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.”

Or Twitter.mlb_u_cruz_gb1_400

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.

 

7 Comments

Thanks, TR. I fully support NELLIE and will not believe he knowingly did anything wrong unless it is PROVEN otherwise. I am not in denial, I base my opinion on his character & reputation.

Sorry, but I can t support Cruz. I just don t think his performance has been consistent enough to justify all the opportunity he has been afforded. Better for rangers to goa different direction now.

Given his track record, his consistency of performance -which shows no spike or aberration that would suggest use of performance enhancers, given his character and the integrity displayed in his time here so far, Cruz deserves as much benefit of doubt as anyone might in this situation.
That said, at the very least he and Gio, or perhaps Gio’s dad are at minimum guilty of extremely poor judgment for getting anywhere near this particular clinic and “doctors”.
Hope it works out well for all.

Spending 4k at a place that doesn’t sell anything legal for a player to take is strong evidence imo. Anything LEGAL that he might have purchased could have been bought with a presription through a doctor and a normal pharmacy AND probably paid for by his insurance, BUT that would have left a paper trail. The lack of a denial from Nellie is not a good sign either. From the sound of the comments here and elsewhere some people don’t understand that the purpose of some of these banned substances is for healing quicker as opposed to playing better. Gets you back on the field faster and keeps you there longer. You can’t assume a poor statistical year is evidence that a player was clean. Innocent by way of ignorance will not fit this scenario either. Looks BAD

Nice balanced approach TR….you could teach some of those young whipper snappers something that J school must have missed. That said I think the Miami article is damning. I think the Ranger did right by referring the matter to MLB. I don’t want Cruz to be guilty but if he is I hope he gets suspended. If he does get suspended I think we’ll still be ok because of Moreland and Olt. Just my nickel.

I’m going to leave the Cruz discussion alone. Drugs in Baseball needs massive and catistrophic consequences. Without it will continue…the reward is to big if you can avoid detection. The meat of my comment is simply this. Rangers were defeated last season…not by the Angels, not Seattle, but Oakland. Loaded with young talent and given the chance to play. I love teh Rangers position this spring. Best I’ve felt about the pitching staff in 10 years. Harrison was solid last year, Darvish is lingering as potential dominate Ace, Colby is back, Holland is way overdue to breakout and dominate. We will score, maybe not sitting back watching Josh blast one but Moreland, Murphy, Olt, Cruz, Beltre, Kinsler, Pernitski all are 20-30 HR guys. We will score plenty, and pitching is finally capable.

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