25 Sep Steroid Use Continues to Plague Major League Baseball
Thirty-nine year old Bartolo Colon of the Oakland A’s had been delivering a great season of play. With a 10-9 record, Colon had 24 starts and an earned run average of 3.43. Unfortunately, Colon’s most recent drug test showed elevated levels of testosterone, a sure sign that he has been using illegal steroids to help his game. Colon’s resulting suspension was the second to be handed down this week by Major League Baseball (MLB) and was the fifth such penalty this year. Major League Baseball began testing players for performance enhancing drugs close to 10 years ago, but the problem seems to be as bad as ever; some say worse.
Over the last ten years MLB has designed stiffer penalties while, at the same time, intensifying testing. The league now tests not only for drugs and steroids but has led the way in professional sports’ testing for human growth hormone as well. But players continue to use the banned drugs to keep their play competitive.
Colon received the Cy Young Award in 2005 but his career had stumbled along since then. He did not even play in the majors as recently as 2010. That year, Colon underwent elbow and shoulder surgery in the Dominican Republic. The procedure utilized Colon’s own stem cells to restore damaged tissues and ligaments. Colon came back in 2011 wearing a Yankee uniform and looking stronger. Doctors involved with Colon’s surgery deny that the player was given any illegal steroids or hormone therapy.
All of this has been reported in a recent New York Times article , including Colon’s public apology. Colon owes the Oakland A’s an apology too. The team is sitting in second place in the American League West and is hoping to grab the wild card slot for postseason play. Colon’s suspension will likely hurt team momentum in that drive. Even if the A’s earn a place in postseason play, Colon will be ineligible.
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