The League


Why Is Testing Positive More Negative in MLB?

Why do fans and the media react more strongly when baseball players, like A-Rod, use performance enhancing drugs than when football players, like Shawne Merriman, do?

Posted by Emil Steiner on February 9, 2009 7:57 AM

krankyman: Because baseball is a game of personal statistics and records. When cherished records of 60+ years are suddenly broken by multiple persons ...

scottmcsorley: Simply said: Because football put into place at least a semblance of a policy against steroids, and baseball fought any sort of policing of ...

rmorris391: When I was a kid, playing Little League ball, we all collected and traded baseball cards. I even had an uncle who was relief pitcher for the...

Make a Comment  |  All Comments (31)

delOH Author Profile Page :

Great question. Two reasons, Barry Bonds' diva attitude with the media and the deep rooted hatred of Bonds by the media. Hell hath no fury like the media scorned. Was Barry a jerk toward the media? Sure he was. Did individuals in the media take it personal when he was a jerk toward them? Barry Bonds, the best player of his generation, has taken more grief from the media than any athlete in history. And it started way before the media frenzy over steroids. Never, ever underestimate the power of the pen, even when the pen is used while grinding axes.

Sandmeistr Author Profile Page :

I'd guess that reactions are different simply because of the perceived affect of steroids are different in the two sports.

In football, steroids don't generally seem to be directly linked to record-setting success. Even if they were (maybe a roided-up LB with huge sack numbers), few would care since football isn't about stats. Yeah, they keep records - I'm just not sure a whole lot of folks care. Its the ultimate team game, and its all about wins, losses, and who won the Super Bowl.

Baseball's a different animal. Wins and losses are nice, but this is a numbers driven sport. Folks get glassy-eyed just thinking about stats. When something (let's say steroids) "artificially" affects these stats, folks are going to react strongly.

dalee16 Author Profile Page :

baseball is the great american pastime where everyone can play no matter how big, tall, strong or fast, when steroids are used it shifts that level playing field, also, it would be refreshing to have a baseball player admit that they used steroids (prior to being outed) explain why they used steroids and that they made a mistake, i believe that the american people would be understanding and willing to give this person a second chance and this person could have a major impact on helping youngsters who are making poor decisions

LegallyMurphy Author Profile Page :

A-Fraud will be the death knell for baseball. I think by admitting he used steroids he thinks it will change things. It wont. Pettitte, Clemens, Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, now A-Rod and who knows who else. All the heroes are liars and scum who would do what it takes to make money. I want to barf.

truthbeknown Author Profile Page :

Football fans are smarter! :-|)

Seriously, the media is the start of the baseball fan hysteria over steroids. If they didn't hate Bonds so much, they wouldn't have blown up steroids to the point that they have for baseball. The sports media, seems to give football player's a pass, probably because they are more likeable. Besides, baseball has a long history of cheating that current fans seem to care little about.

cash2money Author Profile Page :

Football is a better sport for TV, baseball is a better sport for radio and today people only listen to the radio in cars. All baseball has is stats and if you chase stats not wins, people are going to fudge the numbers.

RJlupin1 Author Profile Page :

I agree with two statements above:

1) Football is not an individual sport, baseball is. A runningback on steroids might have an edge but it's not gona mean a thing if the o-line doesn't block or the defense can't hold. Baseball can be won by a shutdown pitcher and a phenomonal hitter almost by themselves.

2)The average person is not geneticly capable of playing football. I'm 6'1 decently fast (compared to the average person) and pretty strong (compared to the aveage person) and there is 0% chance I would ever be able to make it in the NFL no matter how hard i worked. Now granted I'm not anywhere close to even a minor league baseball player but thats because I haven't practiced enough. If I had worked every day of my life to be a professional baseball player I could at least have a chance. Thats the difference baseball is a game of skill while football is about physical abitity so the fact that a baseball player would take steroids is worse becasue it's more unfair whil;e a football player may be more just evening the playing feild.

jonavery2000 Author Profile Page :

I think the biggie is that baseball for so long resisted banning the substances. It seemed like a coverup but they always said something like "Baseball is different." And we believed them. Therefore, we hold them to higher standards.

