Mets Merized Online » performance enhancing drugs http://metsmerizedonline.com Thu, 31 Jul 2014 20:50:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 Signs That The Times Are Changing In Baseball http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/signs-that-the-times-are-changing-in-baseball.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/signs-that-the-times-are-changing-in-baseball.html/#comments Fri, 01 Nov 2013 18:00:21 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=132039 My kids' first game and they get a foul ball.

My kids’ first game and they get a foul ball.

There were a couple of things I picked up on this past summer regarding this great game of baseball that need to be addressed.

I was at a minor league game this past July 3 at Dutchess Stadium (which is like 15 minutes from my house). It was fireworks night, so I decided to take my kids to their first baseball game. I figured I would be able to sit and enjoy a game without analyzing the players, which is almost impossible for me. When I watch a game, it isn’t the same as when your average fan watches.

I’m constantly evaluating players and the situations during the game. It’s like when a chess player tries to watch a chess match—I am thinking about what pitch the pitcher should throw next, what pitch the hitter should be looking to drive, and other stuff like that.

As it turns out, I watched about an inning of the game—the rest of the game I spent chasing my two year-old daughter around the stadium.

However, while I was watching during that half inning, I noticed something that I had never noticed before while watching a minor league game. I’m not sure why I never noticed it before, but it practically jumped right out at me during this game.

What I noticed was that the players were significantly smaller than when I was trying to break into professional baseball back in the late 1990s and early 2000s. I wondered, could that many guys have been using performance enhancing drugs back then?

We all were so naive.

Here I was, a five-foot eleven-inch tall kid, weighed 210 pounds (naturally), and I was probably one of the smaller guys that would be attending professional tryouts back then. I would easily be one of the bigger guys on the field if I were to step out there at that size now. It really made me realize how much the game has cleaned up its act regarding performance enhancing drugs.

Baseball created the problem themselves, and I’m not even talking about on a home run race level. Back in the late 1990s, you knew as a player that a scout would not even look in your direction unless you fit their mold…their mold became one of a steroid user. This change has ultimately been a good one for the game.

The other thing I wanted to quickly voice my opinion on was regarding the San Francisco Giants creating a social cafe where fans can go to charge their phones, use WiFi, and Tweet. At first, I thought it was extremely cool…but then I wondered if people go to the games to watch baseball anymore? Everything is changing due to technological advances, and it makes me wonder if it is good or bad for the game of baseball, and society in general. There are tons of distractions all around us—I find myself paying more attention to my smart phone than my own kids at times…which is a disgrace.

Remember when you would go to the game with your dad, get a program, and fill out the scorecard with a little pencil that had no eraser? That isn’t necessary anymore because our smart phones give us up-to-the-second box scores. Remember when you collected baseball cards? Remember when you actually went outside and played baseball?

This past summer, I saw nothing but empty baseball fields everywhere I went.  Kids these days are staying indoors opting to play online video games and chat with their friends using video chatting. It’s nuts. Get outside and experience the game of baseball and life in general. Trust me, I played more than my share of video games growing up in the 1980s and 1990s with Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and PlayStation—but it was reserved for rainy days and the summer days where you could fry an egg on the sidewalk.

I don’t even think kids sweat anymore unless the air conditioner in the house breaks. My thirteen year-old daughter can barely last 10 minutes outside in the summer unless there is a pool nearby…then I start with my stories to her that begin with “when I was your age….”

Seems as if the times are changing…and I guess I’m getting old. If the game as we remember it is going to live on, it’s up to us to pass on the old traditions to our children and grand children. Playing a game of MLB the Show with your kids on Playstation can be fun, but nothing will ever replace the joy of going outside and playing catch.

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/signs-that-the-times-are-changing-in-baseball.html/feed/ 0
Braun Calls Season Ticket Holders To Apologize http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/braun-calls-season-ticket-holders-to-apologize.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/braun-calls-season-ticket-holders-to-apologize.html/#comments Fri, 06 Sep 2013 15:23:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=128671 braun

I thought you might find this interesting.

According to CBS 58, suspended Milwaukee Brewers Outfielder Ryan Braun is calling Brewers season ticket holders to apologize.

“Hey there’s a guy on the phone claiming to be Ryan Braun, it’s probably one of your buddies messing with you.”

That’s exactly what Kelly’s Bleachers owner Pat Guenther thought Thursday afternoon.

He picked up the phone thinking it’d be a joke.

“Hey Pat this is Ryan Braun,” Guenther recalls.  “Right then and there I knew it was his voice based on interviews I’ve seen on TV. I knew damn well it was his voice.”

So he did what anyone in the service industry would do.

“I said what can I do for you? He said, I messed up, in a nutshell, I messed up. I just want to reach out and say I’m sorry. I cut him off right there. I said you know Ryan, I think you’re an amazing athlete and this speaks volumes to your character to reach out to a small business owner like myself and let us know that you are going to do better.”

Guenther’s bar  is a popular hangout for Brewers fans.  He’s also  been a season ticket holder for more than 20 years.

“Who hasn’t made a mistake? People move forward. I think that’s what Ryan is trying to do. He’s moving forward. He has no other option. Be better, help his ballclub win games and win the hearts of Brewers fans like he has for many, many years.”

The Brewers confirmed the team provided Braun with contact information for some season ticket holders at his request.

Surprising move by Braun and the Brewers, though I wonder what kind of an impact it will make on season ticket sales.

Braun was suspended 65 games by Major League Baseball earlier this year for using performance enhancing drugs.

The former MVP issued a written public apology a few weeks later, but CBS says he has yet to step back in front of cameras to answer questions from the media.

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/braun-calls-season-ticket-holders-to-apologize.html/feed/ 0
Statement From Bud Selig On Biogenesis Investigation And Punishment http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/statement-from-bud-selig-on-biogenesis-investigation-and-punishment.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/statement-from-bud-selig-on-biogenesis-investigation-and-punishment.html/#comments Mon, 05 Aug 2013 20:31:01 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=126528 2011 World Series Game 7 - Texas Rangers v St Louis Cardinals

Here is the official statement by Bud Selig on this afternoon’s announcement from MLB regarding the conclusion of their Biogenesis investigation.

“Major League Baseball has worked diligently with the Players Association for more than a decade to make our Joint Drug Program the best in all of professional sports.  I am proud of the comprehensive nature of our efforts – not only with regard to random testing, groundbreaking blood testing for human Growth Hormone and one of the most significant longitudinal profiling programs in the world, but also our investigative capabilities, which proved vital to the Biogenesis case.  Upon learning that players were linked to the use of performance-enhancing drugs, we vigorously pursued evidence that linked those individuals to violations of our Program.  We conducted a thorough, aggressive investigation guided by facts so that we could justly enforce our rules.

“Despite the challenges this situation has created during a great season on the field, we pursued this matter because it was not only the right thing to do, but the only thing to do.  For weeks, I have noted the many players throughout the game who have strongly voiced their support on this issue, and I thank them for it.  I appreciate the unwavering support of our owners and club personnel, who share my ardent desire to address this situation appropriately.  I am also grateful to the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society and our club physicians, who were instrumental in the banning of amphetamines and whose expertise remains invaluable to me.  As an institution, we have made unprecedented strides together.

“It is important to point out that 16,000 total urine and blood tests were conducted on players worldwide under MLB Drug Programs in 2012.  With the important additions of the hGH testing and longitudinal profiling this season, we are more confident than ever in the effectiveness of the testing program.  Those players who have violated the Program have created scrutiny for the vast majority of our players, who play the game the right way.

“This case resoundingly illustrates that the strength of our Program is not limited only to testing.  We continue to attack this issue on every front – from science and research, to education and awareness, to fact-finding and investigative skills.  Major League Baseball is proud of the enormous progress we have made, and we look forward to working with the players to make the penalties for violations of the Drug Program even more stringent and a stronger deterrent.

“As a social institution with enormous social responsibilities, Baseball must do everything it can to maintain integrity, fairness and a level playing field.  We are committed to working together with players to reiterate that performance-enhancing drugs will not be tolerated in our game.”

Major League Baseball issued the following discipline today for violations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program in relation to the Biogenesis investigation. Players receiving 50-game suspensions without pay for their violations of the Program are:

  • Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Antonio Bastardo;
  • San Diego Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera;
  • New York Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli;
  • Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz;
  • Padres pitcher Fautino De Los Santos, who is currently on the roster of the Double-A San Antonio Missions of the Texas League;
  • Houston Astros pitcher Sergio Escalona, who is currently of the roster of the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks of the Texas League;
  • Yankees outfielder Fernando Martinez, who is currently on the roster of the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders of the International League;
  • Seattle Mariners catcher Jesus Montero, who is currently on the roster of the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League;
  • Free agent pitcher Jordan Norberto;
  • Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta;
  • New York Mets outfielder Cesar Puello, who is currently on the roster of the Double-A Binghamton Mets of the Eastern League; and · Mets infielder/outfielder Jordany Valdespin, who is currently on the roster of the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s of the Pacific Coast League.

Norberto’s suspension will be effective immediately once he signs with another Major League organization. All other suspensions are effective immediately. None of the players will appeal their discipline.

Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera, Oakland Athletics pitcher Bartolo Colon and Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal, all of whom already have served 50-game suspensions as a result of their violations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program stemming from their connections to Biogenesis, will not receive additional discipline.

Major League Baseball’s investigation found no violations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program by either Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez or Baltimore Orioles infielder Danny Valencia.

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/statement-from-bud-selig-on-biogenesis-investigation-and-punishment.html/feed/ 0
If A-Rod Appeals, Selig Prepared To Invoke “Integrity Of The Game” Ban http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/if-a-rod-appeals-selig-prepared-to-invoke-integrity-of-the-game-ban.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/if-a-rod-appeals-selig-prepared-to-invoke-integrity-of-the-game-ban.html/#comments Tue, 30 Jul 2013 14:24:23 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=126093 alex rodriguez a-rod

Alex Rodriguez has remained intent on fighting whatever suspension Major League Baseball decides for the disgraced Yankee third baseman, and should he choose to do so, Bud Selig is prepared to use one of his most extreme powers as commissioner; the right to “take action to preserve the integrity of the game” reports the Daily News.

By invoking that rarely used power — embodied in Article XI, Section A1b of the game’s collective bargaining agreement — Selig would attempt to effectively keep Rodriguez from ever returning to the field by bypassing the grievance procedure outlined in the joint drug program MLB operates in conjunction with the Players’ Association, sources told The News.

Rodriguez would be suspended immediately for interfering with MLB’s year-long investigation into Biogenesis, the South Florida anti-aging clinic that allegedly supplied performance-enhancing drugs to the aging infielder and other players, and would later be hit with an additional suspension for violating baseball’s drug program.

MLB investigators believe Rodriguez attempted to intimidate witnesses and purchase incriminating documents to keep them out of the hands of baseball officials.

In an unprecedented action by a commissioner, suspensions for Rodriguez — once the sport’s biggest star — and 14 other players are expected to be announced imminently.

If these reports are accurate, Rodriguez will have the option of accepting a suspension through the end of 2014 without pay, or appeal and fight a lifetime ban on two fronts; all signs point to him opting for the latter.

It has become clear that MLB is ready to use any and all means to make sure Rodriguez is held accountable for his actions, even if it requires a long, dragged out legal process in order to do so, which they also appear prepared to take on as well.

The decision on A-Rod is imminent, but no matter the ruling, Alex Rodriguez is not going away any time soon. If Rodriguez and his camp choose not to negotiate, which they have repeatedly stated will be the case, then this ruling could result in an all-out legal face-off between them, MLB, and the union.

This is not the end, but only just beginning.

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/if-a-rod-appeals-selig-prepared-to-invoke-integrity-of-the-game-ban.html/feed/ 0
Marlon Byrd vs Justin Upton http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/marlon-byrd-vs-justin-upton.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/marlon-byrd-vs-justin-upton.html/#comments Fri, 28 Jun 2013 16:46:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=123269 Michael G. Baron of SNY posted this info-graphic on Twitter after the game last night.

Seeing his numbers jump out like that next to Justin Upton is mind boggling to say the least…

Upton is owed $9.75M for 2013 by the Braves, and will earn an additional $14.25M next season and $14.5M in 2015. Meanwhile, Byrd is being paid $700K for this season by the Mets.

Coming off that 50 game suspension after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, I doubt there was anyone jumping for joy when Sandy Alderson signed Marlon Byrd to a minor league deal last February. I know I sure as hell wasn’t thrilled…

Back then, Sandy said that Byrd would compete with Andrew Brown for a fifth outfielder spot on the bench. Try again… Obviously even the front office must be amazed by his performance thus far.

Last season, Byrd earned $6.5 million in 153 plate appearances with the Cubs and Red Sox, he posted a combined .210/.243/.245 slash line.

marlon byrd homers

The 35-year-old has exceeded all expectations and earned the right to an everyday spot in right field where in addition to his offensive prowess, he has also shined brightly on defense.

You gotta love this game…

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/marlon-byrd-vs-justin-upton.html/feed/ 0
MMO Exclusive: Tommy Lasorda On Negative Impact PEDs Is Having On Baseball http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/mmo-exclusive-tommy-lasorda-on-negative-impact-peds-is-having-on-baseball.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/mmo-exclusive-tommy-lasorda-on-negative-impact-peds-is-having-on-baseball.html/#comments Sat, 08 Jun 2013 11:00:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=121282 a-rod

With the recent developments of the Miami-based Biogenesis clinic that is at the core of a performance-enhancing drug scandal, the baseball world is abuzz over the possibility that some of the game’s most productive players potentially receiving severe penalties including 100-game suspensions.

Clinic-founder Tony Bosch is reportedly in Major League Baseball’s corner now, and the league is hoping to have the evidence they will need to take a stand against those who allegedly purchased and used performance-enhancing drugs despite continued efforts to close the book on what we now know as the Steroid Era.

Major League Baseball wants the madness to finally end, and they are pulling out all the stops in order to make a statement and curtail the use of steroids in an effort to make it a thing of the past.

Some have criticized MLB for being too harsh in their reported tactics to obtain information on those using and more specifically those who purchased steroids from the Biogenesis clinic, however several of baseball’s finest alumni believe that the league is doing what is necessary to stop these drugs from getting to into the systems of players.

Roger-Clemens-oath

I spoke with several baseball greats on the subject of steroids yesterday and many spoke freely about it, the most vocal of which was Hall-of-Famer and baseball legend Tommy Lasorda, who has little patience for those that choose to use PEDs.

“The guys that are taking steroids, they’re cheating; and they shouldn’t be allowed to play,” said Lasorda with a look of disgust. 

“We can’t allow players to cheat, you can’t allow that,” said Lasorda. “Baseball doesn’t need those kind of players, and that’s what the commissioner is trying to do. He’s trying to make it a game like it used to be. Everybody came out the same way, everybody built themselves up the same way. Everybody made themselves the same way. And that’s what the commissioner is looking for now.

“I think the commissioner is doing the right thing and is doing the best he can. He wants this game to be clean for everybody that plays it, and he’s been doing a magnificent job since all this first started. And he’ll stay on it until everybody is clean.”

The positive tests have popped up again and again over the past decade. Beloved players have turned into public enemies; legends to frauds. It has been a continuously disappointing and heart-breaking process to see many of the game’s most talented players fall from grace and forever be labeled as a “user”.

bonds home run ball

The heartbreak of  a tainted era once thought to be a golden age of baseball has left a bad taste in the mouths of many fans and those throughout the game. Five-time All-Star and 2001 World Series hero Luis Gonzalez says that everyone as a whole just wants to move forward.

“The fans are tired of hearing about it, the organizations, everybody is and we just want to move on,” said Gonzalez as he crosses his arms and sinks back in his chair. “This is America’s pastime, it’s one of the greatest games ever and we want to move forward from it.”

It seems even current players are tiring of having to hear about it as well, leading many athletes to take strong stances publicly on the use of steroids, as seen earlier this year when David Wright proclaimed ‘if you cheat, I hope you get caught,’.

braun

Longtime Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood had strong words of his own on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in today’s game.

“We’ve been warned of the consequences and if you’re trying something at this point; you’re asking for it,” said Wood.

“They’re trying to make sure that it’s not a possibility,” said Wood, continuing on to talk about MLB’s crackdown on those caught using PEDs. “They’re trying to clean that up and really change the image and I think they’ve done a really good job doing that in the past and if they feel guys are still trying to do that and take advantage of the system and not play by the rules, then we’ve all been forewarned as players. Whatever decision they come up with is to keep the integrity of the sport intact which is the most important thing.”

The coming weeks will be very telling as to how MLB decides to handle this most recent steroids scandal. The road to a clean sport will be long, and very possibly never entirely reached. Steroids will always be around, as will those desperate enough to take the risk to get an edge. However in the end, I believe Wood sums it up better than anyone.

