Thursday, February 19, 2009

Just A Few Moments On Steroids

As baseball braces for yet another steroids crisis, I seem to be hearing more of an argument that comes primarily from 40 somethings who grew up before the steroid era. These folks don't feel as betrayed as older generations and are more open about the question of the Hall of Fame, but worry most about the integrity of baseball's scared numbers. "What do we do about all the numbers from this era when everyone seems to be tainted by steroids and how can we put this generation in historical context?"

It's an argument that I think is complete BS. Have steroids had an impact on baseball's numbers? Certainly, although I wonder what the impact of a 'roided up Roger Clemends facing any number of 'roided hitters actually was. But it seems to me as though everyone is overlooking the fact that baseball's steroid era directly coincides with the start of baseball's strength and conditioning era. (And it shouldn't be all that surprising that athletes started to look to performance enhancing drugs the same time they started weight and strength training regimens, meticulously constructed diets and numerous nutritional supplements.) And if steroids makes a difference in statistics, than you would think that these intense training regimens makes quite a difference as well. In other words, baseball's big numbers have other causes than steroids. It just doesn't make much sense to me that we can't compare A-Rod's numbers to Hank Aaron's because of steroids, but there'd be no problem with the massive discrepancies in their training regimens.


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