Tag Archive | "Steroids"

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My Steroid Related Admission

Posted on 20 February 2009 by Thyrl Nelson

I Never Used Steroids, But I Definitely Would Have

 

Just once, it would be nice to see someone step up and admit to using steroids before being caught. We’ve heard our share of contrition and excuse making in the wake of players being outed, it’s about time someone stepped up prior to being caught and gave us a genuine take on the whole situation; one that we can believe.

 

Baseball needs a sympathetic figure; that much is certain. And each time that a “former” user is outed for taking performance enhancers, baseball as a whole loses another opportunity to move forward on this entire issue. But as long as players are being dragged into the public eye begrudgingly, and spinning their tales through the filters of attorneys, agents and PR machines, the court of public opinion will continue to convict those who desecrated the prestigious record book of Major League Baseball.

 

I for one, have never taken steroids, HGH or any other performance-enhancing drug, but am ready to make an admission. If I had been playing professional baseball between the years of 1990 and 2003, I almost certainly would have taken steroids. What’s more, I can’t imagine feeling remorseful about it.

 

The court of public opinion is a fickle one, but a few tried and true principles seem to hold. The first is that we want to forgive you. We love contrition, genuine contrition, and relish the opportunities to provide second chances to those who have seen the errors of their ways. Second, it helps if we liked you prior to whatever transgressions you may currently find yourself in the midst of. And perhaps most importantly, it depends on the level of your transgression.

 

If we can relate to the circumstances surrounding your situation, we’re much more likely to forgive your lapses in judgment. Drunk driving for example, is a crime that far too many of us can relate to, and therefore one that we’re much less likely to condemn over. Domestic abuse on the other hand, is something much less socially acceptable, and therefore tougher to get over. And dog fighting, in an extreme case, is not only a concept that’s extremely foreign to most, but also stirs the emotions that many people feel for their own pets. Therefore even though the risk to human life is much less than in the previous two examples, dog fighting may be impossible to get past. I suppose we’ll see on that one.

 

When it comes to steroids in baseball, I think that many of us have difficulty relating to players’ circumstances. But should we?

 

Obviously it’s tough to relate to mega millionaires, who work six months out of the year, playing a kid’s game. Few of us can relate to simply working the job that we’d always dreamed of growing up. As professional baseball players, they’re doing the jobs that most of us dreamed of growing up. And it’s certainly tough to garner any type of sympathy for guys, who are grossly overpaid even amongst other professional athletes, yet routinely play out their financial dramas in the eyes of the working public.

 

On the flip side though, I think we also can tend to lose sight at times, of the pressure that must come with having to do your job in front of millions of eyes every night, and replayed in the media daily. Or what it’s like to be in an industry where you’re sure to be washed up before 40, and in most cases long before that. I doubt that many of us can relate to working in an industry where less than 1000 actual jobs exist, or where the disparity between entry pay and veteran pay can be as much as 5000% or more. And I doubt that many of us could envision a needle that would make us that much better at our jobs.

 

What I can say is this; I know a lot of people, who will do a lot of things in order to get ahead in this world. I know people who will cheat at Monopoly. There are people out there today, selling their friends down the river, in order to get a leg up on a $0.50 per hour promotion. I play in D softball leagues, and there’s always at least one low B level team, playing D ball and smashing everyone. (Coincidentally, some of those guys are using steroids, and they don’t make any mosey for playing) There are kids risking their lives on the corners of this city everyday for chump change.

 

I also know that most people want to be good at their jobs, at least I hope so. On the low end, I suppose you have to be good enough at your job to keep it. Beyond that, excelling at your job should lead to promotion and more money. And whether we care to admit it or not, we’re all suckers for positive recognition. And a little bit of competitive spirit amongst the workforce will certainly lead to better production, in any business.

 

So imagine for a second, that you are a professional baseball player. The odds say that you’ll be lucky to last 5 years in the business, and in that time you could make between $1 million and $2 million. That’d be a nice start to life. If you make it to 30 years old in the business though, you’ll be looking more likely at making anywhere between $7 million and $50 million. That’s a heck of a spread based on where you fit in the pay scale, but in any regard it’s set for life type money.  And on the extreme, you see about 5% of players walking away from their careers with hundreds of millions of dollars, with the notoriety to continue to command income.

 

Given some of the cut throat antics that have been known to take place in the average working place, with admittedly far less money at stake, it’s a wonder so many people are so appalled at the whole steroid issue. We are after all talking about a victimless crime. If there is a victim to be found, it’s the player himself, and that’s debatable at this point too. If I’m willing to take the health risks associated with the drugs, then what’s the big deal? Really, what is the big deal?

 

Am I supposed to feel sorry for the sanctity of baseball? As if such a thing ever existed. The reason why this is the steroid era, is because this is when steroids were available. If steroids had been available to players in the 1920’s, we’d be looking at triple digit home run records by now.

 

Am I supposed to feel badly for the guys whose jobs were being taken by the steroid users? Honestly, those guys were just hanging on no matter how you look at it. And with a fresh crop of rookies coming up every year, they were likely in that “5 years and out” group that we discussed earlier anyway.

 

Cheating, in my mind, is different. Altering balls or bats, stealing signs, bugging dugouts and the like are all forms of cheating that shouldn’t be tolerated. But taking a shot to help to improve your strength, alone will not make you a good baseball player. Heck, taking steroids without the right workout regimen won’t even help your strength. Steroids definitely don’t make you good at baseball, but they do make you better, and if used properly, much better. But there’s still a limit.

 

You could say that steroids simply help to make up for what genetics may have shortchanged you on. Obviously, steroids will only improve your game to the extent that they can improve your conditioning. If you were already genetically blessed, you certainly wouldn’t see the same proportion of benefits as someone who needed the help much more in the first place.

 

Try to imagine though, that someone walked into your office tomorrow with a pill that promised to make you better at your job. (This works especially well if you make commission or are paid for performance) Most of us would laugh it off. Most baseball players probably did initially too. There’s no drug that would make me better at my job. Right?

 

Odds are though, that there’s someone in your office right now, someone barely hanging on to their job in the first place, and someone desperate enough to listen. Maybe that guy would buy a bottle. He probably wouldn’t tell anyone but he’d buy one. But what if he set the world on fire the next month? Placebo effect or not, people would notice.

 

Maybe your guy would play it cool, and not tell anyone his edge. That would be the smart thing to do. But sooner or later, he’s bound to tell someone else. So now your guy has a small faction of others using his miracle pill and having success. It’s tough to tell exactly how much success, because not everyone is being honest about using it. Again, everyone loves recognition, no one wants to think that their success comes from a pill or a needle, and more importantly, they don’t want others to think it.

 

At this point, you’re certain that a number of people in your company are using this pill with success. Again, it’s tough to tell how much success, because no one knows for sure exactly who’s doing it. There are some people, who are using it overtly, and not all of them are superstars, but all seem to be at least better than they were before this pill came around. There are some other people who have shot up so dramatically in performance that you are sure they have to be using it, but you don’t have proof. And there’s a faction of employees still holding out and refusing to turn to a bottle to aid their performance.

 

Next, your company becomes aware of the drug, and because they’ve been told that it contains some illegal substances, and can be harmful to your long-term health, strongly advises against its use. They don’t however go as far as implementing a testing program. They don’t even actually acknowledge that the pill has aided in performance, they simply advise that their employees not use it.

 

You know what comes next; boom years for the company. All time sales records are being obliterated month after month and year after year, and everyone is happy. Everyone that is, except for those who decided against using the drug in the first place. Those who adhered to the company policy watched as management celebrated the achievements of those who ignored the policy. That is, those who were lucky enough to keep their jobs, many were squeezed out of the workplace and replaced with new employees who also seemed to be on the drug. Those who had been celebrated before this crazy pill came along were finding themselves pushed to the background. So some of them too gave in to using the drug. Who could blame them?

 

Need I remind you, that this isn’t the average office that we’re talking about? It’s Major League Baseball. And the employees aren’t making tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars; they’re making tens and hundreds of millions. There probably aren’t a whole heck of a lot of things that I wouldn’t do to hang on to a job like that.

 

Steroids in baseball are clearly a problem, and clearly something has to be done. But when it comes to the level of public outrage, I am surprised at the hypocrisy. It’s tough to put yourself in the shoes of a Major League Baseball player, or to contemplate a decision like whether or not to inject a needle full of oily syrup into your butt in order to be better at your job. But I can’t imagine that there are too many of us out there, those who have to drag ourselves out of bed each day just to make enough money to scrape by, that can say with absolute certainty that we wouldn’t.

 

I’ll say just the opposite. In fact, if there were a 10% chance that I could play one season, at the major league minimum by using steroids today, not only would I sign right up, I’d drag my… Well, you get he picture.

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

 

 

 

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Wednesday Morning’s Crab Cakes and Light Beer

Posted on 18 February 2009 by Chris Bonetti

The Swinging Bunt

Really Pittsburgh?  If Bud Selig wants to rewrite the Major League Baseball record book by taking out players guilty of using performance enhancing drugs.  Maybe the NFL and Roger Goodell should consider doing the same.  This morning Sports by Brooks has a story asking the question, “Did Steelers Blood Dope Before the Super Bowl?” WR Hines Ward and S Troy Polamalu, public enemy’s #1 and #2 in Baltimore, received a controversial treatment knows as Platelet-rich Plasma Therapy.  We all know the 70’s Stillers were the fathers of the sports ‘Steroid Era.’ Hmmm… sounds sketchy to this CMS Staffer.

Maryland’s Mt. Rushmore of Sports.  SportsCenter is currently holding a competition of which individual United State has the best ‘Mt. Rushmore of Sports.’  They are going to announce a series of finalists and then the fans will have the final say, which gets this “prestigious” honor.  Where will Maryland factor into the discussion?  The Old Line State put up quite the fearsome foursome, Cal, Brooks, Johnny U, and Michael Phelps.  You have to wonder, do you think George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, or Abe Lincoln were ever involved in a ‘Bong-Gate?’

Surprise, Surprise.  This morning it is being widely reported that Tracy McGrady of the Houston Rockets will have season ending micro fracture surgery on his left knee.  Since being an underrated budding star in Toronto with Vince Carter, he was supposed to revolutionize the NBA with Grant Hill in post-Shaq-Orlando, and be involved in the next ‘Big 3′ to make a title run with Yao and Artest in Houston.  It might be really safe to say, McGrady might be the most overrated, way over-hyped “super-star” in the entire post-Jordan era.  Anyone who has played with that amount of talent over a decade should without a doubt be able to get to a conference semi-final, but as you’ll remember, the amount of playoff rounds T-Mac has ever won is 0.  Bob Haynie, esteemed host of the Bob Haynie Show, had Houston-Boston in his NBA Finals… sorry Bob, not this year.

Scanning the Blogosphere

Pro Football Talk has a few words on Terrell Suggs potentially being ‘tagged.’

The Schmuck Stops Here has a thought on “Guthrie and the WBC.”

MLB Trade Rumors comments on Brian Roberts and the O’s possibly narrowing the gap on a long-term deal.

Ravens Insider asks is “Rolle next on the chopping block?”

Fanhouse:  “Broncos cut Dre Bly,” could he be a potential FA signing for the Ravens?

Medium Well wonders if is “Maryland among ESPN’s Mt. Rushmore finalists?” The Old Line State has a pretty nice fearsome foursome with Cal, Brooks, Phelps, and Unitas.  I wonder if anyone on the real Mt. Rushmore

Face off confirms that “Hagelin’s still the one at Loyola,” and ponders who is “UMBC’s next diamond in the rough.”

Recruiting Report looks at the life of ex-Terp basketball recruit Eteyen Edet.

Deadspin has a great human interest story, “Not all high school kids are punks”… Drew addressed the story this morning on the CMS.

CMS Video of the Day

With the NFL Draft approaching quickly potential draftees all over the country are trying to show GM’s all over the league that they should be selected.  San Jose State 6’4 287lb Jarron Gilbert did something amazing while getting out of the pool after a workout… absolutely unreal for someone that size to be able to do that, put him on my team’s D-Line!

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Get over it

Posted on 18 February 2009 by caseywillett

So what did you really want Alex Rodriguez to say?

I have no problem with anything that he said, although it was funny to me that some of the media members thought they were going to get him to say something different.

There were some dumb questions:

Reporter: Alex, do you remember the first time you injected and what it felt like? … Really?

Reporter: What is the name of the cousin who got the stuff for you and brought it from the Dominican? … Sure. Let me just expose a family member who committed a crime.

Reporter: Would you have admitted your steroid use if you had not got caught? … Ok, I understand the question, but again, we all know the answer to it.

Reporter: Do you think stats from those years should be erased from your records? … Come on, honestly. What did you think he was going to say, and here’s some breaking news, he is not the commissioner of baseball.

I now have heard people criticizing him for reading from a prepared statement. So what, did you really think he was not going to go up there prepared with every answer he wanted to give right out of the gate?

Rodriguez did yesterday all that he can do at this point. He admitted he made a mistake, he knows people will question him and his credibility, and he understands all of that. His past is the past, he has not tested positive for anything since 2003, and oh by the way, he has already admitted more than what we initially knew.

Maybe I am just tired of hearing about steroids, HGH and over-the-counter items, but I have no issues with A-Rod. He messed up, he admitted he was wrong, and he wants to become a person that educates people, and in particular kids that what he did was wrong.

Case closed.

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A-Rod should have said…”what about the other 103?”

Posted on 17 February 2009 by Drew Forrester

It’s almost laughable now, this charade featuring Alex Rodriguez.

Mind  you, if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool baseball fan, you’re probably shedding a few private tears but they’re not from laughter.  Your great game is blowing up in front of you and there’s little, as a fan, you can do about it. I, on the other hand, having been disenfranchised in my own city by the team I grew up adoring, think it’s comedy on top of comedy — and I’m laughing so hard I’m blinking away tears.

Here’s the clip from today’s press conference where A-Rod talks about his three years of steroid use.

Remember the search that O.J. Simpson promised to launch in search for the “real” killers of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman?

We have a near national search in place today.  We’re trying to find A-Rod’s “cousin”, the guy who supposedly helped him buff up by supplying and/or otherwise turning him on to steroids.

We all have a cousin like that, I suppose.  He’s the guy (or gal) we blame something on when there’s enough evidence in place to find us guilty but there’s a sliver of doubt that we can cling to and use in our defense.  In law terms, it’s called “The Alford Plea”…enough evidence in place to convict but not an admission of guilt.

Except, in A-Rod’s case, he’s admitted guilt.  He’s just half-blaming it on his long-lost cousin.

Now, on to the real issue.

I think A-Rod is being too forthcoming, frankly.

If I were representing him, I’d tell him to clam up until the other 103 names of the positive-testers are announced.

Then, and only then, should A-Rod provide more details on his steroid use.

Why should he face the media, the fans and the strong arm of the law right now when 103 others cheated like him and they’re hanging out on a golf course right now thrilled to death it’s not THEM having the press conference?

It continues to be what’s wrong with baseball.

Stop protecting these miscreants and let’s get it all out in the open.

Let’s find out who the 1100 “clean” guys were as well.  That’s important information, don’tcha think?

No, we’re so obsessed with the tanned quarter-billionaire that we’d rather just focus on him.

It’s laughable.

The poster boy for the league has, ironically, become the poster boy for the league.

