‘Monumental day’: Big leaguers react to drug bans
Jim Leyland was just a minute into his pregame interview when the first — and only — question about Jhonny Peralta was asked.
That was it. Detroit’s crusty manager booted all the reporters out of his office, saying they’d been told he wouldn’t talk about losing his All-Star shortstop to a 50-game suspension Monday.
But while Leyland was determined to keep his thoughts to himself, other major leaguers had plenty to say after sweeping penalties in the Biogenesis drug scandal were finally handed down.
“Obviously, it’s a big day and it’s one of the days to be marked in baseball history — a monumental day,” St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “I think overall the guys are happy to see it kind of come to a head, be talked about today and get it over with, and just keep playing.”
Alex Rodriguez received the harshest penalty— banned through the 2014 season by Major League Baseball. But the three-time MVP said he’ll appeal, with support from the players’ union. That keeps him eligible to play until a ruling by the arbitrator, which isn’t expected until at least November or December.
“This is a saga, and that’s the way it’s always been with him,” Los Angeles Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson said. “He just has one of those polarizing personalities that people are going to be drawn to. I guess people are going to find him as a villain and stuff like that no matter what he does.
“This latest chapter just gives further fuel to the fire that he’s made bad decisions,” the left-hander added. “It’s good for the game that they’re finally getting him for something. This whole thing has been going on for too long — press conferences, ‘Good Morning America’, ’20/20′ or whatever. I mean, come on. Enough of that. Let’s just play some baseball and stop trying to be a role model. All those quotes (from Rodriguez), they’re hilarious for everybody in our clubhouse.”
Peralta was one of three 2013 All-Stars who accepted 50-game suspensions and admitted using prohibited substances. The others were Texas right fielder Nelson Cruz, also on a pennant contender, and San Diego shortstop Everth Cabrera.
“If all the allegations are true, then I’m glad they got caught and I’m glad baseball is doing something about it,” Kansas City Royals reliever Aaron Crow said. “It shocks me that people try to get away with it. I guess some people think the risk is worth it. It’s just unfortunate that it’s still going on. Hopefully this helps.”
Rodriguez, Cruz, Peralta and Cabrera had all been linked for months in media reports to Biogenesis of America, a Florida anti-aging clinic accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs.