Yes, this is the second post based on something Jayson Stark said today, and yes, I do read people besides hacks from ESPN, but this article Stark wrote about Raul Ibanez had me a little upset.
I try to avoid steroid talk here, but I just couldn't this time. Ok I'm sure most of you have heard about Raul Ibanez being accused of using steroids by a blogger last week. Ibanez was quite upset that the notion could be put forth simply because he was having the best season of life at age 37. Many in baseball have come to his defense in this regard, pointing out that he has moved from a pitcher's park to a hitter's park in Philly and that he now has a much better lineup surrounding him.
Stark goes into great detail in his defense of Ibanez, using various methods of statistical analysis to prove that this all makes sense and that steroids would be an absurd reason to explain his meteoric rise to the tops of the home run charts. He laments that fans would jump to such a conclusion simply because of the time we live in.
I just have this to say to Stark: Shut your mouth.
Now I will say that during the off season I though Ibanez was a perfect pick up for the Phillies. He was a better hitter than Pat Burrell and could actually play defense. I figured his numbers would go up with the move to a better lineup and park, but like everyone else I never expected to see such a huge jump.
The reality I would like to impart to Mr. Stark is this: It is because of the time we live in and the players have no one to blame but themselves. Maybe if players don't like being accused of using steroids then they should stop using them and if clean players don't like falling under suspicion then they should do something about the situation and culture rather than hiding behind locker room privilege and a greedy union.
The players are the ones who can change the atmosphere of the game not the fans. Many fans chose to show blind faith when players told them they were clean and accusations to the contrary were ridiculous. Now, I think the fans have earned the right to be skeptical and players need to reap what the sow, same with the writers. So while Raul Ibanez is probably and innocent casualty at this point ask yourself this; Is anybody who played during that time or wrote about baseball during that time really innocent? Isn't the greatest evil not standing up to those who do bad things?
If Raul has a problem with that kind of thought process then talk to the union rep.