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What's the big deal with athletes taking steroids? Seriously - do you really care that Barry Bonds took a substance that enhanced his performance? Does that take away from your enjoyment of the sport?

I am seriously perplexed by all of this. Here's why - particularly in baseball:

1) We live in a society where athletes constantly strive to improve their performance and where they are conditioned to take supplements to enhance their health/performance. Where does the line get drawn about one performance enhancing substance that is "illegal" and the others that are not? Furthermore, who draws that line and why?

2) The substances that Barry Bonds took were not illegal when he took them. They may have "enhanced performance", but so do 1,000 other things sold in GNC's across the country. Again, even if he knew what he was taking (which he probably did), it was legal to do so. So what's the beef about?

3) Major League Baseball, essentially, turned its head to all of this. Why? Because it made for GREAT baseball; a much better product for its fans. When Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire were in the midst of a record home run race, and while Barry chases the all time home run record - MLB has licked its chops at the larger fan attendance numbers, advertising, licensing etc. Won't it be a bit hypocritical if MLB gets sanctimonious on this all of a sudden?

The bottom line for me on this is that the fact that someone takes steroids has no negative impact on my sports experience. Remember, pro sports is only entertainment - no different from WWE or sitcoms or whatever. It is people creating engaging programming that attracts eyeballs which can be advertised to. I don't quite understand what this "integrity of the game" argument is all about. What integrity and who cares about it?

Who cares about something that Barry Bonds took that was not illegal? Eek Barry is going to break Hank's record and that is that. So what if he has an asterisk beside his name, there are plenty of those out there in sports - particularly in baseball where the concept of cheating is interlaced in the sport in the form of spit balls, scuffed balls, corked bats etc. Even the great Bambino, Babe Ruth, has a huge asterisk beside his name in my book. He never had to pitch against some of the best hitters in baseball - because they were black and barred from playing in the Major Leagues!

So what! If Bonds wants to take something that's going to shrink his nuts, so what?

© MBM

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I question whether or not it really enhanced his performance. Steroids don't help you hit the ball - you may hit it further (debatable), but you will not hit better. His batting average has been consistantly high throughout his career. Babe Ruth hit 715 and he did nothing in terms of working out, so who's to say that if you do have a workout plan and an incredible talent that you cannot do the same.

On another note, you know that that this is racially motivated... white folks do not want to see another Black man with baseball's most coveted prize... Mark Maguire took a substance that is now banned and people in the media don't even mention that. We all kmow the deal...
"On another note, you know that that this is racially motivated... white folks do not want to see another Black man with baseball's most coveted prize..."

So why is Jason Giami being "persecuted" too?? A black man already has "baseball's most coveted prize"--so there goes that theory.

"I question whether or not it really enhanced his performance. Steroids don't help you hit the ball - you may hit it further (debatable), but you will not hit better."

Yes, steroids don't help you hit the ball but they do increase your strength and they also help you recover faster from injury. If Barry wasn't using all of these substances, then he would've retired a few years ago. Reportedly, he has bone rubbing on bone in one of his knees. The major gripe that I have with steroids is that it doesn't level the playing field unless everyone is taking them. The scouting report on Jason Giami coming into the pro's says that he was a singles and doubles hitter---he bulks up and becomes all of a sudden becomes a power hitter (steroids do enhance your strength).

The steroid controversy is a big deal because it creates this questions: Could they have accomplished these achievements without the drugs? Giambi signed a multi-million dollar cotract after a big year, are the Yankees going to get a return from their investment if Giambi stops juicing?
I think they should remian illegal because of the ill health effects... but then again I just don't understand the big deal about sports entertainment amyhow. I feel like we are the Roman masses being distracted by the Gladiators while our country goes to hell because Ceasar is mad.

(I'm not criticizing anyone on this site who is discussing sports because obviousely the people on here discuss other important socio-political subject...I'm referring to the people I hear arguing about teams on a daily basis but can't name the company the VP used to work for or point out where Iraq is on a map)

P.S. race and racism are always an issue, and at play in all cirumstances in this society...sports is definately no exception.
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quote:
Originally posted by ThaWatcher:
"On another note, you know that that this is racially motivated... white folks do not want to see another Black man with baseball's most coveted prize..."

So why is Jason Giami being "persecuted" too?? A black man already has "baseball's most coveted prize"--so there goes that theory.


Jason Giambi was the first to admit. From that point on the focus went from to Barry and to Marion Jones you don't even hear about JG anymore. That IS racist.

