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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

SI.com—Verducci: Alex Rodriguez, game take another hit with latest PED allegations

Indeed, Rodriguez’s career never has been in more doubt than it is today. His health and reputation are in tatters. He turns 38 in July. The incentives the Yankees included in his contract for “milestone” home runs now stand as even more awkward reminders that his achievements are fraudulent.

What will become of him? The Yankees would wish he never puts on their uniform again, writing him and his contract off to the insurance companies or, if they have the stomach for it, to try to invalidate the agreement because of his use of PEDs, the way they once threatened to do with Jason Giambi. [...]

In any case, the news is worse for Rodriguez than it is for anybody else in the report, if only because of his stature and that 2009 confessional production under the tent in the Yankees’ spring training complex. Until now, Rodriguez was careful to shield the Yankees from his taint, telling the story about how he stopped using PEDs before he became a Yankee—as if it made perfect sense that he used for a last-place Texas team but suddenly would have no more use for performance enhancers upon being put on the New York stage. The story seemed to fly for many people. But now, with this story, the franchise and its 2009 championship are smeared by Rodriguez’s connection to PEDs. [...]

No matter the damage control Rodriguez brings, it is a terribly sad story. It is sad because the scouts who watched him play in high school will tell you they never saw a better, more complete player at that age. He needed no help. And now he stands as someone defined by his help, not by his talent. What is there left of him that is believable?

Depressoteric Posted: January 29, 2013 at 04:21 PM | 64 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: new york, steroids, yankees

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   1. Cowboy Popup Posted: January 29, 2013 at 06:02 PM (#4357748)
So on the front page of SI.com's football is a story about Ray Lewis, but judging by the excerpt, it's wondering whether people who are tired of hearing about Ray Lewis' "inspirational story" have a point or not. Having skimmed it, the gist is that if you don't like it, tough.

I only mention this because Ray Lewis was also implicated in the exact same steroids investigation as A-Rod and very few sports writers/publications (with some notable exceptions) seem to have noticed the different treatment.
   2. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: January 29, 2013 at 07:14 PM (#4357820)
I don't think they'd pursue a contract invalidation. The Yankee/Rod incentive here is the same: if he comes back in 2014 and has a huge year, this stuff goes away. If he's a permanent, injury-prone shadow of his former self going forward, this kind of talk happens every year.
   3. sunnyday2 Posted: January 29, 2013 at 07:14 PM (#4357821)
someone defined by his help, not by his talent


By whom? Oh, yeah.
   4. John Northey Posted: January 29, 2013 at 08:38 PM (#4357843)
Football only will get hit if it affects the point spread. Gambling and PED's are the nightmare of baseball and the sweet dreams of football. Go figure.
   5. Walt Davis Posted: January 29, 2013 at 08:39 PM (#4357844)
as if it made perfect sense that he used for a last-place Texas team but suddenly would have no more use for performance enhancers upon being put on the New York stage.

OK but it would make "perfect sense" for him to stop using at the time given the beginning of testing and he was on a contract that still guaranteed him $200 M. Given he signed the new contract starting in 08 that guaranteed him an even more ridiculous sum of money, his only possible incentive to use from 2008 on was competitive pride.

No matter the damage control Rodriguez brings, it is a terribly sad story. It is sad because the scouts who watched him play in high school will tell you they never saw a better, more complete player at that age. He needed no help. And now he stands as someone defined by his help, not by his talent.

But does this compute? Assume (reasonably) that ARod used PEDs for extended periods of his career. The "enhanced" ARod is a great, great player (3 MVP, 111 WAR, etc.) but he's not going to break any records. If PEDs enhance performance substantially then how good would the "natural" ARod have been? Does he end up like some combo of Banks (1st half) and Ripken (2nd half) -- amazing peak, good but not great 30s, move to 3B anyway? Obviously it's still a sad story if we somehow lost a "natural" HoF career but, if PEDs matter and ARod used significantly, then the "natural" ARod is not likely to be competing for a slot on the All-Time team.

It's an interesting but common view: It's a shame ARod's numbers aren't "real" because the real ARod would have ... put up the same numbers? been substantially less amazing?

As always, it's a triple bind -- it's a shame the numbers aren't real, the main evidence of performance enhancement are the "unreal" numbers that challenge 30+ year old records, the "real" ARod wold have been as great a player as we have ever seen. At least one of those things has to be wrong.

The ARod we got was Hank Aaron with the ability to play SS which was what we saw from ARod at 20 and presumably what the scouts dreamed about when ARod was 17. Either ARod never had the talent to live up to that or PEDs didn't have a big impact on his performance.
   6. frannyzoo Posted: January 29, 2013 at 09:01 PM (#4357848)
PEDs remind me of the torture argument. Yes it's used. But no, just because it's used by others and my enemies doesn't make it any more ethically proper to use myself. We're better than that.
   7. Tripon Posted: January 29, 2013 at 09:04 PM (#4357850)
I don't care. Why does anyone care.
   8. puck Posted: January 29, 2013 at 09:48 PM (#4357860)
I only mention this because Ray Lewis was also implicated in the exact same steroids investigation as A-Rod and very few sports writers/publications (with some notable exceptions) seem to have noticed the different treatment.

Has Lewis been implicated in the Miami operation? I see something about deer antler spray, but that sounded like a different operation.
   9. Squash Posted: January 29, 2013 at 09:55 PM (#4357865)
I'm getting the impression that the Lewis and Miami clinic stories merely broke on the same day, which is why a lot of writers are conflating them as the same story. But I'm not sure. The whole thing is a little confusing at this point.
   10. alilisd Posted: January 29, 2013 at 10:28 PM (#4357884)
"Rodriguez was careful to shield the Yankees from his taint..." Well, thank goodness!
   11. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: January 29, 2013 at 10:52 PM (#4357900)
[10] Damn, beat me to it.
   12. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: January 29, 2013 at 11:14 PM (#4357921)
Ray Lewis was also implicated in the exact same steroids investigation

I'm stunned, STUNNED to hear that an NFL player might be taking steroids. Do you mean to tell me that incredibly fit dudes that are 6'1' do not naturally weight 265lbs or more...I am gobsmacked...
   13. Cowboy Popup Posted: January 29, 2013 at 11:20 PM (#4357924)
8,9, well shoot, you guys are right, it's two different stories, my bad. I hadn't been paying enough attention to all of this, which is a sure fire way to look stupid when posting about something.
   14. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 29, 2013 at 11:22 PM (#4357926)
I don't care. Why does anyone care.


Amen brother. There are penalties against it. There is education regarding it. Why do we need to belabor this? Yes, these people are the most horrible terrible worstest worsts that ever worsted. What would happen if baseball media had to write and discuss y'know, baseball?

Verducci as the high priest of this stuff because he wrote an article in 2002 is laughable to me. He shouldn't be proud of that story, he should be ashamed and embarrassed for missing the story for as long as he did.
   15. Squash Posted: January 29, 2013 at 11:27 PM (#4357930)
8,9, well shoot, you guys are right, it's two different stories, my bad. I hadn't been paying enough attention to all of this, which is a sure fire way to look stupid when posting about something.

It's not your fault, a lot of writers seem to be saying the same thing.
   16. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 29, 2013 at 11:32 PM (#4357933)
I don't understand why anyone still cares about this, on any level. The sport will never be rid of PEDs - indeed, in time there is a great chance that PEDs will be legal again and accepted; see the change in the laws against same-sex marriage or inter-racial marriage -- and nobody has any clue which players who have been anointed 'clean' are actually clean.

I actually feel sad for people whose thought process is so warped that they would still think negatively of a player for using PEDs, or, even worse, would think that they have the faintest notion which players presumed clean are actually clean.

We have had testing for a decade, and now get hit with this 'bombshell.'
   17. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 29, 2013 at 11:43 PM (#4357949)
I love the breathless panting about whether the Yankees will be able to void his contract over this.

Um, no.

There are collectively bargained penalties for dealing with this. Contract voiding isn't one of them.
   18. Depressoteric Posted: January 30, 2013 at 12:00 AM (#4357956)
I actually feel sad for people whose thought process is so warped that they would still think negatively of a player for using PEDs
This really is the nut of the matter for you, isn't it?
   19. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 30, 2013 at 12:16 AM (#4357965)
This really is the nut of the matter for you, isn't it?


