How long will players be under suspicion for PED use because they fought testing in the 90s?

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Gregg Doyel has a column up at CBS Sports.com talking about that whole David Ortiz-Dan Shaughnessy flap from last week in which Shaughnessy basically said it was cool to assume Ortiz was on PEDs because he was hitting well at the time. Doyel’s not a big fan of how Shaughnessy raised the issue — he said he did it “clumsily” — but he thinks it is fair game to make such assumptions/accusations of baseball players.

Why?

This is the players’ fault.

They’re the ones who cheated their ass off in the 1990s, injecting steroids like insulin because owners were digging the long ball. They’re the ones whose union fought against drug-testing for years. Hell, one of Ortiz’s former teammates in Boston will tell you that.

Players are the ones who even now are finding new ways to cheat, because a drug test catches only what it’s looking for. And since chemists keep creating new drugs that the testers know nothing about, well, you see the problem.

The cheaters win. The smart ones, anyway.

Does that mean David Ortiz, already linked to PEDs once in his career, is dirty this year? Nope. Not at all.

But it’s not stupid to wonder. Given the history here—not just of David Ortiz, but of baseball in general—it would be stupid not to.

We’ve had a testing system in baseball now for many years. Close to a decade, actually. While I sorta guess I can see why Ortiz gets this stuff thrown on him — he tested positive once a long time ago — I feel like Doyel’s defense of PED accusations is way more open-ended than just accusing David Ortiz. He’s saying “baseball in general” is under suspicion despite the fact that the guys who were leading the union back when drug testing was being resisted are retired now. And despite the fact that guys who are active in the game now were children when that went down. Are we stupid not to suspect them too?

Bryce Harper. Is it fair to ask him if he’s taking PEDs? Reading Doyel’s column, one would assume he thinks it’s OK. Baseball players cheat and back in the 1990s they didn’t want testing, so it’s cool to ask Bryce Harper to prove he didn’t, yes? How about Matt Harvey? How about anyone else?

Or perhaps we can start treating PEDs in baseball the way we treat any transgression in life: we make accusations where there is reason to do so, and not before. And those who make accusations without basis for doing so are the ones who should feel shame, not the ones who are baselessly accused.

Or am I just being naive again?

The Red Sox start is ridiculous

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The red-hot Red Sox completed a sweep of the previously red-hot Angels last night, outscoring them 27-3 in their three-game series. Last night’s game was, relatively speaking, a close one, with the Sox winning “only” by six runs. They did manage to strike out Shohei Ohtani three times, though, so some style points help make up for the “squeaker.” Also worth noting that they held Mike Trout of all people to a 3-for-11 line in their three-game series. He did not score a single time and drove in no runs.

That series win puts the Sox at 16-2 on the year. They dropped their Opening Day game to the Rays, but then won their next six games against Tampa Bay, which I’d say makes up for it. In between those two series they swept a two-game series from the Marlins and afterwards they took two of three from the Yankees and three in a row from the Orioles. The only thing that even threatened to slow this juggernaut down is the weather, resulting in a postponement of Monday morning’s Patriot’s Day game. Somewhere in here we should notice that they’re doing this with their starting shortstop and starting second baseman on the disabled list.

As we’ve noted many times, their 16-2 record is the best start in the Red Sox’ 118-year history. It’s also the best start for any team since the 1987 Milwaukee Brewers began 17-1 (let us just forget, for the time being, that those Brewers lost 18 of 20 in May of that year). They are the fourth team since 1961 to win 16 of its first 18 games.

The Sox aren’t simply getting lucky here. They’ve scored 116 runs and have allowed only 50, which is a Pythagorean record of 15-3. They lead all of baseball in offense, scoring 6.44 runs a game, leading individually in average, on-base percentage and slugging. They are only three one hundredths of a run behind the Astros from leading all of baseball in pitching, allowing only 2.78 runs a game. They’re winning all of these games because, in the early going, they’ve simply been that dang much better than everyone they’ve played.

No, the Sox are not going to go 144-18, as they are currently on pace to do. Yes, they are going to find a lot more trouble in their schedule once they play the Orioles, Rays and Marlins less, play a healthier Yankees team more and face off against the Astros, the Blue Jays, the Indians, the Twins and some tougher interleague opponents. This is baseball, obviously, and no one makes it through a season without rough patches, long, short and numerous.

Still: this has been one whale of a start for Boston. Those wins are in the bank. It’s been quite the thing to see.