Category Archives: steroids keyed my car


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

We all knew this was coming, but I suppose it still requires a post. Jhonny Peralta, Biogenesis, steroidy steroids, 50-game suspension.

The Tigers obviously knew this was coming too, as the signing of Jose Smooth Defensive Operator Iglesias shows. Thus nobody is surprised by any of this, and because Mr. Dombrowski had taken the steps necessary to make sure that Jhonny’s suspension would not put the team in an immediate bind, it’s hard to get too worked up. Some dudes did steroids, or at the very least made the mistake of associating heavily with a company positively schmeared with steroid residue. Those dudes are now being suspended, and potentially, depending on how much meddling they’ve tried to do pre-suspension, banned (good work, ARod). The Tigers lose a shortstop; the Tigers have a shortstop. The wheel turns.

The only one who really got run over by all this was Avisail Garcia, cruelly ripped from the tender bosom of his role model and sent to the dank, Miguel-Cabrera-less south side of Chicago as part of the series of moves that brought Iglesias to Detroit. So it goes.

my cat's on steroids

It’s like living with Gary Sheffield, except for all the ways it isn’t.

A-Rod's tearful confession, blah blah blah

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

So I suppose we all know by now that Alex Rodriguez has admitted to using steroids. Paws knows there’s nothing much going on in the Big Cat World right now, so we may as well talk about it.

A few things stood out in this whole glorious, glorious mess. First of all, A-Rod claims he had no idea what he was taking, blaming youth and naiveté and baseball’s acceptance of Mr. Met’s giant steroid-enhanced head for his unquestioning use of whatever he was given. A-Rod was 25 when he got to Texas (which is when he claims his steroid use began) and had already been in the big leagues for 7 years (five full years). Naive? OK…

He also never says where he got it, even though Peter Gammons specifically asks. This is despite the fact that according to reports he tested positive for testosterone and Primobolan, the latter being an anabolic steroid that is illegal in the US. Not questioning something your doctor or team trainer gives you, that I can understand, but the likelihood of A-Rod getting this stuff from a doctor or team trainer is pretty low, as it can’t be prescribed in the US. I reckon that he evaded this question (the only one, I think, that he straight-up sidestepped) for one of two reasons:

–to avoid implicating someone else… perhaps another player? We’ve seen how popular that sort of thing made Canseco,


–to avoid shedding light on the obviously illegal channels through which he acquired the stuff, which would make it clear that he knew at the time that what he was doing was wrong. This is something that he has basically denied; he repeats over and over that he was stupid, that he was negligent, but the implication is still that, at the time, he thought whatever he was taking was on some level delicious chemical rightness. This is reinforced by his repeated mentions of GNC and the fact that there are things players could get there that would show up on a drug test. Prior to serious steroid testing in MLB, there are few players who would have mistrusted something they bought at a mainstream store like GNC. THAT is perhaps naive. It’s hard to claim naiveté when you’re getting stuff through some plainly illegal route.

Primobolan is not something that A-Rod could have purchased at GNC. I guess my point here is that some people are going to applaud A-Rod for “coming clean” about his steroid use. Even if you set aside his point-blank lie in his 2007 interview with Katie Couric (“Have you ever used a steroid or performance enhancing substance?” “No.” Wah wahhhhh), the fact is that he’s not coming completely clean even now. He saw what happened to Roger Clemens; he (and Scott Boras) knew that he had to admit that he used at the very least. This isn’t really something to commend.

Now, as Tigers fans, what do we care? We already know that having a steroid user on the team doesn’t much affect our day-to-day fandom. I don’t think there’s anyone still delusional enough to believe that Gary Sheffield didn’t use some sort of PED (with the possible exception of Gary Sheffield himself), but if the Tigers needed a big hit and Sheff was at the plate, fans rooted for him, no question.

And, of course, we’ve had plenty of time to recover from the pain of the Nook Logan steroid use revelations– although o! how deeply did they wound us!!

Here’s the thing. One of the things? Here’s A Thing. The positive that snagged A-Rod was one of 104 positive results in a supposedly anonymous 2003 test. Now, despite everything I said above, and despite the fact that I’m not an A-Rod fan for a variety of other, mostly shameless Red Soxian reasons, I do think it’s pure coprolites that his name came out here.

