By Shawn Clarke, MLB Contributor - Archive - Email
Keeping up with cheaters in sports
 Alex Rodriguez Monday MLB handed down suspensions to 13 players connected to PED use.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - A traditional mantra in sports is no matter how hard you work, there's someone else working harder.

But are they really?

Having a level playing field is idealistic for competition, but athletes are hungry, determined specimens who strive for more.

More of what?

More fame, fortune and time on the field, court, bike, pool or track. So it comes as no surprise some athletes want to take it to the next level with a little help.

In the wake of the fallout from the Biogenesis scandal, disgraced sports stars come to mind. The anti-aging clinic in Miami focuses mainly on two sides of the spectrum: The already-established player and the ones exerting themselves just to put food on the table.

Ryan Braun was already a good hitter. The same is true for Alex Rodriguez, Nelson Cruz and Jhonny Peralta. However, players like Philadelphia Phillies reliever Antonio Bastardo are doing what it takes to have a spot on a big league roster and provide for their family.

Dan Meyer competed for a roster spot with Bastardo a few years ago and wasn't pleased when Major League Baseball slapped the left-hander with a 50-game suspension.

Meyer took to the Twitter machine to express his feelings.

"Hey Antonio Bastardo, remember when we competed for a job in 2011. Thx alot. #ahole."

The last few characters seemed unnecessary, but it's understandable where Meyer was coming from. He's not the only one who holds a grudge against cheaters.

Here is a list of controversial figures who opted to dabble with PEDs:

LAWRENCE TAYLOR: The man more commonly known as L.T. thought that snorting rails of cocaine during his playing days was the right thing to do. He gathered plenty of sacks for the New York Giants and used Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski as his whipping boy. Still, Taylor's enhanced athleticism changed the way offenses defend the rush.

LANCE ARMSTRONG: Arguably a gigantic scumbag in the eyes of the public, Armstrong put cycling back on the map and left it with a smudge for having all seven of his Tour de France titles stripped because of doping. The Livestrong campaign is one of the greatest charities ever established and Armstrong brought it down along with his fame and trust (see Floyd Landis, too).

BARRY BONDS: Deceased comedian Greg Giraldo didn't feel it was a congressional matter to have baseball players under oath for their alleged use of PEDs. Giraldo said they're entertainers and it's not a big deal. People do care. That's why many believe Bonds, whose body made a complete transformation from his Pittsburgh days, shouldn't be baseball's all-time home run king.

BEN JOHNSON: Johnson left Carl Lewis and Linford Christie in the dust back in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. However, it was learned Johnson dipped into the steroid jar and was stripped of a gold medal and world record for using the banned substance, stanozolol. Johnson was later banned for life by the IAAF.

MARION JONES - Jones is another disgraced athlete in the world of track. She was the best in the business until confessing the use of PEDs. Jones' name has been erased by the IOC and all her medals from Sydney were taken away.

MARK MCGWIRE - How phony must McGwire have felt when hugging the family of Yankees great Roger Maris? Roger Maris Jr. says the single-season home run record still belongs to his father, who belted 61 homers in 1961. McGwire and Sammy Sosa, another substance abuser, took the baseball world by storm in 1998, but those are just tainted memories.

BRIAN CUSHING: Cushing was a freak in his own right while playing for the USC Trojans. He was then suspended for the first four games of the 2010 season with the Houston Texans for testing positive for a banned substance. He was named Defensive Rookie of the Year, an award he maintained after a re-vote. A positive drug test notwithstanding, Cushing was happy how the re-vote turned out in his favor.

SHAWNE MERRIMAN - Another talented linebacker busted for illicit supplements, Merriman, who inherited the name "Lights Out" for big hits and an aggressive demeanor, was suspended for four games in 2006 and was an alleged abuser of PEDs. The bulky Merriman's career came to a halt due to injuries and probably the harmful side effects from steroid use.

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: A-Rod admitted to using PEDs in front of his teammates in spring training a few years ago, and said to be judged from that point on. Now he is the face of the latest Biogenesis scandal and facing a lengthy suspension that could keep him off the diamond until 2015. Like Bonds and many others guilty of spiking their talent, Rodriguez didn't need to enhance his body because he was a special player from the jump.

EAST GERMAN SWIM TEAM: The East German swim team competed like a pod of dolphins in the 1976 Olympics. Why? Because they were taking steroids and had muscles like grown men.

JOSE CANSECO: Canseco was an abuser and alleged recruiter to the world of steroids. In his book "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big," Canseco ratted out players and described personal encounters with guys who could be steered in the direction of PEDs. Canseco has long been a personal muse and, as it turns out, actually shed some positive light on substance abuse across the major leagues.

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