I spent a great deal of time in 2013 and 2014 covering Alex Rodriguez, the Biogenesis ordeal, and his record-setting season long suspension. There was a lot that I had hoped people, and players would take away from the result of it. Mostly, what is done in darkness always comes to light.
I grew up in the Yankees Dynasty era. This also happened to be the Steroid Era in baseball. Everyone was using, and no one cared because it was selling tickets, and lining the pockets of good old Commissioner Bud Selig, and all the other higher-ups in the MLB. The integrity of the game be damned, so long as they were getting paid. But...I digress.
In 2012, Marlon Byrd was suspended for PEDs. He received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for Tamoxifen. He issued an apology for the usage but said that it was an error due to a medication he was taking for a surgery he had, unrelated to baseball. Basically, the same spiel we get from every player ever caught using PEDs. They'll do better. They'll be more vigilant.
Byrd has just been suspended for 162 games without pay, after testing positive for a growth hormone. He released a statement on the matter.
"When I learned that I had tested positive for Ipamorelin, I retained the services of private counsel and an independent chemist to determine the origin of the Ipamorelin test result because I never knowingly ingested Ipamorelin. After an extensive investigation by my lawyers and an independent chemist, it was concluded that the most likely source of the Ipamorelin was a tainted supplement.
I alone am responsible for what I put into my body, and therefore, I have decided to forgo my right to an appeal in this matter and accept the suspension. I apologize for any harm this has caused the Cleveland Indians, Indians' fans, my teammates, and most importantly, my family."
Honestly, the entire PED usage in professional sports has become more than a slight annoyance. And I don't want to assume that Byrd is just like every other repeat offender, but we've heard this apology time and again. It's the same regurgitated nonsense we hear every time a player gets caught. It no longer has a ring of sincerity. It's disingenuous, and a bit insulting in my opinion.
I'm not behind the idea of 1 and done, like a lot of fans are. Only because I know that people can and do change. But I happen to agree with Casey. PEDs HAVE DESTROYED THIS GREAT GAME OF BASEBALL. He wrote about it in 2013, and we've referenced it here time and again. If you violate the Joint Drug Agreement... if you used steroids and cheated... man up, publicly take responsibility, and do it without the protection of lawyers, and unions and so forth.
I've always maintained that the PEDs issue was created, at least in part, by the MLB. It was allowed to flourish until it became convenient to attempt to put an end to it. The decision to clean-up baseball came too late. And now there is no real accountability. There are a few, like Alex, who can and have turned things around for themselves. But until players have to take the full weight of their actions, there will never be any real shift in this PEDs issue.