That steroid list is a phony

Leave a comment

So there’s a website out there which purports to have the list of the
2003 drug test failures — the same list that gave us Alex Rodriguez
and Sammy Sosa. We’re not linking it or reproducing the names listed
there because it’s a fake. That fact was confirmed this morning by a
source who is definitely in a position to know. Anyone who gives it any
credence going forward is trafficking in baloney.

But you know what? We kind of suspected that it was fake beforehand.
Why? Because for starters, the site running it — something called
“Roto Info” — has zero reputation as a reliable news source. Really
zero — before now it has never to our knowledge reported anything, be
it good, bad or indifferent. Now it is shown to be untrustworthy, lazy
and irresponsible. For the moment let’s give them the benefit of the
doubt and say that they were merely passing this along as opposed to
having created it themselves. Even then, posting it with a weak
“unconfirmed” disclaimer as they did here does not
get the job done. Most bloggers have day jobs yet still manage to get
off their butts and get this stuff right. “Roto Info” should be no
different. The lesson: get your roto info from Rotoworld.

Second, the list consists of an overwhelming number of bigger names and
very few scrubs. This flies in the face of the information we have
learned from the Mitchell Report,
the Radomski and McNamee business and the testing results that have
been made public since 2003. Where are the Marvin Bernards, Tim Lakers,
Josias Manzanillos, Matt Francos, and Adam Piatts of the world?
Steroids are equal-opportunity, and the fact that this list is almost
entirely devoid of 23rd-25th roster slots puts lie to any notion of
legitimacy.

Third, the names are listed in team order, by division, going from east to west, AL to NL. On the eve of the Mitchell Report there was another fake list like this one.
It was in alphabetical order, and looked fishy for the same reasons.
While this isn’t necessarily suspicious in and of itself — we can
conceive of some reasons why the list could take on such an order — it
suggests someone being a little more methodical about it than might
appear in nature.

Finally, and perhaps most damningly, Jason Grimsley’s name is not on the list, and by all accounts it should be.
Indeed, our source’s debunking of this list specifically mentioned
Grimsley’s absence, and the absence of other known-positives, as the
clincher of its fraudulent nature.

If and when the real list ever surfaces, you can bet that we’ll be
on top of it. You can also bet that we’ll confirm it first. In the
meantime, we’ll be busy throttling the blogger who ran this nonsense
for doing even more to discredit the medium than has already been done.

Jose Canseco to join NBC Sports California as an A’s analyst

Getty Images
9 Comments

Hey, I have a new coworker: Jose Canseco has been hired by NBC Sports California as an Athletics pregame analyst.

OK, maybe he’s not technically a coworker, as the folks at NBC Sports California — formerly CSN Bay Area — and I do not hang out at the water cooler, have potlucks in the conference room or exchange secret Santa gifts at Christmas time, but dang it, I’m gonna TELL people I work with Jose Canseco. The only downside will be people assuming that, because he and I are on the same team, my performance is something less than authentic. Or, perhaps, Canseco may write another book and tell all of my secrets.

Anyway, Canseco will be part of NBC Sports California’s A’s Pregame Live and A’s Postgame Live shows. Live TV can be hard. I’ve done a bit of it, and there is certainly more to that gig than meets the eye. You can’t always prepare for what happens on the fly. I’m sure Canseco will do well, however, as he’s great with coming up with the best stuff off the top of his head.

2017 Preview: Cleveland Indians

Getty Images
2 Comments

Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2017 season. Next up: The Cleveland Indians.

The Cleveland Indians almost won the World Series without their best hitter for the whole season and two of their starting pitchers for the playoffs. This year that hitter — Michael Brantley — is back and the starters — Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar — are healthy. Oh, and they added arguably the best free agent bat available in Edwin Encarnacion.

Baseball teams love to downplay their expectations, but given where the Indians are at the moment, anything less than another American League Pennant will have to feel like a disappointment, right? Fortunately for the Indians, they stand as the favorites to do just that.

They didn’t lose much in the offseason. Yes, World Series hero Rajai Davis is gone, but the Indians outfield will be fine if Brantley remains healthy. Mike Napoli‘s loss will be felt but it will be made up for with Encarnacion’s bat and probably then some. Coco Crisp left too, but he was not a key part of the equation.

The biggest losses are guys from last year who will start the year on the disabled list, most notably Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall. Kipnis is just starting to work out following time off to rest his sore shoulder. Chisenhall ran into a wall the other day and is being evaluated. There is no sense that either will miss extended time, however.

Otherwise, the lineup should score a lot of runs, with on-base machines Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor setting the table for Encarnacion, Brantley and Carlos Santana, who is entering his walk year. The Indians trailed only the Red Sox in runs scored in the American League last year and they should score a lot of runs this year as well.

The strength of the club, however, remains its pitching. Corey Kluber looked like his old Cy Young self last year, particularly in the playoffs. Danny Salazar built on his excellent 2015 season in the first half before falling prey to injury. Carlos Carrasco posted an ERA+ of 141 before breaking his hand and Josh Tomlin and Trevor Bauer both stood out for fourth and fifth starters.

The bullpen is excellent too, as relief ace Andrew Miller is joined by Cody Allen, Bryan Shaw and newcomer Boone Logan make up one of the relief corps in baseball.

Pitcher health is probably the biggest uncertainty for any contender, but the Indians have the best pitching in the AL if everyone stays healthy. And maybe even if one or two guys don’t.

It’s hard to find much fault with the 2017 Cleveland Indians. They are the class of their division and, while the slog of the regular season turns a lot of surefire contenders into hash before it’s all said and done, there is no reason to look at the Indians right now and think of them as anything other than the best team in the American League.

Prediction: First place, American League Central.