Saturday, May 30, 2009

Danica Patrick Would Use a PED

In a revealing interview with Dan Patrick of Sports Illustrated, Danica Patrick revealed the inner workings of a competitive athlete when it comes to the temptation of using PED's and why they chose to use.

From the interview:

Dan: If you could take a performance-enhancing drug and not get caught, would you do it if it allowed you to win Indy?
Danica: Well, then it's not cheating, is it? If nobody finds out?
Dan: So you would do it?
Danica: Yeah, it would be like finding a gray area. In motorsports we work in the gray areas a lot. You're trying to find where the holes are in the rule

Apparently many athletes were and still are "trying to find where the holes are in the rule book." Her personal morals and ethics are off the charts if she does not consider using PED's cheating, as long as no one finds out. It's easy to see how this is the mindset of the modern athlete, always looking for an edge anyway possible. These athletes always have a justification for their actions when questioned. After all, that's how a majority of competitive athletes got to where they are today, doing whatever it took to get to the top.

Thank you Danica for allowing us into the mindset of the modern athlete and the thought process of deciding whether or not to cheat.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Heyman's Vote on Roiders

Jon Heyman, Hall of Fame (HOF) voter and columnist for, recently wrote how he would vote for the HOF for several current and former MLB'ers suspected of roiding up and cheating the game.

In his article, he stresses how difficult voting for the HOF is. Do voters simply go by the statistics of a player or by the impact that player had on the team? If one was to go by statistics alone, how does one judge the current crop of players who played during the steroid era? Heyman writes, "These calls won't only be about numbers. There are value judgments to be made about cheating, and possibly about how much the cheating helped particular players."

Heyman admits that some voters will simply eliminate all the cheaters from their ballots while others will take it on a case by case basis. He is the first writer that I have encountered to admit his own culpability in being slow to uncover the widespread use of PED's in baseball. A majority of writers need to own this. It's part of the inherent conflict of interest in being a sportswriter. You need to be "friendly" and close to the players and organizations and do not violate that trust by exposing the sport you cover or writing about it in a negative light. Heyman hypothesizes that some writers might feel tempted to block a majority of these players from the HOF since the writers were slow to cover the truth about their PED use. Voting them into the HOF would be continuing the trend of looking the other way, wink-wink, and implicitly endorsing cheating by using these substances.

Now to analyze Heyman's ballot:

  • Mark McGwire: Didn't vote for him because of suspected PED use led to HOF numbers.
  • Barry Bonds: Yes, he believes he was a HOF'er before he took any PED's.
  • Roger Clemens: Yes, like Bonds, he was a HOF'er before he roided up.
  • Sammy Sosa: No, productivity and expanded size suggest PED use.
  • Rafael Palmeiro: No, failed drug test (Stanozolol) after protesting innocence before Congress.
  • Gary Sheffield: No, ties to BALCO and admitting to intentionally throwing balls away hurt.
  • Mike Piazza: Yes, numbers wise he's there, but increasing suspicions raise some doubts, but Heyman needs more proof.
  • Ivan Rodriguez: Yes, never been caught even though he shrunk dramatically.
  • A-Rod: Yes, Heyman needs more proof of add'l doping even though admitted to PED use.
  • Manny Ramirez: Yes, he was great since the start and never got "big"

Interesting takes on these players by Heyman. In some instances he needs more proof (Piazza, Ivan Rodriguez and A-Rod) while others his visual proof was enough (Sammy Sosa). Yet, visual proof of a shrinking Ivan Rodriguez was not enough for him to pass on voting him in the HOF. Of the three players (Palmerio, Ramirez and A-Rod) that failed a drug test in MLB testing, he has two going to the Hall of Fame (any coincidence that both are current players, possibly his reasoning is self-motivated by generating goodwill down the road when he needs a story).

Unfortunately, the rules for election to the HOF do not specify "character" attributes. Aren't you supposed to be rewarded for doing the right thing and not cheating? Is that the proper message you want displayed in Cooperstown?

