Photo from fOTOGLIF
Ibanez went from stellar to less than stellar last year
Raul Ibanez was scorching right out of the gate for the Phillies in his first year of his three year contract. The season wore on and the mystic that swirled around Raul went from, “Who’s this?” to “He must be juiced” and anywhere in between. Raul Ibanez jumped out as the leader of the Phillies until mid season when it all just turned around for Raul and then he was mediocre at best.
In June of last year, there was a report published in a midwestern sports blog that supposedly linked Raul to the steroids issue that has been so prevalent with the bigger names in the game in the last couple years. Raul went on the defensive and attacked the blogger personally, and from that point on in the season was his turning point really. It turns out that the comment wasn’t meant to be an ‘all truth’ just a possible explanation for his stellar start with the Phillies. Raul’s stinging response to the guy who wrote it made headlines everywhere.
Here is what I wrote last year about Raul’s explosive behavior when asked about ‘steroids’ or ‘peds’.
June 11, 2009 FightinPhillies.com:
I followed this story after it broke in the media, and as a professional baseball player you are going to be asked questions you don't really care to hear. Claiming you're going to sue everyone involved in this silly matter even goes further into the sublime. Did listeners on television who heard Chase Utley utter those famous words after the Phillies won the World Series, that incidentally rang out over public airwaves. Was there a rush to sue anyone? Nothing, not that I am aware of.
The official 'press' feeds off of blogs now as much as bloggers feed off of the printed words of the official press.That is just how it is. Bloggers aren't a bunch of yahoos looking to diss sports players, they are writers that write about a million different things. Drugs in sports is one of them. The fact that a reporter from the Inquirer actually confronted Ibanez should have been an opportunity for Raul to take the high road and explain the dangers of taking illegal banned substances and he never took them would have been a sufficient answer.
You know, in Seattle there used to be a player named Alex Rodriguez he also said he never took steroids, we now know that to be untrue. Not to say Ibanez isn't being truthful but in this day and age you don't really know. The saga of the drug scandal in the MLB has many names involved in it, and a simple question shouldn't turn out to be a raging volcano.
Yes, Raul’s turning point was about June, he never was the same player after this for the rest of the season. We’ll have to see what happens this season as the Opening Day is even closer now with 11 days to go.