Tag Archives: PEDs

700 HR Club needs slight revision

OK, I am going to throw a little bit of cool — not cold — water on any mention of an exclusive baseball club that now includes the name of a living baseball legend.

St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols smashed the 700th home run of his legendary career. There likely will be a smattering more before his final regular season comes to an end. Pujols said he plans to retire at the end of the season.

All the baseball pundits, scribes, commentators keep saying Pujols is now the “fourth member” of this club. Two of the preceding members are legendary baseball figures: Babe Ruth and Henry Aaron. The third one gives me trouble: Barry Bonds.

You see, Bonds finished as the No. 1 HR hitter in MLB history after cheating his way through several seasons partaking of performance-enhancing drugs. He hit 762 home runs; Aaron is next with 755; the Bambino finished with 714.

I want to point out something, too, about Aaron and Ruth. Aaron had to face down stark racism and threats against his life when he — as a Black man — chased down the longstanding record held by a white man, Ruth.

As for Ruth, he spent the first several seasons in the big leagues as a pitcher, meaning that he didn’t get to bat every day. It’s been said of Ruth that had he continued to pitch full-time through all those years in a New York Yankees uniform, he’d still be in the Hall of Fame. The Yankees put him in the outfield, though, realizing they needed his bat every day in the lineup.

It worked well for the Yanks.

Barry Bonds isn’t in the Hall of Fame. I don’t know if he’ll ever get in. He’s been tarnished and sullied by his own misdeeds, juicing up his body with PEDs, steroids and assorted other banned chemicals.

Albert Pujols? He has said MLB can “test me every day” for illegal drugs. They won’t find anything in his system. I believe him.

For what it’s worth — and it probably isn’t much — I still consider Henry Aaron to be MLB”s home run king.


Olympics joins the world’s squirrely nature

As if this world of ours hasn’t gone batty enough … we get this word from the International Olympic Committee.

The IOC has banned the Russian Olympic Committee for what it calls “systematic doping” among Russian athletes. Is that clear?

Sort of. Get this: The IOC says Russian athletes can compete as “neutral” competitors; they won’t stand under the Russian flag, nor will they compete in the name of their country.

My question is this: What happens if a Russian wins an event? Tradition says they play the national anthem of the gold-medal winning country during the award ceremony. Will they play the Russian anthem?

The Russian Olympic Committee has threatened a boycott if this ruling stands. I think it will. Thus, the Russians will do what they did in 1984 when the Soviet Union boycotted that year’s Summer Olympics in Los Angeles; that boycott retaliated against the U.S.-led boycott of the Moscow Summer Olympics in 1980 after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.

I do not object to the IOC ruling regarding the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeonchang, South Korea. The IOC has accused the Russians of state-sponsored doping that has been detected among dozens of Russian athletes.

Doping is cheating. The Olympics are supposed to symbolize the best in sports. The Games are meant to pit athlete against athlete, pitting men and women against each other fairly and on level playing fields. The Russian efforts to boost their athletes’ prowess through drugs slaps the Olympic spirit squarely in its face.

It must be a Russian-government ethic that has pervaded the once-pristine world of sports. Hey, does this episode remind anyone — other than me — of the Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election?

See ya later, A-Rod

A rod

Oh, how I wanted to root for Alex Rodriguez.

Back when Barry Bonds was chasing down Henry Aaron’s career home run record, my hope was that if Bonds got the record then A-Rod would come along to snatch it away from Bonds.

I’ve always thought of Hammerin’ Hank to be the “real home run king” as it is, given that he pounded out those 755 homers without the aid of performance-enhancing drugs.


Bonds was dirty. A cheater. He’d been suspected of using drugs to make him bigger and stronger. He didn’t deserve to be called Home Run King Barry.

A-Rod would assume the role. Then he became tainted. He tested positive for drug use. Major League Baseball suspended him for the 2014 season.

Now he’s a cheater, too.

Today, Rodriguez announced he would play his final game for the New York Yankees this coming Friday, after which he’ll become something called an “adviser” to the team.

As a one-time baseball fanatic who used to love watching Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Stan Musial, I am left feeling nothing at all about A-Rod’s departure from the Grand Old Game.

He’s a Yankee interloper. He came to the Yanks some years ago after stints with the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers. He sought to become the “leader” of baseball’s premier franchise, except that it had a field leader by the name of Derek Jeter.

Sure, he put up some impressive stats for the Yankees. But, wouldn’t you know it, he had help in the form of PEDs.

