Skip to content

Oh my stars and garters, what if an All-Star tests positive for drugs!

Jul 9, 2013, 8:58 AM EDT

Melky Cabrera Reuters

That’s the short version of Bob Nightengale’s latest column in which he reminds us how the Republic ended last year when Melky Cabrera won the All-Star Game MVP award before his drug suspension. And how, thanks to Biogenesis looming over everything, it could happen again.

Nightengale’s concern here is at about a 20 on a ten point scale, referring to Cabrera’s MVP award as “a punch line for an otherwise glorious season.” I think it’s stretching it to even call it a footnote, but if Nightengale wants to say it turned 2012 into a joke he’s welcome to his opinion. Fact is every player in the All-Star Game is tested for drugs at some point every year. It’s quite possible that any player — not just four random ones currently in the news — could be suspended for drugs at any time. That’s a feature of the system, not a bug. If that feature is something which ruins seasons for him he probably needs to find another line of work, because it’s going to happen again. That’s how it works when you test players for drugs.

I don’t think Nightengale really thinks that, though. I think that, rather, he’s playing the Melky/All-Star Game angle up because it allows him to mix in (a) a Manny Ramirez digression that has zero to do with the All-Star Game or, beyond the yuks of it all, baseball relevance in 2013; and (b) extended quotes from Don Hooton of the Taylor Hooton foundation about the evils of steroids, all in the service of writing a large, point-free “steroids are bad, mmkay” ramble.

The Hooton stuff makes me sad. Taylor Hooton, in case you were unaware, was a high school baseball player who committed suicide several years ago. He was also taking steroids at the time and his parents have decided that the steroids caused his suicide. He also happened to have suffered from low self-esteem and was taking an anti-depressant (Lexapro) which has been linked to an increased risk of suicide, but that part is usually left out. The Hootons — and most baseball writers — have determined that the suicide was caused by the steroids alone and they are widely quoted on the matter whenever PEDs in baseball returns to the news.

When one sees a quote from Mr. Hooton in these stories one’s heart can’t help but go out to him and the tragedy which befell his son and his family. One can’t escape the fact, however, that Mr. Hooton’s experience and views on the matter, however tragic, are wholly irrelevant to Major League Baseball, its drug testing program and the All-Star Game. Even if you accept Don Hooton’s explanation for the cause of his son’s suicide, Taylor Hooton was a teenager playing high school sports, facing wholly different sorts of pressures and incentives than professional athletes do. His foundation is the recipient of funds and support from Major League Baseball, but he not part of baseball’s drug enforcement regime.  As such, when Mr. Hooton opines on the All-Star Game and Manny Ramirez and suggests that baseball’s collectively-bargained PEDs penalties are insufficient, one struggles to find a point.

But hey: if the column gets one more person emotionally agitated over PEDs in baseball, mission accomplished, right?

Latest Posts
  1. Rangers release Ryan Ludwick

    Mar 29, 2015, 11:55 PM EDT

    Ryan Ludwick Ryan Ludwick

    Ryan Ludwick didn’t hit much during Cactus League play, resulting in the Rangers releasing him on Sunday.

  2. Nick Martinez wins No. 5 spot in Rangers’ starting rotation

    Mar 29, 2015, 11:20 PM EDT

    Nick Martinez AP

    Nick Martinez beat out the field to win the final spot in the Rangers’ starting rotation.

  3. Mike Pelfrey recants his comments about the Twins trading him

    Mar 29, 2015, 10:25 PM EDT

    Mike Pelfrey Mike Pelfrey

    Mike Pelfrey took back his comments about being happy with a trade to a team that would use him as a starter.

  4. Video: Ben Revere robs Rajai Davis of a home run

    Mar 29, 2015, 9:20 PM EDT

    Ben Revere Ben Revere

    Ben Revere broke a promise to Rajai Davis when the Phillies’ left fielder robbed a home run.

  5. Casey Janssen to undergo an MRI on his right shoulder

    Mar 29, 2015, 8:15 PM EDT

    Casey Janssen Casey Janssen

    Nationals reliever Casey Janssen is dealing with more shoulder problems, which could lead to a stint on the disabled list.

