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Francisco Cervelli talks about his PED use and Biogenesis

Oct 9, 2013, 9:15 AM EDT

Francisco Cervelli AP

I imagine we won’t hear from other suspended-but- largely-anonymous Biogenesis players like Sergio Escalona and Fautino De Los Santos, but Francisco Cervelli plays for the Yankees, so he’s got a somewhat higher media profile.

Cervelli spoke with Newsday yesterday and talked about his PED use and his involvement with the infamous Miami clinic. The upshot: he had a lot of injuries and he wanted to get better as soon as he could given how he always had to fight for a roster spot:

Cervelli, whose career has been beset by injuries, said his reason for involving himself with the clinic was simple. Biogenesis offered the possibility of “a quick fix,” he said, a faster return from a broken left foot suffered in March 2011 when he was battling for a backup job.

He said he was “desperate or anxious [and] scared” and listened to the wrong people’s advice in seeking out Anthony Bosch’s help.

He seems pretty honest about it all. Indeed, this pretty much sounds like any other number of PED stories we’ve heard. The need to rehab faster so the player can get back on the field. Given his candor about it and given that Cervelli was subject to mostly positive press prior to all of this (indeed, he’s extremely popular among a certain segment of Yankees fans) I have little doubt that, if his major league career resumes, most folks won’t think too much less of the guy. Indeed, like a lot of other players who served 50 games, many will forget that he was ever suspended in the first place.

We don’t do that with the superstars, though. We don’t believe them, generally speaking, when they tell the same story Cervelli tells. We assume they take PEDs for the ego or to break records or because they’re inherently bad guys and don’t buy their “I just wanted to recover from injuries faster” stories. We don’t forgive them or forget their transgression. That’s the case even though, unlike Cervelli, the Ryan Brauns and A-Rods of the world aren’t in competition for roster slots and aren’t potentially costing other players a shot at the majors as directly as a 20-25th man like Cervelli might.

Funny how that works.

  1. paperlions - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    I haven’t been cruising the interwebs for stories about the horrors of PED users in MLB this morning, but I can only assume there MUST be dozens of stories about the atrocity of a cheater hitting a key HR to preserve the Tigers season and the moral vacuum that is the Cleveland organization for offering continued employment as both a player and coach to another cheater.

    • historiophiliac - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:34 AM

      Have no fear. Matthew trolled us about Jhonny last night, even as the game ended.

      • paperlions - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:39 AM

        Oh….good….what a relief.

        /s (in case it wasn’t obvious)

      • historiophiliac - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:42 AM

        One can never be too obvious on this site.

        Good morning, paper.

      • paperlions - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:58 AM

        Obviously. I guess I’ll never learn….it just seems like if you have to have the “/s” to understand it was sarcasm, it kills the effect.

      • historiophiliac - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:05 AM

        Said the man who did not get my innuendo the other day…

        So, the auditors are here going through files and I got some snooty Lobster asking me all these questions. He comes up to me Monday afternoon and says: “Do you have five minutes? (looks at my computer monitor) Oh, yes, you can spare me five minutes. You’re watching a baseball game.” Dude.

      • paperlions - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:08 AM

        Well, my entire first paragraph in my first “experience” comment was about fucking….the parts after that weren’t specifically about that….I was in a hurry, or I would have made better specific use of “talent”. It was my fault, really, for mixing in a post….should have stuck with one or the other.

      • historiophiliac - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:33 AM

        Hey, another thing we have to agree to disagree on! :)

      • historiophiliac - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:38 AM

        You’re having a rough morning. Sorry.

        /passes bottle

      • paperlions - Oct 9, 2013 at 1:12 PM

        Nah, my morning was fine….other people were struggling with their comprehension. :-)

        /Kevin Towers impression

      • historiophiliac - Oct 9, 2013 at 1:20 PM

        Don’t make me pull a HBP (not iD b/c I like you), because you aren’t commenting the right way, now. 😉

        I meant your morning was rough b/c of the scruff you were getting.

      • paperlions - Oct 9, 2013 at 1:27 PM

        Piano man is a hack…flamethrower wasn’t even a waterboy for his high school’s internet commenters club… it nerds!

        /David Price

      • historiophiliac - Oct 9, 2013 at 2:02 PM

        lol Are you admiring your commenting? Don’t you showboat. They’ll have to teach you a lesson.

      • paperlions - Oct 9, 2013 at 2:13 PM

        Hehe…good one.

      • historiophiliac - Oct 9, 2013 at 2:16 PM

        You too. No hetero.

      • paperlions - Oct 9, 2013 at 2:25 PM

        I had no idea you were gay….based on the Matt Harvey drooling, I figured you were “yes hetero”.

      • historiophiliac - Oct 9, 2013 at 2:26 PM

        Are you shitting me with that? sigh

      • paperlions - Oct 9, 2013 at 2:27 PM

        Yes, I am shitting you.

      • historiophiliac - Oct 9, 2013 at 2:34 PM

        Thank Dog.

