This seems like a topic that just won't go away, so what should I do, write about it of course. Between Mark McGwire's blatant HOF snub (only 23% of the vote) and the new Barry Bonds amphetamines controversy, I thought it might be good time to examine the current state of baseball.
It is clear to me that power numbers in baseball have increased over the last 20 years. I created this graph, showing the number of players who hit 30 or more home runs each year, with information I found here, and it clearly shows a sharp increase around 1996. However, you have to mention league expansion in 1993 and 1998 when talking about this increase. Here is a great paper by Professor Arthur De Vany, University of California, related to Steroids and Home Runs. In an article, published over the summer on psyorg.com, Charles Yesalis, a Professor of exercise and sports science at Penn State, said that steroids do affect performance of the athlete. Steroids will increase both strength and endurance in athletes of all ages. This is most significant to athletes nearing or over the age of 40 because, according to Yesalis that is when your testosterone levels start to decrease. Many baseball players have admitted taking steroids and have named several other players, and here is a list of players that have already been suspended, so I do not really need to prove that fact today.
My question today focuses more on the importance of and the effect of this proven steroid use in baseball. I understand that these players are breaking records and making unbelievable sums of money, but does that effect change the purpose of the baseball. Historically, there has always been a dark side to baseball (The Black Sox, Rollie Fingers, Pete Rose, etc.), but does that ultimately affect the purpose of the game. What is the purpose of baseball? I have always believed that it is to entertain the fans of the game, and that is also where the majority of income in baseball is generated. If steroids where driving the fan base away then that would be a problem for baseball. However, over the last twenty years, just the opposite has happened. The attendance in baseball has reached an all-time high despite the proven steroid abuse.
What is the purpose of the game of baseball?
What is the true effect of steroids on the game of baseball?
Talk amongst yourselves...