Every major American sport has had its share of scandals, and in recent years, many of those scandals have involved steroids. Conventional wisdom dictates that this is less of an issue in baseball than in other sports, like football, which are more often known for their beefy players.
Is conventional wisdom right, though?
Cheating in Baseball
One of the many factors complicating the relationship between baseball and steroid use is the simple fact that cheating has a long and storied history in this quintessentially American sport. As much as we frown on Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, baseball of years past can boast a surprising number of widely beloved cheaters. Gaylord Perry is one famous example.
Of course, cheating in general is not quite the same thing as steroid use in particular. Still, it is worth keeping in mind that steroids have a much longer history in American sports than people think. Baseball only banned them in 1991; they were around long before that.
Steroids in America
It’s hard to deny that steroid use is becoming endemic in American sports, and though baseball gets slightly less publicity on that front, it would be naïve to assume it is an exception. Baseball players-mostly pitchers, oddly enough-are being accused of steroid use left and right. It just doesn’t end up in the news as often, perhaps because baseball itself doesn’t end up in the news as often.
On top of all this, there are those who contend that steroid use in baseball (and in any other sport, for that matter) just isn’t as important as we make it out to be. It gives some players an advantage, yes, but some players are going to have an advantage over others whether they use steroids or not. That’s what sport is.
I personally don’t hold to that line of thinking-it completely ignores the negative consequences that steroid use can have on a player’s long-term health, and it deserves to be critiqued on those grounds alone. Nevertheless, I think we have to be careful that we don’t despair too much over the fate of America’s favorite game. Steroids aren’t about to bring an end to baseball.
Steroids in Baseball