Baseball is a time-honored American tradition. From Babe Ruth to Willie Mays, baseball players are considered by true lovers of the sport as American heroes. Unfortunately, not all of the baseball greats followed the rules.
Juicing, or using steroids or other PEDs (performance enhancing drugs) has been around almost as long as baseball. Many a great baseball player’s amazing record has been tarnished by the shame of being caught using performance enhancing drugs.
Alex Rodriguez, a baseball legend that holds fourteen major league baseball records, admitted to using performance enhancing drugs from 2001 to 2003. Once a baseball player admits to using PEDs, their entire career is tainted. There are many reasons that use of steroids or other performance enhancing drugs are banned from sports.
First of all, most, if not all steroids and PEDs are inherently dangerous and pose a significant health risk to the person taking them. When children see that their athletic heroes are taking PEDs, they are prone to following in their footsteps in an attempt to be like them, or achieve the feats their heroes have accomplished.
Because PEDs enhance a player’s performance, it corrupts the integrity of the records made by the players who use. It also makes other players feel that in order to stand a chance at being competitive, they must use the dangerous drugs as well.
Each year, Major League Baseball issues a report on the drug tests done over the course of the year. From the end of the World Series in 2013, through the end of the 2014 World Series, 7,929 drug tests were given. 1,535 of those tests were blood tests, while 6,394 were urine tests.
Twelve of those tests resulted in discipline. Only two of those disciplined were for performance enhancing substances, one Boldenone and one Methandienone. The others were for stimulants, which are also dangerous when used for non-medically necessary reasons. 113 others tested positive for stimulants but were not disciplined under the Therapeutic Use Exemption.
While the statistics say that the use of performance enhancing drugs in baseball is decreasing, some are not as hopeful. Many avid baseball followers believe that the athletes are merely going around the tests, choosing new drugs that haven’t been put on the screening yet. Athletes are possibly even using human growth hormones, which are not currently on the PED test.
In an anonymous poll of major league baseball, players seem to be saying that drugs are still being used and not being detected. Other players that participated in the poll said they felt the tests were working, keeping players from using PEDs because they know they’ll get caught.
One anonymous player told ESPN “Twenty percent. Higher for sure than the number of ones that got caught. Those guys only got caught last year because an employee leaked all the records, otherwise they would have gotten away with it.”
Some players believe PED use is not as common as it used to be, others are not so certain. Only time will tell if steroid use is increasing or decreasing.