Juice, vintage 2003

I’m kind of amazed at the amazement of many of my fellow Sox fans that finally some Sox players are finally implicated in the steroids mess. I mean, it stings, sure. I wish it weren’t so. I really wish one of the names named weren’t David Ortiz who by all accounts is The Nicest Guy In The Universe. I agree that the guilty-til-proven-innocent witch-hunt-y way names are tarnished is a travesty (but also think it’s a little disingenuous to think that when I certainly allowed myself a little schadenfreude when the names Rodriguez and Giambi were so tarnished).

But come on, even at the time in question (2003), I have to admit, I had an eyebrow raised. The Sox offense was explosive, you had several capable players suddenly having superstar-quality years (Mueller, Varitek, Ortiz, Damon), and a couple of established superstars having great years, too (Garciaparra, Ramirez). Maybe at the time, the all-pervasive sense of being the perennial bridesmaid made people not even let that thought bubble into consciousness. But I gotta figure I can’t be the only one who had that thought, but quickly filed it away in the back of my mind in the bin labelled “don’t ask, don’t tell”.

A slightly cynical thought I’ve played with for some years now is that there should be two MLBs. One that allows steroids, and one that is “clean”. I don’t know. These dudes are highly paid, and if they’re willing to trade years of their life for cash and glory, so be it: it’s not cheating if everybody’s doing it. Also, my strong hunch is that the league with steroids allowed and out in the open would be vastly more popular, full of lots of home runs and lots of game twists (ala the Red Sox circa 2003 and 2004, where you could never count out the offense, even if they were down a couple of runs and it was 2 outs in the 9th inning). Those were years which have since been unmatched for sheer entertainment value.

Still, I do wish that the only juicing that had been going on was the slug of Jack Daniels that Kevin Millar claimed was part of the team pregame ritual.

PS: Lesson learned on schadenfreude. However, I will allow myself a slight bit of glee if that sanctimonious twit Curt Schilling gets implicated too, since he has clucked loudly at every name that comes to light.

PPS: As I’m writing this and watching NESN, Boston Mayor Tom Mennino and David Ortiz are urging the young people of the city to make good decisions this summer.