Raul Ibanez Addresses “Pathetic and Disgusting” Steroid Speculation

This morning in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Jim Salisbury reports about an “angry” Raul Ibanez who is apparently a little peeved at “cowardly” comments made by a “42-year old blogger typing in his mother’s basement” regarding the possibility that Ibanez’s fast start in 2009 could be chemically enhanced.

Though not cited by name, I have to assume that the cowardly idiot in question is Midwest Sports Fans’ very own…me.

A quick recap of the events of the last 48 hours:

A couple of days ago my buddy posted on our fantasy baseball message board and strongly implied that Raul Ibanez must be on something to be playing so great, and that any objective analysis would come to this conclusion.

The next morning, I decided that my blog post for the day will be to prove my buddy wrong by finding as many objective objective statistics (park factors, lineup effects, etc.) as possible to explain Ibanez’s start and debunk the steroid speculation in a perfectly reasonable and objective way.

While researching and typing the article I realized that no matter how much I wanted to completely remove steroid and PED suspicion from my mind, it was impossible for me to do so. Whereas the discussion of Citizens Bank Park and Safeco Field offered specific statistical evidence to draw conclusions from, there was nothing similar for me to draw such a conclusion from regarding steroid or PED use, save for the fact that Ibanez has not failed a test. And while this fact is certainly a strong testament to my personal opinion that he is clean (remember, all I said was that the speculation itself was justified, not that I personally thought he was using) many people would have said the same thing about Manny Ramirez during his ridiculous run last season: that he’d never failed a test. And speculation about him would have been (and perhaps was) shot down as unfair and “cowardly.”

Yet, look what happened at the start of this season to Ramirez.

Among other speculative statements in my article about Raul Ibanez, I wrote the following:

Thirdly, it’s time for me to begrudgingly acknowledge the elephant in the room: any aging hitter who puts up numbers this much better than his career averages is going to immediately generate suspicion that the numbers are not natural, that perhaps he is under the influence of some sort of performance enhancer. And since I was not able to draw any absolute parallels between his prodigously improved HR rate and his new ballpark’s hitter-friendliness, it would be foolish to dismiss the possibility that “other” performance enhancers could be part of the equation.

Sorry Raul Ibanez and Major League Baseball, that’s just the era that we are in — testing or no testing.

The next morning, yesterday, I woke up to find that John Gonzalez of the Philadelphia Inquirer has taken me to task for the article with his own rebuttal titled “A cheap shot at Ibanez.” You can view Gonzalez’s article here.

In all, somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-15 other sites linked to the Ibanez article here at MSF and at least one podcast discussed it for 5-10 minutes. I also began receiving hate mail from Philly fans calling me a “scumbag” and using the f-word like it’s a conjunction. (This does not really bother me though. I appreciate their passion and willingness to defend their guy. If someone had written a similar article about Jermaine Dye, though I like to think I would have used more tact, I would have argued with them too simply because he’s “my guy”.)

After exchanging a few pleasant emails with John Gonzalez about both of our articles, I contacted the Philadelphia Phillies to let them know about the article I’d written and to provide Midwest Sports Fans as a forum if Raul Ibanez or anyone from their organization had something to say in response. I was not sure if they choose to use Midwest Sports Fans as a forum for such a rebuttal, but I had not been trying to make nameless or faceless accusations completely out of reach from the one speculated against.

(And for the record, I’m a 27-year old professional writer and sports fanatic who contributes to Midwest Sports Fans, not a middle-aged guy banging away at a computer in my mother’s basement as was speculated in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer. But, since I speculated about Raul Ibanez, I don’t begrudge him for speculating about my existence. And like I hope to be about my steroid speculation, he was wrong about me. There is a lesson there somewhere I’m sure…)

Then this morning, upon arriving at the office and thinking the whole Ibanez thing was over, I opened up TweetDeck and noticed a decent amount of @JerodMSF messages from Philly fans such as this one: “The idiot who started it all was @JerodMSF. There was no “speculation” until he caused it with the stroke of a key.” The fan who tweeted that then sent me a link to today’s article in the Philadelphia Inquirer in which Raul Ibanez responds to my article.

Here are a few of the highlights:

“I’ll come after people who defame or slander me,” he said before last night’s game against the New York Mets. “It’s pathetic and disgusting. There should be some accountability for people who put that out there.”

“Unfortunately, I understand the environment we’re in and the events that have led us to this era of speculation,” he said. “At the same time, you can’t just walk down the street and accuse somebody of being a thief because they didn’t have a nice car yesterday and they do today. You can’t say that guy is a thief.”

“You can have my urine, my hair, my blood, my stool – anything you can test,” Ibanez said. “I’ll give you back every dime I’ve ever made” if the test is positive.

“I’ll put that up against the jobs of anyone who writes this stuff,” he said. “Make them accountable. There should be more credibility than some 42-year-old blogger typing in his mother’s basement. It demeans everything you’ve done with one stroke of the pen.

“Nobody is above the testing policy. We’ve seen that.”

“It’s unfair because this story should be about how hard work, determination, and desire trumps chemicals and shortcuts,” he said. “That should be the message: desire, character, work ethic. But some guy who doesn’t know me – one idiot – says something like this. They should be held accountable. It’s cowardly.”

And now I would like to offer up a response of my own.

Here is what I feel bad about: that my post became a lightning rod for speculation about a guy who very well could be totally clean, about a player who I like and admire, and about a player who by all accounts is a high character, hard working, team first player. And I do agree that such speculation is unfair as it relates specifically to Raul Ibanez, who has said in the past that he has never used PEDs and who has never once been implicated in any investigation or failed any test (which I acknowledged in my post).

If someone wants to call me cowardly or idiotic for bringing the question up and adding another public forum to an in-progress debate that may have no basis beyond speculation, I’m fine with that. When you publish content for public consumption about public figures who are real people, there are potential consequences. I’ll be honest and say that I did not consider the potential fallout from the article. I had a hypothesis to start from (that objective analysis would show no reason to suspect Ibanez) and did not find enough statistical evidence to support my hypothesis. So I wrote what I felt. And I feel bad that it’s cast a negative light on one specific individual who most likely does not deserve it.

Plus, I’ve found more statistical evidence since I wrote my article that further explains why Ibanez might be off to such a great start. This article shows how much better Ibanez is hitting with men on base, a situation he finds himself in more often with Philly than he did with Seattle. And the podcast I mentioned above that discussed the story, On the DL, brought up another good point: a lot of guys who were implicated for steroid use in the past did so in a contract year. Raul Ibanez already got his contract, which means there is ostensibly one less reason for him to feel incentive to use PEDs.

Had I considered these two facts when writing my article, its speculative nature probably would have been a bit less…although, admittedly, not completely removed.

So I’ll accept some level of accountability and offer a sincere apology to Raul Ibanez for advancing a public debate that, in his specific case, is very likely unfair and perhaps even unnecessary.

However, I’m not accepting complete blame and accountability for being the person who started this. I just tried to do my homework and write a cogent response to speculation I had heard from other sources, and to comment on what I considered to be a thought-provoking and engaging topic that was already being discussed publicly and privately. The post did not even receive much pub or traffic until it was mentioned in the Philadelphia Inquirer yesterday, but based on the response and the comments the post has received, it seems to me to have proven to be both thought-provoking and engaging.

And that, to me, is what the blogosphere is about.

Midwest Sports Fans is obviously not part of the mainstream media, but rather is a public forum for grassroots discussion of topics that are of interest to sports fans in general, and topics that are not typically discussed by the MSM. As one of the main contributors of MSF, it is my job to direct the discussion to topics that are interesting and compelling and that are not always simple regurgitations of what readers could find elsewhere. In addition to our regular schedule posts that are aimed at simply providing useful information, I try to open up discussions that I might have with my buddies sitting around the table at BW3s.

That is where blogs and MSM sites differ, in my opinion: blogs are, by their nature, more interactive and more open — and oftentimes more controversial — and are more reflective of the sensibilities of real sports fans; whereas the MSM is usually more geared towards reflecting the sensibilities of reporters and informing sports fans of the facts by which we develop our thoughts and opinions. The best MSM sites have learned how to incorporate the interactive, fan-centric qualities of blogs and vice versa, but clear distinctions still exist.

When you look at the post about Raul Ibanez in particular, what it was was not, I suppose, was “safe”. It is not the type of story you would expect to read in the Philadelphia Inquirer. But much of it was based on facts and was an attempt to research and be objective about a subject, PEDs in baseball, for which emotion and subjectivity so often frame the discussion. And as you will see if you read the comment thread, I am clearly open to opinions that differ from my own, and to arguments that attempt to further debunk the Ibanez steroid speculation (my original aim in the first place).

