Mike Piazza Admitted Taking PEDs
Here we go again … the Hall of Fame inductees will be announced today, therefore, it’s time to talk about Mike Piazza‘s PEDs use.
Every year we see the same arguments for and against voting PEDs users into the Baseball Hall of Fame. In the case of Mets fans and bloggers, the focus is on Mike Piazza, and whether or not he did PEDs, and if he did, whether they had anything to do with his HoF production.
Arguing the latter is mostly subjective and an exercise in futility.
Arguing the former is completely pointless, because there is no argument — Mike Piazza admitted, multiple times, to taking PEDs.
Oh, I suppose we can argue over whether Mike Piazza was “cheating” or not when he took the PEDs. In his public admissions, he admitted to taking androstenedione at a time when it was available over the counter, and before MLB tested for PEDs. Whether you agree that “andro” is a steroid or not has already been covered in the previously mentioned MetsToday post in February 2013. Regardless of how you classify it, “andro” is still a Performance Enhancing Drug, and one that was banned by the International Olympic Committee in 1997, and, since then, banned by MLB, the NFL, NBA, USOC, and NCAA. “Andro” is also the PED that Mark McGwire slyly placed in his locker in full view for a reporter such as Steve Wilstein to find. It was a slick move by McGwire because, at the time, “andro” was legal to use in MLB, and it could be found at the local GNC or other vitamin store — so, if anyone ever accused McGwire of cheating or taking steroids, he could “admit” to taking something that was legal and over-the-counter (and not have to admit to taking who-knows-what-else that was illegal and not OTC).
Now here’s an interesting twist — if one looks past Piazza’s admitted use of androstenedione, then one must also excuse McGwire’s use of the same. Right? And if one uses the argument that Piazza took a PED at a time when MLB wasn’t testing, so it’s OK, then you have to apply the same logic to McGwire. Therefore, if one excuses both players for using “andro,” then, theoretically, one might vote for both to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
And then the argument becomes whether or not both belong in the HoF based on their stats; I’ve seen/heard some people who think McGwire’s career numbers weren’t HoF-worthy.
Now, what about the argument that the PEDs didn’t help Piazza, because he was already a man-beast hitting bombs over fences in high school? Well, that’s exactly the same argument posed for McGwire. McGwire was a homerun-hitter as a high schooler, in the Alaska League, at USC, in the minors, and he hit 49 HR in his rookie MLB season. Does that mean PEDs didn’t help him to continue hitting homeruns? Heck, that’s the big question, isn’t it? And by big, I mean in all of MLB, because EVERYONE in MLB was hitting tons of homeruns in the “steroid era.” Is it a coincidence that homeruns, batting averages, and runs scored have gone down drastically since MLB began mandatory PEDs testing? Maybe. Is there a reason PEDs are banned in the first place?
What’s my position? It’s been stated before. I don’t really care about players getting voted in to the Hall of Fame. Once the PEDs era began, and the stats went into the stratosphere, individual numbers, to me, no longer held much weight. When players like Luis Gonzalez were hitting 57 homers, numbers no longer mattered to me. And when 57 homers were only good enough for third-best, that further cemented my feelings. If it were up to me, no more players would be “elected” into the Hall of Fame. Instead, there would merely be the museum, and a chronicle of the game presented within — both good and bad. Did Tyrannosaurus Rex have to be “elected” into a Dinosaur Hall of Fame? No, but the beast is seen and learned about by many millions of people who go to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. It can be the same way with the Baseball HoF — a curator or group of curators decide who and what is chronicled in the history of baseball. No more “Hall of Famers” — it’s a dumb concept, anyway, for what is a team game.
Oh, one more thing: I have a major, major issue with HoF voters who refuse to cast votes for, say, Piazza, McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Jeff Bagwell, etc., but DO cast votes for Craig Biggio, Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine, Curt Schilling, etc. It doesn’t make any sense to me at all — how can someone suspect one player of possibly doing PEDs, and simultaneously decide that another player from the exact same era was 100% clean? Especially when we know that PEDs don’t necessarily make baseball players look like NFL linebackers? Just because Biggio (for example) didn’t have the bulging biceps of his teammate Bagwell, doesn’t necessarily clear him of PEDs use. Just because Tom Glavine didn’t throw 100 MPH, doesn’t mean he didn’t use HGH for recovery, for example. The ENTIRE era is tainted, and there is absolutely no way for anyone to know who was clean and who wasn’t. Case in point: the first MLB player suspended for using PEDs was Alex Sanchez — all 5’10”, 180 lbs. of him. Other players caught using PEDs — and steroids, specifically — included “bodybuilders” such as Freddy Galvis, Guillermo Mota, Everth Cabrera, Ryan Braun, Ryan Franklin, Neifi Perez, and Mike Jacobs, among others. Cheating comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors, but it’s still cheating.
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