A-Rod not out of the clear yet?

Federal agents have reached out to several of Alex Rodriguez’s assistants, including those that handle his scheduling and finances, in attempt to learn more about his relationship with Canadian doctor Anthony Galea.

From the New York Times:

According to two people briefed on the investigation, which is seeking to determine if Galea distributed performance-enhancing drugs, agents want to question people associated with the Yankees’ Rodriguez — particularly the assistants who have handled his scheduling and finances — to determine the number of times he met with Galea, where they met and how much money Galea was paid for his services.

The effort to talk to people connected to Rodriguez comes as he and his lawyers have put off several meetings with federal agents, who have yet to question him about Galea. Those delays have aroused the curiosity of the agents, the two people said, and helped prompt them to contact others in Rodriguez’s circle.
They said investigators have not made equivalent efforts to question people associated with Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran of the Mets, both of whom met with federal authorities in Florida more than a month ago to answer questions about their own dealings with Galea. It was at that time that federal investigators made their first unsuccessful efforts to meet with Rodriguez.

If A-Rod and his lawyers knew what was best for them, they would cooperate. I say that with Michael Vick in mind, seeing as how the quarterback went down rather quickly after lying about his involvement in dog-fighting.

If Rodriguez is hiding his relationship with Galea, the feds will sniff it out eventually and then he might find himself right back in the middle of controversy.

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Cheer up Yankee-haters and keep this in mind…

Photo from fOTOGLIF

First and foremost, let me state for the record that I am neither a Phillies nor a Yankees fan. My team (the Giants) watched the World Series the same way I did – from my couch with one eye on the tube and the other on my laptop trying to improve my fantasy football roster. (What, you don’t think Pablo Sandoval cares about his fantasy team, too?)

After the Yankees won last night, I did an all-Bronx Bombers post and barely mentioned the Phillies. I talked about how New York found the pitching it needed to get over the hump and how homegrown players like Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada once again stepped up in the clutch. If you’re a Yankee fan, do yourself a favor and stop reading this post immediately and skip right to the one I wrote last night.

If you’re a Phillies fan or a Yankee-hater: Enjoy.

Sure, the Yankees might have bought their 27th championship this year, but let’s take a moment to rain on their parade by keeping all this in mind:

– After stealing all the momentum in the 2001 World Series by winning three straight games against the Diamondbacks to take a 3-2 series lead, they embarrassed themselves in Game 6 by losing 15-2 and then allowed guys like Mark Grace, Tony Womack and Luis Gonzalez to beat them in Game 7…with their ace closer Mariano Rivera on the mound no less.

– They had the best record in baseball in 2002, yet lost to the Rally Monkey in the postseason. The Rally Monkey! (That said, let me take a moment to say “F” that stupid Ebola-infested Rally Monkey on behalf of my Giants.)

– In 2003, they again had one of the best records in baseball (the Braves had an identical 103-61 record), yet lost to the NL Wild Card-winning Marlins in the Fall Classic.

– In 2004…well, we all know what happened in 2004. It’s the reason why we have “Red Sox Nation” and why the term “epic fail” is used today.

– Despite their massive payroll, the Yankee$ choked in the Division Series not once, but three times in a row from 2005 to 2007. They also completely missed the playoffs in 2008 with the highest payroll in baseball. How does that happen?

On top of this, let’s not forget that the Yankees outbid themselves to acquire A-Rod and had four players that tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs: Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Jason Giambi and Rodriguez.

So ask yourself this, would you trade in nine years of embarrassment for one championship?

Sports poll: A-Rod not MLB’s best player anymore

Here’s a shock: Alex Rodriguez is not considered baseball’s best player anymore according to a report by the New York Daily News.

In a random, unscientific survey that included several scouts, executives, players and other observers, none said Rodriguez was still the best player in baseball.

“When I think of the best player, Pujols’ name stands out,” one scout said, a sentiment echoed by many. Others suggested Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer or Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria.

But no one said A-Rod was out of the conversation, either. While a few predicted his production would decline, they also said he would remain among the top run producers in baseball. Because of Rodriguez’s admission he used steroids from 2001-03 while with Texas, some said they’ll always wonder what is genuine in A-Rod’s career.

