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A-Rod, steroids, asterisks and David Ortiz

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan  August 21, 2013 06:00 AM

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"You hate Alex Rodriguez but cheer for David Ortiz. He'll get his. Youse a hypocrite. The 2004 and 2007 Red Sox were cheaters. 18-1. Buckner. Aaron Boone rules." - Many Yankees Fans This Week

That argument came hard and fast from the tri-state area in defense of Alex Rodriguez's presence in Yankees lineup during his PED suspension [we've already trod the 'due process' ground, please keep up] and the sudden infatuation for A-Rod following his drilling Sunday night and subsequent chemically-enhanced offensive outburst against Ryan Dempster and the Red Sox.

Yankees fans and their apologists in the press are using the "everyone is doing it defense" to cleanse their conscience in defense of A-Rod.

That's where Ortiz comes into play. Both Ortiz and Rodriguez eventually admitted to testing positive for PEDs in 2003 - although Ortiz [laughably] denies knowing what caused his positive test.

That's where the comparisons end. A-Rod's steroid usage was spotlighted in an 2009 Sports Illustrated story that claimed he had been using since high school and was still using at that time. He was also associating with a Canadian blood-doping doctor in 2010, was the poster boy for the Biogenesis clinic in 2012, got hit with the largest PED suspension in baseball history yet continues to play because of a first-time offender loophole in the MLB testing policy.

A-Rod's attorney continued to deny allegations his client used PEDs after 2003 his less-than-stellar appearance on the TODAY show Monday.

We're not here to defend or excuse Ortiz's actions 10 years ago, unless I missed out on John W. Henry's e-mail instructing TPCOTB [The Parent Company Of This Blog] to do so.

And when A-Rod and Ortiz did test positive a decade ago, neither was breaking any rules since baseball had no policies against it.

The foolishness in trying to excuse A-Rod's continued impact on the pennant race in both leagues remains the issue in 2013. He could have been suspended under the "best interests of baseball" clause. Bud Selig lacked the sackage to go head-to-head with the union and the Yankees, despite their in-house dysfunction, desperately needed him in the lineup for their fourth-place run.

Of course, A-Rod lied on multiple occasions that he never did PEDs until he eventually admitted that he did. His track record of lying until pushed to the brink leaves his credibility in shambles.

As predicted, all the hate directed at A-Rod in the Bronx faded as soon as he started to produce. Dempster only accelerated the process.

So, that leaves Boston baseball fans with the "Manny Ortez" dilemma. How does baseball and its fans handle pennants and championships that involve players who used steroids and other PEDs?

There are three choices.

1. Take these games at face value, steroids and all, and accept what happens on the field. The teams win or lose, period. The records count. The titles are legit. Keep those DVDs and all that swag.

2. Pick and choose which games count and which ones don't, eliminating any team who had a player associated with PEDs, much like the NCAA does with ineligible players.

3. Pretend the last 20 years never happened.

I'll choose No. 1 with the following proviso:

The players who juiced, whether their name is Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Manny Ramirez, Nelson Cruz, Ryan Braun, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa etc. will, however, be judged on individual basis.

Whether or not they reach the Hall of Fame, or deserve your cheers, support or get $175 for an autographed ball, is up to each fan or each member of the BBWAA who holds the keys to Cooperstown.

And now that baseball has a semi-legitimate drug testing policy that's almost enforced, those who do juice nowadays will be be caught and dealt with accordingly, which in A-Rod's case means continuing to earn about $175,000 for each game he plays while his appeal trudges through the MLB justice system.

In the case of A-Rod, he's booed, jeered and eventually plunked because he's being given the benefits of a first-time offender who has a PED rap sheet as long as anyone this side of Jose Canseco. The is the root cause of all the justifiable anger coming from the players who have ripped him publicly, like John Lackey and C.J. Wilson, and no doubt from many, many others who lack the courage if not desire to do so.

