Did Steroids Save Baseball?
First of all this is in no way shape or form a post that is in support of steroids. I do not endorse them, I do not take them, I simply am trying to stir up some conversation.
Ok, hey everyone, apparently not everyone is as interested in the Presidency and the shape of the economy as I am. No problem, baseball fans should take interest to this next topic.
I will start with an update on life. I have yet another bullpen tomorrow, and more and more players continue to show up at Pirate City. The feel of spring training is in the air. My parents are coming into town for the weekend, and I am pretty excited about that. I think I am going to take the pops out for a round of golf on Saturday, and then spring training officially starts for me on Sunday.
Now onto the topic of steroids. They are by far the most controversial subject in all of baseball.
Ok I have to interrupt the post to talk about the bunker shot thatTiger just hit. On verge of going down 4 holes, he holes his bunker shot to win the hole. Unreal!!!!!
Back to steroids. I will start back in 1994, the year of the strike and the cancellation of the world series. This caused baseball fans everywhere to experience negative energy towards the game of baseball. So much so that in 1995 the TV ratings were lower than those of the year of the strike, and around all-time lows. For the next few years the baseball enterprise struggled mightily as fans had completely lost interest in the game. Then in 1998, something miraculous happened. Many know it as McGwire versus Sosa. Both players ended up breaking Roger Maris’ homerun record that had stood since 1961. Mac wound up hitting 70 and Sosa 65. Both players have later been associated with the steroid asterik. Yet what their home run race did for the game of baseball will be difficult to discount. TV ratings were back up, people had a new found interest in the game. So much so that in 1998 they brought in 2 new expansion teams, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays ans the Arizona Diamondbacks. Then 3 years later, fans were treated to the newest lead act, Barry Bonds. Fans didn’t have the pleasure of a home run race this time around, but they did get to see a prolific home run hitter knock 73 home runs out of parks around the United States. In doing so he also destroyed other offensive records such as walks per season and slugging percentage.
The assumption that steroids helped in the recovery of baseball takes on certain assumptions of its own. You have to assume that fans enjoy seeing the spike in offensive categories. The time known as the Steroid Era is also known as the Power Age, due to the increase in all power numbers, and essentially all offensive categories. A few of the explanations have been: new, smaller ballparks; juiced baseballs; watered down pitching due to there being too many teams; and perhaps juiced players.
Now some numbers that show the what I am attempting to explain.
In the year 2000 there were 5693 major league home runs hit. In 2001 there were 5458, and in 2004 another 5451. Yet in the years 2007 and 2008 there were 4957 and 4878 home runs hit.
In the 1997 season 2 players had 50 or more home runs, 12 players had 40 or more, and 31 had 30 or more. In 1998 2 players had 60 or more, 4 had 50 or more, 13 had 40 or more, and 37 had 29 or more. Finally in 1999 2 players had 60 or more, 13 had 40 or more, and an astonishing 45 players hit 30 or more home runs that year.
In the 2007 season 2 players had 50 or more home runs, only 5 had 40 or more, and a measely 25 had 30 or more. Again the numbers were down in 2008 as nobody hit 50, only 2 had 40 or more, and 25 had 30 or more. Big differences in home run production.
Now there is definitely no doubt about the fact that steroids are harmful to the baseball players themselves; however, I think that a shadow can be cast as to whether they are harmful on the game of baseball itself.
Just a little extra sidenote. Just because I make a new post, that does not mean that commenting on the old posts has to stop. If you have an opinion or a question on an older topic, feel free to post it. I get an email everytime I recieve a comment, and it also tells me what post it is in reply to.