Dan Shaughnessy essentially accuses David Ortiz of taking PEDs

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David Ortiz is off to an great start. So of course he must be cheating. At least that’s Dan Shaugnessy’s thought process:

I went to Ortiz Tuesday afternoon in the Sox clubhouse and put some hard questions to him. I told him he looks dirty.

Did he hear the fans in Toronto chanting, “Steroids!’’?

“No, not really,” said Ortiz. “Why?’’

Because what you are doing looks too good to be true.

“They test me all the time,” he said. “They make you pee and they test your blood, too. This year I would say I’ve probably been tested five times, peeing. Blood, just once. That was in spring training. They don’t warn you. They just show up.’’

What it is like to be suspected?

“I don’t think I have been,” he said. “Nobody comes to me and tells me, ‘They suspect you are using steroids.’ ’’

Shaugnessy’s evidence: Ortiz is Dominican. he was injured last year. He’s hitting well now. Ten years ago he tested positive for PEDs. Oh, and this gem when Ortiz asked if he’s not supposed to hit better when he is healthy than when he was injured:

No, but the rest of us don’t get better when we get older. I could touch the rim when I played basketball in high school. I’m not out there throwing down dunks today.

Well, what else do you need to hear? I mean, c’mon, no one in the history of baseball has ever hit .381 through 16 games. He’s basically breaking the laws of physics and bending the space-time continuum.

Of course Ortiz is tested just like every other player in Major League Baseball. Since the positive test in 2003 he has not tested positive. If Shaugnessy thinks that, despite this, Ortiz is dirty, he should have something better than “great hitter is off to a hot start.” Or he should explain why he has no faith in the drug testing system. But he has neither. He just took the laziest and most incendiary tack he could think of and ran with it.

Not that we should be surprised. This makes at least the tenth time — maybe the 100th time, I’ve lost count — since a blogger named Jerod Morris was pilloried by the print media for even suggesting that Raul Ibanez’s hot start in 2009 was, potentially, a result of PED use that a member of the print media has done the same damn thing. No one cares when it’s a credentialed member of the media, though. They’re allowed to hurl as many irresponsible allegations as they’d like because, hell, I dunno. Because they could touch the rim when they played basketball or something.

The Nats are going to sign Francisco Rodriguez for some reason

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The Nationals bullpen is a tire fire. They’re about to add another tire. Per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Washington is about to sign free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez.

K-Rod was released by the Tigers last week after posting an ERA of 7.82 over 28 appearances this season. He has a 1.658 WHIP, is allowing 11.9 hits per nine innings and is posting his highest walk rate in five years. Also worth noting: the Detroit Friggin’ Tigers decided that he was not good enough to be in their bullpen.

So, yeah, good luck with that Washington.

The Giants chemistry is suffering because a guy they all hated is gone

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I’ve spent years arguing with people about team chemistry. You know the battle lines on all of that now: people who talk a lot about team chemistry tend to attribute winning or losing to good or bad chemistry, respectively. I tend to think that characterizing chemistry is a retroactive exercise in which teams that win are happy and then cite their happiness as the reason and vice versa. Jim Leyland agrees with me, for what it’s worth, so I’m pretty happy with my take.

Not that I’ll claim a monopoly on wisdom here. I’ve never played on a professional baseball team. I don’t know what it’s like to try to prepare to play baseball while surrounded by jackwagons who don’t get along with anyone. I can’t imagine that makes life easier. Indeed, based on the testimony of players I have spoken to, I will grant that there is at least some intangible yet real benefit if everyone is happy an gelling. I dismiss team chemistry arguments for the most part, but if I ran a team I’d at least try to get rid of bad seeds if their bad seeding was not outweighed by seriously outstanding on-the-field play. You want your workers happy, folks.

All of which makes me wonder what the heck to do about this passage from Ken Rosenthal’s latest column. It’s about the reeling San Francisco Giants. They have all kinds of issues — their offense is putrid, their pitching isn’t much better and they’ve been without their ace most of the year — but today Rosenthal looks at their team chemistry. It’s a quiet and subdued clubhouse, he notes, and it has a lot of people wondering if something is wrong there. What could it be?

Sandoval, who was an often noisy and boisterous presence during his time with the club, departed as a free agent after that season. Pence has suffered a number of injuries in recent years and declined offensively, making it difficult for him to be as vocal as he was in the past. Some with the Giants muse that the team even misses Angel Pagan, who created an odd sort of unity because most of the players disliked him.

Read that last sentence again. And then go on with your talk about how team chemistry is a legitimate explanatory concept regarding what makes teams win or lose as opposed to a post-hoc rationalization of it.

Not that it’s not a good article overall. There’s some interesting stuff about the Giants’ bullpen culture. And, of course, we now know why no one signed Pagan last winter.