The Reuters global sports blog
Reports that Major League Baseball will introduce testing for synthetic Human Growth Hormone (HGH) in its minor leagues next season year prompt disturbing memories of the explosion in power hitting in the 1990s headed by Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds.
This year McGwire admitted he had taken steroids when he broke Roger Maris’s long-standing home run record in 1998.
Bonds, who bettered McGwire’s record three years later, faces charges that he lied to a grand jury about steroid use.
Although a blood test for HGH was introduced before the 2004 Athens Olympics, nobody had subsequently tested positive until British rugby league player Terry Newton late last month.
In a statement sent to various news outlets on Monday Mark McGwire finally admitted what many had already suspected.
“I used steroids during my playing career and I apologize,” McGwire said in the release. “I wish I had never touched steroids. It was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize. Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era.”
The deference once shown to the stars of America’s favorite pastime has given way to widespread cynicism when records are shattered, especially since Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa engaged in a spirited race in 1998 to break Roger Maris’s single-season record of 61 home runs, a chase that gripped the country with excitement.
In a bid to remove clouds of suspicion chronicled in the book Game of Shadows, Major League Baseball commissioned the “Mitchell Report”. While baseball is not the only sport facing problems, it’s the only sport so invested in an image of sweet American innocence.