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Thursday, May 23, 2013
Time for another clean upPosted Tuesday, February 10, 2009, at 9:32 AM
There are more Major League Baseball players listed that are linked to steroids than one really wants to discuss.
But here's a breakdown of some of the bigger names.
First, we'll go to admitted users: Ken Caminiti, Jason Giambi, Benito Santiago, Gary Sheffield, Jose Canseco, Wally Joyner, John Rocker, Paul Byrd, etc.
Here some of the bigger names that were acknowledged in the Mitchell Report: Chuck Knoblauch, David Justice, Mo Vaughn, Eric Gagne, etc. A total of 47 players were listed in the report.
What about players that have delivered positive drug tests? The big one, of course, is Rafael Palmerio. A total of 21 players have submitted positive tests.
In addition, 31 players have been implicated in the steroid era, including some huge names like: Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Juan Gonzalez, Ivan Rodriguez, Miguel Tejada, Lenny Dykstra, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Troy Glaus, Matt Williams, Magglio Ordonez and now, Alex Rodriguez.
Actually, Rodriguez -- after terse public pressure -- admitted to ESPN's Peter Gammons Monday that he did take a banned substance.
I have loved the game of baseball all my life.
In fact, I practically lived baseball for a 15-year period. I got my first mitt when I was 2 and played until I was 16.
I traded baseball cards with friends. I watched TV anytime the Cincinnati Reds were on as a child.
Until recently, I would still turn on the television to catch a game every now and then, when time permitted.
But no longer.
I wanted to believe the players. I wanted to believe in the integrity of the game.
Now, all integrity baseball built up through its fan base and its players, its teams and the cities that they play in, is gone.
It shuffled out the window a few years ago.
I wanted to argue that Bonds didn't do steroids. That he didn't take HGH. That he didn't supplement his sculpted body and God-given talent by cheating.
I wanted to argue that Clemens was one of the greatest pitchers of the last-half of the 20th Century.
I wanted to argue that McGwire -- along with Sammy Sosa -- helped bring back the game of baseball. That year, 1998, was great for baseball. So many people came back to the game after the ill-advised strike a few years earlier that cost the World Series.
I wanted to argue that players now just spend more time in the weight room and spend more time in general working out and preparing for a long, grueling 162-game season.
I'm not going to argue this anymore.
I wanted to defend Alex Rodriguez. He appeared, on the surface, to be one of the greatest specimens baseball had ever seen.
His career has been unbelievable.
During his career, he has won three Most Valuable Player awards, led the American League in home runs five times, etc. The list is ongoing.
He hit 36 homers in 1996, his first as a starter, and just kept going.
From there, he topped 40 homers or more eight times, with a career-high of 57 coming in 2002 while he played for the Texas Rangers.
He has topped 100 RBI every year since 1998 and has 553 career home runs.
He's only 32 heading into the 2009 season, giving him a legitimate chance of breaking Bonds' all-time mark of home runs.
But now, none of that matters.
The word steroids will linger with his name forever.
There are some writers that vote for the Hall of Fame who have admitted in the past that if a player is linked to steroids at all, they will never get their vote.
I hope that officials with MLB, including the players' union, take heed to these types of things.
It's time to clean up baseball. That includes getting rid of Donald Fehr (Players Union Executive Director), Gene Orza (Players Union Chief Operating Officer) Bud Selig (Commissioner), high-priced agents, etc.
Bring the game back to what it used to be.
All of these major league professionals used to play because they loved the game.
For players like Clemens, Rodriguez and Bonds, were steroids necessary? Absolutely not.
Clemens had already put up great numbers. Ditto Bonds and Rodriguez.
But now, the career numbers they put up will be tainted.
Even if none of them took performance-enhancing drugs, even if it is proven that no one that has been accused took performance-enhancing drugs, it doesn't matter.
The court of public opinion has already started choosing sides regarding this issue, which seems to rear its ugly head about every month now.
This issue in baseball has gone on for quite some time now. What egos Major League Baseball had to not fight the performance-enhancing drug era until 2005. What about the National Football League? It began testing players for steroid use in 1987.
Nearly 20 years later.
I think it's time to clean up the game.
Sure, you can't forget the stain. But you can wipe it away and at least attempt to clean it.
And from what I've recently seen, this stain is still there in full-force. And it doesn't appear that it's going to be wiped up anytime soon.
The message to Major League Baseball, its players, its owners, etc., is to clean up. Get rid of these players. Get rid of Fehr, Orza, Selig, the high-priced agents, etc.
In 1920, former federal judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis took over as Major League Baseball's commissioner.
At that time, owners in the league decided to appoint a commission to help restore confidence in the sport following the 1919 Black Sox Scandal, where eight players from the Chicago White Sox were accused of throwing games in the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds.
Landis' decision? He banned all eight players for life.
In 1989, then-baseball commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti suspended Pete Rose -- the game's all-time hits leader -- from the game.
These decisions were made to maintain the integrity of the game.
Major League Baseball needs to do the same now. Protect the integrity of the game.
It's time to clean up the game again.