By Ryan McGowan
Some quick hitters as we roll into August, even though by my internal weather-clock it should be late June here in the Northeast…
Ortiz, Manny on steroids
We didn’t get around to discussing this on the podcast yesterday. This topic lost out to Cliff Lee/Roy Halladay trade discussion, Michael Vick and Connecticut Puerto Rican cockfighting, Erin Andrews’ 911 call, and freaking YouTube stupid wedding entrances. That should tell you something about the strength of this story—it has none.
Sure, it’s on the front page of the Boston Globe today. And sure, Big Papi’s face is plastered on the front page of ESPN.com. It was quite awkward to listen to yesterday’s Sox-A’s game on the radio, as there was a tangible sense of the elephant-in-the-room whenever Ortiz came up to the plate (and especially after he hit a go-ahead three-run home run in the seventh inning). And, predictably, Dan Shaughnessy has come out and said Ortiz’s “entire Red Sox career is a lie” and that the 2004 and 2007 championships are “forever tainted.”
Please. The more people get exposed as having been ‘roided-up, the less of a story it becomes. ESPN wants us to believe that every player who gets outed as a PED guy is a bigger story than the last, because it shows just how off-kilter baseball and its statistics were during the heyday of steroids from roughly 1996-2003. I couldn’t disagree more—the more players that are exposed just shows how level the playing field was during that era. Power hitters, average hitters, starting pitchers, and relievers have all been implicated. It’s safe to say that we should just assume that everyone was on steroids, even though we know that it isn’t true. It simply was a different era of baseball.
Let’s face it; there was just an experimental testing program in place in 2003. I think anyone who is surprised (or better yet, saddened) by Ortiz and Ramirez being named as testing positive that year is a complete moron, or just completely ignorant of the facts of the situation.
The more players get exposed, the less of a story it is. Remember how long we talked about Barry Bonds? Roger Clemens? Those were stories when they first broke. But when’s the last time anyone mentioned A-Rod about anything other than him banging Kate Hudson? Any Jason Giambi or Andy Pettitte backlashes lately? The sheer volume of positive tests, especially from star players, leads me to feel that everything was more or less level back then.
Am I disappointed? Sure. Who wouldn’t be? I am more disappointed that the sports world will impugn Ortiz (at least for this news cycle) when in reality every individual who was using PEDs more or less a product of the norms of his era. I’ve been pretty consistent about this, by the way—it’s not just because a guy wearing our own red and white laundry was “caught.” Hey, I didn’t go off the handle when A-Rod was named back in February, and that could’ve been a dream come true. I just want the issue to go away—please, release the rest of the names on that 2003 list so we can get on with our lives and wonder where Roy Halladay is going to end up.
Speaking of which, the Red Sox need ROY HALLADAY IMMEDIATELY. The latest word as I write this (Friday morning July 31) is that Theo Epstein is in talks for Victor Martinez. That’s all well and good, but I want Halladay. He’s a game-changer. He instantly makes the Sox the favorites to win the World Series. More importantly, I’m going to Toronto in two weeks and I want to be able to wear a gray Halladay jersey around the Rogers Centre and taunt the good folks of Ontario. I don’t think an old-school Mike Timlin shirt would get the job done.
The Patriots opened training camp yesterday, and of course the topic that everyone is curious about is Tom Brady.
How is the knee? How is the shoulder? How is Gisele? Has Tom lost some of the fire since he spent his offseason not in the weight room in Foxborough but rather lounging around and being fed grapes and wine by his minions while he and his hot Brazilian bride gazed lovingly into each other’s eyes? Has he gone soft on us?
Come on, people. This is Tom Brady we’re talking about, not Ryan Leaf. Kevin Faulk had a great line yesterday when asked about how Brady’s marriage will affect his play: “I got married a few years ago, but nobody talked about that.” It’s amusing to me how a lot of fans and media types just assume that an athlete cannot be as intense or focused while married as he was when he was single. Has the Yoko Ono paradigm really affected our culture that much?
Because in reality, who is to say that an unmarried player wouldn’t be just as distracted, if not more so, than a married one? The unmarried player is hitting the clubs, taking nasty skank groupies home, filling out paternity paperwork. Brady, on the other hand, has been sitting around one of his many posh properties, working out, counting his money, and admiring his catch. He’ll be ready to play once September 13 rolls around. What was the over-under on Patriots wins? 12? If I didn’t already, I’m going to take the over.
Poor Man’s PTI
We’ve had a few good caller-driven episodes of Poor Man’s PTI in the past few weeks. It’s always more fun to include more people in the fold—sometimes Vin and I get bored with just talking to each other. Vin has the same problem with some of his repeat customers at the 1-900 line he works for on the weekends. So feel free to call up on Thursday nights and talk sports, pop culture, whatever you feel like. We’d love to hear from you.
That’s it for me today—sorry if it seems like I mailed this one in. Deadline approaching! I’ll be back in August with more thoughts on MLB and the impending NFL season. Until that day comes, keep your ear to the grindstone.