Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Forget performance-enhancing drugs, let’s talk baseball

Listen, I understand how sports media works. Big names become big stories and then we read and hear about them all day. Then the next news cycle takes it away. That might not be the case with Major League Baseball and performance-enhancing drugs.

Anthony Bosch, the lead witness who helped MLB determine the severity of the punishment for Alex Rodriguez and others in the Biogenesis scandal, was arrested by the Drug Enforcement Administration this morning and it’s been the lead story throughout the day. I tweeted this earlier and unfortunately, I’m helping the story’s legs climb up the vine by using it as an intro.
Yes, of course it has to be covered, but why does it have to take precedence over the game itself? Haven’t we had enough and when it creeps back up why do we drop everything about what happens on the field? Why do we have to make such a big deal about it? There were (are) cheaters in Major League Baseball. They’ll hopefully be caught and MLB finally has a means to rid the sport of the abusers. That should be enough in my view.

I’d much rather be talking about on-the-field items.

Two of the National League’s top players are on the disabled list or soon to be – Arizona Diamondbacks’ first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen. They were both hurt in the same series over the weekend. Goldschmidt is likely to miss the remainder of the season and McCutchen is avoiding the DL for now. McCutchen is an integral part of the Pirates offense and any lost time could derail their playoff hopes.

The Detroit Tigers are throwing the last three Cy Young award winners at their opponents over the next several weeks. Think they feel good about their chances to go deep in the playoffs?

Los Angeles Dodgers’ hurler Clayton Kershaw won his second straight NL Player of the Month award Monday. The guy is unstoppable. He’s well on his way to his second straight Cy Young.

Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu won his third American League Rookie of the Month award and also his second AL Player of the Month award. It is the second time he won both awards in the same month. Abreu leads the majors with 31 home runs and 84 RBIs.

The Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Angels are in a dog fight for the AL West title with one game separating the two teams in the standings. They have the best records in the American League, but unfortunately the loser will have to play a one-game playoff to make it to the division series. The Angels currently hold an eight-game lead over the Toronto Blue Jays who occupy the second wild card slot as of Monday’s games. It would be tough to swallow if either the A’s or Angels lost that game to a team that won 10 less games over the course of the season.

There are countless other storylines out there about each team and the game itself. Unfortunately, these are not the stories we’ll read about today, and maybe not even tomorrow as ESPN’s investigative reporter T.J. Quinn tweeted this out earlier this afternoon.
It looks as though the PED epidemic in baseball is here to stay. Me, I’ll concentrate on what happens on the field first, then who cheats the game next.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance sports writer/editor and the Director of Content Strategy for Sportsideo.