      • chip56 - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:25 AM

        And I’m sure that if the A’s win Game 5 on the back of a strong pitching effort by Bartolo there will be stories about that too.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 9, 2013 at 2:09 PM

        Lol! He actually looked at your monitor and called you out for watching a baseball game?
        Dude should have accidentally gotten coffee spilled on him. Or caustic acid/sodium hydroxide…what ever was most handy. Monitor spying troll.

    • baseballici0us - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:51 AM

      Well, technically they’re not cheaters anymore. What Johnny Peralta did yesterday was AFTER his suspension and should not be connected to PEDs – he did his time, served his penalty, and is not helping his team win.

      Also, Johny Peralta and Cervelli didn’t really have super-Braun conference where they basically castrated MLB and “the system.”

      That right there is why Braun is a douche bag – I’ll probably never forget that he cheated but only because I’ll never forget how he tried to be a scumbag about it and hurt the reputation of many good people as a result.

      A-Rod is just a penis!

      • baseballici0us - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:55 AM

        First Paragraph…. “and is NOW helping his team win”

        Sorry, me go get my coffee not…i mean now…or meow:

      • paperlions - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:59 AM

        Yes, Braun is a jackwagon and ARod is a penis….but those aren’t the given reasons for sports writers bashing them…they always talk about sanctity and purity and such….there are plenty of penises in baseball that don’t get blasted because they haven’t be caught using PEDs….so….obviously, it must be about the PEDs.

      • chip56 - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:26 AM

        Very true. Once a player serves his punishment I have no issue with him.

      • baseballici0us - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:42 AM

        Touche…true this is

    • pianoman25 - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:09 AM

      Pretty sad that you still hold a grudge against Giambi. Unlike A-Rod, Bonds, Braun, McGwire, and Juan Gone (and the list goes on) who all denied steroid use, Giambi remorsefully apologized for his steroid use nearly ten years ago. Admitted and apologized. The guy never won a World Series ring; in fact, the Yanks won the year after he left. Having been relegated to a bench/pinch hitter role and bounced from some pretty crummy teams over the past several years, you’d think the guy has made amends. That “moral vacuum” you speak of is a team that is giving a sincerely remorseful and aging ballplayer a second lease on life.

      • paperlions - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:13 AM

        Jesus fucking christ people…is was sarcasm….CLEAR SARCASM.

        How is that not obvious? Please tell me so I can improve in future sarcastic posts.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:15 AM

        Giambi remorsefully apologized for his steroid use nearly ten years ago. Admitted and apologized

        No, he didn’t. He apologized for using “something” but never stated what it was because he was under investigation for ties to BALCO. He couldn’t admit what he was taking because he still had to testify. The only time he admitted using was during Grand Jury testimony, which was illegally leaked.

        Before yesterday, Giambi had not publicly admitted taking steroids, even though he had offered an oblique apology before the start of the 2005 season.

  2. elpendejo59 - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:25 AM


    I have to disagree. This is the classic Andy Pettite defense, Cervelli’s own teammate, and a former PED user who is beloved and a superstar. Just think of Mo Rivera’s last time on the mound. I think it is more of a question of those who try to “lie it away” rather than those who get caught and eventually accept punishment.

    • Francisco (FC) - Oct 9, 2013 at 11:00 AM

      This is the classic Andy Pettite defense

      I still think the Chewbacca Defense is superior.

    • sabatimus - Oct 9, 2013 at 11:51 AM

      And the Andy Pettite defense is nowhere near as common as the “I didn’t realize I took that” defense.

  3. kellyann333 - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    When the A-Rod story first came out, a coworker of mine made your point about the 20-25th roster spots. I had never thought of it that way before.

    I don’t think it’s so clear cut though. Yes, there’s a good chance that Cervelli and others like him took away someone else’s chance to make it to the big leagues. But isn’t there also a chance that the big stars shortened opposing players’ careers by making them look worse than they might have otherwise?

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:41 AM

      ARod’s injury this season led to the likes of Jason Nix, Eduardo Nunez, Brent Lillibridge and David Adams playing third base for the Yankees. So while he is not competing directly with the guys who are fighting for a 25-man roster spot, the performance and health of players of Arod’s (or Braun’s) caliber do have an impact on those fringe guys.

  4. tfbuckfutter - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    It’s amazing how many people get caught doing something wrong the first and only time they do it.

    How unlucky.

    • rollinghighwayblues - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:52 AM

      i.e. Ron Washington. Right? I mean, come on, who doesn’t try cocaine for the first time when they’re 57 years old.

      • tfbuckfutter - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:58 AM

        It was a youthful mistake.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 9, 2013 at 4:20 PM

        Hahaha! Yeah really Blues. And I don’t know many people (if any) who have ever only tried it once. I am sure it happens. But damn sure not at 57 years old.

  5. clarenceoveur - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    I’m not sure there’s even a superstar aspect to it. Everyone loves Giambi and he was a star. Pettite’s had a near HOF career. Braun will take hits, but mostly because he adopted a Dbag-ish defense strategy. Imho its more just become an excuse to hate a player everyone was pre-disposed to hate anyway. Bonds, Rawjah and A-Rod were despised already, it just made it easier for everyone to pile on.

