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I Hate Steroids

By Yong-yi Zhu

SPORTS COLUMNIST

I love writing about sports. Not only does it give me an excuse to go on ESPN.com and surf the Web, but it also allows me, for a couple of hours, to completely leave the MIT world behind as my mind wanders and ponders about baseball, football, and everything else sports related. However, there are certain bounds that I hope to never cross in my writing. For me, that bound includes writing about steroids.

I don’t write about steroids. In fact, I hate steroids. I don’t know how other writers feel about it, but the fact of the matter is anything that can hurt baseball this much is certain to be a terrible thing. I love baseball; therefore, I must hate steroids. It’s a relationship as contrasting as the Yankees and the Red Sox, the Lakers and the Kings, or Itchy and Scratchy. If only baseball could kill steroids as Itchy kills Scratchy on a regular basis.

Steroid usage is an enormous problem, but it is not a problem that can be solved until baseball begins to test all of its players on a regular basis. I don’t understand what the hesitation is in not testing the players, especially since the drug is bad for the players’ health and bad for their reputations. Just think about the amount of speculation that surrounds all of Barry Bonds’ records and imagine what people would say if they tested and found out that he had taken steroids. It would be better for the sport if the testing happened from now on, and everyone knew that all the games are clean. The same system should also go for corking bats. I don’t think that we should question the records that Bonds has set. After all, whether he took drugs or not is not provable, and therefore, any speculation on the issue would be just that, speculation. Who knows if anyone else has taken it in the past? If baseball decided not to ask in the past, then we shouldn’t question the results that we get.

The problem that many of us can fix about steroids is simply not talking about them. I simply don’t see the value in shoving a bunch of cameras and microphones up to Bonds’ face and asking him questions about taking steroids that we know he will not answer. What do you expect past a “no comment”?

Also, I hate all the guesswork that goes on as to who has done steroids and who has not. If there was concrete evidence on who has tested positive and who has not, then great. We can go on criticizing the drug users all we want. But anything past proof makes commenting on the issue rather moot.

We know that Ken Caminiti has admitted to doing it, and we know that Jose Canseco has admitted to doing it. Those statements I’m going to assume are facts. However, anything they said outside of their own admittance of guilt is hearsay. What’s the point in finger pointing when we don’t have any clue where to point our fingers? “So we think somebody may have done something with some company that may potentially have gotten somebody else some steroids.” That’s basically what I read in the papers about steroids. Nothing seems to be concrete.

The worst remark I heard over the past week on the issue of steroids was the comment made by Andy Van Slyke on Julio Franco. Forty-five- year-old Julio Franco still looks like he has the body of a bull. His muscles are bulging, and he is able to carry a fairly heavy bat without much decline in performance. However, putting Julio’s age and his strength together does not seem to make a sensible match, at least not to Van Slyke. So, he said that Franco must be taking steroids or something.

Now, where is there a shred of evidence? It’s almost as though we see a young child who is very bright, but we ignore his smarts and merely blame him for cheating in some way. Perhaps he is simply caught in the steroids frenzy and thinks that it is acceptable to point fingers at Julio Franco, but if Julio is innocent, isn’t Van Slyke accusing an innocent man of a bad crime? Why do we hesitate to call people murderers but are extremely vigilant about calling them steroid users? I feel Van Slyke owes Franco a big apology.

I just think that everyone should stop guessing. We should instead focus on making Major League Baseball heavily test steroid usage from now on. Since there is a way to guarantee the integrity of baseball, why do we shy away from it? Maybe we don’t want to uncover the truth. Maybe it can cost a lot of money. I just want to know the truth. But at least for now, I won’t write on steroids.