Get all of the “performance-enhancing” jokes out of your system up front. His performance this year, obviously, wasn’t very good.
Today, MLB announced that Marlon Byrd – recently released by the Red Sox – had been suspended 50 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug (Tamoxifen). Byrd had been dealt to the Red Sox earlier this year by the Cubs in what was very much a pure dump, and was subsequently actually dumped by the Red Sox. His 2012 season numbers were abysmal, and he never seemed to recover after being hit in the face by a pitch last year.
Byrd has long been connected to steroid speculation – notice I did not say “long been connected to steroids” – because of his relationship with BALCO founder, and noted PED pusher, Victor Conte. Byrd was an open book about his training and supplementing with Conte, and stood firm by it even in the face of criticism from Commissioner Bud Selig.
Alas, now we’ll always wonder if Byrd became desperate after his struggles to end the year in 2011, or if he’s been a user all along.
It’s a real shame, for so many reasons, most of which are tied to how much I liked Byrd as a player. He was a great teammate, a hard worker, and a generally positive role model for younger players. Now I don’t know what I think. Fortunately for Byrd, years of PEDness in baseball have largely numbed me to news like this. Shrug.
As for Byrd, this could mark a very sad end to his professional career. He was probably going to struggle to find a job as it was, but with this black mark and a 50-game suspension hanging over his head? It could well be over.