Baseball is one of the oldest professional sports in the United States that is still heavily played and viewed by spectators. NBC sports conducted a survey to find out the number of people who watch baseball yearly. They found baseball is in second place behind football with 1.01 billion people watching MLB games annually. Baseball has always been my number one love in the sports world. In my lifetime, there have been many changes to the game. Today, one of the most drastic changes that’s occurring in baseball culture is the use of performance-enhancing drugs. How have these performance-enhancing drugs affected the game of baseball? Steroids, human growth hormones, and amphetamines have a large impact on a player’s performance during the season. Steroids and human growth hormones help the body get over the peak and push the muscles to their full potential. Amphetamines increase your focus, along with increasing your quadriceps strength. These drugs are changing the culture of the game by increasing the standards of play. Up until the mid 1990s the total amount of homeruns hit per year was steady, ranging between 2,000 and 3,500. Since then, the totals have jumped between 4,000 to 5,500 home runs per year, changing the game completely and focusing all eyes on the impact of the increased use of performance-enhancing drugs.
While doing research on this topic, I came across many different scholarly articles dating back to the 1990s. There are numerous sources relating to performance-enhancing drugs and players that have gotten caught by the league. I have come to realize how much this trend is affecting the league of baseball and the differences between how the game is played today compared to thirty years ago. As I researched these drugs, I began to understand how they function. Due to the new appearance of these drugs in the MLB, all scientific information about steroids, HGH, and amphetamines has not been fully investigated. Currently, testing is being performed to help answer the unknown facts. Thieme, Detlef.Hemmersbach, Peter. “History of Doping and Doping History”
Doping in sports. Book. April. 2010. In the book, “Doping in Sports,” it covers countless aspects of performance-enhancing drugs. The authors, Thieme and Hemmersbach, wrote the first chapter in this book called “History of Doping and Doping Control.” This chapter focuses on when these drugs first were discovered. Throughout the chapter, Thieme and Hemmersbach gives a little background on the early history of amphetamines and anabolic steroids. Testosterone was crystalized into a pure substance in 1935 by E. Lacqueur and coworkers. After it was crystalized, pharmaceutical companies used it as a natural hormone. Thieme and Hemmersbach writes about the lack of knowledge around these drugs in the late 1930s. People were informed that they would increase aggression and provide more strength. This was the start of the performance-enhancing drug battle in professional sports.
In that same chapter, Thieme and Hemmersbach continues to discuss the initial use of these drugs. Thieme and Hemmersbach states, “Testosterone was given to soldiers during World War II to increase their aggression, and Adolf Hitler used testosterone just after it had been synthesized.” This goes to show that these drugs weren’t used in sports right away, although they were used to enhance the soldier’s aggression and strength. This would in turn help them on the battle field and possibly save their lives. One of the first anabolic steroid substances that was found to be performance-enhancing was Clenbuterol. “Clenbuterol – already known for its misuse in animal nutrition for enhanced muscle growth – was undoubtedly an anabolic, but certainly no steroid.” Clenbuterol wasn’t considered a steroid in the MLB but was attributed to muscle growth. This is considered illegal because players started to hit the ball harder and farther. This was the...
References: "MLB Extending Investigation of Performance-enhancing Drugs to Players ' Agents." NY Daily News. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2014.
Solberg, Joe, and Richard Ringer. "Performance-Enhancing Drug Use In Baseball: The Impact Of Culture." Ethics & Behavior 21.2 (2011): 91-102. Academic Search Premier. Web. 26 Feb. 2014.
Thieme, Detlef.Hemmersbach, Peter. “History of Doping and Doping History” Doping in sports. Book. April. 2010.
Tokish, John M., Mininder S. Kocher, and Richard J. Hawkins. "Ergogenic Aids: A Review Of Basic Science, Performance, Side Effects, And Status In Sports." American Journal Of Sports Medicine 32.6 (2004): 1543-1553. Academic Search Premier. Web. 26 Feb. 2014.
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