Don’t let some ruin everything that you have loved for the last few decades…
Everyone has the right to be skeptical with anything that they have witnessed over the past two decades. Anyone and everyone that has played baseball is going to be associated, their cleanliness will be questioned.
So in no way am I dismissing anyone from cheating during a period where cheaters were so prevalent.
But there were clean players. Optimism is the way that I feel when saying that. There were plenty of players that did things “the right way.” Plenty of players that should not be “tainted,” yet are, unfortunately.
Which players you say? That I cannot say with any real conviction. But some had to say to themselves; is money worth going bald and breaking down physically at an earlier age? Once my career is over, am I going to be satisfied after abusing steroids and having my muscles deteriorate on me?
Watch “The Wrestler.” A very well made movie by the director of “Requiem For a Dream.” And Mickey Rourke gives a great performance, one that is well-deserved of all that praise that his playing of the character Rodney “The Ram” has received.
And take it from me, I have never watched wrestling in my life. Never–other than flicking by it. I dislike it. And I dislike having the outcome already established. But the wrestling part of it should not turn anyone away. The film is greater than just some guys throwing each other around in a pre-determined fashion.
Anyway, it is a good example of what can happen after steroid use. The abusing of PED’s are just a part of the downfall of Rourke’s character, but nevertheless, part of the reason wrestlers lives decline at an earlier age.
Back to baseball…
Some think that everyone used, that it was a “level-playing field.”
Adding in amphetamines—which IS cheating, believe it or not. And it is just as much cheating as steroids are, whether one agrees or not–increases the percentage of “cheaters,” definitely.
Focusing on positives in the era is what we naturally seem to avoid doing, when surrounded by negativity.
However, leave it to me to throw some optimism in your faces, as you willingly listen.
There are two players that seem to stick out in an era of questions, to me, that I would be very, VERY surprised if they injected needles into their bodies to try and hit more home runs.
Amphetamines, maybe, but how can I suggest anything like that without knowing?
And there are plenty of other players that were most likely clean, but since these two carry star-power, then I will use them as examples of what I believe to be positive outliers during a negative time
Again, I am not sure, so I am not dismissing them entirely simply because I believe their body types were not changed, while others physique’s DID change.
And the two chosen candidates are…
Ichiro Suzuki: For everyone who questions his motives, who questions how much of a team player he is. At least understand that Ichiro plays the game in a way that should be modeled after. Ichiro plays defense, very well at the corner. Ichiro steals bases, although not enough for everyone to be happy. But Ichiro refrains from “taking off” so much because he doesn’t want to be caught.
Believe me, followers of “Sabermetrics” understand how valuable this is. Now maybe Ichiro doesn’t want to be caught, simply because he does not want to fail. But it seems like anyone who steals bases and succeeds over 80% of the time, is looked upon negatively (see: Tim Raines). Getting caught takes a man off the base-paths. If a player is going to steal, then they better be pretty confident that they will make it.
And everyone also negatively points out that Ichiro could hit for more power. Could? Well, what kind of power are we referring to? Are we talking about 35-40 home runs power? Because I doubt that. I doubt Ichiro would eliminate the power from his swing so that he could “succeed” a higher percentage of the time by trying to hit more singles.
I mean, maybe he could hit for more power, but come on. If Ichiro thought that he could do significantly more damage hitting more home runs, wouldn’t he have changed his approach? Maybe the increase in power and decrease in average/OBP would kind of cancel each other out.
Because even Ichiro understands that the glamour of the home run is what a lot of players strive for. And why wouldn’t Ichiro partake in the “dinger fest” that fans seems to love?
So, maybe Ichiro is arrogant. Maybe he “tries not to fail as often as possible,” rather than “failing more, but doing more damage when succeeding.”
If “trying not to fail” were the objective, which it normally is, wouldn’t Ichiro take more walks?
Ichiro may be be a terrible teammate, I really don’t know. But I am confident that he has not abused steroids, and hopefully people will glance at that, rather than focusing on all of his negatives—which I am sure he has–just as everyone does, and every baseball player, too.
Hopefully I am right in thinking that Ichiro was clean.
The other player that I want to “call out” in a positive light, and hope to be right about is…
Anyone who reads my blog knows how much respect I have for this guy. And that is simply because I have said multiple times that I have so much respect for him. I don’t do this to garner respect from Yankee fans. I do this because I believe it. I believe he plays the game in a way that should be commended, emulated.
I don’t want to go into it all that much as to why I like the way Jeter plays the game. I just do. His mental prowess. His “respect” for the game. His ability, and understanding, as to why a batter should hit to all fields. Etc, etc, etc. Derek Jeter has had a great career, period.
Both he and Ichrio play hard, and play with a sense of pride, a sense that they can do anything on a baseball diamond. These are players that hopefully subscribed to ARod’s “never felt overmatched on the baseball field” theory. And hopefully the aforementioned duo of players subscribed and held up to that standard regarding PED’s (refraining from partaking in the unnatural enhancement).
Again, no one is dismissing anyone. But I like to believe that Ichiro Suzuki and Derke Jeter went about things the right way, in an era when many chose to do it the wrong way.
Papi in the clear?
It eases us a little when players come out and say things like this though. Yet, because I am a fan of baseball, and have been “wronged” by players before, I am skeptical of anyone and everyone.
Luckily, the sport is much greater than feeling cheated by its “tainted” era–slightly cheated is more accurate.
But the most important part of what Ortiz is attempting to do in saying this, is to implement a tougher penalty. One that is more difficult to get around, and a penalty that makes a player think three or four times before using, rather than just twice.
Ripping names out of a confidential folder is not the way to solve future issues that the MLB will continue having with PED use, if they do not do something about it.
And being suspended for a full season WILL cut down on the use of steroids.
A player will think long and hard, and then long and hard again before missing out on a years pay. A player may feel like in a contract year, that they need to enhance their performance through cheating. Yet, they will probably refrain from doing so knowing that being suspended for a year will kill any chances of earning any kind of big-time contract the following season.
And I believe that is true, but the testing program needs to be much stricter as well. Players WILL cheat if they know their chosen drug is undetectable. They WILL cheat if they know when the tests are coming, which sometimes it seems as if they do. And they WILL continue to cheat if the higher-ups don’t enforce something that matters.
I want the game to be clean. Anyone who says, “well everyone was doing it, it was a level-playing field.” I disagree. I find it hard to believe that EVERYONE was doing it. Someone was cheated. And probably more like hundreds of “someone’s” to be accurate.
And there is the other argument, that steroids do not help performance.
Okay, let us assume for a minute that steroids do nothing for bat speed, nothing for pitch recognition and all that. Just assume it for a second. But then when everyone else aches as the season goes on, as they start wearing down, the steroid users are still going strong, they are not wearing down. The bat doesn’t seem heavy through the zone. Their arms are not experiencing the fatigue that other pitchers are feeling.
Steroids do not recognize a change-up. But steroids may very well let a player play at the same level, while others tire.
Just get the DAMN game cleaned up so that we don’t have to question the records. The game will always have its cheaters, but making it harder for them to have success cheating is the only thing that MLB can do.
To give credit, I must. I must give at least a little to Alex Rodriguez.
Alex Rodriguez admitted to using PED’s for a three-year period.
Did Alex have to admit that he used for so long? Or could he simply have stated to the public that he used only in the year that he was caught?
This caught me by surprise, as I just came across it after disturbing my computer from its “sleep mode.” Like every other baseball player, it seems that Rodriguez simply could have admitted to using in a very short period of time, during whichever time period he was caught–2003 in this case.
I have to hand it to the man, at least he came out and made it sound truthful. And maybe it is, maybe he is telling the truth. But of course, as a viewer, from afar, I am skeptical by nature as to if it was in fact three years. But saying that it was “three years,” definitely scores points, seeing how there may not have been any legal ramifications involved in admitting to longer than he had to.