At least he didn’t lie to the government like the rattest of all rat-finks, Barry Bonds.

Say what you will about A-Rod, and more of you don’t like him than do, but I didn’t see any other juiced-up clowns facing the media today.  He’s done it twice in the last 8 days.  When’s the last time Barry Bonds sat in front of folks with a computer or a pen and paper and allowed them to go one-on-one with him?  Sammy Sosa?  Miguel Tejada?  Oh, that’s right, they’re English is bad.

I’m not Pro-Alex Rodriguez, but I’m getting there. 

There’s a part of me – this is true – that wants to see him hit 2 HR’s on opening day in Baltimore and go on to hit 48 more during the regular season. 

Everyone is laughing it up, talking about how much they can’t stand him and how he got what was coming to him and all that stuff.

Yeah, maybe he did get what was coming to him.  He cheated.

But, he’s front and center now, having been caught, of course, and he’s facing the music.

The other 103…where are they?  They’ve become baseball’s version of Bin Laden, hiding in a cave somewhere scared to see another human being in the event he or she works for SI.Com.

Leave it to baseball to screw up the biggest scandal since we found out Pete Rose bet on the game while managing.

They get even “out” the crooks the right way.

Of course, someone will say, “but Major League Baseball doesn’t really know the identity of the other 103 cheaters…”

Riiiiiiiiiiigggghhhhhttttt.

Or, simply, are they figuring if they feed the biggest fish to the media that we’ll all go away once we’ve cleaned, gutted and fried A-Rod?

You can bet your rump they know who the 103 other bums are…and they know who the 1100 non-cheaters were too.

They’d love to just pass along the massive list of the guys who tested negative but they can’t.  Or, at least, not until they also pass along the names of those who failed the test along with A-Rod.

I’m telling you, A-Rod would have been well within his rights today to say, “I’ll be happy to have a press conference with you folks when the complete list of those who failed the test in 2003 is published.”

I would have applauded him for that, frankly.

As it stands now, I just feel sorry for him, on a variety of levels.

I hope he finds his cousin.

That guy has some ‘splainin’ to do.

As for Rodriguez, he’s explained enough for now.

Let’s hear from the other 103 scallywags.

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Funny Phelps Facebook Page

Posted on 16 February 2009 by Alex Thomas

One of our WNST.net listeners recently forwarded me a group invite to a new page on Facebook.

It’s called “I be I can find 1,000,000 people who don’t care Michael Phelps smoked weed.”

You can click the link above to check out the page and join if you so please. At this point, the page has about 371,000 members.

Of course, you have to be a Facebook member to view this page. And if you’re not on Facebook at this point, you also might want to trade in your record player for and iPod.

Last week, I blogged about the “dirty little secret” of national-level swimming. A lot of these athletes party…hard.

Most of the best swimmers on the planet are in their late teens to mid 20s, and they act as such on Friday and Saturday nights. Compound that with the most rigorous training regime in athletics, and you get an athlete looking to blow off some serious steam.

But when you’re arguably the most famous athlete on the planet making millions of dollars, you have to show better judgment than what Phelps showed in November.

You can’t get caught in a strip club pounding booze, you can’t get caught with “escorts” entering your hotel room, and you certainly can’t get caught doing drugs.

And in the era of camera phones, if you’re famous and do something wrong in public, it will not go unnoticed.

Yes, Phelps was wrong. Yes, he was stupid and should have shown better judgment.

But, no…I really don’t care. He made a mistake. We all do at some point.

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Larry Bigbie tells his side of the story

Posted on 14 February 2009 by caseywillett

Larry Bigbie tells his side of the story as it relates to all the connections to him in baseball’s steroid saga. Here is the story that was done by the Baltimore Sun.