It's up to the baseball writers to decide.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Potential All Star Error

MLB appears headed to make a colossal error in judgment. The NL All Star ballot standings were released earlier this week and Manny Ramirez is fourth. The possibility of Manny Ramirez starting the All Star Game is deplorable.

Only in Major League Baseball can a player serving a 50 game suspension for using a banned substance and missing more than half of the regular season games before the All Star Game be rewarded and deemed an All-Star. The starters are voted by the fans, so it appears that the fans do not care if the athletes roid out of their minds. What an excellent message to convey to all the Little Leaguers out there.

What an awful, misguided message and one only MLB could pull off with such aplomb. Here's a simple solution: if a player is caught using a banned substance, he cannot participate in All Star related activities for the next twelve months. Again, use of banned substances should not be rewarded at all. Sending these current mixed messages to the public will shift the onus to parents having to explain why a superstar has to use banned substances in the first place and then why his league considers that type of behavior All Star caliber.

Congratulations MLB, you've done it once again.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Kentucky DE Fails Test, College Career Over

Jeremy Jarmon, who has the third most sacks in Kentucky history, will not be allowed to add to that total following a positive test for a banned substance. The defensive end was tested in February and appealed the positive test result; the NCAA denied his appeal.

Jarmon claimed he inadvertently took a banned substance found in a dietary supplement bought at a nutrition store. After taking the supplement for 15 days, he inquired with the training staff and they advised him to cease taking it.

Jarmon did not identify the substance or take any questions during a press conference announcing the results. He read from a prepared statement that said he was unaware that the supplement contained the banned substance and that he does not need to cheat to get ahead.

The university was very supportive of Jarmon, filing an appeal on his behalf with the Athletic Director, Mitch Barnhart, hoping that the NCAA would make an exception in Jarmon’s case due to “extenuating circumstances.” Barnhart said, “The NCAA rules are the rules that we all live by and they're consistent, based on precedent and we've got to honor this. It may not always feel right, but there is precedent and it is consistent."

Every time one of these stories breaks, there’s always someone else to blame: a teammate, the store clerk, the coaching staff or the training staff. Enough is enough. Take responsibility for yourself. You are on the cusp of entering the big time: the NFL and earning some serious scratch. Make it an unofficial elective to know what you can and cannot put it your body. If you are not sure, ASK. As that advertising campaign said, there’s sure and then there’s not exactly. The risks are too great to be anything other than sure.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

An Ethicist’s take on Manny Ramirez

An interesting piece popped up in the news regarding right and wrong and the use of performance enhancing drugs in sports. The article came from Randy Cohen’s piece in The New York Times Moral of the Story column, The Ethicist’s take on the news, where he asks the question whether we are right to “condemn such players (as a positive Manny Ramirez) as unethical?”

Cohen writes that the boost that athletes receive from PED’s is significant, but limited. He cites the change in the single season home run record from Babe Ruth’s 60 (Roger Maris actually had the record at 61 before Mark McGwire broke it with 70 prior to Bonds) to Barry Bonds’ 73 and specifically mentions that the record didn’t jump to 500. 60 to 73 is a 22% increase; 60 to 500 would be a 733% increase. Roger Maris surpassed Ruth's home run record by one home run, not thirteen.  Let’s keep this argument in reality.

Cohen gives many of the same arguments that baseball elders gave in explaining how aging sluggers were hitting more home runs: modern training programs, better nutrition, smaller ballparks. Even though steroids were prohibited from baseball in the early 90’s, there was no mandatory testing in place. To further his change in technology and sports, Cohen cites cycling illustrating how the bikes have transformed from being made out of the heavier steel to carbon fiber. The sport of cycling has one of the biggest doping cultures. Another example Cohen cites is Tiger Woods’ Lasik surgery to improve his vision to 20/15, better than normal. In both examples, bike makeups and eye surgery, there is nothing in the rules of the respective sport that says a bike needs to be made of a certain material or your vision cannot be altered. Hence, these athletes are not doing anything wrong.

