Sportswriters around the country are down on the San Francisco Giants because they employed Melky Cabrera and now they have brought back Guillermo Mota, two known drug cheaters. Tim Kawakami wrote a provocative column that ran this morning in the Merc. Tim made two main points: Cabrera clearly aided the Giants as they hold onto first place. Mota is back after a 100-game suspension and the Giants, if they wanted to remain morally pristine and not look like Drug Central, should have avoided him at all costs.

I may have felt that way about Mota once upon a time. I don’t feel that way now. So, I’m disagreeing with Tim but I’m glad he raised the subject, and he raised it because he’s a good columnist. I owe you a glass of pinot noir, Tim.

Let’s take these one at a time starting with Mota. He got a 100-game suspension, not a life suspension. He served his time and now the Giants are entitled to bring him back. End of story. Really, it’s the end of the story. If the guy can’t pitch, the Giants will dump him.

Now onto Cabrera. Sure, he helped the Giants, and now he’s not helping. Let’s say the Giants get to the World Series, partly because of Cabrera. Are we to assume the Giants are the only team with a drug cheater. I don’t think that. I think they, along with the A’s, are two of the teams who had drug cheaters who got caught. No matter whom the Giants play in the Series, that other team will have guys — several — using testosterone or whatever. The Giants aren’t the only team with immoral players. I doubt there is one team in the majors that is totally on the up and up. I don’t believe the Giants should feel shame if they advance in the postseason because of their drug cheater as opposed to all the other drug cheaters, and I feel no indignation that they are using Mota.

To read Tim’s article, click here.



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  1. Tiburon Dave

    Et Tu Brute?

    August 29th, 2012 2:47 pm

  2. Dennis

    How do you feel about Cabrera coming back? I seem to recall you weren’t to thrilled by the prospect, but maybe that had to do with his false website.

    August 29th, 2012 3:49 pm

  3. CohnZohn

    Dennis, the false website is the living end. but based on what the giants did with mota they might bring back cabrera — if they think he can help them win.

    August 29th, 2012 3:54 pm

  4. Stan

    I felt the same way about his take Lowell…like you I don’t see anything(much) wrong.
    If anything,the Giants cant be any more pro steroids then any other team. Logic tells you,if they were,they would certainly be teaching players how to pass. They should be experts by now.
    And Mota? 39 years old and baseball is a light years ahead of anything else in life he could do to be paid millions. I doubt when he buys his wife or children top of the line,clothes,cars,toys,or jewelry..he stops to think of how he came up with the money.
    Also,how many drug addicts world over wish they could be paid for TAKING and ingesting illegal drugs? Sports stars have the best of all worlds.

    August 29th, 2012 3:54 pm

  5. Dr. Feelgood

    Just looking for insight; can you speak to how you reconcile your view today with that of your post “Punish Teams for Drug Users”. Has your stance on PED’s modified somewhat, or am I misreading you?

    August 29th, 2012 3:57 pm

  6. CohnZohn

    Dr. Feelgood, I do think you should punish teams. But right now I’m dealing with reality as it is. And in the real world right now Mota can play.

    August 29th, 2012 4:12 pm

  7. KauaiRobert

    Punishing teams would be tantamount to punishing business owners who employee illegal aliens.
    In both cases, the potential monetary gain far outweighs the risk.
    That is why these problems persist.

    August 29th, 2012 4:27 pm

  8. mbabco

    Interesting point that Glenn Dickey made today — the percentage of Latinos caught for drug use is higher than the percentage of Latinos playing MLB.

    August 29th, 2012 4:46 pm

  9. Dennis

    Wow! This is nothing, if not a can of worms. I am not sure where to go with this. I wish we were all someplace having this discussion over a bottle of wine or two. I have so many questions. Let me start with this: if in the real world Mota can play (and he can) would you vote for putting him in the HOF if he was, say, Barry Bonds?

    August 29th, 2012 5:08 pm

  10. CohnZohn

    Dennis, I wouldn’t vote for either one. Is Mota Barry Bonds? I thought Barry Bonds was Barry Bonds.

    August 29th, 2012 5:11 pm

  11. Dennis

    No, it was just a hypothetical question. I am just trying to understand where you are coming from because right now I am confused. Are you saying that it is OK for the Giants to do whatever they need to do even if you find it morally wrong?

    August 29th, 2012 5:21 pm

  12. mike

    You cannot justify the sins of the Giants by mentioning the sins of other clubs. One sin by another club does not wash away the sins of the Giants. There is no justification!

    August 29th, 2012 5:26 pm

  13. KauaiRobert

    Sorry…I meant employ.

    August 29th, 2012 5:38 pm

  14. Lameduck

    In my mind, Mota and Melky are two seperate incidents. I’ve been counting on Mota coming back since the beginning of the season. I think Sabean operated through the trade deadline thinking Mota was coming back. He represents a fresh arm in the final stages of a pennant race. I hope he does well and regains his sense of self again as a ball player. I’m glad the Giants didn’t hold Melky against Mota.

