While we should be getting excited about the World Baseball Classic and spring training, performance-enhancing drugs and steroids have dominated the headlines this week.
One particular story, though, didn't get very much play in these parts.
The New York Daily news ran with a story that a memorabilia dealer named Spencer Lader was suing one of the Blue Jays all-time greats, Carlos Delgado. This was in response to a lawsuit Delgado filed against him for $767,500 -- money Delgado claimed was owed him under terms of an exclusive marketing agreement signed in 2006.
Lader claims he's not accusing Delgado of using steroids or anything else. However, he is attempting to get the Blue Jays new shortstop Jose Reyes, who was a teammate of Delgado with the Mets, to testify under oath what he knew about any relationship Delgado might have had with Dr. Anthony Galea, who was an alleged proponent of human growth hormone.
Galea who was based in Toronto and had a connection to many athletes, was convicted in July 2011 of transporting misbranded and unapproved drugs into the U.S.
Lader claims the memorabilia of any athlete connected to PEDs use is worthless. Clearly he is trying to pressure Delgado into dropping his lawsuit by dragging his name through the mud with what may merely be innuendo. Still, it shows just how big a mess performance enhancing substances are for Major League Baseball and all sports.
St. Louis Cardinals star outfielder Matt Holliday said his piece on the MLB Network this week, calling for harsher penalties for those who get caught. He suggested an automatic one-year suspension for first offenders and then a life-time ban for those nailed a second time. Holliday offered the caveat that those under life-time suspension maybe should be allowed to apply for re-instatement after two years. Later in the conversation, he reconsidered and suggested maybe even a first-timer should get two or three years.
Holliday took somewhat of a shot at the Blue Jays new left fielder, Melky Cabrera, as well. He noted Cabrera had served his 50 game suspension for getting caught last season while playing with eventual World Series Champions, the San Francisco Giants. Holliday then added Cabrera was able to go out in the off-season and still get a two-year contract at decent money from the Blue Jays. The implication being that the 50 games wasn't much punishment at all for a guy who's able to go on with his career now as though nothing happened.
Will anything really change? Probably not until the current collective bargaining agreement expires, and it still has another four seasons to run.
The Montreal Expos have been gone for eight seasons, having moved to Washington after the 2004 campaign. Yet there are still 15 former Expos still active, maybe 16 if Javier Vazquez decides to return to the game this season. The interesting thing is that seven of those 15 or 16 have also played with the Blue Jays.
The seven include five pitchers -- Shawn Hill, Ted Lilly, Jon Rauch, Scott Downs and Miguel Batista -- as well as outfielder Juan Rivera, who just rejoined the Yankees on a minor league deal, and the current frontrunner for the Blue Jays' second base job, Maicer Izturis. Considering he's only 32 and just signed a three-year contract with the Jays, Izturis might indeed be the last Expo standing when it's all said and done.
February 20th is the deadline date for teams to submit their final 28-man rosters for the World Baseball Classic. Right now, the Dominican Republic might well have the strongest roster and best chance to dethrone the two-time champions, Japanese. But if Justin Verlander agrees to pitch for the Americans, all bets are off.
The World Baseball Classic starts March 2.