For all the people in and around the world of MLB that refuse to accept PED use as a normal thing just got punched in the chest once again. Just as this young season has begun, reports came out of Pittsburgh that Starling Marte, the Pirates’ All-Star outfielder, has been suspended 80 games after testing positive for Nandrolone, a performance-enhancing substance.
Following the announcement, Marte apologized for “unintentionally disrespecting” others and explained that “neglect and lack of knowledge” led to his positive test. How do you not know? If you are a MLB player do you not ask questions about what you ingest into your body? This is just another excuse that I refuse to take with any kind of credence.
This is a huge blow to the main run producer in the Pirates’ offense and may cool the momentum on any rumored Andrew McCutchen deal that was thought to have taken place this year. The 28-year-old outfielder has been in the lineup since 2013, but hasn’t always been the player he was meant to be. He struggled at times early on and was virtually a strikeout machine. After his first couple years, he finally began to flourish and rewarded the Pirates for their patience. Last season he posted the best numbers of his career by hitting .311/.362/.456, with nine home runs, which led to his first All-Star appearance. Unfortunately, now that will be washed away and vanished in the sea of cheating athletes wondering when fans will finally accept the world of PEDs in sports. The question is, “Should they accept it as normal?”
Am I saying the PED use is running rampant within the world of sports? No. What I am saying is it is a common occurrence in MLB that will continue to put players on mandatory rest. The laws and rules will always be concrete in their existence. However, there will always be players that either test the waters or try to justify their shortcomings with the apparent, “I didn’t know” story.
What my main concern with the recent test failures is the way it impacts past players who were confirmed users of those enhancements. What does it say for their statistics? What does it say for the current users and their present day numbers?
When we talk about the likes of past offenders like Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez, the common thoughts of asterisks next to their name in the reference books seem to be a must. If that certainly is the case, does that mean we throw out all the past accomplishments for guys like Marte as well?
My main issue with all of this is the fact that PED’s are being used right now by players all over the world with some being confirmed and others being lucky to exploit the system. This is the same system that was exploited back in the late 90’s when Sosa and McGwire were playing 2 bounce stickball in every stadium around the league. Sure, those guys got caught, but plenty of others were never confirmed. Where’s their asterisk?
Please don’t mistake the argument and think for one minute I place myself in the Pro PED use category. I can assure you that is not the case. What I am an advocate for is making sure everyone looks at this issue with 20/20 vision and understands it will always be a hot topic of discussion.
I still feel Bonds, Clemens, and Rodriguez should be afforded the opportunity to have their stats, along with their highlights as a vision for anyone who is interested to see. I just want equal treatment for ALL suspected or confirmed to be a given. Stop with your innocent until proven guilty malarkey as this isn’t another case for Benson and Stabler to solve. As you can see, players are still using PED’s just like they did 20 years ago. You aren’t going to stop visiting the park and you sure as hell are still going to watch highlights on sportscenter.
Is using PEDs wrong? Sure, it is. However, why do we only hold the past offenders to the flame and let the new ones play the situation out? Give me your take!
As always you can stop by my Facebook page (FantasySportsAddiction) or tweet me (@TCutillo23) for questions or some nice fantasy debates. I can also be heard weekly via the internet stream live at WengRadio every Monday at 4:00pm EST for a weekend sports wrap. But most importantly, you can catch me here at Pi!