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HGH-does it matter?

Posted Friday, September 7, 2007, at 8:56 PM

I know this isn't typically a sports blog, but occasionally sports crosses the line into politics and that's when I can talk about it. Unless I just decide I want to and then I'll just do it anyways.

This one is certainly worth talking about whether you enjoy sports or not though.

With the news today that Cardinal's recently recalled gem Rick Ankiel received shipments of HGH (Human Growth Hormone) during the 2004 season, we're once again listening to everyone freak out.

I want to start off by saying that as a Cardinal fan, I would probably defend any of these boys no matter what happened, but I feel a little different about this.

HGH was popular in many sports for several years before being banned by MLB in 2005. More often than not, the drug was used to help players come back from injuries as fast as possible. Steroids are used the same way, but are also used for building muscle mass.

Since HGH wasn't illegal at the time and because of the difference in it's use, I don't really care.

Ankiel is a great ballplayer and one of the best feel-good stories the sport has seen in a long time. There are no allegations that he used any other drugs or that he used HGH since it was banned so as far as I'm concerned, he didn't do anything worse than loading up on creatine or vitamin B-12.

What do you think? Should this tarnish what he's accomplished this season? Do you see this as any different than the allegations Bonds is facing?

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I remember saying those exact things when discussing this story with a friend. For the very reasons you have stated, I think the fact that this is a big deal at all is pretty rediculous. Even the smallest bit of common sense says that the man shouldn't even be facing ridicule right now. As for Bonds...well, I've never been a fan, so my opinion probably shouldn't be taken too seriously. I do think Bonds used steroids to break the record, but it's hard to deny McGruire's innocence when he pleaded the 5th during that now infamous hearing. However, my stand is this: before turning into a mountain of a man, McGuire was still hitting home runs far more often than anyone else; he may have just had a little kick(or shot) in the butt to make that magical '98 race happen, and of course I think Sosa did too. Bonds, on the other hand, seemed to come out of no where. He was indeed a fantastic hitter before, but not a home run hitter. The juice gave him the power to get the ball out of the park. But hey, let's face it...without steroids the game wouldn't be as appealing as it is these days.

-- Posted by aroundtheblock on Sat, Sep 8, 2007, at 6:09 PM

The game has always been great, long before any steroids and HGH.

I think an investigation will have to be done to ascertain why he was taking the HGH. If he was under the care of a legitimate doctor who was prescribing a medication to cure or help cure a physical problem that would be OK. If it wasn't illegal when he was doing it, that would be OK too I guess, but if it turns out he took it after that, then it wouldn't be.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Sat, Sep 8, 2007, at 11:15 PM

If he didn't do it after the ban, then honestly, what does it matter? I think its just one of those "hey lets find someone else to point fingers at" situations, just so maybe they can build up enough evidence to get one of the big names (ie Bonds, etc) to admit to something. I agree that Rick's story is just amazing and I'm so happy that he is back with the Cardinals playing at the level he is playing at. Besides, I think the Cardinals have had enough bad blows this year (while still contending til the very last possibly day for a Central Division crown, mind you) that they should just let this rest and move on.

-- Posted by semosmitty06 on Tue, Sep 11, 2007, at 10:40 AM

Money, prestige and just plain ole' wanting to win has, and I suspect always will, induce competitors to stretch, bend, or downright break the rules whenever they don't think anyone is looking.

Remember that James Boutin made a ruckus in 1970 when he disclosed in his book Ball Four that over 50% of major league players used drugs to enhance their performance. They didn't use steroids then, but "speed."

Just this week it has been reported that the New England Patriots and their coach were punished for "cheating" in football, and Team McLaren was fined $100 million for cheating in Formula One auto racing.

In general I don't think professional baseball, basketball and football fans are purists. They want players who can run faster, hit harder and jump higher -- however it is achieved. Sissy sports like professional tennis (that has stringent drug testing), where you can just look at the players and know they aren't doped up, are for purists.

-- Posted by FJGuy on Fri, Sep 14, 2007, at 7:41 PM

I personally would like to see a clean game. Let's see who is the best. Maybe some of these guys wouldn't even be playing without the doping and someone else may be in their spot? How about the person that they cheated out of an opportunity?

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Fri, Sep 14, 2007, at 9:17 PM

Corey, dear, is that mean 'ole editor working you too hard? You haven't posted a new blog since Sept. 7. I'm beginning to worry about you!

-- Posted by goat lady on Sat, Sep 22, 2007, at 3:38 PM
Corey Noles' response:
Haha...no we're making it. We just had Industry Appreciation Week followed immediately by Fair Week so we've had a lot more going on than is typical and to be honest any free time I've had in the last two weeks was kept as just that...free time. Things should be getting back to normal now though.

Uh oh Corey, check out this headline information.

Last week, Yahoo! Sports obtained documents that showed HGH imported from China was seized in the Signature Pharmacy scandal. High-profile athletes linked to that investigation, launched by the district attorney in Albany County, N.Y., include baseball players Rick Ankiel, Gary Matthews Jr., Troy Glaus and Jay Gibbons; NFL safety Rodney Harrison; boxer Evander Holyfield; and a dozen pro wrestlers

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Mon, Sep 24, 2007, at 7:54 PM
Corey Noles' response:
Well, at least their news is timely. Only about a month behind the rest of the world.

HGH and other doping are in sports because the commissioner and such want them there. If they didn't they would not be there. Suppose you regulated steroid and drug offenses to manditory lifetime bans from the game with forfeiture of their salary for the year, criminal prosecution topped with a multi-million dollar civil case for defamation to the league. It would become non existant.

Really shouldn't there be a no tollerance policy for the roll models for our children.

-- Posted by Carlin may be right on Thu, Sep 27, 2007, at 2:24 AM
Corey Noles' response:
That's a good point. Cutting some salary would change things.

I agree with what you said about the commissioner wanting the drugs there. Whether we like it or not. While fundamental baseball wins ballgames, home runs sell tickets and that's the only concern of those in the office.

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Corey Noles, staff writer for The Daily Statesman and Editor of The North Stoddard Countian, is the author of a regular baseball/St. Louis Cardinals column and also uses his blog to sound off on various happenings in sports. He also operates a weekly baseball mailbag column.

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