I first remember Raul Ibanez as a member of the Philly's a few years ago ... and specifically recall the announcers describing his background while approaching home plate to bat in a game.
Before he even swung at the first pitch I said to myself tongue in cheek, this guy is a doper.
Why? He didn't look like a doper - but nobody does.
Because I just didn't believe the comeback story the Philly announcers were romantically weaving. Also as a Mets fan I hated the Philly's!
I still don't believe in comeback stories that are extreme. I am skeptical of any athlete that performs outside the norm to an extreme degree.
There's been too many stories .. like Armstrong and Braun etal
I would like to think baseball's current triple crown winner has been tested as well.
I'm not sure how MLB tests players insofar as test frequency and what triggers tests, and I want to make it crystal clear that I'm not saying that my gut is right ... but I would like to find out if someone who performs way above norm has been tested and when they were tested.
Players that are exceptional beyond belief should logically be tested more often for performance enhancers
Steroids have an acute and rapid beneficial effect on athletes. It is not at all a stretch to speculate that Ibanez could have benefited from doping.
I also understand that not all steroids are detectable as of yet. I may be wrong ... but I recall reading that certain steroids are still undetectable.
There's also the very real possibility that experimental drugs exist that have yet to be disclosed in scientific journals. There are a lot of plants in the tropics many of which have not been researched or even discovered.
One of the reasons I am suspicious of latin players is that many steroids are the product of plants found in tropical climates in South and Central America and on Islands worldwide.
Also, it seems the number of steroid users revealed thus far is heavily skewed towards latin and central american players.
I'm bringing all this up because of the extra-ordinary skill it takes to achieve what Ibanez has achieved in a very short period of time.
Was it skill, luck or something else?
It was likely skill and luck combined and not steroids. That is my honest hope.
But I'd like to know if he's a real hero ... or a test tube hero.