Personally, I think baseball and their fans need to take a deep breath and wait a bit before banning people, throwing out records, and leveling fines and denying pensions.
One, and I’ve yet to see a study done on what exactly effect do steroids have on a player’s stats. In the case of someone like Lenny Dykstra, apparently a lot. But, for example, with Bonds, I was looking over his stats and don’t really see that much of an increase. Power hitters DO generally become more effective as they get older, and how much of the increase with Bonds was the result of a multitude of smaller, home run friendly parks and pitching dilution. The only study I’ve seen is one done in the book “Baseball Between the Numbers,” which at least did not seem to be conclusive, which seemed to attribute a gain of 10pt in BA, OBP, and SLG. Gains for pitchers seemed to be even smaller, and were mainly an ability to bounce back quicker between starts.
But the simple fact is this. While the effect of steroids is measurable, it isn’t “major” by any stretch of the imagination. Two, most of the players taking them are marginal, fringe major leaguers, not starts. Third, there are actually few “proven” incidents of steroid use, most are implications due to documents or testimony by either sellers or other users. On the one site I was looking at, of the 123 names they had linked to steroids, only 40 were either admited by the player or as a result of testing. All others were either implicated through indirect sources or names on the Mitchell report, and I’m not sure if those are “proven” players or just those whose names popped up during the investigation.
But the main point is this. Only about 2% of players are involved in the steroid issue. Most are not stars. This hardly would constitute of a “tainting” of the game. And if the Baseball Prospectus is correct as to the effect of them, it hardly even constitutes a tainting of the records. In fact, according to their data, there was a larger increase in home runs in the era that greenies (amphetamines) came into wide spread use. Should we start putting asterixs next to the names of players who set records or played in that era.
Truth. Both Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez were great players before they used steroids. Both were on a HOF track before they ever took any. Steroids did not make them stars. And Baseball tends, from a recognition aspect, to take care of their own situations. I’d really be surprised if Bonds gets into the Hall because of the steroid issue. And I believe both he and A-Rod belong there regardless.
Oh, and I’m NOT a Yankees fan. I root for Oakland, so I got no vested interest either way. I’d just like the focus to get back on baseball, the game, rather than these side issues that detract from enjoying it.