Friday, February 6, 2009

Doping

Doping has little influence on the outcome of athletic contests. The outcomes of those contests come mainly from preparation, opportunity and the heart. Doping does not determine the outcome of the game; it is about taking advantage of an opportunity (Gillis).

It is argued; particularly in baseball, that even if someone is doing steroids, it will not help them actually hit the ball. I believe hitting a baseball is a unique skill. It is an act that does not require extraordinary muscle strength. Instead, an athlete has to have technique, reflexes, and hand-eye coordination, not brute strength.

Doping for sports gives a competitive edge and is a part of our culture. It always has been. Dan Le BaTard sums it up by saying." It is not natural to have a special surgery to keep pitching. Curt Schilling did that. It is not natural to shoot yourself full of cortisone to mute the body's screaming. Kirk Gibson did that. It is not natural to pop amphetamines like Tic Tacs so you can ward off the fatigue of Game 102, but hundreds of players regularly do that." (Le BaTard)

Medicine and artificial help are part of the culture of sports now. Players compete against whatever is going on in their era. We are learning that steroids have been part of baseball's culture for a long time now. McGwire wasn't hitting more homers than anyone else because he was taking more steroids than anyone else. He was hitting more homers because he was better than anyone else in the steroid age that we live today (Le BaTard).(BaTard)

Ted Williams, considered by many the greatest pure hitter of all time, cites three key elements to hitting a baseball effectively in his book, "The Science of Hitting". A good hitter must identify a pitch to hit, know enough about the pitcher and the game situation to give himself the best chance to succeed, and put hands and hips into motion to drive the pitch. Nowhere does Williams mention that muscle mass aides in any of those critical elements (Williams).

Sports have always reverted to some type of enhancement dating back to the beginning. The only difference today is that it is something now that people are looking for a can be detected(Gillis).

The connection between extraordinary muscle strength and home run hitting ability seems misleading. It is disappointing that so much of the sports world seems to take it as gospel. If bulky bodies were the key to driving pitches out of the ballpark, then I would have to think that Bo Jackson should have been a Hall of Famer given his incredible muscularity.

I don't doubt that some major league players are taking steroids, but I do doubt the supposed frequency and the opinion of its use. The primary focus by the media has been to emphasize what effect steroid use has on the statistical results of the game, and the idea that the major leagues are out of control with superhuman players who can master the game's most difficult tasks with ease. The media would be better off emphasizing the health risks taken by players who use steroids for what is a marginal performance advantage.

References

BaTard, Dan Le. "You Can't Break Rules if There Aren't Any." Miami: Miami Herld, 13 February 2005.

Gillis, Charlie. "Cheaters Will Always Be With Us." Maclean's 13 August 2007: 60+.

Schmidt, Kate. "Steroids: Take One for the Team." Los Angeles Times 14 October 2007: n.p.

Williams, Ted and John Underwood. "The Science of Hitting". New York: Simon & Schuster, 1986.

4 comments:

gatorade said...

This article only mentions steroid use as it relates to baseball. What are its effects in other sports?

The Professor said...

But what about a good hitter taking steroids? The more force that is exerted on the bat, the more that is exerted on the ball, and the farther it will go. The real problem lies in those who know how to swing properly and are taking steroids.

John Connor said...

I would think that taking steroids would improve your hitting because you can exert more force. But,how can you prevent someone from taking steroids?

Rambunctious Mongoose said...

doping has become a huge problem in sports today, most notebly baseball, with the mitchell report and the BALCO scandal. i believe, however, no matter what we do, athletes will always try to beat the system and still take steroids. The way many athletes make as much money as they do is by their performance, and if they think that their performance is lacking they take steroids. It has become a huge problem in professional sports today, but i believe that it is to late to make any large changes now....