Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Vernon Wells tries to be transparent about his terrible hitting

Vernon Wells sure has delivered in terms of offering up grist for the few, the proud who are not PED-ed out by steroids-in-baseball talk. Who says he never comes through when the chips are down?
"The American League team’s union representative is among a growing number of players who are calling for the infamous list of 104 names to be made public.

" ... Wells said this is akin to water torture and is sullying the game's image with the steady prodding of adverse publicity every time a new name comes out.

" 'This all went down so long ago,' Wells said. 'It's just, let's move past this. Whether more names come out or they all come out at the same time let’s get past it so we can stop talking about something that happened six years ago.' "
-- globesports.com
Please forget that is a little Freudian that the Globe & Mail's guy used "water torture" as an analogy, considering what else went down in 2003-04 which is a little more shameful. America has always been good with obsessing over a sports scandal rather than face facts like their government destroying the concept of habeas corpus. That is neither here or there.

Wells' comments take on a certain light if you read Jeff Blair's Monday column that suggested MLB needs to "get in front of the news curve and fashion a blanket amnesty for players on the list." The man has between third and sixth all season while on-basing .301 and slugging .400. With slash stats such as those, it's almost like Wells is making a plea to be free of the jokes that Jays fans wish he could improve his production through pharmacology.

Point being, this has the droll side and the serious side. Jays fans, since they can't cry, will probably draw a couple laughs from Wells being the one to say release all the names. The way his season has gone calls to mind the story about Earl Weaver going to the mound to visit a struggling pitcher, "If you know how to cheat, start now." His park-adjusted OPS figures, season by season, since 2003, do set the mind to wondering:
'03: 132
'04: 105
'05: 104
'06: 129
'07: 85
'08: 121
'09: 84
Thing is, no one knows why Wells' numbers have cratered. He is projected to end up with Triple Crown stats of .259, 16 homers and 64 RBI. It might be noteworthy that he had a much higher line drive when he first became an everyday player. He makes a lot more flyball outs now. It's as if he hit home runs when he first came up just because he was so strong sometimes those line drives would carry over the fence.

On the serious side, Blair's suggestion seems pragmatic. Major League Baseball's labour agreement is up after the 2011 season, so it can't afford to have the steroid matzo ball hanging out there.

Meantime, it is too funny by half to see a Boston newspaper going on about how the Red Sox "need to be put on notice" when it comes to getting rid of steroids in baseball, as in, sure, now it's a big deal. Greater minds have no doubt said this and I said it once on Kinger's show, it's silly how much has hue and cry there has been over steroid use in baseball and Michael Vick running a dogfighting ring in the past couple years. Those have become defining events against a backdrop of Guantanamo, the Iraq quagmire and finding out the U.S. housing market ran on the principle "if you could fog up a mirror, and had a pulse, you were eligible for a fairly large mortgage" (stick tap: Make It Eight) and Bernie Madoff robbing people blind.

Sports scandals are benign and their leaders' job is not provide a moral compass, no matter how much its fits some columnist's 12-year-old worldview. It only matters if a sports story is symptomatic of a larger outrage, like the NHL being a water carrier for a plan to fleece taxpayers in Arizona.

That is off-topic. Point being, at least Wells is being honest, and at least baseball can get closure on the Steroid Era before hockey will on the Bettman era.

Wells wants baseball to come clean (Robert MacLeod, globesports.com)


eyebleaf said...

Wells, on steroids?


Big V said...

whats the opposite of steroids.... cause thats what I would expect