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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Curt Schilling: No Team Has Won Cleanly in Last 20 Years

Baseball and steroids. It’s an American tradition as old as apple pie and Chevrolet. MLB finally began testing for steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs in the last five years and enacted a policy that punishes players who are caught cheating. Before that, it was the wild wild west where guys could pump their bodies full of horse testosterone and cow hormones and we’d all look the other way so long as they kept us entertained with 450-foot home runs. This isn’t fantasy, it’s reality. And Curt Schilling recognizes it.

The former six-time All-Star and World Series MVP talked steroids during a Wednesday interview with 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia (via Hardball Talk). “There’s a lot of good young pitchers in the game right now, but far fewer players are cheating,” Schilling said during his interview. “One of the bigger reasons they all did (steroids) was it allowed them to be April fresh in September and that helped you hit home runs. Anybody who ever says performance-enhancing drugs didn’t help players produce offensive numbers is full of crap. There isn’t a team in the last 20 years that has won clean,” he said.

Alright, so there’s the big bomb. But the truth is if you don’t agree with him, then you’re just in denial. I’d confidently say over half the league was using something during the Steroids Era, and I’d guess around 65% of players is more of an accurate number. Did that make it acceptable to cheat the game and break the law? Of course not, but we’ve just accepted that steroids and PEDs were part of the culture of the game.

We can’t go back and change history to strip teams of titles just because it was retroactively discovered some of their players were cheating. If you look at all teams you will find players who cheated.

As for Schilling’s point that offense is down in baseball because of a lack of steroids, he’s right. That’s the biggest reason why offense has been down the last two seasons. Another reason is because teams have been opening new parks that are spacious pitcher’s parks.

Look at the dimensions of Target Field in Minnesota, Citi Field in New York, and Nationals Park in D.C. compared to recently constructed parks like Minute Maid in Houston and Citizens Bank Park in Philly. Teams are electing to build larger ballparks that make it difficult on hitters.

But let’s not confuse things, the biggest reason why offense is down in baseball is because of drug testing, just like Schilling said.

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