Results tagged ‘ steroids ’
Last week, Alex Rodriguez hit his 600th home run:
Was there a big hoopla over an event that, 20 years ago, would have captivated the entire sport? No, as long as you don’t count the number of at-bats it took him to finally blast-off again.
More interesting, though, is the lack of steroid-related snipings and gripings. Where’s the outrage at “A-Roid” joining the same club as the Say Hey kid:
To me, this indicates what the future of the Steroid Era might hold. Instead of the outrage that accompanied the feats of McGwire, Sosa, and Clemens, now baseball fans are taking a “make your own judgement” approach to the issue. It used to be that we wanted to re-write the record books, but now we realize that the steroid issue is so pervasive that it cannot be successfully excised. So, we make up our own minds as to who the record holders are.
I know who mine are:
Not a perfect system, by far, but perhaps it will have to suffice, like a scar reminding you of an old wound that will never quite heal.
Not that I enjoy posting this sort of news on my blog, but the most recent development in the Roger Clemens vs. Brian McNamee case involves McNamee claiming that he injected Clemens multiple times (either in an apartment or right in the Yankee Stadium hot tub) during the 2001 with steroids and HGH. Supposedly, the syringes McNamee handed over to the federal government some time ago even contain traces of Clemens’ DNA.
As I’ve said many times before, I think that Clemens is one of the most obviously guilty parties of the Steroid Era. The only difference between him and pretty much all the others (McGwire, Sosa, etc.) is that Clemens (being a hothead his entire playing career) is fighting McNamee tooth and nail instead of just keeping quiet. Thus, McNamee is now bringing out his big guns.
Of course, I don’t know what it says about McNamee’s character that he saved syringes that Clemens wanted him to discard, but this could be one of those situations where the ends justify the means.
For those of us who want to see Barry Bonds punished to the full extent of the law for perjuring himself to the U.S. government, a major blow was dealt today. The judge in the case barred Bonds’ positive steroid tests from 2003, citing that there isn’t definitive proof that those tests belonged to Barry. Plus, along the same vein, the doping calendars seized from Bonds’ personal trainer Greg Anderson cannot be used in the trial, as (even though a B.B. is present throughout the journals) the court cannot prove with 100% certainty that B.B. is Barry Bonds.
So, in all likelihood, the entire case will rest on the testimony of Mr. Anderson. However, he has proven to be one tough cookie, serving a long prison sentence already because he didn’t give up Bonds’ name from the get-go. It makes me sick that Bonds could get by on these technicalities. Just look at the guy…an A-1 example of a punk who still thinks he will get away with something illegal.
Where’s Neo when you need him?!
A day or two ago, MLB Commissioner Buddy-Boy Selig had a few harsh words for those criticizing his stand against steroids in the game. Selig said that it “annoys the you-know-what out of me” to be criticized for the Steroid Era, and that he tried to institute a tough testing policy in 1995 but was fought by the MLB Players Union (led by Donald Fehr) every step of the way.
Now, while I can understand Selig’s frustration with Fehr’s Union, which has gotten completely out of hand with too much power the last decade or so, the commish seems to have forgotten one certain thing: the title in front of his name. As commissioner, what Selig says is what WILL happen in baseball. If he was frustrated by Fehr in 1995 while negotating the new bargaining agreement to avoid a longer players strike, why didn’t he just come to the public with the information? He could have easily just held a press conference and told baseball fans that the Union is impeding my efforts to clean up the sport. So much pressure would have been place on the Union at that time that they likely would have complied. However, Bud instead chose to overlook the entire issue at the time (think all the U.S. Presidents before Abraham Lincoln overlooking that “little” issue call slavery) in order to gain a brittle trust with the Union. That was his big mistake, and he is paying for it royally now.
So, when I hear Selig getting defensive about all the negative press he is currently receiving, I think he deserves every bit of it. Only certain commissioners (Kennesaw Landis being first and foremost) have truly tried to do what was best for the game, but Selig is not one of them. He THINKS he is (because he got the players back on the field in ’95), but really he just mortgaged the next decade to steroid issues.
