Steroids: A ticking time bomb

You may not have been able to pay much attention to the events of December 13th, being preoccupied with finals and all, but it was a dark day for Major League Baseball. That was the day that the Mitchell Report on steroid abuse in baseball was revealed. It was a bad day to be a baseball fan and an even worse day to be a player. Steroids and performance enhancing drugs are wrong, unethical and are not condonable under any circumstances whatsoever, even if the player is just using them to rehab an injury. However, the blame should not be placed solely on the players. Rather, it is an indictment on MLB for allowing such nonsense to go on unregulated for so long in the sport. The players are simply the product of a flawed system. Of course they are going to cheat and take advantage of any shortcuts, illegal or not, if there is no fear of punishment or retribution facing them.Also, keep in mind that the steroid abuse in baseball is reflective of the corruption in today’s society. Major corporations, like Enron, illegally fold. Businesses use underhanded tactics to achieve the results they desire. Corruption runs rampant through politics at the local, state, and national levels. The very same politicians that grill baseball players about their misdeeds could be tackling so much bigger issues. Why focus so much time about cheating in baseball when they can tackle issues such as poverty, violence, and corruption in society?How could baseball have been so blind to the problems that were going on for so many years? Steroids had been on baseball banned substance list since 1991. However, they did not have a steroid testing policy in place for major leaguers until 2003. How can there be a policy in place and no means to enforce it? Did MLB just assume everyone would play by the rules? It just does not make any sense. People are not always honest; there is very little integrity left anywhere anymore.Whatever people believe about steroid use in baseball, it is advisable to approach the Mitchell Report findings with caution. In all, there were 86 names dropped in the Mitchell Report. The list includes both position players and pitchers, and it is very ethnically diverse. Yes, there were some big names dropped on the list. Roger Clemens (perhaps the biggest), Andy Pettite, Miguel Tejada, Eric Gagne, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, Barry Bonds, and Canseco are just a few of the more prominent names mentioned. However, there were also some true washouts, guys whose careers ended in the blink of an eye, who showed up on the list. Do the names Tim Laker, F.P. Santangelo, Adam Riggs, Phil Hiatt, Cody McKay, and Adam Piatt ring a bell? All these players took steroids and where did it get them? Out of baseball. Obviously, if these guys took steroids as the report says, they did not take enough to make them good players.Just because a player takes steroids does not mean he’s going to put up Hall-of-Fame numbers. Yes, there are those whose careers, statistics, and head sizes have obviously ballooned as a result of steroids, such as Bonds. Take Riggs for example. How do you punish a guy who had a four year major league career in which he played a total of 61 games, hit a robust .216, with 33 hits, and three homeruns? Never once did he play in more than 24 games in a season or have more than 61 at-bats.Some of the most idiotic comments on the situation have come from the brain-dead commissioner of the MLB, Bud Selig.”If there are problems, I want them revealed,” said Selig. “His [Mitchell’s] report is a call to action, and I will act.” Ok, now he is finally going to act? It’s not like that was the first time he’d heard “steroids” and “baseball” in the same sentence. Not on his own good judgment, or yellow-bellied ratting by the likes of Jose Canseco and Ken Caminiti, or even after the 2005 hearing in which sluggers Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, and Sammy Sosa all testified about steroids during a special congressional hearing. No, Selig, in all his intellectual prowess, waits until a stupid report comes out and condemns everyone within a 20-mile radius. A report is his call to action? Did it really have to last this long? Couldn’t he have done something before baseball suffered irreversible damage?

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