It started in 1998 when a bottle was found on the top of Mark “Big Mac” McGwire’s locker.
The bottle was of a legal over the counter supplement called “androsteindione” AKA “andro.” When taken with other supplements, it had the effect of an anabolic steroid (today, it is classified as such). Nobody really cared at the time, and the writer who reported that McGwire was taking andro was lambasted as trying to take attention away from baseballs’ hero.
McGwire would go on to CRUSH the season home run record, besting Roger Maris’ total of 61 by nine home runs by knocking 70 out of the park.
Then Barry Bonds happened. Bonds wound up hitting 73 homeruns in 2001, just three years after McGwire beat Maris’ record that had stood for over 40 years. In 2007, Bonds passed Henry “Hank” Aaron on the all-time home run list, touching them all a whooping 756 times.
Jose Conseco, a former Major Leaguer who himself hit over 400 home runs in his career, wrote a tell-all book declaring that almost every popular player in baseball (from McGwire to Juan Gonzalez to Alex Rodriguez) had taken steroids throughout his career.
This led to an investigation in Congress and some very infamous testimony by very popular Major Leaguers including McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa and Donald Fehr, the President of the Baseball Players Association, which had denied a major testing policy for much of the 90s and early 2000s).
All of this leads us to today, where one of the most popular players in the game, Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun, has allegedly tested positive for steroids. Despite this, I couldn’t care less about what the National League MVP tested positive for.
Even his attorney, David Cornwell, responded to a request for comment with a very informing “no comment at this time.”
If anybody thinks that for one second Babe Ruth wouldn’t take steroids if they existed in his day, you’re kidding yourself. If anybody thinks that Ted Williams wouldn’t have juiced, then you don’t understand the game. If anybody dreams that Lou Gehrig wouldn’t have taken andro in order to stay healthier and play longer, you’re out of your mind.
We as Americans utilize things to make life, and our jobs, easier for us every single day, and if steroids made our lives easier we would take them too.
If you could take a pill that would guarantee you a 4.0 GPA and a well paying job, you would take it. We all would take it. There is no getting around it.
Baseball has always been tainted, regardless of what you may think.
It is well known that Babe Ruth took amphetamines, the precursor to steroids, to stay up at night and to exercise (and do other illicit things).
Baseball is the world’s most beautiful game for so many reasons and to let this steroid nonsense get in the way is disgusting. Do not confuse this as a plea to go back to the steroid era (I personally prefer great pitchers’ duels to home run shoot outs); I want the game clean, but I am also realistic.
Pitchers and catchers report to spring training in less than three weeks. Baseball is the world’s most beautiful game because of the hopes and dreams of all the fans yearning for that World Series title. Hoping and praying that this year is finally the year.
It doesn’t matter how atrocious your team looks on a roster or during spring training, this year could be the year. That is why baseball is beautiful, not because of muscles.