Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

Follow us on social
  • Repairing the Family
    By Jay Grummel Earlier this month I wrote about fond families, however the holidays are made up of many different types of families. Some will be hostile and dysfunctional or some will be loving and understanding. Whatever your family looks like this season, it’s always nice to read about ones other than your own. So, […]
  • Review of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
    Let’s time-travel to the year 2012 and the world is raving about none other than Katniss Everdeen. I remember being in elementary school, begging my mother to let me dress up as her for my birthday. Now it’s over ten years later and I’m still just as excited for the new movie as I was […]

Steroids just part of baseball’s problem

After Congress held a hearing about steroids in Major League Baseball last week, many people were left with questions. One question many sports fans have asked is, “why is Congress wasting their time with baseball?”

The answer is simple at first, then complex upon thought: baseball falls under an antitrust exemption.

MLB’s antitrust exemption has popped up in the news before. In 2001, when a couple teams were in danger of being moved or scrapped, the antitrust exemption came into play, and fans and sportswriters racked their brain to find out why antitrust was important and why it applied to baseball.

Baseball is the only major sport with this exemption. It’s a powerful loophole in the system, and in short it allows MLB to act as a monopoly of sorts. Ergo, they can do whatever they want and nobody without a government ID can stop them.

At the same time, baseball calls itself the “national pastime” and its supporters validate the phrase at will. If it’s the national pastime, then it should be held to a standard well above all other sports.

The NFL busts players who smoke weed. The NBA suspends drug users. The Olympics test so thoroughly, they once took a gold medal away from a Romanian gymnast because she took an over-the-counter cold medicine that contained a banned substance.

But the media has misplaced the problem in baseball as steroid use. Anabolic steroids — granted, a federal crime if used illegally — is not the entire problem.

The problem even expands beyond use of any performance-enhancing drug, be it Creatine, amphetamines, androstenedoine or countless other 18- syllable supplements that end in “ine.”

Baseball has monopolistic tendencies, and is a big part of our economy and major cities. To make matters worse, the MLB Players Union is one of the strongest unions out there, and their strike cost us a World Series in 1994. They almost striked again in 2001 because they didn’t want a salary cap or mandatory drug testing.

However, tossing out the exemption altogether would put baseball into a more volatile state. The farm system exists because of the exemption. When ballplayers sign with a team, they cannot sign with a different team for six years. This keeps minor league teams consistent, which are often located in small towns. Many of these towns adore their baseball teams, and other sports don’t have minor leagues because it’s not economically wise. Thanks to the exemption, Toledo can have their Mud Hens, Dayton can have their Dragons and Albuquerque can have their Isotopes.

So the exemption ought to remain — well, portions of it. The government and MLB must work side by side to examine baseball’s special exemption and make certain baseball’s “high standards” are achieved. Therefore, baseball needs to reach a point where players are reprimanded for performance-enhancing drug use, be it by way of suspension, heavy fines, sitting in the corner wearing a dunce cap … something. Penalties are needed.

At the steroid hearings, Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY), a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, said “The players must be held accountable for the integrity of the game. After all, it’s not their game. It’s ours. They’re just enjoying the privilege of playing it for a short time.”

The game’s integrity has suffered scandals in the past. However, these times are when the sport is oddly resilient. The same year MLB resumed after the strike (1995), Cal Ripken broke the record for most consecutive games played. More recently, during rumors of rampant steroid use and the untimely death of former ballplayer/steroid-user Ken Caminiti, the Boston Red Sox broke an 86-year drought with a World Series title.

But the sport can’t survive on memories alone. MLB can’t rely on great World Series if ballplayers are perennially spoiled. MLB needs to stop kidding itself and address its internal problems, and they should listen to the needs of fans and heed the advice from the government.

That way sports fans can stop worrying about complex issues like antitrust exemptions and effects of anabolic steroids. Our brains can barely contemplate why the umpire didn’t call that last pitch a strike.

Send comments to Matt at [email protected].

Leave a Comment
Donate to BG Falcon Media

Your donation will support the student journalists of Bowling Green State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to BG Falcon Media

Comments (0)

All BG Falcon Media Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *