Apparently there was more to steroids than we thought.
We know they increase you muscle mass, and shrink your testicles. I didn't know they also inflated egos and shrunk brains.
Well, now that I look at the last three -- I'm not surprised Congress is in the middle of this mess.
Really, there is a simple end to all this Major League Baseball steroid talk.
Yesterday we found out that two members of the 2003 Boston Red Sox -- David Ortiz and the previously-suspended Manny Ramirez -- tested positive during what was supposed to be anonymous drug testing during that season. Today, pitcher Bronson Arroyo, also a member of that Boston team, admitted he used Adrostinedione -- the same supplement taken by former Oakland and St. Louis slugger Mark McGwire.
There is so much wrong about this situation, that you almost use up all your rage on the situation before you even get a chance to be pissed about perceived cheating... if in fact you feel that is what it is.
Now, Ramirez failed a drug test this year and was suspended -- so there is zero shock factor that he is one of the 104 players who tested positive. Meanwhile, Arroyo's name has not been connected with that test, but he is coming clean. You have to respect Arroyo for that -- the same respect you should give marginal MLB pitcher Jim Parque (yeah, I know... most of you are asking 'who?'), who admitted his use recently.
Arroyo and Parque are doing it right. They are admitting their mistakes, talking about the effects, but not promoting it.
Ortiz is taking a very similar approach. At this point in time, we have to take the man at his word -- that until yesterday he did not know he had tested positive.
Yes, Ortiz was a marginal player with the Minnesota Twins before signing with Boston. And, yes, he seems to be fading into the twilight of his career. But, does that mean he was using steroids in between?
As I mentioned before, there is so much wrong with the circumstances under which we are learning more about this 2003 drug test.
Let's start with the fact that the results were not properly disposed of following the test itself. The test was supposed to be a baseline for MLB to gauge what the level of use was. The fact that someone still has the list is a MAJOR problem.
Even Stevie Wonder could have seen where this was going to end up. Someone was going to blackmail someone else. Congress has the list, and is pressuring MLB executives. The MLB Players Association has the list, and they might be the only people who rightfully should still have access to the list. But somehow the New York media has the list -- at least parts of it -- and are doing the most dispicable of things... releasing the names on the list, one or two names as a time at steady intervals.
It is no shock to me that of the names that have come off the list, one is a high-profile Yankees player (Alex Rodriguez), one is dead (Ken Caminiti), one was in a chase to break Yankee right-fielder Roger Maris' single-season home run record (Sammy Sosa), and now two played for the Boston Red Sox. Four have threatened to take the spotlight off of New York, and the other (A-Roid) could be seen as protecting New York and its image.
This is no different than the Democrats jumping all over Rush Limbaugh -- who I recently referred to as the 'Oxycodone Blimp' (just for you, Tom) -- for his pain killer addiction and shooting his mouth off like the racist moron he is. And no different than the Republicans becoming the vehicle by which the 'Birther' movement is being permitted to persist.
I have two solutions.
One solution is for Congress to release the names on the list. Right now, that is being blocked by the MLBPA, in the courts, on the basis that there isn't supposed to be a list. However, Congress holds the trump card -- three magic words: "Anti-Trust Exemption."
The other solution is far easier, and much more founded on ethical ground. The MLBPA needs to release the names on the list. There will certainly be fallout from this action, but by releasing the names you can end the speculation.
It's called a clean break. Gets the names out there, and what they tested positive for. No questions.
What many people don't know about the 2003 drug test is that MLB tested for drugs and supplements that were not banned at the time, in addition to steroids and human-growth hormones.
So, is it possible that Ortiz, like Arroyo and McGwire was taking something that was not banned at the time, but was tested for? Or, is this something where we didn't know the ingredients of a supplement, or simply didn't think to look for.
A positive test from 2003 is not nearly as bad as a positive test today. We know so much more about steroids (and we will simple classify all of these items as such for now) now than we did back then. McGwire took 'Andro' as a supplement to prevent injuries -- he stopped taking it under intense media scrutiny, and his career ended shortly after. We still don't know if 'Andro' is actually dangerous to the body, but someone was offended by its use.
On a personal note, I would like to see all these supplements and steroids out of sports. As a former athlete, myself, I will stand up and say there is no place for their use. I have also gone on record as saying the use of free weights, and weight training is vastly abused. I never took weight lifting seriously, and have spoken out about the inherent danger of 'maxing out'.
Perhaps it is why I washed out as a college athlete. But I am proud of what I accomplished, and doing so cleanly, ethically, and humbly. So what if, as former Bears quarterback Jim Miller once said: "nobody is waiving dollar bills in my direction when I take my shirt off." That's not what being an athlete is about.
Being an athlete is about having the God-given ability to do something, and the fortune to be able to make a living doing so.
We need to put the focus back on that ability -- it is the positive side of sports.