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Sports' Steroids Issue

Discussion in 'Sports Board' started by c_norris, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. c_norris

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    Focus: It's the biggest sports scandal of the decade. It's questioned the legitimacy of nearly two decades of record-breaking and massively entertaining ballgames. All because the man who has come to symbolize the image of the word decided to get some publicity.

    Discuss. Who is to blame? Why is it such a big deal? What needs to be done with HOF voting for the era's greats? and so on.
     
  2. dubyu tee eff

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    Am I the only one who doesn't give a shit? There is so much hubbub about records being invalidated, but the game has been changing since its inception. You really think the top hitters from the 30's would be worth a damn today? They wouldn't. They wouldn't be able to compete in today's game. Not to mention all the rule changes over the years especially the pitching mound being lowered. The game has evolved and developed. It really is impossible to compare records with yesteryear with the records of today.

    All this is why I think players on steroids shouldn't be kept out of the HoF. Players in the 20's and 30's didn't have access to all the supplements and equipment players do today. Controlled steroid use is just another step in this progress. All we should be doing is making the information of the possible dangers of steroids explicit and then letting players make their own decisions.
     
  3. Dcc001

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    Actually, this is a fairly interesting topic. My thoughts:

    1. As it relates to baseball, I think that WTF is wrong in saying that 'the players of the 20s and 30s would not be able to compete with the players of today'. It is true that most of them wouldn't, but I think the stars would.

    Take Mantle, for instance. How did Mickey Mantle get so strong? Well, when he was a child he used to accompany his father and grandfather into the mines. His job was to break rocks, and he worked in tandem with another child. One would swing the sledge and break the rocks until he could no longer hold it. Then, the other child would take over. When they got home, Mantle's father would train him to play ball. That's pretty fucking hardcore. And, although it's up for debate, there's still an argument to be made that he holds the record for the longest homerun ever hit.

    Plus, Mantle liked to party. So did Ruth. Hard. Now, I know that the game has changed greatly, but Jesus Christ...could you imagine what these guys would've been like with supplements and steroids?

    2. I do think it's a shame that steroid use has permeated sports to the degree that it has. Gone are the days where someone could do something truly remarkable in sports and gain the respect and admiration of the masses. If someone ran the hundred meter dash in 3.5 seconds, we'd shrug our shoulders and wonder what drugs he'd shot himself full of. I don't know what the best way of eradicating it or policing it is, since the damage has been done. I just think it's too bad that there's an entire generation that thinks winning is more important than integrity, and that exposing yourself to grave long-term risk is worth the glory.

    Although, I suppose, it's been like that to some degree forever. It just seems worse now.
     
  4. dubyu tee eff

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    I think you may have missed the point of what I was saying. If it is the other way around then please correct me. I'm not saying the players back then didn't have the talent to compete today. I'm absolutely certain they did. What I mean is that if you were to pluck Ted Williams out from his heydey and plop him into a given game now, he would probably get mowed down like first game call-up from AAA. Now if he had access to the things athletes have today, I'm sure he would have been an excellent hitter in any time period.

    You bring up the example Mickey Mantle in the mines. Compare that to say Ichiro who apparently trained day in and day out from his early childhood on batting tees and pitching machines. Having such specific training will likely lead to a much more finely tuned hitting machine than swinging an ax for years.

    This attitude I don't quite understand. Why is there such a huge shift in attitude from other forms of training to steroid use? Certainly there are many forms of non-steroid related training that lead to long term damage. Hell playing the game by itself tends to lead to long-term complications. The simple act of pitching wreaks havoc on shoulders and elbows. Just about anyone who is a catcher for a significant period of time has a lot of issues with their knees. Just getting good enough to play at a professional level requires years and years of mental anguish and physical pain and suffering. Athletes do it for glory, fame, and money (and pussy). Given all this, why does steroid use require a whole new set of rules and attitudes? We seem to have no problem with potential athletes who train all their childhood and teenage years and then one big injury ruins their career before they even make it to the show.

    Put simply where you see a categorical difference, I see a sliding scale. All people who decide to pursue a career in just about any professional sport risk long-term and short-term damage to their lives. So why let all of that slide under the rug then frown so intensely on steroid use?

    I think the answer is to let those who decide to pursue a career as an athlete make their own decisions. Whatever they want or need to do to get to the show is up them. If an individual believes the personal risk is worth the benefits then so be it. I just want to sit back and enjoy the show.

    edit: And for fucks sake, can we all agree that holding congressional hearings over this nonsense is beyond retarded? Couldn't they find a better use for those tax dollars?
     
  5. Dcc001

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    Oh this point, I think we'll have to agree to disagree. Certainly not with all players, but as I said above - the stars like Mantle and Ruth and Williams (particularly Mantle) would be as good now as the were then, in my opinion.

    Sorry if my post was unclear.

    My biggest problem with steroids is that they rob sports of integrity and cheapen athletic accomplishment. I am well aware that steroid use alone doesn't accomplish anything...the athlete still has to work their guts out. 'Roids give them a higher threshold for success then they otherwise would have, though, and to me this creates an artificially imposed set of sports records that otherwise would never have been achieved. The average person probably isn't aware of the work that still goes in to training when steroids are involved, and subsequently dismisses the effort as the result of the drug, thus robbing all athletes of their credibility. This is my problem with steroids.

    As to sports related injuries, yes, I acknowledge that they have always been around and that playing any sport well pretty much guarantees some kind of damage, even if it's as basic as repetitive stress.

    The problem is that throwing steroids into the mix does two things (I feel).

    1. It stresses the body to go beyond its natural limits, thus exacerbating any repetitive strain or sports injury that would have occurred anyway. Because they can train longer and harder, they do more damage. This is not terrible, but my bigger problem is...

    2. Steroids have their own inherent risks and damages. Yes, a long-time catcher is going to destroy his knees. If he uses steroids, he'll also zap his kidneys, liver, heart, testicles, brain chemistry, etc. etc. Depending on the type of steroid, the dosage administered and the duration it's taken for there is A TON of damage to be done that otherwise would never have happened. Exposing yourself to this risk is terrible. Setting the example for younger players that it is acceptable to shoulder this risk (no pun intended) merely so that you can have a slight competitive edge is the truly horrible part.

    EDIT: As to the congressional hearings...is it stupid for congress to get involved? On the surface, yes. However, consider how much money is at stake in the sports industry as a whole, and that might clarify things. It's right up there with all the other big industries. If you look at congress' interest from a purely monetary standpoint, then it makes more sense.
     
  6. mad5427

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    Because there were 100's of players supposedly juicing, then I think the argument becomes moot. That era may have had inflated stats, but I think the playing field was more level than people think.

    If nobody was juicing at all in that era, I think Clemens, Bonds, McGuire, etc. would still have been the stars and best of their generation, etc. All it did was elevate everybody pretty evenly. Average clean players versus superstar clean players is really no different than Average juiced players versus superstar juiced players.

    Why haven't they released the list of all players that tested positive during that era or who were suspected? I guess it's because there would be a whole bunch of players who weren't that good. It would show that average and great players alike were juicing and it didn't effect the game at the time that much, comparatively speaking.

    Here's what was hurt. Statistics. The numbers were inflated. That hurt peoples ability to compare stats of players from yesteryear, during the steroid era and today. So, the players would have only hit 30-40 hr's per year instead of 50-60. Average players would of only hit 10-20 instead of 30-40. I believe that most every player had to do something illegal during those years just to make it to the pros. I of course have no proof of anything and this is just me blabbering, but my opinion is that players who weren't juicing during those years made it to triple A, maybe relief pitcher or end of bench backup utility players who were good but not good enough.

    Ted Williams was a star in his era. He would have been a star today without juice if he had todays tech and support. He would have been a star if he was juicing in the juicing era. Bonds would have been a star today without juice, was a star in his steroid era and would have been a star if he played alongside Williams.