Cohen suggests that rather than increase penalties for bad decisions, cast the image as one of workplace safety. “Baseball authorities must prohibit actions that are unduly dangerous, whether taking drugs or playing after a concussion, or that mar the beauty of the game, not because such things are unethical but because they are unwise.” Why is taking drugs unwise for ballplayers? Using PED’s in the first place is what led these players to get to the big show, get the big money contracts and get that extension. The only remedy that will make it unwise to cheat and use PED’s is to implement an immediate lifetime ban from the sport and a requirement that the cheat would need to return all monies earned. Since the “honor code” didn’t work too well before, when the player’s money and right to earn a living are on the line, they will learn quickly how unwise it is to take the spike and will call MLB to confirm that the supplement that they picked up from GNC is legit.

Friday, May 22, 2009

NASCAR Drug Suspension Fallout

The Jeremy Mayfield v. NASCAR battle continues.

Mayfield was suspended May 9th for failing a random drug test. Neither NASCAR nor Mayfield’s attorney, Bill Diehl, identified the substance. Diehl hinted that legal action might follow regarding the validity of the drug tests.

Mayfield and NASCAR have two different explanations for the positive test which NASCAR considers a “serious violation” of their substance abuse policy which was categorized as a performance enhancer or a recreational drug. A person familiar with the results said Mayfield did not test positive for performance enhancer.

Mayfield claims the positive test stems from a mixture of a prescription drug with over-the-counter allergy medication Claritin-D. Dr. David Black, administrator of NASCAR's drug testing program and CEO of Aegis Sciences Corp., has repeatedly rejected that explanation.

Mayfield’s best course of action is to own it and move on. Make amends, get the proper help he needs and then get back out on the track. If anything, a stint in drug rehab would make him more appealing to NASCAR fans that his current persona. The longer everyone lets this substance remain a mystery, the more people speculate, further harming Mayfield’s reputation.

It’s not like the driver had a lot going for him recently. Mayfield, who turns 40 next week, has been out of steady work since his 2006 firing from Evernham Motorsports and self financed the creation of Mayfield Motorsports this season. This latest development could spell the end of Mayfield Motorsports.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Radomski Suspected Piazza Roided

Kirk Radomski does not like Mike Piazza. 

That said, according to his book, Bases Loaded, Radomski was asked by Mitchell investigators what he knew about Piazza.  Radomski has no first hand information whether Piazza used roids, HGH or other PED's.  Radomski writes that "Piazza is one guy I would have been happy to give up."

Radomski's opinion in analyzing Piazza's body visually was that he looked like someone who was roiding.  Again, he has no firsthand knoeledge, just stating his opinion.  After the fallout from Piazza's return to New York to open Citi Field and relectuance to address the media, Radomski's opinion could very well be spot on.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

FINA Bans Some Swimsuits

In the debate as to whether swimsuits are performance enhancing, a decision has been made and the answer is...yes.

FINA, the international swimming federation, has moved to reject 146 types of the high-tech suits. 136 of the suits have been offered the option of modifications within 30 days. This timeline would accommodate the world swimming championships in Rome that begin July 19th.

Grant Stoelwinder, a leading swim coach from Australia, said many swimmers were fooling themselves thinking their abilities were improving when it was due to the technology of the suits. He said minor benefits were achieved through added buoyancy, reduced surface drag or compressing a swimmer’s body, into a streamlined and efficient position.

One company that came out relatively unscathed from this development was Speedo and their top swimmer, Michael Phelps who wears one of their LZR swimsuits. Fifteen versions of the LZR line were approved by FINA.

Aaron Peirsol beat Phelps in the 100 meter backstroke this past Saturday, but was wearing a suit that has now been banned by FINA. We'll see who performs better when the two meet next on a level playing field.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bodybuilders Flee Testers Prompting Event Cancellation

Bodybuilding did it again.

With the Belgian bodybuilding championships taking place in Netherlands this year due to several prior doping busts in Belgium, the bodybuilders thought they were safe. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

Doping official Hans Cooman and two other officials obtained the proper paperwork to test in the Netherlands. When they identified themselves all 20 bodybuilders left the event rather than submit to doping tests.

Last year there were 22 failures out of 29 tests, a 75% failure rate. Failures were for either steroids or refusing to take a test.

