Positive tests no longer surprising
There are few surprises left when it comes to baseball and steroids. We've been over this enough times. The newest report names
I know in my heart that Kuip never used. For everyone else, there's the old
So, no surprises, except for this: I'm constantly surprised that players who apparently have used steroids will tell such incredibly bold and fantastic lies. Sure, it's human nature to lie in order to protect yourself. Presidents do it. People of faith do it. Even educated fleas do it. But why some athletes go SO FAR out of their way to say these absurd things ... that part remains baffling.
Think about this: Why did
No, I don't get it. Look, there was little shock or awe when
No, nobody could be too stunned about this MannyBManny and Big Papi report. Ramirez has only recently returned from a 50-game suspension for violating drug policy.
And Ortiz? Well, looking back, his story sure reads like the prototypical steroid story you would see in Hollywood. He was a large and slow player without a defensive position. He was a player to be named later in a
And then ... 31 home runs ... 41 home runs ... 47 home runs ... 54 home runs. His on-base percentages skyrocketed. He became Big Papi, the Clutch Creature, the Wizard of Walk-off Homers. He would spit on his hands, clasp them together, bang long home runs and then point to his mother
Hope for the best. Expect the worst.
Knowing what we now know, suspecting what we now suspect, no, it would be disingenuous to say that there was no way anyone could see a Big Papi steroid charge coming. But the question is: Why would he say all the goofy things he said leading up to this? Why would he make that comment about how all anyone would find in him is rice and beans? Why would he, five months ago, talk about how all players should be tested relentlessly and say that players who test positive should be banned for a year? Why would he so boldly stand out on this issue when he tested positive in 2003?
I don't know what it is ... people around the game seem to wonder if maybe Ortiz did not know he tested positive in '03 or if maybe he tested positive because of something he unknowingly took or something like that. But that sounds like an excuse.
Is it hypocrisy? Self-delusion? Arrogance? I don't know. Maybe it's only this: For so long, baseball players were led to believe that there was nothing really wrong about taking performance-enhancing drugs. There was no testing. The baseball rules about steroids were fuzzy at best. The chances of getting caught were slim and none. And the sense was that if you wanted to compete in this new game, you needed to do something. There was probably a lot of winking during the Selig Era.
And so maybe after all that, players simply convinced themselves that they weren't doing anything wrong. Hey, they were only doing what they had to do to play the game well every day for a long season. Hey, they were only trying to come back from injury or trying to stay in the game a little longer. Hey, they were working out hard. Hey, they were only trying to compete with other players who, they suspected (and knew), were juicing.
Then, when the tide turned and steroid-users became pariahs and
No, all he can say is what he did say on Thursday: "I'm not talking about that anymore."