steroids and sports

The whole Barry Bonds controversy tickles my sense of amusement. There seems to be a lot of outrage that Bonds would resort to steroids to play at his level. And this outrage seems to spill over into baseball in general--and there's some reason for that with the allegations regarding Canseco, Caminiti and Mark McGwire among others.

The reason that this all amuses me is that while steroids certainly help performance quite a bit in some sports--particularly ones where strength or mass are of primary importance--in other sports the extra strength is offset by the decrease in flexibility and endurance that often accompanies increased size. Baseball falls more in the sports domain where flexibility and speed are the key to success. Witness Bonds himself. His best years were when he was a svelte 185 pound outfielder in Pittsburgh.

Since (allegedly) starting steroid use, Bonds has had the worst homerun to at bat percentage in his career. Of course this is more a testament to time than to steroids. A baseball player as he ages usually loses his legs and bat speed. Using steroids for a player like Bonds is his attempt to ward off time for a few more years. Of course it doesn't work very well and that's why using steroids in baseball doesn't bother me. It really doesn't help the player very much.

Many of the leading home run hitters have used steroids. However this drug use isn't how they became great hitters. Rather they already had the agility, coordination, and bat speed to be great hitters. They started using steroids as a way to get just a little bit better, or to hold off the difficulties of age or injury. Generally speaking this doesn't work very well and the dwindling production of Bonds is just one example of this. Check out the chart in this USA Today article to see what I mean.

Bond's best home run percentage was in 1995, long before he started using steroids. The past 4 years, since starting steroid use, he's only acheived about 60% of what he did back in '95. The extra muscle mass does give more strength but it takes away some agility and hitting in general and home runs in particular require timing far more than strength.

Now if you want to worry about a sport that has lots of big muscular players and where muscle mass is a huge concern--why don't we examine professional football? Just asking...


Claire said…
I love coming here and reading about what's big in the news over there!! With Baseball being a sport that people over here just don't know anything about, don't watch, don't play etc we haven't had this story...of course there's usually one of our football (sorry Soccer!) players in the news for one thing or another on a daily basis...and steroids is sometimes one of those things!
Anonymous said…
Hello. There is a contest for the best comment on steroids and sports. You can write a comment on CrimsonLight mini-jersey and win the free Albert Pujols mini-jersey.

I thought it was cool and hoped we could get a few comments on the site concerning steroids.
magz said…
hi sweetie! good musey topic, for in considering sports n steroids n massive muscles, i'm reminded of what used to be MY business, Fancy horses & steroids.

sure, one thinks of racehorses instantly but the racing industry actually has done the most effective testing for substances that enhance performance in the whole horse world.

what many dont know is the HUGE potential for profit from breeding show horses! With a national champ stallion earning 5 grand a whack inpregnating mares, and with AI (quit that Dave! not artificial intelligence, insemnation!) making 200 or more breedings a year easily... it adds up ta big bux.

many of these type of show horses are never broke to ride, they only stand around posed and judged on beauty and confirmation. they must be conditioned to a physical peak, requiring much sweating and excercising, from treadmills to forced 20 mile trots round in circles while wearing rubber coats. often steroided half to death, many break down or die of old age in just a few years.

Poor dumb animals, eh? I'll tell ya true, 'roid rage aint pretty when it's coming from a 1400 lb pissed off stud hoss with fast feet and wicked teeth.

Steroids have a place in certain medical treatments for human or critter, but as a means of cheatin out a great bod? they SUCK.

I send ya smooches and sun from the desterty side my friend!
James said…
You're the winner for the Pujols mini-jersey, so contact me at and I'll get your address to send you the Pujols mini out.

I liked your answers to the comments so thanks for joining in with your take.


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