August 13, 2009
Neither, it seems, does he need the approval of Major League Baseball for the numerous substances he continues to put in his body despite the fact that several don't bear the blessing of the league.
Or so he tells Bob Nightengale of USA Today in one of the most honest articles you'll ever read on being a ballplayer who's desperately looking for an edge.
Here's Arroyo's money quote from Thursday's editions of the newspaper:
"I have a lot of guys in (the locker room) who think I'm out of (my) mind because I'm taking a lot of things not on the (MLB-approved) list," Arroyo says. "I take 10 to 12 different things a day, and on the days I pitch, there's four more things. There's a caffeine drink I take from a company that (former teammate) Curt Schilling(notes) introduced me to in '05. I take some Korean ginseng and a few other proteins out there that are not certified. But I haven't failed any tests, so I figured I'm good."
Yeah, I know. It seems a lot like Arroyo is basically saying, "Well, I've never died in my car while not wearing a seat belt and driving 100 MPH, so why start now?"
Oh wait, "Death Wish" actually makes that comparison — or at least comes close.
"It might be dangerous," he says, "but so is drinking and driving. And how many of us do it at least once a year? Pretty much everybody."
Arroyo shouldn't speak for the rest of us smart enough to take a cab, but there's actually a lot of interesting stuff in his article, including admitted past use of amphetamines, a denial that he's ever knowingly taken steroids and an insistence that baseball teams and the American public simply don't care about PED use.
From my viewpoint, I think it's silly that a guy like Arroyo, who's already established his place in the league and made a great deal of money, would continue to jeopardize his health and career by taking a bevy of supplements with unknown ingredients. I think it's also instructive to note that he's the very definition of an average pitcher — his career record is 81-81 — and that such supplements don't automatically vault each player into Hall of Fame status.
However, I applaud Arroyo for shedding some light on what goes through player's minds and better portraying the lifestyle — playing in Los Angeles one night, heading to Chicago the next afternoon — that makes players gravitate to such pick-me-ups.
You may not agree with Arroyo's motives or continued use of such supplements, but I think the best way to get to the root of any problem is to have an honest and open discussion about it. With these admissions, Arroyo manages to get the ball rolling.