By: Connor Perius
Major League Baseball, once known as America’s pastime, is dwindling in fan interest. The game used to be so polished, with the most exciting athletes, but now the game is tarnished due to the soon-to-be-retiree commissioner, Bud Selig.
Selig has been commissioner since 1998. Throughout his 16-year career, Selig has sought to end the use of steroids in baseball. As fans, we know steroids aren’t healthy for the body, but they do help you obtain strength. This is vital for players so they can stay healthy and play every game of the year. Steroids help players prevent fatigue and injury. That doesn’t mean they are invincible, but they are able to stay on the field longer. Selig wanted to slash steroids from the game and try to make it a level playing field. Although his reasoning sounds plausible, he should have never tried to stop it.
MLB has vigorous drug testing and that is why its reputation isn’t as high as other leagues. Major League Baseball spends way too much money on drug testing that could be used elsewhere to better enhance the league. The NBA’s reputation, on the other hand, is building in credibility, and it still has minimal drug testing. David Stern did his best to keep steroids under the rug, and has made it harder for players to get caught.
The prohibition of steroids has single-handedly ruined baseball and the nature of the game. Players should be allowed to take them if they please. Fans want to see the greatest players in the world, so why stop players from being their best? Would you rather see a boring 1-0 game where the hitters are hitting singles to get that run, or would you rather see an 8-7 shootout with several moonshot home runs? For, me it’s the latter. This is a key reason why NBA has gained more popularity than MLB in recent years. MLB games are often slow and dull while, NBA games are fast-paced with lots of scoring. The majority of sports fans like seeing scores, not shutouts.
Back in the day, 500 home runs was the mark every batter strove for. Nowadays, it means almost nothing. Membership in the 500 elite club guaranteed a hall of fame career, but ever since steroids have become taboo, everyone thinks that a hitter’s numbers are skewed by performance-enhancing drugs. Success by any player in MLB has been tainted by the question of “what if he’s taking steroids?” This has to stop.
I am a huge Barry Bonds supporter. The man was a great baseball player before and during the time he took steroids. He still put a solid swing to get all of those homeruns out to McCovey Cove in San Francisco. People think that if they went out and juiced on steroids that they could hit 50 homeruns next season. But that isn’t the case. Steroids don’t swing the bat for you and magically hit the ball 400 feet.
Back in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, a lot of big leaguers were juicing. Yet only a handful of players were home run stars. The names that stood out were McGuire, Palmero, Conseco, and Bonds—that’s it. But they weren’t the only ones juicing… So why were they the only ones that hit all the homeruns? Why didn’t the other steroid-takers hit 50 homeruns a year like these guys? It’s because these guys were great. They had a great baseball swing and knew how to hit homeruns. All of these guys should be hall of famers, whether you think they cheated or not.
If you look at Ken Griffey Jr.’s career, he had well over 500 home runs and was hurt all the time. He was the player of the decade in the 1990’s. He was truly amazing. Think what he could have done if he took steroids and was able to go long stretches without getting hurt. He could have reached Bonds’ record, or extended his career another year or two. If you are a player from a poorer background and need the hefty contract that most MLB players receive, then trying to play as long as possible is the way to get it. Steroids add to the longevity of players’ careers and that is why players take them—not to hit more home runs.
Follow Connor on Twitter @Connor_Perius and listen to him on “The Morning Drive” Mondays from 10-11am