Originally Posted by scott91575
Please provide the stats of which players were using steroids (including percentage of the league) and how in was at it's height in somehow the 80's, 90's, and 2001-2004 all at the same time. As for body size, players are taller now than in the past (mainly due to the focus on taller pitchers over the last decade). That accounts for the larger weight. Yet in the 90's into 2005 players height was very similar to the late 70's and early 80's, but weight increased dramatically by 1995. There is also no account for muscle mass/body fat.
BTW...2000 was the height, but 2001-2004 averaged more home runs per game than 96-99. In fact, you have to take into account Coors installed the humidor in 2002 which directly led to a major drop off in home runs at Coors. So you can inflate 2001-2004 even more. The anomaly was 2000, and it was a 1 year number. Every year was less than 2000. Yet 2001-2004 was higher than 96-99. There was not some major drop off. If you look at the last 4 years, you have to go back to the early 90's to find a 4 year stretch similar. That is a drop off.
You cannot simply take 2000 and say "hey, there was a drop off so it's not steroids." You have to take more than one year and look at standard deviations and averages. Once you do that, 2001-2004 fits right in with the late 90's and 2000. On the other hand, 2009-2012 does not. You also can't just put a stake in the ground and say "this point is where it should stop." It's not like when someone stops using PED's they suddenly deflate, and also in the mean time testing evolves.
You have numerous misunderstandings in your post.
I didn't say steroid usage was at it's height in the 80s and 90s. I said the strength and effectiveness of the steroids was highest in the 80's and 90's. Back then players were taking the hardest drugs. Once it was realized that those drugs were so harmful players began taking less dangerous (and less effective) drugs that were also harder to test for. That trend has been continuing ever since then to the point where the PEDs being used now are so weak that they do nothing.
Steroids were at their highest rate of use just before the league began suspending players for positive tests in 2005. If steroids were the reason scoring was elevated then scoring should have continued to rise dramatically well beyond the year 2000 -- but it didn't, it actually declined.
If you really want to learn more about the PEDs issue you can read lots of reports on Baseball Prospectus. You can start with Baseball Between the Numbers
and Extra Innings: More Baseball Between the Numbers
, which are books published by Baseball Prospectus. Or you can read the studies by sports scientists like physicist Robert Adair who wrote The Physics of Baseball
and other works to find out many reasons why scoring has increased. Scientists like Adair and DeVany have concluded that steroids do not contribute to more home runs. Saber-god Nate Silver proved that home run spikes by individual players were neither more common nor more drastic in the 90s than in previous decades (What Do Statistics Tell Us About Steroids?
). Sabermetrics folks have also come to the conclusion that the statistics prove that steroids had very little if any impact on home run hitting. It is a very interesting subject and there is an absolute ton of information out there. The changes in the baseballs themselves and how they have become much livelier over the years is a well-documented subject. Bats have also become denser and more able to hit the ball harder. Go to http://steroids-and-baseball.com/
for more information than you can handle about why steroids and other PEDs have had a negligible effect on the game of baseball.
It is nice to see that you acknowledge that players are bigger and stronger now than they were during the steroids era, yet power has fallen considerably. Hard to square that with the argument that power spiked because players were bigger due to steroids.
You also acknowledge that scoring peaked in 2000 and was dropping during the years when steroid usage was most widespread. It is also true that there was no sudden drop in scoring after PED testing and punishment was instituted. Nope, the decline in scoring continued at the same rate it had been since 2001. If steroids had been the cause for increased scoring and power then there should have been a dramatic drop when players began being suspended for cheating -- but there wasn't.
Reasons why scoring increased during the 90's:
Reasons why scoring has been steadily declining since 2000:
- Expansion by adding four new teams led to weaker pitching.
- New ballparks were smaller than the old ones.
- Coor's Field introduced high-altitude to MLB.
- The balls were much more springy and lively so they bounced farther off the bat. The biggest change began in mid-1993.
- The bats became denser and harder and were shaped so there is more weight in the sweet spot and less weight wasted in the handle.
- Players became bigger and stronger and faster and more athletic due to strength training and fitness training.
- The population in general has gotten taller and larger over the generations.
- Teams learned that On-Base % and Slugging Percentage were better than Batting Average and speed.
- AstroTurf was replaced by real grass, which slowed down the game and made power more valuable than speed.
- Smaller strike zone (unless you were a Brave)
- Tommy John surgery and other sports surgeries have become commonplace even for minor leaguers and amateur pitchers. This has kept the best pitchers on the mound instead of ending their careers and causing them to be replaced by minor leaguers who otherwise would not be in the major leagues. This has made a HUGE difference. A large percentage of the best pitchers in baseball have suffered arm injuries that would have ended their careers last century, but they got repaired and are back on the mound as good as new.
- Larger populations and expanded scouting in foreign countries led to a larger pool of pitching talent.
- Coor's Field began use of the humidor to reduce scoring.
- A dramatic increase in the usage of the cut fastball or cutter, which has proven to be an extremely effective pitch.
- Pitch speeds have been steadily and dramatically rising throughout this period.
- Video technology has led to creation of hitter spray charts and dramatically increased usage of defensive shifting to take hits away from batters.
- Video technology has led to heat graphs for hitters to identify and expose their weaknesses. (Video tech has favored pitchers much more than hitters).
- Teams have increased emphasis on defensive skill after the new sabermetric defensive stats proved how many extra runs were allowed by poor defenders.
- Increased usage of situational relievers and greater awareness of platoon splits.
- Better development of pitching prospects based on data that led to greater awareness of why young pitchers were getting hurt (mainly overwork).
- Increased usage of pitch counts to prevent pitchers from getting injured.
- Some of the newer ballparks were larger, reversing the trend of building smaller and smaller fields.
- Improved calling of balls and strikes by umpires after the Questec and PITCHf/x systems were installed have led to larger and more consistent strikezones.
So you can see there is a myriad of reasons why scoring and power increased for awhile, then decreased for awhile. There is no need to believe that steroids were the driving force. The rise and fall of steroids does not line up with the ebb and flow of scoring or power, there is not a good correlation.
I believe it is important to eradicate PEDs from baseball and punish the cheaters. I think this is important because it will help the game's image and help us all move past this subject once and for all. PEDs are bad for the players' health and it sets a terrible example for young people.
I think it is hilarious that the cheaters risked their health and ruined their reputations and their cheating didn't really end up helping them on the baseball field. They struck a deal with the Devil to gain an advantage and as usual the Devil double-crossed them. They sold their souls to the Devil and got nothing in return. Serves them right.