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  • SEA's Morse suspended for roids

    Morse suspended for steroids he says he took in '03
    ESPN.com news services

    OAKLAND, Calif. -- Mike Morse of the Seattle Mariners was suspended Wednesday for 10 days for violating the steroids policy, the ninth major-league player penalized under baseball's tougher drug rules.

    An apologetic Morse said in a statement the positive steroid test was a result of trace amounts of the drug lingering in his system from "an enormous mistake" he made in November 2003 while in the minor leagues.

    "This positive test was due to the fact there were still some remnants of the steroid left in my system from the 2003 offseason," he said.

    Morse said he took steroids in 2003 after tearing his thigh muscle. He was suspended under the minor league policy in May 2004 and "promised never to make the same mistake again."

    After serving that suspension, he resumed his career in the minors, though steroids remained in his system, he said.

    "There was nothing I could do to completely remove the steroids from my body." He tested postive again in July 2004.

    Morse said an arbitration panel has found evidence he has not used steroids since the 2003 offseason, and he is "troubled" that he has been suspended for a third time for the same steroids.

    "As the [arbitration] panel's decision points out, the level was so low that it was 'undisputed' that it had 'no performance enhancing effec' on me," Morse said.

    "I am troubled that I will be suspended for the third time despite the fact that the scientific evidence supports that I kept my promise that I would never use steroids again.

    "I have done nothing wrong since being punished the first time. At least tehre is some solice in the fat that the scientific evidence supports that I kept my promise."

    Morse hit a go-ahead single in the seventh inning Tuesday night in a 3-2 win over Oakland.

    Morse, 23, was batting .287 with three home runs and 23 RBIs in 209 at-bats since being called up from Triple-A earlier this season. The infielder-outfielder was acquired last season in the trade that sent pitcher Freddy Garcia to the Chicago White Sox.

    Earlier this season, Mariners pitcher Ryan Franklin and Seattle outfielder Jamal Strong were penalized for violating the steroids policy.

    Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
    Still waiting for Rafael....

    "Can't buy what I want because it's free...
    Can't buy what I want because it's free..."
    -- Pearl Jam, from the single Corduroy

  • #2
    They must have been passing the roids out like candy in the Mariners' system...

    Comment


    • #3
      well, at least he fessed up and didn't give that stupid fucking "i didn't knowingly take them" answer that everyone is giving these days when they get caught.
      Official 2009 Sponsor of nobody

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by bigJOE@Sep 7 2005, 03:14 PM
        well, at least he fessed up and didn't give that stupid fucking "i didn't knowingly take them" answer that everyone is giving these days when they get caught.
        While I agree with you for his stepping up, do they really stay in your system that long?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by pgrote+Sep 7 2005, 03:16 PM-->
          QUOTE(pgrote @ Sep 7 2005, 03:16 PM)

        • #6
          Originally posted by Iowa_Card+Sep 7 2005, 03:24 PM-->
          QUOTE(Iowa_Card @ Sep 7 2005, 03:24 PM)
          Originally posted by [email protected] 7 2005, 03:16 PM

        • #7
          Also, Mark McGwire apparently will make a comeback, but since he doesn't want to talk about the past, it's not really a comeback. He just didn't sign his retirement papers.

          Comment


          • #8
            Good to see they're still taking down the big names.

            Comment


            • #9
              Originally posted by pgrote+Sep 7 2005, 04:16 PM-->
              QUOTE(pgrote @ Sep 7 2005, 04:16 PM)

            • #10
              If the "scientific evidence" says he hadn't taken the stuff since 2003, then why would he be suspended? I mean, a wise man once told me that it wasn't against MLB rules back then. Ex post facto -- somebody tell Thomas Jefferson.

              Comment


              • #11
                I thought this was an interesting article:

                http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/4848042
                In this case, MLB's testing failed

                Ken Rosenthal / FOXSports.com



                The Mariners' Michael Morse admits that he was desperate to salvage his career. Admits that he took steroids from Nov. 2003 to Jan. 2004. Admits that he was wrong, and that he should be punished.

                The problem is, the 10-game suspension announced for Morse on Wednesday is the third such penalty he has received for the same offense.
                Plain and simple, that is unjust — and the three-man arbitration panel that denied Morse's grievance knows it.


                Michael Morse has already served two suspensions stemming from his use of steroids between Nov. 2003 and Jan. 2004. (Michael Zagaris / Getty Images)

                "The panel recognizes that this result might be viewed as unfair to Michael Morse, a further suspension resulting from conduct which likely ended before the 2004 season began," the panel states in its decision, details of which were obtained by FOXSports.com.

                From the moment Major League Baseball and the players' association agreed to announce penalties for those who tested positive for steroids, representatives on the players' side feared that a player could be wrongly smeared.

                In the case of Morse, 23, those fears have proven justified. If ever there was a steroid user who deserves sympathy, Morse is it. Since his promotion to the Mariners on June 1, he has posted a .360 on-base percentage and emerged as a potential building block while playing shortstop and left field.

