Baseball: it’s the dirt that flies off your hand when you slide into second base. It’s the crack of the bat, seeing the ball fly in the air as it carries away over the fence for a game-winning home run. Baseball is the sound the catcher’s glove makes when you hear the umpire yell “Strike three, you’re out!”
Baseball has been referred to as America’s pastime since it became prominent in the United States in the later half of the 1800s. Although baseball is still considered an American pastime, one can argue that football is now America’s biggest sport. The reason for this is debatable. One prominent reason is the use of steroids in Major League Baseball.
Steroids began becoming an issue after former baseball All-Star Jose Canseco released his book titled Juiced in 2005. According to ESPN.com, Canseco claims that more than 85 per cent of baseball players used steroids when he played. Many baseball players have been the constant target of steroid allegations throughout the past decade. Beginning with Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds, and now New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez.
“It taints the game,” said Howard Schwartz, head coach of the Concordia baseball team. “I’m embarrassed to be a fan of the game, all the cheating and lying that’s gone on it really disturbed me.”
Many players have been suspended for using steroids, but Rodriguez is the one who takes the spotlight today with the recent Biogenesis scandal that saw him awarded a 211-game suspension, although he is currently still playing while appealing the suspension.
“I don’t think he deserves to appeal, especially with what he’s done to the fans and everybody, and all the lying,” said Alex Kechayan, one of the veteran pitchers for the Concordia baseball team.
However this was not the sentiment shared by all Concordia players.
“With any appeal you should be playing, it’s just part of the policy and you can’t go against it,” said rookie Dan Connerty who also added that there should be a limit to the appeal process. “I think he should be able to play during the regular season, but not in the playoffs.”
One thing that most of the ball players agreed upon was the current MLB policy on steroids.
“Yes it is [tough enough] but personally, I would make it two strikes and you’re gone for life instead of three strikes,” said Concordia second baseman Andrew St-Denis.
Assistant coach Mark Nadler shared a similar opinion. “I think it’s going in the right direction, they’re cleaning it up,” he said.
While the majority of the Concordia baseball team appear to be satisfied with the current MLB drug policy, none of the players shared any sympathy towards Rodriguez.
“He’s a really good ball player but cheating helps you out and I’m not very fond of the guy,” said Kechayan, although he doesn’t believe it to have a major impact. “He always chokes in the playoffs so he’s not really a team player.”
“I’ve never really had a good opinion of A-Rod, then when I found out he did steroids the first time, I did not like him from that point on,” St-Denis added.
“You see him hitting home runs and being at the top of the league and kids want to emulate that,” said St-Denis of how the use of steroids is affect young baseball players. “People see him as a good role model in that respect but the truth is, he’s not.”
All of these players agreed that steroids need to be taken out of the game with no exception and coaches and parents need to inform young players of the dangers of steroids and the repercussions that will follow.
“Not only [will] your reputation [be ruined], but also health problems [might come up],” said Connerty.