Is Raul Ibanez on steroids?
That is the question that many fans have quietly wondered to themselves, hoping that the answer would be negative. The truth is we will never know for sure unless a test is made public. Under the current drug testing policy in baseball, there is no reason to suspect that everybody is clean.
I believe Ibanez to be clean and one of the hardest working players on the Phillies. I believe that Ibanez is a class act and has made himself to be a great role model for kids learning to play the game of baseball.
But in all honesty, I once felt the same way about Alex Rodriguez. The only reason I am discussing this, and I do not plan on expanding on this issue any further after this, is because I feel that this story has immaturely grown wings and gotten to the point where people are unjustly forming opinions that are misguided.
On Jerod Morris, pen named as Jerod, of Midwest Sports Fans posted a well thought out article examining Raul Ibanez's 2009 season compared to his previous seasons. Morris goes against the typical blogger stereotypes and provides actual research breaking down stadium comparisons and digging in to home run stats and pitchers Ibanez has faced.
Morris never stated that he believe Ibanez was on steroids. Not once. What Morris does do is comment on the state of baseball and the way fans can not have total faith in the purity of the game, regardless of the player. Ibanez just happens to be the stimulus to the conversation.
On June 9, John Gonzalez of the The Philadelphia Inquirer provides his commentary on JRod's piece and seems to miss the point. Gonzalez goes on to lecture JRod about whether or not he should be discussing the issue of Ibanez and performance enhancers. What Gonzalez fails to realize is that watching silently is how baseball got in to the mess it has become.
Are we just supposed to expect that the game is pure? In this day and age when universities are giving football players free textbooks, cars, or houses and when baseball players continue to state they have never used performance enhancers only to be found out months later, it is totally fine to address your concerns.
JRod did nothing wrong. What Gonzalez did was over the top. Why a big city paper columnist would care about what a blogger from the midwest thinks is beyond me.
Naturally the word got to Ibanez, who vehemently defended himself. From what he came out and said I am not sure that Ibanez actually read the original piece. I understand him being upset about being under scrutiny, but as long as he is clean he has nothing to worry about.
When Ibanez pulls out the cliche 42-year-old man blogging in his mother's basement though, I have to insert my response.
Bloggers get a bad name, but there are many out there who take their hobby seriously. I will be the first to tell you that my blogging activity is nothing more than a hobby. I receive little monetary returns on this and I do it for my personal enjoyment. I use blogging as a way to connect with people. I, like many quality bloggers, pride myself on being leveled and honest.
Speculation rarely makes an appearance on my sites. I hesitate sometimes to write something because I want to have a clear head on things. This is why my game recaps are always posted the following morning. I don't want to get carried away with high and low emotions.
For example, I was furious with the Phillies loss on Tuesday to the Mets. While I still don't understand the lack of negativity from my fellow Phillies bloggers, I feel that posting my post-game thoughts the next day allowed me to look at things in a different light.
Bashing bloggers is easy to do. Main stream media members will point out the fact that bloggers are not legitimate media. I will not argue that, but there was also a time when newspaper reporters did not have blogs.
The real issue here is the state of baseball and the inability for a player to enjoy success without going under the microscope. It will happen for everybody until baseball begins to crack down more and takes everything seriuosly. The issue is not what a blogger thinks.