In my opinion, I believe the biggest story of the decade was steroids in baseball. On February 16, 2005, Jose Conseco held an interview with 60 Minutes where he discussed his much talked about book he calls “Juiced”. This book purports to tell the truth about his use of anabolic steroids and human growth hormones, and the same about other top players in Major League Baseball (Hancock, 2005).
Steroids have been a part of baseball’s banned substance list since 1991, however testing for major league players did not begin until 2003 (espn.com, 2007). Conseco’s book in 2005 caused rumblings all around the league and led to former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell’s 409 page report, identifying 86 names who admitted to using steroids. Names on the list included Barry Bonds, Miguel Tejada, Andy Petitte, Eric Gagne, Jason Giambi and Roger Clemens (who continues to deny his usage). The problem is that we don’t know how many people actually were using steroids during this era. If fingers are pointed at the few who admitted to it, what about the players who didn’t? The entire era will have an asterisk attached to it because there is no way to determine who really had the upper hand. Former N.Y. Yankees outfielder Gary Sheffield, who admitted to unknowingly using a steroid-based cream in 2002, says records can’t be stripped because of “speculation.” If “somebody comes up with facts, then we can talk. Other than that, it’s a waste of time” (Jenkins, 2005).
If it were up to me, I say let everyone use what ever they want and lets go (I jest), but the game was its most exciting during those McGwire/Sosa homerun battle years or watching Bonds take the only good pitch of an at bat deep. I thought it was the live ball era but we now know it was much more than tightly strung baseballs. This past World Series was the second lowest rated fall classic ever and baseball needs to find a way to” juice” up the game again.
ESPN.com. (2007). Mitchell report: Baseball slow to react to players’ steroid use. Retrieved on 11/12/10 from http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3153509
Hancock, D. (2005). Steroid-user Canseco names names. CBS.com. Retrieved on 11/12/10 from http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/02/10/60minutes/main673138.shtml
Jenkins, C. (2005). Players admit steroids changed baseball. USA TODAY. Retrieved on 11/12/10 from http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/2005-03-15-steroids-mlb-cover_x.htm
CNBC video, “The Biggest Plays in Sports Business”: http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?video=1368367744