The World Anti-Doping Agency can get bent

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WADA logo.jpgThe World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) released a statement yesterday, once again taking baseball to task for its PED policies.  They do this every year, and as it always is, this year’s statement is stupid and self-serving and deceptive.  I don’t consider myself a PED apologist, but given my thoughts and writings on the subject I understand why I get called that all the time. I thus understand that a lot of you may not grant me much credibility if I were to sit here and rip WADA the way they deserve to be ripped.

But Yahoo!’s Jeff Passan is absolutely no PED apologist (he and I have had multiple friendly disagreements on the subject in the past) so you should take his words really, really seriously when he tears WADA a new one:

WADA blitzed the public with half-truths, knowing full well that if any
sport dare argue, it would look like it was trying to hide something.
An organization full of blowhards and self-important ninnies became the
standard bearer in drug testing by using that scare tactic, and now,
sadly, its hollow principles exist not for the good of sport but
itself. No wonder WADA is so tight with the Olympic movement. They get
off on the same self-serving values.

And Jeff offers much, much more along those lines. A point he makes that almost no one else ever seems to make: WADA is in the business of selling stuff. Specifically, their own, self-proclaimed ideal anti-doping program. It makes them millions a year. Baseball won’t bend over for WADA, however, and that makes the organization very, very angry. It makes them do things like be overly-critical of baseball despite the fact that it now has a pretty damn robust testing regime. No, not as robust as WADA would like, but if WADA had its way athletes’ diets would consist of WADA-approved non-PED-certified paste and they would have their blood drawn under threat of imprisonment.

Check out Jeff’s column today and remember it the next time someone who doesn’t have anything to do with baseball — especially someone with their own financial agenda and an almost non-existent grasp of the concept of civil liberties — starts pontificating about the game’s terrible, terrible PED problem.

Mike Rizzo and Shawn Kelley almost got into a physical confrontation

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A few weeks back the Washington Nationals designated reliever Shawn Kelley for assignment the morning after he threw his glove into the ground and glared at the Nats dugout in frustration after giving up a homer in a blowout win against the Mets. He was later traded to the Athletics. Nats GM Mike Rizzo said at that time that he thought Kelley was trying to show up his manager and that there was no room for that sort of thing on the team, offering an “either you’re with us or you’re working against us” sentiment in the process.

Today the Washington Post talks about all of the Nationals’ bullpen woes of late, and touches on the departure of Kelley as being part of the problem. In so doing, we learn that, on the night of Kelley’s mound tantrum, he and Rizzo almost got into a physical confrontation:

Rizzo headed down to the clubhouse and confronted Kelley, according to people familiar with the situation. The argument became heated, including raised voices, and eventually it almost became physical, according to people familiar with the exchange. Adam Eaton got between the two of them and separated them before things could advance further . . .

Might I point out that, the fact of this emerging now helps to vindicate Brandon Kintzler who, the day before, was traded away, some say, for being the source for negative reports from inside the Nats’ clubhouse?

That aside, the article does not make anyone look good, really. Rizzo had the backing of his team with the Kelley incident, but the overall story — how did the Nats’ bullpen, which was once a strength — get so bad? — does no favors for Rizzo. Mostly because he seems to have thought that they had so much extra bullpen depth that they could afford to deal away Kintzler, which he says was a financial move, not a punitive trade for being a media source.

Question: when was the last time you heard a baseball man say he had too much relief pitching? Especially today, in which the bullpen has assumed such a prominent role? Seems rather unreasonable to cut relievers when you’re trying mightily to come back from a sizable deficit in the standings, yes?