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Athletic competition is comprised of a rare blend of artistry and strength that both unites and captivates people in from every corner of the earth. Competitions such as the

Olympics showcase the greatness of athletes and athletic competition that we all admire and aspire to. In sports, the best team or best athlete on any given day wins. One of the most appealing aspects of sports and athletics in general is incorporated in the concept of a level playing field that does not distinguish between your social economical, ethnic, or religious status. Conversely though, when athletes take performance enhancing drugs they tilt the equal playing field and disturb the essence of sports. The use of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs cause sports competition to forgo any semblance of legitimacy and equality and thus dilutes its strength. I will prove this argument in regards to baseball singularly by looking at baseball during the period of 1995 to present time.


Over the past century steroids and performing enhancing drugs have crept into athletics, dissolving its essence. Steroids have swept through the football players of the 70’s, track stars of the 80’s, baseball players of the 90’s, and to today’s Cycling cycling greats. In this paper I will concentrate on steroids steroids' effect within Baseball baseball from the mid 90’s to today.


Baseball, America’s past time, began to lose all principles of fairness in the

1990’s. An unprecedented era began during the mid 90’s as hitters accumulated mammoth statistics. Power numbers, homeruns and runs batted in, experienced an exponential rise during the mid 90’s. The 40 home run mark, which previously associated itself with baseball greatness, was eclipsed numerous times each year. Coincidently, as the records fell, the hat sizes of the mega home run hitters grew. Ken Camaniti an average first baseman, who never approached 30 homeruns, hit a career record 40 on his way to his only NL MVP award in 1996 (Sports Reference INC). In 1998 Mark Maguire and Sammy Sosa entranced an entire nation with their run for sports immortality and Roger Maris’s single season home run record. Both Sammy Sosa and Mark Maguire demolished the record 61 home runs with 66 and 70 homeruns (Sports Reference INC). As they steam rolled the record book, whispers of steroid use in baseball began to circulate. By the turn of the Millennium, those whispers became a loud roar. Today, records set by the likes of Barry Bonds, Mark Maguire, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield and Sammy Sosa can never be uttered without preempting them with, “steroids use”. Further, today we have come to the understanding that the era of the long ball was actually the “Roid Era”. The achievements of the time can not be attributed to extraordinary eye hand coordination or uncanny power, but rather to widespread steroid use. Steroid use ruins fair competition and disturbs the notion of an equal playing field, upon which athletics are constructed. Imagine a team starting each baseball game with four outs an inning rather than three. That idea sounds ludicrous, but that’s exactly what happened in the long ball era. Teams who employed steroid induced players received extra outs, because hits that would previously been outs became hits. Many baseball enthusiasts argue, steroids have no effect on being able to hit a 100 mile an hour fast ball. From the technical perspective the argument holds up, but when you combine professional baseball player’s extensive skill with additional power of steroids the results are more hits. Baseball expert Cecil Johnson agrees, {Change the comma to a period.} Johnson believes, “that steroids create a situation where outfield pop ups which used to be outs, travel out of the park for home runs and infield outs squirt out of the infield with force for single and doubles” (Fainaru-Wada, Mark, and Lance Williams). This change between outs and runs alters both the outcome of games and statistics of the individual players. Steroids ruined the legitimacy of all the participants and their accomplishments during the era, regretfully even the accomplishments of those who did not use steroids. Today, many still argue that fan’s fans don’t care about steroids and that steroids don’t diminish athletics, they reference the capacity filled baseball stadiums during the era and highlight America’s obsession with the home run, no matter how its produces it's produced. Well to some extant extent that is true, America is obsessed with the home run. Hall of fame announcer Jack Buck said, “ I must stand up and applaud”, when Mark Maguire hit his 61st home run in 1998, the entire nation was riveted and applauded, but now as many fans realize the reason for the mammoth statistics, they are disgusted and appalled (Tom Verducci). It’s clear that fans originally turned a bind blind eye to baseball greats using steroids, now that the issue is resolved; they want to abandon the era and all of its players as fast as possible. This is highlighted by the mayor of St. Louis and its embarrassed citizens attempting to remove Mark Maguire’s name from the highway, which only 4 years ago was dedicated to the beloved slugger (Jeremy Schaap). The example involving the citizens of St. Louis is one of many, today millions of fans are outraged at the actions of the one time admired athletes who ruined the game by tilting the “playing field in their direction.”

The results of games and the statistics of the individual performers are forever skewed. Fans of all ages parlayed the same message, “steroids have ruined the game and forever disturbed its essence.” It’s evident that steroids and performance enhancing drugs work to undermine the basic principles of athletics; these principles are especially evident in baseball. Today, as we slowly shift from the deep fog of the steroid era, we contemplate how we will remember its athletes and teams. The way historians will look upon this era of baseball will resemble the upside down era of the early 20th century, which included the 1919 fixed World Series between the White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds. Historians reserve that era and its records with an asterisk. As we look forward, the history of baseball shows us that the game is larger than any scandal. Baseball survived through fixed games and betting by its greats, these examples allow us to believe that the game will self-correct itself and live to thrive again. As for steroids, its effect on the game will be lasting, as baseball legendary columnist Tom Verducci said,“ all records aside (the)turn-of-this century will likely be remembered for steroids” (Verducci).


Works Cited


Fainaru-Wada, Mark, and Lance Williams. “The Truth About Barry Bonds and Steroids.” Sports Illustrated 18 February 2006: < http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com>


Sports Reference Incorporated. < http://www.baseball-reference.com>


“Steroids in Baseball.” Outside The Lines Nightly. Jeremy Schaap. Entertainment Sports Programing Network. Bristol Connecticut. 12 February 2006.


Steroids In Baseball http://www.mlbcenter.com/steriods.php


Verducci, Tom. “Reason To Believe.” Sports Illustrated Feb 21 2005:

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