JJO asks if the Astros' organization has a drug problem, in the wake of Gabe Garcia's 50-game suspension yesterday.
What constitutes a drug problem in the farm system? Is it one guy being caught or two or a dozen? How about one a month? Or two a month?
How about if it's two in one month being suspended for 50 games.
Well, the Astros this month have been so lousy that their number of series victories in the majors (one) is half the number of minor-league players suspended (two) for violating baseball's minor-league drug prevention and treatment.
Any way you cut that, you must say there is a problem considering Houston is the city that produced admitted performance-enhancement drug user Andy Pettitte.
Let's stop there for a second, because this is a little absurd. Lumping Andy Pettitte in with this season's Astros' minor-league suspensions is a stretch. JJO is basically saying Houston, the city, has a drug problem, not just the Astros. Which, as a member of the graduating class of Sam Rayburn High School (class of '98), I could agree with. But if we're basing drugs in baseball on drugs in metropolitan areas, everybody has a drug problem.
Let's pick it back up:
Asked how many of his minor-leaguers have tested positive this year, Astros assistant general manager Ricky Bennett, the farm director, said he couldn't give out that information. So it's unclear how rampant drug use is in the Astros' farm system, if at all.
Lumping Einertson in with Garcia isn't fair, either, because they were two totally different types of drugs. Garcia used performance-enhancing drugs. Einertson used performance-debilitating drugs.
Anyhow, Wade, on his concern:
"That said, I think our numbers, I know they're below the average for the 30 clubs. But again, what we as an industry have to get to the point of zero players testing positive of any type of substances. And basically having zero tolerance for it. That's what the drug program has accomplished. If you see enough of your teammates missing 50 games, I think the message — unless you're a little dense — the message should be getting through. Some of these kids who have tested, I think they were somewhat victimized by ignorance of what they're ingesting, where they got things. Other guys that where recreational drug usage or things like that that are occurring in our game then player have to look at their own lifestyles and figure out that's not going to work. The kid that just got suspended off the Greeneville club, I saw him pitch the other night. He walked off the mound in the fifth or sixth inning, and he's not going to see the mound for another 50 games. He's going to be pretty deep into next season before he's able to compete again...
...No matter what the circumstances are it's a shame that something like that would occur. That's why we have to continue to educate the kids and make sure that they know that they can't walk to the corner store or go into some health food outfit and think that they're getting something that isn't going to get them in trouble."
Do the Astros have a drug problem? If one person is on drugs, it's a problem, but it's a little premature to say it's a rampant, organization-wide issue.