Just when the baseball hunger was enjoying a feast of last minute trades and speculation about trades, someone slipped some peas onto the Fan's plate with a story about Manny and David Ortiz being on the 2003 list of those who tested positive for substances. The first thought upon hearing the news was, "Yeah, okay, whatever." And it has come to that. As the names dribble into the public from that infamous list that was supposed to be kept a secret, not one name on there would be a surprise anymore. And more names will leak. It has become a game.
Many will note that Oritz became the Big Papi in 2003. Coincidence? He was just a struggling guy on the Minnesota Twins before that. Sure, maybe the stuff helped spur the "Big" in the Papi, but whatever stuff the guys were using, the stuff doesn't invent talent. It would be like saying that LSD made John Lennon. It might be valid to say that LSD enhanced Lennon to write such songs as Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds. But the talent was already there. See, that's the thing. Don't you think that A-Rod would have been a monster talent whether he ever used or not?
Okay. The Fan realizes that he is painting defenses which means that there is some dirt still plugged in the filter. The steroid thing is not a good thing for baseball. And, like it or not, the fans don't care any more. It's like violence on TV. After a while, when you see another real murder on the six o'clock news, no one feels anything about it any more. There is no shock. There is no outrage. It just is. Two more big names are revealed? Yawn.
Most fans feel the same way that this Fan does. The game was dirty before 2003 and Jose Conseco was probably right in that 80% of the players before that time were using something. Canseco is also right in that sooner or later, some current Hall of Fame member (or two or three) will be named and then what?
When that happens, we will all just have to conclude that baseball had a problem and had to clean it up. The clean up has already changed the game. More emphasis on defense and less on the long ball has already been the theme. Guys won't be as effective into their late thirties as we've seen in the last fifteen or so years. You won't see guys like Gary Sheffield producing well right up to the age of 38. So be it. But there is nothing any of us can do about all those added benefits players enjoyed from juicing up until 2003. Nothing. It is what it is and it was what it was.
So yes, Manny and Ortiz are tarnished a bit. But look at the cheers Manny got when he came back after his suspension. The fans could care less. Well, most of them anyway. Many will point to the decline of David Ortiz in the last two years and say, "See?" But we don't know that the decline wasn't the natural decline of a big boned athlete that normally occurs anyway.
Nothing is surprising anymore. No name is too big a name. Each revelation is just more peas to pick out of the pot pie. Just test the hell out of the current players and chalk the past up to the past. Nothing any of us can do about it anyway.