Romero Settlement “Validates” Phils’ Title – Phillies Nation
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Romero Settlement “Validates” Phils’ Title

Back in 2008, Phillies lefty reliever J.C. Romero tested positive for banned substances and was subsequently suspended for the first 50 games of the 2009 season. Some felt the findings in Romero’s test tainted the World Series victory by Philadelphia that year. Romero contested that he had only used supplements purchased at local vitamin chains and the companies responsible for those items should be held accountable for mislabeling their products.

Romero took his issues to court, filing lawsuits in New Jersey Superior Court in early 2009 that named GNC and Vitamin Shoppe as defendants in addition to the manufacturing companies, Ergopharm and Proviant Technologies. According to the NY Daily News, testing done on the vitamins revealed that they were tainted with the banned substance, androstenedione, that Romero tested positive for. This month, nearly three years later, Romero has reached a settlement, which Romero hopes will clear his name and provide closure for Philadelphia fans. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

The 35-year-old recently signed with the reigning World Series champs, the St. Louis Cardinals, but the man who got the “W” in two of the Phillies’ four 2008 World Series victories clearly still has a soft spot for the city in which he experienced his best days, as he still has great concern for the validity of the club’s second ever championship.

“The amount of money (in the settlement) isn’t relevant,” Romero told the Daily News this week. “What is relevant is that people know my side. Some fans questioned my integrity. Now there is some closure and I can say the 2008 World Series was legit.”

In parts of 5 seasons with the Phillies, Romero went 6-6 with a 2.73 ERA and 4 saves in 273 regular season games. In 13 career post season games with Philadelphia, Romero posted a 2-1 record with a 0.87 ERA. The Puerto Rican born hurler was originally a 27th round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins in 1997.

In 2009, as Romero pitched in the minors to get ready for his late start to the regular season, forced by the suspension, he offered these exclusive thoughts to PhoulBallz.com, when I asked him about the status of efforts to clear his name…

“We’re still in a battle, man. We got a couple law suits going out there. The whole thing has been a mess from the day that it happened. And the sad thing is that, knowing that everybody knows my case is totally different to what is happening with a good friend of mine, Manny (Ramirez), what happened with A-Rod, and all that. But, ya’ know, life is not fair. Sometimes things happen in life, and you can’t even explain it, you can’t expect it, I mean things happen, so this is just a bump in the road. You have to keep your head up and keep on battling.

“Like I say many times, and I stick with it- in the end, you gotta really protect your career. And that’s the message that I’m trying to tell these kids (the minor leaguers)…there’s no union, there’s no MLB representative, commissioner…nobody’s going to protect your career. You gotta do it yourself. ‘Cause when everything’s said and done, you get suspended and you’re just by yourself. I learned that the hard way, and now I’m just moving forward.”

With all the legal matters behind him, and with the ability to truly move on, at long last, Romero also stated where his full focus will now be.

“Now I can focus on dominating for another five years, hopefully,” Romero told the Daily News.

Now that Romero’s a member of the team that stunningly eliminated the Phils from the 2011 postseason, I don’t think there are many Phillies fans that would care to see that happen….no matter how much love for their city he oozes.

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Jay Floyd is PhilliesNation’s minor league insider.  You can read more from Jay by visiting his site, PhoulBallz.com.

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0 Comments

  1. jwmann2

    January 11, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Romero could have avoided this mess by letting the Phillies and the MLB know, “Hey, I’m taking this supplement, is it ok?”
    College players get suspended all the time for the same nonsense.
    http://www.fromthisseat.com.

    • JohnFilm

      January 13, 2012 at 1:21 pm

      Im pretty sure he did do that and they were like “Yeah it’s cool.” Then a month later they said “PSYCH!”

    • Brian Sr. of CO

      January 14, 2012 at 4:28 am

      He did inform MLB IN WRITING what he was taking, and they informed him it was ok. He was informed it was ok because the products were not labeled correctly (hence the lawsuit). They backed away from the approval because he tested positive. So, no, he could not have avoided this mess at all.

