Tag Archives: steroids

Put an asterisk next to Bonds’ ‘record’

I detest cheaters; in the context I want to discuss, that would be those who take performance enhancing drugs to boost their athletic prowess.

With that said, I refer to former slugger Barry Bonds, who cheated on his way to hitting a Major League Baseball record 73 home runs in 2001. It occurred during the “steroid era” of MLB. He wasn’t alone, but Bonds’ name has come up as MLB celebrates Aaron Judge’s recent achievement in setting an American League record of 62 home runs in a single season.

MLB had the bad sense after Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth’s single-season mark back in 1961 to put an asterisk next to Maris’ record, citing the fact that it took him more games to get to 61 than it took Ruth to hit 60 in 1927.

Stupid call, man. MLB eventually removed the asterisk and Maris’ record has stood on its own until Judge broke it this past weekend.

So, here’s what I suggest: Major League Baseball should put an asterisk next to Bonds’ big-league mark of 73 home runs set in 2001.

The only reason I am so hard on Bonds and his cheating is that he could have qualified for the Hall of Fame had he not taken a single PED during that period of time. The guy could a baseball with the best of ’em. Instead, he chose to inflate his numbers by juicing up with drugs.

Instead, he has tarnished his legacy as one of the game’s best hitters and has ensured that the first line in his obituary will include mention of the drugs he took to cheat his way into the record book.

Sad, man!


AL crowns new HR king

Aaron Judge came to Arlington, Texas, to play some hardball and along the way Tuesday night he set an American League record for most home runs in a single season.

The New York Yankees slugger hit his 62nd HR of the season against the Texas Rangers. He surpassed the record set by another Yankees slugger, Roger Maris, who did the deed during that wonderful 1961 home run duel he waged with his teammate, the great Mickey Mantle.

I now want to stipulate something. Even though Judge’s 62 homers fall short of Barry Bonds’ major league record of 73 in a season, or Mark McGwire’s 70, or Sammy Sosa’s two 60-plus HR seasons, I consider Judge to be the real deal. The others are cheaters, as their dingers occurred during baseball’s “steroid era.”

Just as I consider the great Hank Aaron to be the all-time home run king, I will never recognize Bonds’ accomplishments because he is so tainted by the scandal that damn near destroyed the Grand Old Game.

We need no asterisks attached to Aaron Judge’s record.

Well done, Aaron.


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.


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.


'Mr. Cub' leaves the field

Ernie Banks has died and I’m feeling strangely out of sorts.

At one level, I am — of course — sad to hear the news of Mr. Cub’s death at age 83. He might have been Major League Baseball’s premier ambassador, although St. Louis Cardinals fans have made the case for their icon, the late Stan “The Man” Musial.

But at another level, I am somewhat chastened by the notion that I never really took the opportunity to cheer for Mr. Cub. I grew up in the 1950s and ’60s and much of my baseball attention was gobbled up by some other pretty good athletes. Guys like Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Stan the Man and Roberto Clemente all commanded much of my attention. You had the occasional flash in the pan, such as Roger Maris, also getting attention.


Ernie Banks? All he did was belt 512 home runs in his 19-year career with the Chicago Cubs while playing shortstop and then first base.

Mr. Cub had the misfortune of never playing in the postseason. No World Series. No playoffs to get to the Big Show. Nothing. Most of his teams finished with losing records. Maybe that’s why I didn’t care. Hey, I was a kid who was interested in winners, right?

None of that mattered to the Hall of Fame voters who inducted Banks into the Cooperstown, N.Y., shrine in 1977, his first year of eligibility. They knew baseball greatness when they saw it.

Little did I understand until much later that you didn’t need to play on teams that routinely scored more runs than the other team to be a winner.

Mr. Cub’s enthusiasm for the game he loved was infectious. “Let’s play two,” he said famously — and that quote will be repeated endlessly over the next few days.

Pro sports has suffered a bit of an image problem of late. Baseball’s been tainted by steroid and other “performance enhancing drug” use. Pro football has been shamed by the off-the-field savagery of some of its stars against women.

Against that backdrop, now we say “goodbye” to a seriously good and decent man who, by the way, could play a pretty good game of baseball himself.



