MORRISSEY: Is anyone in baseball clean?
BY RICK MORRISSEY Twitter: @MorrisseyCST June 5, 2013 12:02PM
Updated: June 6, 2013 4:05PM
Name one major-league baseball player who you are positive has never used a performance-enhancing drug. I mean absolutely, bet-the-savings-account positive.
There are two possible answers here:
As the latest revelations about baseball and PEDs continue to spill out, it’s apparent that putting your faith in a ballplayer is still a fool’s game.
I know that’s unfair to those players who wouldn’t know a steroid from human-growth hormone, but that’s where we’re at in sports these days. We’re getting closer and closer to presumption of guilt being the norm. I don’t apologize for that, nor should you. I think the players should apologize. They certainly can blame themselves for their predicament.
ESPN is reporting that the owner of a now-closed clinic at the center of a PED scandal has agreed to cooperate with a Major League Baseball investigation. There are a lot of nervous players. MLB wants to suspend about 20 of them, including Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun, for their involvement with the owner of that Miami-area clinic, Tony Bosch. There could be many more players to come.
That Braun’s name has appeared on the list as owing anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000 to Bosch’s clinic is interesting, to say the least, seeing as how the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player got out of a failed drug test on a technicality and sang his innocence to anyone within earshot. Rodriguez has admitted steroids use in the past and has lost any credibility.
MLB wants to hand out 100-game suspensions to each of the players, which sounds like a lot but isn’t nearly enough. If baseball really wants to do something about this mess, the suspensions need to last multiple years and the players’ union has to get on board. The vast majority of the 20 players on the list is Latin. Many of the players come from incredibly poor backgrounds and will do whatever they can to succeed and help their families. If the punishment takes away their ability to make money, they might think twice about using PEDs.
A month ago, the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy wrote a column listing all the reasons he was skeptical that Red Sox slugger David Ortiz’ recent success had merely been the result of hard work and talent. You don’t hit .426 without taking part in spring training. His bat speed is better at age 37 than it was earlier in his career. Ortiz had dealt with an Achilles problem, an injury often consistent with steroid use. His name made the 2003 list of players who had failed a drug test.
Ortiz had an answer for each of Shaughnessy’s points, none of which was, “Steroids make me better.’’
Shaughnessy became something of a punching bag for writing the column.
It’s funny. Twenty years ago, the public ripped the media for not seeing the rampant steroid use in baseball before the scandal finally came to light. Now Shaughnessy gets ripped for asking Ortiz hard questions about his late-career success. Sort of hard to win, no?
A month later, here we go again. Care to bet the savings account on Ortiz? On anybody? Didn’t think so.