Notes + Scribbles 2
This is a busy time of year for any self-confessed sports nut – a new football season merging with MLB pennant races and NFL exhibitions – and my notebook is full of thoughts and observations, so let’s get down to business.
- Major League Baseball was rocked this week by the 80-game suspension of Fernando Tatís Jr., who tested positive for Clostebol, a banned anabolic steroid. At 23, Tatís Jr was The Face of Baseball, undoubtedly its most electric star, and news of his chemical enhancement is a crushing blow to fans who thought baseball had moved beyond such scandals. Tatís claims to have taken a ringworm medication that contained Clostebol, inadvertently breaking the doping rules, but few in the game buy that excuse. More likely, this is another manifestation of Tatís’ mounting immaturity – motorbike crashes, dugout brawls, soccer injuries – and it sucks for baseball fans everywhere who can no longer worship this generational dynamo.
Incredibly, Tatís is still owed $335 million by the San Diego Padres through 2035. That must worry AJ Preller and Padres ownership, because Tatís seems to be a ticking timebomb from the Alex Rodriguez school of wizardry. In truth, we no longer know how good Fernando Tatís Jr. is. If he earned that megadeal under false pretences, turbocharged by Clostebol, this shit could get nasty. For the time being, though, it is just sad that baseball fans have once again been duped by a mercurial talent that was too good to be true.
- The Yankees continue to scuffle, and talk of shattered records and steamrolled opponents is long gone at this point. Right now, the Yankees are back in the thick of a pennant race, striving for a title like everyone else. The great start to 2022 skewed expectations slightly, but this team still has a greater chance of winning the World Series than any of us thought before Opening Day. That is a positive, at least, so it is time to recalibrate, Yankee fans. Let’s just win the division and see where things go from there.
- The unceremonious dethroning of Tatís Jr. creates a vacancy among baseball’s defining glitterati, and Aaron Judge may be the heir to those jewels. Judge currently has 46 home runs with 48 games remaining. He is on pace to hit 66 dingers, which would set a new Yankee record and fall just seven short of Barry Bonds’ dubious single-season mark. Can Judge dig a little deeper and surpass Bonds? It seems unlikely, but if he did, it would be one of the most important achievements in baseball history – cleansing the hallowed home run record from its steroid-tainted ills.
- The Yanks are currently in Boston playing the Red Sox, and that has once again got me thinking about The Olde Towne Team and its future. Despite my well-documented feud with Fenway Sports Group, I readily admit to feeling pangs of nostalgia for the Red Sox of my youth. Of course, that is insanely weird for a Yankees fan – hey, read the book – but there was undoubtedly something so compelling about that halcyon Sawx culture, and it is conspicuously absent these days.
The Red Sox are in a sorry state, quite frankly, marooned in the AL East basement. Ownership does not care, just as I always warned. Chaim Bloom is patently unqualified to be running such an illustrious baseball operation. And half the Sox’ players are unfit to wear that jersey. Even as a Yankees fan, I find it egregious how John Henry has made the Red Sox an afterthought in his faceless empire. In Boston, too many people care too much about baseball to allow such half-hearted ownership. Sell the damn team already because these fans deserve better.
- Finally, a note on my writing and how you can keep up-to-date with it. I’m going to be using my mailing list a lot more in future, pushing out updates and links to all my published work, so be sure to sign up. It is totally free, and a convenient way to never miss a post, so please punch in your details and spread the word. Thanks again for your continued support.