Sure. Why not?
   20. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 30, 2013 at 12:18 AM (#4357967)
Should I pretend the wash of bad anti-steroids arguments I've seen over the years didn't happen, aren't still happening? What about the vitriol directed at players for doing something so many of their peers were doing? What about - I'll use the same level of silliness - the celebration of the conduct by a naturally huge player - Thomas - who had nothing to lose by trying to prevent people not born with his natural size from playing on a level field with him?

If I _did_ care about the character clause, I would not support him for the HOF, using arguments similar in silliness to the arguments we see against Sosa and McGwire and Clemens et al.

What about the fact that even now, after all this time, it can't be shown that steroids significantly impact baseball performance? What about people ignoring the inconvenient fact that the known users are all over the map, from good players to bad to old players to young to durable players to injury prone to pitchers to hitters to speed players to power players to players who saw a significant jump in performance to players who didn't see one. From players who burnt out early to players who played until they were 40.
   21. zenbitz Posted: January 30, 2013 at 12:30 AM (#4357974)
But... DRUGS ARE BAD, M'KAY
   22. Booey Posted: January 30, 2013 at 12:32 AM (#4357977)
I don't care. Why does anyone care.

Amen brother. There are penalties against it. There is education regarding it. Why do we need to belabor this? Yes, these people are the most horrible terrible worstest worsts that ever worsted. What would happen if baseball media had to write and discuss y'know, baseball?

I don't understand why anyone still cares about this, on any level. The sport will never be rid of PEDs


Amen to all. Seriously, these "revelations" are like finding out that (insert rock star of your choice) is using drugs. Yawn.
   23. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: January 30, 2013 at 12:51 AM (#4357984)
Should I pretend the wash of bad anti-steroids arguments I've seen over the years didn't happen, aren't still happening? What about the vitriol directed at players for doing something so many of their peers were doing? What about - I'll use the same level of silliness - the celebration of the conduct by a naturally huge player - Thomas - who had nothing to lose by trying to prevent people not born with his natural size from playing on a level field with him?

If I _did_ care about the character clause, I would not support him for the HOF, using arguments similar in silliness to the arguments we see against Sosa and McGwire and Clemens et al.

What about the fact that even now, after all this time, it can't be shown that steroids significantly impact baseball performance? What about people ignoring the inconvenient fact that the known users are all over the map, from good players to bad to old players to young to durable players to injury prone to pitchers to hitters to speed players to power players to players who saw a significant jump in performance to players who didn't see one. From players who burnt out early to players who played until they were 40.


I agree that the vitriol directed against the players who used PEDs may be better directed against the owners whose tacit acceptance of their use encouraged many players to use them. I can see the argument that players used PEDs because their peers were using them and being naturally competitive people they either wanted an advantage or didn't want to be at a disadvantage.

I don't agree with your second point though, about PEDs not affecting performance. The players clearly believe that they affect performance and there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that players came back from injuries more quickly, gained bat speed or added velocity to pitches. Obviously there is no controlled scientific experiment that proves any of this since such an experiment would be illegal. The fact that different people appeared to have different affects from using PEDs doesn't mean that they didn't help anyone, or even most users, depending on how effectively they were used.

Regarding Rodriguez, I do think it a pity that we didn't get to see a clean all-time great player for the duration of his career. I don't expect that the sport will ever be rid of PEDs either, and I hope that one day safe PEDs will be discovered that are just as effective as the Faustian variety available now. That doesn't mean that it's not bad news when a great player, who has been injured for much of the past few years, possibly in part due to unsafe PED use and possibly not, is found to be risking his health for competitive gain. Sports aren't about risking your health to win, they're about competing in ways that promote positive stuff.
   24. Yastrzemski in left. Posted: January 30, 2013 at 12:54 AM (#4357986)
Jeter can play SS and 3B next year batting 1st and 5th in the order.

   25. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 30, 2013 at 01:03 AM (#4357988)
Esoteric, here's my litmus test for being taken seriously on this issue:

"Would you be at all surprised if Jeter was found to have used PEDs?"

I solicit answers from anyone who desires to answer.
   26. Walt Davis Posted: January 30, 2013 at 01:26 AM (#4357997)
indeed, in time there is a great chance that PEDs will be legal again and accepted;

See a bit I cut-and-pasted in the other thread from the New Times article. An AP report said that HGH sales (by the big pharms) last year in the US was $1.4 billion while estimates are that only 45,000 people might have a disease for which it's a recommended treatment. The Feds rarely prosecute these anti-aging clinics. There are tons of regular people using testosterone and HGH so they can look or feel better (or believe they will). I don't know if it will ever be legal but it seems to pretty clearly already be as or more acceptable (to government and general society) as marijuana.

Of course that's not to say it is considered acceptable (to general socity) for use by athletes.

The players clearly believe that they affect performance

They also believe HGH improves performance although studies say otherwise. Some of them also believe that metal bracelets or magnets or St John's Wort or eating chicken have benefits. Players, like the general public, are often suckers who will fall for any placebo that sounds good. If Pujols tragically lost his pinky but hit 50 HR this year, you just might see guys giving that a try.

That said, studies (such as they are) do suggest that steroids increase performance. What's not remotely known is what sort of effect that would have for elite athletes in general and baseball in particular. I'm comfortable with a reasonable assumption that roids (with workouts) help build more muscle (or more easily/quickly) and that, generally, more muscle probably helps you hit the ball farther or throw it harder. But whether we are talking flyballs that go 5 feet farther or 50 feet farther is completely unknown. That said, I can't imagine a steroid benefit large enough to turn the Barry Bonds we saw into a player whose "natural" performance would not have been worthy of the HoF.

   27. smileyy Posted: January 30, 2013 at 02:25 AM (#4358013)
Placebos work, if you believe in them.
   28. Squash Posted: January 30, 2013 at 02:34 AM (#4358018)
#23 is pretty much exactly where I'm at.
   29. Squash Posted: January 30, 2013 at 02:44 AM (#4358020)
Placebos work, if you believe in them.

People throw this out as if it's a universal truth, but it's not always so. In fact several studies have "shown" (to whatever degree we believe any particular study) that there is no such thing as an actual placebo effect and that previous large-scale results were due to bias, while other studies have shown that a placebo effect works for some forms of treatment but not others. Given that steroids literally create more of a substance in your body which directly leads to the building of muscle and bone mass (i.e. testosterone) we can throw it out there whether steroid use seems like the kind of treatment that would operate via a placebo effect. Personally I think not.
   30. Walt Davis Posted: January 30, 2013 at 02:53 AM (#4358022)
Placebo ... depends. If you think steroids allow you to work out more often, presumably you'll work out more often whether they're actually doing anything or not. Unless you were already working out as much as your body can stand, you should see "benefits" even if you're taking sugar pills.
   31. Squash Posted: January 30, 2013 at 03:34 AM (#4358027)
If you think steroids allow you to work out more often, presumably you'll work out more often whether they're actually doing anything or not. Unless you were already working out as much as your body can stand, you should see "benefits" even if you're taking sugar pills.

I doubt very much that's true. Even if you did hit some exact optimal level of working out, if you add extra testosterone to the mix your body is going to create more muscle and bone mass. That's just the way it works - increased testosterone directly leads to greater muscle protein synthesis, leading to larger and quicker-healing muscles. Personally I think the placebo argument only hurts the "not anti-roids" position, at least in terms of leading to acceptance by the wider audience of the not anti-roids position. And I say this as someone who thinks the pre-testing roid users should go into the Hall of Fame, and probably the post-testing one as well other than extreme examples which I have not yet personally encountered. To me it's akin to campaigning against climate change science due to politics - it's not really a question. This is the way it physically works. You can debate to what degree the effect is (as you did in your previous comment - we don't know whether the ball goes 5 feet further or 50) or whether we actually want to consider it a problem in the first place, but the effect is there (i.e. increased testosterone leads to increased muscle mass). Throwing out wishy washy science (i.e. the completely unmeasured, unverifiable steroid placebo effect) vs. the mountains of data we have that steroid use increases muscle mass by direct and clear physiological ways doesn't help the cause, it hurts it, because it seems like wishful wishcasting in the face of all the obvious evidence. There's an issue of scale. It seems like a better way to go would be to show studies that increased testosterone doesn't lead to more muscle mass in people who are working out (as there is probably literally no one in this world who is at their exact optimal level of working out anyway). Or that increased strength doesn't lead to throwing a ball any faster or hitting a ball any further. I don't know if there are any studies like that are out there. If there are, for obvious reasons those would be a better argument to make.
   32. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: January 30, 2013 at 03:48 AM (#4358029)
They also believe HGH improves performance although studies say otherwise. Some of them also believe that metal bracelets or magnets or St John's Wort or eating chicken have benefits.

I find your lack of faith... in chicken disturbing.
   33. Dr. Vaux Posted: January 30, 2013 at 04:01 AM (#4358034)
"Would you be at all surprised if Jeter was found to have used PEDs?"

I solicit answers from anyone who desires to answer.


It depends what the question really is. You've said "found to have used," so, yes, I would be very surprised if Jeter was announced as having tested positive. No player especially loved by the media has been announced, and I doubt one will be. Obviously I wouldn't be the slightest bit surprised to find out that he had used, if I were granted omniscient knowledge of all baseball players' activities.
   34. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 30, 2013 at 09:13 AM (#4358060)
When I was walking to the subway this morning--I live on the Upper East Side of Manhattan--I saw somebody had put 3 framed Alex Rodriguez posters outside with the trash. It was kind of sad and reminded me of when I was a kid and the news about my idol Pete Rose broke. Kind of fits with the gloomy weather today in New York, I guess.
   35. ThisElevatorIsDrivingMeUpTheWall Posted: January 30, 2013 at 09:18 AM (#4358064)
But judging players' real talent level is complicated by the overall change in approach. Sacrificing contact for power leads to more strikeouts as well as more home runs. Improved bat speed is somewhat offset by improved velocity and recovery time for pitchers. Are we just going to forget all the factors that were used contemporaneously in the late 90s to explain the increases in homers. Smaller strike zone, smaller ball parks, lighter bats with thin handles, better training, body armor, etc.?
   36. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: January 30, 2013 at 09:21 AM (#4358065)
No player especially loved by the media has been announced, and I doubt one will be. Obviously I wouldn't be the slightest bit surprised to find out that he had used, if I were granted omniscient knowledge of all baseball players' activities.


I doubt Jeter, or anyone else, is universally loved. All it takes is one guy to out him, and he will be outed if evidence surfaces.
   37. depletion Posted: January 30, 2013 at 09:33 AM (#4358068)
I saw somebody had put 3 framed Alex Rodriguez posters outside with the trash

Are they still there?

The day after John Lennon was killed my brother saw a guitar sticking out of a trash barrel.
   38. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 30, 2013 at 09:34 AM (#4358070)
Are they still there?

I don't know, I didn't set up a web cam!
   39. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: January 30, 2013 at 09:55 AM (#4358078)
No player especially loved by the media has been announced, and I doubt one will be.

Ryan Braun?
   40. JJ1986 Posted: January 30, 2013 at 10:16 AM (#4358090)
No player especially loved by the media has been announced, and I doubt one will be.


David Ortiz too.
   41. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: January 30, 2013 at 10:34 AM (#4358097)
I saw somebody had put 3 framed Alex Rodriguez posters outside with the trash.


Were any centaurs harmed in the making of those posters?
   42. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 30, 2013 at 10:46 AM (#4358103)
No player especially loved by the media has been announced, and I doubt one will be.
You underestimate the pull of the "say it ain't so, Joe" story. See Garvey, Steve and Rose, Pete for previous iterations. The fallen angel is the best narrative there is.

The thing that's been interesting to me is that "hey, that guy's probably on steroids" has been reasonably predictive - with Melky and Colon and A-Rod getting busted this time around, for instance. However, that only accounts for a third to a half of the revelations, and the rest seem entirely random. so I wouldn't be surprised by any new exposures or positive tests, but that doesn't the outcomes are entirely unpredictable.

I also don't see the case for denying that the major PEDs** help you play baseball better. There's good evidence of the utility of steroids for athletic enhancement, particularly with regard to strength. There's good evidence of the utility of amphetamines for athletic enhancement, particularly with regard to reaction times. One can come up with evidence-free theories of how these athletic enhancements wouldn't help someone play baseball better, but it seems this close to obvious that being stronger and reacting faster will make you better at baseball. It won't transform a regular dude into a professional ballplayer or a bench-warmer into a HoFer, but it will enhance their performance.