You did not read what I wrote... I said another Black man.

quote:
"I question whether or not it really enhanced his performance. Steroids don't help you hit the ball - you may hit it further (debatable), but you will not hit better."

Yes, steroids don't help you hit the ball but they do increase your strength and they also help you recover faster from injury. If Barry wasn't using all of these substances, then he would've retired a few years ago...


You missed the point, Babe Ruth did not work out at all, in fact he was a boozer and carouser most, if not all, of his career - and yet, was one of the greatest hitters of all time. You cannot say that Barry would not have done it anyway w/o steroids. He is a great hitter. Look at his stats. Most of which steroids could not have helped.


quote:
...he bulks up and becomes all of a sudden becomes a power hitter (steroids do enhance your strength)...


They help your strength, but not your ability to hit. You could be as strong as an ox, but if you can't hit...

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Giambi signed a multi-million dollar cotract after a big year, are the Yankees going to get a return from their investment if Giambi stops juicing?


When athletes sign a big contract, they do so on the basis of what they have done in the past, not on what they are going to do. The Yanks already got a return on their investment when they underpaid him for his previous performances.
Nah, this is not about racism, not at all. It's about steroids, their unfairness, their illegality, and their danger. Jason Giambi may be finished because of this; Barry Bonds likely will continue to play. Plus, the record Bonds is chasing now is already held by another black man, who happens to be beloved in the baseball annals.

(And, well, let's face it, the guy who's second on that list, Babe Ruth, was black too, whether people want to admit it or not.)

Steroids may not help you connect, but they definitely help you hit harder. The result is that what would have been ground ball outs become searing base hits, and what would have been fly ball outs become home runs. Bonds' home run production -- not to mention his physique -- dramatically increased at a time in his life when most players are in decline. There is no doubt about that, and no legitimate doubt that steroids helped him.

Steroids damage the integrity of a sport because it creates in an athlete something that he never could have without them. Steroids are not like sports nutrition supplements or weightlifting, which help an athlete reach improve within his natural limits. If steroids are allowed, then body armor on a boxer should be allowed. Propulsion jet packs should be allowed on basketball players, and baseball players should be allowed to use wider, heavier bats. It changes fundamentally the tools the athlete has at his disposal. It's not really "him" doing the feats.

They are also dangerous -- Lyle Alzado, anyone? Or hell, Jason "the tumor" Giambi anyone? Let's not go defending actions that will send young fans to an early death.

And because of that danger, they're also unfair. Only those athletes who don't care about the harmful effects will use them, which means the ones who do care can't compete.

And by the way, MBM, spitballs and corked bats are ALSO illegal.
"Jason Giambi was the first to admit. From that point on the focus went from to Barry and to Marion Jones you don't even hear about JG anymore. That IS racist."

Gary Sheffied was the 1st to admit during the Balco investigation. Giami's transgression was revealed by a leak to the newspaper. Bill Romanowski is another suspect in Balco. Lance Armstrong is under the cloud of suspicion of using performance enhancing drugs too---steroids is definately not a racial issue.

"Look at his stats. Most of which steroids could not have helped."

He didn't hit 73 hrs until he started using "the clear".

"When athletes sign a big contract, they do so on the basis of what they have done in the past, not on what they are going to do."

Owners pay huge contracts because they think that the player will CONTINUE to put up big numbers....and put up even bigger #'s....the Yanks take a big PR hit, and Giambi hardly played this year---what kind of a return on an investment is that?
quote:
Originally posted by Vox:

Steroids damage the integrity of a sport because it creates in an athlete something that he never could have without them.


So what, and where do you draw the line? There are advancements in every sport which essentially redefine it from past generations. In pole vaulting - current athletes could never reach the heights they do without the fiberglass poles that they now use. Does this, in your opinion damage the historical integrity of that sport? In track and field, the surfaces that they run on, the shoes that they wear, and the advancements in technique (the science of running) have radically improved performance. Do these changes harm the integrity of the sport? If not, why not? What's the difference? They are changes which enhance performance. Why are these OK and steroids are not? And don't say that it's because steroids harm athletes because it is clear that no one cares about athletes. If so, boxing would be illegal, as well as football and probably most physical/contact sports. We don't care that Earl Campbell is an invalid now. Why the double standard about steroids?

quote:
Steroids are not like sports nutrition supplements or weightlifting, which help an athlete reach improve within his natural limits. If steroids are allowed, then body armor on a boxer should be allowed.


Respectfully, if I read your words literally, you are suggesting that steroids do not create incremental change but radical ones. I disagree. Steroids make you faster/stronger, however if I took steroids, I would not be a world class sprinter. If I took steroids I would not be a world class anything, I'd just be the same person - on steroids. You reference to "body armor" suggests that steroids impact performance to a greater degree than they do. They are precisely like supplements, because that's exactly what they are. The only difference is that steroids have gotten political attention and someone(s) have deemed them "illegal" while other things that do the same thing have not. (Again, please let's remember, what Barry took is not illegal.)

quote:
Propulsion jet packs should be allowed on basketball players, and baseball players should be allowed to use wider, heavier bats.


Well, there are huge differences between your first example and your last. My example about fiberglass poles, which are much more elastic, and which has greatly enhanced pole vaulting records is an example of the fact that your baseball example actually does occur - every day.

quote:
It changes fundamentally the tools the athlete has at his disposal. It's not really "him" doing the feats.


Tools change every day. It's a function of the progress that occurs in every human endeavor. Are we supposed to disallow something like the computer because it redefines just about everything it touches? Further, as I mentioned before, on steroids, I would not be a world class baseball player. If you don't think that steroids are an incremental tool, try taking them and see. I doubt we'll be seeing you at Giants stadium next year despite some added bulk! brosmile

quote:
They are also dangerous -- Lyle Alzado, anyone? Or hell, Jason "the tumor" Giambi anyone? Let's not go defending actions that will send young fans to an early death.


Fine - let's just outlaw boxing, football, alcohol, nicotine, auto racing, etc. We take things all the time that have side effects. We make personal value judgments about what we want and need, and pay the consequences for them. Why any different here?

quote:
And by the way, MBM, spitballs and corked bats are ALSO illegal.


They are also a regular part of the game.

Other than perhaps the athlete, who is hurt by steroids Vox? In this example, the MLB has been the biggest winner. Fans have been big winners. Individual athletes have also been winners - in that they have reaped the financial rewards of their enhanced performance. If someone chooses not to use steroids, that would seem to be a personal choice that they have to make. Don't you think the potential side effects should be a deterrent in and of itself? If people start "croking" left and right because of steroid use, won't that be the best "commercial" against its use?

There are costs to everything. There are costs to leaving college early to go to the pros. In baseball, are you concerned about the costs of having to start professional baseball right after high school? What about the cost of not attending college at all? Someone could choose to go to college or not - they would have to endure the consequences either way. Look at Olympic athletes, gymnasts essentially forfeit their childhoods for their Olympic dreams. Are you concerned about those costs? You know sometimes emotional costs are more taxing than physical ones? What about the emotional damage done to Bill Buckner for missing that ground ball in 1987? Should we outlaw baseball to protect others from the potential emotional damage from failing in front of the world? What is an appropriate level of "protection" here. Is it the government's responsibility to police this? Aren't there more important things to do? Roll Eyes

BTW - talking about the "integrity of the game" in talking aobut pro sports, to me, is like talking about the integrity of pro wrestling. brosmile

Thoughts?
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quote:
Originally posted by Vox:
Nah, this is not about racism, not at all. It's about steroids, their unfairness, their illegality, and their danger. Jason Giambi may be finished because of this; Barry Bonds likely will continue to play. Plus, the record Bonds is chasing now is already held by another black man, who happens to be beloved in the baseball annals.


That may true now, but not when he was chasing the record. He got death threats from "fans", attacked by members of the press, MLB did nothing to add security at his games (as is evidenced by the famous shot of him rounding the bases and the 2 guys from the stands running up to him). They did not want him to get the record.

Again... I said ANOTHER Black man, not A black man.

quote:
Steroids may not help you connect, but they definitely help you hit harder. The result is that what would have been ground ball outs become searing base hits, and what would have been fly ball outs become home runs.


You don't know that. Baseball hitting is about technique not strength.

quote:
Bonds' home run production -- not to mention his physique -- dramatically increased at a time in his life when most players are in decline. There is no doubt about that, and no legitimate doubt that steroids helped him.


Again, you make assertions that cannot be proven. Growth from weight lifting can be dramatic. Ther are a lot of factors that go into that - diet being the most important. Case in point: I gained 30lbs in six mos, from weight lifting alone... and I am a vegetarian!! No supplements, no steroids. I just ate very healthy and worked out like a mad man.

quote:
Steroids damage the integrity of a sport because it creates in an athlete something that he never could have without them...


Agreed... except in baseball.

Don't get me wrong, I don't even like Barry B. I think he is a pompous ass. But, I do think that he deserves the benefit of the doubt. The long term effects of steroids are no doubt harmful and they far outweigh the benefits, but no more so than alcohol and/or cigarettes.

