Shouts From the Stands: Performance Enhancing Drugs

This “Shout from The Stands” article is written by and courtesy of Steve Schade:

This whole debate about performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) is much ado about nothing.  Most people take it as a given that these drugs actually improve performance.  But primarily because they are illegal, no studies have actually confirmed this.

Some sports, however, lend themselves to analyzing the effects of PEDs.  Baseball, because it is heavily statistics-oriented, is one of these.  As Sports Illustrated showed, the percentage of home runs on balls in play is the same today as it was during the so-called “Steroid Era.”  The only difference is that strikeouts are higher today.  In addition, scoring decreased six years in a row.  If steroids had been a factor, scoring would have dropped the year after they were outlawed and then leveled off after that.  Clearly, steroids had no effect on performance in baseball.

In track and field, the field events are more likely to be affected by steroids.  Yet field records date to the 1980s and 1990s.  None have been set since steroids became an issue in sports.  Furthermore, none of the Russian track and field athletes prohibited from participating in the 2016 Olympics for using PEDs set a record.

On the other hand, records are regularly set in swimming.  Nevertheless, that sport has not seen a major drug scandal.  Obviously, drugs do not enhance athletes’ ability to set records.

We should quit wasting money and destroying careers by testing for PEDs.  Instead, the focus should be on the harm they can do to athletes’ bodies.  Baseball players from that period should be given due consideration for the Hall of Fame, and medals lost because these substances were banned should be restored.

This is written by and courtesy of Steve Schade.

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Sven

Interesting take. Saying that PED’s don’t improve an athlete would seem to defy what we know about physical performance, however. I’m more of the opinion that if you can’t see the difference between an athlete who has been busted for PED’s and an athlete who hasn’t, it’s not that PED’s don’t work. We know that steroids make you stronger, we know that EPO helps endurance, and so on (although the effects of many are dubious and/or under-studied, like meldonium).

If you know that steroids work, but the guy who pisses dirty is just as strong as the guy who doesn’t, then you have to look at why the other guy isn’t testing positive.

Attila the Hunt

“In track and field, the field events are more likely to be affected by steroids. Yet field records date to the 1980s and 1990s. None have been set since steroids became an issue in sports.”

Pardon the pun, but is Steve Schade on drugs when writing this?

The records date to the 1980s and 1990s precisely because in 1980s and 1990s, the Eastern Bloc, the Chinese and American athletes were at the heights of steroid use.

Attila the Hunt

“On the other hand, records are regularly set in swimming. Nevertheless, that sport has not seen a major drug scandal. Obviously, drugs do not enhance athletes’ ability to set records.”

Is this satire?

no major drugs scandal?

So there was no East Germans and their state plan 14.25?
There was no drug fueled Chinese swimmers and their not once not twice but several major doping scandals of the 1990s?

I am like reading the Onion here.

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