If the test was anonymous it should have friggin’ stayed anonymous. How on earth are they going to get players to submit to anonymous testing for anything else if they know there’s a chance it won’t truly be anonymous at some point down the unethical Road of Ha Ha, Got You Now?

And if names are, for whatever reason, going to come out, it is COMPLETELY unfair that A-Rod’s is the only one we’re hearing. There are 104 players involved here. Maybe none of the others are big, Madonna-humpin’ names. Maybe they’re 103 Fernando Vinas. Maybe some of them tested positive for substances that DID come from places like GNC, substances that were more ambiguous in legality at the time.

I know, I know. On some level, a lot of us don’t even really care anymore. We can recognize that there’s unfairness on all sides: acceptable supplement guidelines are not clearly explained to the players (especially the non-English-speaking players), anonymous testing is anonymous in name only, the development of new undetectable PEDs continues to outpace MLB’s ability to test for them, players are apologetic about cheating only when they’re caught, and on and on and on. And, like I said, on an everyday, ‘this dude is playing for the team I desperately want to win because I am a rabid fan’ level, it’s hard to give a rat’s pelvis.

Still. Just imagine your favorite Tiger in A-Rod’s position. Not the greatest feeling, is it?

I have rambled far afield (as is my wont). Tigers fans, and indeed all baseball fans, should care at least a little bit about A-Rod– and Clemens, and Pettitte, and Giambi, and McGwire, and Sheffield, and Brian Roberts, and Rafael Palmeiro, and Alex Sánchez, and Barry Bonds, and Nook friggin’ Logan. Why? Because if we don’t care, that’s just one more reason for these guys to keep on being naive. They’re going to carry on with the boo hoo hoo stupidity.

The prospect of Trial by Court of Public Opinion isn’t going to stop a player who’s determined to cheat his balls off (literally). But if we deride the snot out of guys like A-Rod, maybe, just maybe, somewhere down the line a couple of players will start thinking twice before slathering themselves with sketchily-obtained creams.

waiting on the Tiger bats

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Soooo… Brian Bannister, huh?

I mean, hey, he’s not a bad pitcher. He had a pretty damn good year for the Royals in ’07. He went 12-9, and when you’ve got the Royals lineup backing you up, that means a little something.

Buuuut… we only managed 2 hits over 7 innings? Both of them singles by Edgar Renteria? And no walks? Off Brian Bannister? Of the Royals?

We also apparently need to be more careful about what we wish for. After Monday’s game I said the Tigers needed to strand fewer men. And that did in fact happen today! They stranded far fewer players on base… because they only got a man on base three times in the entire game.

There really isn’t much to say right now. We’re getting straight-up outplayed by the Royals. I tip my cap to them.

Here’s the deal. It’s early. Clearly our bats haven’t revved up out of Spring Training mode yet. I’m not going to work myself into a panicked lather over two games. HOWEVER, if the Tigers lose again tomorrow, I will flip out. I will completely lose my kitty litter all over this blog, and it will not be pretty. It’s not that losing three games out of the gate is the worst thing that could ever happen to us, but it would be three divisional losses, it would be three losses to the Kansas City Royals, and it would snap something tender and hopeful in my heart.

OK? Tigers? You got that? That’s the deal. You win on Thursday, and I keep things friendly here at RotT.

ETA: I’m watching a little Baseball Tonight, with Fernando Vina (STILL rockin’ the square goatee) at the table. They’re talking about Pedro Martinez’s hamstring injury, or whatever it is, and the main Baseball Tonight dude points out that Fernando had a similar injury, and that it was while trying to recover from the resultant surgery that Fernando took HGH. HE’S SITTING RIGHT THERE.

Then Fernando has to talk about how he thinks guys aren’t going to use HGH anymore to recover from surgery like that, because it’s so embarrassing and awful and his kids came home and were all, “Daddy why did you use drugs? :( “.

This is one of the most awkward Baseball Tonight segments I’ve seen in ages.

