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By Shawn Clarke, MLB Contributor - Archive - Email
PEDs becoming the norm
Melky Cabrera didn't tip-toe around his suspension when the news broke Wednesday.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Besides continuous reading and news writing to improve aptitude as a journalist, experimenting with a performance enhancer could be an option to get an edge in the industry.

A caffeine alertness aid such as Provigil is one choice, but I abstain because of a family history of health issues.

With news of Melky Cabrera's suspension just a few days old, it seems that popping pills, using lotions or injecting substances is all too common these days in sports. One has to yawn anymore when league officials drop the hammer on guilty parties.

Cabrera's 50-game suspension for using testosterone leaves open at least one critical question: Who isn't trying to gain an advantage?

The Mitchell Report listed a handful of household names and also players who possess zero clout. Who on earth cares about Daniel Naulty, Ricky Bones or Mike Judd? But these players have enough talent to reach the major leagues and wanted an edge to become even better. Who wouldn't want to be as talented as Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco, Lenny Dykstra or Jason Giambi?

Cabrera was a good player from the get-go and, like all major leaguers, suffered through some down time. That's why he became expendable with the New York Yankees, had just a one-year stint with the Atlanta Braves, then lifted his career with the Kansas City Royals. His 2011 campaign with the Royals enabled him to sign on via trade with the San Francisco Giants, who were dragged through the mud after the Bonds saga.

Bonds left many to wonder what he was eating to get so big, and didn't need to cheat anyway because he was already talented.

Perhaps Cabrera didn't feel that way. Unlike many who were busted in the Mitchell Report, Cabrera didn't tip-toe around his suspension when the news broke Wednesday and brought bad light back to the Bay Area.

Notable MLB suspensions for peformance-enhancing drugs:
 *Rafael Palmeiro *Manny Ramirez *Edinson Volquez *Marlon Byrd
*J.C. Romero *Guillermo Mota *Freddy Galvis

"My positive test was the result of my use of a substance I should not have used," Cabrera said in a statement through the Major League Baseball Players Association. "I accept my suspension under the Joint Drug Program and I will try to move on with my life. I am deeply sorry for my mistake and I apologize to my teammates, to the San Francisco Giants organization and to the fans for letting them down."

It's easy to be suspicious about athletes and drugs these days because they're entertainers. Playing a 162-game schedule wears a body down, and when pressure of winning or landing that big contract surfaces, an athlete may want to find an advantage over others. That's why Major League Baseball has instilled a strict drug policy, which is working quite efficiently. The Giants probably wished it hadn't now that their top offensive player and 2012 All-Star Game MVP is done for the remainder of the regular season.

"We were extremely disappointed to learn of the suspension of Melky Cabrera for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention & Treatment Program," the Giants said Wednesday in a statement. "We fully support Major League Baseball's policy and its efforts to eliminate performance-enhancing drugs from our game."

San Francisco general manager Brian Sabean said acquiring Hunter Pence before the trade deadline was not made knowing Cabrera would be busted by MLB. The public will never know on that front, however.

The news of Cabrera shocked some of his former teammates with the Yankees, including friend and former steroid user Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod and Cabrera worked out often in the offseason, and the latter wanted to build his body in order to get his career back on track. When learning that Cabrera worked out with Rodriguez in Florida, the assumptions began flying off the wall. But Rodriguez was saddened of the recent news.

"Obviously my first reaction is that I am extremely sad," Rodriguez told the Daily News. "He's a great kid, who is having a great run. It's just sadness overall."

It is sad when someone has to dip into the realm of performance-enhancing drugs to better their career. It sends a horrible message to young people who look at to today's athletes as super heroes.

But don't let the big muscles, towering home runs or hard tackles fool you. Nowadays, it's difficult to sway an opinion without a cautious eye.


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