Major League Baseball and Steroids Brent Smith PED 4761 July 10, 2006
Background Steroid use in major league baseball has been gaining widespread media attention for the last four to five years. One of the main reasons for this explosion in publicity is the BALCO case. BALCO, the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, was founded by Victor Conte and responsible for providing a number of professional athletes with steroids, including Olympic athletes (Dure, 2006).
Background • Dec. 2, 2004: The San Francisco Chronicle reports that in grand jury testimony, New York Yankees slugger Jason Giambi admitted injecting himself with human growth hormone in 2003 and using steroids that he obtained from Barry Bonds' trainer, Greg Anderson, for at least three seasons (Dure, 2006).
Background • Dec. 3, 2004: The San Francisco Chronicle reports more grand jury testimony, this time from San Francisco Giants star Barry Bonds. The Chronicle says Bonds admitted to unknowingly using steroids known as "the clear" and "the cream" during the 2003 season. Bonds said his personal trainer provided the steroids. The Chronicle also reported that prosecutors showed Bonds documents from 2001-03 alleging that he used various drugs, including human growth hormone and Depo-Testosterone. Bonds repeatedly has denied using performance-enhancing drugs. The report also says Bonds' former teammates Armando Rios, Benito Santiago and Bobby Estallella admitted to the grand jury that they used performance-enhancing drugs (Dure, 2006).
Background • March 17, 2005: Several current and former major league baseball players testifiy in front of the House Government Reform Committee on steroids in baseball. Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro were in attendance, while Frank Thomas testified via satellite. Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi were not required to attend due to their involvement in the ongoing BALCO case (Dure, 2006).
Background • Aug. 1, 2005: Baseball player Rafael Palmeiro, who emphatically denied steroid use before a House panel in March, is suspended for a positive test he later blames on a vitamin B-12 shot (Dure, 2006).
Evolution of the Policy • Prior to 2002 • Before 2002, Major League Baseball had no official policy on steroid use among players (Bodley, 2005). • This is an important point to consider when determining who should or shouldn’t be voted into the hall of fame.
Evolution of the Policy • 2002 • As part of a collective bargaining agreement, players and owners agree to hold survey testing in 2003. If more than 5% of results from the anonymous tests are positive, formal testing and penalties will be put into place the next year (Bodley, 2005). • 2003 • • Baseball announces after the season that 5% to 7% of test results were positive, triggering the new policy in 2004 (Bodley, 2005).
Evolution of the Policy 2004 • Each player is tested once a year in season. A first positive test results in treatment, followed by a 15-day suspension for a second positive and up to a year suspension for a fifth positive. The result is no player is suspended for steroid use (Bodley, 2005).
Evolution of the Policy 2005 • Baseball agrees to a new policy. There will be one unannounced mandatory test of each player during the season. In addition, there will be testing of randomly selected players, with no maximum number. And there will be random testing during the off season. The penalties for a positive result are, first positive, 10 days; second, 30 days; third, 60 days; fourth, one year, and all without pay (Bodley, 2005).
MLB’s New Policy Major league baseballs players and owners have reacted to the negative press regarding steroids created tougher penalties. The new penalties for steroid use to a 50-game suspension for a first failed test, 100 games for a second and a lifetime ban for a third.
MLB’s New Policy Jason Grimsley was the first major leaguer to be suspended by Major League Baseball for 50 games under a clause of its new steroid policy, without failing a drug test in June 2006. In addition to being suspended, Federal investigators searched Grimsley's home for six hours as part of an investigation of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball.
MLB’s New Policy Why are steroids presence in professional sports such a big deal? Among many reasons, one of the the biggest reasons is the influence that it has on some of these players biggest fans, children. Societies pressure on winning and being the best has a huge influence on children. Steroid use can begin as early as 8th grade!
Steroid use in Adolescents Percentage trends of adolescents use of steroids, 1995-2004 Graph provided by www.usdoj.gov
Dangers of Steroid Use Dangers for Men: Even though anabolic steroids are derived from a male sex hormone, men who take them may actually experience a "feminization" effect along with a decrease in normal male sexual function (Miller, 1988). Some possible effects include:
Illustration from www.Deadspin.com
Further Research If you are interested in the BALCO case you are encouraged to do more research on this topic. One of the interesting aspects of this case is that there are a number of athletes from various sports involved. The only athletes that are mentioned in the main stream media are major league baseball players.
Further Research National Drug Intelligence Center: Steroids National Drug Threat Assessment 2005 BALCO Timeline Supplied by USA Today BALCO Timeline The Baseball Steroid Dilemma PBS Reports
Questions • Do you agree with the current steroid policy in baseball of a 50 game suspension for first time offenders, 100 games for second, and a lifetime for the third? • Are baseball players cheating their fans by using steroids? • What affect has steroids had on the integrity of baseball statistics? Are you still impressed with big numbers from possible steroid users?
References Bodley, Hal. Baseball Officials Announce Tougher Steroids Policy.USA TODAY. 1/12/2005 Dure, Beau. (2006). BALCO investigation timeline. USATODAY.com. www.usatoday.com/sports/balco-timeline.htm National Drug Intelligence Center. National Drug Threat Assessment 2005. February 2005. www.usdoj.gov/ndic/pubs11/12620/steroids.htm MLB Suspends Pitcher Grimsley 50 games. July 12, 2006. www.tsn.ca/mlb/news_story/?ID=168601&hubname=mlb Miller, Roger W. Athletes and Steroids: Playing A Deadly Game. Book. Rockwell: 1988.