Jose Canseco goes a step too far, again.

photo by Samara Pearlstein

Ugh. Now, you cats know that I am a fan of giving people the benefit of the doubt, especially in a written forum, even if that written forum is a blog that occasionally features an orange cartoon dinosaur. But this…

José Canseco, the former major league slugger and admitted steroid user who exposed other players in his 2005 best-selling book Juiced, offered to keep a Detroit Tigers outfielder ‘clear’ in his next book if the player invested money in a film project Canseco was promoting, according to a person in baseball with knowledge of the situation.

Four people in baseball confirmed that referrals were made from Major League Baseball to the F.B.I. regarding Canseco’s actions relating to the six-time All-Star outfielder Magglio Ordonez, who was not mentioned in Canseco’s earlier book or in any other report on performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. All four insisted on anonymity because they said they didn’t have authority to speak about the events.

The F.B.I. did not open a formal investigation because Ordonez said he did not want to pursue the complaint.
New York Times article

He’s denying it, Maggs is saying it’s no big and he doesn’t want any trouble, whatever, whatever, like anyone is going to say anything different to a reporter.

It would be one thing to put Maggs in the book. I am not even dealing with that right now; we’ll cross that road when we reach it and all that. But to say that he can keep his name out of the book if he invests in a Canseco Productions movie?

Hellooooo extortion.

Asked whether Canseco’s alleged actions constitute extortion, Daniel C. Richman, a professor at Columbia Law School and a former federal prosecutor, said it would be a hard case to prove. “A demand for an investment isn’t as obvious of a threat, and a jury may be less likely to see it as extortion compared to a demand for hard cash,” he said.
New York Times article

A rose by any other name, etc. Anyways, telling Magglio that his name will be linked to steroids if he doesn’t do Canseco’s evil bidding is, in the world of baseball today, definitely a threat: it’s a straight-up threat to Magglio’s good name and thus to his career and livelihood.

So hey! Jose Canseco! Throw up the names of my players alongside steroids if you think it’ll keep you above the poverty line a little longer. Go ahead. It’s happened to practically every other team out there.

But seriously, sinking to extortion? Way to reach all new levels of sleaze-baggery, you enormous irritated ferret rectum.

Mitchell Report names Tigers, but not who you think

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

The Mitchell Report is out, and it’s all everyone is talking about. There’s a lot of information in it (and a lot of repeating, which is kind of infuriating), and, yes, some names.

Since I know you’re here for the names, these are the Tigers (or, more precisely, guys who were Tigers and may have used during their Tigers career) listed in the report:

Rondell White
Nook Logan
Fernando Vina
And of course Gary Sheffield.

Take a moment to snicker. Guffaw if you have to. Go on, get it all out.

Now, the most interesting thing may be the names NOT in here. There are a few Tigers in particular that I’m sure some of us were worried about, and there’s nary a whisper of their names in this report. There are also names on here that are linked much more solidly to illegal activity than others. It’s important to remember a few things.

1. The Mitchell Report relies very heavily on information obtained from Kirk Radomski, a Mets clubhouse guy who served as a key witness (and apparently steroid trafficker to the stars). Radomski gave names of guys he knew, guys he had worked with. Kirk Radomski was NOT the only source of steroids or HGH available to Major League Baseball players. Duh. But this particular report is very weighted by his statements. Just because Radomski didn’t name someone does not necessarily clear them, it would simply mean that they may have obtained their drugs in other ways.

You also have to remember that, as a supplier, Radomski is in deep trouble about all this. It’s in his best interests to name as many names as possible, regardless of how flimsy his evidence is for any particular player.

2. One of the other big methods of proof here is paper trail material: checks and notes and so on. Rob Parker, who was on ESPN, noted that this completely ignores guys who paid for their drugs with cash or otherwise left no paper trail (i.e. guys who weren’t idiots about it).

3. Hearsay is not the same kind of evidence as a positive test result, or a signed note saying, “Thanks for the steroids baby, they work so good!! My nuts are already shrinking! Love and kisses, Jose Canseco!!” For instance, the only evidence of Nook Logan’s steroid involvement in this report is Radomski’s word that Nook was referred to him by Rondell White, he sold and shipped one kit of HGH to Nook, and the fact that Radomski had Nook’s phone number in his cell. No paper documents are included, and so we basically only have Radomski’s say-so indicating that this is how it went down.

