Friday, July 31, 2009

Steroids and Baseball

It’s hard to believe that the month of July ends when this day ends. As far as the weather goes, this hasn’t been the best summer month we’ve ever had. In fact, it was one of the worst. Rain. One word just about says it all as it seems we’ve had some form of rain just about every day. Before you form that “He’s nuts” attitude, I do know it didn’t rain every day.

We are, however, just a couple of inches away from being the wettest July ever recorded. Right now, I think this July is in fifth place. Considering the weather forecast for later today, there’s just a chance that this month will move up the list, perhaps even take its place as the wettest.

Yesterday was a great day for me at my senior fitness session. Like I did on Tuesday, I was able to ride that stationary bike at a record pace again. I held my speed at the fastest I’ve ever ridden the thing, and, translated from a stationary position, had more miles than ever before. It was a great session.

Leaving the building shortly after 8 yesterday morning was a complete surprise. The air was so heavy that I doubt I could have fallen down. When I opened that door, the humidity slammed into me and another senior leaving at the same time. Both of us stopped short and uttered an expletive, a polite one of course, and then headed for our cars. Thank someone who invented auto air conditioning. I think he worked for Ford Motor Company.

I don’t know what to say today about the news released by the New York Times yesterday that David Ortiz (Big Papi) and Manny Ramirez both tested positive in that infamous super secret 2003 anonymous drug test conducted by Major League Baseball. I’ll agree with a comment my Fearless Friend made in an e-mail yesterday, “I’m not sure we’re surprised.”

The two men were the back-to-back hitting terrors of the World Series Champion Red Sox. They repeated their feat in 2007. Back in 2003, the use of steroids in MLB wasn’t illegal. In fact, I don’t think it was illegal outside of baseball. That secret test, though, was the initial step in seeing how great the problem was and led to the ban in existence today.

The two Red Sox super stars, of course, weren’t the only ones caught. The reactions of the players whose names were gained by the news media and released has been interesting, along with the reactions of the fans.

Some players completely denied they had used now illegal drugs back then. Most of them are no longer in the major leagues. I’m thinking of such stars as Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds. Both vehemently say they never used the drugs. Both men, along with others, have had their reputations tarnished so badly they never were again welcome back into the game.

Bonds is facing a trial and Clemens is facing an indictment, but, ironically, not for using the steroids but for what officials say was lying to investigators.

Others, such as Andy Pettitte and Alex Rodriguez, along with others, admitted their involvement, apologized to their teams and fans, and continued or are continuing with their games.

After all, as I mentioned earlier, steroids were not illegal in the game six years ago, even the use of the drugs probably lowered the players’ esteem in the eyes of fans. For some, honesty has overcome much of the tarnish.

Ramirez also denied he used drugs, but readily accepted his punishment this year when he tested positive and sat out 50 games, his “sentence.” Ortiz will probably only suffer some embarrassment as he readily admitted yesterday he had tested positive. He said he’d get to the bottom of the situation and keep his fans informed. Red Sox fans will maintain their love for their hero.

It does raise and interesting question. Big Papi was just an average player and hitter when he arrived in Boston from the Minnesota Twins. It was as a Red Soxer that he became the feared hitter he was…until Manny Ramirez was traded to Los Angeles. His struggles since then are well documented. Ramirez, on the other hand, has continued his prowess while a Dodger. Is there some kind of relationship there?


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