In the wake of Manny Ramirez’s PED suspension - perhaps you’ve heard a bit about it - everything about his career has come under increased scrutiny, especially his glory years in Boston. It’s only fair, as long as “scrutiny” doesn’t cross the line into “assumed guilt.” Scrutiny isn’t evidence, it’s looking for evidence.
Oh, but then there’s former infielder Lou Merloni. On Saturday, he told Comcast’s THE BASEBALL SHOW that during his Red Sox stint, he’d attended a spring training meeting where a doctor taught the players about how to properly use steroids. Eeeep.
Merloni has since backed off a bit, telling the BOSTON GLOBE that the doctor was in no way endorsing the PEDs, but advising against improper use (overuse, needle misuse, etc.). There’s a jarringly apt analogy that we’ll get into later. Fortunately, the Red Sox brass are taking this in stride. Just kidding, they’re on the warpath:
“It’s ridiculous. It’s totally unfounded,” said [Dan] Duquette. “Who was the doctor? Tell me who the doctor is? If there was such a doctor he wasn’t in the employ of the Red Sox. We brought in doctors to educate the players on the major league drug policy at the time at the recommendation of major league baseball. This is so ridiculous I hate to even respond to it.”
We’d like to point out that unequivocated denials, when not based entirely in truth, only make problems worse. Lou Merloni has no reason to lie about this subject like this. Duquette (seen above, staring at a giant needle in
his our imagination), on the other hand, has every reason to lie.
Back to that apt analogy from above. We really like Merloni’s comparison of the doctor’s advice to, well, “the talk”:
“It was like teaching your teenage daughter about sex education,” said Merloni. “The organization acknowledged that there were likely players using steroids and basically if “you’re gonna use them this is how you use them so you don’t abuse them.”
Also, if you’re going to use steroids, always wear a condom.
Rubber jokes aside [finally–ed.], this is the far saner approach at a time when the league was doing absolutely zero to stop the use of steroids at the time; taking an abstinence approach probably ends up in equal amounts of use, but more problems.
Still, the Sox can’t tell people that they adhered to that strategy, regardless of whether it put their players in better position to deal with the Hypodermic Menace. It’s a shame, because it’s time to have a grown-up conversation about steroids in baseball, and it doesn’t start with hyperbolic grandstanding from executives.