“Say it ain’t so, Joe”
Those were the most famous words spoken the last time Major League Baseball handed out the same breadth and scope of suspensions it handed out on Monday.
While eight men were affected by the decision back in regards to the 1919 Black Sox betting scandal, this time around 13 players have been singled out and suspended by MLB commissioner Bud Selig for use of performance enhancing drugs.
“Upon learning that players were linked to the use of performance-enhancing drugs, we vigorously pursued evidence that linked those individuals to violations of our programs,” Selig said in a written statement on Monday. “We conducted a thorough, aggressive investigation guided by facts so that we could justify and enforce our rules.”
Of the 13 players suspended on Monday, the most notable was New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez — a former teammate of Morris native Kelly Dransfeldt.
“I’m glad to see Major League Baseball is putting in the right process to make the game clean,” Dransfeldt said. “I think it’s something that the fans support — that they are doing the right things to clean up the game.”
Dransfeldt was playing shortstop for the Texas Rangers from 1999 through 2001 when the team signed Rodriguez to the richest contract in MLB history at the time — $252 million — to be its new shortstop.
Unlike the other 12 players on the commissioner’s list who were suspended for 50 games in the ‘Biogenesis Case’, Rodriguez’s suspension was for 211 games. He is currently appealing the suspension and played for the first time this season (injury) on Monday against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
The accusations against Rodriguez for using PEDs is nothing new. In an interview with Peter Gammons of ESPN back in 2009, Rodriguez admitted to having previously taken them from 2001-03. Sports Illustrated at the time had reported that Rodriguez had tested positive for banned substances testosterone and Primobolan, an anabolic steroid, when MLB first conducted a survey test back in 2003 — this before the league handed out suspensions for a failed drug test.
“I did take a banned substance,” Rodriguez admitted of that time. “And for that, I am very sorry and deeply regretful.”
Other notable players who were suspended on Monday included; Detroit shortstop Jhonny Peralta, Texas outfielder Nelson Cruz, Seattle catcher Jesus Montero, San Diego shortstop Everth Cabrera, New York catcher Francisco Cervelli and Philadelphia pitcher Antonio Bastardo, in addition to six minor leaguers.
“In my situation, I’ve never taken anything and I played 100 percent clean. I think the league had to do something and came down on them,” Dransfeldt said. “That’s what everyone wants. They want their sports to have a level playing field. That goes for all of sports. This is overdue. This is what needs to be done. It looks like the league is taking the proper steps.”