A-Rod and the Atlantic League steroid quagmire

We’d be remissed here at Revolution Rumblings if we failed to bring up what the Alex Rodriguez steroid admission means for the Atlantic League.

alex-rodriguez1Perhaps not much, one might think. But there’s a familiar indy league argument that comes up any time the steroid topic is brought up.

Example: Lifelong Triple-A guy (think Chris Ashby) is passed over time and time again for the big call-up to the majors. The guys who keep passing him by are performance-enhancing drug users — yet no one knows it at the time. It’s only later that this information of drug use comes to light and the hypotheticals start to circulate.

How much money did this Triple-A veteran lose out on? Might that one shot in the big leagues have led to an extended opportunity? Or here’s the most numbing: was a man who played by the rules deprived of his cup of coffee at The Show partly because of a bunch of cheaters?

It’s a sad thought really. But of course, that’s only one side of this debate.

The Atlantic League has harbored plenty of steroid and PED users over the years, and this article from 2007 from Inside Connecticut Sports Magazine suggests that steroid use in the Atlantic League has reached egregious levels. In the story, a team physician for the Nashua Pride, formerly of the Atlantic League and now of the Can-Am League, says several AL players approached him looking for steroids and other PEDs.

He also called the Can-Am League “crystal clean” when compared with the Atlantic League. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

But here’s something the Atlantic League won’t tell you: While the league tests for drugs, it does not test for steroids. That test is far too expensive for a league that, in general, operates on a shoestring. And, as we all know by now, even MLB doesn’t test for HGH (human growth hormone). That means that Ricky Williams would be barred from playing in the Atlantic League (if he were so inclined to play baseball), but Jose Canseco would be (and, indeed, has been) welcomed with open arms.

The Atlantic League typically takes pride in keeping its rules and regulations in line with Major League Baseball. But when was the last time a player was booted from the league for testing positive for anything? I can’t recall an instance (unless you count the quick dismissal of Felix Jose from Lancaster after his former steroid use came to light).

This is an issue where the Atlantic League lacks credibility and it’s something that people should point to every time the league calls itself “the premiere independent league in the nation.” With that said, I’ll leave you with Revolution Rumblings’ first poll, which will be steroid-based:

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4 Responses

  1. This is a tough subject Jeff. When you think about how many players have either confessed or have been outed as steriod users, I beleive this era in baseball will not be defined as who did use steriods but who didn’t. Let me play devil’s advocate though, the sportswriters of America are the one’s who have relentlessly pursued steriod abuse amongst players. However, are the players guilty of cheating or a victim of the times? The only reason names from the past like a Mantle or a Ruth didn’t use steriods is that they were not invented yet. Neither of these guys treated their bodies as temples, and especially Mantle would have used for all of his injuries that he sustained throughout his career.
    So, while I enjoy seeing A-Rod looking sheepish during an interview, and Roger Clemens get’s exposed as a lying SOB, I can’t help in a little way for feeling sorry for them. Both of them have God given talent, but that wasn’t enough. Did we as fans demand that put up superhuman numbers? Are the sportswriters to blame for the building up and tearing down of a player in one season? Or is general selfishness of a player who sees the guy next to him making double what he makes, and so he starts using and putting up better numbers. This is truly a perfect storm of a scandal, I think everyone should take some blame.
    When it comes to the AL, there has to be some perspective. The players don’t make that much money, most of them don’t have their own trainer supplying them with creams and powders, and I suspect that most ML teams are weary of a guy who suddenly puts up huge power numbers in an independent league. I won’t be naive and say this league doesn’t have a problem, but then again I’m not the one calling the Can-Am league. “squeaky clean”.
    At the end of the day, I won’t sit in Soverign Bank Stadium and try to judge which player is juicing and who isn’t. I pay money to watch them play, and as long as the Revs field 9 guys and whoever the play fields 9 guys, I’m content to just watch the game unfold. Because it is a game, and it is a beautiful game and that will never change.

  2. Thats exactly right Josh. If you spend all your time worrying about steroids you will rob yourself of the joy of tthe game. We as fans can’t control anything that goes on in the clubhouses or off the field…so we are left to enjoy the game as it happens on the field….and it is a beautiful game!

  3. Oh and I am not denying that there is a problem….if someone has access to steroids or whatever….its not just the majors and affiliated baseball….its everywhere. This league..the Can am League…everywhere. But again….as fans we need to realize that and move on.

  4. I keep listening about steroid use and abuse, and despite what it does to your muscles, I often ask myself: Does it improves the batter’s sight or the pitcher’s ability to position the ball where he wants when he pitches?

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