So it will soon be the talk of the town that one Mr. Rick Ankiel, right fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, received shipments of HGH in 2004. This will hopefully be my only post on the matter, so here goes.
1. The New York Daily News. They’re always right. Never printed anything that had to be retracted or that was based strictly on hearsay or gossip. EDIT: Okay, there are people who can vouch for the integrity of these specific reporters and the general Daily News’ coverage of this issue. So it’s pretty much true.
2. HGH was not a banned substance in baseball until 2005, at which time, according to the story, Ankiel stopped receiving shipments. Nothing actionable there.
3. Ankiel was still a pitcher in 2004. There is a subtle but sinister insinuation that the HGH helped Ankiel as a hitter. It’s not spelled out; its more like the Bush administration using “9/11” and “Saddam” just continguously enough. Of course the notion that HGH shipments to pitcher Ankiel in 2004 helped outfielder Ankiel hit home runs in 2007 is, well, idiotic.
4. The story implies Ankiel was “healthy” when he got the shipments. I’m not so sure. He had Tommy John surgery in 2003 and still clearly wasn’t right, hence the whole “I’m giving up the thing I’ve been doing my whole life” bit. Who knows if he was just using it to continue training after the surgery? EDIT: Yes, if I had been reading more carefully, I would have noted in my initial post that he had a prescription signed by a doctor.
5. Even if it turns out this was being done illicitly, I don’t really care. Ankiel’s achievement is still remarkable. Do you think Chris Young could just drop everything, bulk up on HGH, and hit 32 home runs in 89 games in Triple-A next year? Also, Barry Bonds is the best person who ever lived ever. I’m serious.
6. Walt Jocketty is quoted saying that if the allegations are true, it would be “tragic.” A little perspective, Walt: Juan Encarnacion might not see out of his left eye ever again, while Scott Rolen is thisclose to having his Hall-of-Fame career devolve into mediocrity because of an overzealous Korean. Oh, and Josh Hancock is dead. Adjust you “tragic” scale accordingly. And don’t forget about the giant, red-haired, non-past-talking elephant in the room.
Bonus point: Current St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Rick Ankiel has nine home runs, compared to former St. Louis Cardinals right fielder J.D. Drew’s seven home runs. Isn’t that awesome?