Sunday, October 01, 2006

From the "Hardly Surprising" Department...

The Los Angeles Times reports tonight that Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Miguel Tejada, Brian Roberts, Jay Gibbons, and David Segui have all used performance enhancing drugs. These are allegedly the names blacked out in the infamous affadavit from the Jason Grimsley case. Now, I understand that anytime a name comes out publically, no matter what its linked to, it's to be considered news. However, my question is this: Do any of those names surprise you? When you saw the news, did you think, about ANY of them, "Gosh, this is certainly unexpected!". Of course part of the non-reaction is due to the large number of scrubs caught last year; guys like Alex Sanchez and Juan Rincon, who didn't fit your average Barry Bonds or Jason Giambi BALCO image. It's hardly surprising when ANYONE gets caught these days. This most recent bunch, though, has nary a longshot in the bunch. Let's break them down individually with their performance enhancing credentials.

Clemens - The balloon-assed Rocket is easily the most obvious abuser of the bunch. Everything about him screams steroid monkey; his physical appearance, his statistics, his dominance at such a ridiculous age. His late-career surge is clouded by the fact that he was already a Hall of Fame pitcher before, and thus the arguement can be made that he simply never dropped off when most players do. And let's not forget the rumor that went around the web earlier this year, when it was speculated that Clemens didn't sit out the early part of the season by choice, but rather by force of a positive steroid test agreed to be kept hush-hush by the commissioner's office.

Pettitte - As far as I know, this is Pettitte's first direct link to performance enhancers. As Clemens' longtime workout buddy, though, it's hardly surprising to see him named. He's not nearly as obvious as the Rocket, but the name of this game is surprise, and surprised I was not.

Tejada - Caramba. This is, by my count (and my count may be off, since I'm barely checking my information here. I prefer my writing to be non-enhanced, thank you very much), Tejada's third link to steroids. Previously, Jose Canseco called him out in "Juiced" (which it's now safe to say is accurate, for the most part), and Rafael Palmeiro blamed a B-12 shot given to him by Tejada as the reason for his positive steroid test in the 2005 season. Once you see a guy's name in enough of these articles, you have to believe that he's been up to something.

Roberts - Probably the least likely to be named here, but still, not shocking. Roberts' completely random home run binge last season (and don't bring up his 50 doubles in 2004, please; Roberts' game was based on speed, it's not like his doubles were occuring due to just being a bit short of the fence) makes this one no surprise as well. Is it fair to base my level of shock that Roberts allegedly took performance enhancers simply based on a fluke season? Fair or not, that's how we need to look at things now. Everyone who performs at a level above their norm will be given a closer look, and therefore it comes as little to no surprise when a player like Roberts' name comes up.

Gibbons - I don't have anything serious to say about Jay Gibbons. When I saw his name linked to this, I immediately thought of Matt Lawton, in that they apparently didn't do the job for either player. Gibbons is kind of a big, clunky, often-injured player, and that's the type of player who would come to mind if we were playing steroid word association.

Segiu - David Segui already admitted to HGH use during his playing career. Not much else to say here, other than to point out that when I played High Heat 2002 back in the day, I found it amazing that two players at the same position could share the first five letters of their last name, and that those letters could be S-E-G-U-I (Fernando Seguignol is of course the other legendary first sacker).

When writing this, I found it especially difficult to express in words why Brian Roberts and Jay Gibbons didn't come as a surprise to me. All I know is that when I read the report, my first reaction was basically a big shrug. Could this be because no one is surprising anymore? Or does Brian Roberts' fluke season and Jay Gibbons relative uselessness really make them prime candidates for performance enhancers? A bit of both? All I know is that for my next article, I'm choosing a more fun topic. I'm now thoroughly depressed due to just spending a good 25 minutes outing nothing but baseball's weak ass testing system. Can we catch ONE of these guys, please?

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