Hey, I'll bet you don't know who J.C. Romero
is, do you? Well, that's okay, because he's not the sort of person you're likely to hear about on a daily basis. Hell, even if your job happens to consist of writing about sports, you would probably only qualify for "passing familiar" status with regards to Mr. Romero.
is a member of the world champion Philadelphia Phillies. He's a member of their bullpen, in good standing, as a matter of fact. Not a real big guy, left-handed, throws pretty hard, nice breaking ball. Ring any bells? Still no? Yeah, I'm not surprised, honestly.
There is, however, one reason that you should know the name of J.C. Romero, and it has nothing to do with his repertoire. J.C. Romero is the face, right this minute, of just how incompetent baseball's drug police really are.
See, apparently J.C. went to his local GNC and bought some supplements
. Nothing wrong with that, right? I've done it myself a time or two. Sadly, my results never tend to look much like the individuals on the side of the bottle, but that's a beef for another time. (Consider yourself on notice, though, GNC. Start selling supplements that work. Stuff that can overcome a box of Twinkies for dinner and things like that, damn it.)
So anyhow, here's J.C., going to a totally legitimate business, buying a totally legal supplement. After he buys this totally legal supplement at this totally legitimate business, he even goes the extra step of asking at least one nutritionist and his team trainer if said supplement is safe to take. Pretty conscientious dude, no?
So, after all of that, and being told by the Major League Baseball Players' Association that there aren't any supplements on the shelves of U.S. retailers that can cause a positive drug test, J.C. proceeds to take his supplements, free of guilt.
Ah, but the story has a twist. J.C. then received a letter from whatever Keystone Kops organization it is that MLB has to ferret out cheaters that MLB's earlier claims are "no longer true," and that some of the supplements that J.C. took are, in fact, just the sort of thing that players need to avoid, as they can cause positive tests.
The end result of all this, of course, is that now, somehow, J.C. Romero is being suspended 50 games and is going to lose $1.25 millions. That's right. A third of the season, and one and a quarter million dollars for a supplement that you can buy at the fucking GNC. Not only one that you can buy, in fact, but one that the Players' Association previously assured its members was totally safe to take and couldn't possibly cause any kind of problem.
So baseball then decides to offer Romero sort of a plea bargain situation, in which they will halve his sentence in return for an admission of guilt. He refuses, seeing as how he has a pretty good claim to innocence. Oh, and did I mention that this shit was all going down right smack-dab in the middle of the post-season?
Okay, let's see if we can get this all straight: Let's say that your morning commute involves driving on a street somewhere in picturesque St. Louis, Missouri. Now let us further say that said street has a posted speed limit of 45 mph. Suddenly, one morning, you are shocked to find in your mailbox a speeding ticket. Strangely enough, the ticket appears to be due to the fact that you were clocked at 44 mph in the 45 mph zone that you travel through each and every day.
Now, you would be pretty vexed, right? Something here just doesn't add up. So you call the police department. At this point, you are informed that the speed limit in that area should have actually been 35 all along, but the guys who decide speed limits made a mistake. Thus, everyone who has ever been clocked going faster than the correct speed limit is now being ticketed. Nope, it wasn't ever posted in any way, shape, or form. Yes, we do realize that sign is pretty misleading. Nope, we don't particularly care. Well, hey, rules is rules, even if we told you something totally different before. Technically, the road signs are put up by the highway department anyway, and they're not a law enforcement body. Enjoy paying your fine. Oh, and by the way, have a nice day. Oh, and further, if you have a problem with it, you are invited to go and eat a big heaping bowl of dicks.
And that is basically the moving target that we now have with MLB trying to somehow figure out how to police its drug problem. Look, I'm all kinds of glad that they're trying to get the steroids and the HGH and whatever else out of the game. Great. Fantastic. But I have to say, when I see something like this, I can't help but wonder if there's anyone down at the commissioner's office who has even the slightest idea what they're doing.