Orioles First Baseman Chris Davis has 37 home runs at the All Star Break.
Read that again.
Thirty seven is a good season for most players. Davis has hit that number in 96 games, putting him on pace for 62 this year. So, naturally, the conversation turns to performance enhancing drugs. In fact, Davis was asked directly by a fan on twitter a few weeks ago if he was on steroids, to which he simply replied, “No.”
That’s the best way to handle it, I believe. I mean, think about it. If a player is clean, that’s all he has to say. There is no need to go into a long diatribe about how he’s always been clean and he doesn’t believe in that stuff, blah blah, yackety, schmackety. Critics won’t believe you anyway. Drug testing in Major League Baseball has come a long way since the days of the Bash Brothers in the late 80’s. Can it still be fooled? Sure. But it isn’t like Chris Davis just started hitting home runs like a certain OF who once hit 50 in a season sandwiched by 16 and 18 home run seasons.
Davis has a career 162 game average of 35 home runs. That’s the touchstone for a legit power hitter. This is really his second full season in the big leagues, third if you count the 113 game season he had in Texas in 2009 where he hit 21 home runs, which projects to 30 over a full season. Heck, even in 2008 he hit 17 in 80 games.
The point is that Chris Davis didn’t show up at spring training all of a sudden this year with a swollen head and body like Barry Bonds. The guy has always been a power hitter. This year, he is a power hitter having a magical season. The sad part is that we can’t simply enjoy the ride because of guys like Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, Rodriguez, and many others, becaus every time a player gets off to a great start like this, the question of PED’s will come up.
Hopefully MLB’s testing will keep getting better. Players are always going to try to look for an advantage. Most will keep it within the rules. The ones that don’t shouldn’t ruin it for those that do. Chris Davis has never tested positive, and doesn’t fit the profile of a guy that uses PED’s. He was asked, he answered, he gets tested regularly. That’s good enough for me to just enjoy the ride.
How about you?