Whether or not I accomplished my goal of being objective, thought-provoking, and compelling is up to the individual people who read it. From my standpoint, minus the anger that Raul Ibanez clearly feels towards the post, which I regret, I think it was a success.

I will stand firm by the statement I made yesterday in my own post’s comment thread and in the comment sections of other posts that discussed the Ibanez story: if Raul Ibanez, or any other player who is speculated about for putting up great numbers, is upset at the speculation, the majority of their anger and venom in my opinion should be directed towards their past and present peers who used steroids and PEDs.

I’m not coming out of the blue by speculating that an guy in his upper-30s who is putting up numbers that are outrageous by his own career standards might have used PEDs. In fact, there are so many examples of this happening over the past decade that it’s mind-boggling. This is not Raul Ibanez’s fault, which is why I even described my own post as potentially unfair in its title.

However, in the immortal words of Rasheed Wallace, it is what it is and it do what it do.

If you’re an aging baseball player and you explode out of the gate with a HR rate more than double your career average, a great many baseball fans are going to wonder whether everything is on the up and up. The testing policy recently instituted by Major League Baseball has helped to mitigate that somewhat, but the mental and emotional conditioning to suspect steroids that baseball fans underwent took 10-15 years to develop. It’s not going away in 2 or 3.

And there is another place where Raul Ibanez and other players like him who are caught in the steroids crossfire can direct their anger and frustration: at their own union and Major League Baseball. Those two entities allowed steroids and PEDs to consume baseball and sully the reputation of all players, even the clean ones, by not agreeing to a testing policy sooner. I certainly blame both of them for my guarded and suspicious mindset when I see numbers like what Raul Ibanez is putting up this year. And honestly it pisses me off a little bit, and it should piss of Raul Ibanez and other such players who vehemently claim their innocence and who value their reputations and obviously are forthright in defending themselves.

I also will not apologize for my article in totality because I did not write it simply to drum up speculation or to attract attention. In no way was I trying to be sensational for the sake of being sensational. I was just trying to write an objective, well-researched article. I was being completely honest in how I felt about a very nuanced and complicated situation.

Over the past two decades we have repeatedly seen the media come under fire for falling in love with, for instance, the Big Mac-Sammy story back in the day and not asking more questions. Now, when those questions are asked, they are “cowardly” and “idiotic”? I understand why Raul Ibanez would specifically consider me to be these things, and perhaps I picked a terrible example to speculate about, but in the grand scheme of things isn’t this what baseball fans and even players were clamoring for?

Maybe I’m falsely lumping my own post into an altruistic bucket in which it does not belong, but I thought we had all agreed that there was a new responsibility on the part of the media and fans to not just blindly sit back and allow Major League Baseball to pull the wool over our eyes.

(A quick aside: Look, for the record, I don’t consider myself part of the mainstream media by any means. I’m a blogger, and while the lines are becoming more blurred, I believe the distinction still very much exists — but that bloggers do have a responsibility to be accountable even when, like me, they are just creating second hand reports for a grass roots audience, and opinions that are based on the work of others and statistics in the public domain, and publish them for public consumption.)

In an effort to be more vigilant and suspicious, won’t our speculation sometimes produce false positives? If Raul Ibanez really is clean, then my post included speculation — which, I remind you, did not originate on Midwest Sports Fans — that will turn out to have no basis. But in many, many other past and perhaps even future cases, taking a player of the same age with similar statistics, the speculation would have proven true. So I may have erred in the player I chose to analyze and speculate about, but — and here was one of the main points of my article — is such speculation really that unjustified?

In the specific case of Raul Ibanez, perhaps it is. But for baseball players in general, sadly I think that it is justified. I’m sorry, but the way I see it the burden is on the players and league to regain the trust of the fans; it is not the burden of the fans to once again place blind faith in the players and a league that for all intents and purposes gave its implied approval for steroid and PED use to run rampant.

I would have defended Manny Ramirez against anyone. He was one of those guys that I honestly thought never took steroids. Well, that rug got pulled right out from under me (and, granted, also proved that the new testing system is starting to work). If Raul Ibanez never fails a test, my trust in him will grow. But I’m not just giving it blindly anymore. Perhaps I should have been more careful in publicly expressing such thoughts about a specific individual — I’ll grant you that — but in general, I am not going to offer a comprehensive apology for discussing speculation that did originate on Midwest Sports Fans (look here, here, and here), especially when my initial goal was to objectively explain away the speculation in the first place.

So, in summation, I offer my apology to Raul Ibanez for upsetting him with the words I published two days ago. As I’ve said numerous times since posting it, I am a big fan of Raul Ibanez as a person and a player, I considered him a huge sleeper coming into this season and expected better numbers from him this year, and he is one of the primary reasons that my fantasy baseball team is at the top of my league’s standings. I certainly have nor had no vendetta against him.

But to the larger issue of simply saying that I believe the curious ongoing speculation about the reason for his torrid start is justified, I will not apologize; and though not all baseball fans will agree with me, especially Philly fans in this specific case, I do think that the majority of baseball fans will be on my side. We’ll see I guess.

It is my sincere hope, however, that as more time passes we as baseball fans we can find ourselves placing more trust in Major League Baseball’s testing system and, in turn, more trust in numbers like what we are seeing from Raul Ibanez thus far in 2009. Though I specifically discussed Raul Ibanez in my post, it is this more general conclusion that I came to: that sadly, we are simply not a place where such trust has been reestablished…yet.

I look forward to the day when we get there.



About Jerod Morris

I love words. I write for Copyblogger and founded MSF, The Assembly Call, & Primility. I practice yoga, eat well, & strive for balance. I love life. Namaste. Say hi on Twitter, Facebook, & G+.

Comments

  1. Ibanez really laid into you. Wow…that sucks. He has a point that people shouldn’t be able to slander him, but no one can ignore that his increased productivity, in the baseball world we live in, is going to draw deserved attention.

    Keep up the fine work on this site.

    • @Jay Ballz, thanks Jay. I completely understand his anger, I just think that directing it all at me is a myopic viewpoint to take of a much larger issue of the erosion of trust that baseball fans have in the game.

      • Dwayne Wolff says:

        @JRod, I drafted Ibanez pretty high in fantasy baseball because I was expecting a big season out of him. I will admit he has started better than I thought. You mentioned the change in parks and hitting in a much better lineup not only does he have more men on base, but pitchers have to pitch him different than last year. Are you going to pitch carefully to Ibanez this year because you are afraid of him? Maybe, but probably not, the last thing you are going to do is put more men on base for the likes of Ryan Howard to knock in. Who would scare you on last years Seattle’s team? Did the hitters hitting in front of Manny for the Dodgers last summer who’s numbers jumped when he arrived deserve the same accusation? If he had gone from the Phillies to the Mariners then I would be suspicious.

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      • @JRod,Hey man, theres nothing wrong with what you said; you are merely pointing out a few things and everyone is entitled to their opinion. Ken Rosenthal is an idiot; I lost a ton of respect for him today when I saw him on OTL. This is a BLOG. Not gospel. It is mere speculation, keep on writing buddy.

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      • ichiban says:

        Jrod you are an absolutely classless and pathetic moron. Raul has every right to sue your pathetic ass for slander, and it was great seeing you get blasted on OTL. It’s one thing to speculate about steroid use and write about it, it’s another thing to actually NAME OUT SPECIFIC NAMES. If you cannot differentiate between those two, then you’re simply an idiot.

        • Objective says:

          @ichiban,

          Too bad Ibanez has absolutely no grounds to sue JRod on. First of all, the claim would be libel – not slander. Secondly, JRod was stating an opinion, not a fact. It was mere speculation and he never came to an ultimate conclusion on the question. Without stating a false fact, there is no valid claim for libel.

          He actually did Ibanez a service by writing this article because it was going to be speculated about eventually and the way that the article was written was actually meant to dispel any possible grounds for a valid accusation. Had this article not been written, some other blogger probably would have written about it and would have done so in a much more offensive and degrading way.

          It’s not like this was some off the cuff attack on Ibanez. As a Mets fan, I have been pondering the reasons behind Ibanez’s magical increase in statistics this season and the though had obviously crossed my mind, along with the jealousy that he has more home runs than the entire Mets lineup combined…

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    • IbanezfanfromSeattle says:

      “advancing a public debate that, in his specific case, is very likely unfair and perhaps even unnecessary”

      Blogs are the Wild West of journalism. You got your 15 min today, tomorrow it will be someone else. It’s a shame…guilty until proven innocent. And no reprecussions on the internet.

    • I think the PED’s are dripping out of his ears at this point. how else do you explain the power this guy is displaying at age 37????

