Friday, September 7, 2007


Rick Ankiel reportedly received and presumably took HGH back in 2004. While the pharmacy is in the crosshairs of an investigation of illegal PED prescriptions, it doesn't appear at this time as though Ankiel is in any legal trouble over it. He apparently stopped receiving the HGH right before it was banned by baseball in 2005.


Based on what is currently being reported, Ankiel wouldn't appear to be at risk of suspension, but given the nature of the report -- and its connection to what may very well be BALCO-east (the prescribing outfit is called "THARC") baseball will no doubt be shining a mighty bright light into Ankiel's more sensitive cavities. If it's discovered that he took HGH in 2005 or later, he's gonna get suspended for 50 games.

There has been considerable discussion about why Barry Bonds and to a lesser extent McGwire and Sosa have received so much scrutiny while the transgressions of other players -- including those who, unlike those guys, have tested positive for PEDs -- are virtually ignored by the fans and the press. The answer it seems to me is that the fuss over one's drug use is directly proportional to the damage one is thought to have done to a good story. The cloud over McGwire and Sosa has angered people who were sucked into the 1998 home run drama. Bonds would be treated much like Gary Sheffield is if he hadn't had the nerve to mess with that record and then Hank Aaron and the all-time home run mark.

Ankiel's story has sucked people in. It is my suspicion that no matter what is ultimately found about his HGH use, anyone, particularly any baseball writer, who has had visions of Roy Hobbs while watching Ankiel's comeback will soon cry "betrayal!" and start the process of tearing him down.


Diesel said...

Shyster, you and I are usually in complete harmony, but I've got to disagree with you: People are so attached to this Ankiel story — particularly in St. Louis — that they'll endeavor to cast this in the best possible light.

I've got a blog bet that he gets cast as a sypathetic, "just trying to save his career" kinda guy, and he gets a total pass. I don't know what the actual bet would be, but I'll bet nonetheless.

Shyster said...

I think you're right about St. Louis. After all, Barry is still well-regarded in the Bay Area. And heck, maybe you're right overall.

But there's got to be some reason why Barry is the devil and anyone else who has PED-connections seems to get a pass. I don't buy race simply because I give 21st century humanity a bit more credit than to be that crass and obvious.

Perhaps it is jerk vs. non-jerk, but McGwire gets crap too, and he was never thought of as a jerk until the roid stuff came out, so that doesn't seem to work.

Maybe it's record-breaker vs. non-record breaker. We care about it only to the extent we think the PED use sullies the books, otherwise, eh.

I think it either has to be that, or else it has to be the destruction of narrative. I suppose Ankiel will be the test case. If he gets a pass like you say he will, then it's probably only about records or, to a lesser extent, Barry-hate. If he's raked over the coals, it's because sportswriters, who are suckers for good stories, felt, well, suckered.