Albert Pujols sued former big leaguer Jack Clark a couple of weeks ago after the latter went on his radio show and accused the former of using PEDs. Jack Clark and his lawyers, rather than actually try to defend themselves via traditional means available to them in litigation, have decided to make a media circus out of it: he has challenged Pujols to dueling lie detector tests.
Setting aside the fact that polygraph tests are inadmissible and have no real value to the legal system and are wildly unreliable, this gambit is pretty dumb and disingenuous on its own merits. To see so, one need look no further than the way Clark’s lawyer frames the matter to be tested: he offers that the question to be asked Clark would be whether he was truthful when he said that Pujols’ trainer told him that Pujols had used PEDs.
Which is great except for the fact that that’s not even the real basis of the lawsuit.
Yes, Clark’s statements were that Pujols’ trainer told him that Pujols used PEDs. But the clear idea Clark was expressing is not that he was told something. It’s that what he was told was true. He was offering, through the thinnest possible cover of Pujols’ trainer, that Pujols did in fact take PEDs. Not that he was merely told it. Indeed, the actual legal claim by Pujols, by definition, covers not just knowingly telling reputation-harming lies, but spreading reputation-harming misinformation with reckless disregard for their truth. So he could very well have been told that by Pujols’ trainer. And it wouldn’t matter if (a) it was a lie; and (b) Clark was reckless in ascertaining whether or not it was true.
That bit of nonsense aside, it’s totally irrelevant. Polygraph exams have no bearing on litigation. This is a sideshow mounted in an effort by Clark’s camp to gain some sort of P.R. advantage. Nothing more.
Terry Francona just won the American League pennant, the Manager of the Year Award and his Cleveland Indians will likely be among the favorites to win it all in 2017. Between that and his 17-year track record as one of the best managers in the business, he will have a job, somewhere, for as long as he wants one.
He said yesterday, however, that his body will likely limit how long he manages:
“It gets harder and harder physically. It really does. It takes me longer to recharge every year . . . I’ve had a lot of surgeries, a lot of health problems. It just takes a toll on you. I love [the game of baseball]. I really do, but I can’t see myself doing something else. But there is going to come a day when I feel like I’m shortchanging the team or the organization. That’s not fair.
“Even now, during batting practice, I’ll come in and get off my feet a little bit. I think everybody understands. But when there comes a day when it gets in the way, I’m going to have to pull back, and it’s not because I don’t love managing. You have to have a certain amount of energy to do this job right.”
Francona experienced some chest pains and had an elevated heart rate that caused him to leave a game early last season. In 2005 a similar episode caused him to miss three games while managing the Red Sox. He also has a history of embolisms and blood clots, some of which have hospitalized him.
With multiple World Series rings there isn’t much more in baseball that Francona can accomplish, but here’s hoping he sticks around and accomplishes a lot more before he trades in his baseball spikes for golf spikes and calls it a career.
A month or so ago it was reported that David Ortiz was going to meet with the Red Sox and NESN to discuss, maybe, spending some time in the broadcast booth in 2017. He’s retired now, of course. Gotta keep busy.
Today we read that, yes, Big Papi may take the mic. Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said that Ortiz may be in the booth on a limited basis, and that Ortiz has talked about wanting to “dip a toe in that water.”
I’m quickly becoming a fan of ex-players who want to, as Kennedy puts it, “dip a toe” in broadcasting as opposed to those who want to make it a full-time job. Former players who become full-time broadcasters tend to start out OK, but eventually burn all of their good anecdotes from their playing days and just become sort of reactionary “back in my day” dudes. There are some exceptions to that of course — guys like John Smoltz and Dennis Eckersley have kept it fresh and Tim McCarver never rested on his playing laurels as he forged a long career in the booth — but for any of those guys there are just as many Rick Mannings Bill Schroeders.
The part time guys who dip in and dip out — I’m thinking Pedro Martinez, Alex Rodriguez and even Pete Rose, who did a good job this past fall after a rocky 2015 postseason — tend to be more fresh and irreverent. They really don’t give a crap on some level because it’s not their full time job, and that not giving a crap allows them to say whatever they want. It makes for good TV.
If Papi can hold off on the F-bombs, I imagine he’d be a pretty good commentator. If he can’t, well, at least he’ll be a super entertaining one for the one or two games he gets before getting fired.