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Tag Archives: Performance Enhancing Drugs

It was a given that the Dodgers would finally stumble into a three-game losing streak. And as disappointing as it is, you have to give credit where credit’s due. It’s no small task to play 100 games and lose three in a row just once.

But I absolutely hate, hate, HATE that it had to be to the Cardinals.

These are the so-called “best fans in baseball?” The same fans who see fit to boo Manny Ramirez every time he’s involved in the game? Considering that the Cardinals have no real modern rivalry with the Dodgers — I mean, Jack freakin’ Clark of all people was a Dodger “coach” in recent times — their fans haven’t really felt the need to boo any Dodgers of recent note. I mean, the Dodgers have trotted out plenty of despicable players such as Andruw Jones, Luis Gonzalez, Julio Lugo, Brett Tomko, and so on, and none of them enticed the St. Louis boo-birds.

But yet, Manny Ramirez does? I wonder why? Is it because Ken Rosenthal and Rick Sutcliffe say he “ruined the IN-TEG-RA-TEE of the game?” Oh man, well it’s a great thing the Cardinals would never have had any of their players do such a thing.

mcgwire

Listen, Cardinals fans. Ballplayers use performance-enhancing drugs. It sucks, but for better or worse, it’s part of the game. If it isn’t andro; it’s HGH; it’s flaxseed oil; it’s female fertility drugs. Whatever. If doing drugs is what ballplayers feel the need to do, then so be it.

But the fact of the matter is, these guys aren’t boy scouts and altar boys. They’re not running for POTUS. If they feel the need to use whatever the latest whatever is to get themselves juiced in the gym, so be it. They’re entertainers. No one cares one whit that Warren Beatty or Harrison Ford are getting chemically enhanced to maintain their appearances. So why exactly are we so insistent on moralizing when it comes to baseball?

But enough of that. It’s called a hot streak Cardinals fans. Enjoy it. But for the love of all things holy, cut it out with the Manny booing. It’s ridiculous.

Losing two games, scoring just one run, but racking up hit after hit is incredibly frustrating. But that’s how the breaks go. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t.

Not the greatest day in the world to be a Dodger fan. The good news — the Roy Halladay/Cliff Lee exploratory committees seem to be fizzling out. No need to squander prospects when the difference an “ace” pitcher makes over the remainder of the season is negligible to begin with. But the good news is tempered with the rumor that Orioles “closer” George Sherrill is now the target of the Dodgers’ affections. Really? George Sherill? I mean, this after Hong-Chih Kuo’s successful outing on Monday night?

Granted, Brent Leach has been struggling, and Scott Elbert is back in Albuquerque, but really, George Sherill? This sure sounds so much like “make a trade for the sake of making a trade.” What exactly would a Sherill acquisition mean for the Dodgers?

It gets better. Not only does a Sherill acquisition not make a whole lot of sense, Oriole fans sure seem to think that the Dodgers ought to send all manner of talent in exchange. How much of a mistake is it to give up anything negligible for a reliever, the most volatile of volatile assets? Considering only Jonathan Broxton is the only member of the Dodger bullpen serving the same role he did last year, is it worth dealing anything of worth for Sherill? I mean, how hard is it to find another bullpen arm? Not much difficulty in rounding up Ronald Belisario and Ramon Troncoso, was there?

The icing on the cake: 2010 will be Vin Scully’s final season as the voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The transition from Chick Hearn to … whomever it is that calls Laker games now was jarring, to put it nicely. I can’t even begin to imagine how Scully’s transition would be, especially considering the motley crew (Eric Collins, Steve Lyons, Charley Steiner) currently serving as his understudies. From childhood to the present day,  game day has always started with: “Hi everybody, and a a good evening to you, wherever you may be. It’s time for DODGER BASEBALL!”

Just like I want the Bruins to win one more title for Coach Wooden, I want the Dodgers to win one more title for Scully.

Good news? This arrived in the mail Monday:

07271438

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Does a tree falling in a forest make a sound if there’s no one there to hear it?

canseco

Jose Canseco called a press conference in Beverly Hills yesterday soon after the Manny Ramirez story broke. The point was basically for him to say “I told you so,” which is fine, he did tell us so, and to complain (again) about MLB’s conspiracy against him. As you can see, there were plenty of good seats still available (via the SportingNews.com)

Jose, I don’t think anyone is naive enough to deny there were/are many, many ballplayers on the juice. Just don’t fool yourself into thinking anyone wants to continue to hear from a self-aggrandizer who’s convinced this whistle-blowing campaign means anything in the grand scheme of things.

In fact, the more superstars we expose as juicers, the less weight the argument that juicers had this undeniable advantage against the rest of the field. Everyone from Endy Chavez to Eric Gagne to Barry Bonds is suspected (if not exposed outright) of juicing. In other words, it’s pretty likely that just about everyone is/was juicing.

Maybe it’s time to let go of the crusade. Trying to get a leg up on your competition isn’t something exclusive to modern baseball. And get this — there are some sports where ultimately, it doesn’t matter (ahem, NFL).

On a day such as today, you can’t help but think of the old cliche, “you can’t win them all.”

And then the Dodgers go out and do just that, losing the Nationals in spite of holding a six-run lead at one point. This, without their dreadlocked leader, whose suspension began today.

I don’t think it’s fair to say every baseball player is on the juice. I also don’t think it’s fair to say most baseball players aren’t on the juice. I’d be incredibly surprised if an overwhelming majority of ballplayers weren’t guilty of using some sort of peformance-enhancing chemical, legal or not.

Of course, that doesn’t justify using them, particularly illegal drugs. But what confuses me greatly is the rather high, if not absurdly standard of purity that we insist baseball players maintain. Yet, when any other athlete does it, like say, Shawne Merriman, we figure it’s part of the game, right?

Our culture voraciously consumes all manner of performance-enhancing drugs. For crying out loud, Viagra is a Major League Baseball sponsor! There isn’t any ailment (or non-ailment, for that matter) that can’t be addressed with yet another magical pill.

And yet we react with sanctimony and high piety and righteousness when someone decides to … pop a pill or three? Sports “nutrition” is a standalone industry, with GNC stores everywhere, and we’re surprised that someone wants something to put a little pep in his … whatever Manny needed these pills for.

When its millions of dollars at stake, why are we so surprised that the competitors are doing everything they can to get a leg up on the competition?

Cheating is always wrong. But it’s superbly hypocritical of all of us — as a society and as baseball fans — for us to thumb our noses at Manny and what he did, at A-Rod, Giambi, McGwire, et. al. — when we accept it as part of our culture.

While we may not resort to using female fertility drugs, who among us can cast stones when we resort to stomach stapling, ephedra, and Hydroxycut when it comes to losing weight? Really, who among us is really doing things “the way they ought to be,” o.k.a. “the right way?”

I am honest when I say I don’t care. I didn’t care when McGwire and Sosa were under the spotlight. I didn’t care when it was Bonds. I still don’t care now that it’s A-Rod and Manny. And if it’s ever Pujols, I still won’t care.

Why?

The game is still just that. People can do what they want to get a leg up on the competition. We’re fools if we think that there’s ever been “purity” in the sense that ballplayers wouldn’t try something to make them better, if they knew they would get away with it. The only difference is that today’s greenies are far more sophisticated, and they’ll continue to be that way. HCG may be illegal today, but I guarantee there’ll be something else they’ll be using, and something else after that.

So inevitably, yes, it is part of the game; as much as it is part of our culture.