MLB union, players need to speak up

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Posted Feb. 19, 2009, at 10:19 p.m.

Oh, the pain. Trying to watch Alex Rodriguez squeeze his “young, naive and stupid” defense for taking shots in the butt of he knew not what, twice a month for six months for three years, being supplied and injected by his unnamed cousin: Dear God in heaven stop him from turning the spin pages of his script.

Pathetic. There is no other word to describe the Rodriguez press conference.

His teammates who showed up stood like stone edifices from Easter Island, listening as the pages turned and the spin oozed out.

When the questions started, the Yankee front office made sure there were no follow-up questions.

We certainly wouldn’t want the great A-Rod to have to actually have an answer. With just one question per reporter, he might remember and repeat the mantra of “young, naive and stupid.”

He will pay far more in the season to come for his refusal to be forthright than he ever would have had to pay if he had done so at the press conference.

Fortunately, there are more important voices to be heard, voices far too long silent.

Finally there are players breaking from the stonewall-silence position and actually publicly saying enough is enough.

David Ortiz spoke with the press this week about the performance-enhancing drug issues and said, “… the game has been hurt, a lot.” He spoke of a year’s suspension for those implicated from now on.

“I test you, you’re positive, you’re going to be out,” said Ortiz.

Derrick Lee of the Cubs, manager Ozzie Guillen of the White Sox, Roy Oswalt of the Astros, Jamie Moyer of the Phillies and Chris Young of the Padres have all come out calling for severe penalties for players using the drugs.

Young stated a sentiment that unfortunately comes now and not 10 years ago. He told San Diego.com, “As players, we do need to step up and be vocal about it and say that [performance–enhancing drugs] are wrong and we’re not going to stand for it. If we’ve gotten here the right way, we’re not going to stand for other guys to do it.”

Oswalt told MLB.com, “A-Rod’s numbers shouldn’t count for anything. I feel like he cheated me out of the game.”

Where have all the players been who have not cheated? Why have they allowed drugs to be a way to make it to MLB or secure larger contracts while pushing aside the marginal players who have tried to make it the clean way?

These players not only need to come public with such support for those who have tried not to cheat the game, they need to become the moving force in the players’ association.

For far too long the MLBPA has sought to protect the cheaters rather than promote the rest. That needs changing.

Make no mistake. One great fear the Association has always had is just how many are juicing. No one knows that answer for sure, but that cannot be an impediment to action to prevent it.

More names will leak out, more excuses will be given and more damage will be done to the game.

The time is way past for the Association and MLB to do the right thing.

bdnsports@bangordailynews.net

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/02/19/sports/mlb-union-players-need-to-speak-up/ printed on July 10, 2014