An Open Letter to All MLB PED Users from a Baseball Purist
Dear MLB PED users,
After reading all of the news written within the last two weeks regarding the alleged PED-supplying anti-aging clinic profiled by the Miami New Times, I am now compelled to speak out.
I will preface my comments by saying that I am a bona-fide baseball purist. I believe strongly in the game created over 140 years ago—it has withstood the test of time with very few changes.
Baseball has weathered many storms, including gambling (1919 Black Sox scandal), the advent of free agency, union squabbles and even a work-stoppage that shut down the World Series for the first time in history.
Baseball’s heroes are measured by their incredible exploits on the field, players who shined simply by displaying their God-given talents to the world and making the most of those talents naturally.
"Naturally" being the operative word there.
MLB PED users, there is nothing natural about what you did.
Players who actually didn’t feel the need to synthetically enhance their bodies enhanced in natural ways: working out at the gym, lifting weights and studying videos for hours on end to correct any flaws in their swing or in their pitching motion.
They bettered themselves by repeating all of the drills they performed to get to the major leagues, and continued repeating those same things over and over and over again.
They didn’t feel the need to enhance by injecting synthetic testosterone into their bodies, or taking supplements that contained dangerous muscle-building drugs that could have prolonged side effects.
They simply worked hard to achieve greatness. Wow, what a concept.
MLB PED users, you instead chose a path of incredible stupidity, righteous indignation and narcissistic self-inflation.
You actually had the arrogance and temerity to believe that what you were doing was justified by your will to succeed above all else. You put chemicals into your body with the mindset that you were helping your teams as much as you were helping yourselves.
Mr. Rodriguez, back in February 2009, you admitted to taking performance-enhancing drugs while with the Texas Rangers between 2001 and 2003. You told Peter Gammons of ESPN that you felt compelled to take PEDs because of pressure you faced.
"When I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure. I felt like I had all the weight of the world on top of me and I needed to perform, and perform at a high level every day."
The Rangers signed you because of what you had already delivered for the Seattle Mariners. You had just completed three straight seasons in which you hit at least 40 home runs with at least 110 RBI. Do you honestly think the Rangers wouldn’t have been happy with those numbers going forward?
You had already been performing at a high level each and every day with the Mariners while supposedly not on the juice—it makes no sense that you couldn’t have continued doing so naturally.
Now, Mr. Rodriguez, your name comes up once again in the Miami New Times article, and the implication is that you were imbibing once again in dirty chemicals from 2009 until last year. Yet you also told Gammons that you’ve been clean since putting on a New York Yankees jersey.
"I've played the best baseball of my career since," you said. "I've won two MVPs since and I've never felt better in my career. Of that I'm very proud of."
How stupid does that statement now look?
MLB has not yet completed their investigation into the allegations brought out by the Miami New Times article, but Mr. Rodriguez, it’s now hard to believe anything that comes out of your mouth.
To Yasmani Grandal, Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon
Gentlemen—and at this point, I use that term loosely—you sought an edge by injecting synthetic testosterone into your bodies. Mr. Cabrera, you even tried to cover up your positive test. Did you honestly think for one second that MLB was going to believe that you unknowingly took a banned substance by attempting to create a fake product?
I agree that at times MLB officials may act like schoolboys. But Mr. Cabrera, they really aren’t that stupid.
And now, you all were implicated in documents tying you to Biogenesis and to owner Anthony Bosch. Clearly there was intent—you all knew exactly what you were doing before you eventually got caught.
Unfortunately, you will all be working again this season. I suppose that for a while you will hang your head between your knees in shame, giving the public the perception that you’re actually sorry for what you did.
You’re only sorry because you got caught.
To All Others Tied to PED Use but Not Legally Guilty
Many of you have been accused of PED use. Some of you (Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens) even wound up in court facing federal charges, yet were found innocent.
To Mr. Bonds and Mr. Clemens, your alleged PED use completely sullied the most recent Hall of Fame vote. Because of your alleged involvement with PEDs, there were other players worthy of first-ballot selection into the hallowed halls that were denied entry.
They (Mike Piazza, Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell) were denied entry because they played alongside players like you who were accused of taking PEDs.
Do you think that’s fair to them? Yes, maybe they’ll get the chance of being selected to the Hall of Fame in the future, but they were forever denied the opportunity to be honored as first-ballot selections.
They did it the right way, through hard work, sheer determination and by playing the game clean. Yet now, their reputations are sullied and they can never get back what was taken from them.
You didn’t just sully your own reputations, you left an indelible imprint on all of the players around you.
Nice. I bet you still sleep well every night, too.
There are no more excuses that can be heard, no more canned statements from PR firms that can be constructed, and no more interviews that can be given that could ever make us purists forgive your actions.
That ship sailed long ago.
A baseball purist
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