Politics Magazine

Baseball's B-list

Posted on the 09 August 2013 by Erictheblue


I'm in Chicago, and as it happens so are the Yankees, to play the Sox, so it's all A-Rod, or "A-Fraud," all the time here. 

Try naming a few players who've been busted and penalized for using performance-enhancing drugs.  Most likely the names you come up with--A-Rod, Bonds, Braun, Clemons, McGwire, Sosa--point up the fact that only aficionados can distinguish those on the "busted and penalized" list from a sublist of the known guilty who, mainly on account of having been born too soon, escaped formal punishment. 

The real sublist, however, is the one populated by players you probably never heard of.  Here's a sampling:

Neifi Perez
Jay Gibbons
Freddy Galvis
Marlon Byrd
Yasmani Grandal
Everth Cabrera
Francisco Cervelli
Troy Cate
Willie Collazo
Clay Hensley
Jon Nunnally
Grant Roberts
Eider Torres
Darnell McDonald
Steve Smyth
Christian Parker
Josh Labandeira
Matt WhitesidePablo Ozuna
Prentice Redman
Sergio Escalona
Jordan Norberto

As I say, it's a sample.  For the full list, go here

These guys, fighting to make it to "the show," or to stay there, or to get back there, are rarely mentioned, and are never accused of spoiling "the game," its "integrity" and "rich heritage."  It's not hard to understand why they do it.  The minimum major-league salary currently stands at $490,000, which is probably northward of what your neighborhood orthodontist pulls down, and the pension plan eliminates former players' worries about the economy's ebb and flow.  There's a scene in Bull Durham that has in this regard considerable explanatory power.  Say you're in the minor leagues, playing regularly and getting twenty-five at-bats per week.  Seven hits, you stay where you are; eight, and suddenly you have new problems, like the maximum bank deposit insured by the FDIC.  One extra hit per week, explains Crash Davis.  That's how close he was.

Of course such guys are looking for an edge.  They're not guilty of crimes against humanity or baseball.  To hate them, you'd have to care deeply about other unknown borderline players being displaced by "cheaters."  The general state of affairs is more evidence for the truth of Thoreau's dictum concerning how "the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."

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