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Hacking Away, Again

You may remember that some time ago myself and New York Daily News writer Bill Madden exchanged some words about the Rays and their payroll, it ended with him playing the homer card as we've come to expect from writers who can't back their opinion up. Well, here we go again, this time bringing Carlos Pena into the steroids spotlight:

You want to believe that everything about A-Rod's MVP season is genuine, just as fans in Tampa Bay want to believe in Carlos Pena's out-of-nowhere career year. Pena, a player who only once hit more than 20 homers in a season and who was released by three different teams last year, had 37 homers and 105 RBI going into yesterday. Making it almost as remarkable a story as Ankiel's, Pena was about to be released again by the Devil Rays in spring training, only to make the team because of an injury to incumbent first baseman Greg Norton.

Pena's season evokes thoughts of two other monster seasons from out of the sky. In 1996, the Orioles' Brady Anderson hit 50 homers, more than twice as many as he ever hit in any of his 14 other seasons, and it has been widely speculated that he was on steroids. Similarly, in 1961, the Detroit Tigers' Norm Cash won the American League batting title with a .361 mark. He never hit even .286 before or after that. Years later, Cash admitted to having used a corked bat with the only caveat being that he also used it the following year when he hit .243.

Incorrect Mr. Madden, Pena has hit 27 homeruns int the past and has always had power potential, Brady Anderson hit 50 and never more than 24 in his career, but hey keep swigging that grape juice Mr. Madden, I'm sure it's tasting a bit sour, almost like when you see Carlos performing at such a high level after the Yanks passed on him.