Andy Pettitte: “I don’t really believe I tried to enhance my performance”

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Here’s Andy Pettitte on Michael Kay’s radio show addressing his PED history:

“People are going to say what they want to, believe what they want to. When you say PEDs to me, man, I just can’t even comprehend that with me just because I don’t really believe I tried to enhance my performance on the field,” Pettitte said. “If I would have, I would have told y’all that. Man, my story has been an open book. When it all came out [in the Mitchell report in 2007,] I sat in the press conferences there for hours, I believe . . . I’ve never tried to do anything to cheat to enhance my performance on the field.”

Where are all of the people who have spent the last 24 hours parsing Alex Rodriguez’s apology and why aren’t they parsing this? No one? Anyone? OK then, allow me:

  • Taking PEDs to “get back on the field” is still taking PEDs and is what just about every player who has been busted for PEDs has said. In all cases the player is either (a) not believed; or else (b) the distinction is considered to be meaningless, as enhanced performance is enhanced performance and PEDs are PEDs;
  • Pettitte’s story has not been an open book. During those “hours” he spent talking to the media after the Mitchell Report came out, Pettitte said that he used HGH “two days in 2002.″ He repeated that over and over, in fact. However, when he was put under oath before the House of Representatives a few months later he was confronted with additional evidence of PED use. Specifically, from 2004. Which he admitted. So, no, he wasn’t an “open book.” Or at least any more open than he felt he had to be to get off the hook in a press conference and then to avoid a perjury beef before Congress.

Which, hey, good for Pettitte. I still think he was a damn good pitcher. But let’s not pretend he’s any different than any other PED guy. No, he wisely did not make a federal case out of proclaiming his innocence, so he’s not as bad as Roger Clemens I suppose, but the fact remains that he has only come as clean as he felt he needed to at any given time and only as much as people have wanted him to.

Which is to say, not much at all, because for whatever reason people don’t care about his drug use too terribly much.

MLBPA proposes 114-game season, playoff expansion to MLB

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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Major League Baseball Players Association has submitted a proposal to the league concerning the 2020 season. The proposal includes a 114-game season with an end date on October 31, playoff expansion for two years, the right for players to opt out of the season, and a potential deferral of 2020 salaries if the postseason were to be canceled.

Passan clarifies that among the players who choose to opt out, only those that are considered “high risk” would still receive their salaries. The others would simply receive service time. The union also proposed that the players receive a non-refundable $100 million sum advance during what would essentially be Spring Training 2.

If the regular season were to begin in early July, as has often been mentioned as the target, that would give the league four months to cram in 114 games. There would have to be occasional double-headers, or the players would have to be okay with few off-days. Nothing has been mentioned about division realignment or a geographically-oriented schedule, but those could potentially ease some of the burden.

Last week, the owners made their proposal to the union, suggesting a “sliding scale” salary structure. The union did not like that suggestion. Players were very vocal about it, including on social media as Max Scherzer — one of eight players on the union’s executive subcommittee — made a public statement. The owners will soon respond to the union’s proposal. They almost certainly won’t be happy with many of the details, but the two sides can perhaps find a starting point and bridge the gap. As the calendar turns to June, time is running out for the two sides to hammer out an agreement on what a 2020 season will look like.