  6. Dan Uggla on potential bench role with Nationals: “That’s not what I’m looking to do.”

    Mar 29, 2015, 7:10 PM EDT

    Dan Uggla Dan Uggla

    Dan Uggla, who is having a strong spring training showing, says he wouldn’t be comfortable sitting on the Nationals’ bench.

  7. Phillies move Ben Revere to left field to make room for Odubel Herrera in center

    Mar 29, 2015, 6:05 PM EDT

    Ben Revere Ben Revere

    Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg shook up his outfield a bit on Sunday, announcing that Ben Revere would be moving to left field.

  8. Cole Hamels to start Opening Day for Phillies

    Mar 29, 2015, 5:01 PM EDT

    cole hamels getty Getty Images

    Hamels tossed five scoreless innings in his latest Grapefruit League start. He’ll take on the Red Sox on April 6 — a team he has been connected to in trade talks throughout the offseason.

  9. Christian Vazquez to visit Dr. James Andrews

    Mar 29, 2015, 3:37 PM EDT

    christian vazquez getty Getty Images

    Ryan Hanigan is expected to open the season as Boston’s starting catcher. And season-ending surgery for Vazquez would likely accelerate the timetable for top prospect Blake Swihart’s debut.

  10. Koji Uehara has setback with right hamstring, will not be ready for beginning of season

    Mar 29, 2015, 2:23 PM EDT

    uehara getty Getty Images

    Uehara originally strained his right hamstring on March 17 while doing conditioning drills in Red Sox camp.

  11. Video: Seahawks QB Russell Wilson talks baseball

    Mar 29, 2015, 1:15 PM EDT

    russell wilson

    Russell Wilson spent nearly seven minutes with the Rangers’ television crew on Saturday …

  12. Red Sox name Clay Buchholz as Opening Day starter

    Mar 29, 2015, 12:08 PM EDT

    clay buchholz getty Getty Images

    According to Sean McAdam of CSN New England, the Red Sox have named right-hander Clay Buchholz their Opening Day starter.

  13. Henderson Alvarez named Marlins’ Opening Day starter

    Mar 29, 2015, 11:12 AM EDT

    henderson alvarez getty Getty Images

    Jose Fernandez would have been given the nod, but he’s not expected to be recovered from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery until sometime in June.

  14. Braves release left-hander James Russell

    Mar 29, 2015, 10:14 AM EDT

    james russell getty Getty Images

    MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports that the Braves have released left-hander James Russell.

  15. Ichiro compares being a free agent to being a puppy in a pet shop

    Mar 28, 2015, 11:25 PM EDT

    Ichiro Suzuki Ichiro Suzuki

    Let Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki tell you how being a free agent is like being a puppy in a pet shop.

  16. Mariners prospect Victor Sanchez has died

    Mar 28, 2015, 10:35 PM EDT

    mariners logo

    Promising Mariners pitching prospect Victor Sanchez died on Saturday night after he was involved in an unfortunate boating accident in February.

  17. Nate Schierholtz opts out of contract with the Rangers

    Mar 28, 2015, 10:10 PM EDT

    Nate Schierholtz Nate Schierholtz

    Outfielder Nate Schierholtz is a free agent again, opting out of his contract with the Rangers after a disappointing spring showing.

  18. Videos: Young talent on display as Bryce Harper homers and Mike Trout robs a homer

    Mar 28, 2015, 9:05 PM EDT

    Mike Trout Mike Trout

    Two baseball superstars put their talented display in spring training action on Saturday afternoon.

  19. Jaime Garcia scratched from Sunday start due to shoulder setback

    Mar 28, 2015, 8:05 PM EDT

    Jaime Garcia Jaime Garcia

    More shoulder problems for Jaime Garcia, who has made 16 combined starts since the beginning of the 2013 season.

  20. The Shane Victorino saga with Boston radio personalities continues

    Mar 28, 2015, 7:15 PM EDT

    Shane Victorino Shane Victorino

    Shane Victorino didn’t like the way a pair of radio personalities in Boston interpreted his desire to see the Red Sox acquire Cole Hamels from the Phillies.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Fernandez (4347)
  2. S. Doolittle (3739)
  3. Y. Tomas (3673)
  4. K. Bryant (3614)
  5. C. Rodon (3581)
  1. H. Olivera (3568)
  2. G. Richards (3528)
  3. A. Cobb (3499)
  4. T. Walker (3384)
  5. K. Jansen (3354)