Once again, the use of performance-enhancing drugs is dominating the MLB headlines. Records from the now-closed Miami-based clinic Biogenesis have recently been released, linking multiple baseball stars’ names to buying PEDs from the clinic, according to a Miami New Times report.
The two biggest names mentioned so far are Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees and Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers. This is neither player’s first encounter with PED accusations.
In 2009, Rodriguez admitted to taking PEDs from 2001 to 2003 while with the Texas Rangers, but added that he had not used them since. Rodriguez has already tainted his reputation and severely decreased his chances of being elected into the Hall of Fame because of his steroid use. As seen in this year’s BBWAA Hall of Fame vote, any suspicion of steroid use can severely stain a career. This year, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa didn’t even come close to receiving the required percentage of votes for induction to Cooperstown because of PED links and scandals. Like A-Rod, all had legendary numbers and should have been shoo-ins, but with the rampant PED use in the game today, one of the few options left for baseball authorities to try and eradicate the problem is to treat suspicion as guilt.
These allegations could not come at a worse time in Rodriguez’s career, as he is coming off a hip impingement, which required surgery in early January. Doctors say he should be back by the All-Star break, but the chances he’ll return as even half the player he was in his prime seems unlikely. The Yankees have already signed Kevin Youkilis to play third base for the Yankees this season. In other words, A-Rod’s career in pinstripes, or career, could be over.
Coming off a National League MVP title in 2011, Braun was slated to be suspended for the first 50 games of last season but was reinstated before the season began, as a result of winning an appeal for his positive test for elevated levels of testosterone. Braun is no doubt one of the most consistent, all-around players in baseball, so this is unfortunate for the game and for the All-Star, especially if he is clean. In a statement he released this week, Braun insists that his name is listed under a ‘moneys owed’ category in Biogenesis documents because his attorneys used Anthony Bosch, the clinic operator, as a consultant, and that any tie to Biogenesis is merely “over a dispute over compensation for Bosch’s work.” Like last year, Braun claims innocence and “will fully cooperate with any inquiry into this matter."
Other names reportedly involved in the Biogenesis mess include, among others, former Toronto Blue Jays’ outfielder Melky Cabrera (also his second PED scandal), Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta, Baltimore Orioles third baseman Danny Valencia and New York Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli.
In 2009, after Alex Rodriguez admitted to “juicing,” President Obama gave his opinion about the dark shadow PEDs are casting over the game in his first primetime press conference. He stated, “If you’re a fan of Major League Baseball, I think it tarnishes an era, to some degree.” That was 2009. Now, in 2013, the words “think” and “to some degree” can be deleted from the latter part of the president’s quote. As one can see, PEDs have tarnished the game and extensive use continues to rear its ugly head.