Okay…here it is…we knew the allegations would come at some point, but I never expected there to be such a clear-cut paper trail. However, before everyone in the Barry Bonds/Steroid Era climate jumps all over Ankiel, let’s remember a few important things:
1. In 2004, during the shipments, Ankiel was NOT trying to be a hitter. He was trying to be a pitcher.
2. In 2004, Ankiel was attempting to recover from Tommy John Surgery, a surgery that, I believe, requires a 12 – 18 month recovery period (his HGH shipments supplied him with 12 months of drugs).
3. HGH is primarily useful not as a performance enhancer but as a recovery agent for injured athletes, which is why Ankiel would have been taking it the same year as his surgery.
4. Rick Ankiel received the shipments LEGALLY. The way the story is reported makes this confusing. The drugs came from a distribution company being investigated and accused of illegal distribution. However, Ankiel procured the drugs legally – with a prescription from a Florida physician – from a distribution company very close to his home. This is like you and I buying alcohol legally from the gas station down the street one year before it gets shut down for illegally selling the same alcohol to teenagers. Just because the store illegally sold it to others does NOT mean we illegally purchased it from the same store.
5. As Deadspin.com put it, Rick is not hitting homeruns now in the bigs because he took HGH 3 years ago in 2004 as a pitcher. He’s just not.
6. Ankiel had a great swing and tremendous power AS A PITCHER. It’s not like this ability came out of nowhere.
So…now that we’ve covered those important facts, let’s address the idiots who say Cardinals fans are hypocrites, bashing Bonds and defending Ankiel.
Why is Rick Ankiel different from Barry Bonds?
1. Motivation: Bonds was a great player before steroids, but it wasn’t enough for him. He selfishly and greedily targetted media attention and homerun records. Rick Ankiel, on the other hand, took HGH for the simple goal of recovering from a major surgery with hopes of returning to WHAT HE ALREADY WAS as a pitcher. He was attempting to legally restore his own natural ability. Bonds was illegally attempting to add to his own natural ability in unnatural ways.
2. Records: Let’s be honest – more than half the reason people hate Bonds is because he owns the records. We don’t like our baseball records tainted. Bonds tainted the single season and overall HR records. Ankiel, on the other hand, is never going to hit 73 or 74 homeruns in a season, and he has started his hitting career too late in life (28 years old) to even think of threatening the overall HR record.
3. Likability: Barry Bonds is a jerk. It’s true. No one likes Barry Bonds (partially because his voice sounds like Mike Tyson on helium – which ain’t manly). Almost everyone loves Rick Ankiel as a person (although, I did meet a person a couple of days ago who said her husband doesn’t allow her to like Rick Ankiel because he got in a shouting match with him from the stands once – here’s the solution, moron…don’t piss off the ball players in Double A games…it ain’t worth it, drunkard).
4. Cheating? By all accounts, Bonds cheated. He took a banned performance enhancing substance when it was banned. Ankiel did not. He took a substance for recovery purposes with a presecription when it was NOT banned. It’s simple, people.
I could go on, but I think you get the point…but let me throw in this disclaimer:
If Rick Ankiel is proven to have taken a banned performance enhancing substance DURING his hitting years and AFTER it was banned, I will be one of the first to call him a cheater.
That’s my 2 cents…but don’t take my word for it…read these other trusted sources for a bit of honest perspective: