Baseball, the juice, and the elusive facts

Everybody remotely interested in baseball has gotten their fill of news about performance enhancing drug use by many baseball players.  We hear much moralizing about the issue that pushes the question of whether PED’s actually enhance performance to the side.

While looking for data and statistical analyisis regarding the issue, I found this interesting site: Steroids, Other “Drugs”, and baseball.  The author claims that PEDs do not enhance baseball performance–most notably the power ability of a player.  The article states a case that changes in baseball construction and manufacture account for home run increases during baseball’s modern era (1980-present) better than use of PEDs.  In fact, if you adjust for changes in baseball manufacture, power numbers have actually been decreasing during baseball’s modern era.

I have not studied the article’s statistical study in enough depth to comment on its methodology or accuracy, but it is a step in the right direction.  One must study the matter statistically to glean the facts.  Assuming a PED enhances performance is no better than assuming eating Wheaties enhances performance.  You have to do a well designed study and make good inferences from the results to know about what might be going on.

Alas, that seems too droll and boring a concept for sports radio and TV talking heads to get their minds around.  However, inquiring minds like mine want to know.  I feel a lot of other folks want to know too despite the media’s attempts to dumb the issue down.

Published in: on July 4, 2009 at 10:20 am  Leave a Comment  

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