By Josh Wolfe
Longtime Milwaukee and Atlanta Brave, Hank Aaron, known as “Hammerin’ Hank” for his impressive resume of power in his MLB career, did not cheat his way to 755 home runs. However, San Francisco Giant Barry Bonds, standing alone at 762 home runs, used Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) to drastically improve his performance.
According to CNN, doping has been acknowledged as a problem since the 1960s, but athletes do not seem to mind.
“Steroids are not a huge deal in baseball today,” Caleb Maloof, a sophomore varsity baseball player said. “There are many people who can go without steroids and perform better than someone who does use them.”
According to WebMD, there are many alternatives to using PEDs. For example, if athletes take caffeine about 30 minutes before their workout or any type of arduous task, their endurance will shoot up. This proved to be effective for former world #1 and 22-time grand slam tennis champion Serena Williams, who, after losing the first set in a tennis match in 2014, drank a cup of espresso and ended up winning the match.
Varsity baseball player and sophomore Ben Lepik uses a protein powder to improve his recovery after a long workout or practice on the baseball field.
“I drink a Core Power protein shake after I work out,” Lepik said. “I use it strictly for recovery purposes.”
In addition, WebMD recommends using branched chain amino acids to bulk up. The idea behind this is to first break down the worn-out tissue being used. As the previous tissue is being rebuilt, it gets bigger, hence increasing muscle mass. Branched chain amino acids allow the rebuilding period of the tissue to decrease which will increase muscle mass faster.
However, many athletes today still use PEDs, since they have a greater impact on performance.
In 2005, the MLB introduced a stricter policy of PEDs, increasing the severity of penalties of drug and steroid use. Since then, 47 MLB players have been caught for substance abuse. A few players, such as former New York Mets phenom closer Jenrry Mejia, have been banned from the MLB for life. Players now have to be very conscientious about what they ingest to avoid suspension and fines.
“I think the MLB is not strict enough because too many players still use PEDs to get an unfair advantage,” Maloof said.
Lepik agrees that all MLB players must learn to follow the policies on PEDs.
“I feel that the rules are put in place for everyone to have an equal chance to succeed in the game,” Lepik said. “Steroids and other drugs give people an advantage over the other players.”
Veteran MLB player Nick Swisher uses Assault by MusclePharm as a supplement in his off-season workout plans to get himself ready for the long 162 game season.
“So many things are off-limits now, and you have to be very careful what you take,” Swisher said in a 2012 article discussing PED’s. “This is just something to get you going. We play 162 games in 183 days and it can be a grind.”
According to Stephanie Wilson, head of nutrition at International Management Group Academies in Bradenton Fla, while healthy supplementing can help one’s performance, too much can be a bad thing.
“Too much vitamin C can give you diarrhea,” Wilson said. “It might not be a big deal, but it can obviously dehydrate an athlete, make him uncomfortable and mess up his electrolytes.”
Many people no longer call Barry Bonds the home run king, saying that he cheated his way to 762 home runs. Lepik never wants to go through the path Bonds took to reach his success.
“I will never take PEDs,” Lepik said. “With hard work and dedication, I will achieve my goals in baseball.”