Steroids in Baseball – Sammy Sosa – Morning Radio

It came out yesterday that Sammy Sosa tested positive for performance enhancing drugs back in 2003 when he was with the Cubs. It’s the same report that outed Alex Rodriguez earlier in the year. Because of this it seems that he will not a get a bid into the baseball hall of fame, and rightfully so if you ask me, using steroids is flat out cheating.

On my way into work this morning I happened to turn on Drex in the Morning, ugh. If you live near Chicago then you probably know the radio show. It’s comprised of Drex and 2 chicks, Angie and Mel T. Out of all 3 of them I think Angie is probably the only one I can stand to listen to, yet I can’t stand the show anyways, but when Q101 is on commercial I’d rather listen to them than B96. So this was the topic this morning and Drex kept saying that he could care less if the players use steroids, ok that’s fine that’s your opinion, but then he goes on to say that it makes for a better game, really?!!? He says that he goes to a baseball game to see people hit homeruns, run fast, and be amazing ball players, he goes to hockey games just for the fights and is disappointed if there isn’t one, and he goes to football games to see Urlacher run someone over… Obviously he just like’s seeing dude on dude action. Yeah, there are homeruns in baseball, but that’s not all the game is about. I would get bored out of my mind if every ball that every player hit was a homerun, there’s not added skill in hitting a homerun, you just need the power to do so. If you were a good player before taking steroids you’re going to be a good player after them, just now you will have more power to hit the ball further. They took a call on this and some guy said that steroids also improve your eye sight and reaction time thus making it easier for you to hit the ball. Ok, maybe they do, but if you were able to hit the ball before you’re still going to be able to hit the ball so I don’t think your eye sight and reaction time are going to be that big of a factor, it’s the power aspect of it.

Guys today are hitting towering homeruns 400-500 feet, back in the golden days of baseball not too many players were able to hit the ball that far. Look at the homerun record, Roger Maris set the record with 61 homeruns in 1961, this record would not be broken for almost 40 years, until Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire came along and both of them beat that record in 1998. Sosa hit 66 that year and McGwire hit 70! So a record that nobody could touch for 37 years was suddenly broken by 2 players (almost 3 if Griffey wouldn’t have been injured) in the same season, and subsequently McGwire would go on to hit 65 home runs in 1999. So ok, records are there to be broken and obviously Maris was able to do it (without steroids) back in 1961 so the record was going to be broken at some point, but after 37 years of nothing 2 people in the same season happen to shatter it? That seems a little ridiculous to me and tack on the fact that McGwire beat the original record again the following year. So 2 years in a row with more than 65 homeruns… obviously he’s cheating by using steroids.

Then in 2001 Barry Bonds comes out of nowhere to hit 73 homeruns in one season. If you look at the years before and after 2001, Bonds was still an above average homerun hitter, but never put up these numbers. Prior to 2001 the most homeruns he’d ever hit in a season was 49, which was actually the year before. If you look at his early career he was hitting on average between 25-30 homeruns a season, and you call using steroids not cheating Drex? Steroids clearly give players an edge over their non-steroid using counterparts. Oh, but according to you, players in the past have always been using substances while playing the game… and you’re right, but you’re examples of coke, alcohol, speed, etc are ridiculous when compared to steroids.

Babe Ruth was an alcoholic (among other things) and used to play the game wasted all the time and according to Drex nobody ever talked about it. Are you kidding? People constantly talked about it and still do, but there’s a difference here. Shooting up steroids does not impair your game like alcohol would. Try getting piss drunk and trying to hit a baseball 300+ feet into the stands of a baseball field. Most people can barely function when they are drunk let alone play a game that requires amazing coordination as well as hand eye coordination. Babe Ruth was able to do drunk, what these players today need performance enhancing drugs to do. This is why people like Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, etc will be known as the greatest to ever play the game and their legacies will live on forever with the game and guys like Bonds, Sosa, McGwire will also be known as the guys that needed steroids to be the best. They will never be looked up to like the players of old, they just don’t compare.

One woman called up this morning and said that she thinks steroid use is wrong because it sets a bad example for kids in sports and Drex proceeded to say that kids shouldn’t be looking up to these athletes as role models. Wow, really? So instead they should be looking up to people like Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan as role models? They don’t use steroids, they are famous celebrities, and perfect role models…. what the fuck? If you’re kids are playing sports who else are they going to look up to and strive to be like? When I was growing up playing little league baseball of course I looked up to the players in the MLB and of course kids today are going got look up to these guys whether they like it or not. It’s these players responsibility to realize that kids are going to look up to them just like they looked up to the players when they were a kid. It’s just stupid to say that kids shouldn’t look up to these guys, they are doing what most people dream about, getting paid to play a game that they’ve loved all their lives. And the use of steroids just makes the kids think that the only way they are going to excel in the sport is if they are using. Nothing like setting a great example.

A caller as well as Drex go on to say that steroids have never been proven to have an adverse effect on the body. While I can’t dispute this claim as I don’t really know too much about the adverse effects they can have (other than the rumors that they shrink your balls and lower your sperm count) I’m pretty confident in saying that they do have some mental effects. Look at all the pro athletes that have used steroids only to die at a young age or snap and kill their young families… There’s always been that stigma of ‘roid rage that isn’t just a made up thing. So while there may not be any negative physical effects (I find this hard to believe) there are definitely mental issues that stem from using steroids for a long period of time.

So back to steroids in baseball, it’s definitely cheating and nobody should be doing it. I agree with the stance that the MLB takes on it and those using should be severely punished. Manny Ramirez is currently serving a 50 game suspension for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, and rightfully so. There needs to be mandatory testing done every 6 months or every season to eliminate this issue. And not just for the cheating aspect, but it’s tainting the game in general. The accomplishments of the players today shouldn’t even be compared to players in the old days, it’s not fair to them and it’s not fair to actual fans of the game. Obviously Drex is one of those fans that only goes to the game to drink and be with friends and has no idea what’s going on on the field (as much as a I hate saying it, he’s like a majority of Cubs fans), so I really shouldn’t care what this douche has to say about baseball cause he probably doesn’t even know the rules of the game. But I will disagree with the use of steroids in baseball and anyone saying that it’s making the game better and that the MLB should just let it slide and that fans shouldn’t care if players are using steroids, that’s just stupid. I do however agree with him on the fact that the Sammy Sosa story should not be a front page story on both major Chicago newspapers today. I could be wrong, but I thought there was some stuff going on in Iran that might be a little more important, or maybe the fact that we’re currently fighting a war… I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong. And that’s my rant for the day, didn’t mean for it to drag on as long as it did, but I found myself yelling at the radio this morning in my car and there’s really no other way for me to vent about subjects than writing about them here.

So what are your thoughts on steroids in sports?

Update (12/15/10): And Drex has been fired!