Fans push athletes to heavy drug use

By Chris Giglio

Opinions Editor

Baseball is one of the greatest sports ever played and embodies some of the values we as Americans hold most dear. Playing through a long, grueling season represents persistence, taking a pitch to the body without flinching represents resilience, and injecting a player’s body with steroids represents the relentless drive to win at all costs.

It is unfortunate that this last detail gets thrown into the conversation of baseball. Players over the years have made so many accomplishments just to see the sport get dragged down by a bunch of juicing goons smacking the ball out of the park every other at bat. This is an exaggeration, but unfortunately, not too much of one. Think of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, who stared despair in the eyes and inspired a whole country enduring the Great Depression. Or look at Jackie Robinson, who triumphed over racial prejudices and stood as an early symbol for the Civil Rights Movement. Can we ever compare modern day players, who more often than not use steroids, to these iconic figures?

Many players today do play fairly, but they are a minority in a league awash with needles and “enhancers.” The blame doesn’t fall solely on the players. In fact I would argue we as fans are more to blame for this problem. In an increasingly globalized and technologically advanced world, we demand entertainment and results immediately. This puts growing pressure on a sport that is relatively long and at times slow. This also pressures owners to keep sales up and players to produce more runs at a faster rate.

I come from the city probably most at fault for this. In San Francisco, we are not all doctors, but it was fairly obvious that Bonds’s tripling of size was not a natural occurrence. Despite his obvious use of steroids, we cheered him on because he could hit the long ball.

The World Series is upon us, and we should all enjoy and celebrate the sport. We’ve already seen great playoff match-ups like the Giants versus the Phillies, where an underdog from the West annihilated a team whose fans are unbearably obnoxious. But in the process we should evaluate what we cherish about the sport. Do we care about the wins or do we care about the values the sport stands for?

This question should be applied to other sports as well. Should we ignore steroid use in other sports? Should we let criminals continue to play? Should we ignore the new revelations that agents are paying college players under the table? It is easy to answer yes to all these questions now, but in the long run, these issues will corrupt the sports we enjoy.

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