Cell Phone

HBT Weekend Wrapup

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I had an excuse for missing baseball news this weekend: I got a new phone that is perhaps the scariest bit of technology I have ever encountered. I’m still traumatized, frankly, and all I’ve done is figure out how to change the ring tone. You guys who spent all weekend watching football have way less of an excuse. That’s just a sad sport, frankly, and if you can’t get everything you need from Florio, Rosenthal and the rest, God help you. You don’t need to actually watch it.

OK, sorry. That was hostile. I’m just a bit phone-shocked. I’ll be better as the morning wears on.  The weekend wrap:

  • Sticking with the Mets, the kabuki theater they are going through in order to satisfy the rabid portions of their fan base that they’re really considering Wally Backman for the job when they totally don’t plan on hiring him is something to behold.
  • Bad news: an elbow injury has likely ended Jamie Moyer’s career. Good news: He can get some simple surgery to fix it now, but if he had suffered this injury during the early part of his career they would have shot him to ease his suffering. See, because medical science has advanced so much in the past . . . oh, just forget it. I’m just sad that this may be my last chance to make a Jamie Moyer is old joke.
  • Derek Jeter and the Giants? Nah, but you know, even though I’m 100% certain Jeter goes back to the Yankees, a Giants uniform is the one non-Yankees uniform I can imagine him looking the least out-of-place in. Just aesthetically speaking. It’s the one uni that looks good and classic enough so that it wouldn’t diminish his historical stature, while at the same time not breaking some rivalry or cultural taboo like the Red Sox or Dodgers would. OK, maybe the Tigers, but I’d prefer it if Alan Trammell remained the most famous Tiger shortstop of all time, thank you.
  • Edgar Renteria wants to come back in 2011. The one guy who could have gotten around the old “all things end badly or else they’d never end” maxim is gonna blow it. Oh well. And hey: another Tiger shortstop.

Hey, I think I figured out how to make my phone make fart noises!  Progress.

Carlos Ruiz leaves a goodbye note for the Phillies

CLEARWATER, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Carlos Ruiz #51 of the Philadelphia Phillies poses for a portrait on February 26, 2016 at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Florida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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And then there was one. One player from the 2008 World Series champs, that is. Ryan Howard likely isn’t going anywhere so he’ll be the last one to turn the lights off, but today Carlo Ruiz bid adieu to the Phillies following his trade to Los Angeles.

Lost in all of the emotions the Dodgers are reported to be feeling about A.J. Ellis leaving is the fact that Ruiz was one of the most beloved Phillies players ever, by both his teammates and their fans. Yesterday Roy Halladay penned a heartfelt goodbye to Ruiz, suggesting that he was every bit as essential to his and the Phillies’ success as Ellis has been to Clayton Kershaw (and in pure baseball production, obviously, quite more).

Today Chooch left a message for his now former teammates:

A far-fetched sounding drug test scam

NES TSIONA, ISRAEL - JANUARY 22:  A laboratory technician checks human blood samples before placing the glass tubes on an automated testing line at the Maccabi Health Services HMO central laboratory January 22, 2006 in Nes Tsiona which is located in central Israel. The laboratory, which operates a fully automated system complete with advanced robotics, can test more than 50,000 blood samples a day. The lab is considered one of the most modern of its kind in the western world.  (Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images)
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Kevin Draper at Deadspin is passing along a story — and that’s not me editorializing; he’s admitting that it’s unconfirmed gossip at the moment — about a major league player paying a teammate $2.5 million to take the fall for him on a drug test. The story came via a tip from someone who, apparently, had a conversation about the drug test scam with a college baseball player who knew the players allegedly involved in the scam.

Here is how the conversation was recounted:

College Baseball Player: [MLB player’s star teammate] paid him to take his blood test. $2.5 million dollars.

Bar Patron: How does that even work?

College Baseball Player: [MLB player] and [MLB player’s star teammate] were getting tested the same day. They traded samples.

Deadspin says that the story is “probably bulls**t” but that some preliminary investigating they’ve done doesn’t disprove it and, to some extent corroborates it. How it’s been supported or not is left unclear and Deadspin couches all of this in a request for more information if anyone has any. Which, OK, fine.

I’ll offer that, on the surface, this seems like a bit more than mere “bulls**t.” It sounds structurally impossible. If it’s a blood test for HGH as the excerpt suggests, the samples are tested back in the lab to make sure they match up with previous samples. Meaning: the lab processing the sample knows if it’s your blood or not. If it’s a urine test, as Deadspin thinks it may have been, I’m not sure how samples could be switched given that urine tests are directly observed by testing officials. Yes, they watch you pee. They’d likely prevent you from peeing right next to your bro teammate, but even if you did, they’d see you exchange little plastic containers of urine with him.

I’m not going to say that this is 100% bull because we can’t really know for sure, but the scenario as described sounds highly unlikely, approaching the impossible. If someone had a story about bribing a sample taker with $2.5 million well, hey, maybe we’re getting somewhere, because that would get you over some procedural hurdles. For now, though, this all sounds like someone passing along a tall tale.

If it is true? Hoo boy, that’d be fun. At least for people like me who write about this stuff.