“The game is so much bigger than one player. One or two players, or even a handful don’t make this game what it is,” said Wood. “It’s a game that we all need to respect and keep the integrity of. We at least owe that to the players who played before us.”

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/mmo-exclusive-tommy-lasorda-on-negative-impact-peds-is-having-on-baseball.html/feed/ 0
Did Yankees and A-Rod Illegally Obtain and Destroy Evidence From Ongoing Biogenesis Investigation? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/did-yankees-and-a-rod-illegally-obtain-and-destroy-evidence-from-ongoing-biogenesis-investigation.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/did-yankees-and-a-rod-illegally-obtain-and-destroy-evidence-from-ongoing-biogenesis-investigation.html/#comments Mon, 15 Apr 2013 17:08:09 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=114700 alex rodriguez

ADD DESTROYING CRIMINAL EVIDENCE TO A-ROD’S RAP LIST?

On Friday afternoon, Michael Schmidt of the New York Times broke the story and identified Alex Rodriguez as the player who allegedly purchased documents from a former employee of Biogenesis of America in an attempt to destroy evidence linking him to the anti-aging clinic’s distribution of performance-enhancing drugs.

When the Miami New Times broke the story in January, I remember saying “this is the White Whale. This is the one that will blow the lid completely off the entire steroid and PED scandal.”

Since that day more than a dozen players have been implicated and tied to Biogensis including Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera, Gio GonzalezBartolo Colon, Nelson Cruz and Yasmani Grandal and 2012 MVP Ryan Braun.

While they all continue denying everything and scrambling for and convenient excuse they can find, the plot keeps thickening and the sordid details are piling up by the hundreds. Real details and real documents that even MLB themselves are trying to illegally buy at any price to get to the bottom of this and protect what little integrity the game has left.

The person charged with the role of Super Spy is none other than Bud Selig himself who has been authorizing and signing off on huge sums of cash that is being used to secure whatever documents they can get their hands on from former employees of the lab who are now all seeking to pay off their significant mounting legal fees.

And while Alex Rodriguez is no less guilty of doing the same thing, there is a huge difference.

MLB wants those documents so they can go after every player that is implicated and try to clean up the game.

A-Rod on the other hand, was seeking to get those documents and destroy them before the FBI or MLB got a hold of them.

But wait, there’s more…

Of course, Rodriguez flatly denied the accusation through a spokesman, but then he dropped another bombshell alleging that it was the New York Yankees that were paying for and buying those documents from the rogue former employee. Wow…

Oh and one more thing… Let’s stop calling them documents and lets start referring to them instead as illegally obtained evidence to hinder an ongoing federal, state and MLB investigation.

These are all allegations at this time, but when this is all over, I think more than a few people, including players, will be looking at life from a different perspective…

Prisoner Holding Cigarette Between Bars

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/did-yankees-and-a-rod-illegally-obtain-and-destroy-evidence-from-ongoing-biogenesis-investigation.html/feed/ 0
MLB Targeting Ryan Braun In Miami Biogenesis Clinic Investigation http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/mlb-targeting-ryan-braun-in-miami-biogenesis-clinic-investigation.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/mlb-targeting-ryan-braun-in-miami-biogenesis-clinic-investigation.html/#comments Wed, 20 Mar 2013 23:26:08 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=111388 braun caught

Major League Baseball has Ryan Braun in their cross-hairs and are going to great lengths to nab him says Bob Nightengale of USA Today. They have contacted his friends and family, those he has done business with; anyone he is connected to. However according to this report, that is just the tip of the iceberg.

There are names of over 90 baseball players who were found in the records of the Biogenesis Clinic, and MLB could use any one of them to find out information on the clinic and even more importantly for them; Braun. Nightengale goes on to give startling detail of how MLB plans to go after the Brewer’s franchise player.

These players will have no choice but to talk to MLB officials. If they don’t cooperate, MLB can suspend them, according to the bylaws of the collective bargaining agreement.

In some cases, according to two officials who spoke to USA TODAY Sports but were unauthorized to speak publicly, some players will be granted immunity even if they admit guilt to the use of performance-enhancing drugs. They would have to fully disclose their arrangement with Tony Bosch, former director of the now-shuttered Biogenesis clinic, including any possible involvement by their agents or knowledge of other players who received performance-enhancing drugs from him.

MLB vice president Rob Manfred told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel today however that every player is being investigated with “equal vigor”.

I think Nightengale’s report shows just how much MLB want to prove Braun the cheat he should have been proclaimed one year ago. The fact that they are potentially willing to pardon other players to bring him down speaks volumes. He flat out embarrassed Major League Baseball last year when he became the first player to overturn a positive test on a technicality, so much so that they fired the the arbitrator, Shyam Das, who ruled in the disgraced all-star’s favor.

They want to take him down, and they want it bad. MLB is the watchdog and prosecutor when it comes to steroids, so it is in their power to pardon/suspend players in order to take down a larger evil. However, my question is, is it right of them to do so? It’s a fine line.

They dished out a 100-game suspension to minor leaguer Cesar Carillo like nothing. I can only imagine what they have in store for Braun if they find enough evidence to act on him.

I’d expect a lot of he said/she said coming up in the near future:

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/mlb-targeting-ryan-braun-in-miami-biogenesis-clinic-investigation.html/feed/ 0
The Forgotten Players: The Untold Story Of Performance Enhancing Drugs In Baseball http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/01/the-forgotten-players-the-untold-story-of-performance-enhancing-drugs-in-baseball.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/01/the-forgotten-players-the-untold-story-of-performance-enhancing-drugs-in-baseball.html/#comments Fri, 25 Jan 2013 15:02:22 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=105869 I once heard an interview where a player gave his estimation of how many players were on some sort of performance enhancing drug when he played in the early 2000s. He said it was ninety percent of the players—in other words, nine out of ten guys.

Let that marinate for a second.

I don’t remember who the player was, but I certainly believe that stat to be fairly accurate. It always made me wonder why PED or steroid usage causes such an uproar if it was as common as using tobacco before a ball game. A player could get arrested for being caught with some of the drugs they were using, but there were no written rule in baseball which stated a player couldn’t use them.

For that simple fact, baseball should just build a wing in the Hall of Fame and label it the “Steroid Era.” Baseball should not run away from it’s past, but accept it, and be proud that they took steps to try and right the wrongs.

I know some people will disagree. They want these men banned because the cheated! They want their names removed from the record books! They don’t deserve it!

These same people that proclaim these things are rule breakers themselves. They are law breakers. Not only do they break laws, but their law breaking could have a bigger impact on their lives and the lives of others than the men that used PEDs during baseball.

How many of you commute to work everyday? How many of you drive in and stay at, or below the speed limit? I’m going to go out on a limb and say not many. It’s a rule of the road and a law that is easy for us to ignore. We ignore it for a variety of reasons. Some people can’t afford to be late, and fear of losing their jobs. Others just like driving fast. Regardless of the reason we break the law; the law is there for the safety of ourselves and the other people on the road. We do it because the odds of us getting caught are slim.

However, when we speed on the road and take our lives and the other people’s lives for granted around us, it’s not looked on as harshly as a man that took MLBs sacred records for granted. Not unless we get caught, and not unless something bad happens. Then the speeding person’s name is often on the cover of your local newspaper and looked on as a villain.

The same holds true when it came to PEDs, which brings me to the next point.

Why is it that we ridicule the player who was a superstar, when suspicions of PED usage arise, but the fringe major league player and middle of the road players get a free pass?

Nobody gives a rat’s ass about how PED use of these fringe players affected the game of baseball, all that is cared about is the sacred records. What a crock of crap. Has it ever dawned on anyone that these great players were already great, and while the may have used PEDs, would probably have been hall of famers to begin with?

The truly forgotten player in this mess is the player that never lived out his dream. The clean player that tried to stay on the straight and narrow and never even thought to use a PED to gain an edge. These men were robbed of their dreams, often good enough on god given talent to play professional baseball, but often overlooked because scouts marveled at the guy who was juicing.

I’ve had a few friends who played minor league and independent league baseball who would attest to seeing the other players rubbing the “cream” on in the club house. I, with my own eyes, have seen friends helping inject each other with a syringe of steroids.

It was literally everywhere.

How many young lives were ruined because young men were trying to imitate their heroes? How many young lives lost? How many dreams crushed?

I never for a second thought my heroes were ever using steroids. Not that it would have made a difference in what I was doing if I knew that they were. Call me naïve, but I really thought it was Creatine and other over the counter supplements these players were using. If you didn’t find me in a gym lifting weights, I was probably at GNC re-stocking my supplement stash.

I was a player dead-smack in the middle of the steroid era. I was a victim of the steroid era. My story is probably not much different than others. I’m sure thousands of former aspiring baseball players can tell you similar stories. As an aspiring player, I began using Creatine in an attempt to build huge bulging muscles to catch the eyes of the scouts. The result: between my sophomore and junior year in college I gained almost 20 pounds.

A funny thing happens when you gain 20 pounds in a course of two months when you aren’t using performance enhancers—you get slow as heck. I went from a guy who had the green light on the base paths the two previous years with the nickname of “Jackie” (after Jackie Robinson for my aggressive base running style and the way I wore my uniform), to a guy that should have been utilized as a designated hitter. I went from scoring from second base on passed balls to the back stop, to having someone come in to pinch run for me in certain game situations. I wasn’t fat, just didn’t realize what gaining the extra muscle weight was doing to me and my game.

It’s the year 2001. I am one year removed from college and skipped over in the major league draft, knocking around to different tryouts. I had gotten a full-time job at a prominent company right out of college, but I still had the itch to play professional baseball. I remember getting myself in the best shape of my life (naturally) and decided that a tryout I was going to attend for the Cincinnati Reds would be my last hurrah. Unless I got signed, I was walking away from the game. I would leave it all on the field. It was time to move on with my life.

I won’t bore you with the details of the tryout, but I was invited with two other young aspiring ball players to stay after the tryout. We were pulled into the dugout when everyone else had vacated the field. The Reds scout walked over to us, he began to speak, and I will never forget what he said. He looked at us and said “you three guys are good enough to play in the Cincinnati Reds organization right now. The problem is I can’t sign any of you, although I would like to, because then we would have to release an established player that we have already invested time and money in. However, I can have you placed on an independent team, and if a spot opens up in our organization or a player gets injured, we can give you a call.”

I heard all I had to hear. I was happy I heard the words that I was good enough to play in the organization. I walked up to the scout, shook his hand, and thanked him for the opportunity. I walked off the field for what I thought was going to be the last time in my life. I had closure. At least I thought I did.

Fast forward a few years to all the steroid allegations. All these men I looked up to growing up are now being accused of using steroids. I’m hearing that ninety percent of ball players were on some sort of steroid or PED. The closure I thought I had slowly started drifting away. The closure began to turn to anger. I started to question if the reason why I didn’t get a chance to live my dream was because some other guy that was cheating was holding me back. I started to wonder if I had decided to put that needle to my ass cheek, would things have been different. I started to hate the game.

So while some people out there are angry that the star players used these PEDs to pad their stats, those stats can be fixed with an asterisk. The fringe player gets a free pass in all of this, but why? How can we fix the broken dreams? How can we help the grieving mother or father who lost their son because he was using PEDs?

While everyone worries about the sacred records, and argues about players that should not be in the hall of fame, try to remember that there was more at stake. PED usage affected more than just the record books.

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/01/the-forgotten-players-the-untold-story-of-performance-enhancing-drugs-in-baseball.html/feed/ 0
PEDs – Major League Baseball’s Incurable Disease http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/08/peds-major-league-baseballs-incurable-disease.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/08/peds-major-league-baseballs-incurable-disease.html/#comments Fri, 24 Aug 2012 13:00:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=93886 With two player’s testing positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs in the past two weeks, it is as clear as ever that PEDs are still an issue with Major League Baseball.

Nobody should be surprised about the two latest positive test results. I listened to an interview of a player not too long ago (the player’s name slips my mind right now), but he said at one point he believed that 90% of players were on some sort of PED. That’s nine out of ten players! Shouldn’t it be the other way around? It was so prevalent in the game, to think the problem would just go away with a snap of the fingers, was not realistic.

The bottom line is that when money is at stake, there will always be people looking to gain an advantage. It doesn’t matter what business they’re in, they will do whatever it takes, even if it involves breaking the rules. On Wall Street, there is insider information. In casinos, people try to count cards. In school, students pay other students to take their SAT exams. Let’s face it, cheating is happening all around us. There are rules in place to try and limit the amount of cheating, but where there are rules, you will always have people willing to bend those rules. They will bend them, to the point of breaking them, in order to gain an advantage.

The reason why baseball will never be able to rid itself of this disease of PEDs is because there is just too much money at stake for these players. The people that produce these drugs understand that. Let’s not forget that they are in business for themselves as well. If they want to stay in business, they have to stay ahead of the curve with masking agents to counteract the testing for PEDs.

Let’s look at it from a player’s perspective. Hypothetically speaking, if you had to pay someone $1 million to mask your PED usage, but you were being paid $10 million per year due to your enhanced performance on PEDs, but without PEDs, you might only make $4 million per year due to lower performance, which would you choose? If the player invests $1 million to cover up the PED usage, their salary increases by $5 million. Not a bad investment. Now factor into the equation that other players are already doing this. Your performance when you are not using PEDs looks so inferior when compared to your peers on PEDs, that you may lose your job. Would you consider PEDs now? It’s easy to see why this is so tempting for players (not that I would ever condone it).

Baseball has to accept the fact that PEDs will always be around as long as large amounts of money are at stake. It’s just human nature to try and gain a competitive edge, and this is survival of the fittest to the extreme. The only way to rid baseball of this disease would be to come up with a vaccine, not a band-aid. This isn’t a boo-boo, it’s a disease. The testing and subsequent 50 game ban that comes with a positive test result today, is merely a band-aid for the problem. The fact that people are still being caught is proof of that. The penalty of a positive test result is still not serious enough to deter a player from taking the risk of using PEDs, especially when seeking out a multi-million dollar contract.

The vaccine, and ultimate end of PEDs as we know them, would be a lifetime ban from baseball if caught using PEDs. Give all cheaters the Pete Rose treatment. That is the stance that Major League Baseball and the MLBPA should take if they really want to put an end to PED use. Some cases of PED use would still rear their heads from time to time, even if a lifetime ban hangs in the balance. No matter how harsh the penalty, there will always be people willing to push the envelope. But if a lifetime ban doesn’t put a stop to all PED use, then I don’t think anything will.

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/08/peds-major-league-baseballs-incurable-disease.html/feed/ 0
From Left Field: The Ethics Of Steroids http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/03/from-left-field-the-ethics-of-steroids.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/03/from-left-field-the-ethics-of-steroids.html/#comments Thu, 01 Mar 2012 19:13:28 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=73578 In the wake of the Ryan Braun steroid decision, performance-enhancing drugs have been a hot topic of late. Whether you agree or disagree with the decision, we can all agree that the steroid problem goes way beyond the development of tolerance. I sat down with former Major Leaguer Frank Tepedino to discuss the topic.

Tepedino’s career spanned parts of eight seasons from 1967-1975. He played for the New York Yankees, Milwaukee Brewers and Atlanta Braves. Though he was never a Met, I felt like what he had to say was relevant for our site.

During that time, performance-enhancing drugs were not part of the game. Talent and hard work alone were the sole determinants of a player’s success on the field. However, as steroids became popular in the game around the mid-1990s, the level playing field changed greatly.

Frank Tepedino

Super-human athletes were taking the game by storm, which certainly put fans in the seats, but also compromised the integrity of the game. Tepedino addressed the issue of whether he would have used steroids if they were available.

“You can’t answer that question until you’re in that situation and you look at right and wrong,” he said. “Where is the wrong of it? Is it because it gives you an advantage over another athlete? But what if that other athlete is doing it, and nothing is being done about it?”

Tepedino gave an example for this year’s MLB B.A.T. Dinner in New York City. Former Minnesota Twins outfielder asked former Yankees third baseman Mike Pagliarulo is the latter would have ever used steroids? But Gladden told Pagliarulo not to answer the question immediately, but instead deeply think about it before giving an answer.

Pagliarulo thought hard, but he couldn’t come up with a firm answer. Tepedino agreed that it is such a tough decision based on all the extra factors.

“Here you are not using them,” Tepedino said. “But the guy on the mound is using them. The catcher is using. The guys in the minors are using. The guy in the minors is going to take your job. The guy on the mound has an advantage over you.”

When weighing these factors, it’s a lot easier to see why many players turned to steroids, especially veterans later in their careers. Put yourself in their shoes for an instant: You have to support a family and kids, but your talent is diminishing. In order to continue playing and earning a paycheck, you need that extra edge so you take steroids. It’s really a tough call.

