the players make it look easy but, there is a lot of practice and dedication done to make this happen. Also, there is no steroid that is going to guarantee you hit the ball every single time.
Baseball players train for hours working on their swing, hitting the ball over the fence is not something that happens over night. Also, if you look into the future forty or fifty years, I think it is quite likely that every citizen will routinely take anti-aging pills every day (as cited in Weir & James, 2009). If this is this case, then forty to fifty years later people will look back on baseball and not care if an athlete used steroids. There has been no precise evidence that can relate steroids to Hall of Fame performance.
I do agree that steroids will help an athlete a little but, it will not give them all star numbers. For example, steroids will not turn a Minor League player to a first ballot Hall of Famer. It is just not logical, the game of baseball is too complex and there are many other factors other than strength that makes an athlete great. Steroids would give an athlete more power but, even power will not lead to a drastic increase in performance. Not all hard hit baseballs go over the fence for home runs.
To best measure power in baseball, they look at the players’ total bases per hit, this is how many bases you get to after you hit the ball. For instance, if you hit the ball and you get to second base then your total bases per hit would be two, this is also called power factor or PF. In the graph above it shows the power factor in the MLB from 1982 to 2007. It is obvious that there is no sporadic jump anywhere. No one knows exactly how many players are using steroids, so why penalize the few we do know about, when there are others still getting away with it.
Although, the MLB test players at the beginning of every year, some players still know how to cheat the system. Or, what about the players who test positive for using steroids but, go under the radar, the league only focuses on the big time athletes. Is this fair? However, if the MLB would punish everyone that used steroids, then it would be fair and just. Also, what about the players in the past who used steroids and are in the Hall of Fame today? You cannot just take their Hall of Fame status away from them, so you must be fair and allow everyone in to the Hall of Fame.
You can not erase history because you do not like how it happened (“Strike Out? ” & Joe Sheehan, 2009). Few people realize that there are many other factors that contribute to a player’s success, especially when it comes to hitting a baseball. One factor is that MLB switched ball makers from Spalding to Rawlings in 1977. It was said that the new Rawlings ball was livelier and carried better. This is mostly because the new ball was denser than the other ball, denser balls travel farther, which in turn creates more home runs (Walker, 2008).
The graph shows the density of baseballs in the Hank Aaron Era (1950-1980) and in the Barry Bonds Era (1986 – 2009). It is clear that the baseballs in today’s era are much denser than before. Also, only a few realize just what steroids do to a baseball player’s ability to hit the ball. Most people and critics come up with the false assumption that the stronger you are the farther you will hit a baseball, this is not exactly true. Professor Adair stated that “The considerable energy . . . transferred to the bat . . . is generated largely by the large muscles of the thighs and torso.
The arms and hands serve mainly to transfer the energy of the body’s rotational and transverse motions to the bat and add little extra energy to the bat. ” So, it is plain to see that steroids greatly affect the upper-body, but in baseball hitting for power is essentially developed from the lower-body. If the ratio of the upper body to lower body muscle was distributed 4:1 respectively; from the use of steroids, then a 200-pound man who gains twenty extra pounds of pure muscle will only be able to drive the ball an extra thirty inches (Walker, 2008).
Thirty inches will add minimum to nothing, to a player’s statistics. Some may call it cheating or getting an edge on the opponent. But, there is a lot of cheating going on in baseball, for instance most batters use pine tar on their bat; to get a better grip, or what about the pitchers who roughen up the seams of the baseball to get better control. Dave Glass also brought emphasis to this in the article The Glass Eye: Steroids and the Hall of Fame when he said: “In 1890, hall-of-fame pitcher Pud Galvin tried a very…unique method of raising his testosterone.
Throughout the early 20th century pitchers did everything they could to the ball – spit, tobacco, Vaseline, scuffs, any cheating they could get away with. In the 1950’s through the 1980’s illicit drug use was rampant in baseball – be it via amphetamines, cocaine, or other drugs. The aim of all was to gain that ‘edge’. In 1998 Mark McGwire smashed the home run record while having Andro (a derivative of anabolic steroids, legal at the time) in his locker; the owners counted the dollars and didn’t ask questions. ”
So, this so called “cheating” has been going on for a very long time and some may say, “Well it is different with steroids. ” But, there is only one definition for cheating; they are just doing all they can do to better themselves. It is obvious that the owners and commissioner did not take any action until the pressure from the Congress and press built up and was too much to handle. Then, they went after the big-named players to try to make an example. But, is this fair? In conclusion, I know using drugs is wrong and I know cheating is wrong.
But, steroids cannot make athletes become Hall of Fame caliber players. It is something that they use to try to get an edge, which has been a part of the game from the start. So, to not let a player in the Hall of Fame because they used an “illegal substance”, then you might as well get rid of the Hall of Fame altogether. References Bahrke, M. (2002). Performance-enhancing substances in sport and excercise. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. Congressional Testimony by Major League Baseball Players on the Use of Steroids in Baseball. (2005, March 17). U. S. Congress. House , p. 12. Glass, D. 2009, March 2). The Glass eye: steroids and the hall of . Retrieved from http://www. gantdaily. com/news/70/ARTICLE/45172/2009-03-02. html Slugfest over steroids. (2008, February 14). USA Today , p. 2. Strike Out? (March, 2 2009). Current Events; Vol. 108 Issue 18, p7-7, 1p , p. 2. Walker, E. (n. d. ). Steroids, other “drugs”, and baseball . Retrieved from http://steroids-and-baseball. com/ Walker, E. (2008, January 30). Steroids-and-baseball author responds . Retrieved from http://www. dugoutcentral. com/blog/? p=872 Weir, T. (2009, July 27). Bill James: Steroids no big deal. USA Today , p. 1.