The anti-trust exemption doesn't help.

mrmarkp Author Profile Page :

Actually, I think that baseball's relative obsession with statistics and historical performance is the answer. Current ballplayers aren't just playing against each other - they're playing against everyone who has come before. Steroid use makes it, in essence, impossible to compare the performance of current players with past greats.

Chuckled Author Profile Page :

This is easy.

Ask an average sports fan to name a few baseball players who are suspected of using steroids, and it comes off like the Who's Who in MLB: Bonds, Rodriguez, McGwire, Sosa, Giambi...

As the same fan to name a few football players and you will get a few "hmmm", "ahhh", and blank stares ahead.

VirginiaConservative Author Profile Page :

Why is this different? Because this punk George Mitchell got involved. IF MLB was serious, and IF the government was serious, number one - they wouldn't have a hack like Mitchell investigating fraud, and two, they would institute life time bans for use.

But then, could we imagine a world in which a congresscritter was banned for life for ethics????

So the game (and baseball) continues.

The real policy makers are stadium owners - the rest of us are just johns.

Imagine this: An extremely successful business owner decides to build a stadium.

Ok, great. This guy - or gal - who has demonstrated great business acumen - offers a couple of sky boxes to whoever the local pieces of shot are involved.

Does anyone think that if these coliseums were money makers, that the owners would let any of the local hacks get near the concessions?

pgibson1 Author Profile Page :

those who use steroids are drug abusers, according to US law.

Those who support those that use steroids are complicit in the administration of steroids becaue they just keep going to games, paying thier outrageous salaries, and do you know what ?

They're STILL drug abusers.'

I would think a little jail time, as is quite voraciously inforced and is reserved for NON-ATHELETES, would set this aright.

As it is, you guys sound like you like seeing druggies slam balls with sticks while under the influence.

If you still go to games, then your attendance means that you ADVOCATE this culture of athletic drug abuse, however quietly.

vimrich Author Profile Page :

The difference is simple - the records. The NFL does not tout history and records as a means of keeping fans interested - it relies on the pure appeal of he actual sport. MLB has become slow and boring by comparison and relies heavily on records and history to maintain appeal.

Fans are actually very consistent. For example, no one really cares about mid level steroids users in MLB who are not threatening the top historical records - but Bonds, A-Rod, McGuire, etc. all put a giant part of MLB's appeal at risk so they are a big deal.

jnm01 Author Profile Page :

How about that the NFL (and its players' association) takes illegal drug abuse among its players seriously and the MLB (and its players' association) does not? The outrage with guilty baseball players is inflamed by general disgust with Major League Baseball, a league seemingly interested in tackling steroids only if it can derive some financial profit by doing so. Bart Giamatti is surely spinning in his grave. His open letter from 1981, "Men of Baseball, Lend and Ear", seems very relevant to me, even though it was written 25+ years ago about a totally different corrupting force in the game.

gaijinsamurai Author Profile Page :

Perhaps my reason isn't typical, but I don't care about football in general. I do, however, care about baseball, which is why I'm so much angrier about this.

What makes it worse, at least for me, is the commissioner's complete unwillingness to do anything about it. Yes, the science will always run ahead of the ability of the leagues to police it, but that is only important if you consider the problem from a legal perspective, and honor the concept of a statute of limitations. Require every player to sign a "no performance enhancers" clause in their contract which forces them to repay every dime of compensation ever received if caught using performance enhancers. Establish a policy of zero tolerance whereby a single verifiable infraction, regardless of when it is discovered not only nets you a lifetime ban from the sport, but a forfeiture of all compensation, benefits, and records. Then take blood samples from all players on a regular basis and store them for a decade or two. Why?
Even if you use a performance enhancer which is 100% undetectable today, it won't remain so forever. And athletes will think twice before taking a substance if they think it's likely that someday they'll be caught and forced to repay all of the money they ever earned from a contract, as well as having all of their records invalidated. Of course, they'll be forced to declare bankruptcy in most cases, and the money won't be recovered, but that's the point - right now, athletes can successfully bet that their career will end before they're caught, and that even if they are, the consequences will be minor. If you establish retroactive penalties, put a zero tolerance policy in place, and store blood and urine samples for long periods of time and test them when new techniques become available, athletes will be much less likely to take that bet.