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A few things

Posted on 12 February 2009 by raybachman

Am I the only one who is sick of all of the steroid talk? I think they are all doing ’roids, growth hormones, etc. To quote John Rallo on today’s MMA segment, “Legalize the (performance-enhancing) drugs, and regulate them.” There, problem solved. There has been cheating since the beginning of time in some way, shape or form. Let them all “juice,” I just don’t care anymore.

I read in the Dallas Morning News that Terrell Owens is talking to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones about signing Ray Lewis. Owens said he is in contact with Lewis, who has expressed interest in playing for the Cowboys. I want Ray to retire a Raven, but I am a fan of the Ravens, and if Ray isn’t here next year, oh well. Sign free agent Julius Peppers and re-sign Terrell Suggs. I don’t think that many people will get mad about that.

Pineapple on a pizza sucks. I like pineapple, and I like pizza, just not pineapple pizza.

Orioles’ spring training opens on Saturday. I am glad it’s baseball season. Warm weather and nights at the ballpark, that’s what I’m talking about. I am anxious to see what some of these young pitchers are going to do. Come see me in June, and I may be saying that I can’t wait for football season. I hope not.

Police are making arrests in the Michael Phelps marijuana case in South Carolina. Are you kidding me? Go after the guys who are standing on every single street corner selling the kids the stuff.

Jim Schwartz, a Baltimore boy, is now the head coach of the Detroit Lions. He checked in with Nestor today on WNST. Check it out in the audio vault. Jim’s a good guy, he’s from Halethorpe, and he loves rock ’n roll. I always enjoy listening to Jim and what he has to say.

It’s 55 degrees outside and it’s the middle of winter in Baltimore. I guess that means there’s a blizzard coming soon.

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A great show coming at 2 p.m. today…

Posted on 12 February 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

This blog is a great way to give listeners to “Limited Access” (our new show name if you haven’t heard) some heads up about what’s coming on the show each day. Today, we have John Rallo, Tom Verducci and Jim Schwartz booked onto the program already. It is shaping up to be a classic and I can’t wait to get started!

Every Thursday at 2 p.m. my old childhood buddy and MMA expert Rallo comes in for a UFC and mixed martial arts segment but we’ll also mix it up a bit and today is no exception with the Verducci visit.

Schwartz is one of my best friends in sports and he just took the Detroit Lions head coaching job and has been blowing me off (including changing his cell phone number!) ever since I got the initial text saying he got the job. I will crank up the Judas Priest and be giving him a very hard time for his all of friends and family in Arbutus who also haven’t heard from him. Old Schwartzie must be drinking from the 0-16 firehouse in Detroit. And I have to be kinda nice because it was his connection that got me to Bruce Springsteen in Tampa two weeks ago. I might even go so far as to offer to wear a piece of Lions swag to support his endeavors to bring a winner to Motown. Schwartz has been a regular visitor to the program ever since he left and has faithfully called in every Friday for six years. Until, of course, going AWOL on us when he got the Lions job. I can’t wait to hear his excuse. LOL. I promise you some classic radio from 4 til 4:30 today!

And Tom Verducci’s appearance at 2:30 today (along with Rallo, who loves baseball as well) should be an instant classic. If you haven’t noticed there’s a major “turf war” going on between MLB, ESPN and SI.com now that Sports Illustrated has decided it will be one of the last bastions of real “journalism” and bust guys like Alex Rodriguez when they’re lying about steroid use. And Verducci just DRILLED Peter Gammons’ “backrub” of ARod on Monday night’s “insightful and remorseful” ESPN apology tour that had exactly ONE STOP — with Gammons, who backed down from any real line of questioning.

The lesson here? When Scott Boras and ARod sit down for an “interview” (much like Peter Angelos) the questions and the answers are all pretty much “scripted” and there’s very little journalism going on and more “fraternizing” and “corporate partnership” happening. Everything Howard Cosell always wrote about was true. I love his books so much and they’re always on point, even 25 years later. It’s a big corporate game to make money and Verducci is one of the last great journalists left in the business who will write the truth. Ditto Selena Roberts, who has also had to defend her own integrity throughout this process while ARod blames her for his problems.

