Should MLB Fans Be as Outraged About Amphetamines as Steroids?

Matt David@@mattdavidkyCorrespondent IIMarch 28, 2010

23 Sep 1998: (FILE PHOTO)  Mark McGwire #25 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits the ball during the game against the Houston Astros at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. According to reports January 11, 2010, McGwire has admitted to steroid use during while playing Major League baseball and when he broke the home run record.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Listed below, are the points and counterpoints about if we should be as outraged about amphetamines as steroids:

Point: Yes, amphetamines are cheating just like steroids.

Counterpoint: No, steroids enhance performance while amphetamines enable performance. One makes you better while the other gets you on the field to play baseball.

P: Amphetamines do more than just get you on the field.

CP: If the players had never taken greenies, there would be no difference in performance. With steroids, the difference would be huge just like their muscles.

P:  Amphetamines help you focus and concentrate. This would allow you to see the pitch better and make better contact. Seeing the ball better would help you drive the ball with authority.

CP:  Steroids offer a big advantage over amphetamines. Just look at the record books. Between 1965 and 1990 season, 50 homers were topped only once, by George Foster in 1977. Between 1995 and 2002, 50 homers were topped 17 times, with a few 60 and 70 homer seasons thrown in for good measure.

P:  You are just looking at one stat—home runs. You ignore many other factors that may have influenced this one variable. Every era has seen fluctuations in performance. You just take a few broken records and attribute them to steroids.

CP:   Amphetamines clearly didn't have the same affect.

P:  Well, between 1965 and 1990, Frank Robinson, Harmon Killebrew, Andre Dawson and Mark McGwire all hit 49 home runs. Willie Stargell, Mike Schmidt, and Dave Kingman hit 48 home runs. You seem to think 50 is a magic number. Amphetamines have been helping players for years.

CP:  Well, we don't have to use 50. Homers were way up across the board. We can use 48-49 homers to see this same thing. Between 1996 and 2002, players hit 48 or 49 homers 10 times. That would be good for more than had been hit between 1965 and 1990.

That does not even include include the 17 times players hit 50+ homers over that span. You can't dispute that during those years, power numbers exploded throughout the majors.

P:  Pitchers took steroids too. That balanced everything out.

CP:  They sure did. that was actually one of the factors for the power surge. The harder the pitchers were able to throw, the further a batted ball will travel.

P:  There were many factors for the home run explosion. The pitching was watered down, balls had more bounce, strike zones were increasingly smaller, ballparks were smaller, weight training had more emphasis, they had better bats, and they had better nutrition.

CP:  None of those things helped players suddenly morph into muscle-bound mashers able to hit home runs that traveled 500 feet.

P:  I admit that steroids helped many fly balls carry into the seats. It does not change the fact that amphetamine users are cheaters, too.

CP:  A greenie back then isn't much different than Red Bull or Five Hour Energy. All pro athletes take those nowadays.

P:  There is a huge difference between Red Bull and amphetamines. Red Bull will give you a rush of energy. Greenies cause chemical changes in your brain. Regular use of amphetamines can cause you to get addicted.

CP:  You should be careful like with any other drug. 

P:  If anything, amphetamines users should be looked at more harshly. They do not require any additional work for them to help you out. You pop a greenie and you are ready to go. With steroids, you have to work out to benefit. Taking steroids is the greatest evil ever but taking amphetamines isn’t really that big of a deal.

CP:  People just don't care about amphetamines. The players look the same and there is no evidence that greenies improved performance.

P:  They help them play more games and possibly steal more bases with the extra energy. If they didn't help with performance, the players would never use them. 

CP:  Players always will try to get an edge.

P:  Let’s not forget that amphetamines are still around today. Barry Bonds failed an amphetamine test and there was very little coverage. Amphetamine users got a pass 40 years ago, and they’re getting a pass today.

CP: They aren't breaking any rules so it is all good.

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