This is the first entry in a new miniseries that is less “serious” as other miniseries, although obviously the thoughts within still carry a lot of weight. Hopefully, this is the last time we have to mention Tom Brady or David Ortiz, two tremendous cheaters who have escaped criticism for the most part from pretty much everyone, especially the mainstream media covering their respective sports (and all sports, really).
There are three significant cheating scandals associated with Brady that leave an asterisk next to all his accomplishments. As CBS Sports noted a few years ago, “The duo of head coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady always will incur criticism and doubt because of the Spygate and Deflategate controversies that surrounded the team’s successes over 17 seasons …” Yet there is also the issue of Brady’s personal trainer, Alex Guerrero, who was eventually banned by the New England Patriots. He worked with Julian Edelman, too: Edelman has a PED suspension on his record. Oh, and Guerrero, according to USA TODAY, has “been in trouble with the FTC over making false claims about his medical qualifications—and selling nutritional supplements that claimed to work magic on everything from AIDS to multiple sclerosis.” If that guy sounds legit to anyone, let us know. It’s pretty damning that Brady has found a way to cheat the system in chemical and physical ways, too. Brady has played way past the expected prime for a player in his position/sport, due to illicit/suspect methods. That’s a lot of damning evidence, folks.
And then there’s this:
We know the positive test exists, and we know Ortiz tried to make up shit to explain it away, multiple times in multiple ways. That is totally the behavior of a liar. But let’s look at the stats, too, and try to figure this out. In 2002 with the Minnesota Twins at age 26, Ortiz hit .272 with an .839 OPS. For a guy about to enter his prime, those numbers show a lot of promise. So why would the Twins release him? Years later, they claimed it was a salary dump, as they didn’t want to pay Ortiz a $2M salary that arbitration would bring him. But maybe Minnesota knew something and didn’t want the guy on the roster; it seems odd to release a guy with those numbers about to enter his prime seasons. The Red Sox signed Ortiz for just $1.25M, and you know what happened next. Ortiz bumped his OPS to .961 in 2003 and would go on to post a .956 overall from 2003 to 2016 with Boston, playing until he was 40—and putting up a MLB-best 1.021 OPS in that final season. Again, we know he tested positive in 2003, and we know there were no consequences, so why would Ortiz have ever stopped taking PEDs, especially when he was making millions and winning World Series rings? No one changes unless forced to do so.
There’s not much more to be written again. The media ignores this because of Boston/NE dollars, from a fan base that is okay cheating to win because it was starved of championships for decades playing in straight. That says a lot about how pathetic America has become, to be okay with cheating if it helps your guys win. When the Soviet Union cheated in the Olympics, the U.S. cried foul—while cheating itself! Perhaps some weaker-hearted Americans took their cue from this sort of behavior? It’s hard to know.
Note: We realize Roger Clemens has not escaped his cheating legacy, but he was dead to Boston when he joined the Yankees, anyway. Keep that in mind …
Whether we want to call it Cold War calculation or capitalist curation, the reality is that a lot of Americans are fine with cheating—too many, actually, and that should make us worry for the future, as these people reproduce and raise children with this kind of mindset that cheating is okay if you can gain from it.
As former MLB player Doug Glanville noted recently, “The lines you draw are different when you are directly impacted by such rampant cheating. Not peripherally, not theoretically, but directly … It is one thing to watch artificial domination on TV, marveling at the numbers it produced as if it is a magic show. It is another when you lose your job from it.”
Would Americans be fine being cheated out of their own jobs and prosperity by a colleague who broke rules and profited from it? Probably not. Remind someone of this every time they turn a blind eye to dishonesty in our country in sports; there’s a moral compass here that needs to always point north.
Sporadically appearing now on Sundays when we have the time or the inclination, the Surmising will be back now and then with commentary on modern-day sports, as much as is pains us to do so, on The Daily McPlay.