I have massive respect for that Verducci does at SI.com and I’m sure it’s made him QUITE unpopular with Bud Selig and the “establishment” of MLB in New York. (Maybe Selig will take his press pass like Angelos took ours?) If you doubt what I write about the filthy business of censorship of journalism in baseball, check out Deadspin’s account of Scott Van Pelt’s “suspension” after rightfully lambasting the eneptitude of Selig. ESPN has given Van Pelt some “quiet time” after he pointed out that the emperor has no clothes.

ESPN — unfortunately — has become part of the problem instead of the solution in regard to MLB because of their “servitude” to their business partner. Sounds a lot like our friends over at CBS Radio and 105.7 The Fan, doesn’t it? Oh, that’s right, ESPN Radio is one of their partners as well?

I wonder what Scott Van Pelt would say if he COULD say what’s really on his mind. He went to the University of Maryland’s Journalism School. I’m sure most of what they “taught” him there he’s found to be useless in the real world of Bristol and ESPN and MLB and big business.

Don’t worry…I’ll still be feisty at 2 p.m.

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Cal Ripken Jr. has nothing to prove

Posted on 10 February 2009 by Drew Forrester

“Hey Cal, Gehrig called, he wants his record back!”  That came in yesterday via the “comments” portion of my A-Rod blog. 

Granted, because the author of that “gem” is a daily moaner at WNST.net, I’m not entirely sure he was actually trying to make a legitimate contribution or just seeking to wind up Baltimore sports fans with another one of his baseless entries. 

Either way, I thought it was interesting.  Actually, I thought it was “stupid” moreso than interesting, but hey, spring’s around the corner and I’m working my “Mr. Positive” mojo these days.  Let’s just stick with “interesting”.

Oddly enough, there were others who either e-mailed me or called the show and threw Cal Ripken Jr.’s name into the ring of Steroids.

I had someone go as far as to write: “Cal should prove he didn’t use steroids.”

Huh?

I know a lot of things have changed in our country over the last 25 years.  Some for the good, some for the bad.  Recently, our 8-time Gold Medal Olympic swimmer smoked marijuana in public.  That’s one of “the bad”. 

I’m still certain, though, that a foundation of our society and, as importantly, our judicial system, is “innocent until proven guilty”.

Cal Ripken Jr. is now forever linked to an era where a huge portion of the players in the late stages of his career were using performance enhancing drugs. 

Unfortunately, there will be people out there who say, “Gotta look at Cal too…look at all those games in a row he played.”

I doubt Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire are on Cal’s Christmas Card list.  Neither are Raffy, Canseco or A-Rod.  All those bums have done is tainted any legacy of greatness that the true “great ones” attained.

So, based on the logic that Cal broke Gehrig’s record during the steroids era, are we to also assume that Greg Maddux used steroids since he had one more win (355) than a confirmed steroids user in Roger Clemens?

No, we shouldn’t assume that at all.

Cal Ripken Jr. doesn’t have to “prove” anything to anyone about steroid use.

Just because he played with a bunch of miscreants doesn’t make him one.

What a game baseball has become.  It’s been filled with so many toxic human beings – on the field and off the field – that even the good guys get scarlet letters on their jersey.

By the way, nowhere here have I written that Cal Ripken Jr. didn’t use steroids.  The only person who knows that is, of course, Cal Ripken Jr.

That said, it’s silly and irresponsible for anyone to say, “make Cal prove he DIDN’T use them…or, Hey Cal, Gehrig called, he wants his record back.”

Then again, silly and irresponsible is what our society has become.

Silly and irresponsible sums up baseball too.

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Athletes Endorsing Drugs

Posted on 10 February 2009 by Thyrl Nelson

Intentionally or not, both Michael Phelps and Alex Rodriguez provided resounding endorsements for the drugs that they were caught using, and compelling questions for the arguments against them.

