Tag Archive | "Steroids"

The Purity Of The Pastime

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The Purity Of The Pastime

Posted on 01 March 2013 by Nick Schaeflein

The game of baseball is something that is near and dear to me. It has been passed down from family members and played since a young age. The game, along with the eventual bride to be, is two things that I am absolutely crazy about with the hopes of making baseball a career some day. Growing up, if the uniform was not dirty, everything was not left out on the field. Playing the game hard and the right way were core values given to me by some great coaches. The beauty of baseball can also be turned into life lessons as well.

RetroBaseball

Steroids are a delicate subject currently in baseball. It is a line in the dirt that has affected the game for the wrong reasons. However, it has not ruined the game entirely. Despite all of the reports, congressional hearings, PED’s, HGH, and any other abbreviations there is still much to be celebrated.

This past offseason, the latest report naming players that allegedly took substances was released with more high profile names included such as Ryan Braun again and Gio Gonzalez. The latest report appears to have a common factor of ties to the Miami area and university. The university has already had its fair share of troubles and this is seemingly being added to the list of dark clouds.

Since the mid 90’s, the game as been viewed as the “steroid era” and the image and commissioner have both taken a hit for that facing the questions of just how clean is the game? While the commissioner has implemented great things that have improved the game such as the Wild Card and instant replay, many believe the stance on drug use was turned the other way.

Some may even forget that these talks and questions really began to take shape in 2005 and 2006 when Jose Canseco released the book Juiced. The information published in that book caused a serious stir around the game. Denials of any and all claims mentioned became the thing to do and Canseco became an outcast. Fast forward nearly a decade and now many of the things written have been discovered as truths rather than fiction.

In baseball, much like the other sports has some bad that comes with the good. For someone that loves the true meaning of sports that is hard to accept. The beauty of sports should be that for those two or three hours that the game is being played nothing else should matter. The game should be the story, the heart, and hustle. There should be no back drop of steroids, or criminal allegations to clutter things. It is sad when the games fans love are taken advantage of, because who would not give anything to trade places with a professional athlete? We should take notice of the clubs and players doing things the right way as opposed to the select few that do not.

Inner circles use the terms like dirt bags or grinders. Guys that seemingly give every ounce they have for their team and leave it all on the field. Guys like Dustin Pedroia, Chipper Jones, and Derek Jeter often have uniforms where dirt is the primary color and earn that respect from their peers. Steroids are never brought up about guys like this. Rather, the effort and hustle are praised. They are just a few players that do not take the game for granted.

This year, for the first time in a long time no players were elected into the Hall of Fame. The question is what does that mean for future players? Will a few bad apples ruin it for the rest? I do not believe so. During the era, some players still did it the right way and will be honored. Upcoming Hall of Fame eligible players include Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, and Ken Griffey Jr. who should all be first ballot inductees.

No question, my favorite player is The Kid. Along with the on field talent, he brought that energy, that purity, and that smile to the game. He was a human highlight show and role model with the purest swing in the game. For the saber metrics, Griffey’s 1997 MVP season reads as a .304 batting average, 56 home runs, 147 RBI’s, and the most important number, 0. Zero being the number of steroid reports, PED’s, and accusations leaked.

The use of steroids should never be condoned, however the era should never be completely ignored or have an asterisk next to it either. It should be treated and accepted as apart of the game and just another chapter as good still emerged during the same period as well. The same time frame brought us stories such as the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks and Cal Ripken becoming the new iron man. History does not discount the dead ball era and in today’s game this should be no different. No asterisks are found on pitchers stats such as the great Bob Gibson prior to 1969 when the pitching mound was different and clean players today should not be discredited with accomplishments either.

The purpose of the Baseball Hall of Fame committee is to vote and elect the best players from the sport and enshrine them in Cooperstown. They are to be impartial and select only the few worthy players. As the game hopefully moves away from the PED’s and gets cleaned up, those players will still rise above the rest and become enshrined.

As Opening Day approaches, here is to the steroid cloud hopefully fading away. The game still has and will always have many things to cherish about it. The core is still pure. To borrow a line from a movie, “The game does not stink, it is a great game.”

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A Roger Clemens Perjury Trial Update – Run, David! Run!

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A Roger Clemens Perjury Trial Update – Run, David! Run!

Posted on 24 May 2012 by Trish Vignola

Is it me or has the Roger Clemens perjury trial dragged on like the slowest episode of “Law & Order” ever? I’m talking pre-Jerry Orbach slow, man. Nonetheless, things might have just gotten interesting. Prosecutors want to drag former major leaguer David Segui in to corroborate Brian McNamee’s testimony. Former Oriole Segui is so reluctant to testify that Judge Walton threatened, “If he doesn’t show up, he’ll be arrested like anyone else.”

