“I’m not even going to comment on him,” Lackey said. “I’ve got nothing to say about him. There are some things that I would like to say, but I’m not going to. You guys forget pretty conveniently about stuff.”
Nelson Cruz is everything that’s wrong with baseball.
Less than a year ago, Cruz was suspended for 50 games as part of the Biogenesis scandal that was more notably attached to Alex Rodriguez.
His punishment in the 11 months that followed has included an $8 million dollar contract from the Orioles, a fan base and media in Baltimore that doesn’t care and a starting spot in the upcoming MLB All-Star Game.
And Bud Selig is trying to get steroids out of the game?
The quote above from John Lackey made waves but, for me, what stood out was the article about the comments in the Baltimore Sun. Read these last two paragraphs:
When he was suspended, Cruz accepted it and apologized, explaining that he used performance-enhancing drugs for a gastrointestinal infection that went undiagnosed and caused him to lose 40 pounds.
He has put last season in the past, saying often that going through the situation made him a better and more focused player, but Lackey’s comments go to show that some players have a hard time forgetting and forgiving.
This is the disconnect that baseball has to deal with it and they have not. Look at this reporter for the Baltimore Sun – Eduardo Encina – acting as Cruz’s PR person.
Do we – I mean, players, fans, media, everybody – truly want steroids and performance-enhancing drugs out of the game or is it just something we say to make us feel better?
Mike Piazza, arguably the greatest hitting catcher in the history of baseball, is not a Hall of Famer because there are merely hints and rumors that he used performance enhancers. Nelson Cruz got caught red-handed and is an All-Star less than a year later.
It is beyond frustrating to see Cruz and others across all sports come back to the tried and true Andy Pettitte defense. If you forgot, Pettitte was named in the Mitchell Report and instead of pulling a Roger Clemens and lying, he told the truth – he had taken HGH to recover quicker from an elbow injury and he apologized.
Almost immediately, Pettitte escaped the wrath of pitchfork-wielding baseball writers angered that their beloved stars of the 1990s had betrayed them. He admitted what he done, apologized and moved on.
That has now become standard operating procedure for any star looking to get out of any real trouble for cheating the game. Does anyone really believe that Cruz took performance-enhancing drugs for an infection?
Even if that bullshit story is true, why wouldn’t he tell Major League Baseball? The league, as was the case with Robert Mathis’ fertility fiasco, has provisions in its drug policy for medical issues. If Cruz really needed to take performance enhancers for an undiagnosed…wait, what? He used performance enhancers to fight an infection he didn’t know he had?
Here’s the deal – Nelson Cruz is a cheater. He cheated the game of baseball.
If Nelson Cruz was an Olympic athlete, or a Tour de France cyclist, he would still be suspended. In fact, if a sprinter was caught cheating like Cruz, their suspension would not even be 50% complete.
Yet in Major League Baseball, Cruz is an All-Star starter.
The nonsense continued when Orioles manager Buck Showalter defended Cruz with this gem, “There are so many insinuations, quite frankly, about people in every club.”
There are no insinuations about Cruz. He was caught. He was suspended. He is a cheater.
It’s disgusting to me as someone who loves the game of baseball that Nelson Cruz – the year after being suspended for taking performance enhancing drugs – has the third-highest home run total already of his career at the age of 34 before the All-Star game and the majority of people, including 100 percent of Orioles fans, don’t give a shit. It took John Lackey, not exactly anyone’s favorite, speaking up for people to even bring up the topic.
Look at me – I needed a hook to get into this. And it wasn’t even Lackey’s comments, because I’ve been subjected to Cruz highlights all year on the local news. No, it was the backlash from a reporter and the fans that in some twisted way, it was Lackey who was out of line.
We’ve been down this road before when Mike Trout said that steroid offenders should be banned for life after the first offense and the player’s union quickly shut him up.
We need to decide as baseball fans – do we care or not?
If it’s okay that Nelson Cruz cheated the game, then we need to let Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire and Roger Clemens into the Hall of Fame.
If it’s not okay that Nelson Cruz cheated the game, then we need to demand stricter penalties and an actual deterrent.
The Tour de France and the Olympics were sick of being overrun by cheats and put in penalties that can end careers if you’re caught.
Major League Baseball and the NFL – and let’s never forget the NFL’s disregard for its players – have decided slaps on the wrists are enough.
Enjoy the MLB All-Star Game. The DH for the American League is a cheater.
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