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I’m Shocked, SHOCKED… 07/31/2009

Posted by sportretort in mlb, Sports, Uncategorized.
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Here we go again.  Two more names were leaked yesterday from that infamous 2003 baseball steroid  ‘anonymous’ test.  Apparently David Ortiz and, gasp, Manny Rameriz were on that list.  They were team mates in Boston at the time.   And the outcry begins. . .  Red Sox World Series victories are tainted!!  They used Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED).

Come on folks!  Finding out that someone, hell ANYONE, used steroids in with in the last 15-20 years should not be a

Pitcher Phil Niekro is checked on the mound in 1987 for ball scuffing implements.  An emery board and piece of sandpaper fly out of his pocket, leading to a 10 game suspension.

Pitcher Joe Niekro is checked on the mound in 1987 for ball scuffing implements. An emery board and piece of sandpaper fly out of his pocket, leading to a 10 game suspension.

surprise.  It’s akin to Captain Renault closing down Rick’s Cafe in Casablanca.  When asked why he is closing the place down, Renault’s response is “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!” And then he his handed a wad of bills, being told  “Your winnings, Sir.”   Here’s a news flash:  PED usage was widespread in baseball.  Just as it was in football, cycling, track and field, and any other competition. 

Why the continued outcry?  Baseball is trying to clean up the sport.  The real story is that Manny Rameriz was suspended 50  games earlier this season when he tested positive for a banned substance. Some testing has worked.   The assumption is that the doping of choice is currently is HGH, because there currently is no test for the substance. That may be, but it can not be tested for until a test is devised.  Should we shut down all sports now because we suspect that HGH is being used?  Of course not.  I will grant you that baseball was late to the table with any testing, but it has a policy and is testing now.  As for Ortiz, or Big Papi, how can anyone be surprised?  Ortiz was traded to the Red Sox in 2003 after playing parts of  6 seasons with the Twins.  In the 3 years before the trade, Ortiz hit 48 home runs, in the next 3 seasons, he hit 119.  Quite a change.  To be fair, his at bats also increased during that time span.  So, lets look at it another way.  During those last 3 seasons with Minnesota, he homered once in every 23.5 at bats.  In his first 3 seasons in Boston, that number dropped to once every 13.7 at bats!  Again, quite a change.  Aparantly before Boston (and, perhaps, PEDs), Big Papi was Big Pop Out.

I am not trying to say PEDs are ok.  I am just trying to point out that their usage is human nature.  Sports are

Sammy Sosa's broken bat had cork in it.

Sammy Sosa's broken bat had cork in it.

competitive.  Competitive people always try to find an advantage.  Any advantage.  The old adage “It ain’t cheating if you don’t get caught” exists for that very reason.  Before PEDs, baseball has had corked bats,  spitballs, shine balls and scuffed balls. Alledgedly,  in days gone by, players took speed, or other drugs in an attempt to gain an advantage.  It , for good or bad, is human nature to find an edge in competition.  Sometimes that means that people cross the line while seeking that edge.  That is why rules and laws exist.  It  has happened in baseball time and time again.  It has happened in football, track, and all sports.  Hell, look at the current mess on Wall Street.  Competition brings out the best in us.  Unfortunately, some times,  it also brings out the worst.

Baseball now has a testing policy, as do most other sports. Punish players who violate that policy, as happened in the Rameriz case earlier this season.   Move on from the past.  There are World Series winners that used PEDS.  Just as there are winners that used corked bats, or threw spitballs, or did other things to gain an advantage.  Those who were caught faced the punishment deemed appropriate at the time.  Those who were not caught got away with it.  It serves no purpose to be retroactive.  Baseball is now trying to be proactive.

Renault and Rick in Casablanca

Renault and Rick in Casablanca

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