Does this clear Alex for the past four seasons? No, it does not. There are undetectable substances, there was a questionable testing program in place, and there are lingering questions that we have about whether there is a simplistic way to avoid getting caught.
Digress: My Dad makes a good point. Is there a document that states the exact testing plan that MLB has put forth? Because I did some light searching and could not come up with anything. If anyone has any information, please let me know.
Back to the subject at hand. So, yes. ARod will always be “tainted” because of this, but now that he has come clean for three years, rather than one, people will have a little more respect for him.
And because none of us were Major League baseball players, don’t just come out and dismiss everything that everyone has done. If you wish to do so, then I guess that is your opinion. But had we been in that situation, how would each of us, as individuals have handled it? I have not shied away from letting people know that I was dangerously close to flirting with steroids–And that was simply to get bigger and stronger for no reason other than to look good. At least baseball players are doing this to improve their game.
Was it cheating? Yes. But come on, let these guys have a second chance to redeem themselves as people. The game was embedded with steroid and amphetamine use. Both are forms of cheating, and the percentage was mighty great, in my opinion, of how many players were using either/or. Steroids to a lesser extent, but I have to believe that many people were either popping amphetamines, or stocking up on syringes.
Alex Rodriguez cheated. He then lied to us on 60 Minutes. Does he have personal flaws? I would definitely agree with anyone that thinks that he does. But as far as this steroid culture–that is hopefully passing us by–many athletes cheated, some were caught, some weren’t. And hopefully the testing program is the answer that all of us fans want—not just digging through the past and trying to find every wrongdoer.
I will hope Rodriguez fails as a player. It impacts how the Boston Red Sox finish in the division.
But I also find a very positive thing in Rodriguez admitting to that “three-year” period.
I will question what he has done, and what he will do. But I WILL NOT dismiss it.
I guess that I should have watched the video, rather than just skim through the article as I did. But Rodriguez came off as saying that he “did not know” what he used. Now this may be accurate, maybe he didn’t know. But that makes it sound a little suspicious, as if maybe he is implying that he wouldn’t have used had he known that it was a banned substance.
The Steroid Bug.
Disappointing, if true. I know that I am a Red Sox fan, and maybe I should get some satisfaction out of this. But other than the occasional verbal jab at Yankees fans whom I work with (in good fun), I really don’t want this to be news.
First, let me begin by saying that 104 players were apparently found using performance enhancing drugs according to this report. Even if we simplified the amount of players, multiplying 25 by 30, (the amount of players on the 25 roster) X (the number of teams). The result would be 750.
So I am not exactly sure how the testing worked, but if every player were tested of those 750, and 104 came up positive, then that would end up as roughly 14%. 14% would actually be much lower than I would have guessed, but unfortunate anyway. That however, does not include all of the users that were abusing undetectable PED’s. Of course, that number we will never know I suppose.
According to my very quick, and possibly inaccurate research, there were approximately 1400 players that experienced time in the big leagues in 2003, however limited that time may have been. That would cut it down to only 7% of players using, an even more digestible number. Whatever the number should be, it was much lower than I would have guessed (30% would probably have been my guess).
There are a few unclear aspects of this.
One is why only Rodriguez? Did Sports Illustrated come across all the names and choose to release only ARod’s so that it could drag this out as long as possbile? ARod will probably be the biggest attention attracter of all the names. So I don’t find it impossible that maybe SI released his name, will let that sink in for a few days. Then, when it does start to sink in, the other names will be launched at us. That may not be accurate, but I wouldn’t put it past anyone.
The other is how the magazine came across this information and whether or not it is accurate. I am not going to deny that Rodriguez used, I have no clue whether he did or not. But how accurate is this? Just because the story broke, does not mean it is 100% true. I would definitely lean toward it being true, but forgive me for being a little skeptical of any of these type of stories.
And before a Red Sox fan wants to throw a Yankee fan under the bus, remember, if the other names are released, even our hearts may ache a little afterwards.
(Just for the record, I will not be ridiculing any Yankee fans)