Monday, August 3, 2009

I Took What!?!?

Apparently big time ballplayers have no idea what's going into their body. They could eat a Snickers bar and blame the folks at Mars, Inc. for putting performance enhancing drugs into their candy. There are steroids in their soda, in their chicken, in their water, in their breakfast cereal, in their ice cream cake and in their Quarter Pounder.

C'mon now. Really? Those trainers providing athletes with 'legal' supplements must be pretty malicious to taint the products with steroids or other PEDs. Especially knowing the scrutiny their players are sure to endure as a result.

I guess it's not the players' fault, though. Not Manny Ramirez's fault, not Mark McGwire's fault, not Rafael Palmeiro's fault, not any other player's fault who has tested positive and went on to blame a tainted supplement for the positive result. There's nothing suspicious about McGwire's or anybody else's sudden bulkiness. (Look at the rookie cards of some of these accused steroid users and tell me they didn't receive some form of unnatural assistance.)

In the wake of new revelations regarding Ramirez's and David Ortiz's place on the list of 104 players who tested positive for banned supplements in 2003, the legitimacy of the Red Sox two championships in 2007 and most notably in 2004 has been called into question. We all knew this would happen. From the moment we saw the two names run across the bottom of our screen labeling them as steroid users from the 2003 list. They were the two biggest stars on the most successful team of the past five years. What has ensued has not been surprising.

I'm not so sure that the PEDs the two had ingested singlehandedly propelled the Red Sox to the World Series. It probably made them better players and, as a result, made the team better, but to give all the credit to PEDs would be absurd. That would be ignoring the contributions that Josh Beckett, Dustin Pedroia, Mike Lowell and others made in the 2007 season. Or the role of Curt Schilling and others in 2004. And you have to wonder which of Boston's opponents were 'powered' by steroids as they moved through the playoffs. And you have to wonder how many pitchers Ortiz and Ramirez faced on the way to the World Series whose stuff was a little better thanks to PEDs. So did PEDs play a role in the output of Ramirez and Ortiz? Probably. But I'd be extremely hesitant to admit that it was the sole reason they won two World Series titles in four years.

These guys had to have known what they were putting into their bodies, and if by some chance it turns out that they actually didn't, then these have been some of the worst cases of irresponsibility on behalf of professional athletes in the history of sports. Their body is their tool. It's their instrument for success, money and fame. Shouldn't these guys be aware of what goes into their body? You wouldn't give a free pass to a stockbroker investing with dirty money, would you? So how can anybody give a free pass to a ballplayer playing with dirty supplements? Fundamentally, it boils down to very similar ethical reasoning.

If you get caught, admit it. While we hold them in contempt for putting PEDs into their bodies to begin with, we can't blame them for keeping their mouth shut about having used. You would too. But when you're caught red-handed, admit it. It saves a lot of grief. Ask Alex Rodriguez and then ask Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens. Oh, and David Ortiz's plan for a 162 game ban for anybody that tests positive? Great idea! Put your money where your mouth is and voluntarily sit out for at least the rest of the season.

Baseball isn't the only sport tainted with PEDs. Cycling has had its fair share of PED users who blamed a bad supplement. The NFL has also seen a few players test positive and then blame a tainted supplement (Marcus Stroud and Shawn Merriman fell victim to these ill hearted trainers and supplement providers). Other sports have been victim as well, although the NBA has remained clean. But the MLB has endured the brunt of the condemnation and has paid dearly in the form of legal bills and speculation about the legitimacy of the sport in the past decade or so, as well as the records that have since fallen.

If you're caught, admit it. Don’t blame tainted supplements or your trainers. You knew what you were putting into your body. You had to. Stop dodging questions, stop denying the obvious and just own up to your crime. If you did it, admit it!

I can't wait for the first accused steroid user to turn up clean. What a mess that'll be!
Written By Danny Hobrock