Of Real Journalism, Nelson Cruz and What Next.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and manager Ron Washington are in the Dominican Republic this week along with assorted other club officials. They make an annual trip to the Dominican every winter about this team to check out the Rangers academy, watch their young baseball players and – probably most important – just be seen.
Kind of like Katharine Webb and other alleged members of the media covering the Super Bowl this week. Gotta make sure everybody knows your name and your schtick, which is extremely important in the new age of journalism that greatly rewards style over substance.
Or as Gene Hackman said in the Birdcage, “People in this country aren’t interested in details. They don’t even trust details. The only thing they trust is headlines.”
But that was real journalism coming out of Miami this week when a weekly publication seemed to do a pretty thorough job of uncovering what was going on at a Miami anti-aging clinic. What was going on was the owner was also apparently involved in distributing performance enhancing drugs. Not sure what kind of performance some of these drugs were enhancing but nevertheless…
Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz’s name was a part of the report as he was apparently a customer of this clinic. It’s not particularly clear exactly what all he bought for $4,000 but there are no doubt important people trying to find that out right now and they are not journalists or even people with a Twitter account.
Cruz has not addressed the situation publicly or issued a statement through the Players Association, and the Rangers aren’t touching the subject either.
Alex Rodriguez – everybody’s favorite PED whipping boy – was prominent in the article, which takes much of the non-Texas focus off Cruz, and the Yankees injured infielder is denying ever even knowing these people. Well, he released a statement through his agent, lawyer or somebody close to him. Actually it was a crisis-management public relations firm.
Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez, who was named in the report as a client, also said he has never taken performance enhancing drugs. Well, he didn’t say it. He tweeted it, which is probably the same thing.
But the reality is Cruz could be looking at a 50-game suspension, depending on what evidence is uncovered. Cruz has never failed a drug test but a player can still be suspended if there is sufficient evidence found against him, and right now this investigation not only includes Major League Baseball but the DEA.
No, the Rangers have not renewed their interest in free agent outfielder Michael Bourn, according to industry sources. Even if the Rangers do lose Cruz until the beginning of June, the plan is still to go with what they have right now.
That may mean either Mitch Moreland or Mike Olt has to play the outfield.
Understand that there are a lot of people who hate that Cruz is caught up in this. He is a favorite of many simply because of who he is as a person and what he had to overcome to achieve the success he’s had in the Majors. The guy has never had anything handed to him, he has had to work hard to reach this point and he has always done so without a whisper of complaint or bitterness.
But he was also on the disabled list six times over three seasons in 2009-11 before spending two months working out in Miami last winter trying to find a way to overcome a bad stomach virus and chronic hamstring problems.
So this might be a case of a player trying desperately to figure out a way to stay healthy and trying something new that he may or may not have realized was an illegal or banned substance, or one that could get him into deep trouble. Cruz was able to stay off the disabled list last year but it was hardly his best season…
Now this. Not fun for anybody. This isn’t Media at the Super Bowl, these are real journalists doing a real job and uncovering some alarming information that is only going to lead to more information, more stories and more interest by the Commissioner’s Office. Bad days ahead. When it comes to PED, nobody gets much slack no matter what the circumstance, excuse, explanation or Tweet.
Be nice to be in the Dominican Republic right now. No wonder Rangers officials seek respite down there every winter. With the kind of turbulent off-seasons the Rangers always seem to go through, a trip to the Caribbean would be awfully hard for anybody to turn down.