Thank you Jason Bay
“Innocent until proven guilty”……..
Are we at the point now where that has morphed into, “I hope he didn’t,” or, “I’m sure he did,” and both sentiments carry as much validity and weight as the initial belief? I’d sure as heck love to think not, but what possible defense could I offer up that would carry an ounce of weight?
Oh and before going any further, please spare me the “That taints your two World Series with the Sox!!!” emails. A larger load of crap I have yet to hear.
Because if you honestly think that in the last 10 years one team for even one season had NO PLAYERS using Steroids or HGH you’re kidding yourself. As horrifying and pathetic as it sounds, players cheated their way to a level playing field of a different sort. Please save the, “Oh but this guy only did it for one year,” and, “No one knows how long he was doing it.” Save that.
The only thing sadder than the continued “revelations” of new names and new drugs are the excuses following them. Female Estrogen? I didn’t know what I was taking? I had no idea it was steroids? Every one makes me appreciate Pettitte, Segui and the men that made their peace and moved on even more.
Do you honestly for one second think ANY player, ANY professional athlete who has been caught up in this allowed a cream to be rubbed, a needle to be stuck, or a pill to be taken and wasn’t aware that the substance was or was not a steroid? Really? I do believe one guy. I think J.C. Romero did buy an over-the-counter substance that contained something that got him in trouble. I could be completely hoodwinked but as far as I know he’s the only guy that’s actually done something to legally rectify the situation and clear his name.
I’ve never taken steroids, I’ve never taken HGH, and I am not saying that to clear my name or make a statement, I’m saying that because even though I did not, I’ve never drank a protein shake from my strength coach, I’ve never taken medication from a doctor or the team, I’ve never gotten an injection from a team doctor or otherwise that I didn’t ask and wasn’t told exactly what it was. I’m far from svelte or ripped, and never have been. I was never a fitness freak or gym rat — those are the guys that measured every milligram, count every tablet in their regimen. Yet somehow we’re hearing these same people talk about being struck momentarily stupid when West African bullfrog semen is found in their blood. “What? How’d that get there????” Their routines, from reps to nutrition are as mapped out as scouting reports. They eat a certain way, train a certain way, and they play a certain way. There is no ‘black hole’ or ‘hidden formula’ happening in these instances. So you get up at 5am? You eat at 6am? Thirty minutes of cardio, upper body, lower on alternate days, whirlpool for x minutes, maintain x calories of protein and carb intake? You do all that, and at some point you let someone stick a needle in your ass, or throw a ‘protein shake’ or rub a ‘crème’ on you, and for that 30 seconds to 5 minutes you have absolutely no thought, care or concern about the product? A step recognized as vital to strength gain, or recovery, a step to setup the acceleration of your recovery or magnification of gains from your hours of work and you just go dumb?
I heard the news about Manny and was asked for my response. “Not surprised” was all I could really muster. I got emails remarking “how does it feel to be right” or “that’s gotta feel good, huh?”
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Who wishes that on people? Why? I have no respect for the guy for a laundry list of reasons that have to do with actually playing the game and being a teammate, but further ruining the image of the game is certainly not what I’d call anything close to consolation. What goes around comes around for everyone.
More kids are let down today, more parents turn from athletes as their kids’ role models (which is NOT a bad thing) every time these stories hit the news. The sad part is you know somewhere there is someone in the media who’s made it their life’s mission to get those 103 other names on “The List,” and that’s going to find it’s way out. The only reason I’ll be relieved that it does will be that I’ll stop receiving “Your name is on that list, isn’t it?” emails.
For the past 19 years or so I’ve had suspicions, some stronger than others, but to sit here today and say I played on even one team that was totally clean would be denying reality I think. I’ve never personally seen a player inject, ingest, swallow HGH, or steroids but like every other player I played with that had his eyes open I saw the huge weight gains in one winter, I saw the hat size increase, I saw the acne in places a camel would be embarrassed to have it. I watched the player hit 20 more homers in one year than they ever had, then revert back, I saw the pitcher throwing 87-90 come to spring training throwing 95-97, I saw all of that. None of those are ‘no brainers’ — none — but they were hints, and when you get enough hints you can see the answer clearly if you are looking.
I played pretty much my entire career in the Steroid Era.
There, I said it. Not rocket science, not an earth shattering revelation, just an enormously disappointing recognition of the label that will accompany the era in which I was allowed to play this game.
I did so never taking Steroids, HGH, cow urine, horse feces, or West African bullfrog semen, and for that yeah, I am proud. Proud of something that really doesn’t deserve praise, does it? Not committing a crime is something to get lauded and applauded for? Are we really that bad off as a society that we’re looking for the ‘few, the proud,’ the non-felons?
The ONLY saving grace today was that I was mentally a million miles away from all this. I had the honor of visiting with the front line officers of the 4th Infantry Division in Colorado Springs, Colorado. These incredible men and women are being deployed to Afghanistan in the coming weeks. A real dose of ‘hero’ and ‘courage’ and ‘honor’ to quell any ills from this crap.
So after all the BS, I was allowed to say thanks to true Heroes, true Warriors, true Americans, and it felt pretty damn good.
So stop making athletes your icons, they’re supremely gifted, extraordinarily talented human beings, period. After that they’re no different than you, not one bit. They endure the same hardships at home, divorce, drugs, domestic violence, DUI, and every other thing you can read about on page A1 of any newspaper. Don’t make the mistake of thinking the size of the paycheck is relevant to the core of the man. Don’t place more responsibility on them, or accountability, because life doesn’t work that way.
Relish in the Halladays, Rolens, Sabathias, Lowells, Counsells, Variteks, Garnetts, Jameses, Bruschis, Vrabels, the Jason Bays of the world. Relish in men of supreme character and tireless work ethic who respect the game and their teammates and suit up every day to leave it all on the field. If 100 more names come out I can still give you my word there are a lot more great men and phenomenal people in the game than not….
Then go home and raise your own damn kids with your own set of values, integrity and morals. Be accountable to them and responsible for them and stop blaming video games or the 25-year-old kid from the Dominican who can hit a baseball 455 feet but you don’t know and never will, for the ‘problems of today’s youth”. It starts and ends under your own roof. Your kids idolize the people you allow them to, and believe things you don’t refute or discuss, and that’s no one’s fault but your own.