Ortiz apologizes, MLB confuses

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As expected, this afternoon’s press
conference with David Ortiz was a big ol’ dud
. If anything, it was an
orchestrated performance by incoming union head Michael
Weiner, propped up by a statement released by Major League Baseball
this morning
urging “the press and the public to use caution in
reaching conclusions based on leaks of names, particularly from sources
whose identities are not revealed.” As Weiner stated during the press
conference, just because someone is included on the list doesn’t
necessarily mean that the player used a banned substance. Wha wha?




Big
Papi was legally bound from saying much, but he took the the
opportunity to predictably deny his use of steroids while apologizing
to the fans, his teammates and his manager:




“I
definitely was a little bit careless. I was buying supplements and
vitamins over the counter … but I never buy steroids or use steroids.”




“I’m
not here to make excuses or anything. I want to apologize to the fans
for the distraction, my teammates, my manager. We go into a situation
now, it was a nightmare to me.”




Meanwhile, Weiner — who looked like he fell out of bed and ran to the proceedings like Ferris Bueller — sounded all lawyery and unioney:



“Substantial
scientific questions exist as to the interpretation of some of the 2003
test results. The more definitive methods that are utilized by the lab
that administers the current drug agreement were not utilized by the
lab responsible for the anonymous testing program in 2003. The
collective bargaining parties did not pursue definitive answers
regarding these inconclusive results, since those answers were
unnecessary to the administration of the 2003 program.”




Weiner named Androstenedione — the supplement made famous by Mark
McGwire — as an example, pointing out that while it is a banned
substance now, it wasn’t in 2003. He also reiterated MLB’s contention
that eight players, and possibly more, of the 104 siezed by the
government in 2004 did not test positive for PEDs. And of those 96
remaining names, 13 were inconclusive and possibly include multiple
tests on the same player.

Well, if MLB’s intention was to make the whole controversy even more vague
and confusing — which I believe it was — mission frickin’ accomplished, guys. Isn’t there a game on or
something?

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: