Steroid use kills the game

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 29, 2003

Jeremy Godfrey

It's general knowledge baseball players in the Major League, even the ones who warm the bench or repeatedly appear on the disabled lists, make more money than most people see in a lifetime. And the majority of fans - myself included - support the idea of steroid testing. I guess I'm too realistic - I liked watching sluggers struggle to hit 30 homers based on their talent and training. Now with a pill or a shot in the arm, players are continuously hitting more than the pre-1998 record of 61 homers set by Roger Maris. I can't help but wonder if it weren't for the steroids or creotine - hailed as "legal steroids" - would the game be the same?

Well, to me it would be better. I was never a big fan of the long-ball. So what if there are players who can hit the ball a mile-long? There's really no thought required in powering a ball over the fence, and more times than not, they strikeout. That's why the majority of sluggers have a low batting average. What about the players who don't rely on steroids, but old-fashioned strategy to win ball games? You know the players who consistently put the ball in a spot where no fielder can get to. Tony Gwyn, for example … and no, I'm not too young to know who he was, even if he has retired.

A recent Gallup poll showed that about 5-7 percent of anonymous steroid testing for players came out positive. An Oct. 24-26 poll shows 92 percent of fans support steroid testing, yet only 43 percent of the fans said the absence of steroid use would make the game better. So, in other words fans want to know who takes the alleged performance-enhancing drugs, but they don't want to take them out of the game.

If players are getting paid millions of dollars for how well they play the game, then they should be paid based on that (the amount they receive is absurd, by the way) and not how many needles they stick in their arms or how many pills they pop. Take me out to the ballgame to see players - not to see bulky, drugged-up pseudo-players obsessed with fame.

But I guess the game has changed…