Finally, this just got more interesting than the American Idol finale I am struggling through right now.

Segui would be expected to say that around 2001 Clemens’ strength coach, Brian McNamee, had saved evidence from injections of players to placate a nagging wife. That would actually be consistent with McNamee’s testimony last week. McNamee said he kept waste from Clemens alleged steroids injection in 2001 to soothe things with his wife, who was concerned that he would be the fall guy if the drug ring was exposed.

Defense Attorney Hardin seems to now be on the receiving end of some retribution for three days of aggressive McNamee cross-examination. On Monday, Judge Walton ruled that Hardin had opened the door for McNamee to name players to whom he had supplied HGH. If you remember, this is something the defense had fought vigorously to keep from the jury.

The government and the judge now seem to finally agree that Hardin went too far in trying to build a case that McNamee was fabricating evidence as a way to appease federal agents. Judge Walton said the jury was now left with the impression that “because the government had made these allegations, that he started to give them what they wanted to stay out of harm’s way and avoid going to prison.”

This judge might be tougher than I originally predicted.

Hardin told the judge that McNamee created it as a way to possibly extort money from Clemens one day. Walton shot back that there was no evidence to support Hardin’s contention. The judge retorted “If what you’re saying is true, then why did you beat on him so much about his desire to appease the government?”

Wow! He’s good.

The judge went further. “There’s no indication that Mr. Clemens did something to him back then that would cause (McNamee) to have a vendetta against Mr. Clemens.”

Ok. If this were a “Law & Order” episode, a vendetta would have totally been written into the plot line.

Segui, who retired in 2004, doesn’t want to report even though he is under subpoena. What? He played for 7 teams in 15 years. What could be more embarrassing than that? Judge Walton continued, “You just tell him if he’s under subpoena, he’d better be here.” Or else, added the judge, “he’d better be on the run because the marshals will be after him.” Segui had 17 stolen bases in his career. I’m sure the marshals will catch him.

Judge Walton said he would make a definitive ruling on Segui by Thursday. Most are predicting his decision, at this point in time, is too close to call.

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A Very Special Episode of Arli$$ – Testimony begins on Monday in the Roger Clemens Trial

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A Very Special Episode of Arli$$ – Testimony begins on Monday in the Roger Clemens Trial

Posted on 29 April 2012 by Trish Vignola

The Roger Clemens case becomes more confusing and contradictory by the hour. Let me explain. In the federal government’s failed effort to convict Barry Bonds of perjury, prosecutors told the judge they would present players who purchased steroids and garnered advice from Bonds’ trainer, Greg Anderson. The game plan was to prove Anderson was dealing steroids to many of the sport’s luminaries and therefore must have been dealing to Bonds. The judge ok’d it, which brought on a cavalcade of faded all-stars, such as the Giambi brothers, establishing connections to Anderson. The result? Bonds was convicted on one measly count. Wasn’t this case supposed to be a slam dunk? This time around, federal prosecutors made the same offer in their effort to convict Clemens of obstruction of Congress and perjury. Maybe they thought the second time would be the charm? They told Judge Reggie Walton former players Chuck Knoblauch, Mike Stanton and Anthony Corso would testify that they purchased drugs and garnered advice from Brian McNamee. This time around, the judge said no. What?

According to ESPN senior legal analyst, Lester Munson, in these “circumstances”, the rule of law gives each trial judge broad discretion to make rulings that the judge views as proper. In other words, it allows the judge to call it like he or she sees it. I didn’t even know that was possible. What makes this a special “circumstance”? Munson agrees that the rulings are clearly contradictory, but then goes on to say that there is little that the losing sides could do about it. If appealed, the higher court is beholden to the discretion of the original trial judge. Justice may be blind but it apparently is also arbitrary.

With the first witness expected to be called on Monday, this trial is beginning to look less like the circus I thought it was going to be and more like a flat out farce. The federal government is building their entire case on key witness, Brian McNamee. With his history of substance abuse, DUI conviction, passing out in the Yankees team hotel, or the piece de resistance – a sexual-assault investigation in Florida that includes allegations of administering a date-rape drug to a woman, lying to the grand jury and attempting to destroy evidence, Brian McNamee makes Lou Pearlman look like a standup guy. There is a judge who seems to not want anyone with an ounce of credibility to take the stand, and Clemens’ innocence is being argued with a “so what” defense (elegantly coined by Munson). I’m sorry, when did lying to congress not constitute a crime? I really don’t care how many people you think do it on a daily basis. A crime is a crime.

Every day of the trial, I see a new picture of Clemens smugly entering the court. Why shouldn’t he look smug? He’s completely going to get off. I don’t even think he’ll get the measly conviction Bonds got. Think back. As unlikeable as Clemens is, he was in theory more likeable than Bonds. Celebrity is blinding, guys. It gets more blinding everyday.

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