David Ortiz played in his final All-Star Game on Tuesday, helping the AL to a 4-2 win over the NL.
Ortiz is having a monster final season, hitting .332 with 22 homers, 72 RBIs and a .426 OBP. And yet, every time he is celebrated, some people still grouse about his connection to PEDs.
Key word being “some.”
Ortiz, for whatever reason, has not been shamed as Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, Ryan Braun and other PED users have been.
Why is that?
“Because people don’t like jerks,” CBS Sports and Sports Illustrated MLB analyst Jonah Keri said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I think that Barry Bonds, even if you are a fan of (him) as a player, he’s never been perceived as a nice guy. The media didn’t like him, so people pull their knives at him. Fans, to some extent, take their cues from what they learn via the lens of the media. Bonds was portrayed as a bad guy, and Ortiz is portrayed as a good guy. I think there might be some (degree) of truth to it, but I don’t know that Bonds is necessarily robbing banks, and although Ortiz does some charitable work, I’m sure that he’s not perfect. I think it just kind of goes that way. My attitude basically is I just don’t care. I‘ll vote for A-Rod, I’ll vote for Ortiz, I’ll vote for Bonds. I think if you’re numbers are there, they’re there.
“I think you get in a situation where there’s always going to be something,” Keri continued. “Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Mike Schmidt – they took amphetamines. Other guys might take muscle-building steroids, but those are performance-enhancers regardless. I think that we’re trying to parse things and get too cute and slice the onion too thin. There will always be competitive advantages.”
Indeed, as the old saying goes, if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.
“Bob Gibson, one of the legends of baseball, said heck yeah, if there were modern steroids in 1968, of course he would have taken them – because why the heck not? You want to win ball games,” Keri said. “I think it’s an odd thing that we’re stamping out feet about people being ultra-competitive and wanting to win. Isn’t that kind of the point of sports? I get cheating and I get fair play. I understand that all. But I think it’s just human nature. Rather than get all nuts about it, if the numbers are there, they’re there. Bonds is in, Ortiz is in, A-Rod’s in, Clemens is in – I’m voting everybody in.”