Ortiz and Manny Ramirez have become the "SpyGate" of the Red Sox. There's no tangible proof or admission that they juiced in 2004 or 2007. The initial tests they failed were in 2003 and Manny tested positive again in 2009 and 2011. Last week, we discussed Ramirez and where he belongs in the history of the Red Sox.

"Manny Ortez" is the default crutch for anyone who wants to detract from what the Red Sox accomplished in the first decade of this century, especially if they happen to be real housewives in New York, New Jersey and all of Connecticut south of Waterbury.

Let us, for the moment, invoke the logic being spun in the 212, 718, 201 and parts of the lower 203 area codes these days:

"Zero tolerance. Once a juicer, always a juicer. Just like Ortiz"

Please keep that in mind as we go through the list below.

Here's a sample of what you might find following the "once a juicer, always a juicer" mindset going back 10 years:

Break out the asterisks

  • 2012 World Champion San Francisco Giants: Melky Cabrera was last seen on waivers after being dumped by the Blue Jays earlier this month. The center fielder appeared headed for the N.L. batting title with a .346 average after being named All-Star Game MVP when he was suspended for 50 games on Aug. 15 following a positive test for elevated levels of testosterone. He was eligible to return for the World Series but the Giants never activated him. His name surfaced in the Biogenesis scandal but he avoided another suspension due to his time served.

  • 2012 American League champion Detroit Tigers: Shortstop Jhonny Peralta (currently serving a PED suspension thanks to the Biogeneis scandal), hit .239 for the A.L. champs in 150 games and was an All-Star thanks in large part to his .988 fielding percentage [7 errors in 595 chances].
  • 2011 World Champion St. Louis Cardinals: Texas outfielder Nelson Cruz [currently serving a PED suspension from the Biogeneis scandal] cost the Rangers the World Series by misplaying a flyball with his team one strike away from winning Game 6. The Cardinals went on to win that game and the series.
  • 2011 American League Champion Texas Rangers: Cruz, see above, hit .263 for the American League champs with 27 HR and 89 RBI. Sizable numbers for sure.
  • 2010 American League Champion Texas Rangers: Cruz, see above, hit .310 for Texas with 22 HR and 78 RBI. Again, he didn't hurt their effort.
  • 2009 World Champion New York Yankees: Where do we begin? Well, Pettitte admitted taking HGH earlier in his career and later apologized. There's one.

    This team also included Cabrera in center field, who hit 13 HR, with 68 RBI and a .274 average that season for the Bombers.

    A Yankee for life, no doubt.

    Rodriguez. He began 2009 by admitting to steroid use back in 2001-03. After Sports Illustrated blew the cover off his lies, he said he stopped using before he began playing with the Yankees. Rodriguez was also being treated by noted HGH proponent Dr. Anthony Galea at that time. Baseball investigators believe his run with and Biogenesis began in 2010.

    Rodriguez hit. .429 in the 2009 ALCS against Anaheim with 3 HR and 6 RBI in six games. He finally exorcised his postseason demons. And we're supposed to believe that it just happened to fall into the period when he wasn't juicing.

    Even backup catcher Francisco Cervelli, who wasn't on the postseason roster, earns notice here since his name came up in the Biogenesis scandal, reportedly thanks to A-Rat himself.

  • 2007 World Series Champion Red Sox: Manny and Ortiz. Haters gonna hate.
  • Clemens Pettitte Astros.jpg

  • 2005 National League Champion Houston Astros: The Astros' rotation was anchored by Clemens and Pettitte. What Clemens told Pettitte in 2005 about his or his wife's steroid usage was a matter of conjecture during Clemens' perjury trial and led to his acquittal.

    But using the "once a juicer, always a juicer" theory, which is the only way one can disqualify "Manny Ortez" and his accomplishments with the Red Sox, we have to include those upstart and pesky Astros. The Rocket was 13-8 with a league-leading 1.87 ERA that season while Pettitte was 17-9 with a 2.39 ERA in 221.2 innings.

