Answering the title of this post is very difficult. Before I get into the pros and cons of steroids/PED's in baseball or any sport for that matter, allow me to start with a quick background. Steroids are bad. Duh! We all know that and knew that when it was invented. The side effects are awful. Steroids have no position in sports or anywhere for that matter unless prescribed by a doctor for a specific purpose. It makes you bigger, stronger, quicker and provides other assets that will tremendously assist someone to become a better athlete. That just simply isn't fair and it creates an unequal playing field between players that are using and those that aren't.
As far as I'm concerned it's cheating because you're transforming your body unnaturally with the sole purpose of putting up big stats to get paid ridiculous amounts of money. Cheating! Basically it's a means to an end which is millions of dollars. It is a major risk for these players as the MLBPA and MLB had reached an agreement on the punishments for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Testing goes on in baseball all the time. Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles currently leads the majors in home runs. He said he gets tested all the time as does every other player. That's why guys like Ryan Braun got suspended for the rest of the season. And his case specifically is one of the worst. He was let off last season due to a technicality on a positive substance abuse test. He then lied about it to everyone and made most of us believe that the former MVP was and is clean. Liar and a cheater!
One of the worst things about baseball is every time a player is threatening the HR record, the first thought on everybody's mind is if he's taking an illegal substance to enhance his performance. Unfortunately in this day and age it is a totally legit question. Alex Rodriguez is trying to make a similar deal as Braun did with the league to get his inevitable suspension reduced. Arod also admitted, along with his fellow and former teammates like Andy Pettitte, Jason Giambi and Melky Cabrera who was leading the majors in batting average before he tested positive for a banned substance and was ultimately suspended for the rest of the 2011 season. Ryan Braun, no doubt has become an MLB bad guy now. He lied to everyone, even after getting caught and is now the face of the Biogenesis scandal. Just take a look at some other big time names on the list of those who either got caught, are in question, have evidence against them and/or perceived to be guilty in the court of public opinion.
Barry Bonds, Mark Mcwire, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens, Rafael Palmeiro, Manny Ramirez, Bartolo Colon, Edinson Volquez, J.C. Romero, Mike Cameron and so many more since 2005. Then when the "Mitchell Report" came out in 2007 with a long list of names. Names that were supposed to be classified were leaked out and that started what continues to be an all out witch hunt for the games biggest stars. I'm proud of Bud Selig and his officials for attempting to convict the guilty and get the truth. Hopefully it will clean up the sport. Hopefully it won't deter viewers from watching because guys like Ryan Braun and Manny Ramirez get suspended for an entire season. But it goes way beyond just the stars of Major League Baseball.
When you factor in the guys who "got away with it" we're talking a major issue in baseball that may not be fixable. It's funny how we don't care as much when an NFL player gets suspended for violating the league's drug policy. Sure, the fans get angry because that player will be suspended, miss games and hurt the team in the process. Von Miller is in a situation like that right now but the talk is about how it will hurt on the field and how much the player will be missed on game day because of his ability. As opposed to the MLB that make it about the individual and try to separate themselves from the alleged and convicted. Maybe it's because football is a physical sport and we want to see collisions between guys running full speed at each other so we let it go and it doesn't bother us as much. It doesn't make it right and I don't condone it but it seems to be the reality of the situation.
There are plenty of Performance Enhancing Drugs (P.E.D.) along with the many other products and banned substances in Major League Baseball. People may not like the fact that they get drug tested at their jobs but it's company policy. The same thing applies to professional sports.
Maybe these players should just go to the gym and eat right instead of taking illegal drugs that can cause severe ramifications presently and in the future.!
Human Growth Hormones (HGH) may not be that much different than steroids. It also has bad side effects that we know about and others that we don't. HGH can increase the rate of growth of cancerous tumors, cause carpal tunnel syndrome, muscle/joint pain and high cholesterol just to name a few. It can also cause you to lose your memory, have kidney issues and a decrease in immunity which helps fight off infections trying to control and damage the body. It may not make you a rock solid, super fast athlete but it does enhance performance because it stimulates growth and enhances regeneration for our bodies.
HGH and steroids are prescribed by doctors for various reasons. But it is banned in baseball. The players know this. They know they will be drug tested and unless they're paying off the courier who carries the sample or even the lab supervisor, they are going to get busted if they are in fact using some sort of illegal substance.
Maybe some players think they can get away with it. Some possibly have friends in the business and the blood or urine sample becomes tampered with. Could that have happened in Ryan Braun's case? Perhaps some slide by and get lucky, or more specifically are informed when a drug test is coming. Then said player gets a multi-million dollar contract, which is guaranteed in Major League Baseball, and is set for life. At that point they're already good to go and if they don't care too much about how the public perceives them then I guess they won and beat the system. That's why something needs to be done.
That's not to say that baseball isn't doing anything to mandate the substance abuse policy because they do in fact have the most strict drug policy in major American professional sports. And I commend them for that. Yet and still, it is an extremely difficult task as doctors and pharmacists are constantly improving these drugs so they cannot be detected through blood, urine or any other type of sample the league might use for drug testing.
If Major League Baseball really wants to clean up the sport, and I truly believe they do, they need an even more strict substance abuse program that will scare their baseball stockings off these players. Even now, with 50 and 100 game suspensions without pay, still isn't stopping certain players from violating league rules. Something more must be done, even drastic, and the MLB is heading towards this controversial decision.
A one and done rule should be in effect and I hope that passes through when the owners get together during the winter meetings. I am totally in favor of suspending a player for life if they use a banned substance. Now, you cannot use this format for every single substance because there are a diversity of ingredients in certain foods, drinks and medications that can show up positive even if that player never touched a banned substance by the MLB. There are certain reactions in the body, whether it be chemical or a mixture of elements that can show a person testing positive for a banned substance even though said player never intentionally took anything. This is a real possibility folks, don't dismiss it for any player. But that is for the doctors and baseball minds to figure out.
You can suspend a player for an entire season without pay. You can have a rule in every players contract that if they are caught violating the drug policy that they get fined a significant amount of money. I'm not talking a few thousand dollars. I'm talking millions. Ideas like these and others will definitely slow down or one day even stop the usage of banned substances in baseball and hopefully all sports. Here's one major problem with that though....what if that kills the "talent pool" and the sport continues its slow death?