With all the current controversy surrounding Alex Rodriguez’s leaked positive drug test from 2003, I just wanted to put in my two cents worth: I think he is still (while not outright lying) trying to cover up a large portion of his steroid involvement, or at least make it seem much more benign than it really was. The only thing different with A-Rod is that, once he was caught, he opened himself up to a live press conference (more accessibility than guys like Mark McGwire or Rafael Palmeiro, for example). He allowed himself to be put through the wringer and now hopes that his answers will prove satisfactory to warrant some forgiveness. I, however, do not believe that he is portraying himself in the correct light based on two portions of his recent comments:
First, he has not (to this point, and likely ever) given what I would consider a decent explanation for why he continued to take steroids. All he says is that he was “young, naive, and stupid”, but to me that is a cop-out. You can’t tell me that when A-Rod saw his HR numbers surpassing 50 (in 2001 and 2002), up from his usual low-40s number, he didn’t realize it was because of the substances he was injecting into himself. Sure, Rodriguez may say that his rookie year in Seattle and his 2007 Yankees campaign were his two greatest seasons in the major leagues, but that is strictly a matter of opinion. I think that A-Rod knew EXACTLY what he was doing (taking steroids).
Also, we are all forgetting that MLB DID actually have a steroid “policy” in place before 2003. Basically, the policy stated that all substances deemed illegal outside the game were also illegal within the game. The steroid that A-Rod tested positive for, Primobolan, has never had an approved prescription use. Also, by itself it is a rather weak steroid, so it is often used in conjunction with other products (such as HGH, perhaps, the other substance that A-Rod tested positive for in ’03…hmm).
Thus, there are two many loose ends and fishy coincidences here for me to completely believe A-Rod’s claims. Plus, in 2007 (when under the steroid allegations of Jose Canseco) Rodriguez told Kate Couric point-blank that he never used steroids. Either he was a great liar, then, or a complete idiot. He wants us to believe that “idiot” line, but I lean towards the “liar”.
Besides all the fallout of the Alex Rodriguez steroid admission, which I will discuss on this blog in more detail in a later post, it was also recently announced that a federal judge dismissed basically all of Roger Clemens’ “defamation of character” lawsuit against former personal trainer Brian McNamee, who said in last year’s Mitchell Report that he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone.
For once, I think the U.S. justice system got things right!! McNamee was promised federal immunity for his contributions to George Mitchell, and that is exactly what he is getting right now. So, in essence, Clemens isn’t able to screw him over for just telling the truth.
As you will likely find out by reading my upcoming blog posts about steroids in major league baseball, I am a huge proponent of holding everyone (players, managers, trainers, commissioner Selig, etc.) accountable for the Steroid Era of 1994-2003. Thus, I think that Clemens is getting EXACTLY what he deserves. Whereas most players (Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa, etc.) have completely disappeared following steroid accusations, Clemens (because he is a jerk…just ask Mike Piazza about that) decided to lie through his teeth and fight it tooth and nail. So far, though, he’s not winning and I’m all for that.
Three new free-agent signings this week I wanted to comment on…
1. Jason Giambi is going back to the Oakland A’s. After spending a bunch of years with the Yankees, the big man is going back to his roots. I’ll never forget that Sports Illustrated cover (pictured above) showing the grease-ball Giambi and thinking “whoa…this guy is crazy”. I became very jaded towards Giambi when his name kept popping up in the steroid scandals of the past decade, but I now have much more respect for him, as he is the ONLY player I can think of who has come clean.
2. Trevor Hoffman signed with the Milwaukee Brewers. Hoffman is a no-brainer first ballot Hall of Famer, but he may be on the down-slope of his career. By and large he’s still a pretty good closer, but he is beginning to fail a bit too often in those pressure-packed situations.
3. John Smoltz is now a member of the Boston Red Sox. If healthy, Smoltz can dominate a game basically wherever you put him (starter, reliever, closer, etc.). Of course, keeping him healthy is another matter entirely…
I found out the other day that former Minnesota Twins reliever J.C. Romero (who now plays for the Philadelphia Phillies and was instrumental to their World Series title last year) has been suspended for the first 50 games of the upcoming 2009 baseball season due to testing positive for a banned substance.
Romero’s defense is that the product (6-OXO Extreme) is readily available in most health supplement shops, and in that defense he is correct, creating a new wrinkle in the “war against steroids” in professional sports.
Though it is very difficult for me to sympathize with athletes who defend themselves after testing positive for a banned substance, there has been a rash of incidences lately in which players plead guilty and had a decent case. Take Pat and Kevin Williams of the Minnesota Vikings, as well as Deuce McAllister and a lineman from the New Orleans Saints of the NFL. They all faced suspensions for taking banned substances, but their defense was that they were just taking weight loss pills and the banned substance was not listed in the ingredients. Romero is essentially saying the same thing, as he claims the substance was approved by his team-hired trainers in Philly.
Cases like these are why the steroid problem in professional sports is so hard to untangle. On one hand, Romero could be a victim of an unscrupulous company. On the other hand, though, he could just be using the newest defense of ‘roids (“it wasn’t on the label”) and trying to worm his way out of punishment.
Of course, the MLB Players Union supports Romero fully.