A Look at Steroids in Baseball Today

In May 2007, a student wrote a blog post about steroids in baseball.  The post brings up many excellent ideas and addresses a topic that has only generated more interest since then.  I found it particularly exciting to read a student’s take from almost three years ago on a topic that is currently receiving widespread media attention, particularly in the wake of Mark McGwire’s admission to steroid use.   The author of the post does an excellent job of portraying an issue that had and continues to have major implications for the Major League Baseball organization.  The individual addresses the nature of the effects, the impacts the situation is having on the entire organization, how the problem arose, and touches on the effect that the widespread steroid use will have on the future of the organization and the image that the MLB will have.

Despite the many strengths of the post, there are areas for improvement.  The author laid out the basic facts and implications, but failed to adequately address the organizational impacts of the situation.  There are intricate ties between the various components of the MLB organization (its’ strategy and goals, employees, fans, players, company culture, leadership vision, moral and ethical standards, formal structure, etc.) and the events that unfolded.  A more in-depth analysis of the effects of such variables on each other would have been interesting and informative.  There are many aspects that could be addressed, such as the drug-testing policies in place in the formal policies of the MLB versus the practices and policies that actually exist as a result of the people who composed the organization during the steroid era and the informal culture that defined the MLB as much, if not more, than the formal culture.

As a second example, the blog author would have better applied the situation to organizational theory if he touched on the various levels that this issue could have been examined from.  First, on a social psychological level, individuals attempting to analyze and understand the events that unfolded could examine the relationships between the players, coaches, administrators, fans, and league officials.  Were coaches and players aware of their teammates’ steroid use?  Did fans suspect it?  The culture of the MLB at the time may have influenced the decisions of some players to use steroids.  Analyzing the behavior of the individual players and the interpersonal relationships between them and other individuals in the MLB organization could shed light on the reasoning behind many players’ steroid use.  Next, the situation can be examined from an organizational level.  At this level, analysis of the MLB as a collective actor takes place.  The norms and levels of acceptance regarding steroid use that characterized the MLB as a whole are crucial for understanding how the use of steroids became such a widespread phenomena within the organization.  Conformity could have been a major factor in the decision of so many players to use steroids.  In fact, conformity is an issue prevalent in many organizations in various ways due to the influence that an organization can have on the people composing it, as demonstrated by the development of a standard manner in which players have begun to admit to past steroid use.  Finally, considering the situation from an ecological level is crucial on understanding the entirety of the situation.  The MLB can be analyzed in the context of many larger systems, such as baseball leagues, United States sports professional organizations, the field of athletics, and many more.  Understanding if leniency in policies existed in other sports or in baseball leagues in other countries at the time could provide insight.  Furthermore, perhaps international players were somehow gaining an edge on American baseball players, driving the MLB players to seek out manners to artificially improve their statistics.  These are simply examples of phenomenon and concepts that could have been analyzed to provide a more insightful, meaningful blog post.

The author of the blog post concluded by posing a series of questions.  I enjoyed this because it stimulated thinking and got me contemplating critical issues.  However, rather than have such a long list of questions, I think the author could have improved the post by interspersing it with possible answers and the various sides of the arguments.  Many of the questions posed are complex ones and ones that the MLB, the general public, and players from the steroid era are still struggling with almost three years later.  However, mentioning a few different potential answers to these questions could have encouraged even more critical thinking.

Overall, the post was interesting and the author did a good job of providing a brief summary of the situation and presenting thoughts to encourage research and thinking about the issue.  The major way in which it could have been improved is by more detailed and intricate connection to concepts of organizational theory.

There has been a blog developed that is entirely dedicated to baseball’s steroid era.  A quick glance at the timeline shows how much the issue has snowballed since 2007.  It also is important for recognizing that the manner in which the MLB organization is viewed is highly contingent upon the time in which it is done.  This is true for any organization, as they operate in dynamic environments, but is particularly truly for the MLB over the past two decades.  As a result, it is imperative to monitor and analyze the image of the MLB organization as time progresses, more steroid admissions are made, and the time since the steroid era increases.


7 Responses

  1. […] recognized that the positive reactions from the public would help turn attention away from the currently tainted reputation of the league.  Any one of these scenarios, and an infinite number of others, are all possible.  The […]

  2. i like your writing style, very easy to understand. i will look foward your next post, keep it up.

    • Thank you, I appreciate it. Be sure to use the tag feature to identify other posts written by me and my classmates that involve baseball and the MLB (which, based on your nickname I assume are interests of yours).

  3. Finally, an issue that my partner and i are passionate about. We’ve looked for information of this caliber for the last hrs. Your site is greatly appreciated

    • Thanks! I am glad that I wrote about something that interested others. It will be interesting to monitor the progression of this situation and the manner in which it is dealt with.

  4. […] Posted on February 20, 2010 by Brooke One of my posts that I enjoyed most is A Look at Steroids in Baseball Today, so I used this post as a starting point to initiate further conversation about this topic.  I […]

  5. Hi, love the article, good information, and well written, thanks once again.

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