For a lot of youngsters in the Dominican Republic, and other countries, Major League Baseball is their best chance at escaping poverty. However, that chase of MLB fame and fortune is having unexpected side effects.
Those side effects are coming from steroid use by Dominican prospects. As Nathanael Perez Nero reported for Diario Libre, there has been a pattern of acute renal failure in prospects from the Dominican. One doctor had said that he saw 15 different prospects with renal failure from steroid use in the past year, with some of these players requiring dialysis and even a kidney transplant.
MLB dreams causing severe medical issues for Dominican prospects
This is a systemic issue. As Hector Gomez pointed out, there is a pattern of children having those health issues due to steroids. Those prospects are getting these substances through “trainers” or “agents,” people that these kids are trusting to further their careers and help them towards that life altering payday. Instead, those players are being taken advantage of, being pumped full of substances that are ruining their health and lives before it had a chance to begin.
But the majors, and professional baseball in general, are a siren song. Poverty and crime are everywhere. Baseball is an escape from the day to day and the general feeling of hopelessness. It is also a dream, a hope for a better life than one could get otherwise. In a way, it is a modern day Pascal’s wager, betting their lives on a reward on the other side.
The problem is that so few players get that reward, even for a day or two. There have been 22,906 players in major league history dating back to 1871 as of Saturday. Only 780 players are on a major league roster at any given point in time. Unless they land that huge signing bonus, or buck the odds, they are gambling that those substances can make a difference.
Major League Baseball is the way out for a lot of youngsters in the Dominican. They are paying the price with their bodies for those MLB dreams.