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    • Brady Anderson says:

      Don’t feel bad Raul, they did the same thing to me, Lenny Dykstra, Luis Gonzalez and countless other when we tripled out career best year, along with our shirt size, unexplainedly.

    • @Jay Ballz, just watched your interview on ESPN.com and I enjoyed watching the two “professional” writers pound on you for an article that they wish they had written. The “professional” writers hate that there are blogs and twitter with writers you are capable of writing the same quality of article as them. Its hurting them in the pocketbook and thats why they jumped all over you with the nerd rage. It was a joke to listen to them preach about responsibility when every last one of them will write something questionable if it gets them exposure.

      Good article, I applaud you

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  2. Regarding the contract year compelling guys to take steroids – remember, Alex Rodriguez said it was his massive contract that pushed him over the edge. Raul received a WELL ABOVE MARKET deal to play in a high-pressure city where fans can turn on a player in an instant. If that isn’t reason to take PEDs, I don’t know what is…

    • @Ross, it’s a good point. I suppose that knife could cut both ways.

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    • @Ross, but how can you say that knowing nothing about a guy’s character? we all knew a-rod was a head-case even before he got that contract.

      • @Paul M, My point is, JRod used the fact that he just signed a deal as a reason why he shouldn’t have speculated about Ibanez/PEDs. I was just pointing out the other side of things, that the contract could have compelled him to do PEDs.

        This is all speculation, so I was just playing Devil’s advocate.

        • Scott B says:

          @Ross – If anything, Raul was smart and signed before anyone else did. Its not his fault the Phillies snagged him up and paid ALOT before everyone saw that you could get quality players for cheap this past year.

          good for him.

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  3. This was not an “in-progress” debate. It started when your idiotic ass started it on the internet with about 1 minute of research from you and your ‘buddy’.

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  4. The guy is a class act, and has been since joining the league. You claims are a bit unfounded….and as a journalist your speculative evidence is not concrete. How would you feel if I claimed you to be a bunko artist, a perjurer. “Your articles were rubbish a few years ago and now they are somewhat readable.” The guy is a career .300 hitter that is currently benefiting from being on a World Series champion with some of the best hitters in baseball surrounding him. If the NY Times commissioned you to write an article, wouldn’t you be more meticulous—more immersed in the work? The best players raise their performance as the bar is raised. Kobe Bryant is perhaps the best example. Quarters 1-3 no roids, quarter 4 roids. Why don’t you try to write substantial sports journalism instead of making unfounded claims.

    • Enrique says:

      @alex,

      writing ability is not something that declines with age.

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  5. Dennis M says:

    I understand the speculation and youre dead on. Its hard not to look at the bump in Ibanez’ numbers and not wonder with all that we have been “treated” to by the MLB union and league over these past few years.

    Coming from a Seattle fan, I dont think Ibanez is using (but you just never know). His numbers the past couple of years have been very good considering he played in Safeco which is the opposite of the New Yankee stadium/homerdome. He had no protection around him in the batting order as far as having true quality hitters. Finally, he is now playing in the NL (which is the weak sister).

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  6. Big Jack says:

    FUCK YOU JROD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. JRod,

    I’m a big Phillies fan. I don’t think your article was totally out of line, and maybe Raul was over-aggressive in calling you out, but don’t you think that trying to compare stats for player who is historically a late bloomer between two different teams that are in two different types of leagues that are 3,000 miles away in two totally different ball parks is completely irrelevant to steroid use (whether he did them or not)? I don’t doubt that you put a lot of work into your hypothesis, but I’m trying to understand what relevant scientific purpose it served to proving your point in either direction.

    Also, as much as you can say that players who are accused of steroid use could blame the MLB and their peers, couldn’t you also say that the media (bloggers included) exacerbate the situation? And that the general frame of mind the media portrays is “guilty until proven innocent” ? I think it’s time we had a little more faith in some of these guys.

    Maybe Raul was a little harsh, but to be accused of steroid use after losing a heart-breaker to the Mets would have set me off, too.

    On behalf of all Phillies fans, however, I appreciate your candor in responding the way you did. Not everyone would have been as professional as you were in your response. It’s good to see a blogger who’s not angry.

    -Paul

  8. “I feel bad . . ” is not an apology. The one you buried in the 20th graf certainly doesn’t do justice to the slander you brought.

    “I’ve found more statistical evidence since I wrote my article” means “I didn’t bother to do in-depth research before I thought it would be fun to defame somebody.” Seriously, shoddy investigational skills are nothing to brag about. If you can’t be bothered to do the heavy lifting in your line of work, let someone else do it.

    “Had I considered these two facts when writing my article” means “I neither gave sufficient thought to my piece nor did I care to.” Again, the blatant lack of professionalism is shocking. Going off half-cocked is no way to run a railroad.

    You fail on even the basic level to take responsibility for your actions. Then you attempt to excuse it with admissions that go further in proving that you don’t really care about what you do or what you wrote.

    Do the right thing: call Raul Ibanez. Apologize to him directly.

    But you may find you’ll need to grow a pair first.

  9. Hi JRod,

    I’m a Phillies fan and an unabashed Rauuuuuul bandwaggoner.

    I think part of the problem is the guy from the Inquierer–“Gonzo”–sort of took your blog out of context and spun it in the most tabloid-y way. I read through your initial post via the link on Philly.com (after 3 deep breaths, I was ready to flame!) and got what you were trying to say.

    Another part of the problem, and you allude to it here:

    “That is where blogs and MSM sites differ, in my opinion: blogs are, by their nature, more interactive and more open — and oftentimes more controversial — and are more reflective of the sensibilities of real sports fans; whereas the MSM is usually more geared towards reflecting the sensibilities of reporters and informing sports fans of the facts by which we develop our thoughts and opinions. The best MSM sites have learned how to incorporate the interactive, fan-centric qualities of blogs and vice versa, but clear distinctions still exist.”

    As a female fan who only follows their home teams, I don’t watch Sports Center or any other national mainstream media outlet. I prefer reading the blogs because, well, I guess they touch more on the humanity of the sport, rather than the statistics. And I think athletes are savvy to the fact that their fans are in tune to that perspective. Raul has enojoyed quite the honeymoon in Philly…I can’t remember the last time Philadelphia fans of any team embraced someone so new so quickly. He is also first in voting for the All Star team. I’d probably be pissed that my fan base was all riled up as well.

    Anyway, I think your rebuttal to Raul’s remarks were very well thought out and gracious. And I think all of us here ate up Raul’s repsonse to you : P We do enjoy our drama in Philadelphia.

    • @Karen, The last time a philly player got embraced so quickly was Eric Lindros and John LeClair. Any player that puts up productive numbers in Philly or ANY town will get rooted for quite easily not booed.

  10. You’re a moron. Try to get out of the basement once in a while, and actually attend a game. Have you been to a Phillies game this year? Have you seen this guy play? Did you seek him for a comment? That’s what a real journalist would do. You, you’re just some moron.

    • nick maka says:

      @pnmlaw, wow you are a real smart feller. Because going to a game and watching someone really tips you off to there ped intake. Jackass

  11. Steve Kusheloff says:

    Re: “…the speculation itself was justified…” No, it wasn’t. There is nothing in Ibanez’ background to make one think he’d used drugs. His body hasn’t ballooned to twice its size (like Bonds’) and he’s got a reputation as a team player who works out religiously. You did a terrible disservice to first class ballplayer.

  12. I’m a Phillies fan and will defend Ibanez to the end. He’s one of the true hardworking professional hitters in the game and a real class guy. Unfortunately this is the state of baseball and why so many players speak of the “black cloud” over them.

    I’m also a search marketer, so I realize you were just doing what all bloggers with either low traffic or a dip in traffic do, hit on a controversial subject to get some publicity. That is in fact the only way you’re going to make money off those ads in your sidebar, more traffic……

  13. Chris G. says:

    JRod,

    Your justification for singling out Ibanez is weak. The fact of the matter is that you had no evidence whatsoever to specifically speculate that he was taking PED — and, no, your softening of that did nothing to alter the point that you were making.

    Moreover, defending yourself by blaming MLB, MLBPA, etc. is terribly weak as well. The fact that PEDs have been a problem in MLB is well documented, but it’s also well documented that lots of people commit crimes…as Ibanez rightly notes, should we just assume people in the street have done something illegal because others have?

    If you want to speculate as you did, the burden of proof and the responsibility for what you say is on YOU, and all you are doing here is passing the buck to “the current times,” “other players,” etc. That’s friggin pathetic, and a burden of proof that you would NEVER accept to be applied to yourself.

