Written By: Matt Vereb
Steroid Problems In Baseball? Bud Selig’s Fault.
All baseball fans need to accept that performance enhancing drugs were part of baseball’s culture from roughly 1988-2002. It does not mean it’s acceptable, it’s just a pure fact. All Major League teams were effected by it. A player from every team has been caught using PEDs. Senator George Mitchell’s report dug up over 100 current and ex-Major League players who had ties to steroids and other PEDs. Some(Andy Pettitte) have openly admitted their use. Others(Roger Clemens) have completely refuted those claims. Whether you agree or disagree with my thesis, you must accept that PEDs played a major role during that time frame. They were solely enabled by Commissioner Selig.
Can you really blame the players though for taking them? If I were to tell you right now all the secrets to get ahead at work, without your boss finding, would you take it? You can also make a ton of money doing it in the process as well. I’m sure many of you would take this opportunity to benefit yourself and your family. That’s exactly what the players did during the ’90s. Steroids and other drugs were readily available to use. It was almost like a social gathering for players when they took them. Steroids can have life-altering effects on one’s body, but that’s the risk one takes.
This whole ‘Steroid Era’ is Bud Selig’s fault. Selig made no attempt to begin testing players in the 90s. He turned his cheek during the epic McGwire, Sosa Home Run Chase in 1998. Can you blame him though? Ticket and merchandise sales were at all-time highs. Some players(McGwire, Sosa, Griffey) had become icons. Baseball had the heroes it had been lacking. To this day, I believe that, the Summer of 1998, between the HR chase and the New York Yankees, saved baseball. Ultimately, this home run binge had officially moved baseball past the 1994 Lockout. Baseball fans were re-energized. We wanted more home runs and Selig continued to ride that wave.
Selig didn’t care how he filled the stadiums. He just wanted people that could knock the ball out of the park. If Sylester Stallone would have walked in and hit 600+ foot home runs, I’m sure would have been a Yankee. I’ll admit it, I loved watching these ‘super humans’ hit baseball 500+ feet. I’m sure he did too. I remember Sammy Sosa crushing 520+ foot home runs during Home Run Derbies. Tainted Memories…
However, all good things must come to an end. 1996 NL MVP Ken Caminiti admitted to steroid use in 2002. Caminiti died two years later in 2004. After Caminiti’s admission, baseball began the process of cleaning up substance abuse. Selig knew that his joy ride was over and he had to save the culture of the game.
Selig began implementing drug testing in 2003. A failed test will result in 50-game ban. Human Growth Hormone(HGH) was banned from baseball in 2005, but there is no way to properly test for it yet.
Don’t blame the players for this. Steroids were frowned upon, but had no penalty. We honestly should thank them. They were ultimately trying to perform better for the fans and their families. Blame the enabler.
Baseball is still in the process of cleaning its image. We’ll never truly know who did and didn’t do steroids. But we only have one man to thank for creating that joy ride and fault for allowing it to happen.
Are Steroids Truly Selig’s Fault Or The Players?
Photo Credit: photoskew.com