**So I'm excluding HGH here, which might really just be placebo. Unlike roids and amphetamines, there's no clinical evidence of athletic performance enhancement.
   43. Ron J2 Posted: January 30, 2013 at 11:16 AM (#4358119)
#29 But there is at least one study out there that shows that athletes get the same perfermance gain on a placebo as they do on PEDs -- providing they sincerely believe they're taking a PED.

I read about the study a few years back in the Economist, and the author speculates about the salesman who sells "undetectable steroids" -- and they would in fact be undetectable because there's nothing to detect.

Now the study in question is pretty rudimentary, but to my knowledge nobody's shown the conclusions to be wrong.

   44. rb's team is hopeful for the new year! Posted: January 30, 2013 at 11:37 AM (#4358137)
I, for one, appreciate these athletes taking hgh and other new drugs. Hopefully by the time i get old enough where taking such drugs would be a good idea, there will have been enough athlete-human trials so i know which ones to take and which to stay away from.
   45. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: January 30, 2013 at 12:00 PM (#4358166)
It was inevitable that the arguments in favor of PEDs should shift from "PEDs are bad, but we can't know who is taking them or not" to "PED use is okay, after all everyone else was taking them" to "PED use is not only not bad, but is a positive good, the more player that take them the better". (The 'we don't know that PEDs were beneficial at all!' is a second, goalpost-shifting line of argumentation, which is often made by the same people, even though it contradicts the first line of argument).

The idea that a practice could be bad, widespread, and also hard to stop seems to create a sort of cognitive dissonance in some people. They want to like baseball, PED use is a part of baseball, thus PED use must be a positive good. It's akin to folks who deny the concussion problem in football.
   46. GuyM Posted: January 30, 2013 at 12:03 PM (#4358167)
...it is a terribly sad story. It is sad because the scouts who watched him play in high school will tell you they never saw a better, more complete player at that age. He needed no help. And now he stands as someone defined by his help, not by his talent.

Why would we assume at this point that ARod wasn't using in high school? Seems quite plausible, if not likely, that he was. I don't think we have any way of even guessing how good a PED-free ARod was or would have been.
   47. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 30, 2013 at 12:11 PM (#4358184)
No player especially loved by the media has been announced, and I doubt one will be


McGwire, for starters.

And while Sosa hasn't been announced, he has been smeared anyway, and this was a player who the media loved.
   48. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 30, 2013 at 12:17 PM (#4358189)
I agree that the vitriol directed against the players who used PEDs may be better directed against the owners whose tacit acceptance of their use encouraged many players to use them.

Rewriting contracts to remove "steroids" from the generic banned substance clause, and hosting team clinics to instruct their players on how to use steroids more safely goes beyond "tacit."
   49. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 30, 2013 at 12:39 PM (#4358212)
Lupica spews his vitriol. Has he found time to condemn his friend Bill Conlin yet?

All this time later there is this idea that the government should somehow just look the other way on drug cheats in sports because they couldn’t pin the perjury rap on Clemens that Clemens deserved. But the feds cannot allow Rodriguez to make this just his word against Bosch’s, make this a wretched war fought in A-Rod’s behalf by handlers and crisis managers and spin doctors.

If baseball is going to continue to clean up its sport, something it has done mightily over the last decade, the government has to continue to go after Bosch and his clinic and his “patients.” The government has subpoena power. Major League Baseball certainly does not.

...

You may be one of those who didn’t care what Armstrong was taking, doesn’t care if Bonds or Clemens were juiced to the gills. You may be one of those, like Armstrong’s enablers, who fall back now on the defense that Everybody Was Doing It. But if you believe these guys are cheats, if you are one who believes that what the juicers have done is a form of athletic fraud, then you should want the government to get to the bottom of this with Rodriguez and everybody else.

...

