The debate on the use of steroids in baseball was going on since the mid 1990s. However, the MLB – Major League Baseball had no official policy on the use of steroids in baseball before 2002. The stage of the new steroid policy in baseball was set when several cases of steroid use in baseball started becoming public.
David Wells stated that “25 to 40 percent of all Major Leaguers are juiced”. Jose Canseco stated on 60 Minutes and in his book Juiced that as many as 85% of players werr using steroids in baseball, and he credited steroid use for his entire career. Ken Caminiti revealed that he won the 1996 NL MVP award while on steroids. Caminiti also did reveal the health consequences he suffered as a result of his steroid use, telling Sports Illustrated that “his testicles shrank and retracted; doctors found his body had virtually stopped producing its own testosterone and that his level of the hormone had fallen to 20% of normal.”On February 17, 2003, Baltimore Orioles pitching prospect Steve Bechler collapsed and died on the practice field at spring training of heat stroke. The medical examiner ruled that the over-the-counter drug Ephedra played a significant role in Bechler’s death.
Such stories of steroids in baseball shocked the world of baseball. The baseball players and owners agreed to hold survey on steroid testing in 2003. It was decided that if more than 5% of results from the anonymous tests came out positive, formal testing and penalties on the users of steroids in baseball would be introduced next year (2004).
The outcome was that 5% to 7% of test results were positive, which cleared the way for the new policy of steroids in baseball in 2004. The draft of the policy was fabricated in 2004. The draft articulated that each player was to be tested once a year in season. Treatment was recommended after first positive test results, a 15-day suspension for a second positive, and up to a year suspension for a fifth positive.
Former major league pitcher Tom House spoke to the San Francisco Chronicle in 2005, admitting to steroid use during his playing career and claiming that use of steroids was already widespread in baseball by the time he started his professional career in the late 1960s.
The new policy on the use of steroids in baseball was accepted in 2005. According to the new policy, there will be one unannounced mandatory test of each player during the season, there will be random testing during the offseason, and there will be testing of randomly selected players, with no maximum number. The banned substances include steroids, steroid precursors, designer steroids, masking agents and diuretics. The penalties for a positive result are, first positive, 10 days; second, 30 days; third, 60 days; fourth, one year, and all without pay.
The BALCO scandal just let the cat out of bag in 2005. The nutrition center BALCO was accused of distributing steroids to many star players, most notably Bonds. Many top players, such as Rafael Palmeiro, Mc. Gwire, Sosa, Canseco, and Curt Schilling were summoned on March 17, 2005 to testify in front of Congress. As the result of the Scandal, the players such as Ryan Franklin and others were handed suspensions as short as ten days, and pnalities were slapped on many players. However, Congressional panel demanded/has been demanding the tough penalties for the users of steroids in baseball.