Steroids and baseball
Recently Phillies’ second baseman Freddy Galvis tested positive for an anabolic steroid and, therefore, under the rules of the game, has been suspended for 50 games. This came as a surprise to many as Freddy has very little offensive prowess at this point in his career. However, he did experience a bump in that category last year in AAA. People have various opinions on steroid use. Some say that it is terrible because it is cheating, can be dangerous for one’s health and sets a bad example for kids. Others say that it really doesn’t bother them that much, with some even saying just make it legal as it, in their mind, will create a level playing field.
David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News recently wrote an article about Galvis and steroids. WHen the news first broke Murphy was on TV and basically said “who cares” and pointed out that chewing tobacco is more harmful and players use that in full view of kids, etc. In the article he backed off that position a bit, but still railed against those who would declare Galvis “morally bankrupt”.
I believe Murphy is overreacting a bit. I don’t think many people would declare Galvis “morally bankrupt” if it could ever be shown that he did ingest the steroid knowingly (which is moot anyway). However, it would still be wrong. First anabolic steroids are illegal and against the rules of the game. Yes, chewing tobacco is dangerous and should be avoided, but it does not compromise the play on the field. While some would argue that steroids don’t make much of a difference on a players’ stats, I highly doubt that. If this was the case, why would players take them? Why was there a huge offensive explosion in baseball until stricter rules resulted in a large drop in offense in the game? Circumstantial, yes, but pretty strong I believe. (former Major League pitching coach and manager Joe Kerrigan basically said as much in a recent interview regarding the drop in offense)
Of course, it is understandable that players, especially marginal ones, took and still attempt to skirt the rules and take steroids. It may be their only ticket out of a bad situation, especially in poor Caribbean countries. However, it is still wrong. I believe it is worse for an established player to take steroids as they have much less to lose (e.g. Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro).
I believe baseball has come a long way since the days of the McGwire/Sosa HR race and has a good policy in place regarding steroids which should definitely stay illegal.