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The View from the Cheap Seats

August 4, 2009 under Cheap Seats

This time, it’s David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez.  In the latest leak of the infamous cheap_seats_3_owumlist of 104 players that tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in 2003, we’ve found out just how Big Papi got that way and that, oops, Manny’s positive test in May wasn’t a one-time thing.  Now, while I still don’t care what any of these cheats put in their bodies and I’m not up in arms about the integrity of Major League Baseball’s record book, there are some disturbing aspects about this revelation that make it different than the others.  In Ortiz and Ramirez, we may, finally, have an indication that, despite their denials, MLB and its owners were aware of the widespread use of PED’s.

In December, 2007, when former Senator George Mitchell released the results of his investigation into the use of steroids in professional baseball, much was made of the fact that, while Mitchell was a part owner of the Red Sox, no Boston player appeared on the list.  Those suspicions were given new life last week, as the exposure of Ortiz and Ramirez as well as speculation surrounding former Sox pitcher, Bronson Arroyo, called Mitchell’s objectivity into serious question.  Could he have directed his investigation away from any of his own players?  Did he ignore information that may have been gathered about them?  It’s likely we’ll never know.  However, the conspiracy theory gained significant momentum when it was discovered that, last year, the Red Sox fired two employees after an MLB investigation into steroid use within the organization.  Jared Remy and Alex Cyr were canned after state police found a vial of steroids in Cyr’s car as he was returning from a Red Sox event last July.  Cyr acknowledged that he had purchased the drugs from Remy, who admitted to his own steroid use.  Remy’s subsequent comments about baseball’s probe were quite troubling.  “I’m sure they were hoping I didn’t know anything,” he said.  “It’s like they didn’t want to know.” 

So, now we have documented steroid use by Manny Ramirez in 2003 and 2009 as well as two employees of the organization with clubhouse access being dismissed.  That it is unlikely Ramirez did not use a performance enhancing drug between his two positive tests casts serious doubt on the credibility of Mitchell’s report.  That the dismissal of Remy and Cyr was not made public for a year points to the possibility that the Red Sox not only knew their players were juicing but may have acted to cover it up.  None of the evidence supporting these theories is any better than circumstantial but, in the court of public opinion, the Boston brass looks bloodier than Curt Schilling’s sock.

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Here’s a question for the Major League Baseball Players Association.  Since it’s obvious that whoever has this supposedly anonymous list plans to leak the names a few at a time, why not get in front of things and release the names, yourself?   Wouldn’t it be better for everyone if we knew who the players are?  Those on the list would be able to get past what has to be significant anxiety in just one news cycle while those not on the list would be cleared of suspicion.  Already, prominent major leaguers like Mariano Rivera and Torii Hunter have lobbied for just that.  While a union is charged with protecting its members, how can it justify giving cover to 104 while placing another 500 under the same cloud?  Those numbers should be reversed.

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Former Giants’ WR Plaxico Burress, indicted for carrying an unlicensed gun into a nightclub and then shooting himself in the leg, faces up to three and a half years in prison if convicted.  Welcome, Plax, to the world where athletic ability does not exempt you from bad acts.  That you were the only victim in this shooting was nothing but dumb luck.  Perhaps if you seemed sorry about that rather than the fact that you were caught, you’d have caught a break.

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The stories could have been written immediately after the Jets hired Rex Ryan. Instead, we had to wait until camp opened to read the inevitable comments from players about Ryan’s coaching style.  His demeanor is a welcome change to the iron-fisted reign of Eric Mangini, who was a necessary shift from the easy going Herm Edwards who created a player-friendly atmosphere that was in sharp contrast to the tyrannical reign of his predecessor, Al Groh.  The only thing any of them have in common is that, except for Ryan, all have failed.  It has become a very sorry cycle broken just once, when Bill Parcells was brought in to bring them back from a two season stretch that netted just three wins. 

Despite this very clear record of failure and success, Gang Green chose to ignore five available head coaches with Super Bowl victories on their resume during the offseason.  While Bill Cowher, Mike Holmgren, Brian Billick, Jon Gruden and Mike Shanahan could have been approached about the opening, Gang Green turned once again to its tired policy of enlisting the services of the hottest young coordinator.  Who knows?  Maybe Ryan will, finally, be the guy.  Unfortunately, recent history says he’s not.

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Even though it was disappointing that David Ortiz didn’t provide the usual bit of nonsense in trying to explain away his steroid use, there were still some yuks to be had.  Thought it was funny that the New York papers chose to taunt the “Roid” Sox and question the validity of Boston’s two World Series titles while completely ignoring the fact that the “steroid apology” press conference has become an annual event for the hometown Yankees during spring training.


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2 Responses to "The View from the Cheap Seats"

  • JWM says:

    once again displaying your ethnocentric and insular sports observations by failing to comment on the loss of the US mens national soccer team to Mexico on US soil for the first time in ten years.

  • Eddie says:

    JWM, I was surprised to discover that the ‘team”, as you call it, was a group considered to be our third best. Two questions: 1) When did we become an international soccer power strong enough to send a “C” team out to win a championship? 2) Can you imagine my horror to find out that we have THREE National Soccer teams? As if one wasn’t already too many.

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