    I'm running around in circles here, but I think they need to just look at it as everybody was juicing, so the field was level and the best of that era should be in the HOF. Hell, put a line on their plaques saying they were juiced, who cares. Just say they were the best of the juiced athletes.
     
  7. dubyu tee eff

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    I think I understand what you're saying but I don't see how it addresses the fundamental issue I raised. Steroids make athletes better at a greater risk. So do other forms of training. Steroids make records easier to break. So do other forms of training. I agree that it is a greater risk than other forms of training but what is the justification for drawing the line there?

    You say that using steroids cheapen records but what would your reaction be to a hypothetical player who goes out and starts breaking records without training at all? I'm inclined to believe the typical person's reaction would be "oh man that dude is so freaking talented. If only he would work out he could be even better. What a moron."
     
  8. Dcc001

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    So are you saying that athletes who don't juice are all morons? That you view steroid use as merely another 'training tool'?

    If this is the case then, again, we'll have to agree to disagree. I think steroid use is cheating. I don't hold it in the same category as, say, training with a heart rate monitor to maximize your efficiency. I view it as being on the same level as using Vaseline on the baseball or corking the bat.
     
  9. dubyu tee eff

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    Sort of. It depends on the athlete's utility function. If the athlete is willing to risk long-term damage to reach a higher level then he/she should use steroids. It only makes sense. If the athlete is not willing to take that risk then it doesn't make sense for them to use steroids. I view steroids as an option available to athletes in their training repertoire. Remember, controlled steroid use under the supervision of a doctor is quite safe, though I wouldn't mind it either way. (The scorn of fans and the legal aspect is just another variable in the risk function)

    I think using steroids is cheating too but that's because of the technicality that it is explicitly prohibited by the rules of the game, just as corked bats and vaseline are. If these things weren't prohibited then I wouldn't have a problem with them either.

    I understand that you don't hold it in the same category as other training tools, but a heart rate monitor is a straw man example. I'm talking about the things athletes due that risk long-term health, and there are a myriad of things that athletes do that do just that. My question is why do you draw the line at steroids when other things athletes do also pose risks. Why are steroids the threshold?

    (As an aside, please don't take offense to anything I say. I have a tendency to phrase things harshly in even friendly debates. If I have done that, I apologize.)
     
  10. KIMaster

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    Steroids have been around in sports ever since the late 50's. They're far from a recent thing. And the idea that baseball was untainted until recently is hilarious; the players back in the 70's used to "pop greenies", or chow down on amphetamines, like they were candy. That was also an illegal drug, but its purpose was to increase their speed and stamina, instead of their power, like steroids do.

    So why don't sanctimonious, idiot sports writers label the 70's "the amphetamine era" and kick all its top players out of the Hall of Fame?

    If you go further back, notorious cheaters in the first half of the 20th century corked bats, put foreign substances on the ball, fixed games (Honus Wagner), and in Ty Cobb's case for example, intimidated and beat up competitors outside of the game. Oh, and let's not forget that they didn't even allow black players to participate, rendering their records mute, too. In other words, the only "legitimate" era of players we're left with are some guys in the 50s and 60s...if even that.

    And let's not forget that a sport like American football puts baseball to shame with regards to illegal supplements.

    Anyways, according to some estimates, and what I know from talking to guys, roughly 80-90% of the top guys in my favorite sport, mixed martial arts, have taken some "unnatural" enhancers at some point in their career, whether it was some form of steroid, blood doping right before a fight, other illegal supplements, etc.

    I don't have a problem with it, and think it's meaning to speculate on it.

    These guys were/are amazing athletes without the benefit of any drugs, but the latter provides a competitive advantage at the highest of levels. With tens of millions of dollars at stake, everyone else doing them, and them physically harming no one but themselves, it's disingenuous bullshit to criticize them.

    Who exactly are they hurting with this, anyways? The fans, who get to see a greater display of ability than they would have otherwise?

    The older players and their precious "records", most of whom cheated and took advantage of everything they could back then, too? Give me a break.
     