“Realistically by not doing it, you’re basically saying that’s the end of my career, because someone is going to take my job,” Tepedino said. “And that guy that has an advantage over me is going to get me out. You can’t just say, ‘No I’m not going to use them or yes I’m going to use them.’ You don’t know until you’re in that situation. That’s human nature.”

Many former players, like Tepedino, claim that based on their morals, they would not use steroids if given the choice. He said players like Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth were all clean and still excelled at the game.

The thing with those players is that nobody else was using steroids at that time, so a player’s own ability determined performance. Without steroids, only the top-tier of players shined. But once steroids were introduced, normally average players began putting up monster numbers and performed better than players with more talent but who chose not to use.

And then of course there’s the money factor. The players who perform the best get the most money. Simple right? But not when steroids are involved.

“They’re making two million [dollars] a year, and you’re home carrying a lunch bucket working in a factory in the offseason because of your morals,” said Tepedino.

Tepedino said that though he may have struggled with the decision he ultimately would have chosen not to use steroids.

“You might not have a good as career as someone else, but you can go to sleep at night and say ‘I did the right thing,’” he concluded.

So before we chastise a player for using steroids because they are illegal in the game, put yourself firmly in their shoes. Hopefully, many of you would choose not to use, but based on the extra factors, it’s a tougher decision when you’re actually faced with it.

So would you use steroids if everyone else was using and your job and family livelihood depended on it?

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2012/03/from-left-field-the-ethics-of-steroids.html/feed/ 0
The Mets Catching Situation http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/11/the-mets-catching-situation.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/11/the-mets-catching-situation.html/#comments Fri, 04 Nov 2011 04:01:01 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=64238 In a Mets offseason that will be dominated by one huge name—Jose Reyes—other major needs may go overlooked.

That’s partially because the Mets will try hard to keep Reyes and also because the team is still not financially sound.

When we think of the Mets roster, we immediately say we need pitching, pitching and more pitching.

However, a strong catcher is key to a good pitching staff.

If the season started tomorrow, Josh Thole and Ronny Paulino (assuming he’s offered arbitration) would once again split time behind the dish. Mike Nickeas would be the right-handed hitting option if the team moved on from Paulino.

The main factor here is Thole. In his short career, he has garnered a reputation as being an incredibly streaky player.

He goes through stretches at the plate where he just doesn’t make outs, and then he’ll strike out four consecutive times.

Defensively, he’ll call a great game one night, and then drop routine balls the next. One thing he certainly needs to work on is throwing out base stealers.

When looking at the numbers, Thole hit a very respectable .268 on the year. He’s not a power guy or a run producer, but he’s a strong contact hitter.

As for Paulino, it was really a lost season. He missed games due to his suspension for performance enhancing drugs and due to injury. He drove in just 19 runs in 78 games.

Based on the Mets pressing needs in other areas and the lack of any dynamite catchers on the market, the Amazins’ might be best off just letting Thole, who is still only 24, continue to work through his mistakes.

Defensively challenged Ryan Doumit, the aging Ramon Hernandez and Jason Kendall, and the ancient Pudge Rodriguez highlight the catcher’s market. Most of the other free agent catchers are basically all backups.

The thing with Thole is that he’d be a perfectly respectable option for a team with a strong lineup. When Jason Bay is batting fourth for your team, guys like Thole are expected to be offensive forces, which they simply are not.

So while we may not hear too much from the catching front this offseason based on the situation, the position could use an upgrade.

But for now, Thole is our guy.

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/11/the-mets-catching-situation.html/feed/ 0
A Look At “Unbreakable” Records: Barry Bonds’ Seven MVP Awards. http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/10/a-look-at-unbreakable-records-barry-bonds-seven-mvp-awards.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/10/a-look-at-unbreakable-records-barry-bonds-seven-mvp-awards.html/#comments Tue, 25 Oct 2011 19:12:19 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=63655

Being labeled as being the most valuable in any aspect of life is a pretty special occurrence. It’s not every day that you or I get an honor like that, and the same goes for professional sports. There have been plenty of players in Major League Baseball that have extraordinary careers and get elected to the Hall of Fame, yet either fail to win an MVP award or possibly just win one. When a player has the honor given to him more than once, then we have a special athlete on our hands.

There have only been 29 players in Major League history that have won multiple league MVP awards, with only 10 of those 29 winning the award three or more times. Barry Bonds is in a club by himself since he won the NL MVP award an astonishing seven times. The three-time winners include: Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella, Joe DiMaggio, Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, and Mike Schmidt.

Even though I’m from the school of thought that Barry Bonds took performance enhancing drugs during the later part of his career, being named the best player in your respective league for 31% of your entire career is pretty amazing, especially since the last four times he won the award, he did so consecutively.

I can only imagine what it would be like if Bonds accomplished all that he did in his career without using performance enhancing drugs. He is the all-time and single-season home run leader, with 762 and 73 home runs, respectively. He finished with a .298 career average, 1,996 RBI, 514 stolen bases, 2,935 hits, 2,227 runs scored, and 2,558 walks (another record). Along with his seven MVP awards, he holds 12 silver slugger awards, eight gold gloves, and was selected to the All-Star game 14 times.

If I look at these statistics without knowing the name of the player and I was asked whether this player is a Hall of Famer, I would say yes without a hesitation. However, with the PED cloud following him for the rest of his days on this Earth, I’m quite positive that he won’t even come close to getting the necessary 75% vote needed to be inducted into the Hall- and I don’t want him in there.

Being in the Hall of Fame is an honor and those who cheated to get ahead of their competition (McGuire, Sosa, and Clemens also come to mind) don’t deserve to be honored with the best players in the history of the game. It’s too bad because before Bonds started putting up these ridiculous power numbers, I would have considered him a Hall of Famer anyways. Do you think he should be inducted in Cooperstown?