 

With little action happening on the field in the sports world this month, luckily it would seem that the media has found plenty of “sports related” stories to keep busy with in the meantime. Whatever your take may be on the unfolding sagas of Michael Phelps and Alex Rodriguez, there have been few weeks in sports that I can remember that have done so much to hurt the anti-drug lobby in America.

 

How you feel about each of their situations likely depends on a great number of factors. But each has been equally damaging to the youth of America who will emulate their favorite sports stars, like it or not.

 

When it comes to Rodriguez, some will see the offense as being worse, because the illegal drugs that he now admits to using were taken specifically to gain an edge in baseball. Since most consider that to be cheating, it’s easy to find fault with Rodriguez. Others though would argue that if Rodriguez were putting his career and reputation on the line, at least he did so for professional reasons, rather than recreation. Further, it could be argued that taking steroids in baseball between 2001 and 2003 was the norm, and to not succumb to the culture would have been to simply accept a disadvantage.

 

The tougher argument that may come from this is why now, should any young athlete not consider taking steroids in order to gain an edge themselves, other than the fact that they may be caught? The steroid users have rewritten the record books, and totally changed the standards by which we measure athletes today. The record books are a virtual who’s who of juicers, but all of the side effects that we’d been warned about aren’t being reported about anywhere.

 

For all of the outrage over the steroid era in sports, the only real horror stories that have come about are about those who were caught and labeled cheaters, or about what happened to a number of players’ careers once they allegedly laid off of it. Steroids have been a part of baseball culture for the better part of 20 years now, and probably a bigger part of the cultures of other sports then we’re willing to admit, yet there are no real horror stories of guys going through all of the promised negative side effects of steroid use. Lyle Alzado, John Matuszak and Tommy Chaikin were all years ago, before this era of designer steroids. Those guys have likely been dismissed by modern juicers as early, misguided pioneers, much like the first recipients of Tommy John surgery. So other than being labeled a cheater, why now should the youth of America not look to steroids for an edge?

 

The other inconvenient truth that Rodriguez’ situation has brought back to light is that the modern steroid user doesn’t always look like we’d expect them to. Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire and Jose Canseco were easy ones, but A-Rod, Raphael Palmeiro and even Roger Clemens were guys that we regularly dismissed from the steroid discussion based on physique. Now, everyone is a candidate. (Although I am still giving the benefit of the doubt to Greg Maddux and Pedro Martinez among modern hall of famers based on physique alone)

 

As for Phelps, his offense is certainly less heinous than Rodriguez’, but probably much more stupid. Phelps after all, unlike Rodriguez or any other number of famous knuckleheads, is not a professional athlete. Phelps is a professional pitchman, nothing else. Where other athletes can excuse their own selfish behavior by rejecting the idea of being a role model, their skills can be looked at as a curse that keeps them unwontedly in the public eye, despite their best intentions. Those guys get paid to play football, or baseball or basketball, and do just that; most don’t see much endorsement money.

 

Phelps on the other hand gets paid to encourage people to be like him. That’s what his endorsements are, “Eat what I eat”, “Drink what I drink”, “Use the same credit card, cell phone, watch, language learning software, everything that I use”. That’s how Phelps makes his money. If it wasn’t working, do you think he’d be cashing big endorsement checks?

 

How you feel about marijuana will have a lot to do with where you fall on this one. But again the question arises. How do you tell your kids not to smoke weed, when the most accomplished and decorated Olympian ever does it? How many kids, at that inevitable coming of age moment, when they’ll make the decision whether or not to take that first toke, will be able to deal with the logic that it can’t possibly hurt you, and Phelps is proof?

 

Where you fall politically on either of these issues is actually quite another matter. The point is, that although certainly inadvertently, Phelps and Rodriguez both gave ringing endorsements for the drugs that they were caught using. Each will have an opportunity to do public service work going forward that could help to minimize the damage, but neither can stop the inevitable compelling arguments that they have created against the national policies on their respective drugs of choice.

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

 

 

 

 

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