Friday, July 31, 2009

The List

In February it was revealed that Alex Rodriguez's name had been on a list of major league baseball players that had tested positive for steroids in 2003. The media had a field day with the information and A-rod was faced with a media circus. The list was supposed to be anonymous but someone had leaked his name to the press allowing everyone to find out what most had assumed.

Today 2 more names from that same list were revealed to the public: David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez.

Now I am of course a Red Sox fan and this revelation means that during the 2004 season in which the Sox won the World Series, led by Ortiz and Manny, key members of the team were on steroids.

Am I upset about this? No. Am I surprised by this? Not really. Does this taint their World Series victory? Not really.

Let's start with whether or not I am upset. The short answer is no. Does it bother me that players on my favorite team took drugs in order to be better? No. Then again I have never really had a problem with steroids. I have a problem with the lack of punishment for using steroids but not with idea of taking steroids.

For instance I have written in the past that I think Manny and A-rod should have gotten greater punishments for their crimes. I still stand by that. If you get caught cheating you should be suspended in a meaningful way. That means you sit out either the last 50 games of the season or the playoffs. You don't sit out the first 50 which often times can be meaningless and in reality only give players needed rest allowing them to return for the stretch run healthy and fresh.

So what I am trying to say is punish Ortiz. Hell for the first 50 games he was a corpse anyways and more of a burden. Now he is hitting again but still he deserves to be punished if he did in fact break the rules.

Now on to whether or not I am surprised. Of course not. The past 10-15 years of baseball have been called the "steroid era" so obviously I am not surprised when two big time home run hitters, in the case of Ortiz a true out of nowhere story, test positive for steroids. I wasn't surprised when A-rod got caught and I am especially not surprised now.

I mean if you look at Ortiz's career it would be a bigger surprise if he was clean. Before he came to Boston his career high in home runs was 20. In his first 4 years with the Red Sox he hit 31, 41, 47, and 54 home runs.

It seems that no one in baseball is clean anymore and everyone is guilty until proven innocent. I include Ortiz in the column and as of right now he is guilty. I still love him though and he is still one of my favorite players.

Lastly do I think this taints the 2004 World Series victory? Once again I am going to say no. On the list that revealed Ortiz and Manny as cheaters there are over 100 other names. Now this more than likely means there is at least 1 player from each team on that list. I can only assume then that every team had some steroid users.

I might also use the defense that Ortiz and Manny didn't win every game on their own. Someone still had to pitch and play the other positions on the field. I know Ortiz had some clutch hits that kept the Sox alive against the Yankees but in the end there are 20 guys on that team that are probably clean that all helped to win that title. It would be wrong to take away the work others did because of the poor decisions of two members of the team.

One thing I did want to touch on was this list. This list of players that is coming back to haunt Bud Selig and MLB. For some reason Selig has decided that instead of releasing every name on the list and dealing with the situation in one sitting he would rather just let names be leaked out gradually bringing negative attention to baseball intermittently.

Maybe Selig doesn't have the list or doesn't know who is on it but I think he does. I mean he must right? The main thing to know is that the testing was supposed to be anonymous. The Players Association is already taking legal action as they are suing those who have broken the confidence of the testing.

The most interesting perspective on the whole situation came from Nomar Garciapara who played with Ortiz and Ramirez and was in Boston today as the Red Sox were playing the A's. Nomar said that he knows of many players who refused to be tested which would result in an automatic admission of guilt. He claims players did this because they wanted testing in baseball and they assumed the tests would remain anonymous. This is interesting because over 5% of players tested positive during this test period and MLB officials said that if over 5% tested positive they would implement mandatory random testing.

So Nomar is claiming that players wanted testing and felt that not subjecting themselves to this test, which would as stated above result in them being deemed guilty, would be the best way to go about getting testing.

Maybe Nomar is saying this because his name was on the list as well or maybe it is the truth. In either case this was not the route Manny or Ortiz took. In a statement he released today Ortiz said, "Based on the way I have lived my life, I am surprised to learn I tested positive." This obviously means that he didn't just refuse testing but allowed himself to be tested and was caught.

Either way this whole story is one that will allow the steroids and baseball talk to continue. As for the Red Sox or as Baby J has now dubbed them the "Roid Sox" they will go about business as usual. I'd come up for a clever steroid related nickname for the Blue Jays but they are so irrelevant it wouldn't be worth my time. The Sox will continue to win games and continue to be a threat in the AL. Whether they do it clean or on the juice I really don't care. I don't watch sports to learn about values and morals.

One last thing. If there is a God then Derek Jeter will be the next name revealed on this list.

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