    August 29th, 2012 7:21 pm

  15. David

    Mota is a 2 time proven cheater, where Bonds is only suspected of cheating. You are OK with Mota playing but would be ranting to high heaven if Bonds were playing. I think your personal dislike of Bonds clouds your views. Mota must have been a great interview!

    By the way, typical liberal position to punish everyone on a team for the sins of a few. (Dr. Feelgood, I do think you should punish teams.)

    August 29th, 2012 7:56 pm

  16. Eric Janssen

    “How ’bout those Giants!”

    August 30th, 2012 6:18 am

  17. MJ

    David…Bonds did cheat. He admitted in court to using the “cream” and the “clear”, which were PEDs. He said he used them thinking they were other things (right), but he still used them and admitted to it. No doubt, no suspicion, just fact.

    And I hate when people cop out with the “well so and so are doing it so that makes it ok if we do it” argument. I don’t care if other players cheat, doesn’t make it any less wrong if a Giant or an Athletic does it. If you can’t compete without cheating, you can’t compete. There were many in the 80s and 90s and 00s who didn’t use and played at the highest of levels so it is possible. If the only reason you are an everyday player or an all star is because of PEDs, how good are you really? Its harsh but if you aren’t a 5 tool player then you arent a 5 tool player. Make a career out of being a situational player.

    And what about those players whose careers were impacted because of the cheaters, guys who put up decent numbers for being clean, but compared to the users, looked pedestrian? They lost out on contracts or their careers were shortened because they were viewed as lesser players.

    All of this makes the users that much worse.

    August 30th, 2012 7:30 am

  18. Gopal

    It would be nice if someone could demonstrate just what those untainted clubs are telling their players that the giants are not also saying.

    August 30th, 2012 7:33 am

  19. Bob In Portland

    I can’t get morally indignant about PEDs anymore. I remember Tamara Press.

    August 30th, 2012 10:33 am

  20. KauaiRobert

    We have a softball tournament coming up as part of our annual Labor Day picnic.
    Unfortunately, my hitting isn’t what it used to be.
    Fortunately, I have a sneaking suspician that I’ll be developing a cold that weekend so I’ll make sure that I have plenty of children’s cold medicine on hand.
    I heard it works pretty well.

    August 30th, 2012 11:05 am

  21. Dennis

    David, “By the way, typical liberal position to punish everyone on a team for the sins of a few. (Dr. Feelgood, I do think you should punish teams.)”

    No one on this blog would confuse me with being a liberal. Just ask Stan. But I do have to say I reluctantly agree with Lowell on this one. I just don’t see any other way baseball can get PED’s out of the game, if that is truly what they wanted to do. There is just too much money at stake for some players not to take the risk. Look at Cabrera. If he didn’t get caught how much money do you think they would be negotiating for next year? Before PED’s he was just a run of the mill player with a run of the mill contract.

    I also don’t think you can legalize it because it would put too much pressure on players who don’t want to take drugs to take them just to keep up. So you are going to have what we have now and every time some gets caught we can feign righteous indignation, dismay and discuss. Or baseball can just up the anti on the cost by bringing in some collateral damage to those around the offending player. If the penalty affects more than just the offending player my guess is that the player would think a lot longer about the downside risk to taking PED’s.

    All I know is that I think they need to do something because right now the sport is losing more interest with each revelation

    August 30th, 2012 11:51 am

  22. Stan

    That cold thing hit me last night..all day yesterday I had a scratchy throat..but I thought that was from too much ice in my sodas.
    Then the cough and stuffed up runny nose all night. By midday today…just a little thick headed. Fastest cold cycle I ever had.
    Is that part of getting older?

    August 30th, 2012 12:46 pm

  23. B-Rad

    If you are a career minor league player, would you try PEDs for
    your only shot at the majors?

    If you are a marginal major leaguer, would you use them for
    a shot at a big contract?

    If you are an established major league star and beginning to
    fade due to age, would you use PEDs to make even more
    untold millions knowing that even if you are caught your
    $20,000,000 a year attorney and his team will likely demolish
    the $150,000 government attorneys?

    August 30th, 2012 1:04 pm

  24. lameduck

    Back in the old days all the posters and messaging in the minor clubhouses were about no gambling. Now, it’s all about PED’s. Times have changed.

    I really can’t decide whether to go LameDuck, Lameduck, or lameduck. Maybe a little Ibuprofen will help me to make the decision…

    August 30th, 2012 3:05 pm

  25. Dave T

    In my opinion there has not been a pure baseball player or any athlete in any sport since the day sports medicine and any addative was introduced into the human body. The word pure by definition:

    adjective, pur·er, pur·est.
    1. free from anything of a different, inferior, or contaminating kind; free from extraneous matter: pure gold; pure water.
    2. unmodified by an admixture; simple or homogeneous.
    3. of unmixed descent or ancestry: a pure breed of dog.
    4. free from foreign or inappropriate elements: pure Attic Greek.
    5. clear; free from blemishes: pure skin.