UIL to end steroid testing of athletes

Texas athletic officials enacted a steroid-testing program for high school student-athletes thinking that they would discover widespread abuse of the muscle-building drug.

It didn’t happen. The state looked high and low, tested thousands of youngsters and found virtually zero steroid use.

Therefore the state is likely to end its testing program, saving Texans a lot of money.

Good deal.

The University Interscholastic League, which governs extracurricular activities for Texas public high school students, reports finding two — that’s it, two! — cases of steroid use in 2007-08. The UIL tested more than 10,000 students.

There you have it.

The rampant plague of steroid abuse among student-athletes doesn’t exist. Consider it the same as the weapons of mass destruction that were supposed to have been stored in Iraq prior to our March 2003 invasion; our troops arrived, looked for the WMD and didn’t find a thing.

It’s good that the state is heading toward ending the steroid-testing program. It’s even better to learn that despite the hype and hoopla that the state’s high school athletic community isn’t full of juiced-up freaks looking for any edge they can find.


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.

MLB’s big dog has been hammered

Bud Selig is now officially my favorite major sports commissioner.

Roger Goodell? David Stern? Gary Bettman? Forget about it.

Major League Baseball’s top man has done the right thing by giving Alex Rodriguez — the one-time heir apparent to Barry Bonds as MLB’s so-called all-time home run king — a 211-game suspension. A-Rod is out for the rest of this season and all of 2014, depending on the outcome of his expected appeal. (I say “so-called” because Hank Aaron, whose mark Bonds surpassed, will remain the real HR king in my eyes; he belted 755 of ’em without cheating.)


Indeed, now A-Rod appears headed for another “heir apparent” role as it regards Bonds: the heir to the most soiled reputation among those believed to have cheated their way into baseball’s record books.

What makes this suspension so welcome is that Selig dropped the hammer on one of the game’s biggest stars. He didn’t reserve this harsh punishment for some utility player or pinch hitter. A-Rod has more than 600 home runs, fifth-most in baseball history. He was closing in on 3,000 base hits and a bunch of other standout numbers I don’t care to discuss today.

A-Rod’s sin has been his involvement with the Biogenesis clinic and its alleged dispensing of performance-enhancing drugs, such as human growth hormones, testosterone and other banned substances. A-Rod has been implicated in all of that, apparently with a mountain of evidence to back up the allegations.

Furthermore, Selig reportedly was steamed at Rodriguez’s insistence in calling all the shots in the negotiations with the baseball front office, which Selig would not tolerate.

Selig has demonstrated some serious manliness in standing up to the game’s great players. He’s already suspended Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun — who plays in Selig’s hometown — over the use of banned substances. And today, he handed out significant suspensions to a dozen other players apart from Rodriguez.

It’s that 211-game suspension that stands out, given Rodriguez’s standing among the current players and the fact that it likely means the end of the line for the star who’s approaching 40 — which makes him an “old man” in the world of big league baseball.

Major League Baseball’s commissioner is making an example of those who think they can get away with cheating — and is setting a sparkling example for other commissioners to follow.

Hate to pre-judge A-Rod, but …

Here’s what I’m thinking today about what likely will happen tomorrow to baseball’s latest fallen icon: Alex Rodriguez will be suspended for the rest of the season and his ticket to the Hall of Fame will be canceled.


It really pains me to think this about A-Rod, a young man I used to admire for his immense baseball skill. It turns out the former Seattle Mariner/Texas Ranger/New York Yankee slugger is about to pass into history tainted with the tag of “cheater” over the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

I have heard all weekend about how Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig broke off negotiations with A-Rod because the injured superstar was trying to call all the shots. Selig would have none of it.

This suspension, if it’s for the rest of the year as most baseball observers predict, could spell the end of A-Rod’s career. He’s already angered the Yankees’ management, speaking out of school over the state of his rehab; he hasn’t played this year because of injury.

It’s also been reported over many years that A-Rod doesn’t have much support in the clubhouse. He isn’t known as a “good teammate” in the mold of, say, Mickey Mantle or Derek Jeter. So, whatever happens to Rodriguez isn’t likely to be greeted with many expressions of sorrow from his fellow Yankees.

It’s been nice watching you over the years, A-Rod. I’m afraid your day is done.