As news broke this week of Dee Gordon being busted for PED’s as well as other players during the offseason it makes one think “Does the MLB have a problem with steroids?” This also coming on the heels of a “Outside the Lines” report that more MLB players will be suspended in the coming days for PED’s. What role do steroids play in sports, more specifically MLB, is what everyone is asking.
Why do they do it?
Let’s start with the idea of why all these players are doing steroids. Obviously everyone has their reasons for doing them whether it be to level the playing field with the increased pitching ability, or even because others are doing it. I want to focus on why players think they need to do that instead of training harder and doing legal ways of getting better. These players obviously have the talent as they got to the level they are by hard work and incredible baseball skill. Why not increase that skill legally and not with steroids? Using steroids are not smart and after their careers are done not helpful.
Do they think about effects long-term?
Thinking about long-term you just need to look at one former player, Barry Bonds. To begin his career he was a young speedster with the Pirates, then out of nowhere he gets big and strong? Thats not suspect to anyone? Obviously Bonds has not been proved to take steroids but looking at just his playing career something is off. Now that Bonds is a coach for the Miami Marlins we see him a lot more and he is back to the figure that he was in his young career. The may be the work of working out and losing a bunch of weight but also being off steroids helps so he lost all the muscle mass of the San Fransisco Giant days. This a long term effect that you will lose a lot of weight even more than you started your career with.
Should the punishment be more strict?
As of the 2016 season the ban for steroid use is 80 games for the first offense, almost half the season, and a full season for the second and the third offense is a lifetime ban. Although many of the first and second offense bans have been given only one player has been handed the third time penalty. Jenrry Meija formally of the Mets he was caught and suspended earlier this off-season. Is that enough however? Players have clamored for changes to this policy for years and still are after the change this year. What is the ideal penalty? This writer thinks that a year for the first offense without pay and a three year for second and lifetime for the third. A year makes sense because you tried to cheat the system and get better illegally and will actually make you think about what was done. The three year will do the same effect but also give the player incentive to not do it again because of the lost money they have given up. Those players also may be out of their prime by the end of that as well. Whatever the MLBPA and MLB comes to an agreement on will not be good as long as all players suspended for the first time get to come back within the same year.
But is it bad?
By no means do I think doing steroids is good or should be done by any means but I want to play devil’s advocate. With the rise of pitchers and decline of offense in baseball the idea to inject more offense may lead to some not so ethical things. I think that if you were to have players use a certain amount of steroids and be completely regulated it could produce good things for baseball. Obviously this would create a great moral dilemma, for many different reasons, for the players. Some players would be all for it and want to help induce more offense, on the other hand the players may think it is wrong and do not want to be looked upon like Mark McGuire, Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodriguez and more. But if MLB wants to create more offense, as well as excitement, they would consider this and make it regulated as well as optional.
By all means I am not saying for the MLB to let a certain amount of steroids be legal, all players should be on the same playing field and work to get better. With the MLB in desperate need for more fun, excitement, and offense in the game this should be considered. The MLB has a lot of different things to consider with steroids and how legal they are and even what the punishment should be if caught using them. The goal for the sport is become clean and provide youth with role models to look up to such as Bryce Harper and Mike Trout. This can’t be done in any other sport because of the stereotype of the sport, NFL being women beaters and NBA being gun shooters as well as fighters. The MLB has a clean off the field record unlike the sports mentioned, they need to show something to show the youth watching that cheating is not OK and cheaters will receive punishment, something the NFL does not do.