June 3, 2013

Steroids, baseball and players who can't hit the ball

During a Mets telecast last week, Keith Hernandez brought something up. The strike-out rate for baseball players in the last nine months of play has been higher than at any time in baseball's history. Not in the last five or ten years -- in the entire history of Major League Baseball. This is a stark statistic.

A more basic way of putting it is that no professional baseball player can hit a baseball these days. That's the thing everyone's been noticing. You see guys this season who have incredibly low hitting averages. And these aren't minor players; many are traditionally good hitters. Yet this year, they can't get above the "Mendoza Line", which is .200. If you're not a fan and don't understand hitting averages, a .200 batting average means you hit the ball safely once in every five at-bats. That's not good -- and guys are hitting below that.

Hernandez rightly attributes this to steroids, or rather the current lack of steroids in baseball. He said it was highly suspicious that everyone's batting average dropped right after baseball honed in on steroid use among players. But there's more to the story.

I suspect Keith hasn't done steroids himself, so his knowledge of their use is superficial. I took tons of steroids when I was a bodybuilder, so I know all about this stuff. The thing people don't grasp is that there's more to steroids than a bigger, more muscular body. There are after-effects.

Once you stop using steroids -- as the MLB players are now finding out -- you're much weaker than you were before using them. I don't know why this isn't talked about. It's true, take it from me. I went from super-powerful on steroids to very, very weak when I got off them. And this post-steroid weakness lasts. My strength never recovered, no matter how much I worked out. My strong days were over.

So to me, it's understandable that no one can hit now. Without the additional punch that steroids provide, the players can't even muster the strength they had before they used steroids. And as a result of this catastrophic loss of strength, some can't even make it to the Mendoza line.

It's the lack of steroids and the lasting effect of having been on them that is plaguing baseball players now. And I've got news for these downtrodden players: it won't get better. The effect is permanent. Teams will have to be replace these guys with players who are steroid virgins. Mark my words.

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