  11. Dcc001

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    This might be a tad off focus, but I'll ask anyway. What constitutes cheating? Is it merely the violation of whatever written rules exist for that particular sport, or is there any kind of unwritten moral code that should also apply?
     
  12. MoreCowbell

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    Are you expecting a universal answer here? Because you aren't going to get one.

    Some people think anything within the rules is fine. Ty Cobb would probably fall into this group.

    Others want everyone to be perfect upstanding citizens like Cal Ripken Jr.

    Others (probably most) will say that there is some middle ground. For example, gonad-punching is probably a no-no, even if there is technically no rule against it.

    This isn't the sort of question that has an answer. It has answers, depending upon value judgments.
     
  13. Crown Royal

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    It's just one of the issues where there is no resolve. And KIM's right, back in the day before urine tests and rules about cheating it was repulsive what athletes used to do. Ty Cobb used to file down his cleats and drop-kick fielders that tried to tag him out (he once beat a stadium heckler who had no hands within an inch of his life, not to mention he pistol-whipped an attacker to death). Babe Ruth used to keep a bottle of Jack Daniels tucked in the outfield wall of Yankee stadium, and he'd take a congragulatory swig every time he'd nab a fly ball. Mickey Mantle used to drive drunk to the games and even blacked out on the field once. Football players in the CFL used to hammer industrial staples through their shoes and tape thumb tacks to their hands. NFL players used to use "Stickum" to catch balls.

    The point is sports will ALWAYS be tainted, and there's nothing we can do about it. Most athletes aren't exactly rocket scientists. Most pro football players nowadays are so fucking stupid and criminally insane they were ushered into the shittiest courses in college so they could get a pass, such as Remedial Alphabet Memorizing and Basic Ice Cube Making.
     
  14. Dcc001

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    I wasn't looking for a universal answer, just hoping to get people's thoughts on what exactly cheating is, since most of the posters in this thread seem to condone steroid use.
     
  15. KIMaster

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    As I read it, the stadium heckler was a paraplegic, and sitting in a wheelchair. Cobb went into the bleachers, beat him down, and even threw him out of the wheelchair at one point. Still, that pales to what occurred afterward.

    When the owners and commissioners of baseball talked to him about it, Cobb not only refused to apologize, but stated that if they were going to suspend him, they would have to pay him 3 TIMES his then salary to come back. Several days later, that's EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED.

    It's both evil and badass at the same time; a man triples his income by beating up a cripple that yelled some names at him.

    Exactly; it's a giant business, and as any athletic endeavor with a lot of money in it, it becomes entertainment more than anything else. It's not some holy entity; just a way for some kids with very few other opportunities in life to make it big.
     
  16. Crown Royal

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    Celia (Elizabeth Perkins) on the show Weeds had a great, thought-provoking jab about HGH that went something like this:

    A a person who doesn't fully understand the science of HGH, I couldn't have put it better myself.
     
  17. scootah

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    I don't have a problem with Steroid use in sports. I really don't. I'm a fat, poorly coordinated computer geek with no particular sporting talent. I could work out every day for a decade and take every performance enhancing drug known to man. I'm still not going to have what it takes to play pro ball.

    I don't believe sports are ever fair. For sports to be 'fair' we'd need to take all the pro athletes and genetically engineer a super clone out of all of them - then produce enough clones to populate every team and every competitor and then raise them with equal access to training and development and pit them against each other. At the end of the day it's not fair that Michael Ohm didn't get proper nutrition or training until highschool. It's not fair that Michael Phelps has enormous feet. It's not fair that Usain Bolt has fast twitch muscle fibers that move at a rate previously unobserved in humans. It's not fair that some athletes have better coaches or better development plans or better nutritionist or better equipment. It's not fair that some swimmers get awesome suits and some swimmers can't afford them. It's not fair that money and opportunity and random chance all stack up next to genetic abnormality to determine if someone will be an incredible anomaly or just pretty good at hoops.