  2. Don M

    January 11, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    I think that point was brought up before that MLB did not have a list of approved supplements or something… But a guy can say he was taking xyz and if abc also shows up in a drug test then he must have take that too… I guess I’m in the dark I this but I dont understand these guys pushing the envelope with all these substances and supplements.

  3. betasigmadeltashag

    January 11, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    If I remember correctly according to JC he did check to make sure that the suppliments he was taking were approved by MLB. So he did check, but what he took had the banned stuff in them and not listed. And why would you not take suppliments that are legal to help build your body while working out these are athletes. That is like saying they should not lift weights to there max because they could get hurt.
    Good for JC that he has proven he was not cheating

  4. George

    January 11, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    Unfortunately, the MLB drug policy goes overboard to “protect” the sport. The people in charge sometimes behave like the TSA did in confiscating a woman’s cupcake, or when they check baby diapers for explosives. Romero got caught in the middle of a rules limbo, but MLB absolutely HAD to be right (even if they weren’t),HAD to make a point, HAD to prove the game’s so-called integrity.

    I suspect much the same with the Ryan Braun matter. He’ll get shafted even though his tested levels appear to be impossible no matter what he may have used/not used, or whether or not they were prescribed by a licensed MD.

    The problem is that although baseball is trying to maintain their integrity, they are doing so at the expense of some people who are actually trying to go by the rules. Even if he was innocent, Romero lost playing time, his team suffered, his career was threatened; and certain fans will still judge both him and the ’08 Phils as being cheaters.

  5. Chuck A.

    January 12, 2012 at 8:56 am

    I never thought of the ’08 Phillies as “cheaters”. Romero was stupid for playing with fire….even if he was legal. Like Don said earlier, why do these guys have to constantly “push the envelope” ?

    • George

      January 13, 2012 at 2:37 pm

      Wait a minute…these were supposed to be vitamin supplements. Supposedly legal. Is it “playing with fire” or “stupid” or “pushing the envelope” to try to maintain one’s physical condition? A long season takes a lot of energy, and a player can certainly feel drained in the final months.

      But yes, maybe he should have tried something better, like amphetamines, or just finished out the year by collapsing on the mound.

      • Don M

        January 13, 2012 at 4:39 pm

        I think the supplement that he took was found to increase Testosterone, and decrease Estrogen … it was far from a “vitamin”… but not much different than many of the supplements that ANY athelete takes ..

        Baseball has a tough spot now in determining what is/isn’t a “drug” or something that players use to cheat vs somehting that players just use to help keep them strong enough to get the the 162-game grind …

        In a perfect world, players would eat right, excercise, lift weights, and just take regular vitamins … but that’s not reality- so as with Romero, Ryan Braun … you are going to see cases like this pop up all the time

  6. Tracey

    January 14, 2012 at 8:15 am

    For those who can’t remember the original story, here’s one from the time when the suspension first came down:
    http://www.csnphilly.com/pages/landing_homepage/?&JC-Romero-Draws-50-Game-Suspension=1&blockID=34830&feedID=717

    Short version for the Twitter impaired: the MLB Players’ Association, among others, told him that OTC supplements were OK. It was only after he tested positive that they said it wasn’t OK and suspended him. Their letter to him AFTER he tested positive said:

    “We have previously told you there is no reason to believe a supplement bought at a U.S. based retail store could cause you to test positive under our Drug Program. That is no longer true. We have recently learned of three substances which can be bought over the counter at stores in the United States that will cause you to test positive. These three supplements were purchased at a GNC and Vitamin Shoppe in the U.S.”

  7. Tracey

    January 14, 2012 at 8:39 am

    But I don’t see how this is going to validate the Phillies victory in the eyes of the haters. They never required facts to accuse Phillies of cheating. Case in point: Ibanez was continually called a steroid user in the absence of any evidence whatsoever.

  8. jiudd

    April 15, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    **** {{w w w }} {{fashion-long-4biz }} {{ com}}

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