Posted tagged ‘steroids’

Jhonny Peralta’s New Contract and its Implactions on the Next CBA

November 25, 2013

Last night the St. Louis Cardinals signed Jhonny Peralta to a 4/$52mil contract. And the baseball world is furious about it.

Many people are upset that someone can be suspended because of PEDs for fifty games and still get a $52mil payday. The suspensions are supposed to be deterrents to using steroids. But if suspended players can still have the potential of earning millions of dollars then the suspensions will not stop players from using steroids.

If one really wants to tackle this issue they would look at why players use in the first place. At the top of the list is financial reasons. Maybe not to go from making $10mil to $20mil but to go from poor to rich. Most users are minor league players who make $10k or players who come from very, very poor areas and are willing on taking the 1% chance of going pro so they can provide for their family. If you do the risk-reward analysis- 50 games suspension or huge payday- the payday will win almost every time.

Players as well as fans are upset. One disgruntled player is Brad Zeigler who took his complaints to Twitter. A lot of players do want to clean up the sport because they are tired of the mess PEDs have created. After 2016 the current CBA will expire. And one can be sure that PEDs will be a major sticking point this time around.

Although it seems that both parties want to get rid of steroids I think there will be contentious debate. Although the MLBPA represents players who want to abolish steroids it still has to protect those players that do use. So increasing suspensions or penalties may be off the table for them. MLB will probably want to increase first time user suspensions or even have a one strike and your out rule. No way will MLBPA agree to that. Again, they need to protect its players so it won’t allow MLB to throw players out for one failed test.

The next labor negotiations will certainly be interesting and for everyone’s sake let’s hope they can resolve the issue peacefully.

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A-Rod, 600, and PED’s

July 29, 2010

As A-Rod continues his quest to home run number 600, it has come without much hoopla. While one would expect all major sports networks to follow his every PA, but only MLBN has done so. In fact, the story is not the home run, but rather the fact it has not received much attention. And why is that? Steroids.

Records are the most sacred aspect of baseball history and folklore. As kids growing up we learn about the Babe and 714 and Aaron and 756. We learned about Cy Young and 511 and Cal Ripken and 2632. Those numbers and records were pure and the essence of our love for the game. Once those records were ripped apart in what seemed like the blink of an eye, baseballs innocence was ruined to many. All those who contributed to the fall of the sacred baseball record books have became the target of fan disgust, and even hatred. So it’s no surprise no one cares about A-Rod and home run number 600. He cheated. That’s it, game over, you lose. He can hit all the homers he wants, but few will appreciate it. As the great Joe Posnanski writes:

But even to those who have come to grips with the Selig Era and the simple fact that all the numbers in the record books are distorted by one queasy fact or another, the 600 home run number STILL feels used up. It is like someone struggling to climb to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, reaching the peak and finding that people had already built a McDonald’s, a Home Depot and a Best Buy up there.

That statement is true. It sums up a feeling EVERY fan I have encountered has. And deservedly so.

But is the cold shoulder given to A-Rod and others like him fair?

The reason I ask is because there are all sorts of PED’s and some get a free pass while some do not. A big no-no is HGH. But most fans don’t understand HGH. It really doesn’t enhance performance. Rather, it helps players heal faster from injuries. The reason it’s a no-no is because it’s illegal. But if a player is ever caught using HGH, I wouldn’t care, and neither should you. The player probably took it to recover faster from an injury.

The next big one is anabolic steroids- mainly testosterone. If a player is caught using this, be upset. It’s meant to make you bigger and stronger. Does that make you better at baseball? No. But will it make you hit a ball farther or run faster or throw harder? Yeah, probably, because you get more out of your workout making you a better athlete.

Now, A-Rod tested positive for testosterone back in 2003. He said he used from 2001-2003, during his time as a Texas Ranger. Is he to be believed? That we may never know. By using the eye test, I believe he started using in 2001. He was a skinny dood on the Mariners. It wasn’t until he became a Rangers that his legs and body really grew. Additionally, his reasoning makes sense. A-Rod said he felt pressure after signing the highest contract in baseball history. We all know A-Rod had an identity crisis. So that reasoning fits in perfectly with his past mindset. In Seattle he played with other future HOF’ers in Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey Jr, and Edgar Martinez. The spotlight was never on him. But then he signed the biggest contract in baseball, which put a target on his back. He was the face of a franchise. He was the star and it was all up to him. So yeah, I do buy the pressure explanation he gave. As for more evidence, look at his stats from his debut through 2003. From 2001-2003 he had his three best seasons in HR and ISO to that point. Is that conclusive evidence? No- but it’s a start. At the same time though, offense in general was up during that time frame and he didn’t even post wRC+ or wOBA that were better than seasons he had in Seattle before he used.

But when did he quit? I would assume after 2003 when he was caught. If it means anything, his first season as a Yankee saw a big decline in production from his 2001-2003 seasons. Was that him adjusting to life without performance enhancers for the first time in three years? Maybe, maybe not.

A writer in SI said that if you take away his steroid years, he’d have around 358 homers currently. That is wrong. Assuming he only used from 2001-2003, he would have 443 home runs. But let’s be real. If he didn’t use, I doubt he would have homered zero times in three seasons. We can’t say how much steroids helped him. He was playing in a hitters park during a high scoring run environment during his age 26-28 seasons. Chances are he still would have hit 40-60 home runs and thus, still would have been just a few homers away from 600 anyway. It’s not like he was Barry Bonds on the downswing of a career. A-Rod will still getting better. And I mean, he was on pace to be an all-time player before he took steroids.

So why do I bring all this up? Greenies.

Anabolic steroids are the worst offense when it comes to doping in baseball (as of now). A-Rod and other record breakers used anabolic steroids. They got bigger and their performance was enhanced- to a degree we can’t gauge. But greenies or amphetamines are a dandy little PED as well. The benefit of greenies are:

amphetamines may provide some minor, short-term benefits. Current research shows that 10-30 mg methamphetamine may improve reaction time, and cognitive function, increase the feelings of alertness, decrease a sense of fatigue and increase euphoria.

Hmmm, let’s see. There are 162 games in a season, with few off days, lots of travel, little sleep, and some day games after night games. Sometimes a player will lag and not feel up to playing at his best. But pop a greenie and boom, you feel alert and ready to play. Moreover, you have improved reaction time and focus, which will help when you’re trying to hit a 95 mph fastball. Sure, with greenies it’s all psychological. You don’t actually lose your fatigue- the drug just fools your mind. But it is a benefit and allows players to maybe make a play or get a big hit they wouldn’t have got otherwise.

Greenies aren’t quite as bad as steroids, but I’d say it’s pretty darn close. And guess what? Lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of players used greenies. Bonds failed an amphetamines test. Hank Aaron lived on greenies. But people don’t understand the benefits of greenies, or underestimate them. The amphetamine problem has largely been ignored by the common fan. Yet if they fan took the time to realize the affect of greenies, then they would be as up in arms with them as they are with steroids. If that was the case, lots of players would be under scrutiny, not the select few like A-Rod who got caught with A-Rod.

No, I am not defending A-Rod. He used anabolic steroids, which is a big no-no. But if we are going to damn him for it, we need to damn people who used greenies as well (which is everyone). Hank Aaron? See ya!

It’s only fair.