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Sports Then and Now



The History of Performance-Enhancing Drugs 6

Posted on April 18, 2014 by Scott Huntington

Just as modern medicine has evolved over the years, so too have performance-enhancing drugs. Although they have only come into the spotlight in recent times, the practice of using drugs to gain an advantage over an opponent is older than Rome. These days, the efforts of professional athletes to cheat has caused irreparable harm to the record books of some major sports, most notably Major League Baseball. So as we debate about whether or not steroid-users should get into the Hall of Fame, or what good the next policy will do regarding illegal substances, we should first look back at how performance-enhancing drugs have come this far.

Ancient Greece and Rome

The beginning of performance-enhancing drugs is almost the same as the beginning of organized sports. In ancient Greece, some of the earliest Olympians used abnormal substances in an attempt to gain a competitive advantage. Their drug of choice would either be plant seeds or extracts of mushrooms. Later in Rome, gladiators were known to have turned to drugs. It’s difficult to blame them, but gladiators would dope for various reasons, from dulling pain to creating a bloodier spectacle for viewers.

The Dangerous History of Performance-Enhancing Drugs

knud-jensen

While cheating and gaining an unfair advantage are terrible actions for an athlete to take, the worst aspect of performance-enhancing drugs is that they can cause extreme harm to the user. Read the rest of this entry →

Alex Rodriguez Disaster Takes Focus Off The Field 9

Posted on August 10, 2013 by Dean Hybl
Alex Rodriguez has struggled in his return to the field.

Alex Rodriguez has struggled in his return to the field.

For all who simply want to talk more sports, the Alex Rodriguez debacle has not been good. Since the one-time sure Hall of Famer has become the latest poster child for the PED era in baseball, performance on the field of play has been overshadowed by the growing circus off the diamond.

It is hard to believe that just five years ago Rodriguez was seen as the savior who would save the baseball world from the “tainted” star who “stole” the home run record from Hank Aaron.

Now, Rodriguez is quickly replacing Barry Bonds and former pitcher Roger Clemens as the face of the steroids era.

Where once he was pointed out as the prototype for the 21st Century baseball star, there now seems to be enough doubt to wonder if Rodriguez was instead the 21st Century version of a test tube star. In recent weeks some have wondered if even the young Alex Rodriguez who emerged as a star at the age of 20 with the Seattle Mariners could have been enhanced through artificial means.

In hindsight, it could be considered a little fishy that Rodriguez hit .232 with five home runs and 19 RBI in 149 at bats in 1995 and then the following year won the AL batting title with a .358 average, 36 home runs and 125 RBI.

The following season he hit .300 with 23 home runs and 84 RBI, but starting in 1998 Rodriguez hit at least 30 home runs and drove in at least 100 runs every year for the next 13 seasons. During that time, he blasted at least 40 home runs eight times with three seasons of more than 50 homers. He also hit .300 or better seven times and never had a season with an average below .285. Read the rest of this entry →

MLB, John McCain, and the Dietary Supplement Safety Act of 2010 13

Posted on February 15, 2010 by Don Spieles
McCain, Pro Athletes Discuss FDA Regulations Of Dietary Supplements

John McCain (seen here with Rob Manfred (L) executive vice president of labor for Major League Baseball, during a news conference on dietary supplements, on Capitol Hill, February 3, 2010) has the support of MLB. Should he?

Just days before the Super Bowl, Senator John McCain (R – Arizona) officially announced the Dietary Supplement Safety Act of 2010 (DSSA10). The bill, which he is co-sponsoring with Senator Byron Dorgan (D – North Dakota) proposes to give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) control over the dietary supplement industry.

Inspired in part by the questionable make-up of certain non-prescription supplements, some of which have been blamed by athletes for their positive drug tests, has many supporters (including Bud Selig) that believe that, if signed into law, this bill would be beneficial for both sports and the public at large.

On the surface the bill seems likable enough. The profit margin on dietary supplements and vitamin sales topped $2.25 billion in 2007. Many of the items are marketed so as to lead consumers to the notion that they had true medicinal value while they are supposedly made up of ingredients heretofore not regulated.

McCain’s speech specifically mentioned the concept of certain manufacturers who are less than honest about ingredients, including substances that they should not be. This is the argument that the jocks use, as in, “I was only taking supplements. I had no idea they contained a banned substance!” According to McCain, they may not be lying after all. The issue gets a little bit cloudier, though, when one stops and thinks about that very issue. If the supplement manufacturers are adding substances that they should not be, they are already subject to scrutiny by the FDA. This from DailyPaul.com (as in Ron Paul): Read the rest of this entry →

Mark McGwire: Is His Admission Too Little, Too Late? 1

Posted on January 12, 2010 by Richard Marsh
Mark McGwire admits to using steroids

Mark McGwire admitted to steroid use, but believes it didn't impact his success.

“The Truth Shall Set Me Free,” so says Mark McGwire after releasing his statement to the press yesterday that he was indeed a steroid user for the better part of the decade. It was McGwire along with Sammy Sosa who revived the sport of Major League Baseball from one of its lowest places in the history of the sport.

McGwire, who never tested positive for any illegal substance during his playing time, stood up before a Select Committee of United States Congressmen and said he would not talk about the past. From that moment on, McGwire has been vilified by the fans, the press, and broadcasters throughout the U.S.

What all of us learned yesterday for the first time was what went on behind the scenes of that committee meeting. According to McGwire, he had every intention of coming clean that day before Congress but his lawyers advised him in order to avoid prosecution he would need to get immunity. His lawyers met with the two key members of the committee, who could not promise immunity, so they all agreed that McGwire who refused to lie about his steroid use could say that he would not speak about the past.

Does that make a difference to anyone? It does to me. The committee knew what McGwire was going to say, and they agreed not to push the issue.

Perhaps, the most amazing part of his revelation was that Mark did not feel that his performance was accelerated by the use of steroids. His claim about taking low doses just to help heal his injuries and himself to “feel normal” comes across as either terribly naive or just plain stupid.

McGwire feels that if he were healthy and never took steroids he still would have managed to hit 70 home runs in one season and 583 overall. Really? Read the rest of this entry →

Dominican Web Site Has Complete “Steroid List”; Is It Real or a Hoax? 10

Posted on September 03, 2009 by Mike Brangwynne

syringeTo be honest, I’m not very sure how legit this is or who this person’s source is, but the Spanish language web site DominicanosHOY.com has had on its site since late June an article that  includes a list of 103 major league baseball players that are supposedly names on the infamous “Steroid List”

Personally I hope it is the list and we can finally know the players in the “steroid era” that have tested positive in the past. This would end all the stupid steroid speculation on the list and end all of the he said/she said rumors of who is on the list and who isn’t.

Read the rest of this entry →

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    • Billy Kilmer: Hard-Nosed Quarterback
      September 2, 2018 | 7:32 pm
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      Billy Kilmer

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month began his NFL career as an athletic running quarterback, but he endured a near fatal car accident to completely change his game during a career that spanned nearly two decades.

      Anyone who is familiar with former NFL quarterback Billy Kilmer probably remembers him as the portly, un-athletic, but very tough quarterback for the Washington Redskins in the 1970s. However, during his first two NFL seasons, Kilmer was primarily used as a running quarterback and running back for the San Francisco 49ers.

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