The Big Hurt, Frank Thomas, spoke volumes in just a few sentences in this ESPN article by Jerry Crasnick:
"When I played, guys all said, 'Let's get to the Hall of Fame,'" Thomas said. "Now guys are like, 'Let's do five years and make $150 million, and you're set for life. Who cares?' I think that's the feeling among most of the guys now. It's shameful, what's happened over the last seven, eight years with this whole scandal, but guys continue to try it.”
In an August, 2012 article, Forbes Magazine writer Chris Smith made his case to legalize steroids in professional sports, much to the chagrin, I’m certain, of all living hall of famers in any sport…with the possible exception of “pro” wrestlers.
And in a shopping mall or casino somewhere, surrounded by his own memorabilia and an ink pen, Pete Rose is asking why players who cheat with drugs are any different than he. Paul Daugherty, in this April, 2011 Sports Illustrated story, asked the exact same question.
No matter your stance on juicing, it’s difficult to carry a torch for the game and remain ultra-dedicated, like many of our fathers and grandfathers were, because the continual distractions are destroying the integrity of the game. Nothing surprises us anymore when it comes to scandals in our sport. We’ve learned to expect cheaters to cheat.
Did it startle any of us when we heard Alex Rodriguez was a target in the most recent “Bosch up”? Ryan Braun’s name didn’t trigger any dropped jaws, either. And now, as Bud Selig and the boys sharpen their claws and move in for the kill (as they should!), our talents as make-believe managers, it would seem, are being put to the test.
But unless more names pour out, is this really a huge deal in fantasy terms? If you own Braun, yes….but you knew the gamble when you took him (or kept him in keeper leagues). Everyone knew in January there was a possibility he’d be suspended, and if you were diligent, you had a back-up plan. So, we can cross Braun off the major concern list of fantasy catastrophes due to fair warning.
Losing Nelson Cruz, a sometimes phenomenal hitter who was likely a 7th or 8th round pick due to his streakiness and penchant for taking up DL space, would be a big loss to his owners. But his selection was surely protected with extra depth due to his lengthy hamstring issues. Cross Cruz off the major concern list….he’ll probably pull up lame in the next week or two anyway.
Jhonny Peralta was likely a waiver-wire pick, so not many of us can cry about losing his services. Everth Cabrera’s speed is nice, but irreplaceable? No. Melky Cabrera’s great first half last year didn’t convince fantasy owners he could perform without dope. He was one of those “I’ll grab him late if he’s still there” draft picks this season. Bartolo Colon? If he’s a major loss to your pitching staff, start studying for football season. Cross ‘em all off the list.
And then we get to ARod, the most arrogant thumb-my-nose at authority player on any diamond anywhere. If Cooperstown ever erects a Narcissist wing, this guy will be there to welcome visitors into the facility (which he would likely attempt to have renamed Alextown). Just remember, as his history has shown, if his lips are moving, he’s lying. If you drafted him this year (and not many people did due to hip surgery in January….about the same time his name happened to surface in yet another PED scandal), you knew the risk. He was crossed off my list years ago.
The other players mentioned thus far, including Yasmani Grandal, who recently returned from a 50-game suspension for PEDs, wouldn’t have pushed any fantasy team over the top.
So why is everyone so worried about how this investigation will impact their team? STOP IT! And, just in case you need some free advice, here’s a great article from WebMD about the detriments of worry, anxiety, and stress.
The integrity of the game is at stake and all of the prima-donna millionaires who have accumulated their riches by cheating the system will hopefully be exterminated to allow those who truly love the game a chance to prove the skills they’ve spent a lifetime perfecting…legally.
But in the meantime, we still have regular jobs and a passion for watching these guys play….and surfing the waiver wire for the next big thing is nearly as exciting as the fantasy game itself. Let's take a look at some non-PED happenings as well.
Did Barry Bonds have plastic surgery and rename himself Domonic Brown? Wait, that couldn’t have happened because Brown’s name isn’t involved in the PED mess. This kid is rolling at an unbelievable clip. Presently ranked #14 in the Yahoo! game, he’s done a large part of his damage since May 20th, which was about the time I dropped Dayan Viciedo (even though I’m still high on the struggling slugger) and added Brown to my OF in the illustrious Channel 4 News Team league. This dude has carried me the past few weeks. Here’s his line from 5/20 – 6/7, a span of 18 games: .391/ 11 HR/ 17 R/ 26 RBI/ 5 SB….and as I write this (on 6/8) he added another home run in the second inning against Tom Gorzelanny. Finding guys like this is more fun to me than grabbing a top-ranked stud early in a draft.
Matt Carpenter is another gem many of us were lucky enough to find early. He seems to hit and score every day, and he qualifies at four positions (1B,2B,3B,OF). During his current 17-game hitting streak, Carpenter has hit .435. He is second only to Carlos Gonzalez in runs scored for the season and ranks fourth in hits. He also has a little pop (6 HR). Speaking of Pete Rose, this guy’s gritty play is reminiscent of Charlie Hustle. Now, let’s see if he can do if for 24 seasons.
Check Swings: Since May 17th, Justin Upton has 0 HR and 1 RBI. Is First Base really so loaded that only 52% of teams have room for James Loney? Don’t overlook Kyle Blanks (only 4% owned) in San Diego – he has monster power. Those of us who hung in there with Jarrod Parker (4-1/ 6 QS/ 2.43 ERA/0.91 WHIP in past month) are finally reaping benefits. The much anticipated debut of Zach Wheeler will likely happen next weekend. Don’t forget about Brandon Beachy (only 38% owned now…but that will change dramatically in a few weeks).
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