dane1 Author Profile Page :

Why do they react this way? Because they're sports fans, and as sports fans, they're idiots. (I include myself here--I don't watch sports as an intellectual or moral exercise.) Furthermore, they live in a country with backward, hypocritical, racist, and socially disastrous drug laws, which they and their cowardly elected representatives still support--despite the fact that we have the highest prison population in the world, despite the chaos that is going on on our border, and despite the incoherence of those laws and policies themselves.

inyourdreams Author Profile Page :

I'm sick of this steroid discussion. Who cares? The fact of the matter is that a professional has skills that 99% of the population doesn't have. This doesn't matter whether they take steroids or not! Probably most of the people who are commenting here in outrage over this can not even play in a baseball or football league in their community because they have no coordination for it and the ones that are playing in a league are doing so because they are not good enough to do it for a living! Enough already!

This is envy getting turned into self-righteous indignation and glee that the 'mighty' have fallen. Professional athletes are better athletically at what they do. If they take a steroid to try and get even better at it, I for one couldn't care less. For everyone who thinks that it really does make a performance difference exclusively, then how do you explain those who take steroids and don't become professional athletes or are professionals and don't get any better than they were? If Arod only took steroids from 2001-2003 then how do you explain his greatness before then? He got that Texas contract based on his previous accomplishments as well as future potential. People are ridiculous! If it really matters that much to you then don't watch! I for one still respect that these athletes are doing something that's entertaining and amazing. I hate that they feel that they have to do more, but that's their choice and I'm going to stay out of it.

And for the poster(s) who said that the reason it's different for baseball is because baseball is supposed to be the great equalizer that everyone can play! Bull! That rationale is only for family reunions and summer picnics. And even then, if you could grab someone who played in college to be on your team at the picnic you would grab that advantage and use it to beat the other team. Get over yourselves please!

And rjlupin, keep that dream that if you worked really hard you will be a professional baseball player! That's all it is is a dream. Steroids may (???) make you stronger, but it doesn't miraculously give you the ability to hit a fastball, curveball or slider, chase down a hit deep in center field, or move to pick up a ball deep in the hole between short and third. That is instinct and brains, not just brawn.

TerrifiedAmerican Author Profile Page :

Baseball has a better class of fans.

fmjk Author Profile Page :

Maybe it's because baseball has been so romanticized as the quintessential American activity. Maybe it's because football permitted testing and baseball refused to do it. Maybe it's because these guys have been lying to us for years. That kinda gets under your skin.

thuff7 Author Profile Page :

It's time the government stopped subsidizing these criminals and drug addicts who serve no useful functions in society. Stop building stadiums for them, stop the Taft-Hartley exemptions and break up the monopolies. It's long been time to use the time, energy and money that goes into these moronic sports events for making this a stronger country and better world.

nativeva1 Author Profile Page :

In Baseball Steriods enhances performance, in football steriods keep you from being on the side lines for whole years

gaijinsamurai Author Profile Page :