Maybe in the end the truth about Rodriguez is that he was juicing from the time he was a kid. It would mean that the real lie isn’t the stories coming out about him now. The real lie would be Alex Rodriguez himself.


http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/lupica-time-bring-closer-feds-article-1.1250937?pgno=1#ixzz2JTfmeP12

   50. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: January 30, 2013 at 02:04 PM (#4358295)
Why would we assume at this point that ARod wasn't using in high school? Seems quite plausible, if not likely, that he was.
How easy was it for a high schooler to get steroids in the early 1990s? Both in terms of cost and access. And I don't know anything about A-Rod's financial situation as a kid - was his family rich? Poor? Medium?

To be clear, I'm not attempting to imply an answer to the "why would we assume" question, neither one way nor the other. I'm just curious.
   51. Howie Menckel Posted: January 30, 2013 at 02:41 PM (#4358340)
A-Rod and Boras partnered up well before A-Rod was out of high school, iirc.

http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/people/shows/rodriguez/profile.html

"Alex's mother worked two to three jobs to support the family. She was a secretary in an immigration office during the day and then waited tables at a local restaurant well into the night.....

At 15, Rodriguez wanted to play for the baseball team at a private school known for turning out great baseball players, but the teen's mother was hard-pressed to come up with the $5,000 tuition.

With the help of a scholarship, his mother scraped together the money..... His baseball skills improved dramatically. He even caught the eye of agent Scott Boras, who saw him play at a tournament in Mexico."

seems to be freshman year, from the context


.......

meanwhile, fwiw:
http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2013/01/the_a-rod_files_every_mention.php

"How did we authenticate the records? New Times called dozens of numbers from client lists and Bosch's personal notebooks. Virtually everyone we spoke with acknowledged their involvement with the clinic or politely declined to comment. There wasn't a single denial. We also spoke to six clients who confirmed that their information -- as recorded in the records -- was accurate. Two former Biogenesis employees described intimate details of the clinic and its business."
   52. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: January 30, 2013 at 04:54 PM (#4358476)

I don't understand why anyone still cares about this, on any level. The sport will never be rid of PEDs - indeed, in time there is a great chance that PEDs will be legal again and accepted; see the change in the laws against same-sex marriage or inter-racial marriage -- and nobody has any clue which players who have been anointed 'clean' are actually clean.

I actually feel sad for people whose thought process is so warped that they would still think negatively of a player for using PEDs, or, even worse, would think that they have the faintest notion which players presumed clean are actually clean.

We have had testing for a decade, and now get hit with this 'bombshell.'


You're going to compare Barry Bonds' right to take norbolethone to Loving?

A quick lesson in legalization campaign efforts: don't be histrionic. If you want to use a sympathetic comparison, try the prohibition of alcohol or marijuana. Neither is heroin or meth or anywhere near it, and people can understand that. People can understand that testosterone creams and hGH are different animals than liver rotting, stacked up, unregulated steroid usage once you explain it to them.

We've had testing for a decade, and now players are using creams and hgh and not stacking deca-durabolin with winstrol and turning their livers into rubbish. By most popular estimates, doping is *way* down. If you want to argue that science marches on and that we've started to learn to harness synthetic hormones in a relatively harmless fashion that could be hugely beneficial to athletes provided it's regulated under strict doctor's care (like, say, the way alcohol is legal and regulated)... I think there's a really interest, helpful conversation that could happen there.

But for crissakes, don't compare a fundamental right like marriage to any of doping so you can get ahead in your athletic career. People will become dismissive because it's a prima facie inapposite comparison to all but the most extreme proponent of individualism.
   53. smileyy Posted: January 30, 2013 at 05:15 PM (#4358504)
In defense of histrionics (I'm using that word a lot today), the initial reaction to those comparisons are bad (and thus are probably a poor comparison to make), but both same-sex marriage and interracial marriage had this history of "They're 'wrong' and illegal, but no one can make a rational argument why."

Of course, one issue deals with choices made to work in one's chosen profession, which is pretty important, but the other deals with fundamentals of human rights and characteristics of human existence, so there's a lot of difference there.
   54. zenbitz Posted: January 30, 2013 at 05:32 PM (#4358517)
Sports aren't about risking your health to win


Isn't is EXACTLY that? It's certainly risking pain to win. You don't think the act of throwing a baseball as fast as you possibly can, for 100 times a game isn't risking your health? You don't think standing in the box against a 90 mph fastball is risking your health? You don't think scaling a wall or diving for a sinking liner or sliding into second or turning a double play isn't risking your health?

