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The W - Baseball - Baseball Players Say Steroid Use Is Heavy
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Zeruel
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Since: 2.1.02
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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.05
from the washingtonpost.com site
Click Here
By Amy Shipley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 29, 2002; Page D1


Ken Caminiti said he used steroids in 1996 when he won the National League's most valuable player award, becoming the first high-profile major league player to admit openly that he took the drugs.

Caminiti told Sports Illustrated that at least 50 percent of major league players use steroids. It was a candid interview in this week's issue on a long-suspected problem that the game's players and owners have skirted for years.

"It's no secret what's going on in baseball," Caminiti, who retired last year after a 15-year career, told the magazine. "At least half the guys are using steroids."

Unlike the NFL, NBA, NCAA and the Olympic movement, baseball does no drug testing of its players. Rumors of rampant steroid use have arisen in recent years as home runs have soared and records have been shattered, but until now no big-name player has freely acknowledged using steroids, which have been illegal in the United States since 1990.

"Steroids are incredibly prominent in the game, I don't think there's any question about that," Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Curt Schilling said this season before a game in Miami. "The fact of the matter is it has enhanced numbers into the stratosphere. . . . Is it a problem? It depends on what you consider a problem. It certainly has tainted records, there's no doubt about that."

When asked about the percentage of players using, Schilling said, "I would say it's 50 percent and the 50 percent who haven't used it have considered it."

Commissioner Bud Selig told Sports Illustrated: "It's a problem we can and must deal with now. . . . I'm very worried about this."

Anabolic steroids raise the level of testosterone in the body, which causes an increase in muscle mass that can help players train harder and hit and throw with more power. But possible side effects are heart and liver damage, elevated cholesterol levels, strokes, aggressiveness and genitalia dysfunction.

Players say the fact that baseball offers guaranteed contracts – the NFL does not – provides incentive for players to ignore health risks and attempt to cash in.

"A player can go from making $750,000 to – after getting bigger and stronger [with steroids] – making 7, 8, 9 or $10 million a year," Schilling said. "Is the risk worth the reward?"

Said fellow Diamondback Craig Counsell this season in Miami: "If you can get an advantage somewhere, even if it involves crossing an ethical line, people will do it. Home runs are money. That's a fact."

Texas Rangers pitcher Kenny Rogers told Sports Illustrated: "Basically, steroids can jump you a level or two. The average player can become a star and the star player can become a superstar. And the superstar? Forget it. He can do things we've never seen before."

Grace, Counsell and Schilling countered Caminiti's claim that steroids were freely discussed in major league clubhouses. They said they believe players who use steroids are usually embarrassed and try to hide their use. Some players speculate that human growth hormone, which is illegal but undetectable by drug tests, is also a popular drug among baseball players. Human growth hormone is believed to promote strength and growth.

Skyrocketing home-run records, combined with the fact that baseball does no testing, means even players who claim they don't use steroids are powerless to prove their innocence. San Francisco Giants star Barry Bonds, who broke the single-season home run record last year by hitting 73, has put on some 40 pounds of muscle since the early 1990s. He says he has gained the muscle honestly, by working harder than he ever has in his career.

"To me, in baseball it really doesn't matter what you do," Bonds, 37, said this year. "You still have to hit that baseball. If you're incapable of hitting it, it doesn't matter what you take. You have to have eye-hand coordination to be able to produce. I think [steroid use] is really irrelevant to the game of baseball."

The issue of drug use in baseball made headlines when Mark McGwire admitted to using the legal steroid androstenedione in 1998, the year he eclipsed Roger Maris's 37-year-old home run record by hitting 70 home runs. Unlike Caminiti, McGwire was forced into the admission after a reporter noticed a vial of the drug in his locker.

Androstenedione was, and remains, available over the counter because it was not commercially popular when steroids were banned in the United States and therefore escaped mention in the legislation. Other steroids, such as dianabol and nandrolone, were specifically mentioned and thus are illegal.

Later, andro was categorized as a food supplement in the United States because it can be shown to come from a natural source – tree bark – but it nonetheless is an anabolic steroid and is banned by the NFL, NCAA, NBA and International Olympic Committee.

Steroids were believed to be the drug of choice in the NFL and Olympic movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s, as players discovered their power but lacked information about the potential side effects. Before Lyle Alzado died from brain cancer at age 43, he blamed his sickness on the steroids he used while playing for the Oakland Raiders in the 1970s and '80s. Recent trials in Germany provided evidence of systematic steroid use among East German athletes who dominated Olympic sports in the 1970s and early '80s.