The strangest thing about this story is not that all competitors fled the scene once doping officials arrived, but that there were a few hundred fans that were going to watch the competition. Fans watch bodybuilding competitions...that's not at all weird.

It's one thing that a body builder's family and friends will attend, but people without a connection attending under their own free will, that's just not right. Watching oiled up men in banana hammocks and women in bikinis who could take out a DII football team is not appealing to me...and you want me to pay to see this freak show? No word on whether those in attendance got refunds.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Oxymoron Alert: Cyclists Protest Over Safety

File under: Are you freaking kidding me (AYFKM)?

After Pedro Horrillo suffered near fatal injuries from crashing into a ravine during stage 8 in the Giro d’Italia, the cyclists still competing were understandably on edge. When the cyclists saw the conditions for the 9th stage, they decided to not race at full speed and then most quit entirely when race leader, Danilo Di Luca, with Lance Amstrong by his side, addressed the crowd as to why they were not racing that stage due to safety concerns. All riders were given the same time for the stage per an agreement reached between race officials even though some riders went on to finish the 9th stage in a move that angered some of the protesting cyclists.

Di Luca said, "We’re sorry, but the course is too dangerous. We don’t want to risk our health. The circuit is not safe enough. We hope the fans understand.”

Apparently some of the fans didn't understand, prompting racer Michael Rogers to respond to the criticism on his Twitter page with the following post:
"Maybe on TV it didn’t look dangerous but believe me, IT WAS! No one wants to see a repeat of yesterday’s disaster with Horrillo. Funny that everyone is blaming the riders for our protest today. No one mentions the parked cars on the circuit, the oncoming traffic.”

I can't believe the gall of these cyclists. They have a They now "don't want to risk their health?" This is one big failed marketing stunt because after all the blood doping and testosterone injecting cyclists out there, are now concerned about their own health and safety is laughable. These guys are willing to take the spike to get on Tour and in the most elite races, but then are going to invoke moral standards on what is considered safe? Every year, there is some doping scandal that rocks the sport, so where is the unity in concern over risking their health then?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Roid Question Not Asked

In Kirk Radomski's book, Bases Loaded, Radomski breaks down the typical list of questions that potential customers would ask regarding roids and HGH such as:

  • How frequently should I be taking this stuff?
  • Is there anything I can do that would help more?
  • How much weight am I going to put on?
  • When I come off am I going to lose everything?

The question that no one asked Radomiski during his time supplying PED's to athletes was, "Is it safe?" None of these athletes cared about their health, they just wanted results and PED's to help them either get to the show or get that one last contract that would set them up for life...long term health be damned.

When you've spent your entire life playing ball, you only know one thing...that's playing ball. For some players, they did whatever it took to make the show or stay on the field. Whether it was right or wrong, is something only they can answer.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Joe Torre: Baseball Man Until the End

Joe Torre is in the middle of another steroid blowup. This time involving his star player in Los Angeles, Manny Ramirez, who was suspended for 50 games last week. Steroids and a Torre press conference aren't new, since he was by Jason Giambi's side during Giambi's New York PED "apology." As before, Torre knows nothing of roids in baseball. Odd, he seems to be the only one who thinks that way. The incredible and truly unbelievable coincidence is that Torre never suspected that anyone was using roids on any of his teams, even though 8 members of his 2000 World Series Yankee team were named in the Mitchell Report.

In numerous appearances promoting his book that he "co-wrote" with Tom Verducci, The Yankee Years, Torre claimed he didn't know that any of his Yankee players were roiding out of their minds. However, David Cone, in Torre's book said that most players knew that some players were using PED's, especially the ones working with trainer Brian McNamee. That's an odd discrepancy and one a reader would like addressed, but it never happened.

Further making Torre's naiveté on this issue the more puzzling is the fact that he was a former player. He earned the MVP award at the age of 30 and then saw his statistics take a sharp decline. How could some of the players he manged get better as they aged (Ramirez and Roger Clemens) while he did not? His career stats are below:

In his latest roid episode, in a Sports Illustrated article Torre said, "There's a human being (Ramirez) there I'm concerned about." Are you kidding me? Torre concerned about a human being? Where was the concern for his players who were roiding out of their minds back in the day? How about taking a stand and telling his players to stop using? Reminding his players that PED's are harmful to your bodies long term.

