T-Nation: First things first, let's cut through the media and MLB bullshit. From all the evidence you've seen and all of the observations you've made, are these players in the court's crosshairs right now drugged to the gills? Or were they at one time?

Lou Schuler:

TC: I can't match numbers with "stat boy" Lou, but I first noticed steroids starting to crop up in baseball with the Philadelphia Phillies as they were fighting their way to the National League Championship in 1993. I was watching a game when Lenny Dykstra came up to bat. Formerly puny Dykstra now had these huge forearms and formidable body to match. Same thing with the aging catcher Darren Daulton, who suddenly was buff and had somehow subtracted some years from his damaged knees.

A couple of years later, I noticed how the Texas Rangers had gotten huge: Canseco, Pudge Rodriguez, and Juan Gonzalez in particular. In fact, Canseco used to call up my ex-partner/boss Bill Phillips and ask him for steroid advice.

After that, there was an explosion in size. Almost every team had guys on it that looked more like running backs. And then there's Barry Bonds, of course. We don't even need to talk about him.

The most damning piece of evidence, aside from the power numbers of all these guys, is that they're able to stay strong and big throughout the season. The baseball season is long and grueling, and you often don't have time to train. Even if you do, you can't work out so hard that it'll compromise your performance on the field.

How many readers could do a legitimate bodybuilding or strength building workout and then play baseball at a hundred percent the next day? These players can't, even on steroids, so they don't work out all that hard during the season, yet they stay big.

Add to that the crappy food they have to eat day-in and day-out on the road, and common sense dictates that they'd start to lose some of that size round about August or September.

But they don't.

Jim Vigue:

Chris Street:

T-Nation: Agreed. Now, baseball players haven't been training with weights for long. This is a relatively new thing in the sport. Some say that if you take a great athlete, put him on a training program and hire him a nutritionist, then yes, these muscle gains are possible in a short amount of time. Do you buy that?

Vigue:

TC: Right. I suppose these fast muscle gains are possible in some rare instances. But really, being closely involved with strength coaches, personal trainers and nutritionists, how many of them that you know could add five pounds, let alone 25, to an athlete, any athlete, in a single off-season?

There just aren't that many people out there who know what they're doing. So for that fact alone I'm skeptical.

T-Nation: Do steroids really help in the sport of baseball? The big argument you hear is, "Steroids do nothing for hand-eye coordination, and that's what makes a hitter or thrower."

TC: Absolutely they help. They definitely potentiate or "fire up" the nervous system and they definitely add size and strength. Add those up and you're talking about increasing rotational torque, not to mention being able to wait a bit longer on a pitch before you decide to swing – we're talking microseconds here, but in baseball, that can make all the difference in the world!

Street:

T-Nation: Interesting points! Before all this steroid stuff was made aware to the lay public, the big controversy was "andro." Do you think prohormones were scapegoated here, at least in the beginning?

TC: Sure, but chalk one up to the idiot mainstream press again. I once told San Diego Padres Vice President Larry Luchino how androstenedione converted as readily to estrogen as it did Testosterone, particularly in older males, as Mark McGwire was getting to be by that point. He laughed and said, "You mean Mark's getting in touch with his feminine side?" I said, "Well, that would be the case, if that's really what he was using."

I also pointed out to him the evidence–coincidental perhaps, but eyebrow raising nonetheless–that McGwire's brother was a high-level competitive bodybuilder who was clearly a steroid user.

Regardless, the press and the baseball hierarchy wanted to believe that the problem was andro.

T-Nation: What does the steroid fiasco do to the record books and the Hall of Fame? Do they get an asterisk? Is so, what does the footnote say?

Schuler:

TC: I agree with these guys: no asterisk. We don't know how much players were using or exactly when they were using, and it's hard to quantify how much of a player's performance was "him" or how much of it was the steroids.

Besides, as Lou said, every generation has had its aids. Amphetamine was rampant in the sixties, so how many records were affected by players being amped to the gills? Amphetamines are still popular, and we'll no doubt see their use go up again with all the testing for steroids.

Street:

T-Nation: Great points all around, gentleman. So, what's the solution to this? Very strict drug testing?

TC: Sure, let them use the same testing program the NFL uses, or the Olympic committee uses. It'll make all the dried prunes in Congress happy.

T-Nation: Speaking of Big Brother, we've heard President Bush mention steroids a few times over the last couple of years. What's the government's role in sports?

TC: I think it's all pandering. Just bullshit pandering. "We have to save the children." If I had my wish, I'd eat a pound of asparagus, washed down by a 12-pack of Mountain Dew, and then walk up the stairs into the balcony during the Congressional hearings on steroids in baseball and pee on all their heads.

I'm sorry, I didn't answer your question. The government should have no role in baseball. You know, for a bunch of so-called Republicans, they really have turned into the "mommy" party, telling us at every chance what we can or can't do with ourselves.

T-Nation: Does MLB really even want to clean this up? It kinda reminds me of pro-bodybuilding. If the organizers make it drug free, the popularity would probably fall. Who wants to see 190 pound guys on stage and in the mags? Most fans/fetishists want freaks! Hey, wasn't baseball revived by drugged players getting in home run wars and chasing records?

TC: Well, you've definitely got a point with the pro-bodybuilding analogy. The new generation of fans is into action and power, and smaller hitters will affect attendance at games. However, given all the bad press baseball has had regarding 'roided up athletes, they're going to lose fans anyways, so they're in a Catch 22 situation.

T-Nation: As baseball fans who also know a lot about what goes on behind the scenes, have the drug issues affected your love of the game?

TC: It hasn't affected me at all. I love baseball for a whole bunch of reasons. I love the fact that it has no clock; that there's time to both strategize and reflect; and that the rules largely haven't changed in a hundred years so I can compare different generations of players. Nope, I'll still go to the games.

T-Nation: So what happens now? The poop is currently oscillating in the fan, making a real mess. What comes next? What will baseball look like in five years?

Vigue:

TC: Players will "downsize" and baseball will look more like it did in the late eighties. For awhile at least, players will be paranoid about looking too buff and they'll keep their body weight down. Then, we'll probably go through another era of the pitcher where batting averages as a whole go down.

But then, everyone will forget about steroids and Biotest will have figured out some other way to make players bigger and better and it'll start all over again. It's the nature of man, especially when a player stands to earn million of dollars from hitting a few more home runs.

T-Nation: Fascinating subject and interesting talk, guys. Thanks for throwing in your two cents.