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The World’s Youth Following the Example

Steroids are now a part of baseball in a variety of ways and not just for power hitting. Pitchers use them to throw harder, and singles hitters take them to hit more than just singles. Some players take it upon themselves to take them so that they might leave a lasting impression in Major League Baseball history by breaking some kind of record like maybe the all-time home run record perhaps. The problem is that steroids are becoming an accepted part of baseball by players and fans.

A good majority of those fans are the youth. Baseball is absorbed by children all over the world, and now those children are beginning to take steroids, which cause heart failure, liver damage (Verducci “Totally” 36), and shrink and damage a male’s prized possessions (“Teen” VF), to be just like their idols. Previous tests have been conducted before the current “problem” that is now occurring in Congress involving player suspicions made by commissioner, Bud Selig.

One example is when congressional investigators only described their finds as “alarming” in 1973; this is when they first discovered that there was use of performance-enhancing drugs among professional baseball players (“Baseball finally” 12A). The big story about 20 years ago was the minor leagues using steroids such as pills and other illegal drugs and the media being the media had it covered (“Baseball opts” 10A). About 100 major league tests conducted in 2003 resulted in not just steroid use but steroid abuse (“Baseball finally” 12A).

Some people may have found this as surprise, but other players that took steroids for themselves may not have found this as a surprise at all. Steroids carry some interesting facts around with them other than what they can do to one’s body. The 1990’s is when steroids were becoming a problem and being exposed to the world; so in the 1990’s, Major League Baseball began documenting steroid use (Verducci “Is” 38). The year of 2001 showed that 10 percent to 15 percent of minor leaguers tested positive during a drug test (Verducci “Totally” 42).

In 2004, even more players tested positive for steroids, about enough to completely fill three major league rosters (Verducci “Is” 38). About 34 of the 71 minor and major leaguers that tested positive on the 29th of May, 2005 were pitchers (Verducci “When” 51). Baseball has been a game that has helped make America what it is today; it is America’s pastime along with apple pie. Now steroids have taken over the game and what looks like the country.

Children that have grown up idolizing professional athletes like Jose Canseco and Ken Caminiti, who have come out and plainly said, “I took steroids”, are likely to idolize steroids as well. Many people say that our children are our future, but what good is a future with steroids being linked to causes of heart and liver damage, elevated cholesterol levels, and for males, dysfunctional genitalia (Verducci “Totally” 36). There is not just one steroid that all athletes are taking. There are different brands and steroids for different uses that work separate parts of the body.

According to Sports Illustrated the magazine, an anabolic steroid is “a steroid that elevates the body’s testosterone level, increasing muscle mass without change in diet or activity, though their effect is greatly enhanced in conjunction with proper nutrition and strength training” (Verducci “Totally” 36). Steroids can be taken with a prescription for people with conditions, like AIDS and hypogonadism, that leave a person’s body unable to produce enough testosterone, but they must be prescribed with a medical physician’s ok (Verducci “Totally” 36). Another type of steroid is one that stimulates the central nervous system.

Of these steroids, one is Ritalin. “Ritalin is a central nervous system stimulant that is said to sharpen focus and concentration and is often prescribed for children with attention deficit disorder” (Verducci “Totally” 39). Another is Ephedrine. “Ephedrine is a central nervous system stimulant that elevates heart rate and blood pressure, making it extremely dangerous for people with hypertension” (Verducci “Totally” 39). The most commonly prescribed, either received from physicians or drug dealers, are Dexedrine and Addarall (Verducci “Totally” 39).

Barry Bonds has been accused of using steroids but has shown no positive tests. Reporters, analysts, and congress believe that he may have been taking some hard-to-detect steroids and various growth hormones. Among these chemicals was erythropoietin (EPO), insulin, norbolene, also known as “the clear”, “Cream”, and modafinil. Insulin is a weird one, but when mixed with other steroids, the potency skyrockets (Fainaru-Wada and Williams 46). There were other steroids that were not mentioned as much in the media but had widespread use among major leaguers.

