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Will Steroids Destroy Major League Baseball?
What ails the game is not injected
Major League Baseball (MLB) has had lots of trouble keeping performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) out of its ballplayers. These days, if a player tests positive for PEDs, he’s suspended for 50 games, the penalties getting much worse with each subsequent infraction. Hanging may be discussed at some date. Listening to Britney Spears CDs for a week straight would be horrific punishment as well!
During the 2009 season, Manny Ramirez, an outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers, flunked such a drug test. Shame on him! And damn his soul forever! If he needed to use a performance-enhancing drug, he should have tried Viagra! Hey, all he wanted to do was add another year or two to his waning career. You say Babe Ruth didn’t use drugs? But he sure ate and drank like, uh, Babe Ruth!
Even if the Babe had wanted to use anabolic steroids, they weren’t synthesized until the early 1930s, and athletes didn’t begin using them until after he had retired in 1935.
During the 2009 season, Alex Rodriguez or A-Rod, confessed to using steroids in the early 2000s and also admitted he had lied about not using them. In trouble again in 2013 because of more PEDs allegations, A-Rod - clearly past his prime these days – may have been using PEDs to strengthen his aging body in more recent times.
In fact, MLB suspended Alex Rodriguez for the entire 2014 MLB season. A-Rod, or “A-Roid,” if you will, allegedly used the company Biogenesis to acquire and use steroids during his playing career.
Moreover, MLB suspended pitchers Ervin Santana and Arodys Vizcaino for 80 games at the start of the 2015 season. Both players failed drug tests for using anabolic steroids, specifically the drug stanozolol. Also, in 2016, Dee Gordon of the Miami Marlins was suspended for 80 games for testing positive for steroids usage. In addition, he was banned from post-season play for the remainder of the season!
Former players such as Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire have also been implicated in the use of anabolic steroids. In January 2010, McGwire admitted taking steroids during his run to break the single-season home run record in 1998; he also admitted taking PEDs throughout the 1990s. Some think McGwire will never be elected into MLB’s Hall of Fame because of his use of steroids.
Why do players use anabolic steroids and other PEDs?
The reason these players have taken PEDs is simple: money. Major League Baseball is a veritable money pit. Some players make $30 million per year, nearly all of it guaranteed, and some of those are pitchers, who don’t even play every day. Why the owners ever agreed to pay players guaranteed money is beyond comprehension. You mean you’re gonna pay some guy millions of dollars for years even if injuries keep him from playing? This happens a lot. Ask Dodger Fans. Ask Yankee fans.
In order to pay for these exorbitant salaries, fans such and you and I must pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a ticket to one game. (Some seats at Yankee Stadium cost as much as $2,625.) At various ballparks, parking is $10 to $20 per vehicle, and you don’t even want to think about buying a beer at $6 to $8 a pint. For tens of millions of Americans, going to a MLB game even once a year is about as possible as dating Brad Pitt or Miley Cyrus.
According to a telephone poll taken by the Associated Press and AOL Sports in April 2005, players' high salaries were named as baseball's "biggest problem" by 33 percent of those surveyed, followed by steroids at 27 percent and the cost of going to a game at 22 percent.
The public has spoken!
So please don’t revile players such as Manny Ramirez or Barry Bonds; instead, speak out against ridiculously high salaries and the sky-high prices we all must pay to see MLB games. Of course, we don’t have to keep going to these ballgames, do we? (Or paying for them on cable TV or the Internet.) Why don’t we just stop right now? That would end this “drug scandal,” if you will, fairly quickly. Ultimately, fans control the money.
Many fans left the game back in 1994 when the players refused to play the last portion of the season because they didn’t want to “turn back the clock” on free agency, the advent of which in the middle 1970s has dramatically increased salaries in baseball. All baseball fans will never forget what happened THAT YEAR. No World Series!!!
Simply put, if anything could end MLB it would be money, not drugs of any sort. Hey, if all players were on drugs, how would we know the difference? And would we really care?
If MLB must castigate all cheaters, maybe the cheaters should start a new league. There are beer leagues, why not a “juice” league?
Kidding aside, we know baseball players are not perfect people. They make mistakes; they cheat; they violate the rules. But we shouldn’t damn them to hell or shake our fists at them, because they are not the problem. As long as money remains the lifeblood of the game, we’re all going to suffer – at the ticket counter at least.
Of course, we could simply give up Major League Baseball. Give it up like a drug habit. Any takers?
Go ahead, it won’t cost a dime.
© 2009 Kelley