Pearl City Senior Offers New Approach To Drug Use In MLB

Ryne Tokunaga

Ryne Tokunaga

By RYNE TOKUNAGA Special to West Oahu Islander

The late 1990s to early 2000s was a time of struggle for America’s pastime. This period was known as the Steroid Era.

An abundance of players began using performance-enhancing drugs and home run records were shattered.

During this era, Barry Bonds broke the career home run record as well as the single season home run record.

Most people would define this era as a dark period in the bright history of baseball and the players who used these substances as cheaters who defiled the game.

If you look closely, however, the Steroid Era is still going on today and shows no signs of stopping.

Many players are still being found guilty of using these substances, and it’s absurd to believe that there aren’t many more players who haven’t been caught. MLB is doing everything it can to alleviate this problem, but with little success.

However, there is a simple solution that MLB has not yet considered: Allow the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

What I’m proposing is not for players to take as many dangerous substances as their heart desires.

Instead, what I propose is that all players should be allowed to take specific performance-enhancing drugs in safe and regulated doses that will give them an edge without endangering their health. Professional athletes who previously had taken performance-enhancing supplements are facing health risks because of the dangerously high dosages that they were taking. Regulating the dosages of these drugs could prevent serious health risks, such as liver abnormalities and aggressive behavior commonly referred to as “roid rage.”

All types of performance-enhancing drugs currently are banned in all levels of baseball. However, the use of these substances increasingly is prevalent at the college level. A personal friend of mine, who played baseball at a junior college in Arizona, told me that many of his team-mates had taken performance-enhancing drugs and had never been caught. And although all levels of college baseball ban these drugs, they test their athletes so rarely that there is a minimal chance that they ever will be caught. The NCAA primarily tests for street drugs, such as marijuana, and hardly ever tests for performance-enhancing drugs.

So, as the saying goes, “It’s only illegal if you get caught.”

Most critics of this proposal would claim that allowing performance-enhancing drugs would make supplements more important than training in order to be successful.

But this certainly is not the case. As a baseball player with more than a decade of experience, I know the technical skill and vision that comes from countless hours of practice always will outweigh the need for physical strength. Although being physically strong may offer a slight advantage, skill always will be the key component to achieving success in baseball.

For many of these athletes, producing results on the field is their best chance to have a successful life.

The weaker they perform, the less they are able to provide for their families. For these men, baseball is not just a hobby; it’s their livelihood.

Ryne Tokunaga is a senior at Pearl City High School. His article on performance-enhancing drugs was written as part of his senior project proposal to allow their in professional sports. His email address is Ryne.Tokunaga@