ACC Media Day: Defending champion Mulder hits hard when it comes to PEDs in baseball

Anthony Gentile
Mark Mulder hoists the trophy after winning the 2015 American Century Championship.
Anthony Gentile / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

Mark Mulder played his entire Major League Baseball career without help from performance-enhancing drugs. As a result, the former All-Star pitcher and defending American Century Championship winner has no problems voicing his opinion regarding their use in today’s game.

“I’ve tried to be outspoken about everyone who tests positive,” said Mulder, who was at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course for ACC Media Day on Tuesday, June 7.

On Twitter six days earlier, Mulder responded to the news of Cleveland Indians outfielder and 15-year MLB veteran Marlon Byrd’s 162-game suspension for a second positive test with strong statements. He initially reacted to the news using the famous catchphrase of Chicago White Sox announcer Hawk Harrelson.

“He gone!! (Hawk Harrelson voice). Not surprised one bit,” Mulder tweeted from his account, @markmulder20.

“The thing that bothers me the most is the guys that have spent the last couple of years in the minor leagues who maybe would have his job, and maybe would have made a million or two in the big leagues,” Mulder said. “Yet you have guys cheating, taking those jobs, taking that money, taking that service time — taking away a different life.”

High-profile players getting caught for cheating has a greater impact on the overall landscape of MLB. Mulder, however, said those aren’t the cases that bother him the most.

“It’s those fringe guys who cheat and pass up Triple-A guys — and those guys now spend 12 years in Triple-A and never get a shot, but you got four years because you’re all juiced up or on HGH,” Mulder said. “Their lives are changed because of cheaters — they wanted to do it the right way and they wanted to do it clean.”

And Byrd, who has earned roughly $40 million as a .275 hitter with 159 home runs while playing for 10 different teams, certainly fits that mold. Byrd was suspended for 50 games in 2012 while playing with the Boston Red Sox, and the latest suspension likely ended the 38-year-old’s playing career.

“Guys choose to do this stuff — some of the stuff Marlon Byrd took is not stuff that gets ingested by chance. It is designed for a certain [result],” Mulder said. “He’s had a 12-to-14-year career, and probably been doing it the whole time.”

Mulder’s nine-year career in the big leagues with the Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals was ended in 2010 as the result of a shoulder injury. A comeback attempt in 2014 came to a halt with an Achilles injury in spring training.

“I was fortunate that I made it and I didn’t have to cheat to do it,” Mulder said. “With my injuries that ended my career at basically 29 years old, could I have tried something to help? Maybe, but I never once gave it a shot and nor would I have it any other way.”

Performance-enhancing drugs were more prevalent during Mulder’s playing days, and he said the game is now cleaner as the result of increasingly stricter testing. As a result, however, he believes MLB is scrutinized in that area more than any professional sport in the U.S.

“Baseball’s test is so much better than everyone else’s,” Mulder said. “The whole NFL testing is a joke — and that’s not to try to call them out, but if they had baseball’s testing they might have half a roster.

“Baseball has this full-on rap that if one guy does it, now we have to find the rest and we have to investigate. That I’m all for, but baseball takes a beating for it — and other sports don’t.”

MLB is continuing to crack down on cheating in the game. Mulder is all for the direction things are headed — and not shy to talk about it.

“There’s way more guys doing it the right way now than before,” Mulder said.

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