While it is quite obvious that I have never taken steroids, when it comes to baseball players, it is not always as easy to tell. The main assumption is that all of the great sluggers of the “steroid era” took them. My aim with this project was to challenge that assumption.
With a presentation structured like mine, one would normally make a comparative argument with pictures of the guys who got jacked in the “STEROIDS” section and skinny dudes or unrevealing pictures of bigger dudes in the “NO STEROIDS” section. The argument would be the simple one that the players who took steroids got a lot bigger over the course of their careers. My argument took much more thought to represent. The specific players chosen and the order of the photographs were a crucial component. For example, Mo Vaughn, the big fat guy who is assumed not to have ‘roided up, absolutely had to be where he was to make the argument clear. I tried putting him in the third section, but with a more normal looking player in his place, the presentation had no argument; it just looked like a bunch of random pictures in a row.
I was fighting more than one assumption here. For example, old-time players like Babe Ruth are not even thought of in the steroid conversation, but in comparing appearances, Ruth looks as much like a steroid freak as anybody. By using a healthy mixture of big guys and little guys, old guys and young guns, I was making several arguments at once.
The cunfused boy who introduced the third section helped me out very much. Just the title “STEROIDS?” implies the the audience should try to distinguish between those who abused and those who didn’t. However, the boy’s face says it all: there is truly no way to tell.
While I could have made the argument more easily with words, using a visual presentation was a more memorable experience. I think the lasting effect of the presentation reaches beyond the steroid issue in baseball to all walks of life. People who see it will be encouraged to look into things through a fair lens and not judge a book by its cover.