The reason Torre never asked questions or took a stand looking out for the "human beings" in his clubhouse is because he likes baseball. He likes managing. He wants to continue making millions of dollars (reportedly his deal with the Dodgers was $13 million for three years). If he were to question his players, make them stop using PED's, his team would lose games, potentially costing Joe Torre his job and millions of dollars.

A baseball man through and through...a roll model for the kids, that's a different question.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Clemens Comes Out Throwing Heat in Response to Book

Another Roger Clemens book hits the shelves today, American Icon: The Fall of Roger Clemens and the Rise of Steroids in America's Pastime, by The New York Daily News investigative team of Teri Thompson, Michael O'Keeffe, Nathaniel Vinton and Christian Red and Clemens was ready for it.

He made his first public comments since his interview on “60 Minutes” today on the “Mike and Mike” ESPN radio show. He decided to speak out since he “and Deb” were heading out of the country later this week and wanted to address these latest allegations rather than appear that he fled the country. During the interview, Clemens maintained his position that he never took PED’s, that friend Andy Pettite “misremembered” their conversation and he does not know why Brian McNamme would tell the truth about Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch, but lie about him.

Clemens is a pro’s pro, referring to each host by their nickname: Greenie and Golie (rather than Golic). When asked about DNA evidence, Clemens said he had provided a sample to investigators but the McNamee syringes would not link him to PED’s. Clemens said, "It's impossible because he's never given me any."

He maintained his innocence and said that he has been outspoken in his crusade against PED’s when he speaks to kids and other players. Clemens was working with new advisers on how to get his message out to the public. The flaw of this appearance came when he said it would be "suicidal" for him to use PED's because of the family history of heart conditions, specifically mentioning his brother and step father. How his step father's genetic makeup would impact him is tragically laughable. Yet, this appearance went over better than his appearance on Capitol Hill, but what Mike & Mike failed to ask him was how did his performance increase, specifically gain mph in his fastball as he aged? This does not happen and is not natural. Once testing was put in place, the days of the productive aging slugger and pitcher seem to be fading fast.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The NBA & PED's

One sport that is under the radar regarding PED's is pro basketball. Most of the NBA drug issues relate to marijuana and are shrugged off by most of the media. The most serious and recent drug offense occurred several years ago and involved a player who is currently playing in the postseason. The charismatic Chris "Birdman" Andersen of the Denver Nuggets served a two-year ban for violating the league's anti-drug policy, using a "drug of abuse." Marijuana does not fall under this category.

In Kirk Radomski's book about how he became the central figure in the Mitchell Report, Bases Loaded, he writes that he supplied PED's to a NBA player for several years. The player told Radomski that other players were using as well. Specifically, he provided anabolic steroids. He does not name the player.

I'm surprised Radomski supplied anabolic steroids rather than HGH. After learning about all the benefits of HGH, I'm shocked more NBA players aren't using it to recover from injuries. After all, that was the MLB player's association repeated line when all the names came regarding the Mitchell Report: "I only used HGH and it was only to help my teammates. I used it to recover from an injury and get back on the field quicker." It's a great line, sounds noble, but if it was a legit form of recovery, it wouldn't be banned by the World Anti-Doping Authority. It's still looking to get an edge that other competitors don't have.

Since there's no test, who is to say that everyone or most injured NBA players aren't using HGH? In baseball, it's safe to assume that players are still using and will continue to use HGH until there is a test or a stiffer penalties, but that will be the day.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Manny Ramírez Fallout

Yesterday it was announced that Manny Ramírez failed a drug test and was suspended 50 games by MLB. How this information trickled out was truly amazing.

It was first reported that he was suspended for violating the drug policy, but it wasn't a steroid. Ramírez issued a statement where he placed the blame on his doctor where he prescribed a medication that was banned per the drug policy. Several hours later, it was revealed to be a sexual enhancement medication. Only later, the drug was revealed to be a woman's fertility medication, human chorionic gonadotropin, or HCG. The details of the drug were provided anonymously to The Boston Globe, yet there seems to be no controversy regarding the Globe's use of anonymous sources in this case opposite the backlash Selena Roberts received in her latest book.

