MLB.com columnist Peter Gammons wrote on his blog Tuesday about Jhonny Peralta of the Detroit Tigers and the "lasting impact" that performance-enhancing drugs are having on the postseason. How they impact the chances of the Boston Red Sox to win the World Series, specifically.
Major League Baseball hit Peralta with a 50-game suspension Aug. 6 for ties to the Biogenesis case. He served the penalty, came back to the Tigers just before the regular season ended and had a big series against the Oakland Athletics in the ALDS. And he drove in the run in Detroit's 1-0 victory agains the Red Sox in Game 1 of the ALCS.
Well, we can't have THAT. Six paragraphs in, Gammons drops this:
There are several Red Sox players who have complained privately that Peralta is allowed to play. They wonder what remains in his body. But as Jonny Gomes says, “we all play by the rules, and he is playing by the rules. So go out and play.”
Jonny Gomes, the voice of reason. But about those "private" complaints. We could sit here and pick nits all day about why Peralta is allowed to play; the collective bargaining agreement says so, as Gomes implied. Because he served his time; it was a 50-game suspension, not open-ended. Not "when the Red Sox feel it's OK" for him to play.
And what about wondering "what remains" in Peralta's body? As the Red Sox should remember, Peralta wasn't nailed by a drug test. He was hit with paper evidence, circumstantial evidence. Theoretically, he's still benefiting from PEDs that he might have used. And you know who else might be like that? The 250-pound DH in the room, David Ortiz.
Ortiz — Red Sox moralizers always seem to forget conveniently — failed a test for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003. Ortiz has played innocent ever since, implying that he didn't do the drugs and that "somebody was trying to hurt me." A sinister-sounding, if vague, plot to get Big Papi. Plausible.
So it's been about 10 years and two Boston championships since that test, which Ortiz says he didn't really fail, but even if he's not telling the truth, there couldn't possibly be any PEDs left in his system from 2003, right? Maybe, but we don't know that. Who knows how these scandalous PEDs work? Further, if Ortiz took PEDs then, what about now? Oh, he's passing drug tests? Like Peralta has been, presumably? Well, he still shouldn't be playing, because who knows?
Gammons didn't name any names, but we'll point out it's possible that John Lackey is complaining about Peralta. He complained about Alex Rodriguez playing during his appeal of his 211-game suspension.
“I’ve got a problem with it. You bet I do,” Lackey said on Thursday. “How is he still playing? He obviously did something and he’s playing. I’m not sure that’s right . . . It’s pretty evident he’s been doing stuff for a lot of years I’ve been facing him.”
Lackey said the topic comes up frequently in the Red Sox clubhouse, especially among the pitchers.
“Sure, we talk about it,” he said. “But talking to the media about it is a little bit different. People have strong feelings.
“He took me deep the first time I faced him as a rookie, and he admitted to doing stuff back then. There are a lot of things I want back from him.”
Fair enough. We can erase those home runs A-Rod hit against Lackey, and we'll take Peralta out of the Tigers lineup for Game 3 and beyond, but on one condition:
Big Papi can't play either. Once a cheater, always a cheater, right?
Boy, it got quiet really fast. Can anyone still hear the Red Sox talking?
David Brown is an editor at Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Engage him at @AnswerDave on Twitter, where you also can find @bigleaguestew, @Townie813, and @MikeOz. And check out the BLS Facebook Page.
The postseason marches on!