    You should just flat apologize for writing an article that so bluntly cast a shadow on Ibanez’s name. No amount of rambling defense (what you supplied here) about looking at statistics removes the fact that you had no evidence whatsoever to bring up PEDs and Ibanez in the same breadth.

    If you’re a professional writer, you should know better.

  14. THIS IS VERY EASY PROBLEM SOLVING:If raul ibañez is clean as he claimed in response to the accusation of using PED, well he can prove himself and the fans doing a test asap.

    • delsolgirl says:

      @lneeka, That is not the point, this whole thing is unfounded. It is no different then me accusing you for something you didnt do then asking you to prove you didnt. How lame and unfounded would that be?

  15. Philly Fan says:

    I am a Philadelphia Phillies fan. I thank you for your articulation and class in handling this whole situation.

    Let me preface this by saying I have no suspicions of Raul Ibanez. I have watched him play all season, and he’s just a flat-out fantastic hitter. One of the best I’ve seen in a few years, and it’s a shame I didn’t get to see more of him before this year.

    You have had the unfortunate displeasure of being the first guy to tackle this issue that everyone’s had in the back of their mind. Everyone around the Philly area’s been saying, “He’s clean, I’m sure, but everyone’s gonna bring it up since he’s doing so well.” We knew it was coming. You were just the first.

    I am not a fan of Gonzalez’s work at the Inquirer. He seems like the Howard Eskin of the Philadelphia print industry: for lack of a better term, a “shit-stirrer.” His attempt is to be tongue-in-cheek, but he rather seems to just come off more like someone saying something to get a rise out of people most of the time.

    My guess is that Ibanez got the spin-doctored version of this story from Gonzo or someone who read Gonzo, which is unfortunate. He doesn’t have the time to check back and read your specific article and understand the context, and I think that is the fault of the Philly media.

    I had heard everything about this article of yours, and felt the need to read it myself. It was actually a much better article than I anticipated based on the reports, and your conclusion, to me, seemed to be more in line with, “There’s a lot of good explanations aside from PEDs” than with “he’s probably doing them.”

    I don’t know how much this matters to you, but I just wanted to say that I find no fault with you or Ibanez, simply fault with the middlemen in the Philly media who poorly reported on this.

    • Benjamin says:

      @Philly Fan, I also am a lifelong Philadelphian and die hard Phillies fan. I agree with you one-hundred percent. As the season started this year, and Ibanez started putting up those crazy numbers, I thought to myself “I don’t think he’s using any PEDs, but…”. Especially after JC got suspended (admittedly for an over the counter supplement), I was worried. As for your post JRod, I think you were as respectful as you could be, and I honestly think that in the present climate of Major League Baseball there will always be questions. I also agree the the MLPA and Major League Baseball allowed to much leeway in years past. I enjoyed your article. Keep up the good work

  16. You repeatedly mention that your intent was to publish a thought provoking topic that was “well researched” when you openly admit that he made errors and omissions in your fact finding and that you did not give proper consideration to mitigating factors other than PEDs. Though the topic of PEDs in baseball is always up for debate, singling out one individual with 50 games worth of stats and a hunch amongst buddies is irresponsible even for a blogger.

  17. PhillyFan says:

    Man that was a long response. There was no need.

    You are just saying what everyone else is thinking. Even some of these foolish Phillies fans who knew nothing of Ibanez until a few months ago feel this way. But now that he is on the team and playing well, he’s family and they’ll defend him to the end. Please. Wait until he gets off the juice and his numbers plummet and we’ll see where they are.

  18. I’ll make just one “quick” point, as I can clearly see the good in both sides of this argument, and I respect the vast difference between a paper and a blog.

    It cracks me up that bloggers and newspaper columnists alike both see steroids as a “magic pill” that when taken will suddenly lead to the advent of fantastic statistics. I would love to see just one, solitary writer out there actually take a look at the wonder drug in detail and realize what those in the medical community have known for decades: it takes more than steroids to be a great athlete.

    Now, I’m not arguing the often cited point that you can give more power, but you can’t teach other skills (as Barry’s fans often point out). Instead, I’m just noting that steroids aren’t as simple of a procedure as most people think. It takes great planning, abuse and time to see results from a typical steroid regimen, and if it wasn’t so carefully plotted out, we’d have dead ballplayers ankle deep.

    One last thought: if high school and college athletics are any indicator of who among the MLB elite are actually using ‘roids, it’s not the batters who are shooting up, it’s the pitchers. Steroids as a recovery application are far easier to control. I guess I’m getting a little sick and tired of homeruns and other power statistics as a media give away that steroids are involved. You want to see some real statistics that deserve asterisks? Take a look at any pitcher who can pitch 200+ innings every season, or a reliever who can bounce back and throw hard almost every day of any given week. Those are your steroid users, and I’m sick of bloggers and columnists alike grabbing the wrong stats and running wild.

    Do some research, JRod, and be the first to break the real story!

  19. While it may be wrong to openly claim that Ibanez may have used steroids (which the article did NOT), J-Rod is perfectly justified in speculating that the possibility is out there. The Philly fans that I have seen posting replies to this column are blinded by their own bias.

    “I have never used steroids. Period”

    Does Rafael Palmeiro ring a bell anyone? How many guys have denied using steroids and ended up being caught? J-Rod is exactly right when he says we can’t trust anyone in baseball anymore. In just over 10 years guys like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Roger Clemens image has changed from “Competitive-class acts” to cheaters, and a “villain” or “liar” like Jose Canseco has seemingly been the only guy open enough to explain the situation like it really is. We don’t know anything anymore period.

    And it surprises me to see Philly fans not look at this situation objectively. In Boston, if you listen to the local talk radio, there have been numerous suggestions (by call-ins) that the now slumping David Ortiz used to use P.E.D.s. If you asked your average Sox fan this year if they thought Ortiz was juicing, about 60-70% would say “I wouldn’t be surprised at all”.

    J-Rod, you shouldn’t have to apologize for speculation. Because all fans with real knowledge should have a right to question what’s real in this game and what’s not. We’ve all been surprised too many times. Good article, keep it up.

    • Chris G. says:

      @Paul Gallant,

      You’re missing the point. It’s a certainty that players have used PEDs and many have lied about not using PEDs…the question is whether it’s responsible or irresponsible to publicly speculate about an individual when you have absolutely no evidence to back up your speculation — as is the case here. Alter the words slightly and the statement can be construed as libelous.

      And there’s a rather large difference between what a writer produces and the public discourse of talk radio and opinion polls.

      Did he do anything “wrong” in writing the article as he did? No. Is he getting rightly criticized for writing an article that includes completely unfounded speculation? Yes.

      • @Chris G.,

        But there’s also a difference between a blogger and a writer. You are right that as a writer you absolutely need make sure there is no libel . But a blog, at least at this point in the development is a place for the fans to put their opinions out in public. It’s very similar to a person calling in to speak on a talk show. J-Rod may be a professional writer as he says, but writers on blogs at this point can’t really be subject to criticism for libel because libel doesn’t apply to blogs (yet). As the internet expands the rules will likely change, but that’s how it works today.

        • Chris G. says:

          @Paul Gallant,

          But all of that leads to the point that if you want what you say to be taken seriously…the criticism here is perfectly justified. You can’t write that and not expect lashback.

          Moreover, the tone of the original article with the multitude of stat analysis makes it stand out even further when you get to the point where you just throw up your hands and speculate, “I don’t know, maybe he’s doing PEDs.”

          That’s not right at all.

          Moreover, his citation of other MLB players using PEDs (just as you do) is essentially the same logic of justification for racial profiling by police. It’s terribly unfair to the individual, and wrong in both cases.

  20. Robert Mang says:

    Your story does speculate and imply steroid use a bit disproportionally, but it’s well within the acceptable realm of journalistic speculation and makes substantial efforts to present all possibilities while, most importantly, recognizing the likelihood that it’s just a statistical fluke. Enjoy the attention and don’t apologize.

  21. Shouldn’t you try and practice so sort of responsible journalism. You can’t just say that about someone. What if I called you a pedophile? You wouldn’t like it.

  22. Last week I wrote about Adrian Gonzalez, and what his numbers and publicity would be like if he was not in San Diego and in even an average hitters park – and briefly noted that if he even came close to finishing with his small sample size in away games (at the time 15 HR in 27 games) that someone might suggest an additional ‘drug test or three’. Other than that my blog was much more about Adrian’s long-term future with the Padres than reasoning his current statistical pace.

    But I also couldn’t help but noticing a quote by GM Kevin Towers saying he had not seen a hitter ‘so locked in’ since Ken Caminiti – he had a bit of a PED history, I shudder to think what he might be disclosing about baseball’s drug culture if he were alive today.

