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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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Baseball’s Good, Bad and Ugly 04/13/2009

Posted by sportretort in mlb, Sports, Uncategorized.
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It was an eventful first weekend in Major League Baseball. 

 

The Good.  Chicago Cubs vs Milwaukee Brewers. 

Cubs Reed Johnson robs Fielder of a grand slam

Cubs Reed Johnson robs Fielder of a grand slam

 

With the Cubs leading 6-2 in the bottom of the fith inning Cubs replacement outfielder Reed Johnson robs Prince Fielder by reaching over the wall and bringing back a grand slam home run.  Fielder is credited with a sacrifice fly and an rbi instead of a grand slam homerun and 4 rbi.  Even Fielder tips his cap to Johnson as he returns to the dugout.  The Cubs go on to win the game.  (Watch the clip:  http://mlb.mlb.com/news/gameday_recap.jsp?ymd=20090412&content_id=4245924&vkey=recap&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb )

The Bad.  Los Angeles Dodgers vs Manny Rameriz?

 

Los Angeles outfielder Manny Rameriz answers a question and ignites a firestorm among Dodgers fans.  You remember Manny.  He held out for a larger contract from the Dodgers, didn’t receive it or any offers from other teams as a free

Will Manny wave bye-bye to LA after the season?

Will Manny wave bye-bye to LA after the season?

 agent and ultimately signed a one year contract (with a one year option, HIS option) for the puny sum of  20 million dollars.    The Question.  Does Manny want to return to Cleveland?  Manny broke into the majors with the Cleveland Indians where he was a teammate of  current White Sox slugger Jim Thome.  Apparently Manny and Thome had discussions during the spring about reuniting in Cleveland.  Both are potential free agents at the end of the season.  The answer?  It would be nice to go home.  The problem?  This q & a took place on the eve of the Dodgers home opener.  Dodger Nation is on fire.  When Manny became unhappy in Boston, he quit on the Red Sox.  That’s how the Dodgers acquired him in the first place.  Is he now unhappy in LA?  Will he quit on the Dodgers?  Manny being Manny?

 

 

 

 The  Ugly.  Boston Red Sox vs Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

 

 (No, the ugly here is not the Angels name, though it could be!)  It’s the bottom of the first, and the Angels Bobby Abreu

Both benches empty after brush back pitch in Red Sox - Angels Game Sunday

Both benches empty after brush back pitch in Red Sox - Angels Game Sunday

is at bat.  He asks for time and is granted it by the home plate umpire.  As the umpire stnds up and moves out from behind the  catcher, Abreu steps back.  Boston Pitcher Josh Beckett throws the pitch anyway, and buzzes Abreu about the head.  This is no acident, but a message.  Both benches clear.   Second base umpire and crew chief Joe West says there was no attempt to throw at Abreu.  No attempt??  Who is he kidding?  The pitch was thrown well after time was called, and was at Abreu when he was almost out of the batters box.  High School pitchers have better control than that.  It was a message.  Plain and simple.  And when MLB reviews the tape, there will be a suspension for Beckett.  Oh yes, and Anaheim won the game.  There will be further fireworks when thest teams play again later in the season.  (See the incident.  click here:  http://mlb.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=4118833)