Sportswriter basically accuses Chris Davis of using PEDs

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I noted that fans on Twitter have come to assume Chris Davis is using steroids every time he hits a homer but now we have a well-known sportswriter — Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun-Times — doing it too. Oh, he couches it in the “hey, maybe he’s clean, we just don’t know!” language all of these guys have come to use, but make no mistake: Rick Telander is accusing Chris Davis of using steroids:

People might wonder what the fallout from the baseball’s Steroid Era is.

Try this: Amazing Orioles slugger Chris Davis (in town to play the White Sox) is on pace to hit 61 home runs — Roger Maris’ golden number — and what he gets as a reception instead of cheery anticipation is a lot of raised eyebrows. The first thing that goes  through any informed fan’s mind when he or she sees a 6-3, 230-pound muscleman come from almost nowhere and suddenly start ringing the home-run bell is steroids.

He throws in some casual speculation of Miguel Cabrera too. Then he notes that Davis has had a three-month span of homers which is similar to one Rafael Palmeiro once had and stings it with “Palmeiro? Yep, a previously disgraced ’roider.”

Once again it’s worth reminding ourselves that when a blogger said stuff nowhere near as pointed as this a few years ago he was excoriated by the national professional sporting press. Now guys like Telander do it every time a slugger who was not previously thought of as A-list hits some homers and no one cares. Jose Bautista got this treatment a couple of years ago. Davis is getting it now. And these hacks continue to sit there and act like they have earned the right to be gatekeepers of the sport we love. Like they’re some esteemed authority whose judgment should be presumed to be sound.

Baloney. You don’t have to assume Chris Davis is taking some banned substance. You can watch him play well and enjoy it. You really can. If something comes up later, welp, it comes up later and we can reassess what we think about Chris Davis’ accomplishments.  But to simply assume like Telander does that everyone who plays this game well must be a cheater is misery personified.

(link via BleedCubbieBlue)

Derek Jeter calls Bryant Gumbel “mentally weak”

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Derek Jeter has not covered himself in glory since taking over the Miami Marlins. His reign atop the team’s baseball operations department has been characterized by the slashing of payroll in order to help his new ownership group make more money amid some pretty crushing debt service by virtue of what was, in effect, the leveraged buyout of the club. A club which is now 5-16 and seems destined for five months more and change of some pretty miserable baseball.

Jeter has nonetheless cast the moves the Marlins have made as good for fans in the long run. And, yes, I suppose it’s likely that things will be better in the long run, if for no other reason than they cannot be much worse. Still, such reasoning, while often accepted when a lesser light like, say, White Sox GM Rick Hahn employs it, isn’t accepted as easily when a guy who has been defined by his hand full of championship rings offers it. How can Derek Jeter, of all people, accept losing?

That’s the question HBO’s Bryant Gumbel asked of Jeter in an interview that aired over the weekend (see the video at the end of the post). How can he accept — and why should fans accept — a subpar baseball product which is not intended to win? Jeter’s response? To claim that the 2018 Marlins are totally expected to win and that Gumbel himself is “mentally weak” for not understanding it:

JETER: “We’re trying to win ball games every day.”

GUMBEL: “If you trade your best players in exchange for prospects it’s unlikely you’re going to win more games in the immediate future–”

JETER: “When you take the field, you have an opportunity to win each and every day. Each and every day. You never tell your team that they’re expected to lose. Never.”

GUMBEL: “Not in so–”

JETER: “Now, you can think — now– now, I can’t tell you how you think. Like, I see your mind. I see that’s how you think. I don’t think like that. That’s your mind working like that.”

. . .

DEREK JETER: “You don’t. We have two different mi– I can’t wait to get you on the golf course, man. We got– I mean, I can’t wait for this one.”

BRYANT GUMBEL: “No, I mean–”

DEREK JETER: “You’re mentally weak.”

I sort of get what Jeter was trying to do here. He was trying to take this out the realm of second guessing among people who know some stuff about sports and subtly make it an appeal to authority, implying that he was an athlete and that only he, unlike Gumbel, can understand that mindset and competitiveness of the athlete. That’s what the “get you on the golf course” jazz was about. Probably worth noting at this point that that tack has never worked for Michael Jordan as a basketball executive, even if his singular competitiveness made him the legend he was on the court. An executive makes decisions which can and should be second-guessed, and it seems Jeter cannot handle that.

That being said, Gumbel did sort of open the door for Jeter to do that. Suggesting that baseball players on the 2018 Marlins don’t expect to win is not the best angle for him here because, I am certain, if you ask those players, they would say much the same thing Jeter said. That’s what makes them athletes.

No, what Gumbel should have asked Jeter was “of COURSE you tell your players to win and of COURSE they try their hardest and think they can win every night. My question to you is this: did YOU try YOUR hardest to get the BEST players? And if not, why not?”

Question him like you’d question Rick Hahn. Not like you’d question Future Hall of Fame Shortstop, Derek Jeter.