    Unfortunately, this has become the culture – guilty until proven innocent and then still guilty – don’t believe me ask Lance Armstrong. I also made a comment after Ryan Howard hit 57 in 2006 – I basically said congratulations, as long as you pass every last urine test the rest of your life – and even then Howard could be 70 and some long-lost teammate might come out of the woodwork to soil him.

    My point is we’ve gotten to the stage that the hustle never ends in the PED saga. My opinion is simply Ibanez has a much better lineup around him and that the West Coast is a different world – it’s where home runs go to die (Barry Bonds excluded).

    I found J-Rod’s original article to be quite insightful – personally I wouldn’t go so far to say the ‘S’ word too much in fear of attracting the attention of a player, or getting a call from his agent, but still a good piece.

  23. Bill Gable says:

    Oh, please. Get over yourself. Anybody and everybody these days thinks they have something terribly important to say and designates themselves a “blogger”. They pick a silly, fey name, like “JRod”, then hide behind it and write silly, stupid, purely speculative things.
    Yes, major league baseball players are, for the most part, grossly overpaid jerks and some of them no doubt cheat by using steroids. However, to create rumor and innuendo based purely on… well, nothing, other than your “fantasy league buddy” apparently being pissed because Ibanez is, I would guess, not on his team and is doing well is deserving of everything Ibanez has said about you.
    You got what you wanted, your 15 minutes of fame, and now, wow, you’re even going to be on TV, dude!!! You’ve made it, you’re going to be on ESPN!! JRod is going to be famous!!
    As one of the previous posters said, enjoy it. This will undoubtedly be the high point of your life. Too bad you had to trash somebody to do it.

    • @Bill Gable, hey, my brother is a more prominent and successful individual than your sad-ass self will ever be. His articles are all done with intense thought and consideration to the others he writes about. Maybe if your ignorant self would read his response and how he clearly has no ill-intentions to bash a great MLB players, you would see this. Maybe not because your hot head and irrational judgment has you looking for satisfaction by naively accusing my brother under false pretenses. You’re a jealous bitch, and probably fit the description Ibanez falsely decribed my brother as

      • Bill Gable says:

        @Josh, I admire you for sticking up for your brother (or lover or boyfriend, more likely, or maybe you’re really JRod himself).
        Unfortunately, whoever JRod is, (and by, tomorrow, he will be a forgotten “blogger” in the Midwest), he is NOT a well-informed and brilliant writer, as you suggest. He is like millions of others who desperately want to be famous. So, he writes some outrageous piece of speculation and gets lucky and the media picks up on it — the dream of all “bloggers”.
        And, Josh, since you don’t like “cuss words” (your term), especially when they are used as a “conjunction” (??), words like “sad-ass” and “jealous bitch”, your words to describe me, don’t seem particularly appropriate. If they were coming from anyone other than a 3rd-grader seemingly dangerously close to hysteria, I would be offended. Now, Josh and JRod, please proceed to get your respective panties out of their respective bunches and go quietly away.

  24. I am Glad Jrod that you have back down. Frankly you dont come across as professional sports writer. But klets say you really ARE a professional sport writer.

    by your own admission… again which I do you credit for… you claim that you should of looked at other factors first. Such as MISP and the picthers Ibby has faced. OK fair enough.

    Instead what YOU did was 180 degrees backwards. The 1ST thing you did was come out with the steriods speculation. The LAST thing you did was look for a explanation that did NOT involve the drugs.

    But you are trying to have it both ways You cannot say:

    “Any aging hitter who puts up numbers this much better than his career averages is going to immediately generate suspicion that the numbers are not natural, that perhaps he is under the influence of some sort of performance enhancer. . . . Maybe the 37-year-old Ibanez trained differently this off-season with the pressure of joining the Phillies’ great lineup and is in the best shape he’s ever been in. And maybe that training included. . . . Well, you know where that one was going, but I’d prefer to leave it as unstated speculation.”

    That is NOT unstated speculation!!!

    Jrod sure you are Allowed on your blog to state anything you want. But you cant talk about steriods in code words and implications then say but I am not saying that!

    again thanks for the partial apology.

  25. Robert Y. says:

    The person who has the best point I’ve read is Ibanez. It’s easier to sit in one’s pajamas in Mom’s basement and lob in accusations than actually accomplish something. Is it possible that he’s cheating? Sure. Is it right to make that accusation with absolutely no proof? It’s disgusting.

    Honestly, “JRod,” you must be loving the site traffic which, and let’s be honest, was the goal of all this anyhow. Congrats.

  26. Jellis East Side says:

    JRod,
    You are a low life, cunty, cow fucking shitdick!! Red Dragon you are not! Now go fuck yourself!!

  27. wow you just made yourself look like a even bigger fool on outside the lines today jerrod. dont go on a show without your facts and try to bs your way through a debate. you knew exactly what you were writing and ibanez is right. there is a reason you are writing for a blog instead of a real newspaper or credible istitution. get your facts straight and dont call out a player who might be using PEDS unless you are absolutely sure. Blogs arent for people to just make assumptions on players who are having a good season. Ibanez is one of the hardest working players in baseball and anyone who knows anything about the game will tell you that. he has earned every one of his home runs, rbi’s, and every other statistic he has received. Get your facts straight next time and know what you’re writing before you post it

  28. you are all idiots; let’s see how one-sided the entire interview was? Maybe go back and recall how Gonzalez didn’t even have any of his statements in his article discussed, and how the entire show was a 5-minute session to bash my brother and ignore the justified points he made throughout the entire process. Each of your pathetic attempts to bring down a certified sports writer only further exposes your ignorance as sports fans and people in general.

  29. Paul Gallant and Robert Mang have the only two clear-headed responses here. The majority of the other posts are just biased opinions from Philly fans. Sure, the speculation is unfair, but unwarranted? Absolutely not. The speculation that Ibanez is using PED’s is most certainly justified by the fact that his numbers this year are off the charts and he’s 37 years old. Come on guys, no need to be ignorant. Just because he’s probably clean, is a good guy, and is putting up great numbers for your team doesn’t exempt him from the scrutiny that accompanies monster years. This is MLB. After turning a blind eye to suspicious numbers we’re obligated to start asking questions.

    And the fact that Ibanez calls JROD’s actions pathetic, disgusting, and cowardly is absolutely ludicrous. Grow up, Raul. You play in the modern, juiced-up ERA of the MLB, what the hell you expect?

    @JROD
    You wrote that article as an objective response to your buddy and had zero responsibility to apologize to Ibanez, especially after he called you an idiot, but props to you for your professionalism.

    • After turning a blind eye to suspicious numbers (for so long) we’re obligated to start asking questions.

  30. Ken Rosenthal is very quick to judge another for speculating. I wonder if he read his own article which speculated that the Red Sox “looked very white.”

  31. So when is he (Raul) gonna take a test? I think MLB should be looking straight at him and take him up on his challenge. If he really is super clean, why not take a test and put it out there for everyone to see? That would be a bigger F-U than any words he could have quoted in rebuttal. The burden of proof in all these steroid cases, whether guilty or not, is on the players. You want the public’s trust stop running your mouth and take a legit test.

    • @Travis, I completely disagree that the burden of proof is on the players. Players have far greater concerns than tracking down Bud Selig to pee in a cup in front of an audience. Should we make an R rated reality show so that every fan has the opportunity to track the urine as it leaves the penis and enters the sterilized cup and then is moved directly to the testing machine without any camera cuts? Otherwise, how can we be sure the sample wasn’t tampered with? I don’t want to live in a world where everyone is guilty and must prove themselves innocent.

      • @Gaze, that’s fine if you disagree, but unless the player is wearing a Red Sox uniform they are going to have to prove themselves in the public eye. Just because you think Ibanez is clean, doesn’t mean some dude reading his stats is not going to jump right on the fact that he “looks” like he could “possibly” taking PEDs. It isn’t so much about want to watch the dude pee. It is more about if he is really that pissed off, he should prove it.

        Sorry to say, you live in a world where MLB players ARE guilty until proven otherwise from a general perspective. The culture MLB pretty much brought that perspective on.

        • @Travis,
          If that’s your honest opinion, then I feel sorry for you. How can you enjoy a baseball game while looking at every player with such suspicion? The game would be too hollow.

  32. Don’t forget to send Jim Salisbury some sort of gift. If he doesn’t link you up, none of this ever happens.

    Stuff like this is written everyday on Sports blogs across the country but it took a main stream media journalist publishing it to make it a story.

  33. I believe that the main problem with your original story & semi mea-culpa is that most people won’t read the “retraction”. If a person is even obliquely accused of something on page 1 on a Tuesday, then no amount of backpedaling on page 6 on a Wednesday can undo the damage done to his reputation.