What is so important about baseball's integrity that senators have to get involved - why don't they do something about the integrity of their fellow politicians. (& their president)
quote:
Originally posted by ThaWatcher:
"Jason Giambi was the first to admit. From that point on the focus went from to Barry and to Marion Jones you don't even hear about JG anymore. That IS racist."

Gary Sheffied was the 1st to admit during the Balco investigation. Giami's transgression was revealed by a leak to the newspaper. Bill Romanowski is another suspect in Balco. Lance Armstrong is under the cloud of suspicion of using performance enhancing drugs too---steroids is definately not a racial issue.

"Look at his stats. Most of which steroids could not have helped."

He didn't hit 73 hrs until he started using "the clear".

"When athletes sign a big contract, they do so on the basis of what they have done in the past, not on what they are going to do."

Owners pay huge contracts because they think that the player will CONTINUE to put up big numbers....and put up even bigger #'s....the Yanks take a big PR hit, and Giambi hardly played this year---what kind of a return on an investment is that?



You and I are like ships passing in the night. You have missed every point that I have made. I am not going to reiterate.
U're right that baseball is a sport where steroids won't do u much good if you can't connect. But Barry Bonds has always been a great contact hitter. But during the last few years, he went from run-of-the-mill superstar, run-of-the-mill perennial MVP contender, to Superman. If he actually did use steroids during the period when he has been almost literally unstoppable, at the time in his career when everyone else goes into decline, then you shouldnt need absolute proof that the steroids led to the improvements. Bonds didn't become Reggie Jackson, or Willie Stargell, in the last 4 years. He became a super hero. He has done things that nobody else has even come close to doing, over any kind of sustained period. The number of times he has reached base in the last 4 seasons almost matches the number of at-bats he has. I don't know if u follow baseball, but that is truly a superhuman feat. If a batter achieves 1/3 of that feat, he's likely hall-of-fame bound. To be able to do that at any point would be mind-blowing. But to do that at the age he is-- and NOT to ever have been like that up UNTIL he reached that age -- is enough to raise the question of whether he did steroids. Then, to find out that he actually did use them at that time, I don't need any more evidence than that to conclude that the steroids had something to do with it.

The only defense of Barry Bonds is that according to what I've heard, the steroids he used actually weren't illegal at the time he's supposed to have used them. And it's MLB's fault if it wasn't banned WITHIN MLB. So on a pure fairness level, you can't put an "asterisk" next to a record, IMO, if what he did was within the rules at the time.

In other words, Babe Ruth's HRs were within the rules, even though many of his HRs were at Yankee Stadium, which was designed to have a really short right field distance to accommodate Ruth's left hand hitting. He never got an asterisk, so neither should Bonds. But on a question of whether what he did was WRONG for the sport or for competition, I can't see any argument that it wasn't.
Vox, which is the greater unfair advantage in baseball - steroids or the advantage held by high revenue/big market clubs versus low revenue/market clubs? You know, there's a reason why the Yankees are as successful as they are. They buy their success. Something that the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, for example, just can't do. That's not fair. MLB teams are not on equal footing in their ability to win games and make money. Why is that OK? That disparity, btw, could be changed in the blink of an eye - it's called 'revenue sharing'.

The point is that inequity is a fact of life. Let's not pretend to care about "fairness" just because we're talking about steroids. brosmile
You ask the question as if it's rhetorical, but it's not. The Yankees have more money because they earned more. The Devil Rays ownership decided they wanted a franchise in Tampa Bay, a smaller market. The Yanks don't get their money from some artificial means that gives them an unfair advantage. And the Devil Rays' owners aren't faced with the dilemma of whether to inject dangerous chemicals into themselves in order to compete. If the non-Yankee teams got together and fought to disband MLB's current charter and adopt a new one with a more even revenue-sharing plan and no one-team veto power, that problem would be solved.

The steroid problem is worse, because no one's lives are jeopardized by the Yankee payroll. It's also unfair because baseball, probably more than other sports, owes a lot of its mystique to individual player history. Unfairness to individual players, to me, is a much deeper inequity than unfairness to team owners.
quote:
Originally posted by Vox:

Unfairness to individual players, to me, is a much deeper inequity than unfairness to team owners.


Is it unfair to Jesse Owens that he didn't have the ability to run on the current world class surfaces with state of the art running shoes? He would have been demonstrably faster if he were running today. Is it unfair that Bill Russell couldn't make the kind of money that athletes today make? He won 11 championships and was perhaps the most gifted center of his day. Yet he probably never made $1 million a year and certainly didn't have endorsements etc. to supplement his income. Are these scenarios unfair in the way that you describe above? If not, why not?

