Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Fixing baseball’s embarrassing problem


bondsaster“The cat – mmrrrooowwwrr – is out of the bag!” – Seinfeld’s Cosmo Kramer upon the realization that his first name had finally been revealed.

Alex Rodriguez (click link for video), Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez are among the players linked to performance enhancing drugs. The cat, is most definitely out of the bag.

When MLB players agreed to participate in a 2003 test survey to see if baseball did indeed have a PED problem, the players were assured that the results would be kept confidential. However, after the results were seized by federal agents during the BALCO investigation, some of the names that tested positive have been outed.

The question now, is what to do? Instead of a new name being leaked every few months followed by the inevitable, ensuing debate on what needs to be done to fix the problem, it’s time for baseball to deal with this once and for all.

The Lasting Hangover of Baseball’s Steroid Era

David Ortiz - Photo by Mike Segar / Reuters

Today’s report by the New York Times revealed David Ortiz to be the latest in an ever-growing list of Major League Baseball players guilty of using illegal performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). Ortiz’s name is now included on what has become an overhyped and mysterious list of names that tested positive back in 2003, before mandatory testing was put into place.

It was confirmed that Ortiz’s 2003 Boston Red Sox teammate Manny Ramirez is also present on the list, confirming lingering suspicion surrounding him ever since Ramirez was suspended 50 games this season for using an estrogen-based drug that acts as a masking agent for PEDs.

White Sox owner criticizes union, but “fears” Fehr

The owner of the Chicago White Sox chided the baseball players’ union for blocking efforts to rid the sport of performance-enhancing drugs, even making a play on words on a famous presidential quote related to the union chief.
Jerry Reinsdorf, speaking at a sports law conference in Chicago, said the important topics facing Major League Baseball have not changed since he last spoke to the lawyers’ group in 1983, but the drugs used by those players who do break the rules have changed from cocaine.
“Now we have steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs,” he said, adding that such drugs give users an unfair advantage over clean players, put users’ health at risk and their use sets a bad example for children.
Despite improved drug testing, Reinsdorf, who also owns the National Basketball Association team in Chicago, said baseball still must deal with human growth hormones, which current tests cannot track. 
For that reason, blood tests are likely needed, but the Major League Baseball Players Association union has resisted that approach, he added.
“I believe the game needs to be cleaned up or we’re going to lose fans,” Reinsdorf said.

“We’re testing the loyalty of our fans and I don’t know where the limit is,” he added, pointing to the recent drug-related suspension of Los Angeles Dodgers all-star outfielder Manny Ramirez (who put his failed test down to a medical problem).
Reinsdorf, who called on union chief Don Fehr to work with the owners to protect the game and the players, ended his 15-minute speech by paraphrasing a famous president.
“Remember what Franklin Roosevelt said: ‘We have nothing to fear but Fehr himself,’” Reinsdorf said.
After the speech, Fehr handed a card to the moderator that called on the audience to attend Fehr’s discussion panel on Saturday and warned: “I have more than 15 minutes.”

More than just a case of Manny being Manny

BASEBALL/“Manny being Manny” was the shrug-it-off saying coined by Red Sox fans when sweet-swinging outfielder Manny Ramirez would do something flakey on the field, like disappear into the old-time scoreboard built into Fenway Park’s Green Monster wall to relieve himself during a game, or step in front of another outfielder’s throw and cut it off, or decide he needed to take a day off for an ailment and then forgot what specifically was hurting.

There were frustrations and annoyances along the way, but they all seemed to vanish with the next big series, and the next string of clutch hits that invariably rang from the bat of the man considered one of baseball’s greatest hitters.

Manny Ramirez suspended for 50 games – update


Manny Ramirez has been suspended for 50 games by Major League baseball after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

This from MLB.com:

“Major League Baseball suspended Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez for 50 games on Thursday for use of performance enhancing drugs. Ramirez, who turns 37 on May 30, will begin the suspension with Thursday night’s Dodgers-Nationals game. He would be eligible to return around July 3, depending on rainouts.