Should MLB Make Steroids Legal?

MLB

Benny Sieu – USA TODAY Sports

Steroids have been a part of the game of baseball longer than most would like to think. But, have steroids actually made the game better?

Just think about it. How much fun was it watching Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire hit all those home runs? What about Alex Rodriguez‘s chase for home run No. 600? We all enjoyed watching Sammy Sosa and Jose Canseco hit baseballs as hard as they could. What about Roger Clemens? He provided some of the best pitching gems of all time.

What do all those guys have in common? They all have either admitted to using steroids or have been accused of using steroids. But while they were doing something illegal, they were also doing baseball a favor. It’s all in the name: performance enhancing drugs. The substances helped improve their play, which, whether you like it or not, made the game of baseball better.

Those players made baseball exciting and fun. Even though they were using “banned substances,” they certainly entertained millions of fans and even created new ones. Chances are they weren’t the only ones using steroids during their respective time periods either. The only reason we know about them is because of the huge numbers that they put up, which peaked investigators’ interests.

If it weren’t for the steroids, we likely never would have seen the 70-plus home run years of Bonds and McGwire. What about the guys who followed that kept the tradition alive? Names like Manny Ramirez, Melky Cabrera and now Ryan Braun have all provided excitement for baseball fans everywhere while also being linked to, and suspended for, steroid use. They are only adding to the legacy of baseball, one that is now tarnished with steroids.

Without steroids, the players named above would likely never have been as big, both in their celebrity status and size, without the use of PED’s. Curt Schilling put it best on ESPN when he said, “Steroids make good players great and great players Hall of Famers.”

It doesn’t matter if they’re illegal or not, the only ones who steroids have proven troublesome for is the league’s front office and for those who take them because they get into trouble. Sure, it has made people lose respect for the game, but it certainly kept and created more fans and sold more tickets than any promotion that baseball has ever done.

If MLB wants steroids eliminated from baseball, they’re faced with no middle ground. There should be no suspensions from this point forward. If a player is found guilty of using performance enhancing drugs, they should receive a lifetime ban and have their names wiped from the record books with no possible chance of getting to Cooperstown.

It’s a product of the time, the numbers and, as hard as this may be to say, the fans. While they’re not personally injecting players or saying that steroids are good for the game or should be taken, they all show up hoping to see that next big superstar. Each and every baseball player that they show up to see are trying to become that next big superstar. Some are willing to go to any lengths to accomplish that.

The pressure that athletes are put under to perform is immense, and it comes from all angles. They need to provide for their families, keep their jobs and keep the fans happy and excited. Sometimes players are willing to think outside the box to make sure that they have taken care of the people they care about.

While steroids may leave a sour taste when spoken by long-time, deeply rooted baseball fans, you have to admit that they have been good for the sport and have made it popular and more exciting. Baseball has a more complex decision than most people may realize, and I will pose the same question to you.

Do they ban something that has been, in reality, good for the sport?

Brian Skinnell is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter and add him to your network on Google.

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  • http://www.rantsports.com/blog/author/davidfouty/ Dave Fouty

    Absolutely not. I’m starting to lean towards thinking they should kick a bunch of players out for life. Who cares if we lose the Brauns and ARods and McGuires and Bondsesss. I don’t want to watch that kind of baseball. I want to watch human beings w/o artificial enhancement playing the same game I played when I was a kid. I don’t want to see the WWE version of baseball. The McGuire/Sosa home run race was fun while I didn’t know any better, but know I just assume anyone w/ over 50 home runs is juicing. I’m sick of discounting Chris Davis’ and Miguel Cabrera’s accomplishments, but I can’t help it.

    • Brian Skinnell

      The last part of your comment sticks out to me most. Thanks to users of the past, we must questions stars of the present like Davis and Cabrera and that just isn’t fair.

  • Lauren Burg

    No way. There’s players doing quite well without having to cheat, and that’s even more amazing to watch. I mean, think about it. Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown last year, Chris Davis is hitting home runs like crazy and neither one is or has used PEDs. In addition, baseball’s hottest team right now, the Tampa Bay Rays are hitting plenty of long balls (led by Evan Longoria’s 20) and they aren’t winning because of steroids. They’re winning because of good pitching, timely hitting and stellar defensive play.

    Another thing to keep in mind would be the fact MLB players are role models. Do you want your kid looking up to, and even mimicking, a cheater? I doubt it.

    • Brian Skinnell

      Very valid counterpoint. I think the biggest, and best, point that you make is the role model one. I definitely wouldn’t want my kid looking up to a cheater.

      But to defend my article and play little devils advocate, steroids have aided in providing some of the best baseball moments in the past 10-15 years. While many other great moments may not be attributed to steroids (it’s important to note we don’t know that for sure), Bonds, McGuire, Sosa and others provided many notable moments when they were reportedly using.

      • Lauren Burg

        I don’t doubt that. However, if they need PEDs to achieve those goals, it’s not worth it. At least not to me.