As this report in the WaPo points out, the effect of steroids (and PEDs) to jack up home runs appeared to be most dramatic on older players. Evidence indicated Barry Bonds used the anabolic drugs to increase his power as he aged past the usual prime; by doing so Bonds held on to a roster spot that in the pre-steroid era days would h ave gone to a younger slugger.
Following a tightening (one could say 'following
minimal invigorated enforcement') of baseball's steroid policy younger players now hold down roster spots. The obvious result can be seen in the ALCS where the young Tampa Bay Rays hold a commanding 3 to 1 lead over an aging Boston Red Sox team. To the WaPo:
The ball was in the first baseman's mitt, but the speedy hitter, 27 years old and at the peak of his career, was safe by a step, and the pitcher, 42 years old and looking every creaky minute of it, was lying face down in the grass. And there you had it -- the perfect metaphor for the glaring differences between Carl Crawford's youthful Tampa Bay Rays and Tim Wakefield's suddenly age-worn Boston Red Sox, at least as things have played out so far in the American League Championship Series...
Increasingly, in the post-steroids and post-amphetamines era, baseball is a young man's game, and the Red Sox, as other dynasties and mini-dynasties before them, are being betrayed by their age.
Two of the three straight losses they have suffered to the Rays in this series have been charged to 42-year-old pitchers -- Wakefield on Tuesday night, and reliever Mike Timlin in Game 2. Their 36-year-old captain, catcher Jason Varitek, is hitting .125 with no extra-base hits and no RBI this postseason. Their 34-year-old third baseman, Mike Lowell, is out with a hip injury that will require surgery on Monday.
When considering steroid users in baseball, the Boston Red Sox do not come to mind as quickly as the New York Yankees, the San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles, and St. Louis Cardinals. Thus one wonders about the line of logical reasoning for the WaPo's assertions. The Red Sox consistently survive in an post-steroid era that has seen the big time juicers - the Giants, Cardinals, Yankees, and Rangers bite the doping dust, hard. Thus, there seems to be a kernel of truth when looking at the results of a long MLB season: without the dope to keep older players juiced, youth will prevail.