Originally Posted by Brisco
PEDs will not allow someone like me to hit a major league fastball. However, they have been scientifically proven to aid in the healing and recovery process. That is uncontroverted scientific fact. It has been shown by the detailed scientific studies used for FDA approval.
As a result, players who took PEDs recovered from injury quicker, were able to stress their bodies more in work-outs, and ultimately were able to extend their careers. Again, this has not been controverted.
One thing I think has been overlooked and which you infer is the relationship between physical ability and mental ability.
While players physically peak in their 20's, they continually gain mental "skill" throughout their career. Part of what determines a player's peak is the degree to which these two opposing trends offset each other (or fail to do so). With PED, the player can maintain his physical talent for longer in his career. In these cases, instead of the loss of physical ability being only somewhat offset by improved knowledge/approach, the gain in knowledge/approach can show up as a performance boost from a more static physical baseline.
In this way, PED don't necessarily have to enhance physical ability above their player's natural ability so long as it lets them keep their ability at its max while they improve mentally. For example having Bonds or McGwire's late 30s brain in a much younger body could produce greater production even if they didn't add physical ability per se'.
That's not to say that PED don't create greater physical ability, only that they don't need to do so to have a net performance boost.