Posted on: November 4, 2009 3:11 pm
Ok, admit it, your first response to this story was remember the Plaxico Burress incident last year when he shot himself in the leg with a handgun in a New York night club. He was heavily criticized by politicans of New York, particularly Mayor Blumberg, who repeatedly stated that for this exact reason was the statue passed in New York for a minimum felony charge and 3-year prison term for carrying a concealed, loaded weapon in public.
The association is not a bad one - everyone will for sometime reference Burress when a situation like this comes up, and the same is true for steroids and Barry Bonds, and animals and Michael Vick, etc. But I believe that the situation here with Vicente Padilla is not too far from the same incident that Burress went through.
The main reason why Burress was prosecuted so heavily was not that he was merely carrying a gun, or that it went off, or that it hit himself, it was that these things happened in a public setting. Both cases were accidental - neither was looking to shoot themselves - yet Burress' reputation is ruined and he's in jail for several months, and the possibility that he'll ever play in the NFL is slim. Burress' was publicly condemned, yet Padilla just comes off clumsy.
My point is that simply because there is more chances of being shot that people are aware of at a shooting range shouldn't mitigate the Padilla's responsibilty for his actions - or similarly - people should not be so hard on Burress if they want to brush Padilla's issue under the carpet.
Burress should not have been carrying a loaded handgun in the club. I, like everyone else apparently, do not see the infatuation of professional athletes and weapons (see West, Delonte - and ask him how playa that is). But how often does the justice system in this country work around the premise of no harm, no foul?
If Burress didn't need to carry around a hand gun, then Padilla didn't need to go to a shooting range.
And by the way, no I'm not from New York, and I'm a Patriots fan (and yes we're talking about the same Burress who, well, you know the rest...)
Posted on: February 7, 2009 1:36 pm
Their names have been run through the mills countless times over the last five years in connection with the seemingly epidemic use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball. We already know them:
Barry Bonds. Roger Clemens. Jose Canseco. Mark McGwire.
And the list goes on.
Although his public appearance has been skewered since he began his tenure with the New York Yankees, who are hated by many merely on principle, Alex Rodriguez was once looked upon as the best all-around player of our generation. His ability to combine speed and power to become the youngest member of baseball's elite 40 home runs/40 steals group elevated his fame and promise to become the eventual home run champion.
Today, however, SI.com is reporting that in 2003, during his first MVP season, and last season with the Texas Rangers before being traded to the Yankees, Rodriguez tested positive for illegal substances twice.
Four different sources have independently reported the positive tests to SI, and the substances are reported to be testosterone and a designer anabolic steroid called Primobolan.
These tests were part of MLB's 2003 anonymous drug testing, which is a slight misnomer. The tests were anonymous only to the extent that the actual names of the players (of which there were 104 in 2003) were not released.
However, with the impeding trial against Bonds and BALCO, those lists and other related documents were unsealed to determine whether or not Bonds had perjured himself to federal investigators. Bonds is not being tried for steroid use, but only for lying. If admitted, this list will be used to help determine whether other players knew of Bonds alleged steroid use at that time.
With the opening of these documents comes the fallout for Rodriguez. While Canseco mentioned that the sequel of his first book Juiced would include a section detailing Rodriguez's steroid usage, many dismissed this claim.
Over his career, Rodriguez has been able to stand beside the fact that he has been remarkable consistent over his career, never achieving too far over or too far little of his career averages. With the fact that four sources have independently confirmed this news, it will be difficult for Rodriguez to side step the issue as when Canseco accused him.
Rodriguez will not be punished by MLB because of his positive test because there was no penalty for a positive test in 2003, as the tests were supposed to be anonymous. A suspension from MLB, however, is likely the least of Rodriguez's worries at this time.
Posted on: January 26, 2009 10:26 pm
Three-time All-Star first baseman Sean Casey is expected to formally announce his retirement this week. He will begin work as television analyst for MLB Network sometime before Spring Training opens.
Casey played 12 seasons in the big leagues, and while beginning his career in Cleveland and finishing in Boston, he will be best remembered for his time with the Cincinnati Reds, where he earned his three All-Star appearances.
During his tenure with the Reds, he developed the nickname of "The Mayor" because of his habit of striking a conversation with everyone on and off the field. Casey was widely known as one of the most approachable and friendly athletes in the game.
Off the field, the list of charitable programs in which he is an active member is extensive. Big Brother, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and various Christian-based groups all benefit from Casey's time and star power.
Meanwhile, Casey was also a very good left-handed hitter, compiling a .302 lifetime career batting average, which up until his retirement, ranked him 16th on the active list of qualifying hitters.
He was, for 12 seasons, everything that a professional athlete should aspire to be.
But while baseball looses one of its best, it is likely that they also lost yet another player who used what are today banned substances to elevate the level of his play.
The current Major League Baseball drug policy that was enacted before the 2005 season by Commissioner Bud Selig following the BALCO scandal amended the previous policy to include a much stricter section for performance enhancing drugs. The testing and the punishments became much more rigorous.
Before the 2005 season, a player who tested positive for an illegal performance enhancing substance was given treatment, not suspended, and not even named. Previous to 2002, there was no testing for performance enhancing drugs.
Yes, Casey exhibits model professionalism. It was reported during his tenure with the Red Sox that he could walk from the parking lot to the clubhouse and remember the name of every attendant and employee that he saw on a regular basis.
