Monday, November 11, 2013

2 comments Sure David Ortiz Won the World Series MVP, But What About Steroids?

Bill Plaschke sees that David Ortiz won the World Series MVP and says that this is all well and good for Ortiz, but what about the questions that will linger over whether David Ortiz used steroids to win the World Series MVP? Plaschke says this question will linger over Ortiz's World Series performance. Of course, this question will linger because writers like Plaschke are asking the question out of nowhere and not because it's a real question that too many other people are asking right now. Plaschke ignores the fact the one who is creating the lingering questions about steroids is him, but I'm sure that's not relevant in his mind. Sure, Plaschke is creating the questions by writing this column, and then writing a column about the lingering questions about steroids that Plaschke himself has brought up and discussed. It doesn't matter if Plaschke is creating a story under the guise of "lingering questions." The key point is he wrote a column in time to meet his deadline. 

In Boston this week, a patchwork collection of athletes with grimy beards and dirt-caked knees had the remarkable strength to elevate a city torn by tragedy.

Yeah, the Boston Marathon bombing doesn't matter anymore because the Red Sox won the World Series. All injured are healed and all dead are now alive again. Everything has been fixed because the Red Sox won the title in a sporting event. Stick to the narrative.

When the Red Sox beat the St. Louis Cardinals and clinched a title at swaggering, swooning Fenway Park for the first time in 95 years, you really wanted to believe this was another example of Boston Strong.

You ready for this play on the idea of "Boston Strong"? I don't think you are, but here goes...

But, sadly, it is completely fair to wonder if the biggest part of this strength is real.

Yes, it is completely fair to wonder if David Ortiz, who has not failed a drug test in the past decade, cheated during the World Series. It's completely fair to speculate on Ortiz's use of PED's despite the fact there is no evidence he actually used PED's during the World Series. Someone get the #BostonStrongBecauseOrtizCheated hashtag going on Twitter.

His name is David Ortiz, and for the last week he has been an enigmatic mixture of beauty and baggage.

Baggage because Ortiz had to travel to St. Louis for three games, right?

At age 37, five years after his power seemingly began declining, four years after he finished a full season hitting .238, Ortiz became the World Series MVP after putting on an October hitting show for the ages.

The sign of any good argument, the cherry-picking of data. Ortiz hit .238 four years ago and since then he has hit .270, .309, .318, and .309. Ortiz's home runs have been between 23-32 since 2008, so it's not unforeseen that he can hit a few home runs and he has a history of hitting the ball well in the playoffs. 

If he's been using steroids then he certainly is doing a great job of not getting caught. But yeah, a season where Ortiz had 416 at-bats and "only" hit 23 home runs is evidence Ortiz's power has been dropping off. Pay no attention to the at-bats for it will ruin what Plaschke wants to prove. 416 at-bats or 600 at-bats, what's the difference?

the ball appearing to shoot off his bat like a Roman candle, his .688 batting average and .760 on-base percentage the second-highest numbers in World Series history.

Ortiz was absolutely on fire in the World Series. Clearly, he started using steroids immediately before the ALDS where he hit .385/.556/.923 with 2 home runs, quit using steroids during the ALCS where he hit .091/.200/.227 with 1 home run, and then used steroids again during the World Series where he hit .688/.790/1.118 with 2 home runs. I'm sure that's how it worked.

After a throwback regular season in which he had his most RBIs in six years and second-most home runs during that time, Ortiz became the third-oldest player to win the series MVP award.

The oldest player to win the World Series MVP? Willie Stargell who won the MVP award at age 39. I'm sure he was using steroids as well.

In the end, it became clear there was really only one thing his 2013 bat could not obliterate, that being the question of whether he was doing this cleanly.

The only reason this question is being asked is because Bill Plaschke is taking the time to ask the question, not because there is any evidence Ortiz used PED's during the 2013 season. So when Plaschke says "the question of whether he was doing this cleanly" what Plaschke really means is "I'm the one asking this question, but I'll pretend I'm not for the sake of this column."

It is the lingering curse of baseball's steroid era that every aging player who suddenly puts up superhuman numbers is worthy of a closer look, but Ortiz is under an even stronger microscope because he has acknowledged association with the scandal.

I like how Bill Plaschke doesn't tell us which scandal, he just gives us a link and refers to Biogenesis as "the scandal." I'm confused because as far as I can tell, David Ortiz has no connection to Biogenesis unless Plaschke counts commenting on Biogeneis as having an association. Otherwise, Plaschke is just speculating on Ortiz's use and for some reason tying him into Biogenesis when Ortiz seemingly has no tie to it.

According to a 2009 New York Times report, Ortiz was on a list of more than 100 major league players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs during baseball's initial survey test in 2003, three years before the establishment of baseball's drug policy.

Let's all remember this report was a violation of the agreement that all results from this initial survey test would remain anonymous. Otherwise, yes, Ortiz was on the list from a decade ago and admitted he did used a supplement that caused him to show up on the list. As of now, MLB has a strict testing policy and I feel confident if Ortiz had been using then he would have been caught over the last 6-7 years. Maybe not. Maybe he's so good at cheating he has stayed ahead of the testing curve. Either way, there's no proof of this no matter how much Plaschke wants to make it sound like there is proof.

