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

42 Comments

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?

Mickey Callaway will not be fired over his blowup at a reporter

Getty Images
3 Comments

As you no doubt saw already, Mets manager Mickey Callaway had a bad day yesterday. After some testy exchanges with the media over his bullpen use, he blew up at Newsday reporter Tim Healey after Healey told Callaway that he’d see him tomorrow, which Callaway took as sarcastic. Then Jason Vargas unhelpfully piled on, walking toward Healey and threatening him with violence. Healy spoke to his Newsday colleague David Lennon and explained the whole thing here. He’s pretty even-handed about it.

Callaway was already thought to be on at least moderately thin ice as Mets manager given his team’s underachievement this year. Thin ice or not, it’s not unreasonable to say that his behavior yesterday is something that a lot of teams would think of as a fireable offense. At the very least leaders in other businesses would think that way if one of their public-facing employees treated a reporter who covered him in that manner. In addition to it simply being bad form, it raises questions about Callaway’s temperament and his ability to handle pressure and adversity.

The Mets, however, do not seem to consider the matter to raise to that level. While they offered apologies to Healey and vowed that that he will be welcome in the clubhouse — for which Healey was appreciative — Callaway will be back to work as usual today, with the Mets announcing this morning that he will hold his usual pre-game press conference at 4PM in advance of tonight’s game against the Phillies.

Tell me: if you’re the GM or owner of a team and your manager does that, do you keep him? What do you do?