September 29, 2020

Steroids in Baseball Facts and Assumptions

Matt Welch of the Reason blog tells us about a new steroids in baseball website that critically examines assumptions, particularly those in the Mitchell Report, about steroids and performance-enhancing drugs as they related to Major League Baseball. Eric Walker’s stated goal behind the website:

The purpose of these pages is to methodically dissect those claims and assumptions and compare each with what is actually known about it.

He analyzes several steroid assertions and supports each analysis with several scholarly and scientific citations. Some of his conclusions:

  • Steroids and Home Runs: “No evidence” that steroids have affected home-run hitting.
  • Steroid Side Effects: The side effects of anabolic steroids have been “grossly exaggerated.”
  • Kids and Role Models: Adolescents who self-identify with a role model are no more likely to use drugs than those without a role model.
  • Kids and Sports Heroes: Teenagers, overwhelming male, who self-identify with a sports role model are slightly less likely to use drugs.

Source: Reason blog; Eric Walker’s Steroid website

Recommendations for Steroid Education in Baseball

The Mitchell Report noted problems with current steroid education programs in MLB that focus on severe steroid dangers and deleterious side effects:

[T]hese health risks… generally will not deter a player from using these substances. This is because players who use or are considering using performance enhancing substances do not consider them dangerous if used properly. This view is reinforced when players see that other players who they know are using performance enhancing substances arc not experiencing the adverse health effects described in the educational materials.

This makes sense. If steroid use is rampant and the clubhouse, yet no one is experiencing any of the negative side effects, then why would players give any credence to the MLB “steroid education” programs? Perhaps overstating and exaggerating the side effects and related scare tactics are not effective in a drug education program? [Read more…]

Mitchell Report's Ignorance of Steroid Use in Professional Baseball

The Mitchell Report reveals the general ignorance about steroid use by Major League Baseball players and many other athletes in competitive sports. I would hope that the investment of millions of dollars into steroid use in MLB would result in a basic understanding of the various steroids used by baseball players and the quantities involved.

But apparently this was not within the scope of their investigation. Instead, investigators relied on a survey of bodybuilders and weightlifters to document and determine the manner, methods, and quantities of anabolic steroids used by professional baseball players and presumably all competitive athletes.  [Read more…]