    Like it or not, intending to do so or not, you’ve painted Ibanez’s accomplishments this season with doubt as to their legitimacy. In the minds of many people who’ve just tuned in to this over the last few days, there are now questions about an athlete where there none before. Some people have obviously wondered about it anyway, but through your post & it being picked up by major media, it’s a done deal.

    Even Ibanez’s understandable reaction in defending himself will now be questioned as “protesting too much” by some….and that’s a damn shame.

  34. Big Jack says:

    FUCK YOU AGAIN JROD YOU MEDIA WHORE!

    • @Big Jack, you are really pathetic!!!!!!!!!!! Go wash your mouth out with Clorox. If you have nothing to respond with better than that, stay off the computer!!!!!!!!!

    • @Big Jack, ditto the previous reply. i can handle cursing but not the inane blabber.

  35. The more cuss words you all have to state in your arguements, this not only erodes your own points, but makes you look like an idiot. Slander thrown at Jerod is only because you fools have nothing better to say than the generic cuss word used as a conjunction.

  36. Really? Someone Just stated here that my brother has made an apology to ESPN.com? this is how the crap gets started. Idiotic catalysts like this hiding behind a computer screen.

    At least my bro has the balls to get on ESPN and hold his own in front of the national eye.

    And do we not all realize that Raul Ibanez heard a twisted rendition of this entire event? His response was in no way to the article my brother wrote. If he had read that he would probably not have been so quick to accuse Jerod of being subjective, which he was not.

    • James R. says:

      @Josh,

      No, your brother is just an attention whore desperate for 15 minutes of fame and hits for his website.

      • @James R., really, because this is not even an occupation my brother has but an endeavor he ensues in his time off from his real job.

        The problem with your point of view, you know nothing about my brother, could not write any piece of parchment to a fraction of the quality and accuracy as my brother, and you are a coward to slander him behind a computer screen. This shows the character of everyone. Instead of the understanding that the media twisted the story 100 times and Raul never actually read the article but was informed of his ‘steroid accusation from the sports blogger”, of course he responded that way, and rightfully so. But what my brother said was a speculation and most of it gave alternatives to Ibanez not being on the juice

  37. Bob Brown says:

    I am a college football coach, but a die hard baseball fan. JROD, you are GUILTY of using the first ammendment to hide behind. NO baseball player or any athlete owes YOU anything or an explanation of any kind. Nor do they owe that to any media. I would like to have you post your license to SPECULATE on anything that has happened to Raul Ibanaez. I believe YOU are on PED’s to think that you have that right! You also hide behind the “media skirts” that other unnamed sources supplied you with the information. DID YOU BACKTRACK THEIR INFORMATION BEFORE WRITING YOUR DRIVEL? YOU are what is wrong with sports! YOU are trying to make YOUR reputation as an “investigative – something – I will not use the word reporter”. Use the FOX NEWS slogan, “WE REPORT, YOU DECIDE!” But you have gone beyond reporting and into the private life of an individual. I hope he prosecutes you for defamation, or whatever. Have you ever played sports? Better yet, have you ever pulled on an athletic supporter, an for your information, that is not a person! I would love to talk to you!!!!

    • @Bob Brown, you have never had an opinion?? Did you even READ the original article?? What is wrong with you?? And what does being a football coach have to do with this?????

  38. Greg Johnson says:

    I have been a journalist for more than a decade. The first thing I learned in journalism school was that the reporter reports the news. We aren’t the news. Too many of today’s journalists forget that. This is a prime example. Instead of letting Philly fans rejoice in the moment, we have to read (or not read, as I choose) this …

  39. I don’t know why your backtracking at all. Ibanez said he would give his pee, hair and blood, and he should, all players should. If they want me to believe they are clean then they can use the Dara Torres model of extra testing to ‘prove the negative’. I wrote a couple of article on my blog about this. It’s about the integrity of the game and the players character. The current testing is better, but not great, and from the players who have been busted in the past, some small time, small looking guys, to the big ones, only a fool wouldn’t think they are all cheating and lying.

  40. Wow so Ken rosenthal is allowed to say “The Boston Red Sox players’ look very white” but my brother, who did not even make any sort of generalization or accusation like this gets bashed? Purely a media stunt, and you are all pathetic people.

  41. JROD: Good work, keep it up. Speculation and opinion is, by law, not libel or slander (“Hiding behind the first amendment” doesn’t even make sense).

    I agree with commenters ‘Robert Mang’ and ‘Gary’ — you have no one to apologize to. This is not the N.Y. Times or 60 Minutes: a blog is what it is: one opinion from a sea of fans — you never held yourself out to be anything else. A part of what is great about being a sports fan is the conversation it sparks, good or bad, hypothetical or not: and your blog has provided a great avenue for exactly that. Cheers.

    • @Chris, Agreed; the controversey had nothing to do with him wanting the spotlight. If he could he would take awya all the “fame” you idiots claim he wants to bask in.

  42. Ibanez’s thin skin is curious. Given his history – and what we know about guys who display sudden bursts of power late in their athletic life – there’s nothing untoward about your fair, reasonable and balanced speculation.

    Of course Ibenez’s is going to offer up his fluids and tissue for testing – he knows it will NEVER happen. Indignant denials are meaningless, ask Raffy Palmiero. Ibanez should save his ire for the MLB’ers who are responsible for the taint that’s on the game – guys like Brady Anderson are the problem, not guys like you who raise valid, logical and educated questions.

    Frankly, history is on YOUR side in cases like this. Guys who look too big, hit too many home runs, do superhuman things in the gym and don’t show signs of age have been the culprits, not those who have tried to point out that something fishy is going on.

    • @sal m, You’re completely backwards. Perhaps you haven’t been educated in the fact that people are innocent until proven guilty. According to your cynical views of people, Raul is guilty until proven innocent. It’s people like you that go around making a huge hurrah about “fishy” people but when they’re found innocent, you disappear and remain silent until the next “fishy” individual makes his appearance.

      • @Casey, your innocent until proven guilty legally, but we are not talking about a courtroom here. We are talking about baseball players who have through their union set up a partial testing program. If they want the whispers to end, or when their careers are over for people to 100% believe their numbers then all they have to do is institute a real testing program. Until then we should think baseball is as clean as the wwe.

  43. Raul really ripped you, but in all fairness, you had it coming and deserved it. You took a cheap shot and inadvertantly tried to take away everything he’s earned.

    • @Casey, Why do I get the sense you know almost nothing about sports, let alone have read this article, or any by John Gonzalez or my brother? Way to jump on the bandwagon like everyone else and look like a fool. You’re a member of the mob pitching in your sorry efforts to attack him. A cheap shot is not found in any part of this article.

  44. I read the original Phila. Inquirer article via my cellphone at work today, and I will tell you that I was livid. I wanted your head on a stick until I read your response. Rau(uuuuuu)l is “my guy” and I agree with everything he said in the context of the article, I guess I understand. If a Met was having the same year, I’d be calling for a PED test.

    This whole incident is the reason why I hate what guys like A. Rod and Manny have done.

  45. Hard to believe there are still people who believe unquestioningly in any player’s innocence. Ibanez may well be pure as the driven snow, but his fellow union members & his employer(s) are harming him and his reputation. Not guys with keyboards, some stats and a phone line. The reason he’s angry is because he knows that people are willing to believe these stories nowadays.

  46. Just because the Phillies has a GREAT player on their team dose not mean he is on steroids. I think he is a great player and I am sure any body in Philadelphia would agree with me. I think you should get out of your mom’s basement and get a real job and stop talking about topics that you don’t know anything about.

  47. Raul Ibanez says:

    CAN SOMEONE PLEASE HOOK ME UP WITH SOME MORE STEROIDS? THIS 37 YEAR OLD BODY AIN’T WHAT IT USED TO BE!

  48. I watched Raul Ibanez for many years in Seattle. I’ve never seen a more responsible and dedicated player and teammate. As you know Safeco Field and Kaufman Stadium are pitcher’s parks. Additionally the opportunity to knock in RBIs is dependent upon the rest of the team getting on base. He was in Seattle remember. It is no surprise that he would hit better with the Phillies.

    • @dale, I too live out here in greater seattle and watched Ibanez the last few years, and the ballpark, league, and most importantly he had no protection in the lineup here, but his innocence isn’t the issue, the issue is why did he blow up at the story and blogger and not A-rod and the other cheating players? Why does he not take extra testing like Dara Torres did? If a player wants to prove their clean they can, I wrote two article on my blog about this and you can access the page via clicking my name.

