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OF DOMINICANS AND DRUGS

By Murray Chass

April 23, 2017

These eight players have at least two significant aspects of their lives in common:

Jose Dominguez… Miguel Sulbaran… Frank Encarnacion… Jose Ramirez… Andy Taveras… Junior Lopez… Elniery Garcia… Starling Marte.

Minor leaguers, except for Marte, they were all born in the Dominican Republic, and they are all serving suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s drug policy. They all tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. In fact, they are the eight most recent players who tested positive and were suspended in a two-week period this month.

Most intriguing about the suspensions is that the players are all Dominican. Why should that be? Is there something about the island that leads the native players to use steroids? Do players from other Latin countries use steroids, test positive and incur suspensions?

A study of the list of players who have been suspended shows that players from other countries, especially Latin countries, have also been caught using illegal substances and suspended.

For example, of the 140 players who have been suspended this year and last, 81, or 57.9%, were born in North America while 59, or 42.1%, were born in Latin America. Nevertheless, of the 59 born in Latin America, 43, or 72.9%, are Dominican natives.

Among the remaining 16 Hispanics, 7 are Venezuelan, 3 are from Puerto Rico, 2 are Nicaraguan natives and four countries have one player each – Aruba, Colombia, Cuba and Panama.

Not that this is a competition to see which country can have the largest contingent of P.E.D. users, but the Dominican Republic easily surpasses other Latin countries and holds its own in comparison with the United States. One example of that:

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GEORGE, ARE YOU THERE?

By Murray Chass

April 16, 2017

Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird and Aaron Judge have yet to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame, but in the view of some, maybe many New York baseball writers and columnists, as well as Yankees fans, Brian Cashman himself should be elevated to the corridors of Cooperstown.

Cashman, in his 20th year as the team’s general manager, is receiving accolades for his plan to turn around the Yankees, who have played (and lost) one post-season game in the past four years despite a payroll expenditure of $904,000,000. The Yankees’ four-year total was exceeded only by the $1,093,000,000 the Los Angeles Dodgers spent on players’ contracts.

The Dodgers, however, at least got something for their money – four division titles. They also won more games than anyone but St. Louis, 369 to the Cardinals’ 373. They didn’t win any prizes for that achievement, but the Yankees averaged 7 fewer wins a year and got nothing for their mediocrity but disdain from their fans.

Cashman, competing on an uneven playing field with his fellow American League general managers, deserves …

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HEY, COMMISH, ANGELS STILL DON’T PLAY IN LA

By Murray Chass

April 9, 2017

This was not something I had thought about recently. In fact, I hadn’t thought about it for years. Nor was it something I set out to solicit anyone’s opinion about. But in looking up Mike Trout’s career statistics I discovered that the name of Anaheim still lives in Major League Baseball.

You wouldn’t know it from Major League Baseball itself. In the eyes and practices of M.L.B. Anaheim doesn’t exist. It hasn’t existed since 2005, when the team’s owners, Arte Moreno, hijacked the Dodgers’ name for his own selfish purposes and Bud Selig, then the commissioner, was too complicit to say to Moreno, “Excuse me, Arte old boy, but the name Los Angeles is already taken and anyway your team doesn’t play in Los Angeles or its suburbs.”

Selig didn’t say anything to Moreno because …

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