Jon Heyman has a silly and superfluous column up today in which he attempts to turn a couple of random recent news stories involving PED-associated ballplayers into some big trend piece about PEDs in baseball. He references two guys — Mark McGwire and Jason Giambi — whose PED stories are years old, and then name-checks Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon. But heck, even he’s only half buying it:
It seems half the positive news so far regards folks with positive tests. Technically, that isn’t true. But it does seem that way.
Whatever. Everyone’s gotta write a column. It’s not even the worst one we’ve seen from a famous national writer today.But it does contain one passage which is as odious as it is wrong, and Heyman should know better:
Meanwhile, the Yankees are waiting on former HGH user Andy Pettitte, who is due to tell them any day whether he’d like to return for what promises to be a substantial raise from the $2.5 million he made last year after he announced his comeback in spring training.
That’s no surprise. He performed very well on the field after he came back, much better than he did in the courtroom, where he testified he couldn’t really recall whether Roger Clemens told him he had used HGH only one day after testifying Clemens did, in fact, tell him he used HGH.
Odd that he recalled a 10-year-old conversation one day, then couldn’t remember the same 10-year-old conversation the next day on the stand.
This is flat wrong. The “Pettitte changed his testimony” line was widely parroted (including by Heyman himself) last spring when Roger Clemens was acquitted. Some even went so far as to accuse him of perjury. But as I demonstrated the very day it happened, Pettitte did nothing of the sort. He didn’t change his story. Not one bit. You can read the details of that here. The short version: Pettitte was consistent for years. The prosecution overreached, mischaracterized what he said and tried to contort it to its own ends, but Pettitte’s story never changed.
Heyman should have known this then. He should definitely know it by now. The fact that he still clings to the idea that Pettitte lied under oath or changed his story is repugnant and demands a retraction.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 18 years since Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa captivated the nation with their epic chase of Roger Maris’ home run record. But it has been, and after years of reaction, counter-reaction and, of course, baseball’s reckoning with the performance-enhancing drugs which helped fuel the chase, it’s probably finally time to do our best to contextualize it historically.
Today one of my favorite news outlets does that with an oral history. All of the key figures weigh-in on it, from McGwire and Sosa to Bud Selig to Tony La Russa. Randy Johnson makes an appearance as well, reminding us that it wasn’t just the sluggers who had an amazing year in 1998. Indeed, his story, including his being traded to Houston and going on an amazing second-half run, has almost been lost to history.
This is bookmark material, my friends. For savoring later if you can’t read it now. And for revisiting at another time given the depths to the drama which justifies multiple readings. I’ll just warn you that there is some adult language in the story, but that’s to be expected given the passion the 1998 baseball season inspired.
Go check it out.
UPDATE: Cabrera was removed from the game due to back spasms.
1:21PM: This is not good: Asdrubal Cabrera was removed from today’s game against the Nationals with an apparent injury.
It’s unclear what the injury was, as Cabrera had yet to even play in the game. Matt Reynolds came on to play shortstop in the bottom of the first inning, but Cabrera didn’t bat in the top of the first. It could be an illness. Or some freak occurrence.
We’ll update when we hear more.
Last night’s Cardinals-Cubs game was a blowout, with the Cubs beating the Cards 12-3. Apparently, however, in the ninth inning of the game, Reynoldsburg, Ohio’s own Mike Matheny played the Cardinals infield in, which is a move you never see in a blowout. Why did he do that?
He hasn’t said yet, but Cubs manager Joe Maddon just spoke to the media before today’s game and he’s speculating that Matheny did it as a form of protest:
God, I hope that’s true. I hope that manager replay challenges, which are already dumb enough inasmuch as they turn what should be an officiating correction device into a strategic tool, are now turning into another front in the Great Unwritten Rules Wars. I hope that we now have a bunch of people talking about how there’s a right way and a wrong way to use the replay system and that one can disrespect the other side if they do it the wrong way. The way the replay system has been implemented often resembles tragedy. Why not make it farce?
Oh well, I guess it beats throwing at someone for doing that wrong. And I guess it’s just a reminder that no matter what we do, baseball is always gonna give us an opportunity for petty bits of silliness.
The St. Louis Cardinals just announced that they have acquired minor league outfielder Jose Martinez from the Royals in exchange for cash considerations.
Martinez was the 2015 Pacific Coast League batting champ, hitting .384 in 98 games. This year he’s hitting .298/.356/.433 in 37 games. He doesn’t have a ton of power — he’s more of a doubles guy — and turns 28 this year so he’s not a prospect but he’s not chopped liver.
Meanwhile, Cash Considerations continues to be well-traveled. It must be hard for him to be dealt so many times a season. So much uncertainty and time away from his family. Feel for the guy.