Posted in Opinion, tagged Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz, ESPN, Jose Canseco, Juiced Era, Manny Ramirez, PED's, Rick Helling, Sports Illustrated, Steroids on July 31, 2009|
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I honestly tried to write a coherent, well-thought through piece about this, but I could not do it. I just do not care if guys used steroids at a time when there was no way to punish them. I have no idea how these writers for Sports Illustrated and ESPN keep churning out article after article about steroid use. It may be because I am young and grew up watching the Juiced Era and do not know any better, but I thought it was a pretty accepted fact that Ortiz was on something during his tenure with the Red Sox, and that was just the way it was.
28 years old DH’s do not randomly add 122 points to their OPS, 76 points to their ISO, and almost double their HR/FB rate over night. All of these people who are now crying foul are hypocrites. No one said anything in ’98 when Big Mac was hitting home runs left, right and center. They said nothing about Ortiz in ’04 because he was so happy go lucky and part of a great story with the Red Sox. Instead they chose to pick on Bonds, who has been driven completely out of baseball. The only people who should be allowed to criticize these “cheaters” are guys who brought up the issue a long time ago. Off the top of my head, I can think of Jose Canseco and Rick Helling. Baseball needs to leave what happened in the past in the past. If they are really serious about cleaning up the game, they should work on things they can actually control, like players using PED’s in the PRESENT.
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One of the worst kept secrets in baseball has come to light, as Sosa has been listed as one of the players who tested positive during the supposedly anonymous testing of 2003. His name follows Alex Rodiguez as the latest star to have his career blemished. I have a couple of problems with this.
First of all, this list was supposed to remain anonymous. Sure people think they are making a difference to clean up the game by leaking these names and embarrassing these players. I think they are further damaging the integrity of the league. This list was supposed to be anonymous, and the fact that these names are being leaked to the press reflects poorly on the people who were in charge of the testing program.
Secondly, who cares? A lot of players were juicing (5-7% of players reportedly tested positive of the 104), and players like Sosa do not deserve to have their Hall of Fame chances ruined. If I had a vote, Mark McGuire and Sosa would be checked off as Hall of Famers on my ballot. They were instrumental to baseball in the late 90’s, and no one should be able to take away from them what they accomplished.
Leave the poor man alone
Finally, players use all sorts of different supplements, including greenies, to improve their performance, so the guys who took steroids should not be blackballed. Why does the media get to decide what constitutes “cheating” and what does not? If you ask me, the people who leaked Sosa’s name had a much larger lapse of integrity and respect.
Either way, the past is the past, and baseball should focus on the future. If they decide that they want steroids out of the game, they should work on developing more rigorous testing and suspensions. Leave these already disgraced sluggers out of it. They were doing what they thought was best for baseball and their careers, and should not have their legacies ruined because people all of a sudden decide that steroids are such a crime against humanity.
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