Adam Dunn stood under the lights on Monday.
He wasn’t thrilled to be there.
None of Dunn’s White Sox teammates really wanted to discuss Alex Rodriguez and the 12 other players suspended for their connection to Biogenesis on Monday. But there they were, forced again to talk about baseball and performance-enhancing drugs.
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Unlike his 12 peers, all of whom accepted their punishments for their involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, Rodriguez appealed his 211-game suspension and returned to the Yankees' lineup, which transformed U.S. Cellular Field into the center of the baseball universe on Monday.
Frustration is a word often thrown around these days whenever the topic is broached. You heard it during pregame as well as earlier Monday when former big league pitcher Dan Meyer ripped Philadelphia’s Antonio Bastardo -- one of the suspended -- on his Twitter account for using PEDs because he believes it gave the pitcher an unfair advantage in their battle for a job. The emotion was voiced even louder last month when Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Skip Schumacher ripped Ryan Braun, who is serving a 65-game suspension, saying players caught cheating should get a lifetime ban.
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Players realize these suspensions are a step in the right direction and signs Major League Baseball’s drug testing is working. But they’re also fed up with peers being caught and having to answer for them.
“It’s stupid,” Dunn said. “Twenty minutes before stretch, I don’t want to sit here and talk about things that don’t affect anyone on this team. … It’s been frustrating since Day 1, since the first guy got caught. I don’t think anything’s changed other than guys getting caught multiple times. It’s not very smart.”
White Sox manager Robin Ventura disagrees with Dunn to an extent.
He sees a difference in how players respond now compared to when he played. Ventura can see a voice in players now.
He attributes the difference in attitude to MLB’s testing program and how players believe the playing field has been leveled.
“Major League Baseball is going to catch guys who are doing things,” Ventura said. “It’s unfortunate but it’s been a part of the game for a while and they’re just doing a better job now of finding ways to catch guys. … It has changed a bit. Major League Baseball is making the effort that they are now. It’s shifted from before. There was not a lot people could do about it (then). Now it has changed for the better. It’s just for better for everyone.”
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Second baseman Gordon Beckham hopes the suspensions result in fewer future incidents. He agrees in some ways it casts a bad light on baseball, but believes far more players are clean than using PEDs, which should lead to less negative publicity in the years ahead.
“There are a lot of players that go out there and do it the right way and they’ll continue doing that,” Beckham said. “You just don’t hear about it as much. For some reason, people don’t want to talk about the good in the game. They always want to talk about the bad, all the negatives. There are a lot of good players, there are a lot of players that do it the right way. I think that’ll start coming through more, hopefully.”
Dunn just hopes it means less time in front of the cameras answering questions about performance-enhancing drugs.
“Yeah, I’m sweating,” Dunn said. “I’ve got lights in my face for no apparent reason and I’m sweating.”