Now, I don’t especially believe that Kirk Radomski had any particular reason to lie about Nook Logan. It’s not as though Nook is a big name, the type that’s going to make him look like some sort of brave martyr for releasing it. But that level of evidence is simply not the same as direct testimony from a trainer saying he injected Roger Clemens in the butt with steroids (which, by the way, is not a mental image I wanted, ever, but is in fact in the report), and you can’t treat it the same. But there it is, listed in the report in much the same way as everyone else, regardless of the kind of evidence presented for each name.

OK. All that said… that was Nook’s story. We all pretty much know Sheffield’s story already too. What about the other guys?

Fernando Vina (ha ha ha ha ha omg) allegedly bought steroids or HGH from Radomski from 2000-2005, which would include his sterling 2004 season in Detroit. This was a year during which Mr. Vina hit .226/.308/.270. Let this be a lesson to all you kids out there: DON’T DO STEROIDS. IT MIGHT MAKE YOU HIT LIKE FERNANDO VINA.

Radomski had checks from Vina, some of which are included in the report.

Rondell White, according to Radomski, started buying HGH and steroids from him in 2000. A package with Rondell’s name on it was seized from Radomski’s house dated 2005, which puts his steroid use within the range of his ’04-’05 Tigers career. Radomski claims that he personally walked Rondell through proper steroid use and HGH injection over the phone, and that Rondell said he needed the stuff to “stay on the field” because he has a body made of tissue paper.

Radomski has checks from Rondell, which are included in the report.

We also get this curious statement:

Radomski noted that White often overpaid Radomski for the performance enhancing substances.
Mitchell Report quote

I wonder what the heck that’s all about.

Other interesting non-Tigers names in the report: Rogers Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Brian Roberts (pretty circumstantial evidence, fwiw), Chuck Knoblauch, Miguel Tejada, Jack Cust, Mo Vaughn, David Justice, Paul Byrd, Troy Glaus, Gary Matthews Jr., Paul Lo Duca (I suggest you read the report just to read his section, as it’s pretty funny) and loads more.

For Tigers fans, this report is not nearly as bad as we feared. There are no current Tigers named, so the report does not, in any immediate sense, have much impact on the team. This does not mean that The Steroid Menace is clear from the air over Comerica. It mostly means that, if any Tigers used steroids, they weren’t dumb enough to do it with checks and Kirk Radomski. I hate to say it, but that may be the biggest lesson that ballplayers will take away from this whole mess.

because Gary Sheffield's insanity takes no vacations

photo by Samara Pearlstein

I’m still on vacation, but I needed to post this RIGHT. NOW.

Sheffield also denied using steroids, despite grand jury testimony that he used ‘roid cream on his legs and “The Clear” under his tongue.

“In a million years, I don’t care what anybody says, steroids is something you shoot in your butt,” he said. “I do know that. The bottom line is steroids is something you stick in your butt, period.”
Detroit Free Press article

I’m not even going to get into the fact that he said Derek Jeter isn’t “all the way black,” like that’s some kind of magical talisman against racism. Not EVEN. I’m saving that for a nonvacation proper post. And heck, the entire interview isn’t even going to be aired until Tuesday. But I HAD to get this out there right away.

1. The word “steroids” is plural, Sheff. The only reason you would say “is” after it would be if you had used it in the context I just did.


Some anabolic steroids are taken orally, others are injected intramuscularly, and still others are provided in gels or creams that are rubbed on the skin.
National Institute on Drug Abuse Research Report

I am flailing over here. I am on vacation. I am not in the mindset for replying to this latest bout of insanity. I don’t even need to… there is NOTHING I could say that tops what Sheffield himself has already said.

“The bottom line is steroids is something you stick in your butt, period.”

You guys, if you don’t stick it in your butt, it doesn’t count.

Man, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard THAT used as rationalization by guys denying their own homosexual tendencies…

The jokes are too easy. This one just has to stand on its own.