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Posted at 2:18 PM on May 3, 2005 by David Zingler (1 Comments)

Unfortunately for Juan Rincon, he is now the most famous middle relief pitcher in America. As we all know, it was announced yesterday that the right-hander has been suspended 10 days for using a performance enhancing drug. It could have been something he bought at GNC, it could have been something the FDA has deemed illegal – we really don't know.

The real question is, why do we care so much?

When Rincon comes into a game we want him to get hitters out. If he doesn’t we boo. If that happens too often, he ends up with the Rochester Redwings. It’s that simple. So if we want Juan Rincon to get hitters out and he wants to get hitters out, why do we get so upset at him for doing everything he can to get hitters out?

Is it because he “cheated”? When Joe Niekro pulled an emery board out of his pocket in 1987, we laughed and he ended up on the David Letterman Show.

If Rincon had been arrested for a DUI or domestic violence, would it have generated a full page spread in the sports section of the Star Tribune?

Was anyone really hurt by his actions?

The recently righteous commissioner, the suddenly intolerant owners and the newly responsive players union all contributed to a culture that fostered and tolerated steroid use for over a decade. If not for the BALCO investigation, pressure from congress, a few ambitious reporters and even Jose Canseco’s book that culture would most likely still exist today. So as the positive test results roll in, let’s not direct all of our angst and frustration at the unfortunate saps who get caught.

Comments (1)

Using an emery board is inherently funnier than taking steriods. As is the spitball and Harris from "Major League" putting every known substance on the ball to get just a little more out of it.

It's no less cheating than using steroids, but it doesn't seem to have the long term damaging image of cheating that steroids does. It feels like a boy's way of cheating. You can always check Niekro's glove and uniform every game or every inning. That's far different in my mind than steroids.

Both are cheating, though.

Posted by Joe Sherry | May 4, 2005 7:46 AM

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