Now he’s about to be gone from the game.

Alex Rodriguez¬†let me down … and I won’t miss him in the least.

What’s more, Henry Aaron is still the home run king.

A-Rod will get no love for passing 'Say Hey'

Alex Rodriguez is just a handful of home runs away from passing a true baseball legend’s career homer mark.

That would be Willie Mays, who finished his storied career with 660 home runs. A-Rod is just a few dingers away from that mark. The Say Hey Kid’s godson, Barry Bonds, cannot figure out why so little attention will be paid to A-Rod when he passes Mays’s mark.


I think I know why, Barry.

It’s because Rodriguez cheated to get as many home runs as he has hit, just like Bonds did.

A-Rod¬†has admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs. He served a season-long suspension in 2014. He’s come back to the New York Yankees to resume his climb up the career home run leader board.

Bonds, of course, hit more home runs than anyone else. You’ll have to excuse this bit of petulance, but I still consider Henry Aaron to be the home run king, even though he hit 755 home runs compared to Bonds’s 762. Aaron didn’t cheat the way Bonds did. Thus, he’s still the Home Run King in my book.

As for A-Rod, it’s always been about him. He’s not a good teammate and his fellow Yankees know that about him.

The Yankees are planning no celebration when A-Rod passes Mays.

Why no love for A-Rod, Barry? It’s because he hasn’t earned it.

A-Rod set to return; good luck with the circus

Baseball fan that I continue to be — despite the game’s many steroid-induced blemishes and¬†embarrassments — I await the return of a guy I once hoped would become the next all-time home run leader.

Not any longer do I wish that for Alex Rodriguez.


The New York Yankees slugger is coming back from a season-long suspension for using performance enhancing drugs. Today he issued a hand-written apology of sorts to baseball fans. As USA Today reported, the lack of a press conference and all the hoopla surrounding it might have been the smartest thing A-Rod has done in years.

One of the things I’m waiting to see is how the Yankees receive A-Rod in the clubhouse.

The Captain, Derek Jeter, has retired. The Yankees were Jeter’s team, even as A-Rod arrived years ago amid considerable fanfare and hype. He was thought to be the next great Yankee slugger — following in the steps of The Babe, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle.

Yes, he put up some big numbers. Then came the suspicion about his use of PEDs. After that came the results of a probe, then the suspension and then the confession. Today the apology arrived.

Spring training is about to begin and my sense is that the Yankees aren’t going to welcome A-Rod back with any inflated enthusiasm.

You see, unlike some of the great Yankees of the past — and I have Mantle and Jeter in mind when I say this — A-Rod never has been a great teammate. He’s not the kind of superstar who takes younger players under his wing, mentors them, or befriends the utility infielder just called up from the minor leagues —¬†as The¬†Mick used to do when he was hitting¬†jaw-dropping home run blasts¬†more than 50 years ago.

I, for one, once rooted for A-Rod to break the home run record set by another PED-tainted ballplayer, Barry Bonds. For that matter, I still consider Henry Aaron to be the all-time HR king.

Rodriguez enters this season with 654 home runs. He needs 109 more to pass Bonds. He’s also 39 years of age. Do the math. He isn’t likely to get to 763 home runs.

Too bad for that.

Still, his return will be worth watching. If only I could cheer A-Rod back to the game many of us still love to watch.


Jeter has joined ranks of all-time Yankee greats

Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle.

Those four men, in order, became the respective faces of the New York Yankees, without question the most storied franchise in Major League Baseball and arguably the most storied, revered and hated franchise in all of professional sports.

Let’s add another name that list of all-timers: Derek Jeter.

Jeter, the Yankees’ shortstop for the past two decades, has announced he will retire at the end of the upcoming season.


He’s going out on top, on his terms, with his head held high and proud and with his standing intact as one of the game’s greatest players.

Think about the four men whose ranks he’s already joined. Ruth didn’t play his entire career in New York; he started out as a pitcher with the Boston Red Sox, had his greatest years as a Yankee, then was traded to the Boston Braves. Still, does anyone doubt he belongs as the charter member of the Yankee pantheon? Hardly. Gehrig played his entire career with the Yankees, alongside both Ruth and DiMaggio, who came along near the end of the Iron Horse’s stellar career. DiMaggio fashioned his own standing among the Yankee greats over 15 seasons. Then came the Mick — the guy I grew up watching. He was star-crossed, injury-riddled, but still managed a career that would be the envy of virtually every player who’s ever suited up.

