How widespread is doping in baseball?

Obviously, the new book, Game of Shadows, by two San Francisco Chronicle reporters, Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, coming out detailing Barry Bonds’ doping history is making huge news (not that anyone’s terribly surprised). I wasn’t going to post anything about it, but after reading Tom Boswell’s column, I couldn’t resist (my emphasis added)!

According to “Shadows,” in 1998, Bonds began taking a cornucopia of performance-enhancing drugs including Deca-Durabolin, Winstrol, better known as stanozolol, human growth hormone, trenbolone, testosterone decanoate, insulin, Clomid and Modafinil. A normal person would shiver at the potential for self-inflicted damage that such chemicals could produce. But at least if Bonds were an emaciated narcoleptic diabetic, he would be on the right stuff.

Wow! Ummm, don’t forget having fertility issues and trying to get pregnant – since Clomid is what all my mommy friends in that situation have been prescribed! Clomid is prescribed to promote ovulation. Bet you didn’t know Bonds was a transgendered mommy-wannabe. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Seriously, I’ve often wondered how widespread doping is, not only in baseball, but in many sports. I’ve heard both sides of the argument, as well as players interviewed on the radio claiming it can never be wiped out completely because it’s so common now. I fall into the camp that loses respect for athletes who dope. For one, depending on the drugs used, they can drastically change a person’s personality and upset their personal lives. Also, for those athletes who don’t believe in doping and train hard to the best of their natural ability, they seem to be at an unfair disadvantage. This could provoke otherwise “good” guys into doing something they normally wouldn’t just to remain competitive with those who do. Plus, what will these kinds of cocktails do to one’s body in the future? Ick, I’d rather not risk that personally.

Plus, as an amateur athlete, I would hate to realize that I’m competing against people who, in my mind, are cheating to further their abilities. While I kill myself at the pool, on my bike, and the running trail, these people are taking drugs that make it so much easier for them. What’s the point then? Why should I bother when I can’t get an accurate comparison to others? Sure, technically I am only competing against myself and my personal best time records, but what about in a team or truly competitive environment? What about sponsorship opportunities that go to the cheaters because their records are so much better? The good guy loses and the morale of the sport deteriorates.

I know there are people (fans and athletes) on both sides of this touchy argument. In my opinion, either everyone dopes or nobody. Otherwise, the playing field isn’t level. Who can be proud of hitting a bazillion homeruns when they don’t know if they did it themselves or if the drugs performed the slugging? If you truly loved the sport and wanted to take pride in your ‘work’, you would play to the best of your natural ability and be proud of all the milestones *you* achieved.

4 thoughts on “How widespread is doping in baseball?”

  1. Read the SI article–this week’s issue. Bonds makes Pete Rose looks like a choir boy. Selig should ban him from baseball now, but he will instead try to sweep it under the rug. Selig has always been concerned about his legacy as commissioner. Well, now he has one and it isn’t pretty.

  2. Mr. Selig, you’re at bat, and there’s a dope ball headed your way. The question is whether someone will walk who should strike out, and whether the ball, or you, will look like a dope when all is said and done.

  3. Your personal efforts, whether at an individual or team sport, are their own rewards. I don’t make the money that pros do, I don’t have the medical and physical therapy teams the pros do, so I’m not going to emulate the behavior of the pros, except in the virtues of consistency, dedication, focus, all that good Cal Ripken stuff.

    I see guys in the gym who look grotesquely overwrought, probably from the juice, and I don’t want to look like them. I also like having my male bits stay like they are and not shrivel up and fall off. Some guys take ESPN’s shtick and those Gatorade commercials a wee bit too seriously.

    It’s likely that other pro players have and still do “enhance” their performance by various means. Bodybuilders touted the advantages of the E-C-A “stack”: ephedrines (remember those?), caffeine (as in Starbucks), and aspirin (as in Bayer). All legal, at least before ephedrine killed Steve Bechler.

    Professional athletes take ANY edge they can get, the way swimmers shave off all body hair to shave 0.01 seconds. They have every incentive to take whatever a trainer or coach tells them will help them, and worry about legalities and propriety later.

    If Barry Bonds wants to risk literally everything (career, reputation, records, health, life itself) let him, but I won’t be rooting for him and they should put a friggin HUGE asterisk next to every record attributed to him, just like Roger Maris. If he shatters home run records, I will be yawning a great big yawn.

  4. In my opinion, Selig is more culpable than Bonds. He is like a negligent father who looks the other way when his kids get into drugs. Bond is just and juicer and an arrogant nasty jerk.

    It is on to Dodgertown today for Nats vs. Dodgers, than on Monday to Port St. Lucie for Mets vs. Nats. I will report on both games. Find it hard to believe the Marlins are 9-1 and the Nats are something like 1-10. Maybe we are a last place team. If so, thank you Mr. Leatherpants.

Comments are closed.