Instead of taking the typical incendiary blogger’s approach of immediately overreacting to events purely on emotion, I wanted to take some time to formulate a measured response to the news that Jhonny Peralta had been suspended for PED use before weighing in on it. I figured three weeks would be enough time to let the fallout from the Biogenesis scandal settle, but the more time that passes the angrier I get.
Unlike my buddy PV, who’s been forced to retire a closet full of Bonds and McGwire jerseys over the years, I’ve never had to face the reality that one of my favorite players is a cheat. For all these years I’ve been able to ride out the tumult of the Steroids Era from a comfortable distance. It was always someone else’s fallen hero on some other team that didn’t mean shit to me, so it was easy to brush it all off.
But the realization that the Tigers games I’ve been living and dying by over the years have been tainted by Peralta’s mere presence brings my blood to a boil. And the cliché-laden, boilerplate BS that he tried to pass off as an apology only fueled my resentment and rings as hollow as Sammy Sosa’s infamous corked bat:
“In spring of 2012, I made a terrible mistake that I deeply regret. I apologize to everyone that I have hurt as a result of my mistake, including my teammates, the Tigers’ organization, the great fans in Detroit, Major League Baseball, and my family. I take full responsibility for my actions, have no excuses for my lapse in judgment, and I accept my suspension.
“I love the fans, my teammates and this organization, and my greatest punishment is knowing that I have let so many good people down. I promise to do everything possible to try and earn back the respect that I have lost.”
Well Jhonny, if you’d like to start earning back our respect, how about you sack up and tell us what you actually did? Was it really just one “terrible mistake” in the spring of 2012? I seriously doubt it.
Admitting guilt without bothering to acknowledge what you’re actually guilty of and accepting his 50-game suspension without a fight isn’t “taking responsibility” — it’s called cowardice. And what message does he think he’s sending to his fans and teammates by slithering away just as the Tigers are reaching crunch time in another pennant race instead of appealing to stay on the field? There’s no doubt in my mind that boosting his pending free agency value was paramount in that decision. Who pays top dollar for a guy who’s going to miss the first 2 months of the 2014 season? He wanted put this all behind him now and hopes he can pull a Melky Cabrera and dupe another desperate franchise out of millions.
I just threw up in my mouth a little, but I almost have to give props to Alex Rodriguez for appealing his suspension to help his team fight for a playoff spot. Even if that really wasn’t his #1 priority — I’d say securing the $100+ million left on his deal might top that list — there’s at least some nobility in it. Christ, I fee like I need to take a shower now…
The most tangible casualty of Peralta’s selfishness is the loss of highly-touted prospect Avisail Garcia. The timing of all of this couldn’t have been worse for Dave Dombrowski who’s hand was forced by the looming trade deadline. Fortunately, Dombrowski’s wizardry conjured what could turn out to be a once-in-a-generation talent in SS Jose Iglesias almost out of thin air. But Garcia was certainly a huge price to pay. I’ll be cursing Jhonny’s name every time Pete sends me a taunting text about Avisail’s latest exploit with the White Sox for the next 10 years.
Dombrowski is playing things close to the vest when it comes to Peralta’s posible return to the Tigers’ lineup when he’s becomes eligible for the final series of the season in Miami. “That’s not something we’re going to tackle at this point,” he said coyly the day the suspension was announced.
Whatever the plan is, it’s hard to see Jim Leyland benching the rangy (and often spectacular) Iglesias in favor of a guy whose only real asset — his bat — is now proven to be chemically augmented and therefore fraudulent. Why create turmoil in the locker room and jeopardize would could be the beginning of another long playoff run for a pariah whose actions show utter contempt for his teammates, the fans, and the game we all love so much.
Now I understand how the disillusioned Sex Pistols‘ frontman Johnny Rotten felt when he punctuated their final show with one question: “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” I hope to never see this rotten Jhonny don the Old English D again.