The Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) in sports story continues to evolve and will not go away. There are people who don’t care or wish that the PEDs story would go away, but their apathy and/or denial of reality has no effect on this snowballing situation.
Eight Belles’ Tragic End. Both the trainer and owner of the tragic Kentucky Derby filly have been on the receiving end of a barrage of questions about, and assertions that, the size of Eight Belles was due to a steady diet of steroids. The “wisdom” is that the over-sized Derby placer broke both ankles at the end of the race because steroids made her too big. It’s amazing that the horse’s trainer Larry Jones faced more scrutiny on the steroids issue than a whole bunch of major league baseball players have. To his credit Jones has been upfront and says that an autopsy will show Eight Belles to be clean of steroids. There’s a heck of a lot more steroid smoke, suggesting fire, surrounding baseball players than there is surrounding Eight Belles. But then again, a dead horse is an easier target than a live, baseball player.
Fantasy Baseball Will Be Ruined By Steroids, or Lack Thereof. I’ve been saying for a while that fantasy baseball gurus will start complaining about the lack of production from power hitters and power pitchers, and start to question PEDs role, before the mainstream sports media does. This week a fantasy baseball report on the Baltimore Sun’s web site discussed the falling fortunes of Cleveland Indians power hitter Travis Hafner over the past two seasons, and wondered if steroids — or lack of them — could be responsible. As season-starting slumps and slow starts develop into long-term trends – and fantasy leagues get messed up – we’ll hear a lot more about this from fantasy gurus.
NFL Steroid Trafficker Speaks, Again. Convicted steroid dealer David Jacobs is telling anyone who will listen – in this case The New York Times – that he “guru-ed” 10 NFL players about how to find loopholes in the NFL’s drug testing policy. The reality is that Jacobs is just a local gym rat/drug dealer who cooked up steroids in his kitchen and sold them – and Chinese HGH – to other gym rats and NFL players. He is positioning himself as having figured out the loopholes in the NFL's drug testing program when the loopholes are more like sinkholes. There's no mystery, as the NFL's – and most pro drug testing – system is rife with ways to beat it.
The most remarkable and instructive aspect of this particular issue is the difference in Jacobs' physique after three or four years of juicing. Notice in the pictures in the Times article the difference in Jacobs’ face, as well as his body, and tell me he doesn't resemble a lot of physiques sported by pro athletes. Jacobs went from a guy who looked like he’d be more comfortable playing Halo 3 to having a cookie cutter, PED physique, complete with the requisite tattoos. It's comical that the news accounts continue to refer to Jacobs as a body builder when in fact he is just a guy who made, sold and, ingested steroids and HGH and was not even a real competitive body builder. Apparently, using PEDs for three years is all it takes to be identified as such. This story isn't going to go away, but Jacobs certainly shouldn't be treated with any kind of legitimacy in helping forward it, unless he names new names.
Where’s Barry? Barry Bonds – you remember him – the best home run hitter of the steroid era and a player who hit more home runs than any other baseball player, is unsigned. The players’ union is looking into why teams haven’t signed Bonds, as if something nefarious is going on. The union apparently is unaware of the fact that Bonds is a cancer in the clubhouse and a liability on the base paths, so even though he doesn’t need to play a position in the American League he will still poison a clubhouse and slow down anyone getting on base behind him. And he’s 43. With bad knees. And a bad elbow. This isn’t exactly a case for Detective Columbo. What’s next, an investigation into why Bernie Williams isn’t on a major league roster?
Steroid Trafficking In Australia. Australian authorities are reporting that PED drug busts were on the rise in 2007, as over 1600 shipments of PEDs were confiscated, up from 1055 in 2006. The authorities have already intercepted 300 shipments this year. Customs officials also claim that at least 10 percent of these shipments were headed to athletes. So American authorities aren’t the only ones engaging in a PED crackdown. The Aussies are well aware that China is the leading exporter of the raw materials and finished products that so many athletes, body builders and other appearance-obsessed folks want to use. Ironically, China is hosting this year’s summer Olympics. It will be interesting to see if the country that is the leading exporter of PEDs will be the site of failed drug tests – Australians or not – for these very same substances.
Canseco Has Some ‘Splainin’ To Do. What would a steroid-laden Ramble be without a Canseco shout out? Jose losing his house may be the least of his worries based on the line of questioning that he has apparently faced from federal investigators. The feds seem to be looking into whether Jose tried to exact payment from some ballplayers in exchange for him not mentioning them in his latest book. Payment was in the form of an investment in a Canseco film project. Investigators also want to know if there are any other steroid dealers/“personal trainers” they should know about. I have a creeping suspicion that Jose might start wishing that he had never insinuated himself into this latest chapter of the PEDs in baseball story.
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