The last question I ask every week is a simple one: can this record be broken? I actually think there is a small chance. I don’t think A-Rod will be winning anymore of these as he’s entering his late-30s and is already showing signs of slowing down. However, Albert Pujols has the opportunity to challenge this record because he’s such an amazing player that he is somehow involved in MVP discussions on a year-in-year-out basis. Who do you think has a chance to challenge this record?

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/10/a-look-at-unbreakable-records-barry-bonds-seven-mvp-awards.html/feed/ 0
Roger Clemens To Be Arraigned On Monday http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/08/roger-clemens-to-be-arraigned-on-monday.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/08/roger-clemens-to-be-arraigned-on-monday.html/#comments Fri, 27 Aug 2010 14:17:49 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=35009 This is what A.J. Perez of MLB wrote about the Clemens news on Thursday afternoon:

Roger Clemens’ arraignment on six felony charges linked to his testimony in front of a Congressional committee will take place in Washington on Monday.

A notice of Clemens’ first hearing in the case since charges were announced last week was posted on the federal docket system on Thursday. Clemens is expected to plead not guilty in what should be a short hearing in front of U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton.

He was an extraordinary pitcher in the early days, but prone to move the batter off the plate, by any means. He had an experience with Mike Piazza that bordered on the bizarre – he actually threw at Mike’s head twice in the summer of 2000.He continued to demand special treatment and extras which only increased his already large ego.

Roger perhaps wouldn’t understand this, but he was offered an out by the Congressional Committee where he testified – in fact, the Chairman of the Committee said there was no reason for him to appear – an affidavit would do.  But Roger insisted on having TV time at the committee.  He got it – and next Monday at 2PM he appears before a Federal Court in Washington DC and has no one to blame but himself.

And here’s my two cents – I never thought Roger would persist in proving himself innocent of it all. How the mighty has fallen  and  at his own hand.  Roger Clemens was always ready to put himself first,  no matter the issue.  Raised by a widowed Mother, and with several older sisters Roger lapped up the attention he was given at home.  But it didn’t stop when he grew up and today is proof of that.

Clemens, who has denied ever using performance-enhancing drugs, faces one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements and two counts of perjury tied to his testimony in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in February 2008. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner faces a fine of up to $1.5 million and a prison term of up to 21 months under current sentencing guidelines if convicted.”

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/08/roger-clemens-to-be-arraigned-on-monday.html/feed/ 0
Roger Clemens Indicted For Lying To Grand Jury http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/08/roger-clemens-indicted-for-lying-to-grand-jury.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/08/roger-clemens-indicted-for-lying-to-grand-jury.html/#comments Thu, 19 Aug 2010 18:42:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=34517

Federal authorities have indicted Roger Clemens on charges of making false statements to Congress about his use of performance-enhancing drugs.

The 19-page indictment charges Clemens with three counts of making false statements and two counts of perjury in connection with his February 2008 testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

I bet Mike Piazza smiled when he heard this.

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/08/roger-clemens-indicted-for-lying-to-grand-jury.html/feed/ 0
Sammy To The Hall of Fame? Say It Ain’t Sosa! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/06/sammy-to-the-hall-of-fame-say-it-aint-sosa.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/06/sammy-to-the-hall-of-fame-say-it-aint-sosa.html/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2009 19:59:21 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=7293

Former Cubs second baseman Ryne Sandberg, levied some harsh criticism on Sammy Sosa and his Hall of Fame chances.

According to Sandberg, a Hall of Famer himself, Sammy Sosa does not belong in the Hall because of integrity issues associated with the steroids era.

While a guest on ESPN 1000 radio today, Sandberg said:

“They use the word ‘integrity’ in describing a Hall of Famer in the logo of the Hall of Fame, and I think there are gonna be quite a few players that are not going to get in. It’s been evident with the sportswriters who vote them in, with what they’ve done with Mark McGwire getting in the 20 percent range. We have some other players coming up like Rafael Palmeiro, and it’ll be up to the sportswriters to speak loud and clear about that. I don’t see any of those guys getting in.”

Ryne Sandberg and Sammy Sosa were Cubs teammates from 1992 to 1997. When you read the entire story and examine Sandberg’s comments, you get the sense he felt betrayed by Sosa.

“I was around Sammy for about five years before I retired, and there wasn’t anything going on then. I did admire the hard work he put in. He was one of the first guys down to the batting cage, hitting extra. I figured he was working out hard in the offseason to get bigger. It was just happening throughout the game, that even myself was blinded by what was really happening, maybe starting in the ’98 season.”

 I’ve heard many a fan, analyst and sportscaster say that all the players knew that it was going on even those who were clean, but I never really subscribed to that unsubstantiated charge. I do believe there were plenty of players like Sandberg that were fooled just like most the fans were.

Sandberg expressed regret for all the good players who never cheated because they have been thrown into the mix with all the tainted players. 

“I think it’s very unfortunate. I think suspicions were there as they are with some other players. Those players are now put in a category of being tainted players with tainted stats. I think it’s obviously something that was going on in the game. Players participated in it and as the names have come out I think that they will be punished for that.”

Sandberg said that punishment should include being banned from Cooperstown. 

“It’s something that’s against the law and against society. It was cheating in the sport. I think it has to be spoken very loud and clear on the stance. I don’t think those guys should be recognized at all.”

I liked Sosa and thought he was one of the more colorful and entertaining players out there, but that said Sandberg is right and there should be a ”NO HOF” policy for any player who used banned substances or performance enhancing drugs.

I don’t say that all of these players should have their records purged… that would be ridiculous at this point. I don’t advocate asterisks either…

But I do say lets not roll out the red carpet for these guys and honor them with enshrinement.

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/06/sammy-to-the-hall-of-fame-say-it-aint-sosa.html/feed/ 0