Many of the steroids were legal and illegal stimulants (Verducci “Totally” 36). Another was Clomihene (also known as Clomid). “Clomiphene is an anti-estrogen drug employed by steroid users coming off of a cycle (Fainaru-Wada and Williams 51). “Mexican beans are fast-acting steroids thought to clear the user’s system within a few days” (Fainaru-Wada and Williams 47). In a meeting between Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Player’s Union, a new drug policy was set, but no policy was set for amphetamines (“Baseball opts” 10A).

Prior to this meeting there was no policy for the use of illegal drugs (“Baseball opts” 10A). There would be no change in the policy until a meeting that had been scheduled for November 15th, 2005. Because steroids are illegal in the United States, major league baseball players are getting their steroids from out of the country in Mexico, the Caribbean, or some other overseas supplier. During the Dominican Republic winter league, Estadio Quisqueya becomes a regular stop for players looking to purchase steroids (Verducci “Totally” 46).

During this time, Estadio Quisqueya, which legally sells their steroids over the counter, receives twice as much business as normal by selling the most popular products Deca-Durabolin and Testoprim-D (Verducci “Totally” 46). In the year 2000, Unites States customs officials confiscated a street value of over $38 million worth of steroids in their 8,724 seizures made at the U. S. /Mexican border (Verducci “Totally” 46). From the previous year, the increase of seizures was up a booming 46 percent (Verducci “Totally” 46). Those largest use of steroids did not occur during the season.

In fact most major and minor leaguers would shoot themselves up in the winter months of November, December, and January, so that they could clear the substance of their system before steroid tests when the season started (Verducci “Totally” 42). Because of the frequent use of steroids in today’s era, many debates take place about whether or not those athletes who break records while using steroids. Barry Bonds, will be a possible example if he breaks the all time home run record of 755 home runs, should have an asterisk next to their name in the record book or in the hall of fame.

Barry Bonds set the single season record for most home runs in 2001 with 73 (Smith 45). He broke Mark McGwire’s only three year standing single season record of 70 (Verducci “Is” 39). The single season record holder before McGwire was Roger Maris; Maris was the only player to hit 60 home runs from 1928 to 1997 (Verducci “Is” 38). Barry Bonds is getting closer and closer to breaking Henry (Hank) Aaron’s all time home run record. Questionability comes from Bonds making a dramatic leap in having seasons with homers in the 20’s to homers in the 50’s.

The amazing thing is Hank Aaron never having a 50 home run season (Verducci “Is” 38). With this whole steroid issue heating up on the press George W. Bush, the President of the United States and former owner of the Texas Rangers, has been putting his own heat on congress (Greenfield 44). He called for a bill that is trying to pass through congress called the Anabolic Steroid Act (Greenfield 44). This act will classify unregulated compounds like controlled substances (Greenfield 44). But with this steroid issue stirring up baseball, all people think about are batters hitting the ball a country mile.

Pitchers benefit from steroids too. Steroids help a pitcher’s arm regain strength after a long 162 game season plus playoffs in some cases (Verducci “Is” 38). Pitchers take steroids to help performance and possibly gain velocity onto a fastball (Verducci “Is” 38). Some steroids are prescribed to pitchers to rebuild muscle after muscle tears and surgery (“Teen” VF). Some pitchers could make the argument of taking steroids to keep up with the other players constantly gaining that extra competitive edge.

With all of the modern day changes brought into the league, hitters should not need to be taking steroids to hit the ball out of the ballpark. Ballparks now have less foul territory, shorter fences, and better lighting (Verducci “Is” 39). The lighting helps a player’s vision during night games (Verducci “Is” 39). Baseball now uses a harder baseball and maple bats which are harder that the oak bats that uses to be used. (Verducci “Is” 39). Other contributions are tighter strike zones, a healthier diet, and more intense training (Verducci “Is” 39).