In 2004, at the age 29, and in the very middle of a hitter's prime, Casey slugged 24 home runs and drove in 99 RBIs, tying a career high. But despite playing in 137, 112, 143 games over the 2005-2007 seasons, respectively, Casey only managed 21 home runs. Casey went homer-less in 69 games with the Red Sox in the 2008 season.
Coincidence? No. Casey was in the prime years of his career, when all good hitters experience a surge in their offensive statistics. Yet, while Casey's batting average (.312, .272, .296, .322) over the last four years of his career remained exactly around his career average of .302, his power numbers drastically declined. And since when has 33 been an age ripe enough to retire?
Maybe it is anomalous. Perhaps he is clean. The fact remains that even if fans have speculated whether or not Casey used PEDs, he was a stand-up character for his entire career. If Casey is ever mentioned in some former senator's report years from now, people will forever have a good memory of him because he was the exact opposite of those most hated by baseball fans (Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Gary Sheffield, etc.)
Any ball club would welcome the Mayor. He was loved during his time in Boston. That he may have been involved with the steroid scandal says a great deal about the era that baseball has gone through.
Posted on: January 22, 2009 10:28 pm
It could be worse for Mark McGwire.
He could be Barry Bonds.
Look up "scapegoat" in the dictionary and find a picture of Bonds.
Look up "Pete Rose" in the dictionary and find a picture of McGwire.
Mark McGwire revitalized America's National Pastime, picking it up in the 1998 season by smashing the home-run record when the bitter taste of the strike-shortened 1994 season still lingered about the sport. He became a household name in the late 90s. However, his sparkling public imagine was soon muddied when the accusations of steroid use began leaking out of St. Louis.
He was never convicted of any steroid use, likely because most of what he was alleged to have done was not in fact illegal in Major League Baseball at the time. Nor has he admitted to any steroid use, mostly because his public appearances have been few and far between.
So when McGwire appeared in front of the House Government Reform Committee on March 17, 2005, it was the first time many had seen him since his retirement following the 2001 season. It was here that McGwire cemented the skepticism that now surrounded his career with the following statements:
"My lawyers have advised me that I cannot answer these questions without jeopardizing my friends, my family, and myself. I will say, however, that it remains a fact in this country that a man, any man, should be regarded as innocent unless proven guilty."
And let's not forget what was, at the time, the most famous one-liner of the conference (since surpassed by Rafael Palmiero's "I have never intentionally used steroids. Never. Ever. Period"): "I'm not here to talk about the past. I'm here to be positive about this subject."
Though heavily criticized for these comments, which left few believe that he remained clean for his entire career, McGwire has since stuck to his guns (pun intended), never admitting to using any performance-enhancing substances. Because of what was permitted at the time, he may be able to skirt the issue forever, leaving his involvement up to speculation.
But, with the release of a book in which his brother essentially takes credit for permanently marring his career, it is time for McGwire to attempt to win his baseball career back. Unfortunately, he has gone the way of Pete Rose, who stubbornly refused to admit to betting on baseball until decades after his banishment from the sport.
With the wounds of McGwire's choices still being relatively fresh on baseball, he may be able to slowly garner some acceptance from baseball fans. While clearly one of the most high profiled athletes involved, McGwire is by no means alone.
Posted on: February 11, 2008 7:12 pm
Easily the most popular subject in baseball to debate concerns Barry Bonds because of the ongoing nature of related stories and seemingly limitless possible outcomes of his impact on baseball. The Baseball Reporter by no means supports the use of steroids or any other performance enhancing substances. However, while the FBI, headed by Senator George Mitchell, have a frighting amount of evidence that they are waiting to unleash against Bonds, they also have an equally frighting mountain of evidence that supports a defense that many San Franciscans and New Yorkers alike have stood firm behind.
The number of players from the 1990s to early this decade who have used "banned" substances is much higher than fans are willing to accept. The estimates are overwhelming; nearly sixty percent of players from the mid to late 90s were using steroid and amphetamine-like products. Experts close to the investigation feel that when the steroid era peaked, the number of players is even higher. These truths that the sport of baseball must face are disturbing, but are not cause to lay blame on one individual.
It should be taken as fact that Barry Bonds used steroids to enhance his body, along with a few others: Gary Sheffield, Jason and Jeremy Giambi, Jason Grimsley and Ken Caminiti are the most notarized names of players who have admitted to using steroids. But, seeing how few have come forward, it would be an approximate estimate to say that for every player that has admitted to use steroids, there are 100 others who have not been as forthcoming.
The Baseball Reporter will not condone this site pointing fingers at players who have not tested, or testified, to have used performance enhancing drugs. It is easy to make assumptions, and however truthful or obvious they seem, it is disrespectful and, as professional athletes, they deserve media to hold their tongue.
Barry Bonds is constantly being raked through the media. Again, while the Baseball Reporter will not support tampering with any sport's integrity, Bonds has been made a scapegoat and is carrying an unnecessary burden on top of his own legal problems, not to mention trying to break probably the most famous baseball record of all time. It is the reason why he is the hero of San Francisco and the ultimate antagonist in every other baseball city. Giants fans are stuck with Bonds and his baggage, and they support him because he wears their uniform, or maybe because they are trying to stick it to the rest of baseball. Every other baseball city cannot imagine having one of their players so highly abused in the press and conform with the negative treatment of Bonds to show their dislike of cheaters and steroid users, but never one of their own.