As the Miami Marlins Twitter account is angering fans and the team is focusing on the off-season, there are other news with the season ending this week. With Aaron Judge chasing Roger Maris and his AL single season home run record and then breaking it, (along with the non-steroid MLB home run record), I wanted to bring up this important subject. Should steroid records matter or not?
How should we view steroid fueled records such as Barry Bonds’s single season home run one?
We as Miami Marlins fans got to experience a home run chase in 2017 with Giancarlo Stanton, that ended at 59. He wasn’t chasing the AL record being in the NL, he was unable to reach the MLB record (73), so the record he was chasing was the “real” record of 61. There are fans who claim that the record is 73 and those that say that it’s really 61. Which is it?
The case to count 73 is simple… Barry Bonds hit 73 home runs in a single season and no one hit more. The Chicago White Sox threw the 1919 World Series, but we still count the Cincinnati Reds as that year’s World Champions. The Houston Astros cheated to win the 2017 World Series, but we still count it too. If we erase Bonds’s record then naturally we have to go game by game and if his home run decided a game, then changed its result. What about other players who used steroids?
The case against the record is strong too… the 1919 Chicago White Sox players were banned for life, the Houston Astros received suspensions, Barry Bonds not getting into the Hall of Fame is not exactly a punishment, as very few players get in in the first place. How can anyone ever beat his record without going on steroids themselves? Is it fair to those players to discredit their results because they didn’t cheat?
There are also people who believe that steroids didn’t even really help Barry Bonds that much. They say that steroids just give a player more strength. Science disagrees with that:
"“A 4 percent increase in ball speed, which can reasonably be expected from steroid use, can increase home run production by anywhere from 50 percent to 100 percent,” said Tobin, whose study will be published in an upcoming issue of the American Journal of Physics."
Muscle mass from steroids is unnatural and boosts player performance to levels it shouldn’t be. Barry Bonds’s non-steroid home run high appears to be 46 in 1993. Looking at his 500+ AB pre-steroid seasons, his average was 30 home runs a season. He was actually in decline when in his late 30’s he suddenly launched 73 home runs. That’s not natural.
So should steroid records matter? Should they have asterisks next to them? Should they just be seen as records without caring how they were achieved? What do you think?