Performance Enhancing Drugs and Major Leage Baseball

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Robert Partridge
TR Composition II 2:00
22 November 2011
P.E.D.’s in M.L.B.
Big muscles and performance enhancing drugs have changed the game of baseball forever. Performance enhancing substances, stimulants, and drugs of abuse are banned by Major League Baseball. According to the Los Angeles Times, there are a total of 58 substances, 30 stimulants, and 7 drugs of abuse that Major League Baseball has banned players from using. Performance enhancing drug usage was speculated as a problem, but wasn’t showcased on a national level until ten players were called to testify in front of a grand jury that was investigating Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) of running a high volume steroid distribution ring. Jose Canseco releases his autobiography, titled “Juiced,” and tells that he actually injected Mark McGwire with steroids and also introduced them to other players. The House Government Reform Committee conducted a hearing scolding Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig for having lenient penalties for positive steroid tests. Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada release a book titled “Game of Shadows” that cites legitimate BALCO transcripts and court documents. After MLB Commissioner Bud Selig read the book “Game of Shadows,” former Senator George Mitchell was appointed by Selig to conduct an investigation into the history of drug use by players in MLB and the effectiveness of the MLB Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program (Mitchell 2).

Performance enhancing drugs such as testosterone (the main male hormone), drive muscle growth (Egendorf 15). Anabolic steroids were developed in the late 1930s to treat hypogonadism. Hypogonadism is a condition where the testes don’t produce enough testosterone to normal growth, development, and sexual functioning (Kiesbye 15). Russian weight lifters in the 1954 world weight competition introduced anabolic steroids to international athletic competition when they found that they could use them for a competitive edge (Kiesbye 21). “When you are training hard, there is probably going to be some muscle damage, and if that damage is repaired more quickly, it means you can get back to hard training faster.” (Egendorf 17). This spread to use of performance enhancing drugs on a world wide scale. Amphetamine (otherwise known as “greenies” to the baseball world) usage was more popular in the MLB during the 1970s and 1980s (Kiesbye 112). According to Associated Content, before steroids made their way into Major League Baseball; amphetamines were “passed out like candy in the clubhouse.” “Greenies are pep pills, dextroamphetamine sulfate, and a lot of baseball players couldn’t function without them.” (Bouton 81). When steroids were introduced to the baseball scene in the 1980s, a decline in amphetamine use became widespread. “The decline in amphetamines was part of the general trend toward better fitness that came with steroid use.” (Canseco 223).“Users of these substances act in secret, in violation of federal law, baseball policy, and since 2002, its collective bargaining agreement.” (Mitchell 12). Human growth hormone is undetectable in the current urinalysis drug testing method used by Major League Baseball. (Mitchell 9). According to the New York Times, the new collective bargaining agreement that was agreed on in November 2011 by the MLB owners and players, blood testing will be utilized to detect human growth hormone. Blood testing will also be more accurate for detection of other performance enhancing drugs on the MLB’s banned list, with a longer detection period.

Bay Laboratory Co-Operative was a company owned and founded by Victor Conte that was investigated by the United States Attorney for the Northern District of California for the illegal distribution of steroids. On September 3, 2003, BALCO was raided by the IRS, FDA, San Mateo Narcotics Task Force, and USADA. During that raid, they were able to find lists of customers, steroid containers, and growth hormones. The...
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