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Ken Gurnick only votes Jack Morris for Hall of Fame in steroid-era protest

Jack MorrisDodgers.com beat reporter and Hall of Fame voter Ken Gurnick has been roundly criticized Tuesday for submitting a Hall of Fame ballot in which he only voted for Jack Morris and nobody else. The biggest reason for the criticism is that Gurnick’s ballot ensures that Greg Maddux — who by all standards is as worthy for the Hall of Fame as almost any player ever — will not be a unanimous selection.

Though many are lambasting Gurnick, I think his reasoning and explanation makes plenty of sense.

“It’s just my feeling about the steroid era and all the players in it,” Gurnick said of his ballot during an interview with Sirius/XM Radio’s “Inside Pitch.” “I can’t tell who [used PEDs] and who didn’t, so I don’t feel like I can vote for any of the players from that era.”

Gurnick admitted during his interview that he knew he was leaving himself open to criticism. There are questions such as what years the steroid era encompasses, and whether a guy like Morris pitched in the era.

Gurnick said he wrestled with that question, but decided Morris pitched well enough throughout most of his career in an earlier era to vote for him. But because of his views on the steroid era, Gurnick says he won’t be voting in the future.

“I won’t be voting for anybody probably anymore. My plan is to abstain from voting in the future.”

I know Gurnick and find him to be a very good beat reporter and intelligent guy. He’s not an idiot, and his reasoning makes sense, even if I would have voted differently.

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Eric Byrnes: Hall of Fame player from ’70s and ’80s used steroids

Eric ByrnesFormer MLB outfielder Eric Byrnes decried steroid use and lobbied for harsher penalties for drug cheaters in an essay written on his website. He also says a prominent Hall of Fame baseball player from the 1970s and ’80s used steroids.

Byrnes, who played in the bigs from 2000-2010, wrote the following on his site:

Disturbingly, not long ago I was having dinner with a former long time Major League player that spoke about the steroid use of a prominent Hall of Famer that played the majority of his career in the 70′s and 80′s… Ha! Not like I was shocked but damn… So many members of the Hall of Fame, including this character, have recently spoken out and condemned guys who have had ties to performance enhancing drugs, saying there is no place for “cheaters” in the HOF… I just wonder how many of the other guys in the “Hall” were actually cheaters themselves?

This is not the first time we have heard that there is a steroid user in the Hall of Fame; Jose Canseco has said there is a steroids user already in the Hall.

The Baseball Hall of Fame has very specific rules against cheating and considers a player’s character as part of the criteria for admission. No players were elected to the Hall this year because the most accomplished players up for eligibility all had ties to steroids. Most of the sanctity of Cooperstown would be eliminated if it turned out that they had already elected a cheater.

In addition to his revelation about the Hall of Famer who used PEDs, Byrnes explained why he wants harsher penalties for current users who get busted.

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MLBPA director Michael Weiner: Alex Rodriguez suspension is ‘almost ridiculous’

Alex Rodriguez YankeesMajor League Baseball made an unprecedented move on Monday when it suspended New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez for 211 games because of his alleged involvement with Biogenesis. A-Rod has never failed a non-survey drug test, and the penalty for first-time offenders is a 50-game suspension. The belief is that Rodriguez interfered with MLB’s investigation and is being penalized for more than just using performance-enhancing drug.

Naturally, the MLB Players Association is defending A-Rod and his right to appeal. During an interview with “The Dan Patrick Show” on Monday, MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner ripped Bud Selig in arguing in favor of Rodriguez.

“We feel what (Selig) did, frankly, was inappropriate and almost ridiculous,” Weiner said. “Look at the penalties that have been (given) out and cases that have been decided by the commissioner’s officer along with the Players Association. Nothing comes close to 211 games.”

Again, the belief is that no other player’s involvement with Biogenesis ran as deep as A-Rod’s. No other player has — to our knowledge — been accused of destroying evidence. In addition, there has also been speculation that Rodriguez led other players to Tony Bosch’s clinic. Weiner said both sides tried to work out an agreement but were unsuccessful in doing so.

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David Ortiz ‘hurt’ by steroid accusations following his hot start

David-Ortiz-rips-Buster-OlneyDavid Ortiz is off to the best start of his career with the Boston Red Sox. A notoriously slow starter in April, Big Papi is hitting .381 with 17 RBI and four home runs through only 16 games. He missed the first 15 games of the season because of an Achilles’ injury that stemmed back to last July, but the 37-year-old returned without missing a beat.

