Opinion

Steroids: What’s the big deal?

Now that we have had a month to digest the 409 pages of George Mitchell’s steroid report, what should we really make of this? Was anything accomplished in revealing the 86 names? What is the big deal? Only the media care about these conclusions. After all, if it wasn’t for Kirk Radomski and Brian McNamee, the report would be as long as my last English essay. Once spring training comes around, fans will care about things such as who their teams’ fifth starter should be or who will make the 25-man roster come opening day. People will forget about steroids. After all, baseball revenue and attendance have reached an all-time high.

Before 2004, there was no drug-testing policy in Major League Baseball. During the 2003 there was anonymous testing. Baseball announced after the 2003 season that 5 to 7 percent of the test results were positive triggering a “strict” new drug-testing policy in 2004. Although human growth hormone and steroids were immoral to take because they were performance enhancing drugs, they were not banned in baseball and not considered illegal before 2004.

Steroids not only inflated statistics in the modern era, but also defined it. Since 1998, when Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa were hitting home runs at a historic pace, there have been so many questions regarding who is “juicing” and who is not. There is no way to evaluate the exact advantage steroids give. There is no formula. No one knows if X amount of steroids equals X amount of home runs. No matter what, baseball players still have to have tremendous hand-eye coordination and athletic ability.

It is fitting that Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds are the two biggest stars of the modern era. Clemens and Bonds have seven Cy Young awards and seven MVP awards, respectively. They are the poster men of this generation not only for their success on the field, but also for the controversy they have created off the field. As for the questions regarding their Hall of Fame eligibility, Clemens and Bonds should be inducted. There is no way of telling who was on steroids and who was not. So everyone was on an equal playing field.

Justin Antweil is a freshman majoring in print journalism and economics. He may be contacted at j.antweil@umiami.edu.

January 17, 2008

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