Steroids and why they matter in baseball

I’ve found it rather interesting that in the midst of Barry Bonds’ perjury trial and the news that Manny Ramirez abruptly retired instead of dealing with a 100-game suspension for another positive PED test (his second in three years), that some people have developed a rather nonchalant attitude towards steroids as it pertains to the game of baseball.

Whether it’s on Twitter, Facebook or in sports forums, people continue to utter the statement: “What’s the big deal? It’s only steroids. I like home runs! Steroids make the game more exciting!”

Honestly, I have rationalized at least part of this argument in the past. I couldn’t care less if someone wanted to take steroids – including athletes. Do you know what the yearly average is for deaths caused by steroids? Three. As in: three people. For comparison sake, tobacco kills 5.4 million people per year, which is a shade more than three.

That’s not to say I condone the use of steroids. When the day comes where I have children of my own, I’m going to make sure they understand how dangerous steroid use is. The potential side effects of misusing steroids are well known and if a doctor does not prescribe them, the risk just isn’t worth the reward in my eyes. We’re talking about highly dangerous stuff here, especially for those who don’t know what they’re doing.

But if a groan man wants to sink hundreds of dollars into drugs that will make him bigger, stronger or heal faster, then whatever. It doesn’t affect me and quite frankly, this country is dealing with way more pressing issues at the moment.

What does affect me, however, and what affects all baseball fans, are these athletes who decide to disrespect the game for personal gain. What people don’t get when it comes to players and steroids is the honor that comes with being elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. That right should only be reserved for the best of the best. The elite. The greatest. The legendary. That list shouldn’t include people who used anything but their God-given ability to have great careers. People like Bonds, Ramirez, Mark McGwire and Roger Clemens should not be mentioned with the likes of Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and Walter Johnson. Baseball stats are sacred. They should not be tarnished by the chemically enhanced.

So just leave steroids out of the game altogether. Continue to test players for PEDs and out those who test positive. Fans have the right to know who spat on the game in hopes of acquiring fame and fortune. Again, steroids might not be a “big deal” to some people because they think it makes the game more exciting. But to me, the game has always been just fine the way it is. It’s a beautiful sport and even though it’s not for everyone, it doesn’t need to be juiced up to be more entertaining.

Steroids do matter when it comes to our sport, baseball fans. You may like it when a bulked up action figure hits a home run for your favorite team, but it’s not like those home runs are thrown into a “steroids only” pile. When McGwire hit 70 in 1998, it counted. When Bonds hit 74 in 2001, it counted. You may have loved watching those home run chases, but those numbers counted in the record books.

And the record books deserve better. The Hall deserves better. The game deserves better. Baseball shouldn’t be just short-lived entertainment.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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