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Accusing Nomar of steroid use

Mar 11, 2010, 2:15 PM EST

You apparently get one day to savor your retirement before someone accuses you of taking steroids. Yahoo!’s Steve Henson, everyone:

Eight years with the Red Sox made Garciaparra a master at deflecting
tough questions in a genial manner. Performance-enhancing drugs weren’t
a topic he’d discuss, and if steroids had helped him bulk up in Boston
and break down periodically thereafter, he’d take that secret to the
Manhattan Beach, Calif., home he shares with wife Mia Hamm and their
young twin daughters.

Garciaparra’s name didn’t come up in the Mitchell Report. He never
testified before Congress. He wasn’t implicated in BALCO. Yet numerous
people in baseball, from executives to reporters to other players, talk
about his career as if performance-enhancing drug use was a given . . . It is the hulking figure on the SI cover, though, that everyone remembers. And in hindsight, with what we know about the era and Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds(notes) and A-Rod and Manny Ramirez(notes) … well, make sure to take a look at that cover.

Henson goes on to say “He is retiring for one reason – an ailing body. Only he knows all the reasons it got that way.”

For the second time today I have to say that I don’t know if a player ever took PEDs, but I know the writer making the accusation doesn’t know either, yet does it anyway. And though I’m certain the answer will be “never,” I ask again: when will anyone in the mainstream media call out guys like Steve Henson (or Rick Telander or Jon Heyman) for hurling such accusations the way they called out blogger Jerrod Morris for doing something far, far less irresponsible?

And no, “because we think Nomar did it and Ibanez didn’t” is not an acceptable answer. At least not for people who like to lecture others about “journalistic integrity” all the time.

  1. Old Gator - Mar 11, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    I think Steve Henson ought to just go back to making Muppets and leave Nomar alone. And to be honest with you, Cookie Monster always looked pretty bulked up to me. I think Henson ought to be waterboarded until he coughs up whatever he knows about that.

  2. scatterbrian - Mar 11, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    If anyone is swayed by the “hulking figure on the SI cover” argument, please have a look at some of these photos: http://bit.ly/4gY3QB
    (sank Government)

  3. John - Mar 11, 2010 at 3:05 PM

    ^ The pre-photoshopped picture of Nomar actually got posted somewhere a while back. Much, much less impressive…his ‘hulking’ physique in that picture was definitely computer generated and not from steroids.

  4. ecp - Mar 11, 2010 at 3:08 PM

    Isn’t this just the resurrection of an old accusation? It seems to me that there was finger pointing at Nomar years ago.

  5. Ralph Kramden - Mar 11, 2010 at 3:15 PM

    Yesterday on the “Big Show” WEEI evening drive here in Boston, there were 4 hosts, only one of whom dared to defend the “we don’t know if he took PEDs” position.

  6. DiamondDuq - Mar 11, 2010 at 3:24 PM

    The speculation is not unwarranted. No Red Sox showed up on the Mitchell Report, big surprise, but in the time since its release we’ve had both Manny and Papi tied to PED use, or to be politically correct PED speculation in Manny’s case (although a 50 game suspension for speculation?). Nomar’s performance pre-testing and post-testing are drastically different, unlike A-Rod who admitted PED use, and he suffered physical breakdown often linked to steroid use. If it looks like a pig, smells like a pig and acts like a pig are we not supposed to assume it’s a pig? Are we returning PED use to the same taboo topic that got us into this mess in the first place? Certainly we have no proof but he’s not being charged with anything, it’s merely speculation and to be quite honest more believable than not.

  7. Craig Calcaterra - Mar 11, 2010 at 3:28 PM

    ” If it looks like a pig, smells like a pig and acts like a pig are we not supposed to assume it’s a pig?”
    I don’t know what Nomar did or didn’t do. My point — and I’ll grant it’s a hobby horse of mine that may tire some — is that many, many baseball writers have taken bloggers to task for that exact thing — playing the “walks like a duck” game — and accusing us of not having journalistic standards.
    The hypocrisy just galls me.

  8. BC - Mar 11, 2010 at 3:32 PM

    Seems clear-cut to me that he juiced. I present the evidence:
    http://cache.boston.com/images/bostondirtdogs//Headline_Archives/NG_cover_SI.jpg

  9. Charles Gates - Mar 11, 2010 at 3:37 PM

    Evidence that he eats right and works out a few times a week. Nomar, in that SI cover picture, isn’t that big.

  10. Darryl - Mar 11, 2010 at 3:43 PM

    I guess what truly is disturbing to me – beyond the hypocrisy of certain journalists – is the growing stupidity of the American public. Anyone remember the days when journalists were actually FIRED for making accusations without proof? Now, it seems like throwing enough you-know-what against the wall until something sticks is an accepted practice. Sad.

