T Nation

Steroids and Baseball

If you’re a baseball fan (or not) would you consider taking steroids and breaking baseball records cheating? Or merely using the latest technology? Is it anymore “cheating” than eating right, working with weights, and getting enough sleep? I mean, its not our fault that Babe Ruth was a slob, or Mickey Mantle was a boozer, is it?

Some have said steroids really don’t make that much difference. Others like Jose Canseco say they doubt that they would have ever stayed in pro ball without them. Some say it’s the difference in a long fly ball and a home run. Others point to increased confidence, shorter recovery times, and unbelievable differences in every aspect of the game with steroids.

What do you, as a fan who uses or doesn’t use the latest technology available think? Ruth never had to play a night game, or travel the distances today’s player does. As the home run record gets closer to falling what do you say?

They definitely help. Here is quote from Patrick Arnold in a recent SI “A person taking testosterone is going to be focused and able to tune everything out. That’s an aspect of steroids and how they affect hitting that people overlook: enhanced CSN activation. It’s reaction time.”.

Not to mention increased productivity from increased recuperative ability from injuries and wear and tear and increased strength to hit home runs. In my opinion there are too many in pro sports who have used for there to be people concerned about comparing users to non users.

In this age of advanced technology and chemistry there will always be new sports enhancers that can’t be detected for a time that athletes who want fame and money and to be the best will be willing to use. I don’t think it will ever be wiped out and I personaly don’t care.

D

I can tell you from both sides of the experience … since I was a scholarship baseball player in college and a steroid user (and drug tested).
Steriods will help the athelete, but they don’t make the athelete. Taking steroids won’t make you hit a 95mph fastball if you can’t hit a 95mph fastball in the first place. And it won’t make you throw 95 if you aren’t already doing it.
Am I so sure? Yes, because there were a handful of guys on my college squat that were using. Sure, they bulked up a bit. But I don’t think it enhanced their performance, it didn’t increase their batting average.
I think the greatest advantage of steroids in MLB baseball is the recovery time and increase in energy/aggression.
The MLB season is long, long, long. And can wear down an everyday player. The only thing that steroids do for the athelete is to make them do what they are already doing for a longer amount of time. So they won’t fatigue as the season wears them down and as the years start to make them old.
Will someone hit more homeruns during the season, yeah. Because they are more focused and not fatigued. Not because they are bigger/stronger. It won’t turn someone who can’t hit homeruns into someone who can.
This is DURNING the season. Anyone can bulk up in the offseason, change everything, and come out the next season a more powerful hitter or pitcher. Most don’t need steroids for that.

[quote]lattimus wrote:
I can tell you from both sides of the experience … since I was a scholarship baseball player in college and a steroid user (and drug tested).
Steriods will help the athelete, but they don’t make the athelete. Taking steroids won’t make you hit a 95mph fastball if you can’t hit a 95mph fastball in the first place. And it won’t make you throw 95 if you aren’t already doing it.
Am I so sure? Yes, because there were a handful of guys on my college squat that were using. Sure, they bulked up a bit. But I don’t think it enhanced their performance, it didn’t increase their batting average.
I think the greatest advantage of steroids in MLB baseball is the recovery time and increase in energy/aggression.
The MLB season is long, long, long. And can wear down an everyday player. The only thing that steroids do for the athelete is to make them do what they are already doing for a longer amount of time. So they won’t fatigue as the season wears them down and as the years start to make them old.
Will someone hit more homeruns during the season, yeah. Because they are more focused and not fatigued. Not because they are bigger/stronger. It won’t turn someone who can’t hit homeruns into someone who can.
This is DURNING the season. Anyone can bulk up in the offseason, change everything, and come out the next season a more powerful hitter or pitcher. Most don’t need steroids for that.[/quote]

Lattimus, I agree with you. I didn’t mean to imply you can take average people and give em steroids and they can be pro athletes. But, rather if you take someone who is already athletically gifted and allow them to use steroids it will make them even more durable and in some skill areas even better. At that level even if it’s one percent better it can make a big difference.

If one knows how to use them correctly steroids do make you better able to recover, stronger, and more durable able to keep going strong mid to late season when other may be wearing down. What you said.

D

Great post, lattimus. Nice to hear an enlightned take on it.

I’m an ex scholarship ballplayer. So i can give an experienced view on this as well.

Yes, you need to have the fundamental skill set, the tools, and have some ability to be sucessful.

Take all those and amplify them to a degree…and thats what you have when on AAS and playing.

Being stronger and faster has great advantages in a game that relies on ingrained mechanics and reactions. The physical part of the game really centers on mechanics gained through routine and repetition, and reaction time.

being stronger, can help increase batspeed, and can allow for an extra millisecond for pitch recognition (simply because you can react a little quicker). If you have extra time (albeit fractions of a second, which in this game might as well be eons)to read/recognize and react to a pitch, and also have a slightly quicker bat…

well, i think thats self explanatory when applied to how it might aid your performance.

having a little ectra pop in your swing also seems to increase the “sweet spot” on the bat. Pitches you may have hit before and thought “i just missed it” more often than not may end up over the fence, instead of on the warning track.

Dramatically reduced recovery times, and the ability to ward off those little nagging injuries also contibutes to increased success.

On the mental side…which is a huge part of the game…the added confidence and feelings of well being when on certainly do not hurt.

my 2 cc’s, from personal experience.

If you’re a guy trying to break into porn, will steroids get you a contract?

No doubt steroids help but the talent needs to be there.

As to whether it is cheating, yes it is along with spitballs, stealing signs, corked bats (which don’t work) and countless other things.

Baseball is not pure and the reverence with which it holds its records are kind silly when you think about them.

All ballparks are different size and shape. Baseball has had live ball and dead ball eras. I believe baseball has changed the height of the mound, modern gloves are considerably different than old gloves, designated hitters, etc.

Lots of things have changed over the years. To compare old timers to modern day guys based on statistics is for fanboys but it is meaningless.

Steroids are just another complication of modern life.

I agree with both of you. I guess my point is that steroids will “enhance” your abilities. But you first need to have those abilities.
I think a lot of people (not the people on this board) think that steroids change EVERYTHING. That if they had access to steroids that they too would turn into an atheltic superstar. Not the case.