Ankiel & HGH

ankiel ny daily news cover

It will really be interesting to see how this story plays out in the media. A lot depends on the first statement Ankiel and the Cardinals make tomorrow. Assuming no source comes out to credibly debunk the story as it stands here are a couple possibilities that I can see:

  • Ankiel flat out denies it; denies that he received the drugs, used them, anything. Somehow this is all a big mistake. This is probably the worst thing he could do, because it’s probably not true. Then the story will have legs and he’ll be in Barry Bonds land everywhere but St. Loius.
  • Ankiel stonewalls. Might say that because of the legal implications he cannot comment, etc. That will obviously fan the flames and the story will last longer.
  • Ankiel admits he used the drugs, claims some kind of medical supervision and that the drugs were used to help recover from an injury. Most importantly he says he stopped before 2005. This one may not pass the smell test because apparently there are a very few medical conditions that HGH would be indicated as a treatment for. Although scientists hypothesize that it may have various regenerative effects, it’s not approved for most of those yet. There will be a lot people speculating about medicine and injuries over the next few days that aren’t qualified. Still, this is probably the best case scenario for Ankiel. The story would probably blow over relatively quickly.

Other points of interest:

  • The NY Daily News alleges a teammate of Ankiel at the time not only received HGH, but steroids as well.
  • The recent suspensions by the NFL of player Rodney Harrison and coach Wade Wilson may work in Ankiel’s favor, diffusing the focus of the spotlight somewhat, but given his big day yesterday and the pennant race, he’s going to be the main focus.
  • How will MLB react to this? Baseball didn’t ban HGH until 2005, and Ankiel supposedly stopped receiving shipments from the pharmacy in question right before that happened. I wonder if there are provisions in the collective bargaining agreement that allows certain players to receive “heightened scrutiny” so to speak, in terms of testing. But the experts say that right now there’s no test for HGH. I suppose as long as Bonds is still out in the field, Ankiel is safe.
  • The prevailing overnight reactions from Cards fans on the internet is that he stopped receiving the drugs before HGH was banned by MLB and the story has no indication that he’s been charged with anything illegal, so this should all go away. (You can add in a heapin’ helpin’ of conspiracy theories, ESPN hates us, isn’t the timing of the story suspicious and other nutjob responses as well, but that’s to be expected on the internet.) Bernie Miklasz, one of the writers who covers the Cards for the St. Louis paper put up a blog post with that basic justification. I think there’s some wishful thinking there. I doubt this story will be as big and embarrassing for the Cardinals as I’d like it to be, but it’s also not going to be as small as they would prefer. First, saying that the facts in the story prove he stopped receiving the drug before MLB banned it is not true. The facts state that he stopped receiving the drug from this pharmacy, or maybe under his own name, but they don’t prove at all that he never took HGH after 2005. Second, as I mentioned earlier, he apparently had a prescription, but the whole investigation that has revealed these facts is into fradulent prescriptions. The doctor who prescribed the drugs and Ankiel will both have to answer questions about the validity of the treatment. Third, the question of doing anything illegal is probably not resolved. He may not be the main target of this investigation, but he’s been linked to it and its possible that charges are pending. That seems a remote possibility from the story, but not entirely precluded.

I still think that it tarnishes his reputation and rightfully so.

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4 Responses

  1. How would you feel about Bonds if he played for the Cardinals?

  2. st louis hasnt quite embraced mcgwire since his fallout in front of congress. they have taken down signs naming i-70 mark mcgwire highway and the statue of him hitting a homerun has never been put in front of busch stadium.

    i think if there is more to this story (steroids) the fallout will be felt in st. louis as well.

  3. I would hate Bonds if he played in St. Louis. You’re right that they have backed off McGwire some, but not completely. The internet fans still think he is a slam dunk HOF’er. But the intense heat on McGwire broke for the most part after his heyday. I think they’re going to circle the wagons a lot more for Ankiel because he’s basically the only hope they have for the rest of this season.

  4. The hipocrisy with which they are treating these latest athletes compared to Barry Bonds is staggering. Is there no one in the MSM with the stones to address this outside of a passing mentioned. Wow.

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