I hate this entire performance enhancing drugs mess in baseball. This story just won't die. It seems like on an almost daily basis there is some new revelation about a player, or group of players, who alleged cheated. I've resisted writing about the topic for the most part, I feel almost like it's beneath me to get down into the gutter with all of this mess, but alas, the story just won't go away. So something I never do here at BaseballGuys.com – I'm actually going to write an editorial with little relevance, at least directly, to the world of fantasy sports.
Some bullet point thoughts on the whole disaster.
1 – If any player cheated shame on them. They've brought shame on themselves, their families, their teams and the fans that support them. If a player cheated, and it can be proven, they should be punished. Period.
2 – The key phrase of the previous statement is “proven.” In this society we rush to judgment so quickly. We want the news immediately. We get annoyed if we have to wait in line for three minutes to get out coffee or if a web page takes nine seconds to load. Instant gratification is the key term for today. That being said, we also seem want to accept every story as truth. Take the recent PED accusations coming out of Florida. It seems that we have grown so weary of the entire PED mess, especially on the heels of the recent admission by Lance Armstrong that he did indeed take banned substances after years of violently defending himself against such accusations, that we're willing to exceptany story at face value. I'm not saying the recent reports from Florida aren't accurate. I've got no way of knowing whether they are or aren't. But I will tell you that we've all been fooled before. Ever heard of the Piltdown Man? How about the singing group Milli Vanilli? And I don't even know what to say about the whole Manti Te'o situation. The point is that there are plenty of times when the public has accepted a story without knowing the truth. Let's be careful not to do that again here. Let's give the process time to unravel the mystery and get to the truth of the matter.
3 – What is the evidence against the players recently implicated? A series of documents from a clinic in Florida. I'm not saying they are fraudulent or fabricated, but has anyone ever written down something that wasn't true? We've all done that. Isn't Wall Street filled with people who make claims that simply aren't true (Bernard Madoff famously fooled everyone with a Ponzi scheme in which he apparently defrauded people of nearly $65 billion dollars). Just because a source reports something “officially” doesn't make it so. Do we believe the evidence form Florida in regards to the list of players that continues to seemingly increase by the hour?
4 – Even if the documents are authentic, what does that prove? That's the whole problem with this entire situation in major league baseball. We're talking about things that happened years ago in many cases. There's no medical proof of any of this. No drug tests. No blood tests. No urine tests. There is no direct proof of any of it. TO BE CLEAR, I'm not saying we should indemnify players of responsibility here, I'm merely pointing out that there is no direct link to players in the majority of these cases except in testimony from shady characters and in documents that may or may not represent reality. And this is the biggest quandary in sports at the moment in relation to the PED mess. We're trying to prove something that we can't prove. I have no idea if Ryan Braun took PEDs two years ago. With this being the second time in two years that his name has surfaced in connection to alleged cheating his window for support continues to narrow, but where is the proof that stands up in court? I just don't see it. Until we have that we can be skeptical of any player linked at all to any of this, including Braun, but are you really ready to turn your back on a player merely because of an accusation that hasn't been proven.
Have you ever been arrested or detained by the police for something you didn't do? Have you ever been accused of lying by your boss when you weren't? Has a significant other ever thought you were messing around with an ex of yours when you weren't? We've all been accused of things that aren't true.
I'm not going to say that players are innocent. In my heart of hearts I know they aren't. I know it. But the fact is that so much of what we accept as truth in the sports world of late isn't provable. It's the old he said/she said thing with two sides offering totally different reasons for what occurred (Braun's team says they are in the records of the Miami medical clinic because they were using the clinic as paid consultants when Braun was fighting his positive test prior to last season and that it has nothing to do with him purchasing drugs from the clinic). Will time allow us to resovle this issue? Will we ever get clarity on some of these matters? I fear we won't for many. Let's just hope that MLB finds a better way to test players so that we can put an end to the mess that I fear will engulf the game to the point that it will tarnish everything positive that has happened on the field. That would be an utter shame.
* Don’t forget to get your copy of the 2013 BaseballGuys Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide which is now available. Nearly 150 pages of insight to help you dominate the competition in 2013. At this point, I'm not downgraded guys like Gio Gonzalez, Jesus Montero, Nelson Cruz and Braun, not until we get more clarity with what is going on.
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The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Thurs 7 PM, Fri. 9 PM EDT), Ray also hosts a show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.
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