HCG is a drug that roid heads sometimes ingest to regulate their natural testosterone levels after coming off a roid cycle. This was not a positive development for Manny Ramírez. Making matters worse, Ramírez rather than owning the transgression and explaining himself went into hiding leaving manager Joe Torre to address the media. Torre is familiar with this type of press conference since he had a similar one in New York with Jason Giambi.

Per The Boston Globe, Ramírez failed a drug test twice before MLB took action. One would think that any failed test would result in an immediate 50 game suspension. Since he failed two tests, shouldn't that count as two failed tests and be suspended for 100 games? Was he contacted after the first failed test? There are many questions after reading this article.

The fallout isn't confined the West Coast. Boston, Ramírez's former team, has remained quiet on the latest developments. It's interesting to look at some statistics of Ramírez and Boston teammate David Ortiz to see how their performance has progressed over the years.

Below are Manny Ramírez's career statistics through last year. Interesting to note is the number of AB's per HR. Once he was traded to the Dodgers last year and playing for a contract, he averaged a HR every 11.0 AB's, his best pace ever, at the age of 36. The only other time he averaged a HR less than every 12 AB's was in 1999 and 2000 when he was 27 - 28 with the Clevland Indians. His power numbers surged in 1998; the same year that McGwire and Sosa were chasing the home run record. Could doping suspicions be one reason why not many teams were seriously considering offering Ramirez a contract?

Here are David Ortiz's career statistics. Looking at the same metric, number of AB's per HR, it is evident that his power only really emerged once he joined forces with Manny Ramirez in Boston in 2003. Prior to joining the Red Sox, he never hit more than 20 HR's and his best average number of AB's per HR was 16.8. After joining Manny and the Red Sox, Big Pappi became Big Pappi in 2006 when he hit 54 HR's and averaged a HR every 10.3 AB's that season. After the 2005 season, he signed an extension with the team. His production has started to diminish from that 2006 season.
Manny being Manny has left bodies in his wake as others are left to answer questions for how we find ourselves in this position. The vague answers will not satisfy anybody.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Continued Vindication for Jose Canseco

New York Times best selling author Jose Canseco's second effort, Vindicated, didn't have the same impact as his first, but id did offer some additional insight into the world of PED's in baseball.

Today's big story that Manny Ramirez tested positive for a banned substance and will serve a 50 game suspension starting today further leads credence to Canseco's claims. I'm waiting on additional information before commenting on the Manny situation. Other teams are already looking to take advantage of this development. Per Barry Zito's twitter page: "Manny's gone for 50 games. time for the Giants to capitalize."

In Vindicated, Canseco explains why players turned to PED's during a speech he gave at the University of Florida.
"Why then do athletes choose to expose themselves to the risks and
uncertainties? I wish the answer was simple. In most cases the
answer is surprisingly not for the fame and the money. While some may
take them hoping to get an advantage, the plain answer is that most do it
just to survive their sport."
That explanation is summed up later when Canseco describes the options that some players felt: roid up and have a job or you can be clean and toil around in the minors. What would you do in that position?

In describing his own personal use with PED's, Canseco writes, "I had been taught to strive for greatness, and I certainly did, but maybe wanting to be the best, at any cost, wasn't the smartest approach. That phrase is what kills you: at any cost. You have to ask yourself if the price is going to be too high."

Canseco eventually comes to some type of grips with his past decisions admitting that roiding up was a shortcut, but he states that he had to work just as hard to develop his body and still make contact with the ball. He also mentions that roids led to a "me focus" rather than team focus. Some players were more concerned about getting on Sportscenter then on advancing the runner or helping the team win the game.

I don't really buy the argument that Canseco took a shortcut, but wasn't "cheating" since others were doing it. Also, the notion that a player still needs to hit the ball is true, but if you're roided out of your mind, you have an unfair advantage over a clean player. Canseco should be applauded for coming forward and shedding light to baseball's dark secret and not be treated as the pariah he is often portrayed as.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Why All the Hate for Selena Roberts?