The baseball players' union historically has resisted drug testing. Diamondbacks first baseman Mark Grace said recently, however, he believed many players were fed up with the inflated numbers they attributed to steroids and would be willing to approve testing in the next round of collective bargaining.

"If you want to keep home runs in check, if you want to reduce home runs, start testing for steroids – it's that simple," Grace said. "I don't think Major League Baseball wants to do that because fans like home runs. It's a very scary situation for the health of the ballplayers. You see a lot of it. . . . I personally would love to see it banned or abolished."

Staff writer Dave Sheinin contributed to this report.

© 2002 The Washington Post Company




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#2 Posted on
Well, it's about time someone steps forward. It's no surprise. I'm sure it is to some. I'm all for them banning all steriods though as the homerun has gotten way out of hand. People blame the parks and the balls, but I think if you take away the steroids you diminish the number of homeruns hit dramatically.

I'm wondering if muscle tears have gone up.



Tom Dean
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Since: 30.8.02
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#3 Posted on
This really affects my enjoyment of baseball in no way whatsoever. Why should I care?



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#4 Posted on
    Originally posted by T.R.
    This really affects my enjoyment of baseball in no way whatsoever. Why should I care?


That's a shocking response to see coming from a wrestling board.

(edited by Guru Zim on 29.5.02 0632)


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#5 Posted on

    Originally posted by T.R.
    This really affects my enjoyment of baseball in no way whatsoever. Why should I care?

Well if the idea of the home run becoming about as difficult as an NBA 3-pointer doesn't bother you, or the idea of the integrity of the game being compromised as half the players cheat and half (perhaps foolishly) don't, or the idea that 12-10 games are more common than 2-1 games, or the idea that BRADY FREAKIN' ANDERSON has 50 home runs in one season doesn't bother you, then no, this is a non-issue.



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Since: 30.8.02
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#6 Posted on
Well if the idea of the home run becoming about as difficult as an NBA 3-pointer doesn't bother you...

Check...

or the idea of the integrity of the game being compromised as half the players cheat and half (perhaps foolishly) don't...

That you'll need to explain, I don't understand what it means...

or the idea that 12-10 games are more common than 2-1 games...

Check...

or the idea that BRADY FREAKIN' ANDERSON has 50 home runs in one season doesn't bother you...

Check...

then no, this is a non-issue.

Yeah, I guess that's what it is to me unless you can explain that other thing.



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TheBucsFan
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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.42

    Originally posted by T.R.
    This really affects my enjoyment of baseball in no way whatsoever. Why should I care?


It cheapens the "accomplishments" of guys like Bonds and McGwire.

Say, for example, a New York Yankees player blantantly trips a baserunner in the World Series, but the Ump doesn't see it somehow, and it enables the yAnkess to win the game and series. Then the player clebrates the teams great victory as if the team deserved it. Would that bother you? It's cheating just like taking these steroids is.
MedallaGuy
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Since: 12.1.02
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#8 Posted on
My question is...Should Caminiti's MVP be revoked by the MLB?




CarlosColón4Life
Tom Dean
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Since: 30.8.02
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#9 Posted on
Say, for example, a New York Yankees player blantantly trips a baserunner in the World Series, but the Ump doesn't see it somehow, and it enables the yAnkess to win the game and series. Then the player clebrates the teams great victory as if the team deserved it. Would that bother you? It's cheating just like taking these steroids is.

No, it's not, because steroids aren't against the rules.

Anyway, even in your scenario, if the ump didn't catch it, then it didn't exist as far as baseball is concerned. Ask Gaylord Perry, who's in the Hall of Fame for throwing the spitter.



"How YOU Doin'?"
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Since: 2.1.02

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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.42

    Originally posted by T.R.
    steroids aren't against the rules.


They're against the law.
edturtle
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Since: 24.1.02
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#11 Posted on

    Originally posted by rikidozan
    from the washingtonpost.com site
    Click Here
    By Amy Shipley
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Wednesday, May 29, 2002; Page D1


    Ken Caminiti said he used steroids in 1996 when he won the National League's most valuable player award, becoming the first high-profile major league player to admit openly that he took the drugs.

    Caminiti told Sports Illustrated that at least 50 percent of major league players use steroids. It was a candid interview in this week's issue on a long-suspected problem that the game's players and owners have skirted for years.

    "It's no secret what's going on in baseball," Caminiti, who retired last year after a 15-year career, told the magazine. "At least half the guys are using steroids."

