Archive for the ‘Drug Testing’ Category

And just like that, the sports world revved back up this weekend. What should have been a nice, quiet Summer weekend, was instead stained by a steroid suspension, an alleged subsequent cover-up, terrible quarterback play by the Arizona Cardinals’ $64 million man, and of course, the Jets offensive offense. Here we go:

Melky Cabrera- Not sure if everybody caught this story, but All-Star game MVP Melky Cabrera of the San Francisco Giants was suspended 50-games over the weekend for using banned substances. Unfortunately, the public is numb to this sort of disgraceful behavior so there isn’t really much to discuss about the suspension itself. But in further news, it was revealed Mr. Cabrera hatched an elaborate cover-up to fool Major League Baseball in an effort to be cleared of any wrongdoing. Unfortunately for this cheater, the cover-up didn’t work so well.

You see, Cabrera allegedly created a fake website to show he had ordered a supplement that had been accidentally spiked with testosterone. As part of the collective bargaining agreement, players who test positive for banned substances and face suspension are allowed to prove they accidentally took a supplement that caused the failed test. While there has always been excuses for ingesting foreign substances in the past, Cabrera’s creation of a website hocking a fake product takes the cake. What a idiot…

Not only did Cabrera cheat the game, fellow players, and fans alike, but the fact that he contributed an MVP performance at the All-Star Game, a game that determines which league has home-field advantage in the World Series, means his actions have also tarnished the upcoming Fall Classic. I hope Major League Baseball comes down on Cabrera hard – not just for the failed drug test, but having the audacity to further deceive league officials once he had already been caught. Baseball is a beautiful, albeit slow, game. There is no room for this deceitful cheater.

Arizona Cardinals/Kevin Kolb- “Ultimately Kevin was the guy that we had the highest grade on, that we felt was the best fit for what we’re trying to get accomplished as far as a fit with our offense, where he was age-wise, what he had done in the league,” Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said.  That quote was from July 29, 2011 – the day the Cardinals completed the historically lopsided-trade for Kevin Kolb. While I realize hindsight is 20/20, how could the Cardinals have been so wrong? The part that is most shocking to me is the final part of the quotation, “…what he had done in the league.” Umm, Mr. Whisenhunt, what exactly had Kolb done in the league?

At the time of the trade, Kolb’s injury-plagued career stats were: 194 of 319, 60.8%, 2052 yards, 11 TD, 14 INT, 7 Fumbles. I don’t understand what it was about his past performance in the league that made the Cardinals so sure he wouldn’t continue to be an injury-prone, mediocre quarterback? Obviously they saw something the rest of the league didn’t… If they didn’t believe he was more than he had shown, then how else do you justify giving up a 2nd-Round Pick, a solid cornerback, and $64 million contract. Only the Cardinals…

After another on-field debacle this past weekend, it seems most Cardinal fans’ optimism in Kolb has finally flown the coup. While handing the reins of the franchise over to a former 5th Round pick from Fordam isn’t the most ideal situation, its seems the Cardinals’ miscalculation of Kolb’s mediocrity has left them with few options. As a Cardinals fan, let’s just hope the team does not compound one mistake with another. Just because Kolb is undeservingly getting paid like the starter, doesn’t mean he has to be it. For what its worth, my vote is to go with the low risk/low reward Skelton.

NY Jets- One of the great things about living in New York City is the media-firestorm that accompanies any local sports story. This past weekend, the New York Giants treated the New York Jets like the attention-seeking little sisters they are. The 26 – 3 victory by the Giants proved to fans everywhere who owned New York on the field, if not the headlines.

I know one should not look too much into a pre-season outcomes, but the media in New York is going bananas. Plain and simple, it doesn’t look like the Jets are going to be any good. In a league where offenses have become more and more explosive, the Jets’ looks like it is stuck in the mud. Even with the alleged-defensive mastermind Rex Ryan at the helm, asking one’s defense to consistently shut down opponents is a tall task to ask in this offensively-evolving NFL.

I’m not a fan of Mark Sanchez’s, but the Jets have done him no favors in recent years.  Since taking Mark Sanchez 5th overall in the 2009 draft, the Jets have done an abysmal job of surrounding him with playmakers. Since 2009, the organization has had three opportunities in the 1st Round  to draft additional offensive studs to help Sanchez, but instead choose to take  a cornerback and two defensive linemen. Good luck with that, Mark.

