Thursday, August 11, 2016

Cheating as a way of life

Major League Baseball did a great job of branding Alex as evil incarnate and making him a singular focus of a campaign to fully and finally take away the memory of MLB and its owners as the single biggest promoter of PEDs in the mid-90s.

The injustices rained down around his ears are incredible, immoral and much worse than anything he ever did. Period.

To celebrate his final humiliation as a professional ballplayer--and one of the greatest there has ever been, though you'd never know it from public opinion or the Selig-led demonization process (and Alex himself, with his personality issues, hasn't helped, to be sure)--here are some other substances, legal and not, used with regularity by ballplayers over the years that, for all of their effectiveness at enhancing or increasing performance, did not result in baseball turning on them, much less with such ferocity.

1. Caffeine

2. Nicotine, in copious quantities, and on the field

3. Amphetamines, including the bowl of blue pills that was a staple of the Yankees clubhouse for years (hat tip Bouton)

4. Cocaine -- Steve Howe was suspended seven times and was still fondly remembered by Torre when the pitcher died young at 48; but who knows how many players never got caught, supposedly including members of the 1978 Yankees championship team who were said to reach levels of play that far outstripped their previously displayed abilities during the postseason.

5. Prescription painkillers (yeah, Ketchup Sock, I'm looking at you)

6. Cortisone (http://deadspin.com/5951906/yankees-derek-jeters-injury-tied-to-steroid-use-no-seriously)

7. Injected Vitamin B "cocktails" (hiya, Mick!)

8. Steroids and HGH, of course, when it was needed to put fannies in the seats again after the owners tried their power play in 1994

9. Freezing spray ("This is a very effective pain killing treatment that provides a distracting stimulus to the brain so pain signals are effectively filtered out.")

10. Stanozolol, ketamine, who knows what else...if you believe Doc Ellis, a stray tab of LSD here and there...

Only using number 8 is worthy of villification, which has come upon the heads of Bonds, Palmero, Sosa, McGwire, Clemens, et. al, to a degree--all of whom are looked at askance, but arguably none of them have ever been professionally and personally hounded in MLB and media attacks the way A-Rod has.

The guy has never been perfect, but he deserved better than the crucifixion he got and the shameful treatment he's getting this week.

Why is it that when the Yankees finally do something to make us feel good about them (i.e., the big moves at the trade deadline), they turn around and show what classless, thuggish and anachronistic jerks they really are? Not that most fans will notice, or even question their actions, or see past the established A-Rod memes...


Ah, forget it. I'm just a cranky old guy at this point who never stopped being annoyed at how the world actually works.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

the second to last paragraph is dead on. i was almost ready to bury my hatred and distaste for all things hal and cashman when they finally did what i never thought they would - admit that they suck and need to rebuild. it made me so happy and excited for the future, and even excited to watch the rest of the season. didn't care of they lost every game, just to watch some young players. of course they didn't REALLY do that as they're continuing to pretend they're in the wild card race. but the whole charade of pretending to love alex while kicking him out without a chance at 700 for really no good reason, completely rekindles my rage for the brass. they really think their fans are idiots. i mean, how more transparent could it have been? pathetic.

Tom said...

agreed, with one minor quibble. Barry Bonds was hounded pretty aggressively until he quit. His milestone homers were soapbox opportunities for the bloviating moralists. The difference was that, unlike Alex, he never gave a shit what what people thought. Also, his BALCO scandal somehow never landed him in the same hot water that the Biogenesis mess led to for Alex. My guess is that A-Rod saw Clemens and Bonds sort of, kind of clear their names in court, and he thought that if he stonewalled he could do the same.

But every tragic story needs a hero to take the fall, and A-Rod, who will never be forgiven by baseball and the sports-media industrial complex, is destined to live out his days without the love and adoration he so clearly craves. That's OK. He can hang out at my place if he brings the beer. We'll watch replays of the 2009 World Series.

el duque said...

Another thing Alex never did: Beat up a woman, shoot up a bar, pull a gun on somebody, fight a fan, crash his car in a DWI...