One major-league scout who has watched Rodriguez extensively this season replied, “Probably so,” when asked if A-Rod’s best days were behind him.

While players like Mauer and Hanley Ramirez certainly garner attention, Pujols is the best player in baseball. He’s the best pure hitter in the game right now and he puts up out-of-this-world numbers in a lineup that isn’t conducive to do so. He’s the best, period.

That said, here’s hoping he never breaks our hearts by testing positive for PEDs. I, like many baseball fans, want to continue to believe that what Pujols is doing on the field is 100% legit. As of now, there’s no reason to believe otherwise.

Selig upset with steroid leaks

According to Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune, baseball commissioner Bud Selig is upset that names from the 2003 list of players who tested positive for banned substances are being leaked to the media.

Apparently Selig and others around Major League Baseball believe that a lawyer with the U.S. Attorney’s office (either past or present) ignored a court seal in order to give Sammy Sosa’s name to Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Daily News, who reported yesterday that the slugger was on the ’03 list.

I don’t blame Selig for being peeved that someone is leaking names that were supposed to be kept anonymous. After all, the only reason the player’s union agreed to the ’03 drug testing was because the players who tested positive wouldn’t be punished and because their names would never be released.

That said – give…me…a…break. If Selig wants to be upset with anything, how about he get upset with himself, the owners and the player’s union that allowed us to get to this point. He turned a blind eye to the steroid issue and now he wants to play victim. I guess he has to put on this little front about being mad about the leaks in efforts to settle down the player’s union, but he has nobody to blame but himself for this mess.

What Selig should do is go back on his word to the player’s union and release the rest of the 104 names on that 2003 list before the media does. A-Rod and Sosa’s names have already been released – how much longer until more names are announced? If Selig thinks that the media is going to stop digging, he has another thing coming. He may anger the players and the union by releasing the names, but it’s well past time for people to start taking responsibility for what has happened to the game of baseball.

David Wells: ‘Players that cheat should be banned after first offense’

Former MLB pitcher David Wells tossed a few high hard ones at Alex Rodriguez and Roger Clemens this past weekend, saying that any player that cheats the game should be banned from baseball after the first offense.

Wells said the home runs that Rodriguez hit during the time he admitted he was on steroids shouldn’t count, including the three he jacked against Wells in 2003. He also questioned Roger Clemens’ veracity on his constant denials that he never juiced, and said all steroids cheats should be banned from baseball after the first offense and have no shot at getting into the Hall of Fame.

“I think that would be great. No 50-game suspension. Ban them right away,” Wells said. “That would stop it in a heartbeat, especially with the money they are giving out today. It would be incredible if they did that. You wouldn’t have to worry about steroids or HGH.”

Why do players abuse steroids? So they can post incredible numbers, assault records, extend their careers, sign big contracts.

“It (stinks) because of the fact that these guys are playing dirty and that’s not fair to the guys who busted their butt all those years to try and stay here and just didn’t have what it took,” Wells said.

If baseball truly wanted to stop player’s use of performance-enhancing drugs, they would take on Wells’ philosophy. No player in their right mind would risk taking steroids if they knew a positive test would result in a lifetime ban from the game. (Well, maybe I shouldn’t suggest that no player would risk using, because I’m sure some nitwit would do it anyway thinking he’d never be caught.)

One thing to note is that MLB wouldn’t be able to make this rule retroactive because if they didn’t think it was important to have a testing policy in place 10 years ago, then they shouldn’t be able to ban a player who admitted using during that time. So guys like A-Rod and Andy Pettitte would be given a free pass for now.

But a lifetime ban would put the responsibility back into the players’ hands – where everything starts anyway. If a player isn’t sure that a supplement or medication will get him banned, he needs to check with a team doctor and have it authorized. That way everyone knows what’s going into these players’ bodies and therefore there wouldn’t be any surprises. And this wouldn’t just help keep the game clean, but it would also show that MLB cares about the players’ long-term health, too. It seems to be a win-win for all parties involved.

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