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Degenerate39
09-07-2007, 07:26 AM
Ankiel's feel-good story doesn't feel right anymore

By Jeff Passan, Yahoo! Sports
September 7, 2007

Sometime over the last month, as Rick Ankiel launched home runs and put a defibrillator to his career and thrust the St. Louis Cardinals back into the playoff race, the irony of his new nickname must have dawned on him.

The Natural.

It's funny and sad now, of course, in light of the New York Daily News' bombshell late Thursday that linked Ankiel to a 12-month prescription of human growth hormone in 2004. The author of baseball's greatest story this season the one guy in whom everyone, Cardinals fans or otherwise, wanted to believe was allegedly just like Barry Bonds: seeking glory through needles.

The continued marriage between Major League Baseball players and performance-enhancing drugs came as no surprise, with the fallout of the latest scandal, stemming from the federal raid of Signature Pharmacy in Orlando, bound to extend its tentacles to baseball. The name, though that was a shock, and a disappointment, too, because it reinforced the notion that baseball players, even those who evoke such wonderment, must be viewed through a prism of skepticism.

Performance-enhancing drugs have weaved themselves into baseball's culture, and extracting them has proved messy every step. The New York Times on Wednesday reported that the players' association was resisting overtures from George Mitchell, the lead of baseball's investigation into steroid use, who wanted to speak with 45 players, most still active.

Make that 46. Ankiel had captivated baseball with an incredible month that crested Thursday, when he hit two home runs and drove in seven runs to bring the Cardinals within one game of National League Central-leading Chicago and Milwaukee. Already his comeback to the major leagues as an outfielder after he flamed out spectacularly as a pitcher, losing his control and never regaining it, was inspiring enough. His success was movie material.

Even though the Daily News report said Ankiel stopped receiving HGH before MLB banned it in 2005 and that he got the eight shipments over a 12-month period when he was still a pitcher it colors and tempers and dampens his accomplishments just as Bonds' link to performance-enhancers renders his all-time home run crown questionable.

When records are no longer records, does that make lesser accomplishments not accomplishments at all? It's the dichotomy fans must navigate, the fork in the road with equally tenuous paths: Appreciate athletes for their performances while accepting they could be on any kind of cocktail or shun professional athletics altogether for its duplicity in allowing performance-enhancers to infiltrate their games?

"If it's true," Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty told the Daily News, "obviously it would be very tragic, along with everything else we've had happen to us this year."

In spring training, manager Tony La Russa was charged with a misdemeanor DUI. On April 29, reliever Josh Hancock was killed in a single-car crash with a blood-alcohol content of .157, nearly twice the legal limit. Cardinals utilityman Scott Spiezio left the team in August to deal with substance-abuse issues. Potholes pocked their road to repeating as World Series champions, and Ankiel's emergence had begun to fill them.

Certainly he knew the possibility of his name surfacing from the rubble of the Signature raid, which makes you wonder guilt consumed him or hubris emboldened him. Athletes whether Ankiel or Bonds, Rodney Harrison or Shawne Merriman, Floyd Landis or Justin Gatlin, and on and on, ad nauseam understand the consequences of performance-enhancing drug use. Not physical problems; those are debatable. Simply the black mark that tarnishes the person's reputation and, worse, heaves collateral damage on the sport.

Baseball, as an institution, wants steroids to go away. Sure, there will always be enablers, like doctor William Gogan, who, according to the Daily News, provided Ankiel then, by all accounts, a healthy 24-year-old with no need for an artificial testosterone boost with the HGH prescription. In the 1980s and '90s, baseball personnel turned their heads as players injected themselves La Russa among them, with admitted user Jose Canseco starring on his Oakland A's teams.

And some may say this is baseball's just desserts for such actions. Yet how many times can a punch-drunk boxer get pummeled until he crumbles? The problem for baseball is, no referee exists to stop the match.

So expect more names to emerge, more legacies to fall, more stories on pharmaceuticals instead of far home runs. Busch Stadium crackled with life as Ankiel smacked his eighth and ninth homers Thursday, and after the Cardinals' 16-4 victory, La Russa started to wax on how Ankiel was a "marvel."

"It is kind of amazing," he said, "isn't it?"

Actually, no. Not anymore.

Not in the least.

Didn't see this one coming

TheWalls
09-07-2007, 11:02 AM
LaRussa associated with a player using performance enhancing drugs?! Say it ain't so!

You would think after Henderson, Stewart, Canseco(s), and especially McGwire, we'd learn.

I hope history is incredibly unkind to this cheating creep.

5DOLLAR-BLEACHERBUM
09-07-2007, 11:38 AM
LaRussa associated with a player using performance enhancing drugs?! Say it ain't so!

You would think after Henderson, Stewart, Canseco(s), and especially McGwire, we'd learn.

I hope history is incredibly unkind to this cheating creep.

and that same creep may be wearing a Reds uniform next year, could you imaging what Phillips could do with a little hgh.

scounts22
09-07-2007, 12:45 PM
and that same creep may be wearing a Reds uniform next year, could you imaging what Phillips could do with a little hgh.

Lord I hope not. I can't stand him. I want no part of LaRussa in a Reds uni. I didn't like him with Oakland and I don't like him now. He's too arrogant. And he makes his players take steroids. Ok, maybe not. But still...

On a side note, as has been previously discussed in this forum, a few of the Reds players could use a little roid rage on the field in certain situations. ;)

HokieRed
09-07-2007, 12:45 PM
I think it should be pretty clear Tony ought not to be the Reds next manager.

Jr's Boy
09-07-2007, 01:16 PM
I think it should be pretty clear Tony ought not to be the Reds next manager.


And your reasoning?I'm no fan of Larussa,however if he can get this team winning on a consistent basis then i'm all for it.I would rather have Dave Duncan though,as he has the ability to work wonders with sub par pitching.

CarolinaRedleg
09-07-2007, 02:16 PM
Couldn't have happened to a better team.....well, unless it involved the Scrubs.

AmarilloRed
09-07-2007, 02:44 PM
I read the article, but see no connection with La Russa. I heard that a doctor prescribed HGH to Ankiel, but did not see that mentioned in the article. I would like to believe we could determine whether LaRussa should be our next manager on his own merits.

bigredmechanism
09-07-2007, 03:34 PM
how about rick peterson, the mets pitching coach? i know some guys have struggled as of late, but hes still one of the better pitching coaches in the business, and thats what we need, imo

GoReds33
09-07-2007, 04:35 PM
I read the article, but see no connection with La Russa. I heard that a doctor prescribed HGH to Ankiel, but did not see that mentioned in the article. I would like to believe we could determine whether LaRussa should be our next manager on his own merits.Well put. Its not his fault his players need to cheat to beat the Reds.

Doro
09-07-2007, 06:21 PM
this is exactly how gossip spreads in high school and its pretty rediculous

steig
09-07-2007, 06:30 PM
Why would he need a years supply of hgh while he recovered. I wouldn't think that a valuable doctor would prescribe such a large amount. I understand using hgh helps with recovers, but i also don't hear about normal people (non-professional athletes) using hgh to come back from injuries.

ochoa30
09-07-2007, 07:08 PM
While sad, i cant say im surprised. Hopefully they will stop comparing his comeback to joshes in the media. IMO, they weren't close then and there worlds apart now.

ChatterRed
09-07-2007, 09:20 PM
Take your pick: Larussa or Harang? Because I doubt they could be in the same clubhouse together.

I take Harang.

757690
09-08-2007, 02:18 AM
The most damning piece of info is that he ordered a years supply at once, right before HGH was put on the banned list by MLB. No other reason to do that than to cheat.

I actually was on HGH in my teen years, with legitimate Dr.'s prescription, and I added ten mph on my fastball was could lift 25% more when on it. It also lasted for years. Took around 6-7 year for the effects to start to fade away.

Also, just because it was prescribed to him does not make it legal. The Dr. who gave him the prescription is under investigation for giving out prescriptions without good cause. That is how Ankiel's name came up.

Anyone who criticized Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, et al had better say the same thing about Ankiel. HGH was banned by MLB when Ankiel bought it, it just was not on the official banned list. MLB has had for decades banned any and all performance enhancing drugs, period. It just took until 2004 for them to single out HGH.
He broke the rules and should be punished.

BoxingRed
09-08-2007, 08:14 AM
LaRussa associated with a player using performance enhancing drugs?! Say it ain't so!

You would think after Henderson, Stewart, Canseco(s), and especially McGwire, we'd learn.

I hope history is incredibly unkind to this cheating creep.

When was Rickey associated with performance enhancing drugs? or is this pure conjecture on your part?

TheWalls
09-08-2007, 10:15 AM
I read the article, but see no connection with La Russa. I heard that a doctor prescribed HGH to Ankiel, but did not see that mentioned in the article. I would like to believe we could determine whether LaRussa should be our next manager on his own merits.

Let's not ignore a basic fact. This is happening under LaRussa's leadership. This is not simply guilt by association, this is happening under Tony's care and control. Again.

Degenerate39
09-08-2007, 02:05 PM
Cardinals' Rick Ankiel says everything he took in 2004 was prescribed by licensed physician

By BOB BAUM, AP Sports Writer
September 7, 2007

PHOENIX (AP) -- Rick Ankiel says any drugs he received in 2004 were prescribed by a licensed physician to help him recover from reconstructive elbow surgery.

Ankiel, whose comeback is one of the great stories of this season, initially acknowledged human growth hormone was among those medications during a brief session with reporters Friday, then refused to list his various prescriptions.

"I'm not going to go into the list of what my doctors have prescribed for me," the St. Louis Cardinals outfielder said when asked specifically whether he had taken HGH as part of his recovery. "I've been through a lot emotionally and physically. There are doctor and patient privileges, and I hope you guys respect those privileges."

The New York Daily News reported in Friday's editions that Ankiel received eight shipments of HGH from January to December 2004 from Signature Pharmacy, under investigation for illegally distributing prescription medications. The performance-enhancing drug was banned by Major League Baseball in 2005, but the league still does not test for it.

Friday afternoon, Ankiel sat beside Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty in the visitors' dugout at Chase Field to answer questions about the newspaper's findings before the series opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

"I respect the integrity of the game," Ankiel said, "and I'm on the same playing level that everybody else is on."

After talking to Ankiel, Jocketty said he was satisfied that nothing improper had occurred.

"Everything was legal," he said. "There was no violation of major league rules. There was no violation of any laws. At this point, if there's anything more to decide, major league baseball will look at it and let us know."

Citing records the newspaper obtained, the Daily News said Ankiel got HGH shipments that included Saizen and Genotropin, two injectable drugs. Florida physician Dr. William Gogan signed Ankiel's prescriptions, providing them through a Palm Beach Gardens clinic called The Health and Rejuvenation Center (THARC), the newspaper reported.

The drugs were shipped to Ankiel at the clinic's address, the paper said.

Ankiel said he was aware of the clinic but not Signature Pharmacy.

"I don't know anything about the pharmacy," Ankiel said, "and I don't know anyone there. I've never purchased or ordered anything from that pharmacy."

MLB officials already have said they would like to talk with Ankiel, and he said he would cooperate with any investigation.

"I'll be happy to help and conduct anything that Major League Baseball wants to talk about it," Ankiel said.

The outfielder has been the talk of the league after hitting nine home runs and 29 RBIs since being called up from the minors Aug. 9. He returned to the majors in style, just three seasons after his promising pitching career was in ruins after he inexplicably lost all control on the mound.

"I'm just disappointed," said Ankiel, who homered twice and drove in seven runs in the Cardinals' 16-4 home victory over Pittsburgh on Thursday. "I just don't want it to become a bigger distraction that it already has become. We're in the middle of a pennant race. I just want to be able to go out there and compete at the highest level I can."

757690
09-08-2007, 04:13 PM
Cardinals' Rick Ankiel says everything he took in 2004 was prescribed by licensed physician

By BOB BAUM, AP Sports Writer
September 7, 2007

PHOENIX (AP) -- Rick Ankiel says any drugs he received in 2004 were prescribed by a licensed physician to help him recover from reconstructive elbow surgery.


"Everything was legal," he said. "There was no violation of major league rules. There was no violation of any laws. At this point, if there's anything more to decide, major league baseball will look at it and let us know."

It is highly doubtful that those presriptions were legal. HGH is used for Turner's syndrome, chronic renal failure, Prader-Willi Syndrome, AIDS patients and patients with Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. And it used in case your own HGH is absent or dormant, which is highly unlikely in the case of 6 foot tall athlete.
There is a very short list of FDA approved diseases for which to prescribe this drug. It is improbable that a 20 something pro athlete would have any of them.
Akiel would have to prove that he had one of these diseases for the prescription to be legal. HGH is not prescribed to help people recover from surgery. It is far too risky and unknown for that.
Hundreds of MLB and MILB players have had elbow surgery (including current Reds). can you name one that used HGBH to help them recover?