MLB Week in Review (April 29-May 5)

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Baseball has plenty of history but there are certain times throughout the history of the sport that drastically changed the game.

There was the dead-ball era when offence dropped to all-time lows and the sport was in danger.

The interest in the sport dropped along with the offence and the league went about trying to correct the issues.

They made rule changes including outlawing of certain pitches while the influence of home run hitters like Babe Ruth began to really take hold in new approaches to hitting.

When the dead-ball era ended the line-ball era began as offence rose to new heights and fans returned to the sport.

The league enjoyed plenty of good years until the 1990s when the offence took another massive step forward.

The dirty little secret of the time is that those great offensive numbers were not really natural.

That was the steroid era in baseball and it is not the proudest moment in the over 100 years of professional baseball.

So many heroes fell in that time but it was an era that changed the game forever.

Steroids became a massive part of the game and the league was forced to make some big changes to their drug policy.

They set up a hard rule for suspensions where the first offence equalled 80 games followed by a year ban for the second offence and finally a total ban from baseball if anyone was caught a third time.

Testing became more regular and much better than in the past as the pressure from outside the league forced the MLB to take this seriously.

Players had a much tougher time hiding it and there were fewer people willing to hide it for them.

Those changes officially ended the steroid era but the changes made doesn’t mean that steroids are entirely out of baseball.

The BALCO Scandal and Mitchell Report exposed the steroid use in the league and started the changes but it wasn’t the last investigation.

In 2013, the Miami Herald exposed more drug use in the league and led to a number of suspensions with some major names on the list.

The league continues to deal with steroid use in the league and they are constantly playing catch-up as new drugs are being developed that are harder to detect.

As the MLB does catch-up though they are finding more and more players and enacting their drug policy.

That is the case right now as baseball is running into yet another scandal of doping centred around the drug

So far two players have been suspended this year with the drug in their system as Chris Colabello and Drew Stumpf received 80-game bans.

According to reports those two players could just be the start of another round of suspensions throughout the league.

The MLB seems to be on the edge of another major steroid scandal as the league reportedly has a list of players including some major names that will be receiving suspensions for testing positive for Turinabol.

This new wave is an interesting one though as there are a few theories to the recent spike in positive tests.

Some simply claim that the testing is getting better every year and it is harder to hide the use of that specific drug.

This is true in that tests are constantly evolving to find more drugs and masking agents as the league and all of sports, in general, are getting better at testing.

It is not the only theory though as some claim that there may be supplements out there that contain the drug and that players are unknowingly taking an illegal substance.

That is a common excuse for players as many have claimed that they took something that they didn’t realise.

This time, it might be more convincing as the drug doesn’t stay in the system very long so a player would have to be very dumb to take the drug before they know they are getting tested.

It is possible that they were just that cocky about not being caught but there is also a chance that a tainted supplement could be the cause.

One way or another the list is about to be revealed but this time it is under the control of the MLB unlike in years past when other outlets revealed the PED use and left the league playing defence.

It is evidence that the steroid era may be over the remnants of it remain and that the league is making strides in creating a steroid free league.

For now, though fans wait with bated breath to hope that one of their favourite players isn’t on that list.

Extra Innings
(More on this week in baseball)

On His Way Back
Known as “The Freak,” Tim Lincecum came into the league as one of the most promising young pitchers in the game but after a few great years, he fell off quickly until he eventually was left without a team as he looks to get back with a scouting showcase next week

Puerto Rico Series in Danger
The Zika Virus is spreading around South America and the West Indies and concern over the virus has put an important game in danger as the league planned to travel to Puerto Rico this year but may not go if the virus continues to spread

Limiting the Field
Cuban baseball continues to produce amazing talent but in the World Baseball Classic, those great players may not be seen as the Cuban national team has stated that defectors will not be allowed to play on the team


Key Series:
Seattle Mariners 2-1 Kansas City Royals
– The Mariners are beginning to make a statement that they are ready to compete with the best teams in the league and they proved it when they took two games from the defending champions to help them move into the top spot in their division

Boston Red Sox 3-0 New York Yankees
– The Yankees continued to struggle this year as they dropped three straight to their long-time rivals while the Red Sox took the sweep and moved into first place in the east as the division continues to sort themselves out

Chicago Cubs 3-0 Pittsburgh Pirates
– The Cubs are making good on the expectations of them being the best team in baseball as they continue to lead the Central and with a chance at overtaking them the Pirates come up short after being swept by their division rivals

Toronto Blue Jays 3-1 Texas Rangers
– The last time these two teams faced it was the most exciting and strangest game in MLB postseason history with a historical seventh inning and they finally got to meet again with the Rangers taking the first game but the Jays taking the last three

Upcoming Series:
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals [May 6-8]
– Both of these teams are used to fighting for the division in the last few years but now they will face-off trying to take a hold of second place as both teams are falling behind the Cubs for the Central title

Chicago White Sox vs. Texas Rangers [May 9-11]
– It is a classic match-up of pitching staff against potent offence as the Rangers travel to Detroit to take on a good rotation with a good offence that is struggling right now with the Rangers trying to get back on top of their division

Detroit Tigers vs. Washington Nationals [May 9-11]
– The Nationals are loving the lack of pressure on them right now as they have become one of the top teams in the league while Detroit is having a quiet resurgence in the Central and both look to keep their momentum going in this three game series

New York Mets vs. Los Angeles Dodgers [May 9-12]
– When the Dodgers left New York in 1958 it was a big loss for the city but a few years later the Mets entered to fill the void and now both of these teams face off sitting in second for their respective divisions trying to get closer to that top spot

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