Steroids harm Major League Baseball; Banned substances blemish reputation of America’s pastime

by Ryan Romaine
With some of its biggest stars accused of taking banned substances, Major League Baseball faces questions concerning its credibility and future. Is MLB becoming more about steroid users and less about the game itself?
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Modern-day baseball’s so-called “steroid era” began more than two decades ago and led to Congress passing the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 and the Anabolic Steroids Control Act in 1990. The legislation was intended to prevent the use of steroids in professional sports and in the United States in general.
Starting with investigations by the MLB of Jose Canseco (Athletics), Mark McGuire (Cardinals), and Sammy Sosa (Cubs) during the 1990s, steroid use has continued to be evident during the 21st century. Barry Bonds (Giants), Jason Giambi (Athletics/Yankees), Roger Clemens (Blue Jays/Red Sox), and Andy Pettitte (Yankees) are just a few of the well-known players accused of using steroids in the early 2000’s. Alex Rodriguez (Rangers/Yankees), Melky Cabrera (Giants), and Ryan Braun (Brewers) have been accused more recently, with Rodriguez and Cabrera admitting to taking a banned substance.
This year, the Hall of Fame committee decided not to induct Bonds, Clemens, and Sosa despite the fact that all three former players were seen as obvious Hall of Famers before being accused.
“Those players should not be able to have that special honor, because they had an unfair advantage over other players,” said sophomore Jeremy Haas.
The use of banned substances puts the fans in a difficult position, one in which they need to choose between rooting for their team and rooting against steroid users.
Players take these banned substances for different reasons, some to enhance their performance, others to recover from injury more quickly. There are many different banned substances, including hormones and steroids, that MLB officials can test for, but new substances are constantly being developed for which there are no tests.
One of the biggest issues during the steroid era has been the MLB’s lack of a productive plan.  While the league has attempted to control the use of steroids, its attempts have typically failed.
“[The MLB] needs to figure out how to deal with these players without creating havoc in the league and potentially ruining a team,” said junior Jamie Levitt.
The most recent changes to steroid policy came in 2008, when the banned substance list expanded and there was an increase in the number of possible drug tests. Although these modifications have helped, the MLB has not done enough to stop steroid use.  Until the league finds a successful plan, steroid use will continue to increase, threatening the history and the future of the sport.