Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Steroid Usage and Your Friendly Neighborhood Ballplayer

1. Body type does not have anything to do with steroids. Someone can be fat and have taken enhancers. Someone can be skinny(Alex Sanchez) or small(Lenny Dykstra) and taken them. Having muscles does not automatically mean one has taken steroids, but NOT having muscles does not mean someone is clean. Let's stop saying 'look at how much that guy gained/lost, it HAD to be the roids! Or 'man, he's too ripped for it to be natural'. Sure, it brings questions to the forefront, but it's probably not right to assume because assumptions can, and usually are, wrong.

2. Production means very little. We have our very own Ryan Franklin to point to as a steroid user, which suggests that production does not follow after one takes steroids. Sure, someone can hit a ball farther or a pitcher could build up their legs and thus speed, but they still have to execute. It could also even get in the way of their style of play, such as when Ruben Sierra bulked up(no, I am not accusing him of steroids, simply an example) to add power to his game but this ended up messing with his swing. They can vary from all-stars like Jason Giambi to the vaunted Brian Mazone(in Scranton).

3. Just because it is leaked grand jury testimony, it doesn't negate the truth behind it. To assume otherwise would be to assume that the ballplayers perjured themselves. Bonds, Sheffield, and the rest escape me, took steroids, knowingly or not. I have yet to read Game of Shadows, so I'm sure someone knows much more than me on this topic.

4. Hitters weren't the only ones juicing. Sure, home run totals skyrocketed, but factors such as better training(and year-round training) in general,smaller parks, expansion and the bat and ball themselves have no doubt left their impact on these totals. Remember that home run totals jumped in the early 1960s as well as expansion thinned out the pitchers more dramatically than hitters. Anyway, almost as many pitchers have been caught as hitters, in both the minors and majors. Our very own Franklin, as well as former PHillie Derrick Turnbow are two higher-profile examples. Don't forget the good reliever Juan Rincon.

5. Injuries don't mean everything. Sometimes an injury is just an injury. People are certainly more prone from taking steroids, but assuming everyone ever hurt has taken roids is simply too big of a leap to take seriously.

Anything I have wrong or should add? I only do this because steroids are a big topic in baseball, with a big influence on the game and the policing of it, but a lot of generalizations and accusations are thrown around without proof. Let's at least get the proof before we brand people with a big S.

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