Need Help Studying For Your Finals?

Call Chooch.

While Phillies fans sit around waiting for the team to sign two outfielders, a third baseman, and about six relief pitchers, the 2012 season managed to get a little bit worse.  One of the few bright spots, Carlos Ruiz’s career year, has now been tainted by a positive test for Adderall.  It’s Ruiz’s 2nd positive test for a stimulant (the first positive is not reported) and it will cost the catcher the first 25 games of the 2013 season.  Considering this is a 2nd offense for Ruiz, and the NFL hands out 4-game (1/4 of the season suspensions for Adderall), I suppose the punishment could have been worse.  Missing a month is something the team should theoretically be able to overcome, but the fans might fall out of love with Eric Kratz by May 1st.  

The use of stimulants in baseball is nothing new.  Before the steroid era was the “greenie” era when, depending on who you listen to, uppers were as readily available as gum and seeds in the clubhouse.  The issue with stimulants is that some are legal to use and some are not.  Also, it’s tougher to draw that straight line to improved performance.  When a guy throws on 30 lbs of muscle in an off-season, the benefit is right there in front of your eyes.  But if a guy is on a stimulant, the differences might not be as noticeable to the naked eye.  

There’s also the question of where to draw the line.  Over 100 players in MLB are allowed to use Adderall due to ADHD or some other medical diagnosis.  So, has Adderall become the medical marijuana of MLB and other professional sports?  Is every player prescribed the drug taking it for legitimate reasons?  And if not Adderall, what other stimulants will players gravitate toward?  Is amphetamine use a byproduct of stricter testing for steroids and other known performance enhancing drugs?

What makes Ruiz’s case unique is that the catcher is coming a career year.  A year that far eclipsed anything he had ever done offensively.  Ruiz went from a guy known for a couple of solid post-seasons to a legitimate 1st-half NL MVP candidate.  He led the league in hitting for a time.  He carried a hobbled Phillies offense.  There was also a shift in physical appearance.  Ruiz looked stronger.  He spoke of a different off-season program, but now everyone is left to question how much of Ruiz’s career year was legitimate?  I’m not sure PEDs ever made a .270 hitter a .330 hitter, but Ruiz did have more power and there was a much more consistent level to his at-bats.  

I also remember several times during the year where announcers would talk about the “old” Ruiz.  The player who was prone to slumps.  His swing gets long, they’d say.  Maybe he gets a little run down.  That wasn’t happening in 2012.  At the time the success was attributed to the increased physical fitness and confidence.  Now?  Who knows?  

I have no idea how much Ruiz benefited from the Adderall use, but because you can see a significant spike in his 2012 numbers, he may end up becoming a poster boy for those who want stricter rules and guidelines regarding stimulant use in professional sports.  And while I don’t think Ruiz’s big season is due entirely to Adderall, there is the fact that this was a second positive test.  Carlos knew what he was doing.  There had to be something to it, otherwise why risk another positive test and a suspension?  He must have felt like he needed it last year, or in the coming year as he tried to build toward one last contract?  

The Phillies won’t be looking for a replacement for Ruiz.  They have too many other holes to fill.  Not having their starting catcher will be another obstacle for a team suddenly overwhelmed by them, but I think most sensible Phillies fans were expecting some type of regression to the mean for Ruiz regardless.  At least they should be hoping that the front office wasn’t counting on Ruiz as a middle of the order bat for 2013.  

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11 thoughts on “Need Help Studying For Your Finals?

  1. well said. yeah, adderrall compared to marijuana is a good comparison.
    where do we draw the line?
    when we realize we are an addict nation, and care about this.

    will pass along to coworker, we were wondering if any players can use adderrall is prescribed for dx.

    Q

    • i was thinking the same way, zd…i wonder if the bar is suuuper high on that diagnosis, though – in baseball now. in a way, there is a sort of circumstantial version of it.

      in other news – Godiva Choco chunks – in caramel and truffle, best holiday candy of the year!

      Q

  2. So BJ upton signs with Atlanta- good, before the phillies can make that mistake. How is someone who hits .240 a $15 mill per yr player?

  3. I am really having trouble with the focus on PEDs the further we get into this. I don’t understand the difference between taking adderall with a prescription and taking it without a prescription. I don’t understand the basis for determining that some PEDs are acceptable and some are not. I don’t understand why PEDs are verboten in sports and glorified in other aspects of society. Fundamentally, perhaps, I don’t understand why we talk about this as a “cheating” issue rather than as an “addiction” issue. As Q alluded, a drug is performance enhancing if you *think* it is performance enhancing. Are we punishing Ruiz for cheating or for being addicted?

  4. seriously. i’d rather have another .500 year and wait than sign him if he’s the supposed best option out there this year. the last thing they need is another guy striking out 150 times in the middle of the order, right handed or not. in my opinion.

    • It’s unfortunate. I had my headline ready, “Phillies Sign Upton, OBP Dies.”

      That contract is based on the market being incredibly thin and Upton being the youngest guy available. I guess you could argue that he still has room to grow into his prime too, but the guy has been around a long time. He’s 3 or 4 years removed from his best season.

      I don’t know who the Phillies are going to get to play center, but committing that much to Upton, with their lineup would have been a pretty big disaster in my opinion.

      I don’t know if they should be commended for passing, or if you should be concerned they were definitely interested.

  5. Did i see brandon marshall say that NFL players are using viagra to get an edge? What?

    Interesting HOF class up for debate. Seems to me like Bonds was a hof’er prior to his PEDs, probably the same for Clemens, so they’re the ones i find intriguing. I don’t think Sosa is even debatable.

  6. You have the same chance of getting in as Sosa.

    I don’t think they get in on the 1st ballot for sure. I feel like the writers are going to get high and mighty on this one. And, you’re talking about guys that weren’t the most popular to begin with. If Bonds had went on and had his normal career he still would have gotten in by a smaller margin than he should have just because 10-20 writers decided to make a statement.

    The vote should be great publicity for baseball. Or not.

  7. I’ve got a mailbag pending, but in case it doesn’t get up in time, we’ve got 1 Thursday night pick as it stands now:

    Dub: 32-26-2

    Atlanta -4: Because I have Matt Ryan in fantasy land and I need him to have a big game. I’m going to will him to a 5-TD performance.

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