    Performance enhancing drugs don't make you better at the game. They don't make your muscles magically grow. You don't jack a test and hgh stack, take a nap and come out A-Rod. All the drugs do is give you better results from the training. Let you train longer and harder and let you go beyond your genetic limitations. And chances are some guy who never had the training or the coaching or the nutrition or the opportunities that the successful pro athletes have already had more genetic potential then you've given yourself with a stack of very expensive drugs. It's not fair, but it's ignoring reality to think it would have been fair without the drugs.

    I enjoy sports just as much if the athletes are juiced. Hell if they put on a better show - I'll probably enjoy it more. If Nikolai Valuev is allowed to box - I'm all for his opponents being allowed to juice as much as they can take.
     
  18. Mike Ness

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    You can not compare greenie's to steroids. Greenies are a speed and give you a small kick in the pants. Steroids allow athletes to put on enough muscle and strength to hit a ball off the handle of their bat to the opposite field out of the park. (See Barry Bonds) Steroids allow a player like Brady Anderson to hit 12 HR's one year and 51 the next. (See also Bret Boone) Steroids are absolutely 100% cheating. They are a banned substance for a reason, because they make you bigger and stronger well beyond your normal means, beyond your god given talents. I understand why athletes take them, it could be the difference of a one million dollar contract vs. a twenty million dollar contract.

    Also saying that sports are not fair because one athlete is genetically superior to another one is ridiculous. That is what makes sports great, watching someone who you are in awe of dominate an opposing team or an opponent. It also is why it is amazing when a team is able to overcome Lebron James, or when the torch is passed and Nadal beats Federer, or when Anderson Silva finally loses a fight. Just because you are physically the best does not mean you will win every time.

    I'm not sure if Babe Ruth could have hit Roger Clemens, and I'm not sure what to do about the athletes and their records. We all know that steroids does not do anything for hand eye coordination, these guys were great before the juice. I think I would be for the use of steroids or HGH if it meant getting an athlete back on the field sooner (who wants Tom Brady out all year??) if they used it for injuries, but of course that would get abused as well.

    It is the media that has made us all hate this issue. It's the sports reporters who constantly talk about it and speculate on it. Every time a player has a good year (Raul Abenez was accused the first half of this year) or does something amazing he is automatically accused of cheating. I truly hope Bolt and Phelps never used anything, I really hope Lance Armstrong didn't "dope" I love sports and would prefer everyone stay in the parameters of the rules. Call me naive but that's the way I feel.
     
  19. KIMaster

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    So what you're saying is that because steroids provide a greater competitive advantage than greenies, you're fine with the latter and not the former, even though they're the exact same form of cheating?

    What scootah is saying is that neither of these is "fair"; both superior genetics AND steroids cause an uneven playing field regardless of actual technical skill, hard work, or anything similar.

    There are athletes who have perfect, textbook technique, and have no real imperfections except for being naturally smaller, weaker, and slower than a competitor with a marginally worse skill set. And guess what? The second guy is better, just because he was born that way.

    I have no clue about Phelps and Bolt, but I read a book by the team doctor for the Belgian cycling team in the 70s and 80s, where he noted that out of 300 athletes he knew, perhaps 3 or 4 of them didn't use drugs. How did those guys do? "Near last place".

    Cycling, like Olympic weight-lifting, is a sport that mandates drugs use to be even remotely competitive.
     
  20. MoreCowbell

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    Know what else is a banned substance?

    Greenies.


    For a reason, too.


    I have no problem with banning people and ridiculing them for doing things that are outside of the established rules of the game. Not that I draw a moral distinction when things become banned. I just think that steroid use (for example) is a calculated risk, and part of that risk is knowing that you will be reprimanded if it is detected.

    Just like the spitball. Or pine-tarring your bat. Or pine tar on the bill of your cap. Or ball doctoring. Or stealing signs.

    There are a myriad of ways to create 'illegal' advantages for oneself. Steroids is now one of them.

    if you object to steroids and attach moral opprobrium to them, I'm sure that you feel the same way about Gaylord Perry and the spitball, right?