I got an unexpected day off from work today. I figured it was fate so that I would be able to watch the Giants game and get a spit count in. I made my lunch, got something to drink, and got my clipboard loaded with paper for the spit count. Everything was set for me to watch the game undisturbed. Turned on the TV and the first thing I see is that Melky got a 50 day suspension for testing positive for a performance enhancing drug (PED), specifically testosterone. Of all the things that could have happened to this team this season, why this? Yesterday’s game was the first in a long time where all the big players were present, and they beat the snot out of the Nationals, the team that leads both leagues in wins. I was so excited about the potential for them to continue on their way to a playoff berth. Then this.
The details: He tested positive sometime soon after the All-Star Game. The protocol is that only the MLB big wigs, the players’ union, Melky’s agent, and Melky are informed of the positive result, and then the appeals process can take place. Supposedly the Giants didn’t find out until about an hour before today’s game. He was even in the lineup for today until they found out.
I am in total shock. How can you be that irresponsible and think you are going to get away with something like that in this time of intense drug testing? I was watching Chronicle Live today, and I may have gotten an answer. They interviewed Victor Conte, the guy who was responsible for providing players with PEDs during the drug scandal Bonds years. The guy’s a crook, but he had some interesting insight on the matter. He mentioned that you could have 4 times the normal level of testosterone in your system and still test negative. Thus guys will use testosterone creams after a game and if they are tested the next day, their levels will be low enough as not to be detected. Melky must have screwed up and not let the drug clear for long enough. Conte’s comment was that when doing this, only an idiot would get caught. Guess so. He mentioned that there is another test, albeit very expensive ($400 a pop), where you would test positive if you had attempted this within a few weeks. Sounds like a possible solution, but I could see where if you are testing every player the cost would be pretty outrageous. But this whole idea of guys secretly still beating the system is really a black eye on baseball. I wonder how many guys are doing the same thing Melky did and just haven’t been caught yet.
There are so many more aspects to this whole thing than meets the eye. He let down his teammates, the Giants organization, and his fans, but his actions bring up so many questions:
– Melky had performed significantly better in his last two seasons than he had previously. Does this mean that he was doing this as far back as two years ago? And will we start assuming that any player who has a breakthrough season is using some sort of performance enhancement? That’s really tragic for players who follow the rules.
– Melky was the All-Star MVP. That becomes somewhat invalid now. Is he going to give that car and that cool crystal bat back? And remember that winning the All-Star game entitles the winning league to the home field advantage at the beginning of the World Series. If I was an American League player, I would be pretty ticked off.
– Now that this has occurred, is there any chance that the Giants would want to sign him next year? The team has had its share of drug scandal. Besides what happened in the Bonds era, of the four guys who tested positive for PEDs this season, two of them are Giants (Mota and Melky). Already today, Bochy was questioned about if the Giants do enough to keep this from occurring. Personally, I think even with the best controls, these are grown men and they will do what they want. Maybe they dodged a bullet when contract negotiations with Melky broke off recently. I cannot imagine the fan base being behind the guy after this. I personally would have trouble cheering him on.
– Can my boys make it to the playoffs without him? You guys know I am an optimist when it comes to my boys but even the critical of you have to admit that they have been hitting much better lately (especially Belt, Crawford, Scutaro, Pence, and Posey). I think if they can keep this going they will still have a chance.
– Andrew Baggarly mentioned in a column a few weeks back that there were rumors that Melky had tested positive for PEDs. He said that he couldn’t confirm this but got a lot of “No comments” when asking the powers that be of baseball. He asked Melky directly, and he denied it and shrugged it off saying that the rumors were started by the Dodgers trying to get them to lose their focus. Baggs apologized publicly to Melky. Who deserves the apology now? But in Melky’s defense, who was the one that leaked this information? It’s supposed to remain private until the appeals process is over, and that ended today. The guy did something terribly wrong, but he is still entitled to his privacy.
– What move is Sabean going to make to counter this loss? Could you imagine what his day was like today?? I bet they make a major move in the next few days. Hey, Cody Ross is on waivers right now – you think they would bring him back??
– What will the Melkmen do? They must be devastated today. They went through all that trouble to get him into the All-Star Game just to find out that he’s a big sham. Those poor guys. Andrew Baggarly suggested that they should switch over to being Pence fans and call themselves the Pence-il Pushers. One guy on Chronicle Live mentioned that the Giants have stopped the Got Melk? campaign already.
– Who is Manny’s daughter, Sophia, going to cheer for now? Melky was her favorite player. There are a lot of parents out there that have a tough job ahead of themselves. How do you explain to a 5-year-old that their hero was only a star because he was taking drugs?
The Giants sent relief pitcher Dan Otero back down to the minors (poor guy had only been up for one day) which leaves his spot and Melky’s open on the team. Let’s see what happens to fill them in the next few days. Again, I still have faith that the team as it stands can make it to the playoffs, but you know Sabean has something brewing. There are a lot of guys with potential on the waiver wire, but what will it cost us to get them? It’s interesting that since the Dodgers won tonight (BOOOOO!!) and we are now in second place (BOOOOOO!!), they can’t block us from getting guys off the waiver wire (remember – priority is based on your standings). This could get interesting. It’s been one hell of a day, and I hope the boys can continue to focus on the job at hand. And Melky, I hope you get some help. You really need it.
Please leave your comments and let me know how you felt after the news and what you think about this whole thing. Feel free to vent. Sending all of you and my boys one big, huge hug. GO GIANTS!!