Most children who have grown up in an American household have at one point in their lives looked up to sports figures as heroes. Whether it was your grandfather telling his stories of watching Babe Ruth become a legend, your father's stories of Mickey Mantle and the legendary Yankee teams of the 1950's and 1960's, or your own memory of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa chasing the home run record, the feeling of wholesomeness that baseball provides has always found its way into many people's hearts. Steroids have tarnished these sacred memories, casted doubts in the minds of many on the legitimacy of records and statistics and finally affected the way younger players play the game. Baseball, America's pastime, is embedded in the fabric of society. The players and teams have come and gone, but the thing that remains constant is baseball's ability to unite people as well as families. My own personal experience of this came right after September 11th, 2001. Following the tragedy that was 9/11, the country needed something to help everyone return to normalcy. In our moment of weakness and uncertainty, baseball helped calm my nerves. Fifty three thousand three hundred and twelve brothers stood up in unison and took back their lives. The electricity of that game, the sense of regularity in my life, and the knowledge that millions of people were finding comfort together with me during such a hard time, helped me feel a sense of closure that the worst was behind us.
It is the mystique and aura of the players, the exciting tales behind them, as well as the history of the game that keeps us interested as fans. These are the reasons why people, children especially, see these players as invincible, and perfect in every way, shape, and form. What would happen if after a century of inspiring stories, and incredible tales of heroism, the inconceivable notion that these players were not perfect, took prominence? Or that many of these superstars cheated their way to the top?
Recently the topic of steroid use in baseball has been everywhere in the news. It has finally come to the attention of Major League Baseball, and now the general public, that a vast percentage of players have been using illegal performance-enhancing drugs. This not only casts a cloud of suspicion over which players are using steroids, and makes one wonder which players are genuine, but it tarnishes the reputation of the sport. It puts into question every player that has ever played the game, as well as all the records and statistics that have been kept as a measuring point of success throughout the history of the game. This latest discovery of steroid use has the chance to step on the hearts of many young fans of the game, and turn away the most loyal of fans. This whole situation has the opportunity to become a crushing blow to a country at war in need of its national pastime; a country that needs its heroes.
The most rampant issue regarding steroids in baseball lately has to do with the investigation of BALCO (Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative), its dispensing of steroids, and the players that willingly accepted them. Aside from the fact that these are illegal
drugs, and several BALCO employees face federal punishment for distributing them, just as someone selling heroin or cocaine on the street would be, the investigation must be able to tell us which players accepted and used the steroids which they were given. So far the only discovery that has been made was that three superstar players Barry Bonds, Gary Sheffield, and Jason Giambi, allegedly received the drugs from BALCO, but there has been no proof as to when, or even if they were definitely used by them. (Wada Williams)
The fact that three of the most prominent, popular, and notable players in the game had been given steroids radically changes the public's perception of them. Whether or not they used the steroids given to them is...