Many of the great hitters in baseball history were fundamentally flawed human beings. Babe Ruth, glutton; Mickey Mantle, drunk; Barry Bonds, drug abuser; Ty Cobb, flat-out miserable piece of shit; Ted Williams, serial womanizer; Pete Rose, gambler; Lenny Dykstra, nutjob; Wade Boggs, sex addict; Maury Wills, cocaine addict; Josh Hamilton, drunk; Daryl Strawberry, drugs; Jose Canseco, everything. The list goes on.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE BASEBALL...I LOVE THE YANKEES.....I HATE THE HYPOCRISY OF THE "HALL OF FAME".....PETE ROSE IS A SCUMBAG, AND HE GAMBLES LIKE A MANIAC, SO HE CAN'T GET IN.....YET TY COBB IS EVEN A WORSE SCUMBAG, THAT EVERYONE HATED, BUT HE GETS IN..... AROD IS OSTRACIZED, YET PAPI IS CANONIZED.....HOW THE HELL IS THAT?.....MIKE PIAZZA GETS IN THE HALL OF FAME ADMITTING IN HIS OWN BOOK, HE TOOK SOMETHING CALLED "ANDRO" BUT USES THE RIDICULOUS EXCUSE THAT IT "WASN'T BANNED BY BASEBALL AT THE TIME", YET HE GETS VOTED IN!...WORD IS BONDS AND CLEMENS WILL PROBABLY GET IN DOWN THE ROAD, BUT WHAT ABOUT RAFAEL PALMEIRO?...SAMMY SOSA?...WHY DON'T THEY??? THEY WERE EXCELLENT PLAYERS TOO BEFORE THEY SUPPOSEDLY STARTED THEIR "CYCLES"..... TO ME, IT HAS TO BE CUT AND DRIED....YOU DO STEROIDS AND GET CAUGHT, YOU DON'T GET IN THE HALL OF FAME....OR JUST FUCK IT AND SAY, IT DOESN'T MATTER, IF YOUR NUMBERS FIT THE CRITERIA, YOU ARE IN NO MATTER WHAT....THERE SHOULD NOT BE ANY IN-BETWEEN!......THE QUESTION THAT KEEPS BURNING IN MY BRAIN THOUGH IS......HOW DOES A GUILTY, AND LYING PAPI, GET WELCOMED INTO THE HALL?.....AND AROD, WHO AT LEAST ADMITTED HIS GUILT, GETS TURNED AWAY AND SHUNNED????...

I'm Bill White said...

A-Rod will get in the Hall someday. But he deserves all the boos he gets just like he deserves all the cheers. I think it is dangerous to lump the League's sins in with the fan's right to boo or cheer as they see fit. A-Rod, like every human being on Earth, is a complicated thing. Good and bad all at once. But he's been an asshole and a cheater despite having talent (natural) that most people cannot comprehend (like me). Sure, he's humbled with age. But that doesn't mean he has to leave the game with claps and framed jerseys and cowboy boots. The right to boo is a beautiful thing.

Anonymous said...

SURE AROD IS AN ASSHOLE......BUT HE'S OUR ASSHOLE.

Anonymous said...

The one thing most of these "fans" miss is the fact that Alex Rodriguez may well be the greatest baseball player of our time. Unfortunately, his team the Yankees has scumbags as The General Manager and President. In addition, MLB managed to make a two bit car salesman as its President. These three losers managed to attempt to make ARod more of a Satan than our leaders in Washington, which is almost impossible.

Alphonso said...

The Yankee scumbags, referred to above ( as the GM, President, and the un-named, do nothing owner inheritor), are behaving without class and with venom, because they realize it was their own stupidity that signed A-Rod to a contract people will ridicule forever. The standard was set for incompetence when Hal bid aggressively against himself to secure A-Rod for the several years when he could no longer perform. They are taking out their anger at themselves on him.

Give credit to A-Rod that he had one of the best seasons in baseball, for any player, at the age of forty. Like any of us, Alex has personality quirks. Some of which are distasteful, but most are due to the fact that he was born with exceptional talent and good looks ( per the women ). So most male humans are, at the core, envious.

Luckily, I was born with the skill to achieve sartorial splendor, and consume outrageous amounts of alcohol, with little long lasting damage.

Two great things could happen this year; the country could rid itself of Trump, and the Yankees could rid themselves of Girardi and Cashman.

But what are the odds?

Anonymous said...

Other than Dent and Doyle, no players 1978 post season "far outstripped" their regular season. Or are you implying that Dent and Doyle used cocaine? That is purely moronic. Sources?

John M said...

Anon, you've never read about Dent and Doyle and the Peruvian marching powder?

Now I have to research the sources....it's a story told for so long now....

John M said...

OK, I've lost interest in trying to find that. It's been a part of Yankees lore for so long, I can't remember where I first read about it.

So let's just go with this, from http://mlb.nbcsports.com/2010/03/17/a-few-words-on-cocaine-in-baseball/ (and it doesn't even mention Doc Gooden, Straw, Cone and the wild times of the mid to late 80s Mets!):

Most of what we know about cocaine use among baseball players came from what came to be known as the Pittsburgh Drug Trials in 1985. There, a couple of small-time coke dealers were tried and convicted in federal prosecutions. The amount of drugs they trafficked were relatively meager as far as these things go, but the cases gained national exposure because of the witnesses who testified against them: Dale Berra, Lee Lacy, Lee Mazzilli, John Milner, Dave Parker, Rod Scurry, Willie Aikens, Vida Blue, Enos Cabell, Keith Hernandez, Jeffrey Leonard, Tim Raines, and Lonnie Smith, among others. All users. While none of the ballplayers were targeted for prosecution, baseball and its gigantic cocaine habit was on trial.

The testimony revealed all manner of craziness. John Milner admitted that he bought coke in a bathroom stall at Three Rivers Stadium. Keith Hernandez added that about 40 percent of all Major League Baseball players were using cocaine in 1980, and described it as “the love affair year between baseball and the drug.” The famous story in which Tim Raines was described as only sliding into bases headfirst so as not to break the vial of drugs in his back pocket came out at this time. Dave Parker was the biggest name called before the court, his testimony set forth some of the earliest cocaine use among those called, and in many ways he came to symbolize the drug trials.

But more alarming than any specific player’s testimony was the overall picture that was painted of baseball and cocaine. It was a story of players leaving the ballpark at 10:30PM, snorting coke until 2AM, not falling asleep until 6AM, waking up with the shakes and bloody noses right before it was time to head back to the park, and then arriving at the clubhouse, as tired as a dog, right before BP. What to do? Why pop some greenies of course. After a playing a game in which the players were not really able to see the baseball, the cycle would start again. There’s no telling how badly the quality of baseball suffered in the late 70s through the mid 80s as a result. More importantly, there’s no telling how many lives were destroyed. Reliever Rod Scurry was the most notable casualty, but there were others.

Anonymous said...

"it's a story told for so long now"..um, no it isn't. I've been a fan since 1978 and never heard of it. Slandering well respected Yankees like that on a popular blog is ridiculous. Of course you couldn't find sources.

John M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John M said...

I can't say that the coke rumor has any truth to it. I also don't doubt that you or anyone else has never heard of it, maybe because you were too young to encounter it when it was floating around--but it never did in a huge way. I remember laughing when I saw it in some magazine, in what I recall as a kind of snarky column that was not focused on sports. There were no names, but the "postseason overperformance" it mentioned did narrow it down considerably. Even in that article, by the way, it was said as an aside and acknowledged as a rumor. But I am surprised that I can't find anything at all even mentioning that on the web. Guess it was a rumor that never got much attention or gained any traction, true or not.

Considering the amount of drug use in the late 70s in New York City (and elsewhere)...again, you may not have been there or are too young to either know about it or realize just how common it was...it didn't seem like a stretch. When Munson crashed his plane, it was reported that he had been freebasing while piloting, and this was why the crash occurred. Revisionist history has been applied to many things over time, and unsavory details related to the habits of the day are often scrubbed. Just as well. I personally don't care if Thurm died because he was a drug-addled idiot or not, I just remember being devastated in my mid-20s by his death. Ditto for Dent and Doyle. Whether they were on rocket fuel or treated their bodies as their temples, never besmirching them with anything stronger than Fanta Orange, I don't care. They were great that postseason, and Dent's HR was a shocking, wonderful thing.

For a number of us old-timers, you have to understand that saying someone used or was rumored to have used drugs is not slander or even a slight in any way. Cripes, I and practically everyone I knew back then used something or other on a regular basis...or anything they could get their hands on. It's just how things were. It was a lot more permissive back then in certain segments of society. Guess it helps if you had been there.