The other day we saw Buster Olney say that, despite having zero evidence whatsoever that Melky Cabrera is using PEDs again, it’s totally cool to assume he is and to thus discount the nice season he’s having. Informing Olney’s thinking, no doubt, is his belief that players all assume that once a guy cheats he’s always a cheater.
Not all players, though. Jose Bautista — without putting too fine a point on calling out Olney — bats down his line of thinking in this article by Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star:
“What bothers me specifically about Melky’s situation is that he’s a free agent after the year and those type of comments can really affect his status as a free agent and his ability to negotiate,” Bautista said before playing the Phillies. “That story can get picked up by somebody else and it can get expanded and blown up into whatever they want, which could be detrimental to his negotiation . . .”
“ . . . It’s not my place to say what is right or wrong,” Bautista said. “I can tell you what my opinion is, not the general opinion of the (other MLB) players. I think if you did something wrong and you were caught and you pay your dues, that should be it. (Failing once) doesn’t mean that you’re always going to be doing something that’s illegal or not allowed.”
Bautista, of course, is quite familiar with being on the bad end of PED hysteria. When he hit 54 homers a couple of years ago there was this idea in the press that it was perfectly legitimate to assume he was taking something illegal and he was accused of such in quite similar terms to that which Olney used on Cabrera in his column the other day. The performance was unexpected so reporters decided that the most logical explanation for it was cheating.
Of course reporters can conclude whatever they’d like. That was Buster’s main argument, summed up with a pithy “All’s fair.” If they’re going to make conclusions that are also accusations, however, they should have some facts or evidence on their side first.