by Justin Freeze
In his most recent article, Owen tried to convince you of two things: (a) that steroids have a substantial positive impact on a baseball player’s performance, and (b) that this impact clearly shows up in the statistics of the period. If you did as little honest digging as Owen and those who think similarly seem to have done, you were probably convinced. However, I am confident that by the end of my piece, you will realize that these arguments collapse once their severely exaggerated credibility is exposed.
My goal with this post is not the masturbatory self-congratulation that Owen appears to seek. Rather, it is to provide a dispassionate examination of the facts surrounding steroids and their potential impact on the game of baseball. I shall start, as all good science should, with the null hypothesis: steroids do not significantly impact the game or its players’ performances in any perceptible way. We shall see if the available information is able to refute that hypothesis.
I present my article in three parts. Part 1 – Medical Science and Steroids will examine the medical research on the impact steroids have on the body, and whether this translates to better performance in the batter’s box. Part 2 – The Discontinuity Dilemma will look at the curious cases of abnormal performances during the so-called “Steroid Era”, and whether or not this allows us to reasonably conclude that certain players were juicing during this period. Finally, Part 3 – Should We Care? wraps up my piece by questioning whether or not this whole debate ought to affect our assessment of baseball and its history.
Those who are neither friends of math nor logic, nor those who are so obsessed with proving their own dubious correctness that they refuse to engage in fair discussion need not read on. To pun on Owen’s title, the correlation between blindness and thinking you’re always right is also one.