In his many tests since then, Ortiz has never tested positive. Baseball has since become the first major sports league to even test for human growth hormone, and Ortiz has never flunked.

The fact Ortiz hasn't failed a drug test since that time is completely irrelevant to Bill Plaschke. The questions about whether Ortiz is clean or not still remain, mostly because Bill Plaschke won't allow the questions to be dropped in the form of writing this column.

Yet this summer's Biogenesis scandal, in which 13 players were suspended without a positive test, showed that players are still one syringe ahead of the drug enforcers. And if one can't imagine Ortiz leading a team to a big series win while playing dirty, well, it wouldn't even be the first time in the last three years.

So because Ryan Braun played in the playoffs while using PED's this means David Ortiz did as well. Great logic. Why doesn't Bill Plaschke suspect A.J. Ellis of using PED's? He hit .333/.467/.500 during the NLDS and .316/.350/.684 in the NLCS. Not to mention, Hanley Ramirez hit an outrageous .500/.556/1.063 in the NLDS. Of course the Dodgers didn't win the World Series so there's no way either player could have been steroids. Only players swinging a hot bat from the team that wins the World Series have used steroids.

In 2011, Ryan Braun led the Milwaukee Brewers to a thrilling National League division series win over the Arizona Diamondbacks with a .500 batting average, .571 on-base percentage and .889 slugging percentage.
Also during this series he involuntarily peed in a cup, his urine tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, and many lies later, he was given a 65-game suspension.

Ryan Braun cheated so obviously David Ortiz did as well. This is some air-tight logic being used by Plaschke.

Here's hoping this doesn't happen here. Here's hoping the wonderful 2013 Ortiz saga does not end up in the ruins of the 1998 home run chase.

Look at Plaschke pretending he doesn't want Ortiz to get busted for using PED's. I don't believe him. I think Plaschke would love it if Ortiz got busted so he could write another of those easy morally outraged and indignant steroids columns that sportswriters love to churn out. 

Here's hoping it sticks. Here's hoping Boston Strong stays strong. Here's wishing the baseball owners and players could have agreed to keep it strong.

Considering there is absolutely zero evidence that David Ortiz has used PED's then I don't even know why this topic is being brought up.

Because of baseball's sordid drug history, the game should treat its world champions like the officials at the Olympics treat their medalists. All are immediately tested for drugs, and the results of those tests are often known before the end of the Games.

Oh sure, this is a great idea. I'm sure the player's union won't mind only a specific sub-set of players be drug tested in violation of the latest collective bargaining agreement. I don't know how the union would have a problem with random drug testing no longer being random and specifically aimed towards certain players, as if to give the perception that any batter who hits the baseball well over a short period of time has to be using steroids. I can't imagine how the union would not like this.

The Red Sox should not have been allowed to touch a drop of champagne until they had each been tested.

And again, why are we working under the assumption only players from the winning team should be suspected of PED use? Bill Plaschke does realize a player on the team that loses the World Series could also be using PED's, right? Simply because he didn't win the World Series MVP doesn't mean he is clean or his use of PED's should be overlooked.

The timing stinks, but it would be one way to rid baseball of the remaining stench of drug cynicism. If nothing else, baseball needs to be able to say its champions are clean.

That's why there is random drug testing, so baseball can say it's players are clean. Not to mention, if the Red Sox got drug tested after winning the World Series then the results wouldn't be back in five minutes. There is a process required for the sample to be tested, so it still wouldn't be known for sure that baseball's championship team is clean until after that team had celebrated.

But it can't, so it won't, so we'll continue to wonder about the wonder that is David Ortiz. It's not fair, 

Then how about you stop doing it? It's perfectly in your control to stop speculating that a baseball player has used PED's. Just stop doing it.

This makes me laugh because Bill Plaschke is acting like he is obligated to assume David Ortiz is using PED's until he receives proof Ortiz has not used PED's when it should work the other way around.


Bobby Malone said...

Another Red Sox fan living in denial. Ortiz is a steroid user. Was on the same leaked list A-Rod was on, but sure, no evidence exists. Continue to boo A-Rod while cheering Cheater Ortiz.

Bengoodfella said...

Bobby, I'm not a Red Sox fan. Not even close. They are easily in bottom five most disliked teams in MLB. I didn't say evidence didn't exist, but Ortiz hasn't failed a drug test this season. To write a column saying, "The speculation about Ortiz using PED's isn't going away" when Plaschke is the one causing the speculation by writing the column is silly.

If you read my archives you would also know I probably have defended A-Rod more than most people would. I also hope A-Rod defeats MLB in their hunt to suspend him for a year based on buying off shady dealers and suspended him based on no failed drug tests. I think it would be fun to see.

Seriously, check my archives to see how far off you are and judge me a Red Sox fan and accuse me of booing A-Rod. Here's a sample: