Baseball has been regarded as “America’s favorite pastime” since the beginning when professional major league teams were initiated in 1869. Fast forward through the years, the demand for more notable player achievements, such as breaking home run records and achieving super-human catches, has grown exponentially for fans. With that being said, this could be a contributing factor to what is known as the “steroid era” of baseball, during the ‘90s and early part of the 2000s. But can we formulate that anabolic steroids improve an athlete’s skill level, boundless agility, and hand and eye coordination creating a more award-winning ball player, constituting a ban on performance-enhancing drugs?
The dominating reason why steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs have been banned from baseball is in an attempt to create a level playing field for all players. In reality, the legal drug caffeine could be considered performance enhancing. Caffeine is known to increase energy levels, provoke brain activity, and supports clear-cut thinking and increased focus. Possibly legalizing the use of performance-enhancing drugs and steroids is the true answer to leveling the playing field though.
First, let us look at the definition of an anabolic steroid and what exactly how it advances muscular development. The National Institute on Drug Abuse indicates, “Anabolic steroids are a synthetic variation of the male sex hormone testosterone.” Anabolic steroids advance androgen receptors, therefore allowing an increase in training concentration contributing to lean muscle growth and strength. Health and Exercise Professor from College of New Jersey, Jay Hoffman, establishes “you can have a relatively quick enhancement of muscle strength and size, even if you take steroids and don’t lift weights. But the biggest benefit from using anabolic steroids is that they allow an athlete to train harder and recover quicker.” So, can we gather that steroids can make a baseball player run faster and hit harder? My perception is that steroids can increase baseball players muscle size and strength by improving workout intensity and aiding recovery from training and injury. Apparently, a Major League player’s natural athletic ability and skill accounts for nothing to breaking home run records.
Through an independent investigation called the Mitchell Report, a vast number of Major League Baseball players were unveiled for breaking federal law and league policy for purchasing and/or using performance-enhancing drugs and taking anabolic steroids for over a decade. Five out of the six players that have exceeded Reggie Jackson’s home runs batted record have either been caught or accused of using steroids or performance-enhancing substances.