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Ibanez Responds to Steroids Speculation, Willing to Prove He's Clean

Jun 10, 2009 – 12:49 PM
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Tom Fornelli

Tom Fornelli %BloggerTitle%

When the Phillies signed Raul Ibanez to a three-year, $30 million deal this past offseason, there were quite a few people skeptical of giving a then-36-year-old (Raul turned 37 last week) outfielder $10 million for three years. Especially when we all saw how much other free agent outfielders ended up getting elsewhere. Plus there was the fact that, at 36 years old, no matter how well he's played, he has to start declining at some point.

Well that decline is yet to start. Ibanez is hitting .327 with 20 homers and 55 RBI for the Phillies this year, exceeding just about anybody's expectations. Of course, given the culture of today's game, in which we seemingly find out about a new superstar using steroids (though not raping or killing anybody) every few weeks, it's only natural to be somewhat suspicious of Ibanez's performance.

Which is exactly what the guys over at Midwest Sports Fans did this week when they wrote an article in which they didn't come out and say Ibanez was taking anything, but that it has to be considered a possibility. So then the Philadelphia Inquirer picked up on the story and asked Ibanez about it before Philadelphia's game on Tuesday night and it's not too surprising that Ibanez wasn't very pleased.
"I'll come after people who defame or slander me," he said before last night's game against the New York Mets. "It's pathetic and disgusting. There should be some accountability for people who put that out there.

"Unfortunately, I understand the environment we're in and the events that have led us to this era of speculation. At the same time, you can't just walk down the street and accuse somebody of being a thief because they didn't have a nice car yesterday and they do today. You can't say that guy is a thief.

"You can have my urine, my hair, my blood, my stool - anything you can test. I'll give you back every dime I've ever made" if the test is positive.

"I'll put that up against the jobs of anyone who writes this stuff. Make them accountable. There should be more credibility than some 42-year-old blogger typing in his mother's basement. It demeans everything you've done with one stroke of the pen.

"Nobody is above the testing policy. We've seen that."
It's hard to blame Ibanez for being upset about this because having people hurl these kinds of allegations at you without any evidence is, no doubt, extremely annoying. Still, as I said earlier, the original post at MSF never comes out and says he's on steroids. In fact, the majority of the post is an attempt to disprove the theory, but in the end it just concludes that there are reasons to be suspicious.

If anything, in my opinion, the Philadelphia Inquirer was making a mountain out of a mole hill with this story. So maybe instead of going after the 42-year-old blogger in his mom's basement, Ibanez should look at the guy who has actually left his mom's house and came to visit the clubhouse.
Filed under: Sports