Why is David Ortiz holding a news conference?

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From the “if it makes you feel better” department:

Red Sox star David Ortiz may soon provide more details about his 2003 drug test. The Boston slugger and incoming players’ union head Michael Weiner plan a news conference Saturday at Yankee Stadium before the Red Sox play New York . . .

. . . “I’m going to let you guys know what I’ve got. Period,” Ortiz said after the Yankees beat the Red Sox 13-6.

I don’t know how this serves anyone’s interest.  Certainly not the public’s.  Unlike the case with A-Rod and Manny, there hasn’t been a big “he must come clean!” groundswell with respect to Big Papi.  Probably because everyone knows that whenever a ballplayer makes a statement about these things all we get are prepared remarks which were in all likelihood crafted by legal counsel.  The union’s general counsel and future president, Michael Weiner, will be at Ortiz’s side tomorrow, so it’s not as if we should expect anything candid or all that interesting here.

A statement is not really in Papi’s interests either.  It’s still early, but doesn’t it seem like people are willing to go a bit easier on Ortiz than on other PED-implicated players? Maybe that’s because everyone always liked him.  Maybe it’s because he probably wasn’t a Hall of Fame case anyway and holds no records, so no one is too worried about what his legacy means.  Maybe it’s because his career is obviously winding down and there’s no sense in piling on.  Whatever the case, I don’t know that his situation is crying out for a P.R. offensive.

The final reason I think this is a bad idea is that, as I’ve mentioned several times before, the whole reason Ortiz’s name is out in PED land is because of someone’s illegal, unethical act.  It’s quite likely that the reason this scumbag is releasing these names is because he wants to make a spectacle out of these players and would like nothing more than to see them make this media perp-walk.  Why give him the satisfaction?

Ortiz’s positive test is more than six years-old.  It’s troubling and regrettable and all of that for the reasons so many people have stated so often, but it certainly doesn’t call for a news conference. 

Let it go, Papi.

If the Tigers are sub-.500 at the end of June it’ll be fire sale time

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Jon Morosi reports that that the Detroit Tigers will make all veterans available via trade if they’re still under .500 by the end of June.

This was the position they entered the offseason with — everyone is available! — but they ended up gearing up for one more push with the core of veterans they currently employ. It was not a bad move, I don’t think. With the exception of the Indians, the AL Central is mostly down, or at least appeared to be over the winter, with the Royals in decline and the Twins and White Sox seemingly a few years away from contention. The Twins, however, have been fantastic and the Tigers have mostly underachieved.

So we’re back to this. Which veterans the Tigers can reasonably unload, however, is an open question. J.D. Martinez is in his walk year, so while tradable, he may not bring back a big return. Guys like Justin Upton, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera either have very large contracts or no-trade protection.

The end of June is still a while from now, of course, and while the Tigers are under .500, they’re only 4.5 games behind the Twins. But they had better turn it around or else it sounds like the front office is going to turn the page.

Must-Click Link: Remembering Eddie Grant the first major leaguer to die in combat

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As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.

The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.

Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.

Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.