Even though ball players do not need steroids they feel the need take them anyway. As of May 24th, 2005 (the first quarter of the season), complete games were up 50 percent from the previous year, and complete game shutouts were up 47 percent (Verducci “When” 48). The earned run average (ERA) was 4. 19 compared to 3. 97 in 2004 (Verducci “When” 48). Runs per game were down four percent from 2004 and down 15 percent from the year 2000 (Verducci “When” 48). Home runs per game were down nine percent and had fallen 25 percent from five years earlier (Verducci “When” 48).

Steroids have come through to the average fan’s liking by giving the singles hitter the chance to hit a home run from time to time. Through that same first quarter of the 2005 Major League Baseball regular season there were only 34 players with 50 or more at-bats and zero home runs (Verducci “When” 50). Only nine players total within the last four years have had at least 200 at-bats without a homer (Verducci “When” 50). A total of 19 players in 1992 alone had 200 or more at-bats and no hits over the fence between the foul poles (Verducci “When” 50).

This just goes to show that steroids are spread widely through the players in the major leagues and have been growing since the steroid thing began picking up the media in the early 21st century. Ken Caminiti was interviewed by Sports Illustrated the magazine in 2002 after saying that most of his success of winning the National League Most Valuable Player award in 1996 was a thank you to steroids. In his interview he said: If a young player were to ask me what to do, I’m not going to tell him it’s bad. Look at the money in the game.

You have a chance to set your family up, to send your daughter to a betting school…So I can’t say ‘Don’t do it,’ not when the guy next to you is as big as a house and he’s going to take your job and your money. (Verducci “Totally” 36). Apparently money is a large factor in taking steroids because a player can receive pay for being on the disabled list. In 2002, according to Major League Baseball statistics, the disabled list (DL) welcomed 467 trips to it last year to average about 18 accepted invitations per week (Verducci “Totally” 44).

Those 18 players a week remained on the disabled list for an averaged out 59 days, a 20 percent increase from the 49 day stay in 1997 (Verducci “Totally” 44). A whopping total of $317 million was paid to the physically enabled, that was 16 percent of the total of the payroll combined between all of the Major League Baseball clubs (Verducci “Totally” 44). Players can benefit from steroids for more than a day, a week, or maybe a month. According to Dr. Gary Walder, professor at New York University School of Medicine and a member of the World Anti-Doping Agency, stated: “It can be months.

Even after the drugs are out of his system, he can still feel the effect and reap the benefits. ” (Walder 43). He also said a player can feel the use of a steroid well into the season with an intense workout regimen (Walder 43). The substance of the steroid or the type contributes to the strength and longevity of the steroid (Walder 43). The type of steroid can mean more than how long a steroid will keep showing results in an individual. Would the type of steroid vary in length of time it can be detected in one’s body like various types of alcohol and illegal drugs?

“Yes,” according to Dr. Walder, “the time can vary depending on the steroid and how it is taken. ” (Walder 43). “The water soluble steroids can be detected for many weeks” (Walder 43). “The oral types can be detected from weeks to months” (Walder 43). “The skin patches and creams have a detectability range much shorter in duration” (Walder 43). Steroids may have carry a good reputation when someone hears about the good that they can do for one’s body, but the side effects can change a person’s opinion of performance-enhancing drugs quite quickly.

Short term injuries can include strained muscles and ruptured tendons (Verducci “Totally” 40), joint pains, head aches, and flu-like symptoms (Walder 43). Longer term effects include severe acne (“Teen” VF), mood swings (“Baseball finally” 12A), and complete muscle tears (Verducci “Totally” 36). Long term symptoms include cancer, heart and liver damage (Verducci “Totally” 36), baldness and shrunken testicles in males, and changes in a female’s menstrual cycle (“Teen” VF). Death may occur from a steroid’s side effects by means of heart attacks, strokes, and suicidal mood swings (“Baseball finally” 12A).

The biggest effects that steroids have is not are the athletes themselves, but the effect of the influence that professional athletes give to children. The steroid industry is available to anybody who wants them. Any teenager with a computer has access to purchasing performance-enhancing drugs or steroids to build body mass (“Teen” VF). The 2001 Monitoring the Future of Adolescent Drug Abuse found that in their survey 2. 8 percent of eighth graders, 3. 5 percent of tenth graders, and 3. 7 percent of twelfth graders have tried some kind of steroid at one point in their lives (“Teen” VF).

