On the heels of the Miguel Tejada suspension, Mike Pelfrey discusses benefits of Adderall use

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Miguel Tejada received a 105-game suspension from Major League baseball after testing positive for amphetamines for a second and third time this year. The suspension would run through the first 65 games of the 2014 season, which may simply push the 39-year-old Tejada into retirement instead.

On the heels of that news, Twins starter Mike Pelfrey talked with Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press about his own legal, by-the-book use of Adderall to treat his ADHD. You should read the whole article here, but here is an illuminating snippet:

“When I don’t take my Adderall, my mind, my thoughts are just all over the place,” he said. “When I’m taking it, I’m able to focus on one task and able to do one thing instead of (having) 20 different things pop in your head. It definitely helps.”

Without an attention deficit disorder or ADHD diagnosis, Adderall could give a player additional energy, Pelfrey said.

“When you don’t need it, it acts like a true amphetamine,” he said. “I don’t get all amped up on it. I’m probably more laid back when I’m on it. My thought process is toned down to one thing instead of 20 different things. Without it I’m pretty hyperactive and running around.”

Though it is easy to look at Pelfrey’s 5.26 ERA and snicker, it can be tough to muster the energy to play at peak athletic form on a day-in, day-out basis over a six-month span, which is why more and more players have been testing positive for amphetamine use in recent years rather than steroids.

Former Colorado Rockies outfielder Ryan Spilborghs wrote a column earlier this year suggesting that Major League Baseball could reduce the need for players to rely on performance-enhancing drugs by expanding rosters and putting a cap on the maximum amount of games in which a player can play. Of course, the issue is complex enough that a couple tweaks to the rules won’t fix the issue, but it does show that the onus is not just on the players.

Derek Jeter calls Bryant Gumbel “mentally weak”

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Derek Jeter has not covered himself in glory since taking over the Miami Marlins. His reign atop the team’s baseball operations department has been characterized by the slashing of payroll in order to help his new ownership group make more money amid some pretty crushing debt service by virtue of what was, in effect, the leveraged buyout of the club. A club which is now 5-16 and seems destined for five months more and change of some pretty miserable baseball.

Jeter has nonetheless cast the moves the Marlins have made as good for fans in the long run. And, yes, I suppose it’s likely that things will be better in the long run, if for no other reason than they cannot be much worse. Still, such reasoning, while often accepted when a lesser light like, say, White Sox GM Rick Hahn employs it, isn’t accepted as easily when a guy who has been defined by his hand full of championship rings offers it. How can Derek Jeter, of all people, accept losing?

That’s the question HBO’s Bryant Gumbel asked of Jeter in an interview that aired over the weekend (see the video at the end of the post). How can he accept — and why should fans accept — a subpar baseball product which is not intended to win? Jeter’s response? To claim that the 2018 Marlins are totally expected to win and that Gumbel himself is “mentally weak” for not understanding it:

JETER: “We’re trying to win ball games every day.”

GUMBEL: “If you trade your best players in exchange for prospects it’s unlikely you’re going to win more games in the immediate future–”

JETER: “When you take the field, you have an opportunity to win each and every day. Each and every day. You never tell your team that they’re expected to lose. Never.”

GUMBEL: “Not in so–”

JETER: “Now, you can think — now– now, I can’t tell you how you think. Like, I see your mind. I see that’s how you think. I don’t think like that. That’s your mind working like that.”

. . .

DEREK JETER: “You don’t. We have two different mi– I can’t wait to get you on the golf course, man. We got– I mean, I can’t wait for this one.”

BRYANT GUMBEL: “No, I mean–”

DEREK JETER: “You’re mentally weak.”

I sort of get what Jeter was trying to do here. He was trying to take this out the realm of second guessing among people who know some stuff about sports and subtly make it an appeal to authority, implying that he was an athlete and that only he, unlike Gumbel, can understand that mindset and competitiveness of the athlete. That’s what the “get you on the golf course” jazz was about. Probably worth noting at this point that that tack has never worked for Michael Jordan as a basketball executive, even if his singular competitiveness made him the legend he was on the court. An executive makes decisions which can and should be second-guessed, and it seems Jeter cannot handle that.

That being said, Gumbel did sort of open the door for Jeter to do that. Suggesting that baseball players on the 2018 Marlins don’t expect to win is not the best angle for him here because, I am certain, if you ask those players, they would say much the same thing Jeter said. That’s what makes them athletes.

No, what Gumbel should have asked Jeter was “of COURSE you tell your players to win and of COURSE they try their hardest and think they can win every night. My question to you is this: did YOU try YOUR hardest to get the BEST players? And if not, why not?”

Question him like you’d question Rick Hahn. Not like you’d question Future Hall of Fame Shortstop, Derek Jeter.