This was Justin Verlander's reaction on Twitter Wednesday to the news that outfielder Marlon Byrd of the Cleveland Indians had tested positive (again) for PEDs:
Byrd is 38. Because this is his second time caught, he's suspended 162 games. There's a pretty good chance his career is over. But that's true of pretty much any player in his late 30s, much less one who was never really a star.
Byrd claims that he took a tainted supplement that wasn't on the approved list. Maybe so, but again -- second time. It's difficult to give him the benefit of the doubt. And according to Baseball Reference, he's pulled in more than $16 million since his 2012 suspension. On a risk-reward basis, considering where he was on the career arc at the time, there was an incentive for him to cheat, and if he was cheating the past three years, it paid off for him.
But looking at Verlander's angry emoticon reminds me: It's easy for players to denounce users on other teams. We didn't see or hear Verlander rejecting the return of Jhonny Peralta for the playoffs in 2013. Peralta hit a crucial homer in the postseason, then landed a $53 million contract from the Cardinals.
One can understand the frustration of clean players with the guys who appear to profit from steroid use. But it seems to me that the continuing cycle of clubhouse acceptance of those same players helps permit it. The guys who served as replacement players during the 1994-95 strike were never accepted by their teammates the way those who've tested positive for PEDs are.
When the players lash out at the positive testers who wear the same uniform, I'll take the outrage more seriously.