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Legalize steroids

Isaac Lorton | Thursday, September 13, 2012

To put it simply, steroids should be allowed in Major League Baseball. (Gasp!) I know, I know … what about the tradition and integrity of the game? Or how can we compare players across time if certain performances are enhanced by drugs? Or how are we to judge people for entrance into Cooperstown?

Let me answer these questions.

Small ball is for college baseball and, as MLB teams have shown in the past ten years, does not belong in the MLB. Home runs are what teams count on for run production. Take a look at the Arizona Diamondbacks keeping Mark Reynolds around. He struck out seven times for every home run he got and set two records for most strikeouts in a season. Yet, he hit home runs and fans want to see the long ball, so the D-Backs kept him around to pay the bills.

Wasn’t the most exciting time in recent history of baseball 1997-2001? Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were slugging homer after homer, competing for the title of most home runs in a season. Didn’t fans go nuts when Barry Bonds hit 73 in 2001 to top McGwire’s 70? Home runs are what excite the fans.

Although a walk-off single or double will do, fans want to see a walk-off homer, not a base hit. Home runs are simply more exciting.

Some will complain that this harms the integrity of the game, while judging Cooperstown ballots will be too difficult with this added variable. I have a problem with this argument.
Mark Grace ended his career with a .303 batting average, 2445 hits, 1146 RBI’s and 1179 runs. It is not a very well known fact, but Mark Grace had the most base hits in the 90’s. Not McGwire, Sosa, Bonds or Palmeiro, but Grace. Yet, Mark Grace did not receive enough votes last year to even be placed on the ballot for consideration into the Hall of Fame. All of these other players though, will have the opportunity to make it into the Hall of Fame despite their tainted pasts. If players without integrity can be considered for the Hall of Fame while a player who did not use steroids and still got more hits than any of them over a ten year span cannot, why not just make steroids legal? Then we can distinguish the “Clean Era” from the “Steroid Era” and vote by era. This way, players will be judged without asterisks and question marks.

If fans pay to see the long ball, not the shutout or short game, and if a player is willing to harm his body to get an upper hand, why not legalize steroids in baseball?

Contact Isaac Lorton at [email protected]

The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.