With yesterday’s release of Selena Roberts’ book on Alex Rodriguez, "A-Rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez", the reaction has been fierce and for the most part, one-sided: backlash towards Roberts from the media and others in baseball.

New York Yankee manager Joe Girardi questioned why the book was even written in the first place this past Sunday. Girardi said, “From the excerpts I have read, I have heard that there are other negative things about his lifestyle. I’m a firm believer that what we do off the field is our personal life.”

Monday morning in a promo for the book, Roberts appeared on the Today show and was interviewed by Matt Lauer. Rather than discuss the book’s findings, Lauer attacked Roberts for her reliance on anonymous sources. During the Mitchell investigation into PED’s in baseball only one active player cooperated with the investigation. Given this history and that there really is a “code” in the locker room, it’s not at all surprising that there are many anonymous sources in the book. When she uncovers information and goes to verify that information, people respect and understand the “code” and do not want to “rat” out a former teammate so they go off the record.
Let's be honest with the uproar over Selena Roberts book. It's because it's written by an outsider, a woman and someone who is not a favored reporter by the sport. Would Tom Verducci be getting roasted like Selena Roberts? No. Would Jayson Stark or Buster Olney get any heat - no because they wouldn’t write an investigative book like this and violate the "code." Those two ESPN “personalities” sat by and said all the performances we saw during the roid era were natural. Why? One reason is that they work for an outlet that televises the sport and can't cause any controversy that would possibly hurt their employer's ratings.

So now the sport and the hard liners are doing what they do best: unifying a front and supporting a liar and a cheater while questioning a reporter and her methods. Kill the messenger and ignore the message.

Eventually the tide will turn. Fans will wake up and realize that a fraud and a liar is the highest earner in the sport and will stop going to the games, buying jerseys and ultimately, the owners will have no choice but to lower wages, hurting all the players who remained silent during this era.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Long Shot Wins Derby - Too Good to Be True?

50 to 1 long shot, Mine That Bird pulled off a giant upset yesterday at Churchill Downs in the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby.

Costing $9,500 and coming from dead last to win the race by 6 and 3/4 lengths is an incredible story....possibly an unbelievable one. When pre race favorite, I Want Revenge, trained by now suspended Jeff Mullins, pulled out of the race earlier in the day, Friesan Fire then became the favorite. However, that horse would finish second to last. How could the so-called experts be so wrong?

Earlier in the week, The New York Times inquired with the 20 owners what medications, if any, their horses were using. Only three owners responded. One reason given for not sharing their veterinary records was to protect the horse's privacy. 15% of the owners responded - this after a year in which the curtain was removed from the general public's eyes with the secrets of horse racing: steroids, legal, yet morally questionable, injections and a Congressional hearing. After all that, one would expect more transparency. Apparently, the owners in this year's Derby did not get that memo.

Of course the owners of Mine That Bird did not disclose any information to the NYT. Is this story too good to be true or the fairy tale ending the sport needed to get over the death of Eight Belles?

Friday, May 1, 2009

A-Rod Visual Evidence: Man Boobs

According to The New York Daily News, the visual evidence that led Yankee teammates to suspect A-Rod was still using PED's were his large breasts, aka "man boobs". Males develop large breasts as a result of steroid use when the body increases production of female hormones to offset the increase in testosterone. This medical condition is called gynecomastia.

A-Rod was not the only Yankee great who suffered from the condition. Roger Clemens did also. The Daily News investigative team writing a book on Clemens, American Icon: The Fall of Roger Clemens and the Rise of Steroids in America's Pastime, write that Clemens must have been embarrassed by his condition based on his grooming patterns.

Roger Clemens had man boobs, and he must have been embarrassed because he was often the first Yankee out of the shower and the first to get dressed after the game.
The article points to A-Rod's visual evidence when he went to the park as the shirtless park tanner that the general public picked up on.  If this condition is prevalent in the locker room than perhaps George Costanza's father was on to something when he was designing the "bro" and the "manissiere".