I’m embarrassed that I missed this story when it first ran. In fact, I didn’t see anything about it at all until Hundley’s quote was shown on MLB Network on Tuesday evening. Hundley said:
“You want to talk about a guy who is unproven and had a good couple months on steroids, go ahead.”
I can’t begin to explain how excited I was when I saw the graphic come up on MLB Network with Hundley’s words on display. For me, this is a monumental step forward in the battle against PEDs.
It sucks that it has taken until 2013 for an MLBer to come out against a teammate and state what everyone else already knows: guys who take PEDs should not be taken seriously*. They’re cheaters, whether their name is Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, or Yasmani Grandal. You take PEDs, you are a cheater, and you tarnish anything and everything you’ve ever accomplished. While this may not occur in an official capacity (last July I wrote about how MLB should go about correcting their record book. As yet, I’ve been resoundingly ignored.), fans know, commentators know, and as Hundley has let us know, so do the players.
Sure, it would have been great if a big star type player had come out against a PED using teammate. Derek Jeter had the opportunity when Alex Rodriquez admitted that he was a cheater, but he whiffed. When Ryan Braun failed his PED test, Prince Fielder and others had an opportunity to condemn Braun’s actions (and the actions of others.) They demurred, and somehow managed to not be embarrassed about letting guys off the hook. Big-time stars don’t turn on their own, it seems, whether it is because of the relationships they may have with said ‘stars’, or because they are perhaps afraid of turning the spotlight back on themselves.
In reality, though, it might be better that a second (third?) tier guy like Hundley was the first one to speak out. These are the guys whose jobs are on the line when their teammates and other players are cheating. Sure, Hundley is signed through 2014, and he has proven himself enough that he would likely find work somewhere else if the Padres chose to not exercise their 2015 option, but that is beside the point. Hundley is a guy that is playing the game the ‘right’ way (at least he better hope he is. Hell hath no fury like a fan base scorned, to say nothing of media members. Right, Mike Lupica?) He works hard and uses his talent to the best of his ability.
Yasmani Grandal, on the other hand, is a cheater. Perhaps it brought him his 15 minutes of fame, and maybe that is more than he ever would have had if he hadn’t cheated. In exchange, he gave up the possibility of ever being taken seriously as an MLBer, no matter what he accomplishes. In fact, the more he accomplishes, the more likely it is that fans are turned off from him. Once you cheat, you give up all claim that you are a ‘clean’ player or that it was ‘only one time’. The reasons for cheating don’t matter (sorry, Andy Pettite), just that you either did (and were caught) or you didn’t (or you were luckier than others.)
I hope that Nick Hundley’s words inspire other players to make a similar type stand. For Hundley, it may be as much about self-preservation as anything else. That’s understandable. A man is literally trying to take food off of his plate, and keep money out of his pocket. He has a right to speak out. Others do as well, and they should take advantage of it.
*if you take PED players seriously, you’re part of the problem, sorry.
What do you think about Nick Hundley? Should he have just supported his ‘teammate’? Or was he right to put Grandal in his place?
Let me know what you think: