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A question about steroids

Enjoy Terror

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Yeah yeah, I heard the collective groans.

I question why current day critics of specific players and the sport in general still use steroids as a scapegoat for recent anomalous seasons. Most recently, it was widely speculated that Jose Bautista and his crazy 2010 power surge could POSSIBLY be steroid related.

I was under the impression that league-wide random steroid testing began in 2003 and was still in regular implementation today. Both David Ortiz and A-Rod have both been outed as one-time steroid users since testing came into play, but they have both continued to be high caliber players in the seven years since the testing came into effect. Given their celebrity, it would simply not be possible that both players would still be using steroids without being caught. Bautista MUST be getting tested regularly given his relative obscurity prior to this season. Right?

My questions, I suppose, are...

I'm naive; I assume that steroids in baseball are thing of the past. Am I wrong to think that?

How much impact do you feel steroids have in the game today?

Is it even remotely possible to get away with it these days?

If A-Rod hit 50+ homeruns this year, would it be a legitimate feat if he was clean, or is the stain of steroids (a decade removed) still too much?

Barry Bond's size increased dramatically at the height of the steroid era, which one would naturally attribute to heavy steroid usage. For this scenario let's assume he had been a heavy steroid user. A clean Bonds in a post-2003 baseball climate could be steroid free, but retains his steroid shape which helps his power. Do you feel that residual effects of steroid usage are the reason why any steroids at any time should negate even CLEAN records?

For a player like Bonds, in addition to his overwhelming power, his ability to get on base was unlike anyone baseball had ever seen. Can Bond's natural ability to identify a pitch and work a count be affected by steroids?

Just curious about these things.

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Yes, you are a bit naive and incorrect to think that steroids in ANY sport are a thing of the past. Anytime there is something that someone believes (correctly or incorrectly) will give them an edge there is a chance they will use it.

The issue is that there are constantly new chemicals coming on the market that are designed to increase some form of performance among athletes, which we generally call under the umbrella term "steroids" or performance-enhancing drugs. In many cases, they are undetectable by the testing methods available at that time, and must wait to be discovered and then have testing developed; that's one of the main issues with human growth hormone in the modern sports world. Because of this, and the likelihood that some are managing to avoid detection in random testing either through specific regimens or blind luck, it is both impossible to know the true impact and likely that some are getting away with it.

When it comes to Bonds, the additional power he developed didn't DIRECTLY help his batting eye. However, what did was the disinterest that pitchers developed in wanting to pitch to him. When you go from averaging a homer every 18.5 PAs to every thirteen PAs (which can be an extra 15 a season, using his 684 average), no one wants to throw you a hittable pitch.

As for A-Rod, that's completely a personal opinion. In my case, if he were to hit fifty now*, I would assume that it is completely clean. Someone else may assume that he would need the illegal stuff to get to that level again.

*By now I mean "this year or next year." He turned 35 this season, so his window for that kind of power is closing quickly. If he does it well into his late 30s I think people will be justified to question it based on his age and his past.

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My biggest issue with roids and the critics is that I believe a much larger majority of players were using them -- pitchers and hitters.

YOu need to judge these guys against their peers. Bonds and ARod were that much better against a group of guys who, I believe, were all juicing.

To me, that makes them hall-of-famers.

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