Speaking from years of experience being a Cardinals’ fan, you need playmakers to score points. Unfortunately for Jets’ fans, Tim Tebow isn’t what was needed. Instead of rattling the confidence of your alleged franchise QB, why didn’t the Jets spend their resources on actually giving Sanchez a chance to succeed? To Jets’ fans everywhere, enjoy the next 3 seasons of 5 to 7 wins.

That’s that.

While yesterday’s baseball post was supposed to be about the perfect game and multiple one-hitters that occurred this past week, it quickly morphed into one about steroids. Little did I know at the time, but Roger Clemens’ perjury trial would conclude just hours later with Clemens’ being acquitted on all charges that he obstructed justice and lied to Congress about using Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs). Speaking big picture, this outcome only proved the prosecutors could not prove Clemens’ guilt of perjury, not necessarily that he did or did not do steroids – two completely different issues. After posting yesterday’s piece, there were several comments that noted I overlooked the fact batters were not the only ones who used PEDs, but pitchers did as well. I assume those who commented were implying that since pitchers also used PEDs, it created a ‘more-level playing field’. While I acknowledge yesterday’s omission about pitchers also using PEDs, the omission wasn’t because I believe pitchers never used them. I simply believe PEDs had a greater impact on hitting than it ever did pitching.

My first belief is any strength gains attributed to the use of PEDs were more beneficial to a hitter than they were a pitcher. If a hitter is stronger and is therefore able to hit the ball further, that is an important consequence in baseball. What may have once been a long-fly ball or a double in the gap could now become a homerun. On the flip side, if a pitcher becomes stronger and is able to throw harder, that is not always a good thing. I was recently listening to a Yankees game and the announcer was talking about a conversation he had with Derek Jeter. Jeter had said something to the effect of, “Ten years ago, it was easier. Everyone threw harder but it was straight. Now, nothing is straight.” His point being, back when many pitchers were on steroids, they simply tried to overpower hitters. But the harder pitchers threw, the less movement their pitches generally had. Also, ‘the harder one throws, the further it goes’. Simple physics. While the benefits of PEDs likely had an impact on pitcher’s ability to rebound quicker from start to start, once a pitcher was on the mound, the benefits were not as dramatic as they were for hitters. Simply throwing harder does not necessarily equate to success. Simply hitting the ball further does.

My second belief is the newfound power of the Steroid Era made many pitchers afraid to throw strikes. Even if pitchers were on steroids, if they dared throw it down the middle, many juiced up hitters were going to launch it into the cheap seats. This caused pitchers to nibble around the strike zone, walk more batters, and in consequence create more run-scoring opportunities. You want to know what the REAL Moneyball philosophy was – Steroids. How many of the Moneyball Oakland A’s players ended up being connected to steroids? Jason Giambi and Miguel Tejada both won MVP’s for the A’s – both have been linked to steroids. Simply look at this link to see how many other prominent A’s were linked to PEDs – never mind the amount that likely got away with it. Hey Billy Beane, of course your team drew a lot of walks and created run-scoring opportunities, much of your team was (allegedly) using PEDs! (Yes, yes. I realize every other team had PED users as well, and much of the A’s success was due to cheap, elite, young pitching and not necessarily hitting. But I was just trying to make a point… just as the book was). Now a days, pitchers can be much more aggressive and throw the ball over the plate knowing that only a select amount of hitters are going to knock it out of the park on a consistent basis. Ten years ago, even the once light-hitting 2nd basemen could hit the ball 400+ feet on a regular basis. Times have changed.

Again, I fully acknowledge pitchers were using PEDs as well as hitters – I simply believe hitters saw greater benefits between the lines because of them. It is much more difficult to recover on a day to day basis while maintaining your strength and energy when you are playing 160 games a year as compared to making 30 starts with a minimum of four days of rest in between. Barry Bonds’ alleged PED usage allowed him to feverously work out during the season, maintain the 40 pounds of muscle he put on after the age of 35, and perform at the highest level in the history of baseball – all during a period of his career in which he should have been in a sharp decline. I realize the same argument could be made about the latter part of Clemens’ career. The only difference is, Clemons didn’t pitch better than anyone ever had in the history of baseball – as Bonds did at the plate – further providing support for my belief PEDs enhanced batters at a greater rate than it did pitchers. That’s that.

*Don’t forget to send questions, thoughts, concerns, and/or rants to TheBatteredFan@gmail.com for this Friday’s weekly mailbag*