I have yet to see a direct scientific correlation that shows that steroids magically gift a baseball player with the ability to hit home runs. Think about how many crappy players took steroids--it's not like David Segui was ever a threat to break Maris' record. You still need elite hand-eye coordination to be able to hit a 95-mph fastball, not to mention navigate your way around an arsenal of the best offspeed and breaking pitches on the planet.
Not only that, but how are we to even know which pitchers may or not have been on the juice? Frankly, at this point I think you pretty much have to assume that every player in baseball was using steroids during the so-called "steroid era." Why wouldn't you, considering there were no rules in place and an improbability that you would get caught? Given how many revelations keep occurring, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if new players continued to come forward now that McGwire has opened the floodgates.
And again, who really cares? I'm sorry if steroids tarnished baseball for you, but I'll never forget that magical 1998 summer watching and hoping that Big Mac and Sosa could finally topple the record. I don't care that A-Rod admitted to steroids, and I don't care that Barry Bonds is almost surely a steroid user. They're still phenomenal baseball players, and until someone can show me specific scientific evidence backing up any claims that steroids directly impacted or affected their statistics, then it's all hyperbole and conjecture.
Complaining about players using steroids reminds me of peoples' outrage over investment banking bonuses, once again a popular story in the news these days. Maybe it's because I'm reading "Liar's Poker" and finding myself utterly fascinated by it (not to mention outrageously annoyed that it never even occurred to me while an undergrad to pursue a job on Wall Street) but really, anyone who's complained about the absurd money I-bankers make (and I'm certainly guilty of this offense) is just jealous that they didn't elect to take that career path. Being morally outraged because the baseball players you held in such high esteem (never mind that they were obviously on steroids) now decide to come forward and admit that what everyone suspected was true rings hollow to me. Where was all the outrage while McGwire was en route to 70 bombs 12 years ago?
The bottom line for me is that I don't care if a player did steroids, because no amount of juice can help you become a better hitter--if they could, how come no one has realistically flirted with batting .400 in ages? Just because a few extra balls went over the wall doesn't prove to me that steroids helped them get there. How come the standard line is always that the batters were clearly cheating, but the pitchers are never held accountable? What if the pitching was truly terrible? I find it a funny coincidence that both McGwire and Sosa had these impressive runs in the National League, which has been anecdotally weaker than the American for nearly 20 years.
Check out the following league FIPs and corresponding seasons:
Now you can look at this chart and have it tell you just about anything you want. If you're a steroid witch-hunt person, you'll see the rise in FIP in 1999 and 2000 as surefire proof that steroids destroyed the game of baseball. If you're like me, you'll think that maybe the NL happened to have a couple of rough pitching years, but that the numbers mostly returned to normal in 2001, with 2002 posting an even lower league FIP than in 1997.
There are too many variables in baseball on any given at-bat, and in a game where you're considered a success if you reach base 35% of the time, I don't see how steroids changed the playing field unless you started to see scores of guys consistently start to get on base in half their at-bats. Now noted steroid suspect Barry Bonds was in fact getting on-base at that particular obscene clip for from 2001 through 2004, but he was also miles better than just about everyone else. Are we supposed to assume that steroids helped Bonds even moreso than the other players who took steroids, or can we just take a step back and admire the fact that Bonds was far and away the best player in baseball for a good portion of the aughts?