Nobody Wants to be in My Pants Right Now
Been an interesting week here in West Lafayette. I’m now pretty much officially a meteorologist. Well, an unemployed meteorologist, in any event. That means I’m now a real adult, and I’m not sure the world is ready for that. Also assailing my former innocence, a Minnesota Twin was suspended for a positive test. Growing up, I wasn’t used to the scandal that surrounded sports teams, because generally, I was a baseball fan, and the Twins kept their noses clean, we didn’t have a basketball team, and the Vikings were flat out mediocre.
Then we got the Timberwolves, with J.R. Rider and his problems which included drugs and a well placed boot to the back of a hostess. Then we got Randy Moss, and I think I may have mentioned him in passing. The Twins, on the other hand, were the golden children of professional sports, even in the spotless Twin Cities landscape. Sure there were rumblings about Kirby Puckett and his problems with infidelity, but we treated that like the cousin who got arrested for buggery. We just don’t talk about it. But then Juan Rincon, famous for his brilliant middle relief, having had an appearance in the ALDS that inspired the quote serving as the title of this post, and being a Jon Lovitz impersonator.
We, the people of Minnesota, couldn’t ignore this problem, so I felt I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about it. But what to talk about? Steve and I had the following conversation a couple days ago. The issue wasn’t the facts. Those were irreversible. Rincon tested positive, the advertised suspension is ten days. There is, however, the much publicized race issue, which we discussed at length. I’ll make a few comments at the end.
Ryan: I was thinking of whipping something up on Juan Rincon.
Steve: Are you buying the Latin player excuse?
Steve: That's the biggest load of b.s. I ever heard if you ask me.
Steve: How hard is it to understand that they will get in trouble for using illegal substances?
Ryan: That’s not the issue.
Steve: What do you think it is then?
Ryan: The issue is knowing what is illegal, what substances are in certain products, and what is and is not legal in Venezuela, where Juan is from and plays winter ball. More than half the s*** that’s illegal here is OTC there, and the clubhouse trainers don’t stop and ask players if they would like to not take whatever is in the syringe… Could be cortizone, could be andro
Steve: I just think that if this is going to be a big deal now, they would at least think to be more careful wherever they are.
Ryan: All this s*** got listed on January 15th, that’s when things were changed here, they were already playing in Venezuela.
Ryan: Should he be suspended? Yes, he tested positive and if something illegal is in his system then for fairness he should sit.
Steve: Fine with me.
Ryan: But I think this should also be a wake up call that the list of what is banned should be more easily accessible, because from what I understand, American players don’t have a list of what is and is not legal and there is nothing in MLB clubhouses that says what is illegal.... I haven’t been able to find a list online either.
Steve: Yeah I don't really know.
Steve: I think pretty much whatever is illegal in America is illegal in baseball now.
Ryan: In American baseball.
Steve: But that's what all these guys are playing.
Ryan: Not in the winter
Steve: You can get a list of banned substances by the US government I'm sure.
Steve: That's what these guys' agents should be doing for them.
Ryan: I mean, have you seen Juan Rincon? Anything he is taking is supplied by a trainer to ease soreness.
Ryan: That’s what the union should be doing for their players.
Ryan: Either way, it hasn’t happened.
Steve: Yeah someone should be.
Steve: But that applies to everyone, not just non-English speaking players.
Ryan: But non English players don’t tend to play overseas over the offseason.
Steve: There are actually a lot of young players that play in Mexican leagues and stuff in the offseason.
Steve: There are Arizona winter leagues too, but some go to the Caribbean or Mexico for better competition.
Ryan: I assure you if you are Juan Baseball Player and you provide your Dominican trainer with a list of what’s banned in America, he will laugh politely and say, but you are in Santo Domingo.
Ryan: And Mexico has good regulations compared to the rest of Central America.
Steve: Yeah but I would shoot right back, but if you give me this, “I'm screwed when I go back to America.”
Ryan: It’s the Dominican and South America that are the problems
Steve: I just think these players need to take more responsibility and ask questions before they take a pill or injection, regardless of where they are.
Ryan: Right, but the trainer’s job is to get you back out to play for their team, not for the Twins, in this case. And besides, like I said, these games were being played before January 15th, and there would clearly be something in his system during spring training. If they tested everyone, I’m sure that every team would have a player suspended.
Steve: Well yeah, I'm not arguing that.
Steve: I can see that.
Steve: I don't want this language barrier thing to be the excuse for years to come.
Ryan: I know, but what I’m saying is, the list changed after they took this stuff, in a foreign country where regulations are different, and now the players are going to check in the future, but players like Sanchez and Rincon couldn’t do anything.
Ryan: A)I think initial language problems should already be solved and B)I think the problem is ethnic and not language based. A matter of where you spend your off season.
Steve: Well that's the breaks, I guess.
Steve: Not much more to say about that.
Steve: Hopefully they'll be more careful.
Ryan: Yeah, someone had to go down, sucks that it was on my team, and it sucks that a genuinely good guy gets his reputation sullied. But not much you can do.
Steve: It’s not like they got banned for life or anything.
Steve: I think a lot of people will forget Rincon too.
Steve: Sanchez is the 1st, so he's probably stuck with that.
Ryan: I don’t think they will in Chicago or if we play someone in the playoffs
Steve: Yeah but people wear "Jeter has AIDS" shirts too.
Steve: He's gonna get booed in Chicago or the playoffs anyways.
The thing, I think, that Steve and I agree on, is that without question, a positive test should lead to a suspension. I think though, that there are enough problems that MLB should consider holding off on instating the more severe punishments until they are certain there is no unintentional bias in the plan.
Eventually what the league may want to do is follow the NFL plan. Not the steroid plan, but their system of minor leagues. MLB should franchise offseason international teams in South and Central America, maybe eventually even in East Asia, so the American regulations can be applied to winter ball, instead of the foreign laws.
Sadly, this may be my last tangent for a while, as I’m headed home for a few weeks, what with the crappy dial-up and parents who don’t seem to think I deserve leisure time. But I digress. If I’m not posting for a while, I wish you all a happy May. - Ryan