I began suspecting it while hanging around the San Francisco Giants' clubhouse this summer on the off chance that Barry Bonds might say something profound. Even though not many of them could pitch or hit very well, it sure seemed like there were an awful lot of big guys hanging around in there.
Bonds was the biggest, of course, thanks to hard work and the benefits of flaxseed oil. Still, I couldn't help wondering if there was a reason his trainer preferred sitting in a federal jail rather than talk about the possibility Bonds lied about using steroids.
Now comes word that Greg Anderson isn't the only one keeping his mouth shut. Baseball's steroids investigator wants to talk to 45 mostly current players about the stuff they use, but none of them want to talk to him.
That likely includes Troy Glaus of the Toronto Blue Jays, who hit seven home runs in the 2002 playoffs and was the World Series MVP. According to SI.com, he celebrated the next year by ordering multiple shots of Nandrolone and testosterone.
And then there's the feel-good story of the year that suddenly doesn't feel so good anymore. Rick Ankiel was Babe Ruth without a belly, but the Babe wouldn't have known what human growth hormone was if it was slathered on his pre-game hot dog.
So many athletes, so many stories. A reasonable person can draw only one conclusion:
Everyone is juiced.
That's right. Everyone.
And not just in baseball. Cycling has pretty much imploded as a sport, the defending Olympic 100-m champion faces an eight-year suspension after testing positive, and it seems like a weightlifter is caught every week.
Gary Player believes golfers are using, and things have gotten so bad that even guys in fake sports or guys who fake being in sports are being busted. Ten WWE wrestlers were recently suspended, and Sylvester Stallone was caught bringing HGH and testosterone into Australia.
If Rocky's using, it figures everyone else must be, too.
So if Ankiel used HGH, what does Albert Pujols use? How does Alex Rodriguez hit so many home runs, and how can Roger Clemens still hit low 90s with his fastball at an age where most former pitchers can't even get their arm above their shoulder?
I'm even beginning to get a little suspicious about David Eckstein.
The point is we can't believe anyone anymore. It's going to be a long time before we ever can.
In Ankiel we finally had a story we thought we could believe in. Hollywood couldn't have come up with a better script than this.
Failed pitcher goes back to the minors, works like a dog, and returns reborn as a slugger.
Turns out the joke is on us. Sure, Ankiel has an excuse, but after a while the excuses all seem the same. No one ever did anything on purpose, no one ever knows what they were taking, and no one ever admits anything.
LOTS OF REASONS
Everyone cheats, or so it seems. The ones who don't are simply guilty by association.
They do it to prolong their careers, or to take them to a new level. They do it because the money is too good not to, and they do it because they believe the players on the other side of the field do it.
Most of all, they do it because they can. Players got away with steroids for years because testing was either lax or nonexistent, and now the fuel of choice is HGH, which may be the perfect body builder because it can't be found in urine tests.
The question then becomes do fans care? Does it bother them that not only the all-time home run record is tainted, but also the 2002 World Series win by the Angels? Does it matter that the big hits put on the football field came with some artificial help?
Apparently not, because we're still buying tickets.
St. Louis fans will still cheer Ankiel just like San Francisco fans cheered Bonds. All will be forgiven in Toronto the next time Glaus hits a home run.
It's all just a game. No one is responsible.
Besides, everyone must be doing it.