The controversial use of steroids in major league baseball

Historical use[ edit ] Players have attempted to gain chemical advantages in baseball since the earliest days of the sport. Infor example, pitcher Pud Galvin became the first baseball player to be widely known for his use of performance-enhancing substances. Shortstop Dale Berra admitted that he had used "greenies" while playing for both the Pittsburgh Pirates and the AAA Portland Beaversand stated that while in Pittsburgh between and he had been supplied with the drugs by teammates Bill Madlock and Willie Stargell.

The controversial use of steroids in major league baseball

The story has dominated the sports media, relegating every other news item to page 3. In newspapers, television broadcasts, and internet chat rooms, much has been said in the past few days concerning this scandal.

Unfortunately, the discussion has generated much heat and little light; many of the claims being made in these reports about PEDs are factually wrong, irrelevant, or misguided. What the authors in this report would like to do is walk the readers through the myriad of ethical, physiological, legal, and societal implications that the use of PEDs has on baseball.

We would also like to suggest the best course of action. The ideas in this report are their own and have been developed and refined either independently or in consultation for the past three years.

Let us start at the beginning and consider each issue that this controversy has unleashed: What are PEDs and how do they work? Do they improve performance and, if so, by how much? What do baseball players in particular have to gain by using PEDs? Are the PEDs being used safely, and, if not, what type of pathologies can we expect to see develop in those using them?

What are the legal issues involving PEDs, and have the athletes using them broken the rules of baseball? Have they broken any public statutes? Why do we care if athletes use these substances, and what will it do to the game? What should be done to the violators?

Increased offense

What should be done about the records that have been achieved by those using PEDs illegally? What should the position of the fans be? Let us walk through these issues and consider them one by one.

A representative list is shown below: Most of these substances have legitimate and recognized medical uses, and nearly all of them are approved by MLB.

The analgesic substances do not enhance performance per se; that is, they cannot make you a better player than you already are.

The controversial use of steroids in major league baseball

Rather, they remove some of the barriers to optimal performance, such as pain from injuries and fatigue. Therefore, the muscle and bone building agents and the substances that increase oxygen-carrying efficiency are considered as a separate class of substances.

As medical breakthroughs advance, and the information learned from the human genome project is utilized for practical purposes, this list is sure to grow, both in the number of agents in each of the categories and substances that could be listed under new categories — such as nerve growth stimulants, artificial organs and limbs, drugs that enhance the five senses, drugs that induce rejuvenation of tissues and organs, and genetic engineering by gene transfer methods.

The current controversy is over the use of a substance or substances in combination to produce an anabolic effect. These substances — some natural, some synthetic — stimulate the body to increase muscle mass and to metabolize fatty acids more quickly.

A beneficial side effect is that the muscles bounce back from fatigue more quickly, allowing the user to engage in a more rigorous training regimen. A person using these substances can expect to gain strength more quickly than by traditional resistance training methods, without necessarily gaining weight.

In fact, you can actually lose size and still gain substantial strength, since muscle weighs more than fat.

Once an athlete chooses to use PEDs, what can he expect to gain? According to the experimental and empirical data available — a whole lot. According to Erikson et al. While less information is available for the effects of self-administered anabolic steroids on recovery time between training sessions, Rozenek et al.

Human growth hormone hGH is often used in combination with anabolic steroids. The effects of supraclinical doses of hGH were studied by Crist et al.

While it is difficult to gauge the true effects that self-administered, poorly controlled doses are currently having on athletes, it is clear that clinical and experimental data support the empirical observations that these substances are having a profound effect on athletic performance.

Weight training has long been recognized to have a beneficial effect on baseball performance. Honus Wagner was one of the first to recognize its usefulness and had a spectacularly long and successful career.

For some reason, due mostly to ignorance and superstition, resistance training fell out of favor during the years between the wars and beyond.Watch video · The baseball world is still reeling from news of the recent suspensions of Chris Colabello and Dee Gordon for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

Since the announcement of the latter last Friday, yet another player—Dodgers reliever Josh Ravin— has drawn an game suspension as well, running the total number of major leaguers suspended in to six. Steroids finally made it to baseball’s banned substance list in , however testing for major league players did not begin until the season.

While testing for steroids began, the usage did not stop. Baseball has a long history of drug use. Jim Bouton's book Ball Four described the widespread use of amphetamines during the s. Further Reading. Howard Bryant: Juicing the Game: Drugs, Power and the Fight for the Soul of Major League Baseball, Viking Press, New York, NY, Steroids finally made it to baseball’s banned substance list in , however testing for major league players did not begin until the season.

While testing for steroids began, the usage did not stop. Sep 12,  · Steroids didn't make it to baseball's banned substance list until , and testing for major league players did not begin until the season, but the MLB has clearly decided that steroid use.

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