    So taking anything that would alter a players natural abilites, ability to recover, build muscle and recover from injury in essence taints them, and no longer “pure”. That would include any kind of pain killer or anti-inflamatory (including ibuprfen, aspirin, etc.) cortizone shots, heck even cold medications would have to be considered. Anything that would get a player back on the field faster than natural healing has to be considered performance enhancing and therefore a PED. Stands to reason if we are going to use the word pure in my book.

    Instead, we are going to pick and choose as to what is or is not permitted as a PED. Advil is ok, allergy medication is ok, cortizone is ok but x, y and z are not. Further, we want to debate whether or not those who get caught should lose stats, records and perhaps the teams as well? Really? Absurd, simply absurd. You do the crime, you do the time and then you are eligible to play. All your records are intact and all your stats count from every game you played in and every game you play further. If you get caught again, the appropriate punitive measure is taken and if eligible to play again, and if not, then your career is over. No moral ground here. Simple yes or no and rules to play by.

    Oh, and same has to be said for past players and their stats. Bottom line is that until an organization goes back and invalidates any kind of record, then that player holds them, and when comparing them to their peers for HOF consideration, you can only do just that. Were they the best of their era, yes, or no? And I do not see MLB, the NFL, NBA or NHL ever going the way of the USADA and using heresay as opposed to any failed test to invalidate anything in their records.

    Players are not pure in any sense, heck I wasn’t and still am not, because I took and take antiinflamatories to play and recover. So let’s not fool ourselves further. Use the rules. If eligible, they play and everything counts. If caught, you pay the price. It can be just that simple.

    August 30th, 2012 3:26 pm

  26. MJ

    Dave T,

    You can not compare steroids to aspirin, NyQuil or cortisone shots. PEDs give you permanent (semi-permanent) physical improvements over everyone else, they provide false results. The other items are pain relievers, they don’t last, they don’t improve muscle strength, recovery, or growth. Also, PED’s are mostly illegal without a doctors prescription, the others mentioned are off the shelf, available to all. Pain medicines let play without pain, they let you be your true self, not improve on it. Thats the difference.

    Under your guidelines, caffeine would be a PED or make an athlete unpure. Thats ludicrous.

    Erasing stats might be too hard to do, but the NCAA has no problem doing such things. Some people call it ridiculous, some people say they will still remember what happened, the USADA wiped away Armstrongs titles and no one really put up a fuss, yet if we say “erase Bonds”, people get up in arms. The fact remains that without using, Bonds would never have reached 700. He would have gone down with ~500 home runs, a great deal of steals, and been considered, along with Mays, R. Henderson and Mantle, as one of the most athletic, all-around players of all time. Wasn’t good enough for him or he was intimidated by McGuire and Sosa to jump on the wagon. Either way he cheated, and I don’t recognize his achievement.

    My thing is, if Pete Rose, Shoeless Joe Jackson and the rest of the 1919 White Sox are banned from baseball, PED cheaters should be too. Was Rose or the rest given 50, 100, and then life time bans? I don’t think so. And PED users cheat not only the game, but the fans, their teammates, rivals (contracts anyone?), and themselves. Which is worse?

    August 30th, 2012 6:03 pm

  27. Dave T


    My debate was over the definition of a “pure” athlete. Also, last I looked, the idea behind most PED’s was to allow an athlete to recover faster, to be fresher and stronger. So they can work out more, longer, harder and build muscle. So does not things like sports drinks and anti-imflamatories decrease recovery time? Isn’t a marketing slogan for one very popular sports drink state “helps you recover faster”? Look, I am not saying anything is right or wrong, my point is that it is all splitting hairs. Some items that once needed persciption, no longer do (claritin comes to mind) and the line is so very grey about what is permitted and what is not.

    Points are:
    1. There are no “pure” athletes left. Every athlete uses something to enhance their performance, the question is whether or not it is a banned substance or not.

    2. If you are caught, you pay the price and then if eligible, can compete again. All of your stats and record count for you AND your team. You can’t be selective in how you apply the rules and to whom. In case of players prior to the current rules, their records stand, like it or not. The played under the rules at the time and were held to them. Period. End of story.

    As I said, I don’t see any major professional sports organization going back and removing stats of those in their past or HOF. Let’s be real, in the NFL HOF, how many would have to be removed from the 70′s, 80′s and 90′s if you eanted to hold them to that standard? Did they gain an advantage? Yes. Can we prove who did or did not? Not completely, never will be able too. All we can do is apply the rules of today to today’s players and go forward.

    August 31st, 2012 12:33 pm

  28. Stan

    I thought I posted that if you fine the GM’s..they wouldn’t sign a player if they had the slightest suspicion?. I have now.

    August 31st, 2012 12:43 pm

  29. Stan

    And I take back Lowell what I said about the 24 hour or less cold. It came back last night with a vengeance. You realize that their cant be much more then seven degree’s of Stan in you?..who standing between us,passed the infection over that 7 day period?

    August 31st, 2012 12:46 pm

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