Derek Jeter’s career numbers already reflect stratospheric status in hits, games played, at-bats, runs scored.

And he did it all with class and grace, becoming the Yankees’ captain and the go-to guy in the clubhouse.

Pretenders would come along to become the next great Yankee hitter, only to fall short. Alex Rodriguez, the disgraced third baseman who’s going to sit out the 2014 season as punishment for his use of performance enhancing drugs, has more home runs over his career. He’s now been sent to the sidelines, possibly never to return to the game. Let’s not forget that relief pitching ace Mariano Rivera retired at the end of the 2013 season and he, just like Jeter, is headed for the Hall of Fame.

All that said, Jeter will get to take the bows on his own, without the shadow of his cheating teammate — A-Rod — looming in the background.

That, too, is as it should be.

A-Rod to sit on bench quietly

That defiant talk by tainted baseball superstar Alex Rodriguez has been replaced by … silence.

The New York Yankees slugger and his blustering lawyer have decided to drop their lawsuit against Major League Baseball and Commissioner Bud Selig after the league suspended A-Rod for using performance enhancing drugs.

He’s going to sit out the 2014 season.

I’m more than happy that he’s decided to take his punishment, sit on the sidelines, do whatever he plans to do and avoid the embarrassment of dragging this seedy saga through the courts.

I’ve drawn only one conclusion from Rodriguez’s decision to drop the suit: He’s guilty of what’s been alleged, which is what most baseball observers have known almost since the beginning.

This story angers and saddens me all at once.

I’m angry that a young man with all that talent would allow the injection of human growth hormone and other PEDs to make him bigger and stronger. Spare me the false argument that he did only what other superstars did.

I’m sad because when Barry Bonds broke the career home run record of the real HR king — Henry Aaron — I had hope that Rodriguez would be able to break Bonds’s record because, at the time, I believe A-Rod had not used the PEDs.

For my money, Hammerin’ Hank’s record is likely to stand for a good while longer. I hope it’s forever.

Meanwhile, A-Rod, sit back and enjoy the season along with the rest of us.

Rose shows off his ignorance

Pete Rose once was a heck of a baseball player — who then got caught violating one of the cardinal rules of the game. He placed bets on games involving his own team.

Then-Major League Baseball Commissioner Bart Giamatti made it clear to Rose: You’re out. You’re banned for life.

Now the all-time hit king has decided he chose the wrong vice. He should have used illegal drugs, or beat up on his wife/girlfriend, he said. That way he’d get a second — maybe a third — chance at getting back into baseball’s good graces.

Rose shows why he’s such a slug.


He probably hasn’t been paying attention to the piles of invective that have been heaped on those who’ve been caught using performance-enhancing drugs. Narcissist that he is, Rose cares only about what’s been said about him since his lifetime ban went into effect in 1989.

I’ve seen the clause in the baseball handbook that deals with gambling. It says anyone caught gambling is banned from the game for the rest of his life. Rose knew that, yes? But he did it anyway.

As for the PED scandal that’s erupted once again with the pending suspension of super-duperstar Alex Rodriguez and a dozen other players, baseball only recently enacted a ban on the drugs’ use. And that was after other big-time players — Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens to name just four — either were suspected of using them or actually admitted to it.

Rose doesn’t deserve to be reinstated. He remains what I’ve thought him to be, a top-notch athlete with gutter-level morals.

One of MLB’s best gets his dander up

Albert Pujols is my favorite baseball player. He’s the only one I track daily, kind of like the way I used to track Mickey Mantle’s hit stats.

Pujols is on the shelf at the moment, trying to recover from a foot injury that’s hampered him all season. However, he’s back in the news. Jack Clark, a former major leaguer of some repute, has accused Pujols of taking performance enhancing drugs.

Pujols’s reaction? He’s threatening to sue Clark.


Clark made his rant on a radio show. He got fired immediately after he delivered it.

As for Pujols, I am going to stand behind him. Pujols has said many times during his 12-year career that Major League Baseball can test him for drugs “every single day.” He has vowed repeatedly never to dishonor the game he loves, his wife and children, his teammates, his employers … or even his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

He’s an angry man today, vowing to take legal action against Clark.

I know what you’re thinking. Rafael Palmiero, another big leaguer of considerable renown, once wagged his finger at members of Congress and said he “never took” performance enhancing drugs. Turns out he fibbed — in a big-league way.

Still, I am inclined to believe Albert Pujols’s angry response is sincere. I might just give up the Grand Old Game altogether, though, if he disappoints me.