    Unlike the NFL, NBA, NCAA and the Olympic movement, baseball does no drug testing of its players. Rumors of rampant steroid use have arisen in recent years as home runs have soared and records have been shattered, but until now no big-name player has freely acknowledged using steroids, which have been illegal in the United States since 1990.



    And because the NFL, NBA, NCAA, etc,. test means that there are no steroid users in their ranks? Ummmm...

    I don't think anyone's shocked by the press figuring out the obvious - we've all seen middle infielders who came to the league pencil thin now looking like a contestant in Mr. Universe. Of course, there are 'Roids in baseball - there are 'Roids in every sport. *EVERY* sport.

    Since testing obviously doesn't work in the other sports, what *CAN* be done about 'Roids in baseball??





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Zeruel
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Since: 2.1.02
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#12 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.05

    Originally posted by edturtle


      I don't think anyone's shocked by the press figuring out the obvious - we've all seen middle infielders who came to the league pencil thin now looking like a contestant in Mr. Universe. Of course, there are 'Roids in baseball - there are 'Roids in every sport. *EVERY* sport.

      Since testing obviously doesn't work in the other sports, what *CAN* be done about 'Roids in baseball??




    i think you're missing the point.

    about HALF of all baseball players are takin 'roids _____AND_____ MLB doesn't test for them....

    other major sports at least test for them. if you never randomly test, then you are in effect saying that you condone your players using them, just like MLB is doing.

    Now every stat and award is tainted. They are all "juiced-up" a homer by bonds is probably just another tater by a roided up jackass...

    once they start testing, the homers will drop a bunch....

    i hope there's another home-run race, because that is one glaring effect of the roids...

    Solution:

    testing, non-guaranteed contracts like the NFL, and a zero tolarence punishment to roids. test positive and you're out.


    when it came out mcguire used the legal roids, it ruined my enjoyment. legal or not, roids are roids....



    "If it weren't for my horse, I wouldn't have spent that year in college." -Lewis Black
    "Yeah, fuck you E.T. you ungrateful dick." -BigDaddyLoco 5/20/2
edturtle
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Since: 24.1.02
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#13 Posted on

    Originally posted by rikidozan



      i think you're missing the point.

      about HALF of all baseball players are takin 'roids _____AND_____ MLB doesn't test for them....

      other major sports at least test for them. if you never randomly test, then you are in effect saying that you condone your players using them, just like MLB is doing.

      Now every stat and award is tainted. They are all "juiced-up" a homer by bonds is probably just another tater by a roided up jackass...

      once they start testing, the homers will drop a bunch....

      i hope there's another home-run race, because that is one glaring effect of the roids...

      Solution:

      testing, non-guaranteed contracts like the NFL, and a zero tolarence punishment to roids. test positive and you're out.


      when it came out mcguire used the legal roids, it ruined my enjoyment. legal or not, roids are roids....




    I get the point and I understand testing as a PR move but that's just what testing is - a PR move, nothing more.

    Granted, the silence by MLB towards 'roid testing is an implicit acceptance of their use. But is that any more of a farce than the NFL *HAVING* "testing" when to the naked eye it appears that the vest majority (especially NFL linemen) *STILL* are using some type of steroid/growth hormone?

    I dunno.

    In a perfect world people wouldn't use 'roids, agreed. I don't condone their use, but I think it's rather pollyanna to believe that even if the players union accepted 'roid testing that the use would go away. It won't. The benefits are obvious and some guy who's barely hanging on to a job will do whatever he can (using and masking the 'roids included) for more time in the bigs.

    And what would non-guaranteed contract prove? I don't see how that is analagous to the argument.

    Look, I'd love for the 'roids to go away. Honestly I would. But no system of testing is fool-proof and when the stakes are as high as the contracts MLB players can get, you can bet the system of testing would be as much of a farce as the NFL's.

    That Pandora's Box has been open and it seems that the only thing that will curb 'roid use in ALL SPORTS is a high-profile tragedy involving a user of such. And even then...Well, as rassling fans we've seen the likes of Davey Boy and Dynamite and Superstar Graham yet we still see the amazing "growth" of HHH and Eddy and others.

    'Roids are a part of the game - ALL the games. I wish they weren't but it would be naive to believe that they'll just go away.

    And I don't have a clue how to get rid of them. And I think it's safe to say that since no one else has a solution as of yet, that no solution is imminent.