                Now this.

                Unlike Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro, who hinted that he was the victim of contamination, and Mariners right-hander Ryan Franklin, who said he took only legal, over-the-counter supplements. Morse takes full responsibility for his use of two different forms of steroids.

                He just doesn't understand why he's a victim of triple jeopardy, getting penalized for testing positive in May when he already received minor-league suspensions for the same transgression in May and July of 2004.

                If commissioner Bud Selig wants to implement a "three- strikes-and-out" policy — a 50-game suspension for a first offense, 100-game suspension for a second and lifetime ban for a third — then it's imperative that MLB's testing program be evenhanded.

                Ditto if Congress carries out its threat to crack down on steroid use in pro sports; four proposed bills, including one authored by Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., a Hall of Fame pitcher, call for a two-year ban for a first-time offense and a lifetime ban for a second.

                From MLB's perspective, Morse gained a competitive advantage and was allowed to return while still benefiting from that advantage, a far less damaging outcome than if he were forced to sit out until the steroids no longer were in his system.

                The MLB policy often is criticized as too lenient. In this case, it looks too stringent. Critics can't have it both ways, but for the next Michael Morse, there has to be a more equitable solution.

                Morse's suspension gives the appearance that MLB is more interested in demonstrating the worthiness of its current program to Congress than in treating its players fairly.

                It also points out a significant flaw in the sport's testing process: A player who tests positive in the minors can be punished repeatedly for that offense, then punished again in the majors as long as the steroid stays in his system.

                That problem, which MLB and the players' union should have anticipated, needs to be addressed. The arbitration panel viewed the major- and minor-league programs as separate and distinct.

                The panel's decision states:


                That Morse's positive test in May was "more likely than not" from the same use that led to each of his two minor-league suspensions.

                That it is "undisputed" that the low amount of the substance found when Morse tested positive in May has no performance-enhancing effect.

                That the evidence supports Morse's testimony that he last used steroids during the 2003-04 off-season.
                If the point of the program is to educate and deter players, then Morse should be held up as a success: He learned from his mistake and stopped using performance-enhancing drugs.

                Suspended this season
                The following major league players have been suspended for testing positive for a banned substance in the first year of MLB's new steroid policy:


                Sept. 7 - Michael Morse, IF/OF, Mariners

                Aug. 2 - Ryan Franklin, P, Mariners

                Aug. 1 - Rafael Palmeiro, 1B, Orioles

                July 8 - Rafael Betancourt, P, Indians

                May 2 - Juan Rincon, P, Twins

                April 26 - Jamal Strong, OF, Mariners

                April 20 - Agustin Montero, P, Rangers

                April 11 - Jorge Piedra, OF, Rockies

                April 4 - Alex Sanchez, OF, Devil Rays


                Instead, he becomes just another statistic for MLB.

                Morse testified that he suffered a torn left-thigh muscle in 2000. As time passed, the muscle deteriorated to the point where the strength in his left thigh was about 50 percent of his right thigh.

                In Oct. 2003, after completing Instructional League play, Morse feared his career was in jeopardy. In November and December, he took Deca Durabolin to increase the strength in his thigh muscle. In Jan. 2004, he took Winstrol to shed his excess muscle and weight. But by Feb. 1, 2004, he testified that he had stopped taking all substances.

                In the major-league program, the burden of proof is on MLB to prove that the player used steroids a second time. Typically, MLB would do that by showing that a player had the same level of steroids in his system or an increased amount. But in the minor-league program, the burden of proof is on the player, who theoretically could be tested daily and found in violation each time until the steroid is out of his system — a power that could be abused by MLB.

                Minor leaguers, who are not members of the Major League Baseball Players' Association, are unable to avoid additional suspensions even when subsequent tests show decreasing amounts of steroid levels. That's what happened with Morse, who was penalized twice in three months for the same usage. Each time, he was allowed back on the field with steroids in his system — while subject to further testing.

                When Morse joined the Mariners, he became subject to the MLB policy, again with steroids still in his system. Rather than consider his special circumstances, the panel interpreted the testing policy literally.

                The panel consisted of Shyam Das, an arbitrator, John McHale Jr., MLB's executive-vice president of administration, and Stephen Fehr, a union official who is the brother of union chief Donald Fehr. Das, the panel chairman, effectively cast the deciding vote. After reinstating Rangers left-hander Kenny Rogers last month — Das angered MLB officials by reducing the pitcher's 20-game suspension for shoving two cameramen to 13 games — the arbitrator might have been worried that a decision in favor of Morse would have cost him his position. Das is jointly employed by the MLB and the MLBPA with the understanding that he can be fired by either party.

                Instead, the person who gets hurt is Morse, who admitted to his mistake, served his minor-league punishment and received no performance-enhancing benefit from the amount of steroid for which he tested positive in the majors.

                Regardless, MLB is sticking it to him.

                It's a terrible message. And terribly unfair.
                v


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                • #12
                  I would expect that there will be some sort of legal challenge in MLB's future...

                  Comment


                  • #13
                    That's good stuff from Rosenthal. I agree with him.

                    Comment


                    • #14
                      Originally posted by backstop@Sep 7 2005, 04:12 PM
                      That's good stuff from Rosenthal. I agree with him.
                      ++

                      Gammons weighs in:

                      Sept. 7
                      The first time Mike Morse tested positive, he was in the White Sox' farm system, in May 2004.

                      "I told them the truth," Morse said Wednesday afternoon. "I didn't tell them that it was a mistake or it was a supplement or that I didn't know how it got in my body. I told them I took steroids. I told them I made a mistake, that the test was correct. And I was violated."

                      The Mariners rookie was suspended Wednesday -- for that same mistake -- for the third time.

                      "This is really an incredible thing, and I was embarrassed and ashamed," Morse said. "But how many times do I have to pay for this? But at least this is over. I've been living with this nightmare since my hearing [July 19 in Toronto], waiting for a decision."

                      Arbitrator Sam Das backed every aspect of Morse's story. In his decision, he said there were no performance-enhancing effects gained from the low level of steroids found in his blood in early May. Das acknowledged that Morse was being punished for the same offense three times, but noted that, because there is no correlation between the minor- and major-league tests, the Players Association considers the player to have a blank slate when he is put on a major-league roster.

                      "People are forever going to think that the only reason I got to the big leagues was because I took steroids," said the 23-year-old Morse, who is hitting .287 and had a huge hit in the Mariners' 3-2 win Tuesday night -- just hours after breaking down in tears in the clubhouse when informed of MLB's impending announcement. "I'm in the majors despite the steroids, but who believes it?"

                      The arbitrator believed him, but would not overturn MLB's decision, which offers up a positive test to Congress.

                      Morse was 21 years old and had a severely torn thigh muscle at the end of the 2003 season.

                      "I really thought my career could be over," he said. "I was trying to rehab, but it wasn't going well [in fact, it still isn't completely healed]. So I tried to speed it up."

                      In November and December of 2003, Morse took Deca. Then he found he was getting too big, and tried Winstrol.

                      "I quickly found that I made a serious mistake," Morse said. "But I paid the price."

                      He tested positive in May 2004. A month later, he was traded to Seattle in the Freddy Garcia deal. He told the Mariners that he had tested positive, that he'd taken nothing since January, but he was tested again in July -- and tested positive again. The test showed a noticeable decline in the steroids, confirming his assertion. But the Players Association cannot deal with minor-league cases, and Morse -- then playing for Double-A San Antonio -- was suspended again.

                      "This winter, I hired a nutritionist because I wanted to make sure that I didn't put anything in my body that could test positive," Morse said.

                      However, when he was tested this May, there was a minor residue from the steroids he said he last took 14 months earlier, a claim that doctors in the arbitration hearing said could be true.

                      "The arbitrator even said that there is little doubt that because there was so little left -- .2 above the level -- that he accepted my story as the truth," Morse said. "But they didn't care that I'd been punished twice before. Right now, everything is completely out of my body."

                      But Mike Morse is out for 10 days.

                      Because of the unusual nature of the case, Morse's positive test went to the arbitrator. It was heard in Toronto after the All-Star break.

                      "That was the worst series of my career," Morse said. "I think I made five errors. But I've been living with this ever since, not sleeping, worried about the result. Now this."

                      Morse said manager Mike Hargrove has known about his dilemma, and according to Morse, he's "been really supportive. I didn't think I'd be in the lineup [Tuesday] night, but he put me in there. Maybe that was the best thing."

                      He played left field, and almost caught on fire when he slid into a heater in the Oakland bullpen trying to make a catch. He had two hits, including a double, scored a run and had an RBI.

                      "Playing," he said, "took my mind off this nightmare."

                      There is no question that baseball needs a stronger steroids testing system. But that doesn't mean that it should have a system that suspends human rights and fairness. That Morse could be suspended three times for the same mistake is unfair. Because minor-league players have no union protection, the lack of coordination between the minor and major leagues raises the specter of potential abuse by the commissioner's office. Also, the notion that everyone who enters the Players Association has a clean slate means that a player could test positive five times in the NFL, switch sports and have no record.

                      The Morse case is a reminder that steroids can be a complex area, and that while multimillion-dollar players can afford masking agents to escape tests not capable of detecting designer drugs, a minor leaguer -- scared that his career could be over -- can be in violation three times for the same mistake.

                      Major League Baseball knew all this. But because offenders are run up the flagpole and held out in the square of public opinion as an offering to Congress, a Mike Morse can be a three-time loser for a one-time offense.

                      "I never tried to claim that there was a mistake [in the testing]; I tried to be honest," he said.

                      The mistakes are in the system.

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