Wells said no to HGH use

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Surprise, surprise. According to Ed Eagle of MLB.com,
during an injury-riddled 2001 season, David Wells said that White Sox
teammate Jose Canseco advised him to use human growth hormone. Wells,
who was 38 at the time, passed on the advice.

“I didn’t need to do that and I wasn’t going to do that. That stuff is not good for the game and it is not good for your body.”

Wells instead opted for back surgery, quit drinking and underwent an
intense offseason workout program that had him lose 30 pounds by Spring
Training in 2002. Wells enjoyed one of his best seasons with the
Yankees in 2002, going 19-7 with a 3.75 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. Wells
retired in 2007 with 239 wins, tied with Hall of Famer Mordecai Brown
for 56th on the all-time list.

Appearing at Yankee Stadium last month for the 11th anniversary of his perfect game, Wells suggested that baseball should give harsher penalties or even lifetime bans to those who test postive for PEDs.

“Just ban them right out of the
get-go; I think that would be great. No 50-game suspension. Ban them
right away, that would stop it in a heartbeat — especially with the
money they are giving out today. It would be incredible if they did
that. You wouldn’t have to worry about steroids or HGH.”

As he told reporters at Yankee Stadium last month, Wells believes that
any player who tests positive or admitted to steroid use should not be
admitted to the Hall of Fame. It’s almost comical, really, but Wells
just might be the perfect leader for an anti-performance enhancing drug
movement, proof-positive that a player can have a long-lasting and
decorated career without looking like an Adonis.

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.

U.S. blanks Puerto Rico 8-0 to win first World Baseball Classic title

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The United States handed Puerto Rico its first loss in the World Baseball Classic, winning 8-0 for its first title in the fourth iteration of the tournament.

Puerto Rico starter Seth Lugo was matching Marcus Stroman zero-for-zero through the first two innings, but the U.S. broke out for a pair of runs when Ian Kinsler deposited a two-run home run just beyond the fence in left-center at Dodger Stadium. The U.S. tacked on two more in the fifth on RBI singles from Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen, pushing the lead to 4-0.

Meanwhile, Stroman was dealing. The right-hander, normally seen in a Blue Jays uniform, held Puerto Rico hitless through his first six innings, giving up just a lone walk. The U.S. put together a long rally in the top of the seventh, scoring three runs on three hits, two walks, and a hit batter. Stroman came back out for the seventh but immediately served up a double down the left field line to Angel Pagan. U.S. manager Jim Leyland immediately lifted Stroman from the game, bringing in Sam Dyson who escaped the inning without any further damage.

Pat Neshek allowed a leadoff single to Yadier Molina to begin the eighth, but induced a double-play, then worked around a two-out walk by striking out Kenny Vargas to end the frame.

In the ninth, David Robertson took over. He induced an infield pop-up from Enrique Hernandez. After Pagan singled up the middle, Francisco Lindor sharply grounded out to Eric Hosmer at first base for the second out. Finally, Robertson closed it out, inducing Carlos Correa to ground out to third base, making the U.S. 8-0 victors over Puerto Rico to win the World Baseball Classic.

Puerto Rico had an admirable run, defeating Venezuela, Mexico, and Italy to get out of Pool D undefeated. Then, in Pool F, it beat Venezuela again as well as the U.S. and the Dominican Republic to move to the semifinals. It narrowly edged Netherlands 4-3 in the semifinals to get into the finals.

The U.S. lost to the D.R. but beat Canada and Colombia to get out of Pool C. In Pool F, the U.S. lost to Puerto Rico and defeated the D.R again as well as Venezuela. The U.S. took down Japan in the semifinals to advance to the finals to play Puerto Rico.

The U.S. joins Japan (twice, 2006 and ’09) and the Dominican Republic (2013) as countries to win the World Baseball Classic. The 2017 tournament was a rousing success, setting attendance records, drawing over one million fans to ballparks to take in the games. It will hopefully encourage commissioner Rob Manfred and others to make a concerted effort to make the 2021 tournament bigger and better.