Had Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz caught that fly ball in right field to win Game 6 of the 2010 World Series, he could rob a bank in downtown Arlington and baseball fans in the Dallas-Forth Worth area wouldn’t so much as bat an eye. But since he missed the catch and then this year was reportedly connected to the Biogenesis Clinic in Miami, he was not a popular player in Texas for a while. That’s changed now that he leads all American League outfielders with 21 home runs, which got him selected as a reserve in the 2013 MLB All-Star game. But that PED suspension could still come, and that would change everything.
Sure, Nellie belted a grand slam to lead the Rangers to a 10-5 win over the Houston Astros on Friday night, capping his All-Star candidacy in dramatic fashion, but even though his performance this season has made everyone forget about his possible PED use, it’s still there. There have been a few quiet columns about the Rangers not having a plan in place if Cruz is lost for up to 100 games, which will reportedly be the consequence for all players found to be connected with the Biogenesis Clinic, but the situation has been overlooked for the most part, at least in Texas.
Cruz’s great year is to be commended, as well as his All-Star selection — for now. But if he’s found to be a violator of MLB’s policy against the use of PEDs, that will change, as it should. Cruz could once again go from lovable slugger to public enemy No. 1 in a heartbeat and for now, only he knows whether or not that will happen. Regardless, he better enjoy this high ride because it might be over soon.