The Steroid Era: Just Like Pulling Teeth

David RosenblumCorrespondent IJuly 31, 2009

WASHINGTON - JANUARY 15:  Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig (C) listens to testimony during a hearing of the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the illegal use of sterioids in baseball as listens January 15, 2008 in Washington, DC. The 'Mitchell Report' named several former and current major league baseball players who are accused of using steriods or other performance-enhancing drugs.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

This morning I finally got my wisdom teeth pulled.  All four of them were pulled, three of which were impacted—whatever that means.  Now that the Novocaine has worn off, I have started to realize how similar the Steroid Era in baseball has been to the process of pulling teeth.

Let’s recap both situations:

  • The Steroid Era began circa 1989 and was under the radar until the rampant power numbers from 1998-2001.  Some blame Bud Selig and the owners for looking the other way after 1994 because, let’s face it, that 1998 home run race between McGwire and Sosa may have saved baseball. After the scandal with BALCO and Barry Bonds, Bud Selig and Major League Baseball realized that they needed to put an end to the Steroid Era, and they instituted drug testing.  The point of this testing is to limit the amount of cheating in the sport while hopefully preventing any more damage that the Era has caused to the game.
  • I realized that I needed my wisdom teeth pulled about a year and a half ago.  Every now and again they flared up and I was in pain, but after some time, the pain went away and I went about my normal business, forgetting that the problem was even there.  Finally, around July 4th of this year, the pain was back, and I decided that I needed to rid myself of the teeth to prevent any lasting damage.

When thinking of the Steroid Era I always start by putting blame on Bud Selig.  I have always hated the guy, especially after learning that he made about $17 million last season, but today I actually felt bad for him. 

Yesterday, on Bud’s 75th birthday, the news came out that David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez were on that vaunted 2003 list of players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs).  What a headache for the guy on his birthday; that has to suck. 

The thing is, he put all of this on himself by allowing steroids to run rampant throughout baseball for 15 years.

There have now been four names illegally released from the 104 name list.  Those names include Ortiz and Ramirez, who were outed yesterday, Sammy Sosa, whose name was released in June, and of course, Alex Rodriguez, who was outed in February. 

There are two distinct sides developing when it comes to “The List”.  One group would like the entire list of 104 names to be released to the public, thereby clearing the names of the players who didn’t test positive, while letting everyone know who in fact did test positive. 

The other side believes that the list should be kept private, and just because a couple of hot shot lawyers from New York are committing illegal activity, they shouldn’t be prompted to keep doing bad deeds.

I am on the side of the argument that wants these names released now.  I realized that, most likely, whoever controls this list is going to leak a big name or two every month or so to keep the steroid issue in the media. And most likely, whoever is selling the names is getting paid handsomely for the information. 

Not only is this illegal, but it is also the biggest scumbag move I can think of.

These people are ruining the careers of players and destroying the reputation of Major League Baseball through the use of a list that is six years old! It’s enough already. 

The MLB should seize this list and release all of the names. This would finally alleviate the questions about who was taking PEDs back then, and hopefully it will help ease us out of the Steroid Era.

There are obvious pitfalls to this.  First of all, the MLBPA would never let this happen because it has to protect its players who could be on the list.  Players should argue against the release of the list because, after all, the testing was supposed to be anonymous and CONFIDENTIAL. 

This has been all but broken, and I believe all of the names will come out in due time anyway. So why not get it done like when you rip off a band-aid? Quickly and full of searing pain.

I agree that players have their rights, and the list should not be let out. But considering the circumstances, and the fact that whoever has this list can and will release names when he or she sees fit, it will be better to get it over with now than to drag it on for 10 years. 

Others will argue that this list will not clear anyone from suspicions of enhancement drug use because HGH and other enhancements still can’t be tested.  This is true, but at least we will be able to start ending this outrageous story.

I am just fed up with the way the media has handled the Steroid Era.  I don’t even feel the slightest shock when someone is outed as a steroid user anymore.  It’s horrible what has happened to our great game. 

Like the sockets that held my wisdom teeth, the blood keeps on leaking out, and no matter how much gauze you put on it, it won’t stop the bleeding until the healing process begins. 

Baseball needs to face this issue head on and realize that they brought it upon themselves because they simply waited too long, looked the other way, and allowed the problem to grow, along with their ever-expanding wallets.

As you can tell, I’m not a fan of Selig, the MLBPA, or how the steroid issue has been handled.  Maybe it’s the painkillers or the fact that my teeth are absolutely killing me right now, but I finally realized that I started to rant, sorry about that. 

Since baseball’s inception, people have been trying to gain an edge, whether by messing with the baseball, spitting on a ball or using too much pine tar, corking a bat, or playing flat-out dirty.  Every era in baseball has been marked by something, and unfortunately we have lived through the Steroid Era. 

Please let it end now, we have suffered enough pain!