1.17.2005

Baseball players are hypocrites over steroids issue

Here's two drugs, one of which is steroids. One is a drug that allows a player to use his body to its optimum use, that it would not be otherwise naturally able to do, increasing his strength, endurance, and reaction time. It also can make the player restless and irritable. The other drug is steroids. What is the first drug? Amphetamines.

Here is a great article on the Chronicle's website about the problem in baseball with amphetamines that gave me this great info on the drug.

Why are these any different? I guess it is not as deadly to players in the long-run, at least that anyone can tell thus far with medical studies (and apparently rampant usage). But there are still people who can be affected by these drugs and perhaps die from it. And while the odds are lower, they are still gambling with their life by taking the drug because they don't know if they are that "lucky" low percentage. Then again, as the old saying goes, you take a big risk everyday when you go into the bathroom and take a bathe yourself.

But still, given all the huffing and puffing by players over the advantages that steroids give a user over a "clean" player, one might think that there would be an equal uproar, if not higher consternation, over the rampant use of this drug. This is because the pressure to use this drug is even higher than that for steroids since there's no "real" side effect to the players, i.e. long term health problems, unless, of course, you keel over and die right after taking it.

Sure the risk is lower, but that first time you take the stuff, you are still playing Russian Roulette and while you are pretty sure you'll be OK, you won't know until you survive your first time. Then you get to benefit from the advantages that amphetamines gives you, basically the same advantages that steroids give you, it sounds like from the article, because it gives you the boost you need to continue to exercise when your body would have told you that you were too tired to continue.

So how is that different? As one pitcher who anonymously admitted in the Chron article, players are so competitive that they would do anything to get an edge. According to Harold Reynolds, he said it was prevalent during his playing days and that it was "a joke how many guys did it. I saw them doing it every day." Tony Gwynn was quoted as saying that he estimated 50 percent of position players regularly use them (my emphasis).

The other illuminating thing this article gave me, which I realized after re-reading it, is that this rampant usage explains why there are some many players who are bad interviews: they are hopped up and irritable because over half the players are using. It won't excuse it but it does explain it.

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