steroids

‘Roids Still Raging

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While performance-enhancing drugs have been a part of baseball for decades, violators were never really punished until the 1990’s, when harsher consequences were put in place.  The use of steroids was truly brought to the eye of the public around the 1998 season, during the historic home-run race between the Cardinals’ Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs.  Both players have been heavily accused over the years, though neither has been marked as a definite steroid user.  Several stars such as McGwire, Sosa, Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, and Roger Clemens have had their chances for a spot in Cooperstown dramatically decreased because of their association with performance-enhancing drugs.

To any true baseball fan, speculation about the use of steroids in the MLB is nothing new.  But recently, old news has become relevant once again.  Within the last week or so, yet another report has been released accusing current MLB stars of violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.

Alex-Rodriguez2

The most recent report focuses heavily on Anthony Bosch and his Miami-based anti-aging clinic.  Similar to other accusations in the past few years, this one also focuses on Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez.  Rodriguez, 37, resides in Miami during the offseason, and has allegedly made several illegal purchases from Bosch.  Sources associated with the Miami New Times have released a statement saying that Rodriguez’s name or nicknames pop up at least a dozen times in Bosch’s notes.  Sources close to Bosch have reported a close relationship between the two, but Bosch has done nothing but deny it.  Although he has passed drug tests in recent years, sources say that he may have started using PED’s again before and during the 2012 season.  Rodriguez previously admitted to using steroids in the early 2000’s while playing for the Texas Rangers.  He claims to never have used them since, and the Yankees obviously believed him, giving him a 10 year/$275 million contract prior to the 2009 campaign.  The MLB Commissioner’s Office is currently investigating all evidence related to this recent report, and will make an announcement as soon as a final verdict is reached.

Will Alex Rodriguez join the list of superstars with an asterisk next to their name? Only time will tell. For the time being, fans will just have to accept the fact that there are still players who think they can get away with using PED’s, while other players play fairly without receiving the recognition of putting up huge numbers.  Other names included in the 2013 report include Bartolo Colon, Gio Gonzales, Nelson Cruz, and Melky Cabrera.  Cabrera was suspended 50 games this past season for violating the league’s PED policy.

Christian Biondi

A fan’s shame

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Oh, my Ryan Braun, what did you do to me? My favorite team. My favorite player. Oh, what art thou done?

Everything that could be good in a baseball player, you ruined-and for what-a couple more homers?

Your swing was so smooth, smoother than Keith Stone, smoother than a baby’s bottom, smoother than my pinewood derby car after hours of sandpapering (Did anyone else do that or was that just me? It’s like I had a disorder: the car had to be perfectly smooth)

And don’t think for a moment I forgot about your hair. It’s as if the flow gods took a chunk of hair from Zeus and said, “This mortal is going to have some sick flow.”

We had such a good year. We won our first division title since 1982. You had a healthy .332 batting average complimented by 33 homers. You won an NL MVP. For once, I was proud of my team, proud of the players on my team.

But you shamed me. When I first heard the allegations, I felt embarrassed. Embarrassed that one of my favorite players actually broke such an important rule. I felt naked. I wanted to go home and wrap myself in a blanket and cry. I’ve always wondered how it felt to be a fan of a player accused of using PEDs, but I never liked Manny’s antics or Roger Clemens’s I’m-the-better than you attitude. I laughed at others when I heard such allegations. I shouted, “Cheater!” at my TV. I yelled. I yelled because of players like you. Because, I thought you were clean.

You seemed so sure of yourself. I never thought for a second, you, out of all players would even think of taking such drugs, much less actually using them. I was in denial. I cheered you on when you said you would appeal. Hey even a drug test can go wrong, right?

But as time passed, I moved on to acceptance. Oh, it hurts too much to say, but I must. Ryan Braun, you should be banned from baseball. It’s in the best interest of all of us for this to happen. You broke my heart, and for that I cannot forgive you. The game needs to remove the steroid culture that has permeated it since the days of Jose Canseco. It needs to remove any desire or even the remotest thought of using PEDs by players. What better way to stop such thoughts by banning a player who used it at the height of his career? What better way to prevent steroid use, with a strong, absolute ruling? If the game wants to be serious about moving on from the steroid era, it must set an example, and here’s a perfect opportunity.

I realize Ramirez was only given 50 games, and A-Rod was only given 15 games, but Commissioner Bud Selig has a chance to crack down on the use of steroids and you, Ryan, must be the sacrificial lamb. I’m all for second chances, but Ryan, a second chance you don’t deserve.

I wanted to tell my sons about the “Great Ryan Braun” leading the Brewers to prominence, but now I cannot even think of such ideas, for you left a void in my heart- a void that cannot be filled by a mere suspension.

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