Every day it seems like there is a professional baseball player on the news putting his name in infamy. Steroids and baseball affects much more than just the players who are caught, it slowly tarnishes the game for people through all levels of baseball, from the professionals to athletes right here at the University of West Alabama.
“Steroids in pro ball were not really talked about very much,” said Michael Jones, former minor league baseball player for the Chicago Cubs.
Jones, who now works as an academic adviser for athletes, spent two years playing at Holmes Community College before transferring to the University of New Orleans. He then signed as a free agent following his senior season. Performance enhancing drugs are not just strictly tied to baseball, athletes in all sports, at all levels, are trying to improve their game. He thinks the media plays a huge role in shaping people’s perspectives on the issue.
“I should stay away from that stuff because it’s bad for me,” said Jones when asked about what the media thinks they are accomplishing by over promoting the players who get caught. Many young athletes actually think “I need some of that stuff so I can do what they did on an athletic field.”
It is important to realize that these professional athletes, whether they like it or not, are role models. People of all ages look up to these athletes and expect them to set a positive example for them to follow. When they do something wrong, to some younger people it gives them a reason to commit the same act.
“I feel cheated” said Buddy Perret, a senior marketing major at UWA. “It is definitely fair that they are role models, and they need to watch what they are doing.”
In addition to the media trying to eliminate steroids in baseball through negative coverage, there is another side of the story that is often overlooked. The health and safety of players now and going forward is as big an issue as any.
“It creates an imbalance in testosterone and estrogen in your system, making it harder to correct years later,” said Chris Woodard, a senior athletic training major.
Professional baseball players are idolized the most by up and coming players who want to be the next big star. Some aspiring players take a positive outlook to the situation and are really starting to form their own opinion.
“The MLB needs to crack down on it now so that people in the future don’t see it as an option anymore,” said Jack Cockrum, a sophomore history major and current catcher for the baseball team. It is an intelligent, proactive stance that places importance on eliminating the problem before it becomes an even larger concern that further takes away the integrity of the game.
It is important to take national news stories and be able to relate them to everyday life. The current testing is great, but it does not cover everything and, unfortunately, young people are catching on.
“Testing is great but the science is always in the favor of the user not the tester,” Jones said. “College and high schools are flooded with guys trying to better themselves by way of PED.”