Major League Baseball continues to be battered by the specter of steroids. Unfortunately for the sport, it seems to be unavoidable, and something that is not going to stop anytime soon. As the chemically enhanced, muscle-bound Barry Bonds swung his way into the record books recently, passing Hank Aaron as the all time home run leader, the league has still not found a way to effectively address the issue that continues to poison the sport.
One of the main problems seems to be with the leadership of the game. Commissioner Bud Selig, a former owner of a team himself, has proven time and time again that he is little more than a puppet, acting out the will of the owners. Both baseball ownership and Selig were aware of steroid use during the McGwire- Sosa explosion of home runs several years ago, but were unwilling to set up a system of testing or punitive measures within the game. The reason for this, in a ward, was money. Fans were flocking to the ballpark to see the long ball, filling the coffers of both the league and the owners at record rates. The lack of action set up a competitive environment in which many players most likely felt forced to take steroids or human growth hormones just to stay competitive. It has been fairly well documented that Barry Bonds himself started using chemical enhancers after he became envious of all the attention that Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa received during their home run race.
Jason Giambi, one of the few players to speak publicly about steroids, cooperated with former Senator George Mitchell’s investigation into steroids in baseball. Giambi also spoke out about his personal regrets for ever using illegal substances, which seemed to draw the ire of his team, the New York Yankees. The Yankees were considering using Giambi’s admission to punish him contractually and financially.
The fact that one of the only major league players to speak out honestly about steroids would face consequences from his team for being forthright is a clear demonstration of the sad state of America’s past time. The measures that Major League Baseball has instituted to clean up the game are a perfect example of too little, too late. Now, one of the most hallowed records of baseball, Hank Aaron’s lifetime home run mark, has been overcome by a player that will forever bear the taint of steroids. Due to its lack of sound leadership and what boils down to greed, Major League Baseball has no one but itself to blame.