What can steroids do? First I'd like to tell you what they can't do. They can't enhance what you don't have. They can't make you a better baseball player unless you're already a good baseball player. They can't make you a Home Run machine unless you already have the skills to hit the ball. Any idiot can swing a bat, but it takes good hand-eye coordination to swing a bat and hit a baseball moving at 95mph; it takes even more skill to not just hit the ball, but hit it where you want it to go. Steroids cannot make you do this if you couldn't hit the ball in the first place.
This may sound like I'm advocating steroid use in sports, particularly baseball, and of course the first baseballer you're going to think of with respect to steroids and being a home run machine is Barry Bonds...or maybe Sammy Sosa. I'm not advocating the use of steroids in sports, and I'm not saying Barry or Sammy used them.
I was all ready to write a scathing article about Barry Bonds and how steroids have perverted the game and how there will always be a dark cloud hanging over Barry's head if/when he breaks Hank Aaron's all-time Home Run record, even though it's never been proven that he used steroids. But as I read about Barry on Wikipedia and checked out his Stats I came to the realization that all steroids could possibly do for Barry was make him stronger. They don't help him hit the 95mph baseball, they only help him hit the ball harder & further.
You may (or may not) be interested to know that while Barry may not (yet) be the All-Time Home Run King, he is still a current Baseball record holder, several times over.
- He is one of only four players in the 40-40 club. That's 40 (or more) Home Runs and 40 (or more) stolen bases in a single season.
- He's the only player to have hit 400 or more Home Runs and stolen 400 or more Bases in their career, in fact he's now in the 500/500 bracket. He's not just a dangerous man to have at bat, he's a dangerous man to have on base, too.
- Despite this, he holds the record for the most walks in both a season (198), and in a career, having been walked 2,439 times, to date. He also holds the record for the most intentional walks in a season (68 times).
- He went eight consecutive seasons with a .600 (or higher) Slugging Percentage (being Total Bases div. by At Bats). So the pitchers probably think it's safer to walk him to first and let him try to steal a base or two, than risk letting him hit a double, triple, or even a Home Run.
What does all of this say about Barry Bonds and his possible use of Steroids?
It says that with or without steroids (not saying he took them, that would be libel, being the written form of slander) that Barry Bonds is an amazing baseball player. As I said earlier, steroids don't help you hit a baseball, they just help you hit it further. You still need to be able to hit the damn thing, and no amount of steroids is going to help you there. Look at those 2,500 career walks and don't doubt for a minute that Barry couldn't have hit a lot more Home Runs than his current 749. Forget Hank Aaron's 755 career Home Runs, if it wasn't for the many intentional walks Barry would have smashed Hank's record several seasons ago and would probably have had close to 1,000 career Home Runs by now.
I disagree with sports stars taking steriods for anything other than recovering from an injury, but I also disagree with pitchers deliberately walking a batter, and despite their best efforts it looks like Barry will still succeed in breaking Hank's record. Now if Barry did take steroids or some other performance enhancing drug, those he is alleged to have taken were not barred by MLB at the time it is alleged he took them. The only thing illegal about them at that time was their use without prescription, but his use of them was not in violation of any MLB rules or policies. Intentionally walking a batter is also not in violation of the rules, it's a cheap tactic, it does not make for good TV, but it's also permissible.
Steroids may have helped Barry hit the ball further and thus hit Home Runs that may have otherwise fallen into the outfield, but the pitchers have also been working against Barry and denied him the opportunity to hit many more Home Runs. Two wrongs don't make a right but no matter how immoral or cheap we may think their actions were/are, neither Barry nor the pitchers have done anything wrong in the world of professional baseball.