New Steroid Era?
In the late 90's and the 2000's, baseball went through the "Steroid Era" culminating in Alex Rodriguez's banning from baseball in 2013 after a camera crew interviewing teammate Derek Jeter, unknowingly panned over to Mark Teixeria injecting A-Rod with a steroid. With that, the steroid era finally came to an end and baseball entered into a golden age where the play on the field was pure (even if the players themselves were not).
However in a recent interview with an "anonymous source inside the Phillies clubhouse" Matt "Otis" Lyons dropped a bomb. According to Lyons, the source reveals that Vincent Provezano (A.K.A. Vinny P, in the LGBT community) not only took steroids while on the Phillies and Baltimore, but he also didn't even try to hide it. Provezano, who was recently traded from the Phillies to the Mets, has not commented on the accusations brought about by his former team.
If Provezano wasn't hiding his steroid use, then something is obviously wrong in baseball today. We thought that this was over with, but apparently Steroids are back. A source inside the Mets front office tells me that it's not just Provezano that is once again using steroids and in fact it's probably more rampant in baseball then it was 20 years ago in the height of the first "Steroid Era." "Look around baseball for proof. Zach Strange jumping from 12 homeruns in 2018 to 47 in 2019... Tee Kay hitting 20+ homeruns in 3 of his first 4 seasons....Cherith Cutestory... They're all juicers and everyone knows it... and I won't even get into what Alex Atkins is on," the source says.
But Cutestory's been hitting homeruns his entire career, right? "Oh he's been on the juice since 2018 when he was playing for the Spokane Indians with Ramon De La Garza." De La Garza is another interesting case in himself. He's had 4 MLB seasons of 20+ homeruns despite his power being graded as a "50-60" (on a 1-100 scale) by every scout who's ever watched him play. "He shouldn't be able to produce the power he does... I don't get it," said one scout of De La Garza.
Could De La Garza be the Jose Canseco of this generation? Gregory House's power ability suddenly jumped in 2018 after spending a season with De La Garza in Oklahoma in triple A. That's also the year that Omar Poveda, a career minor league relief pitcher seemingly came out of oblivion to post a 1.91 ERA (his career ERA is 4.60). Could House and Poveda have been on steroids given to them by De La Garza? We might never know.
But how about the other players the source mentioned, Zach Strange and Tee Kay? Zach Strange has had a successful career for a guy who was once told he has no shot at ever playing in the big leagues. In 2018, Strange hit a grand total of 12 home runs in the minors. The very next year he moved up to triple A Lehigh Valley.... and hit 47 long bombs in the a stunning turn around of power numbers. He then went on to the majors, hitting 20 homeruns in 2020, 34 in 2021 and jumping up to 57 in 2022 and 50 in 2023. He has since dropped back down, hitting only 25 the next season. Was Zach Strange on steroids of was his sudden jump in power numbers a result of hand-eye coordination and natural strength growth? You be the judge.
The last guy named by the source is Boston's centerfielder Tee Kay. At 6'2" tall and weighting 202 lbs soaking wet, Tee Kay is built for speed, shown by his 707 career stolen bases. At the age of 32, Kay is about to break into the top 10 in career stolen bases (Honus Wagner is #10 with 722). He's half way to Rickey Henderson's 1406, but that record doesn't seem to be in jeopardy just yet. Despite these great numbers from the leadoff hitter of the Red Sox, the number that jumps out most is the homeruns. In his rookie season Tee Kay hit 22 bombs. He followed that up with 26, 13 and 20 in his next three years. While not eye-popping per say, when you consider the fact that Kay jumped from hitting 5 in 2016 to hitting 27 in 2017 you have to wonder what's been in his morning coffee.
Where this goes from here is anyone's guess, but the facts have been laid out and accusations have been made. Word from the commissioner's office is that someone tried to contact former Senator George Mitchell Jr., who headed the nearly 2 year investigation into steroids last time baseball had a problem. Unfortunately, they say, being 90 years old, Mitchell barely remembered his own name, never mind how to effectively head up a steroid investigation in baseball. If any of this is true, this is not the last you have heard of this story. If history is any indication, baseball's about to go through a trying time where a lot of heroes and role models will be destroyed.
Here we go again.