In the year 2002, there was no steroid testing for major leaguers (Verducci “Totally” 37). Testing did occur in the minor leagues; however, there was no penalty for violation, and players were not required to undergo any sort counseling (Verducci “Totally” 37). At least in was better than the National Football League and National Basketball Association where steroid testing was banned (Verducci “Totally” 37). A new proposal for a drug policy called for testing for all federally controlled substances and anything which could raise one’s testosterone level (Verducci “Totally” 42).

This new policy would suspend all violators that season (Verducci “Totally” 42). A suspension was one thing, but what about jail time? On March 17th, 2005, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Player’s Union met to try to come up with a new steroid policy. It was announced that lying at the Supreme Court hearing held at the Rayburn House Building in Washington D. C. in front of the House of Representatives Committee on Government Reforms could result in imprisonment (Price 112). Absolutely nothing this big had happened in sports history (Price 112).

More television crews showed up for this hearing than the impeachment of former President of the United States Bill Clinton (Price 112). On November 15th, 2005, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Player’s Union met once again to move along with forming a drug policy under the pressure of the media and congress. The two sides finally came to an agreement but fell short of some people’s expectations. A first offense will result in a 50 game suspension without pay (“Baseball finally” 12A). A second offense will result in a 100 game suspension without pay (“Baseball finally” 12A).

A third offense will be the final offense because it will result in a lifetime ban from baseball (“Baseball finally” 12A). Much more was accomplished at this particular meet though. Before this meeting, there was no policy for amphetamines, but now there is. For amphetamine tests that come out positive a first offense will result in an evaluation and a follow-up test (Kiely 1A). The second offense will result in a 25 game suspension without pay (Kiely 1A). The third offense is a little more toward the harsh side, an 80 game suspension without pay (Kiely 1A).

Just like the third steroid offense, a fourth amphetamine offense will result in a lifetime ban from baseball (Kiely 1A). These results seem like they could work, but they have yet to show more than little success. Major League baseball needs to adopt a steroid policy similar to that of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Olympics because they face the toughest policy when it comes to dealing with steroids (Fainaru-Wada and Williams 46). Players are still going to use steroids but some feel that the tougher the policy, the better the results.

The Olympic committee and the NCAA have a policy to where a first offense for steroids results in a two year ban for competition (“Baseball opts” 10A). Second offenses lead two extremely quick lifetime bans (“Baseball opts” 10A). But sure, the average fan of baseball might like to see a ball halfway to his or her house and see the total of home runs climb year after year. Maybe the other average fan likes to see a well pitched ball game. Of course children like to see their favorite team win the World Series. But realistically, a human being hitting a five ounce ball made of cork, string, and leather 600 feet is not natural.

Someone throwing a ball 105 miles per hour is unseen, yet possible with the help of steroids. A lot of parents say that it is good for children to grow having an idol whether it be a mother, a father, or a professional athlete. From a parent’s point of view would anybody want their children to idolize someone that uses something that athletes claim “makes them play better. ” What if all of the children wanted to become like their professional athlete idol so badly that they began to shoot themselves of ingest something that could eventually kill them at an early age?

For professional baseball players in the minor leagues and major leagues alike, a new one strike and you are out policy should be written into every contract along with an apology at a televised press conference for violators. Maybe public humiliation and loss of endorsement money would put their heads on straight. More importantly, children would see that steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs are not to be messed with. Professional athletes need to take the responsibility of being for one, like their profession and be professional, and secondly take the responsibility of being a role model for young children all over the world.

If things do not change quickly then the world’s youth will be taking steroids for the wrong reasons. The only right reasons are to recover from surgery or if one’s body can not produce testosterone on its own. Even the right reasons should not be abused; it would therefore make it a wrong reason. Apparently our youth are our future, and our future is becoming overrun by not communists, but steroids, and they are setting the wrong example for not just America’s youth, but the world’s.

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