   55. smileyy Posted: January 30, 2013 at 05:46 PM (#4358530)
I may be showing my age, but everyone saluted Kerri Strug for winning a gold medal while risking the long term health of her ankle.
   56. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 30, 2013 at 05:50 PM (#4358534)
Boo hoo on the notion of needing to risk your health to succeed in a job. Many jobs are like that. Every job has advantages and disadvantages. If athletes don't like it, they can either try to succeed naturally or find a new job.

(Presuming that PEDs are actually performance-enhancing, which is conventional wisdom I don't accept.)
   57. smileyy Posted: January 30, 2013 at 05:55 PM (#4358537)
[56] Also assuming that PED usage is risky to one's health.
   58. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 30, 2013 at 05:57 PM (#4358541)
Right, that too, especially when taken safely - which admittedly is made more difficult by the laws against these drugs and the demonization of athletes who use them. Who are athletes getting the drugs from? Not from some reputable doctor but from gym rats and trainers with mill degrees and sketchy doctors/companies who are trying to stay out of the cross hairs of law enforcement.
   59. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 30, 2013 at 06:27 PM (#4358565)
One would think that people concerned about the safety of athletes would consider this.
   60. Walt Davis Posted: January 30, 2013 at 11:33 PM (#4358735)
If baseball is going to continue to clean up its sport, something it has done mightily over the last decade, the government has to continue to go after Bosch and his clinic and his “patients.”

That is one strange piece of if-then logic. If Walt Davis is ever going to learn how to handle his own finances, the government has to continue to go after Wall Street crooks.

Also, according to the very same New Times article, it's not at all clear that Bosch has violated any laws. Doctors are allowed to prescribe medicine for off-label use. If the doctor is egregious enough in abusing that privilege, law enforcement might take notice. But they have generally been looking the other way on these anti-aging clinics. I have no desire to protect doctors who are feeding drug habits by carelessly handing out roids, painkillers, stimulants, etc. but if the government is going to ignore it when it comes to middle-aged folks who want a boost, I don't want them stepping in to protect the precious sanctity of baseball.

Now, if for some silly reason, this is the controversy that pushes the government to seriously regulate crap like this (and the supplements industry and "alternative medicine" and such) then, sure, society might be better off.

Meanwhile, did they ever catch the Tylenol tamperer who's responsible for everything having 39 seals on it?
   61. NTNgod Posted: January 31, 2013 at 01:02 AM (#4358771)
Meanwhile, did they ever catch the Tylenol tamperer who's responsible for everything having 39 seals on it?

Nope.

If you believe certain wackier sectors of the internet, Unabomber Teddy K. was responsible for THAT too, along with being the Zodiac killer, murdering Valerie Percy (another famous Chicago crime of yesteryear, of course), and 8 zillion other things that would even make a Hollywood screenwriter go "Nah, too over-the-top".

On the subject of Chicago area crimes, I want to find out who the Max Headroom video pirates were. Wonder if the statute of limitations has run out on that - love to hear the backstory on that one day.
   62. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 31, 2013 at 02:13 AM (#4358780)
#52, what I am thinking is more along the lines of: society will evolve, and in time the general public using things like HGH (er, if it ever starts to work) or anti-aging creams or any substance that is shown to improve health and increase lifespan will occur, and at that point it starts to be difficult to keep these kinds of things banned within the sports.

Also, the general hysteria will have long worn off by that point. We may be seeing more people care less as it is, as stories like these continue to break and people gravitate towards a general disinterest in the topic.
   63. Famous Original Joe C Posted: January 31, 2013 at 09:58 AM (#4358861)
I may be showing my age, but everyone saluted Kerri Strug for winning a gold medal while risking the long term health of her ankle.


Oh come on, it wasn't THAT long ago.
   64. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: January 31, 2013 at 10:28 AM (#4358888)
But now, with this story, the franchise and its 2009 championship are smeared by Rodriguez’s connection to PEDs.

Didn't eight players on the Yankees' 2000 postseason roster show up in the Mitchell Report? Does anyone really believe that team's championship has been smeared?

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