I have always been under the belief that steroids and testosterone, while helping a player return earlier from injury, did little to aid in hitting a ball further and more frequently. I used to believe that if you hit a ball squarely on the barrel of a bat, that the ball would travel over the fence regardless of whether or not steroids were being used. After all, I’ve played baseball for much of my life. I had never used steroids or testosterone gels, and I would hit a ball 350 feet with consistency (in my younger days).
As I enter my fifties, I was recently diagnosed with herniated discs and sciatica. It has been a painful experience. And while I no longer play baseball, I have taken up golf over the past few years. Golfing has been difficult with herniated discs. When I first went to the doctor, and tests were done, it was discovered that aside from my disc issues, I also had low testosterone levels. That would explain feeling tired and sluggish. The doctor prescribed steroids for one week to ease the back pain, and a well-known testosterone gel to help with my low testosterone levels. That same week I played golf because my back was feeling better as a result of the steroids and gel. What happened that week was eye-opening.
My drives off the tee went from 220 yards to 250-260 yards. I was hitting the golf ball a good 30 to 40 yards further than I ever had. Why? I can’t really give you a definitive answer. It could very well have been in my head, and that helped me hit the ball further. The mind can play tricks on you. It did certainly give me a sense of invincibility. But honestly, I felt better that week than I had in years. It didn’t add muscle, but I was feeling healthier than I had since I began playing golf. Therefore, I was crushing the golf ball (if you can call 260 yards crushed).
Since that one week, I have been off the steroids, but continue to use the gel. My drives are back to the 220-225 range once again. The testosterone gel I continue to use has helped with my stamina, and I no longer lose distance at the end of a round.
The entire experience has now changed the way I view major league players who have used performance enhancing drugs. I believe it did taint their totals….not just a little, but dramatically. I now believe it did aid in adding distance to the flight of the ball, and most of all, I believe it allowed players to play through any pains or ailments they had. And for that reason, I will find it difficult to ever support a PED user for entry into the Hall of Fame. It took my own injury to realize how potent these products are…and just how much it altered player’s careers.