    • historiophiliac - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:51 AM

      Re: Giambi — Not everyone gives him a pass. When he was in town rehabbing with our local minor league team, a friend and I sat behind the plate and yelled “Clear!” at him. Of course, that was the day after his testimony in the Bonds perjury case…

  6. Liam - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    “indeed, he’s extremely popular among a certain segment of Yankees fans”.

    Cervelli Crew forever. We’ll crush those Romine Regiment infidels.

  7. abaird2012 - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    Indeed, what is that “certain segment” of Yankee fans among whom Cervelli is so popular?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:16 AM

      That they are batshit insane?

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:44 AM

      He is fun to watch. Puppy-dog level of enthusiasm, and has had some memorable hits in big spots.

      And really, passing the “better than Chris Stewart” bar isn’t that hard of a test.

  8. chip56 - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    Craig, I realize your default is to claim hypocrisy in how PED users are treated by the league, fans and media depending on their status. But you already know what this happens and you’re a smart enough person to understand that the reasons for this treatment are valid.

    Superstar players like Alex and Braun get more accolades than a player like Cervelli when things are going well so it stands to reason that they take more heat when things are going poorly too.

    You want the fame, the money, the endorsements – with those things comes an understanding that when you do something dumb you’re going to be blasted for it more than a lesser player.

    What’s more, even if Cervelli had never been busted for steroids, no one would talk about his tainted records or awards or his Hall of Fame candidacy because he doesn’t have any of those things to talk about – Alex, Braun, Manny, McGwire, Bonds, Clemens all do.

  9. wjr37375 - Oct 9, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    Francisco … no one really cares about or your use of drugs. Save your money and be ready to be out of the league in a year or two . You are a cheater and you weren’t really good anyway . Pretty simple. If your gonna cheat, at least be an all star, otherwise you look like a complete POS.

  10. realitypolice - Oct 9, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    Actually, I find fans acceptance/forgiveness of PED users to be less based upon their superstar status and more based simply upon what we thought of them before they got caught. Manny Ramirez was suspended twice, yet if the Dodgers or the Red Sox brought him back to throw out the first pitch at one of their playoff games, both fan bases would give him a prolonged standing ovation. David Ortiz has never faced a single instance of negative blow back from being named on the Mitchell Report. Neither of those players have ever sought out the fans forgiveness. Andy Pettite and Jason Giambi are admitted users who did and are as beloved as ever. All of these players fit in the superstar category.

    No, Craig, the players we continue to heap shame upon after they are caught are players we never liked anyway. The two players most identified as the “villians” of the PED era, Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds, were both wildly disliked by fan bases other than their own for years before they were linked to PEDs for a variety of other reasons, real or percieved.

    Being a sports fan requires a certain of shallowness (we often cheer for players we used to hate when they come to our team, we worry more about how a player’s injury will affect our team than we do about how it will affect their life, etc.). This is simply another case of that.

    • lawrinson20 - Oct 9, 2013 at 3:55 PM

      I disagree, a small bit, about your examples. Having been a RedSox fan for nearly 40 years, i am dismayed by Manny Ramirez’ and David Ortiz’ involvement with PEDs. And, my ‘fandom’ for those players is diminished as a result. I still love Papi. But, had Manny never been associated with PEDs, he might be my favorite player of all time. As it stands, he’s not in the top 10. An “ovation” at Fenway? Possibly. Probably. I wonder if the ownership, though, is already less forgiving, and such an opportunity might not ever be afforded Ramirez, a player who performed phenomenally for the Sox. I would consider all of the above to be “blow back” in some sense. It wouldn’t and probably shouldn’t amount to the standard of blowback being ‘suffered’ (and earned) by A-Rod, though. Different personalities. And, it’s realistic to acknowledge that Personality and Character DO have a significant effect on punishment. I don’t characterize that as “shallowness.” It’s human nature. It’s in the legal system, whether or not it’s institutionalized as such. It’s life.

  11. humpalumpagus - Oct 9, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    Craig, I feel as though you are oversimplifying the different treatments of lower-profile players like Cervelli with that of superstars like Braun and A-Rod. A major reason for the public’s lack of trust in both Braun and A-Rod is that they repeatedly lied about their use AFTER their initial association with PEDs. Braun used his fans’ goodwill to try to discredit and publicly shame the urine collector who took his sample, which is as bad as or worse than taking someone’s roster spot, while A-Rod explicitly said that he took steroids from 2001-2003 and then stopped (which, of course, is highly illogical). Thus, while you can argue that the public’s perception of PED users is, in general, too harsh, both of these superstar players are entirely responsible for their lack of credibility

  12. lawrinson20 - Oct 9, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    The amount of scorn seems pretty much relative to the amount of acclaim/money involved.

    And, A-Rod’s got the additional ‘douche’-baggage weighing him down.

    Francisco Cervelli? If i hadn’t been a long-time NYCer, i never would have known his name. Cheating is cheating, but people tend to want to give an underdog a break. A-Rod is no underdog. He’s a preening, narcissistic, delusional, overpaid POS, and deserves the wrath.

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