By recently admitting to PED use after denying it since first being accused in Dec. 2011, Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun has given anyone who has defended him reason to be upset. Friends, teammates, colleagues and strangers have that right.
Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson counts himself among the offended, based on his comments to reporters Sunday. Upset because he apparently feels Braun was cheating during the 2011 season — which ended for the D-backs in the NLDS thanks to Braun's Brewers — Gibson unloaded on Milwaukee's top player, via the Associated Press:
''I mean, all things considered, we should have won a game,'' Gibson said of Game 5 in 2011. ''All things considered, the last game, we tied them up and had a chance to win it. But there were other times in my career where I did overcome cheaters with my teammates. We had our chance.''
Not only does Gibson feel cheated by Braun, but we also are to assume that Gibson himself never "cheated," never played with a cheater, and never worked with or managed one. How could he, with such obvious zero tolerance?
Except that he has. Gibson's third base coach, Matt Williams, admitted to taking shipments — plural — of "human growth hormone, steroids and other questionable substances, over a period from 2002-2005. Williams says he took the drugs to help him heal after an ankle injury in 2002." The Arizona Snakepit blog reported as such in 2007.
Gibson obviously reached a point of forgiveness with Williams; he employs him. Unless he just forgot about the special deliveries. And how likely is that?
Gibson, though, wasn't done riding his high horse:
''I'm not surprised that he hasn't addressed people,'' Gibson said. ''He probably doesn't give a (expletive) about me. But you know, he's got it really good, and I was one of the guys who went through many things - work stoppages, etc. - so he could do that. So I would hope he respects me and everyone who stood up for him that came before he played the game.
It's really hard to know what Gibson is getting at here. Not only is Gibson saying that he never associated with cheaters, but that nobody at all cheated in baseball before Braun's generation? What about the "other times in my career where I did overcome cheaters with my teammates"? Is that a contradiction, or did Gibson just forget again?
I have no problem believing that Gibson himself never indulged in PEDs, no matter how many players in his era gulped greenies by the handful, or did steroids. We should take him at his word. But there's no reason to believe that he never played with anyone who took PEDs. There's very little reason to believe he's never managed a player who took them. And we know about Williams, so he'll give "cheaters" an important job.
Someone should remind him of that, the next time he moralizes on something.
Big BLS H/N: @twarner50