This will hopefully be the last steroid related post for awhile, but I had to link to this Peter Gammons article. Gammons can be a bit of a Red Sox homer, but here he makes a great point (while quoting some other sites). Essentially, we know that athletes, as least as far back as the 50s, were experimenting with drugs to improve their performance. He brings up reverential names like Bob Gibson.
Obviously, this just shows what I’ve been saying all along: players are going to try everything they can to improve themselves. That is part of what it means to compete. Sure, the issue is coming to a head now, but PED-use started LONG before what we call the “steroid era,” and in fact, labeling the era as such is really just a lazy way to justify certain statistical trends that were really the product of a myriad of other things. The baseballs were tighter, the ballparks were smaller, the league expanded – all part of baseball’s plan to bring fans back via offense and home runs. It’s hard to criticize those decisions too much since they certainly worked. But for the media and even baseball itself to now attribute these changes in the game simply to steroids is shortsighted and lazy.