  11. scatterbrian - Mar 11, 2010 at 3:52 PM

    That is all still just speculation Diamond, based on not much more than anecdotal evidence. Evidence which none of knows the whole story about, and therefore none of us is in a position to fill in the blanks. We know Nomar has always had injury issues, and therefore it’s perfectly logical and rational to think his performance declined as a result. Injuries can keep a player from full workouts, so it’s understandable why his physique may have deteriorated over time.
    Here’s an article by Gammons from May 2005 that addresses this as well:
    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/gammons/story?id=2055896
    (about humphrey)

  12. scatterbrian - Mar 11, 2010 at 3:53 PM

    Your only evidence is a doctored photo.

  13. Morgan W - Mar 11, 2010 at 3:54 PM

    Evidence that he poses for homo-erotic photographs???

  14. BC - Mar 11, 2010 at 3:57 PM

    OK, compare the SI picture to this one, taken in 1992:
    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/gallery/featured/GAL1144355/2/17/index.htm
    And this one, taken in 2007:
    http://i.a.cnn.net/si/2007/writers/pete_mcentegart/03/29/ten.spot/p1_nomar.jpg
    You don’t go small-big-small like that by lifting weights and eating right. He had to have some “help”.

  15. Wells - Mar 11, 2010 at 3:57 PM

    I don’t understand the issue w/ the SI cover, Photoshopped or not. He’s not that ripped in that picture. He’s cut, sure, but he’s not a hulking mass of testosterone.

  16. Jonny5 - Mar 11, 2010 at 4:09 PM

    Well it just seems like this is the new trend. And personally ,I think no response, no outrage, and maybe the fad will die. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t? One thing for sure is Journalism has taken a turn for the worse recently and as long as there is no one to answer to but the boss man, who only cares about profit, I don’t see any other reason (besides us getting bored of it all) for it to go away.

  17. BC - Mar 11, 2010 at 4:16 PM

    It wasn’t doctored.
    Here’s another one from 1999:
    http://soxblog.projo.com/nomar_0706.jpg

  18. Charles Gates - Mar 11, 2010 at 4:19 PM

    Nomar was born in 1973. So in your ’92 picture, he was 19 years old. That’s where you want to set the baseline for his build? Seriously? I’m guessing somewhere between 1992 and 2007 there were a few days where he had time to go to the gym and learn how eat properly.

  19. Tom - Mar 11, 2010 at 4:21 PM

    Why does no one ever mention the fact that Nomar played day in and day out for years and a series of injuries broke down his career in his prime. Yes it looks bad, and I’m not one to say he didn’t or he did cause I don’t know. What I do know is that for a span of 5 years *could be 4 or 6 don’t remember exactly* he played almost every game every year. Then when his body breaks down people think that the grind has absolutely nothing to do with it?

  20. PinstripedHippie - Mar 11, 2010 at 4:26 PM

    Lapdog. So now it’s not allowed to voice suspicions about players who obviously used steroids if you don;t have ‘proof’? Give it up dog.

  21. scatterbrian - Mar 11, 2010 at 4:34 PM

    Awesome, a photo of a 26 year-old professional athlete who is paid to play baseball and stay in shape.
    Here is an unaltered SI cover photo. You can see a lot of work was done, starting with making his head smaller: http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/81802573/Sports-Illustrated

  22. Charles Gates - Mar 11, 2010 at 4:37 PM

    To respond to your statement: You don’t go small-big-small like that by lifting weights and eating right. He had to have some “help”.
    No, you don’t need some help to put on muscle like that. I’m by no means a fitness expert, but as one who spends a fair amount of time remaining physically active, and was forced to stop for awhile as a result of a cycling crash, you can see some pretty dramatic results fairly quickly just with a healthy diet and some exercise. Now, if a professional organization paid me to stay in shape, like the Red Sox, for arguments sake, looking like Nomar in that weight room picture is well within reach by natural means.

  23. Andrew - Mar 11, 2010 at 4:54 PM

    THT had something interesting about this kind of thing a couple weeks ago.
    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/steroids-and-our-assumptions-about-them/

  24. Evan - Mar 11, 2010 at 5:05 PM

    Let’s not forget that the only other power-hitting shortstops that put up Nomar’s numbers during his prime in the late 90s and early 2000s were Miguel Tejada and Alex Rodriguez…

  25. Dan - Mar 11, 2010 at 5:10 PM

    Why would he have to show up on the Mitchell Report. The source of the report wasn’t in the Red Sox clubhouse, so it’s obvious why they weren’t mentioned. Come on people, sometime the obvious is too obvious.

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