A-Rod’s lawyer gives a shoutout to David Ortiz’s PED issues

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A-Rod’s lawyer, Joe Tacopina, went on ESPN radio yesterday and reminded people that his client is not the first one to be linked to PEDs:

Of course this is a reference to David Ortiz.

A lot of people are trying to make this comment out as uber-controversial or a “shots fired” moment or something, but that seems silly to me. It’s been nearly five years since Ortiz was reported by the New York Times to have tested positive for PEDs during the 2003 survey testing. He claimed surprise and innocence at the time and made noises about wanting to get down to the bottom of it all, but we never really did get down to the bottom of it.

I have no idea what caused David Ortiz to test positive in 2003, but (a) the union has a list of all of the people who tested positive on that survey testing and if he were wrongfully reported to be on it, they would have corrected it years ago; and (b) regardless, no excuses or explanations like the one Ortiz gave has ever been accepted at face value by the sporting press or most fans. So for anyone to claim now that accusing Ortiz of PED use is somehow controversial or out of bounds is ridiculous. It’s about wanting to slam A-Rod and Tacopina, not about actually being offended at such an allegedly provocative comment.

And, of course, there is a lot of truth to what Tacopina was getting at. While his client is and perhaps always will be a pariah, a lot of guys with PED use in their past are not, and it’s rarely if ever about drugs they took as opposed to whether they were well-liked before or whether they had the nerve to try to defend themselves in a strenuous way.

People like David Ortiz and Andy Pettitte. People hate A-Rod and Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. I totally understand why and don’t begrudge those differences of opinion at all. But let’s not pretend that Tacopina said something shocking yesterday.

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.

U.S. blanks Puerto Rico 8-0 to win first World Baseball Classic title

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The United States handed Puerto Rico its first loss in the World Baseball Classic, winning 8-0 for its first title in the fourth iteration of the tournament.

Puerto Rico starter Seth Lugo was matching Marcus Stroman zero-for-zero through the first two innings, but the U.S. broke out for a pair of runs when Ian Kinsler deposited a two-run home run just beyond the fence in left-center at Dodger Stadium. The U.S. tacked on two more in the fifth on RBI singles from Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen, pushing the lead to 4-0.

Meanwhile, Stroman was dealing. The right-hander, normally seen in a Blue Jays uniform, held Puerto Rico hitless through his first six innings, giving up just a lone walk. The U.S. put together a long rally in the top of the seventh, scoring three runs on three hits, two walks, and a hit batter. Stroman came back out for the seventh but immediately served up a double down the left field line to Angel Pagan. U.S. manager Jim Leyland immediately lifted Stroman from the game, bringing in Sam Dyson who escaped the inning without any further damage.

Pat Neshek allowed a leadoff single to Yadier Molina to begin the eighth, but induced a double-play, then worked around a two-out walk by striking out Kenny Vargas to end the frame.

In the ninth, David Robertson took over. He induced an infield pop-up from Enrique Hernandez. After Pagan singled up the middle, Francisco Lindor sharply grounded out to Eric Hosmer at first base for the second out. Finally, Robertson closed it out, inducing Carlos Correa to ground out to third base, making the U.S. 8-0 victors over Puerto Rico to win the World Baseball Classic.

Puerto Rico had an admirable run, defeating Venezuela, Mexico, and Italy to get out of Pool D undefeated. Then, in Pool F, it beat Venezuela again as well as the U.S. and the Dominican Republic to move to the semifinals. It narrowly edged Netherlands 4-3 in the semifinals to get into the finals.

The U.S. lost to the D.R. but beat Canada and Colombia to get out of Pool C. In Pool F, the U.S. lost to Puerto Rico and defeated the D.R again as well as Venezuela. The U.S. took down Japan in the semifinals to advance to the finals to play Puerto Rico.

The U.S. joins Japan (twice, 2006 and ’09) and the Dominican Republic (2013) as countries to win the World Baseball Classic. The 2017 tournament was a rousing success, setting attendance records, drawing over one million fans to ballparks to take in the games. It will hopefully encourage commissioner Rob Manfred and others to make a concerted effort to make the 2021 tournament bigger and better.