The Fenway infield remains awful

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Fenway infield.jpgPeople were complaining about the Fenway Park infield when I was a kid. Heck, they were probably complaining about it when Jerry Remy and Glenn Hoffman were kids. Tall grass. Bad bounces. Gophers and stuff. Just all kinds of nastiness.

I figured that bit of charm had largely gone away, what with the meticulous makeover Fenway has seen over the years. But apparently that’s not the case, as Nick Cafardo collects multiple quotes from Red Sox and Yankees players, all of whom preface or end their complaints by saying “not that you can really complain . . .”

On the list of things that bother me in baseball, this comes in somewhere below the fact that men don’t wear straw boater hats to games anymore and somewhere above the fact that ketchup and relish gang up on mustard and cheat to win the Sugardale Hot Dog race during Columbus Clippers games at Huntington Park.  It’s just one of them things.  In the case of the infield grass it’s part of home field advantage and, though frustrating, it’s no different than ballparks having different sight lines and wall configurations and all of that.

Will it ever change?  Maybe.  The Cubs did an overhaul of their notoriously awful infield grass before the 2009 season, and now it appears to play a lot smoother than it used to.  The Red Sox could do something like that if they wanted to.

My guess though: they won’t, at least until they sign the next circa-2000 Alex Rodriguez who makes a point of demanding it. And given how long the Sox have gone without a big deal shortstop, don’t hold your breath.

MLB, union resume blood testing after pandemic, lockout

Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK – In the first acknowledgment that MLB and the players’ association resumed blood testing for human growth hormone, the organizations said none of the 1,027 samples taken during the 2022 season tested positive.

HGH testing stopped in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Testing also was halted during the 99-day lockout that ended in mid-March, and there were supply chain issues due to COVID-19 and additional caution in testing due to coronavirus protocols.

The annual public report is issued by Thomas M. Martin, independent program administrator of MLB’s joint drug prevention and treatment program. In an announcement accompanying Thursday’s report, MLB and the union said test processing is moving form the INRS Laboratory in Quebec, Canada, to the UCLA Laboratory in California.

MLB tests for HGH using dried blood spot testing, which was a change that was agreed to during bargaining last winter. There were far fewer samples taken in 2022 compared to 2019, when there were 2,287 samples were collected – none positive.

Beyond HGH testing, 9,011 urine samples were collected in the year ending with the 2022 World Series, up from 8,436 in the previous year but down from 9,332 in 2019. And therapeutic use exemptions for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder dropped for the ninth straight year, with just 72 exemptions in 2022.

Overall, the league issued six suspensions in 2022 for performance-enhancing substances: three for Boldenone (outfielder/first baseman Danny Santana, pitcher Richard Rodriguez and infielder Jose Rondon, all free agents, for 80 games apiece); one each for Clomiphene (Milwaukee catcher Pedro Severino for 80 games), Clostebol (San Diego shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. for 80 games) and Stanozolol (Milwaukee pitcher J.C. Mejia for 80 games).

There was an additional positive test for the banned stimulant Clobenzorex. A first positive test for a banned stimulant results in follow-up testing with no suspension.