  • 2004 World Champion Boston Red Sox: The Legend of Big Papi was born and Manny won the World Series MVP. Yankees fans refuse to acknowledge this ever happened. Of course, if we negate the Red Sox' 2004 A.L. title, we also have to eliminate the Yankees, thanks to the presence of both A-Rod and noted juicer Gary Sheffield on their roster.

    Sheffield, who went off the deep end a couple of weeks ago trying to play the race card when criticizing Dustin Pedroia's 2008 A.L. MVP, was a big and juicy bat in the Yankees' lineup. He hit .290 with 36 chemically-aided home runs and 121 RBIs. Sheffield told the BALCO Grand Jury in December 2003 that he had used steroids and some "red beans," identified as Andriol, that he got directly from Barry Bonds.

    The Cardinals win by default.

  • 2003 American League Champion New York Yankees: A personal favorite.

    One of the great moments in the history of alleged PED usage came in Game 3 of this series when Manny faced Clemens in the bottom of the fourth inning and all hell broke loose after Clemens threw at his head.

    Roid rage all the way around.

    Who had the PED edge in that matchup? You might have to ask Brian McNamee.

    Pedro Martinez had gotten things started in the top of the inning when he grazed the head of Karim Garcia. Ramirez led off the bottom of the fourth, and Clemens' fourth pitch was inside and high, that triggered Ramirez, who pointed a bat at Clemens and started screaming.

    The benches and bullpens emptied, with Pedro eventually dumping Don Zimmer to the ground after a failed punch. Clemens eventually retired Ramirez and Ortiz in that inning before going on to get the victory, his second of the postseason. Pettitte was 0-1 in the ALCS, losing an epic showdown with Tim Wakefield in Game 3 at Fenway before taking a no-decision in Game 6.

    The Rocket also started Game 7 for the Yankees, giving up three runs in three innings.

    But it was Jason Giambi's juiced bat that proved the difference for the Yankees. While the Yankees porn roll always includes Aaron Boone's home run off Wakefield in the 11th inning, Giambi hit two home runs for the Yankees in their 6-5 Game 7 victory.

    Two months after Giambi helped to eliminate the Red Sox with those two home runs, he admitted in testimony before the BALCO grand jury to using steroids (clear, cream, Deca-Durabolin, injectable testosterone) and HGH, saying undetectable BALCO drugs and injectable testosterone were provided by Bonds' pal Greg Anderson. Giambi also testified that he used the BALCO drugs in 2002-03 and HGH from 2001-03.

  • Asterisks galore.

    Since both teams had juicers that season, guess we should have been watching the A's and Twins in the ALCS that season.

Once you start picking and choosing where to put asterisks when it comes to teams, titles and PEDs, it's pretty much impossible to stop. And why end the asterisks with steroids, why not extend the asterisks to cocaine usage [see 1986 Mets], sign stealing [see 1951 New York Giants] or any team that won a world series before baseball was integrated.

Limit this to the players involved, alleged, proven or otherwise, and let history take care of the rest.

Meanwhile, the 2000 world champion Yankees were the Murder's Row of the steroid era. That roster included Clemens, Pettitte, Canseco, Jason Grimsley, Chuck Knoblauch and David Justice, all of whom were named in the Mitchell Report. Knoblauch denied his PED usage for years before finally coming clean in 2011, saying he took HGH but that it "didn't make me any better." Justice continues to deny ever taking HGH as alleged.

The 2000 and '03 Yankees are the lone teams in the entire steroid era that won a pennant or World Series with a key player who admitted openly to taking steroids or HGH during a title run - although Knoblauch might beg to differ about his contributions in 2000.

So, if we're going to wipe out titles from the record books based on steroid use - we simply can't stop with the "Why Not Us" Idiots of 2004. Those Yankee teams of the early 21st century are under deep scrutiny, while the 2003 AL champion Yankees and, specifically, Aaron Boone's home run never happened.

Who knows, Grady Little might still be managing the Red Sox if the game was clean.

Maybe steroids aren't that bad after all.

Don't forget to visit our Obnoxious Boston Fan blog. As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

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