Since Ortiz’s hot start in 2013 is unusual for a player his age who normally comes crawling out of the gate, Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe decided he would be the first one to bring up the steroid talk — despite the fact that Ortiz has only appeared in 16 games.

Hitting is not this easy. Athletes do not get better as they mature into their late 30s. Baseball has been peppered with performance-enhancing drugs for the last 20 years. The cheaters are always ahead of the testers. A number of players from the Dominican Republic have tested positive for steroids. Injuries to the Achilles’ tendon are consistent with steroid use. It is not natural for a guy to hit .426 out of the gate without the benefit of any spring training.

Of course, Shaughnessy pointed to the fact that Ortiz’s name appeared on a list of players who tested positive back in 2003. That being said, he has not failed a drug test in the last 10 years. If you think Ortiz is using performance-enhancing drugs, you must think either Major League Baseball is covering for him or he has found a way to cheat the system.

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MLB reportedly investigated Curt Schilling steroid incident back in 2008

Curt-SchillingHeads began to spin earlier this week when Curt Schilling said during an interview with ESPN Radio that a member of the Boston Red Sox organization encouraged him to use performance-enhancing drugs back in 2008. Most of us assumed the revelation would lead to a major investigation from Major League Baseball, but as it turns out the matter was already addressed — more than four years ago.

What Schilling didn’t mention in his interview is that he informed then-general manager Theo Epstein that the Red Sox employee — who has since been dismissed — suggested he use steroids to recover from an injury.

“Our office was notified,” MLB vice president Pat Courtney said Thursday, via the Boston Globe. “We take any report like this seriously and there was an investigation.”

Schilling told the Globe’s Peter Abraham that “two or three” investigators from the MLB went to speak to him at the time, and two baseball sources confirmed that the person no longer works for the team. The Red Sox have made several changes to their medical staff over the years, but none were believed to be a direct result of the 2008 investigation.

“I don’t remember who they were,” Schilling said. “I was trying to downplay the whole thing because I wasn’t playing at the time and I didn’t want to cause any problems in the clubhouse. Had I known Theo was going to report it to MLB, I would have never said anything. I was kind of mad that he had to do that.”

From the sound of it, Epstein and the Red Sox handled the situation exactly the way they should have. Schilling confirmed that the incident he spoke of on Thursday was the same one that was already addressed in 2008, which makes the story far less earth-shattering. Given his history of backtracking on topics and his passion for creating drama, you have to wonder if Schilling intentionally left out the fact that this is something the Red Sox have already taken care of. Now, all the headlines that read “Schilling: Red Sox told me to take steroids” don’t seem all that fair.

Photo credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

Curt Schilling: Members of Red Sox organization encouraged me to use PEDs

Curt-SchillingSay what you will about Curt Schilling and his blowhard attitude, but at the time being we have no reason to believe he wasn’t one of the clean guys during a tainted generation. Schilling dominated throughout much of his career and had his fair share of injuries toward the end, but his name has not been linked to steroid use. According to the three-time World Series champion, it would have been if the Boston Red Sox had their way.

During an interview with Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio on Wednesday (via WEEI.com), Schilling said that members of the Red Sox organization encouraged him to use performance-enhancing drugs when he was recovering from an injury in 2008.

“At the end of my career, in 2008 when I had gotten hurt, there was a conversation that I was involved in in which it was brought to my attention that this is a potential path I might want to pursue,” Schilling said before noting that the people involved are no longer with Boston. “It was an incredibly uncomfortable conversation. Because it came up in the midst of a group of people. The other people weren’t in the conversation but they could clearly hear the conversation. And it was suggested to me that at my age and in my situation, why not? What did I have to lose? Because if I wasn’t going to get healthy, it didn’t matter. And if I did get healthy, great.

“It caught me off guard, to say the least. That was an awkward situation.”

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Reporter Dan Tordjman apologizes for tweeting Robinson Cano PED rumor

Robinson Cano is one of the best players in baseball, and he should be for years to come. When one of the best young players in the game is accused of using performance-enhancing drugs, it’s a major story. Whether the source who reports it is credible or not, any steroid accusation in this day and age is going to get people talking. That’s why Dan Tordjman of WSOC-TV in Charlotte tweeted out an overdue apology on Thursday.

According to the NY Daily News, Tordjman tweeted from his personal Twitter account on Sept. 20 that Major League Baseball was scheduled to announce Cano had tested positive for PED use. The MLB and the Yankees quickly refuted the information, and two weeks later Tordjman admitted he posted falso information.

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