Games 99 & 100 - Red Sox
A's 9, Red Sox 8 (11)
A's 8, Red Sox 6
I was prepared to spend a few free lazy afternoon moments lamenting a pair of losses against a mediocre Oakland squad, and offering a measured, wholly rational prognosis for the rest of the season (the ceiling for the current roster is the AL Wild Card, after which point anything is possible, though I think the Yankees are a better team).
Then, the New York Times intervened in a most unexpected and thoroughly unwelcome manner, reporting that David Ortiz is among the 100+ major leaguers that tested positive for PEDs in 2003. Unexpected may be a bit strong, actually. But unwelcome isn't strong enough.
I've written in the past that an Ortiz PED report would be the one that drove me over the edge. I probably meant it, too. Today, I found it extremely sad, but far, far less shocking than less-jaded me would have. Had this occurred in 2005, I'd have spent months defending the honor of the 2004 World Champions. Now, I think we all know that squad had its' share of drug cheats. Just like every other team from the late 80s to the present.
I'm sure Ortiz will deny it, like all of them do, and toss off some half-hearted joke about red beans and rice. This time I won't believe it. Not because Papi's decline as a player is convienently correspondent with MLB's stepped-up enforcement, necessarily, though that's an inescapable truth. But because they all cheated. Even the ones who didn't, even the media, even ownership and management. They all cheated because it put butts in seats and dollars in the till - the ultimate measure of success in our world.
So dies the last tiny shred of my baseball innocence. I'm far less depressed than I expected I'd be. Turns out my hypocrisy is deeper than I'd thought, or at least my love of baseball - warts, 'roids and all - trumps my disdain for most of its practitioners.
Quickly, then, fuck 'em all. And c'mon, Jon Lester. This team needs a win.