Saturday, September 29, 2012

Major League Baseball's PED Asscapades Pt.II...

Former major league relief pitcher Eric Gagne has gone on the record stating about 80% of his former Los Angeles Dodgers teammates were taking HgH during his playing days. This type of confession, while convenient in respect to the book he's recently published, shines a light on the rotten world of professional sports. And guess what? Nobody cares.

Only in the sport of cycling is there an exaggerated sense of outrage over the latest doping scandal, where people continually call for draconian lifetime bans for first-time offenses for crap like clenbuterol and whatever it was that Frank Schleck tested positive for during the Tour de France this last July. This is set up exclusively for the riders, who as we've witnessed over the course of scandal after scandal are the last in a chain of enablers and facilitators who continue to poison the sport unimpeded while the riders take the brunt of the sanctions.

Take the example of David Millar of the Garmin team. I recall when he had gotten busted, how the police arrested him while having dinner one evening and took him back to his apartment for a proper ransacking of his abode. All they found was a used vial of EPO. One. That was enough for his world to come crashing down. Gone was his lucrative contract, the house he was having built, and for the time being his career and reputation. All for one empty vial. Did the police get to the bottom of the steroid ring that made it possible for him to procure said product? Did any team official lose his livelihood? Did any team doctor lose his license to practice? Of course not.

But still, years later, he's being called a drugs cheat in interviews. Years after the fact he still has to go on television and explain himself. The press love hammering cyclists, but cats like Gagne are ignored or worse, marginalized out of public consciousness. Don't touch the sacred cow of the American Pastime, because no one wants to hear it.

David Millar of the Garmin pro cycling squad-

ESPN's resident contrarian asshead Skip Bayless actually got it right for once when he dared question Derek Jeter, the shortstop/national monument of the New York Yankees, who is having an MVP-caliber season at the age of 38 (yes, another Festivus Miracle!!!). Sports columnists had been writing for years how Jeter was losing his defensive range, and his batting average also spoke to the inevitable decline that all aging ball players suffer, especially ones who don't know when to give it up. Jeter was actually aghast a few years ago at the possibility of a pay cut when his current contract expired, and couldn't comprehend why the Yankees wouldn't sign him for another fourteen years at the same salary, if not more.

Despite what an ambassador he is to the game, Jeter exhibited the same hubris and ego that goes along with being the golden boy of his sport. Baseball is about eternal summer, not only for the fans but for the players. There are only two places where flabby middle-aged men can relive their youth, a time warp where a fountain of youth still exists where these entitled, dickless motherfuckers can drag their flaccid, flabby, diabetic, high-blood pressured carcasses and feel young and beautiful again-third world whorehouses and baseball stadiums.

Forget that taking  PED's can not only prolong careers, but in certain cases enhance performances leading to awesome stats and even awesomer long-term contracts. This is what Melky Cabrera was banking on, and he crapped out big-time. He was going into next season's free agency market looking for that much-sought after long term deal which would have guaranteed his and family a life of easy living. But he got caught, and at the age of 28 he is no longer considered a viable long-term investment. The nature of his statistical leap from lifetime .270 hitter to batting title contender can only be traced to one thing-the use of performance enhancing drugs.

Let's take a look at the numbers, because baseball fans, if anything, are obsessed with statistics. During the five years Cabrera played with the New York Yankees, his batting average was .269. There is nothing outstanding about this, so what does it prove? Nothing, until you get to 2009, where he batted .255 for Atlanta. In 2010. The very next year he goes on to hit over .300 (.305 to be exact) for the first time in his major league career. Before testing positive this year he was hitting .346. That's a jump of almost 100 points in two years after having his worst statistical year in batting average percentage. This anomaly is the equivalent of Bob Beamon's long jump record, except that in baseball it NEVER happens. NEVER. But it happened to THIS fucking guy, and just before he was set to command maximum dollars in the free agency market.

Cabrera with A-Rod and Robinson Cano, having "a loosey-goosey time"...

Well, that market has dried up, because everyone now knows how he achieved these numbers. He is a product of the paradigm shift that has overtaken amateur and professional sports since the 1970's. Steroids are here to stay, and they will continue to dominate the landscape of sport as long as cheaters continue to be one step ahead of the anti-doping authorities. But it's not only that. Steroid use is the equivalent of having your husband go to work every day selling credit default swaps. The people who engage in this activity,  if asked to a man, don't consider this type of work dishonest. Neither do athletes who cheat, and neither do their fans.

This is what society is confronted with when dealing with cheaters-the hypocrisy of their own thought process. Most people make apologies for people like Lance Armstrong not only because of their blind hero worship. Put in the same position, most people would cheat given the opportunity, because money and fame trumps integrity every time. Derek Jeter knows this all too well, and the issue at hand is his fans desperately want to think of Jeter as the player he was in 1996, and not the aging ballplayer of 38 who is having an athletic renaissance that is as suspicious as any I've ever seen.

As they say in baseball, the numbers don't lie. But when presented with with the numbers, what truth do they tell? And does anyone want to hear it when it's in their face? Melky Cabrera is an expendable character in this sad, sordid mess. Latin, not very loveable, not at all charming in front of the cameras, is not a good-looking man and was never a transcendent star until this year. Derek Jeter is the sacred cow in a sport where sanctity of the game and its' players trumps everything else.

That's the only math that matters in baseball, nothing else.

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