I feel kind of stupid. I should have seen this coming. During the MLB Playoffs this year, I actually stopped thinking about steroids and performance enhancing drugs for a few weeks. I was more worried about the collapse of the Yankees, another disappointing finish for the Cubs, how Eric Byrnes could figure the Diamondbacks were outplaying the Rockies while getting swept, the Indians-Red Sox series and its Game 7 tonight, and the crazy Rockies run into the World Series that NO ONE saw coming.
Instead, baseball fans, Sunday's biggest story leading up to Game 7 of the ALCS won't be the game itself; the story will undoubtedly be a published report that Paul Byrd of the Cleveland Indians apparently bought $25,000 worth of HGH and syringes.
Just as most other people, I'm tired of all of these stories. But I'm not mad at the sports media for publishing them -- this one is obviously on the players. I can't be frustrated with all of the discussion surrounding steroids when these stories keep surfacing and certain players are found to have cheated. I question the timing which the story came out, but it's still important nonetheless.
Come on, Paul Byrd using steroids? How credible can many of the players be if Byrd is using performance enhancing drugs? Just take a look at this ESPN interview with Byrd. Sure, good guys can cheat too, but how many of them are publishing their own books just like Byrd is, entitled "'The Free Byrd Project,' a finished manuscript that details Byrd's spiritual journey through the major leagues and the pitfalls that pious jocks must leap in navigating a ballplayer's lifestyle." It looks like he may need to add a chapter or two that deals with making HGH purchases.
Byrd is not a power pitcher, but he has been pretty successful in the playoffs this year. Maybe that's part of the problem -- anyone could be using certain substances, not just guys who jack home runs, throw 100 mph fastballs, or look like they have been using something. Even the extremely religious guy (Byrd) who says and seems to do all of the right things may have needed a little extra help to latch on to another organization and stay in the league a little bit longer.
Over the last few weeks and months, names like Gary Matthews, Jr., Jay Gibbons, Scott Schoeneweis, Rick Ankiel, Neifi Perez, Guillermo Mota, and others have been listed as possible HGH or steroid users. Ankiel was actually part of one of the best stories in baseball this year until the report was published that he had ordered HGH shipments a few years ago. All the positive and uplifting feelings surrounding his name quickly faded afterwards. Barry Bonds is the guy everybody points to, but there has never been any concrete evidence that he used steroids. When will the big names surface and will anybody be shocked when they inevitably do come to light?
Again, I hate talking about steroids. I love baseball, but these little controversies are ruining the game. I'm sure Fox is going to blow up the story tonight, and I'm hoping it doesn't take away from the game.
And I'm going to try and not be surprised when other names are released in the future. You just never know whose name will be tossed into the fire next.