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evilwaldo
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#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 0.00
NFL players are probably using fat burners like Stacker 2 that are basically speed pills. I know a couple of guys that take Stacker 2 before they life to increase the amount that they can lift.

As for hockey, the drug of choice is Sudafed. Players usually drink a bottle before the game for an energy boost.





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Since: 30.8.02
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#15 Posted on
Yeah, some of them are illegal, but some things that have very similar effects are not. If they want to come up with a comprehensive policy that covers all performance enhancers and makes sense across the board, and people then disobey that policy, then fine, I'll hold it against those people then. I don't believe in punishing people under rules that didn't exist at the time, or in punishing people under rules that are so incomplete that they would serve no real purpose.



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Big Bad
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Since: 4.1.02
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#16 Posted on

    Say, for example, a New York Yankees player blantantly trips a baserunner in the World Series, but the Ump doesn't see it somehow, and it enables the yAnkess to win the game and series. Then the player clebrates the teams great victory as if the team deserved it. Would that bother you? It's cheating just like taking these steroids is.


This reminds me of that series back in 1977, when Reggie Jackson was running to second and blatantly stuck his hip out to get in the way of the throw. The ball bounced off him, and a run scored for the Yanks, I believe. It was obvious interference, but the umps didn't call it.



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#17 Posted on
It really is too bad for the player who works out all winter, with no enhancers what so ever. Steroid use takes away from those who really do work hard, and do it the *right* way. It's unfair to the player who doesn't want to risk his health by taking the easier way.

I remember when a player would simply cork his bat for an edge. Who needs cork now?


EDIT: Here's Tony Gwyn's take on steroid use in baseball...
http://espn.go.com/mlb/columns/gwynn_tony/1388401.html


(edited by BigDaddyLoco on 30.5.02 0407)


haz
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Since: 2.1.02
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#18 Posted on
So, just why is anyone surprised by this story???

I mean, after the issue with McGwire a few years back and his use of the over-the-counter supplement, did we not know that this was happening???

In terms of cheapening records that are broken, it does no more than the juicing of the ball does. (whether proven or not)

If we went back in time and looked at what player did to gain an advantage, they probably did things that were not legal at-the-time, but today would seem fairly innocent. As someone mentioned, corking the bat used to be a big deal, but today who needs it???


I just read Gwynns article and the point he brings up about bench players doing it to enhance their chances makes a lot of sense right? With the money that is available for having a single good year, why wouldn't they do it?

MLB has problems and this just enhances them greatly...


(edited by haz on 30.5.02 0937)


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#19 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.18

It's interesting that most of the players/former players I've heard discuss this (Gwynn, Dibble, McFarlene), almost all of them say it's the fringe player trying to stay in the major leagues who might be/are juiced not the superstars.

It may just be my paranoid nature, but that's awfully convenient. We don't want to taint Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, et al with the Scarlet Letter, but who really cares about bench jockeys.





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Since: 24.1.02
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#20 Posted on

    Originally posted by haz
    So, just why is anyone surprised by this story???

    I mean, after the issue with McGwire a few years back and his use of the over-the-counter supplement, did we not know that this was happening???




Well, I'm certain Bud Selig knew nothing about this.

    In terms of cheapening records that are broken, it does no more than the juicing of the ball does. (whether proven or not)

    If we went back in time and looked at what player did to gain an advantage, they probably did things that were not legal at-the-time, but today would seem fairly innocent. As someone mentioned, corking the bat used to be a big deal, but today who needs it???





Well, one could argue that Babe Ruth's records were cheapened by not playing in a racially integrated league. One could argue that Maris' record was cheapened by not playing against full-scale international competition and expansion-weakened teams. Mac's and Bonds' records tainted by 'roids and small ballparks and expansion and...Etc., etc., etc.

Baseball records are so...impermanent and imprefect. In the end, it's probably best to look at stats as only numbers and be donw with it.



    I just read Gwynns article and the point he brings up about bench players doing it to enhance their chances makes a lot of sense right? With the money that is available for having a single good year, why wouldn't they do it?

    MLB has problems and this just enhances them greatly...






Yep. What would *YOU* do for a few million dollars? It's kinda hard to villainize a guy from Dirt Poor, Dominican Republic for taking 'roids as a way to collect a nice payday to keep from having to go back to from where he came.

Naturally, folks will be indignant about it. But until there's a *REAL* soultion for ridding the sports world of 'roids you can only hope that common sense - among everyone - prevails.

Of course, common sense isn't a good bet to make, usually.



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