Yup, InYourDreams has uncorked the typical mouth-breathing sports fan response - "I don't care if they cheat, as long as it's fun to watch." That's a reasonable point of view, if you view sports as nothing more than an exercise in pure entertainment. By that standard, of course, professional wrestling is the king of sports, which illustrates the ridiculousness of this argument. Sports is about two people, or teams, earnestly competing on a level playing field and the best man (or men, or women, as the case may be) winning. Or not, as the fortunes of the game turn. The point is, baseball shouldn't devolve into the kind of technological arms race that one sees in professional motorsports, skiing, or cycling. The best athlete is supposed to win, not the athlete with the best gear or the best dope. That's why aluminum bats are banned, spitballs are illegal, pitchers can't get steam catapults surgically installed on their arms, and performance enhancing drugs are illegal. And that's why none of these guys should ever be allowed to play the game again professionally. Frankly, I consider their behavior far more despicable than most of the black sox. Unfortunately, Bud Selig is no Judge Landis, so I suspect this is going nowhere.

dolph924 Author Profile Page :

Records of those found to have used steroids should not count; no one found to have used should be eligible for the Hall of Fame. Pete Rose did NOTHING to impact the integrity of the competition, yet he isn't in the Hall of Fame. He should be in; Bonds, A-Rod, Cleamons, Mac, etc. should never get in, and their records should be erased.

Cowabunga1 Author Profile Page :

Different fan set. I know lots of football fans who could care less about baseball and vice versa. Football fans tend not to idolize their favorite players. Here today, gone tomorrow in the NFL where average career I think is less than four years. I think that has something to do with it too.

m066240 Author Profile Page :

The difference between the two is mainly that baseball is the one sacred sport of America. It has been played professionally for over a century and is weaved in to the soul of our country. It is the one sport that can capture America's attention for weeks and months on end i.e. the home run race of 1998. The sheer length of the season and postseason are unmatched by any other American sport. The hallowed records of our sacred sport are now being broken with the aide of steroids.
Compared to football, a sport not always defined by longevity and where it is understood that players will sometime take injections in order to play injured, steroid use is not nearly as surprising as shown by documented cases of use over the last few decades. The biggest difference is that the great individual records of football are achieved at the skill positions, positions at which steroids are the least beneficial and least likely to be taken.

andio76 Author Profile Page :

This is a simple game.......
....ya throw the ball, ya hit the
ball..........ya catch the ball.

mbmclaughlin Author Profile Page :

MLB has Congressionally sanctioned anti-trust law exemptions. That and baseball records go much further back than football and are therefore more sentimental to the average person right now.

kathymac1 Author Profile Page :

Because football is a game requiring size and is much more punishing. I think fans are much more considerate because of the nature of the game

Baseball is arrogant, for god's sake the commissioner is one of the owners

Baseball has players, designated hitters, that come up to bat four or five times a game and spend the rest of the time on the bench, why do they need steroids, to harden their butt for the prevention of splinters?

krankyman Author Profile Page :

Because baseball is a game of personal statistics and records.

When cherished records of 60+ years are suddenly broken by multiple persons within a single seasons because of steroids, it destroys the player's achievement and insults the accomplishments of those who didn't cheat.

scottmcsorley Author Profile Page :

Simply said: Because football put into place at least a semblance of a policy against steroids, and baseball fought any sort of policing of the matter for decades. Then baseball had the audacity to argue that it wasn't a problem and bascially lie/cover it up to save face. They're like a company that dumps pollution into the environment, then denies it, fights it in court for years, and finally admits it and hopes to go on like nothing happened.

rmorris391 Author Profile Page :

When I was a kid, playing Little League ball, we all collected and traded baseball cards. I even had an uncle who was relief pitcher for the Chicago White Sox. Of course, the players were our heros.

But these days, the MLB players are not inspiring Little League players to sportsmanship, or even team work. The culture of professional sports has become a freak show, something like professional wrestling. Some may find pro wrestling entertaining, but I find it sub-prime drama.

Some folks like to go to the circus and watch freaks lift a 1000 pounds, or eat a flaming sword, but these individual achievements do nothing to stimulate the economy. Joining the circus does not create jobs, sell cars, or even pay my rent. Which is to say, the circus and professional sports, are entertainers. This industry is not part of the real economy.

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