      • @tyler, ummm, Arod, McGwire, and the rest are not the ones accusing Ibanez. It’s the knucklehead blogger. And Ibanez said that he would welcome any test. Jeez, did you even read any of the articles?!

        • @jc, It is an issue because the players union refuses real testing, can you say hgh? It’s an issue because many players cheated. The blogger did not come out and say he cheated he said it was impossible to prove he’s clean. Ibanez piss, hair, blood comment was couched in a bet of all his money against the bloggers job. I hope he does subject himself to outside real testing, I want to believe him.

  49. LoL, Ibanez called you a geek living in your parent’s basement. Pwned. The Philadelphia Inquirer and ESPN are complicitous in this whole debacle because they’re giving credence to the words spewed from a blogger. This fool is not a journalist, just some recliner jockey that likes to sit in front of his laptop and stir stuff up.

  50. Having watched Raul Ibanez for most of his career, his numbers this year are quite shocking but the one thing I have taken in to consideration with this sudden surge this late in his career – he’s probably seeing better pitches hitting behind some guy named Howard in the Phillies lineup. I wouldn’t believe he’s on steroids or PED’s no more than I would believe Ken Griffey, Jr. was. At the same time, I can understand why people would think that he was considering A-Rod’s admissions prior to spring training.

    Give Raul a break…until there is solid proof that he’s using steroids or PED’s, which I highly doubt any proof will ever be found, give it a rest.

  51. My opinion on the situation is this: Raul Ibanez got upset over a blog. The whole purpose of a blog is for a commentator to provide his or her opinion on the subject in which they are blogging. It is a form of new media that is completely objective, and Raul Ibanez would not have even known about it had it not been reprinted in the Philadelphia Inquirer. And the only reason the Inquirer picked up on it is to increase readership. Frankly, the opinion of a single blogger would not have the affect that it did if it was not picked up by a much larger syndication. I personally don’t think that Ibanez is guilty of using PEDs (he’s always been very consistent, and he has started off quickly in the past), but he should not have been ripping into the blogger; he should have been ripping into the previous testing system the MLB employed (or the lack thereof) and the users of PEDs in his sport that have tarnished the game (as Jerod mentioned in his rebuttal).

  52. you should watch what you say,you dumbass.karma is catching up to you,and you don’t even know it.oh yeah, the boss wants to see you in the basement,now!

  53. ichiban says:

    Jrod you are an absolutely classless and pathetic moron. Raul has every right to sue your pathetic ass for slander, and it was great seeing you get blasted on OTL. It’s one thing to speculate about steroid use and write about it, it’s another thing to actually NAME OUT SPECIFIC NAMES. If you cannot differentiate between those two, then you’re simply an idiot.

  54. James T says:

    While it is unfortunate for honest players that strikingly strong performances will raise speculation regarding performance enhancing drugs, they have only themselves to blame. Why haven’t players such as Ibanez been exposing and calling out players for cheating, both before and after it became a hot public issue? If players such as Ibanez do not publicly expose and call out — by name — players who cheat, then they have no right to get angry at fans for speculating about who is hiding behind the veil of clubhouse silence. If players collude with each other to keep the identities of cheaters anonymous, then they all rightly deserve scorn and suspicion for their suspect performances.

    Jamie Taylor
    Parrish, Florida

  55. @JRod,

    I think you have a right to post what you did. Blogs are for opinons, not facts. I’m probley one of the few Phillies fans who does not like Ibanez. While he may have been angry, I felt that his comments where extremly out of line. Also to bring age into the discussion somewhat made my blood boil. With that being said, facts do have to come into play when you are quoting from an article.

  56. Jrod hater says:

    Congratulations J-Dick for successfully pissing off and stressing out the first half MVP in the National League. Did you ever think that his numbers have raised because hes hitting in a lineup in between 3 MVP caliber players in one of the most home run friendly park in the nation? Probably sees better pitches hitting around chase utley and ryan howard than when richie sexson was his “protection” last year. I bet you’re real pleased with all the press this has gotten you.

  57. Ibanez reminds me of a gonzo in Arizona. I think Ken and the guy from the Philly Inq should not be so silly. Ken’s career seems to be based on his or nameless sources speculation of this or that and the other guy works in a dying medium. Who wants to here the old news of newspaper sports columnists. Really? come on, they just don’t like the competition. They talked to JRod like he is a 4 year old being scolded for poor table manners. They are the ones making a big deal out of it all, heck most people would have known about it if it wasnt for them.
    I speculation is helpful because it pushes the clean players to push for better testing and a cleaner league. It gets rid of the old ‘what happens in the club house stays in the clubhouse.’ Cry if you want but focus it towards the union and your coworkers.
    Those who say its from hard work? those are the same defenses of the rocket barry and everyone else who has been caught. It is those who work the hardest and are gym rats that are probably most likely to do it. I hear the word gym rat and i write that person of as a steroid user. Is it fair, no, but blame your peers.
    Jrod you should have taken them to task.

  58. sdg_in_mn says:

    @JRod —

    Just perhaps you might consider that the baseballs being used in the Major Leagues in 2009 have been ‘juiced’ — as opposed to previous years.

    There have been numerous years in the past where MLB has done exactly that to improve attendance, etc.

    Take a look at numerous other major leaguer’s who are hitting more h/r’s in 2009 than in previous years —

    Perhaps if you had really considered all the factors you might not have been so quick in ‘pulling the trigger’ — or ‘pointing the finger’ at one player, without stronger proof than just a ‘gut feeling’.

    I firmly believe that every blogger has a responsibility to be honest and truthful — a big problem for way too many internet folks these days.

    And, in addition, be ready to accept liability when one isn’t either or both — which, of course, is why you’re backpedaling just as fast as you can, right ??

    There’s an old saying that you ‘reap what you sow’ — so how do you like your crop?

  59. PS he got awfully upset about being accused, if he is clean he should have laughed it off. The guy isn’t in the hall of fame, he is long in the tooth and he isnt going to be a celebrity pitch man. Who has less to lose from being accused? Taking ques from clemens bonds and palmeiro is a bad idea.

  60. Ken Rosenthal writes about the Red Sox being too white.

    Let’sspeculate about race issues.Let’s insinuate that the current RED SOX organization is racist…

    Rapist over Roiders:
    ‘Bryant’s alleged offense was an act of PERSONAL INDESCRETION, not a reflection of his entire sport'(later edited out of article)

    hey ken, RAPE IS A HORRIBLE CRIME. Its near the top of worst crimes imaginable.

    Where is the accountability?

  61. Ryan Gallagher from Philly says:

    DOUCHEBAG. I don’t know why your article got so much attention anyway. You’re a blogger, you are nobody. Douchebag

  62. There’s a way of speculating things. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be suspicious of Ibanez. He’s 37, has barely seen NL pitching and is having an MVP type season. At the same time, Ibanez has a right to be upset. But that’s the nature of the game. I don’t buy that whole little rant of you can take my hair or piss. How about this, give us your hair and piss weekly through now to the end of the season. Remember Palmeiro waving his finger to congress? How’d that end? Most fans – Phillies fans especially, will herd like a bunch of sheep and say that it’s ”slander” because that’s what reports have told them. Some American’s can’t think for themselves. Some don’t mind putting the dots together though. Without evidence, we shouldn’t assume, but we shouldn’t be suprised if it comes out one day. Remember that A-Rod interview in late ’07? He explicitly said he didn’t use. People acted like Canseco was slandering too when he said he wouldn’t be suprised if Manny used. Well? No offense to this site, but if this site could generate national media attention, it means you weren’t the only one thinking it. Words only have a way of spreading if it’s worth hearing. We all know we’re thinking it. It’s because of the lack of integrity in major league baseball. Not Raul Ibanez. If Raul wants to blame anyone, blame Bud Selig for allowing everyone to juice for like a decade. That’s what people are keeping an eye on him. Now it’s psychologically in his head though. I wouldn’t be suprised if his numbers declined just for that reason.

  63. You’re right. He’s a blogger. But you remember J.C. Romero? The guy who won game 5 of the World Series – the clinching game? Listen, it’s natural to be suspicious. No Phillies fan could deny that. It’s just the way the game is. Even though he likely isn’t using, it certainly does look like a realistic scenario. It’s horrible we have to assume that, but that’s just the way it is. If Nick Swisher’s power all of a sudden turned into Adam Dunn, you don’t think people would be giving a second look? Raul can’t sue for anything. It’s not even worth his time. The internet belongs to no one. It’s international property. It’s very loose. Unless it’s severely threatening, you could probably say anything you’d like. Some ”Midwesterner” sure got in his head though.

    • @Tom, J.C. Romero didn’t use steroids. When people hear “banned substance” they automatically jump to the conclusion that they took anabolic steroids. Romero bought a supplement over the counter at a GNC. The supplement did contain a banned substance but it wasnt listed on the supplement. That is why Romero tested positive and also why he filed a law suit against the company that makes the substance. He didn’t take steroids. Jrod has accused Ibanez of taking steroids, Romero didnt take steroids so these situations can’t be compared.

      • @brian,

        I haven’t jumping in here to comment much, but since everything is slowing down now, this comment caught my eye.

        Direct quote from brian: “Jrod has accused Ibanez of taking steroids”.

        I don’t even know what to say. Why someone would come and comment on an article without even reading it is beyond me. If someone can find the place where I accuse Ibanez of using steroids, I’d love to see it.

        Brian, I appreciate your visit to the site and your willingness to participate in the discussion, but I’d appreciate it more if you would actually read the article that you are commenting on.

  64. You took about 75 paragraphs too many, but you made your point in your mea culpa today. You’re both wrong, and both right. Good for you for getting the media’s attention, even a little ticker on ESPN today.

    That said, Raaaaauuuuuuuuuuulllllll

  65. If it turns out that you have an unusually productive two month period in your writing career, would it be all right for a blogger to openly speculate that you might be on amphetamines? I am sure that your writing career until this moment has been solid and productive, but suppose that you do have two outstanding months of sports writing. We live in a society where amphetamine use is not exactly rare. I will further assume that you are randomly tested and screened for amphetamine use, as baseball players are screened and tested for performance enhancing drug usage.
    If I were to write about you that your recently improved performance could be the result of the opportunity to write about some compelling sports stories, or that it could be the result of improvements in your workplace. Or, we have to consider the possibility that in a world where amphetamine use is more common than we would like it to be, you could be using an illegal drug. Now, because you have never had a positive test for amphetamine use, you would surely consider my public statement to be irresponsible, especially in a society where all are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty.

  66. Julie. Philly PA says:

    JRod,

    Just a little advice. Before you go out of your way to put a man down, use FACTS not imagined fiction. If you prefer fiction take a walk down the yellow brick road and ask the wizard for a brain.

    It’s a sad, sad, sad, sad world we live in when you can’t give the guy the benefit of the doubt, but that’s not your fault. It’s the paranoid overwritten, “if we have nothing to say we’ll make S#!T up to fill up space…
    oh wait, that is what you did, guess it is your fault and the people like you that waste space on ridiculous ass-chumptions.
    Call TMZ, they’d love a guy like you.

  67. i saw your argument on ESPN OTL. I think it’s insanely hypocritical of the big network to come after you like this. You certainly didn’t violate your right to free speech…and if you did…ESPN is also guilty. Just last week on PTI Wilbon and Kornhieser speculated on whether Big Papi took PED because of his “slump.” At any rate, I’m a new fan of yours..funny how that works huh? I’m sure the exposure to ESPN didn’t hurt. I especially enjoyed Rosenthal in his ivory tower casting judgement on you for violating some mystical journalistic code….HE WORKS FOR FOX…define irony?

  68. back to your mom’s basement, loser. your 15 minutes is about up.

  69. xbobbyX24 says:

    Dude You are a Fuckin Jackass… How could you accuse a player of using roids without any proof.. He never failed a test and was never mentioned in the mitchell report. You scumbag… if I ever see or hear you are on the east coast I have the right to kick your ass for writing that shit about Ibanez.. You brought shame to blogosphere.. Way to go

    • @xbobbyX24, he didn’t “accuse” him of anything, if you actually read the article. I’m not sure how well educated you are, but perhaps take a second-or most likely first-glance at this article and you might see there are no accusations or finger pointing at PED’s as his ultimatum of logic. Anyone who disagrees with JRod based on his objectional view is either a hipocrite to say they have not subconsciously thought the same or looking to follow the mainstream flow to relinquish falsely-directed anger about the whole situation, which was construed by media.

  70. bag o' cheese says:

    The blogger, whomever he is, is a pedarist…I have no evidence of this but he lives in the midwest and looks like one…

  71. J-hole is more of an appropriate name for you, chief.

    You are completely careless in your “opinions” about Ibanez. If you even bothered to think for a minute, that the guys had consistenly put up solid numbers playing in Seattle, you would not have to introduce the “elephant” in the room.

    Maybe, perhaps maybe, he’s also benefitting from the fact that he’s hitting behind Howard and Utley, who are putting up all-star numbers as well.

    For you to throw this one out there because of the transgressions of guys like Bonds and Canseco, without having any sort of definitive proof, is just proof positive that bloggers like yourself have no place in the media.

    None.

  72. No problem with your article at all. And actually if Ibanez and the Philly paper didn’t come out so publicly about it, I would never have looked at this site. They are the ones with egg on their face for stirring up this issue.

    You just wrote a blog and that not many people read. I don’t think you wanted “15 minutes”, but they gave it to you.

    Good article and keep blogging.

  73. Having lived in Seattle the last few years, I’ve watched Raul a lot and been a huge fan of his. I’d like to add a couple of other factors in for you to consider.

    First, Raul has always gone on some sort of a hot streak like this at some point in time during the season. It’s one of the reasons I’ve drafted him in my fantasy league pretty much every year for the last few years. When he heats up, he makes a great fill-in off the bench for someone going through a rough patch. It could be that this year it’s happening at the beginning rather than in the middle or end. I keep expecting him to taper off anytime now. Though, I’m keeping him in my fantasy lineup until he actually does.

    Second, any ballplayers will tell you that there is a significant mental element to hitting. They will also tell you that a teams problems in the clubhouse often carry over onto the field. The Seattle clubhouse has not been a very happy place for the last few years now. There was a lot of tension between players and managment and jealousy between fellow players. As a long-time team member and because of his veteran status, Raul was under a lot of pressure to be a leader in the midst of that chaos. He’s gone fro mthat situation to a clubhouse that just came off of a World Series winning season. The mental boost of that alone has likely played at least a small role in his success there.

  74. Julie. Philly PA says:

    Well you were right Ibanez does like his juice. His favorite flavor…Big Apple

  75. Coldfusion says:

    You’re an IDIOT accusing a fine baseball player by name for using PEDs. Forget the fact that Ibanez is playing for the WORLD CHAMPIONS. Forget the fact that the Phillies have an awesome hitting coach, and a manager who was the hitting coach for the Cleveland Indians when they did well several years ago. I don’t have an issue with you talking about the issue of PEDs. But, to personally point out a specific player WITHOUT any proof is illogical and irreverent to a player’s skills. Get out of your mom’s basement and find a REAL JOB and get a REAL life.

  76. I think that Raul Ibanez’s fast start is due to the fact that he has taken up brazilian jiu jitsu(BJJ) to keep himself in shape. BJJ requires focus, hard work, dedication, and very good physical condition. Ibanez has showed all of those qualities so far this season. So I think that is the cause for Ibanez’s fast start, not steroids.

  77. You people can defend Raul Ibanez all you want. Nobody older than 30 is EVER going to get off to an uncharacteristically fast start in the major leagues for the next 20-30 years without people wondering if he’s on PEDs.

    Nobody.

    I don’t care if it’s the Pope or Mahatma Gandhi or anyone else with a supposedly “clean” past and character. I don’t care if the person is batting ahead of Babe Ruth or if they play in a matchbox (or the new Yankee Stadium, for that matter!). It sucks, but that’s the reality of the situation as player after player gets outed (A-Rod, Manny, etc.).

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  1. […] UPDATE: This story has gone national. Espn.com is now reporting on it and JRod has issued something close to an apology. […]

  2. […] blogger has written a response to the fury that has come about as a result of his article, check it out if you have a minute. He apologized […]

  3. […] whole Raul Ibanez vs. previously anonymous midwestern blogger thing has really taken on a life of its […]

  4. […] Jerod Morris, the blogger, posts an evenhanded response to the unforeseen media swirl. He doesn’t even rip on Inquirer columnist John Gonzalez. Not surprisingly, with mass-media […]

  5. […] Morris of Midwest Sports Fans (the blogger wrote the original piece on Ibanez) recaps what has happened the last 48 hours pertaining to this subject: A couple of days ago my buddy posted on our fantasy […]

  6. […] else do I see any major blog writing about this.  Personally I believe this is due to the whole MidwestSportsFans fiasco and I don’t think anyone wants to touch it so they don’t get any hate mail.  Blogs […]

  7. […] on the blogosphere about Raul Ibanez and the possibility that he’s using PEDs.   JRod from Midwest Sports Fans wrote a piece trying to explain Raul Ibanez’s amazing start to this season, his first year […]

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