Steroid Era Back in Baseball?

Nate Gunderson, Staff Writer

On August 13th, 2022, news broke that would shake up not only Major League baseball but the sports landscape as a whole. The face of the MLB San Diego Padres superstar SS Fernando Tatis JR had tested positive for a steroid called Clostebol and would be suspended 80 games.

The dark shadow looming over Baseball since the early 2000’s had returned. The steroid era had returned to Baseball just as analysts and critics throughout the country had been speculating for years. 

The immediate reaction to this was one of utter disgust. Yet another Major League Baseball player had been busted for taking steroids. 

Clostebol is an injectable, muscle-building anabolic agent first developed by the notorious steroid-using East Germans in the 1960’s. However, it isn’t as potent as other steroids. 

The FDA doesn’t allow Clostebol in over-the-counter antibiotic ointments in America, but in Europe, Italy, Brazil and Tatis’ home country of the Dominican Republic, it is used to treat skin abrasions or lesions. 

This is where the point of contention is, as Tatis claims he took the substance to treat Ringworm. However, he still decided to own up and not appeal the suspension. “I should have used the resources available to me in order to ensure that no banned substances were in what I took. I failed to do so,” Tatis said. 

However, even if Tatis did cheat as the MLB claimed he did so by suspending 80 games, it wouldn’t really make sense for him to take Clostebol as his choice of performance-enhancing steroids. 

The President of the Banned Substances Control Group and known anti-doping specialist, Oliver Catlin, backed this when he said, “…Clostebol is generally considered a weak Anabolic steroid. Frankly, It wouldn’t make much sense to use it if you were really trying to build muscle as there are much more powerful and effective anabolic steroids that are easily available”. 

Tatis signed a 14-year $340 million contract last year and has more performance-enhancing substances available to him like HGH, Stanozolol, and Turinablol. This begs the question: why wouldn’t he decide to take these instead? Tatis chose to use Clostebol, a so-called weak steroid that is commonly used to treat skin abrasions such as Ringworm, which Tatis again claimed he had. 

Despite this, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred suspended Tais for 80 games, which will not only prevent him from playing the rest of this year, but potentially the start of next year as well. This will not only hurt Tatis, but the Padres as well who were looking and primed to make a deep playoff run this October. 

But potentially the most far-reaching effect is how this will affect the perception of Major League Baseball. The MLB is notorious for steroids, so much so that the time period from the late 80’s to early 2000’s is referred to as the steroid era. 

The league’s tremendous mismanagement of the Tatis situation will cast a dark shadow over baseball, painting it in such an appalling light that not thousands, but millions of people will stop tuning in to watch America’s Greatest Pastime.