Furthermore, on the subject of team equity, aren't you concerned about each athletes' opportunity to win baseball games and championships? It is not the athlete's fault that he gets drafted by a small market team that can't generate the revenue to support a higher payroll which is the only way to be able to afford to pay for the best players. That's not fair is it? Is it fair that great athletes get stuck in small markets and never become the national superstars that they could by playing in a major market? Is it fair that they'll never make the salary nor the endorsements?

Athletes do not have an equal chance at anything. Please tell me where, anywhere, there is equity in anything?

BTW - the Yankees have more money not because they competed fairly and earned it, but because they happen to exist in a market that physically can support the extravagant spending that is a halmark of that franchise. It's like both of us competing in a bass tournament. We all may have the same equipment, but my lake has 100 times the number of bass that yours does. Are we really competing equally? brosmile
I must confess that I really do not see that big an issue with respect to steriods, other that I hope that the athletes who do chose to use them do so under medical supervison. Steriods are not a magic bullet. The athlete still has to workout, watch their nutrition, get sufficient rest, etc.

As to the health risk, again, when the user is monitored by a physician, these are minimal, especially when compared to alcohol and tobacco.

As for Lyle Alzado, he died of AIDS, not steriod use.

Finally, as others have mentioned, where do you begin to draw the line. Can I use creatine, whey protein, or glutamine? Can I train utilizing plyometrics, or am I relegated to training strategies used 20, 30+ years ago.
quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
Is it unfair to Jesse Owens that he didn't have the ability to run on the current world class surfaces with state of the art running shoes? He would have been demonstrably faster if he were running today. Is it unfair that Bill Russell couldn't make the kind of money that athletes today make? He won 11 championships and was perhaps the most gifted center of his day. Yet he probably never made $1 million a year and certainly didn't have endorsements etc. to supplement his income. Are these scenarios unfair in the way that you describe above? If not, why not?


What would have been unfair is if some runners, OTHER than Jesse Owens, were allowed to race AGAINST HIM in a lane surfaced with today's world class turf, with today's running shoes, while his lane, and his shoes, were not allowed to be upgraded. Worse (because you keep talking about fairness, when I listed other issues as well), if the other runner ran on a lane that moved, like the movable walkway in airports, while his stood still, that would do what steroids do; create an advantage beyond what the human body is able to provide. Also, if that option caused the danger potential that steroids cause, the option becomes even more problematic, because it moves the choice into a whole other realm. There's only so far you can stretch the examples and keep them similar enough to truly be analogous.


quote:
Furthermore, on the subject of team equity, aren't you concerned about each athletes' opportunity to win baseball games and championships? It is not the athlete's fault that he gets drafted by a small market team that can't generate the revenue to support a higher payroll which is the only way to be able to afford to pay for the best players. That's not fair is it? Is it fair that great athletes get stuck in small markets and never become the national superstars that they could by playing in a major market? Is it fair that they'll never make the salary nor the endorsements?


MBM, the problem is that great athletes DON'T stay in small markets. It's not that they get stuck in small markets. Great players nowadays get to play on contending teams. And even if they didn't, great players get PAYYYYDDD. So the finance structure in baseball is totally fair to the players. The fans of small market teams are the ones who get screwed. If u know anything about MLB, you know how powerful the players' union is... If they thought the setup was unfair to them, the setup would get changed.

quote:
BTW - the Yankees have more money not because they competed fairly and earned it, but because they happen to exist in a market that physically can support the extravagant spending that is a halmark of that franchise. It's like both of us competing in a bass tournament. We all may have the same equipment, but my lake has 100 times the number of bass that yours does. Are we really competing equally?


I agree, but like I said, there were bigger markets than Tampa Bay to start a franchise. And I wouldn't compare that to steroid use.
quote:
Originally posted by Vox:

What would have been unfair is if some runners, OTHER than Jesse Owens, were allowed to race AGAINST HIM in a lane surfaced with today's world class turf, with today's running shoes, while his lane, and his shoes, were not allowed to be upgraded.


Perhaps I misread you, but I thought a key component of your argument was that athletes using steroids damage the integrity of the game because their feats had the benefit of a performance advantage that previous players did not have.


quote:
If u know anything about MLB, you know how powerful the players' union is... If they thought the setup was unfair to them, the setup would get changed.


If this is the case then have you asked yourself why they have been silent about steroids?

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