Last week, a report emerged out of Miami linking various baseball players and performance-enhancing drugs to a fake scientist and a company named Biogenesis. Players went to visit and trusted a fake scientist because the majority of professional athletes are stupid. Initially, based on the report from the Miami New Times, which is a thing, there would be no Seattle Mariners involved in the scandal. But now we have our first Seattle Mariner somewhat involved in the scandal, as Jesus Montero's name shows up in a document recovered from the clinic. To put this simply: Jesus Montero has now been linked to a place responsible for the distribution of PEDs. PEDs are bad and can lead to suspensions. Jesus Montero is important! So this is an unfortunate turn.
Below, please find an assortment of responses to the news, none better or worse than any other. That's probably not true. What an odd thing to type.
(1) We have to begin by noting that Jesus Montero doesn't know why his name has surfaced. That's what he's said to Geoff Baker. The initial report had hardly any details in it, and Montero claims he's never even heard of the person to whom he's been linked. Generally one has heard of the people from whom one has obtained performance-enhancing drugs. On the one hand, this is exactly what guilty people would say, because the burden of proof is on the investigators. On the other hand, this is exactly what innocent people would say, because they are innocent. One wants to believe Jesus Montero's words, but players have lied like this in the past so of course there's only limited trust, even to the players on our favorite teams. Montero might be telling the truth, but I sure as hell can't be certain.
(2) According to the Seattle Mariners' official statement, the Seattle Mariners don't really have an official statement. In response to news like this, you always look to the organization to say something, but what always happens is that the organizations say something by saying nothing. I only hope the Mariners' statement was delivered electronically, because I'd hate to think this was printed on paper. Paper comes from trees, and we need trees to live. Don't print pointless statements. And while we're on the subject, you guys have to stop hand-writing letters! Stop destroying the planet with your desire to preserve a more "personal touch"! Place a phone call!
(3) There are two Jesus Monteros in professional baseball today, with one being the Mariner, and the other being a young catcher in the Cardinals' system. If one of them has to have taken performance-enhancing drugs, I bet it was the other Montero, because of his
name profession affiliation with a team that isn't the Mariners. All them Mariners are choir boys. Even the ones with pasts have been sufficiently rehabilitated.
(4) But really, let's not be naive -- even if Montero is innocent, there have been Mariners, recent Mariners, presumably, who were cheating. Maybe still actively cheating. The cheaters remain ahead of the testing science, at least if they're good at it, and just because the Mariners have sucked doesn't mean they've sucked cleanly. This is the reality of our game.
(5) Even if Jesus Montero were to have a history with PEDs, where could he have possibly gotten the idea to try-
Jesus Montero has two guys pushing for him to get a September call-up, including Alex Rodriguez.
"The way he has caught the last two nights, he's obviously good enough to catch in the majors," Rodriguez said. "He played with a lot of intensity. He's got all the tools."
A-Rod took his two days in Scranton with the Triple-A Yankees as an opportunity to mentor the Yankees' top hitting prospect. (source)
(6) Several players are mentioned by name in clinic documents recovered by the Miami New Times. The newspaper only revealed those with links to performance-enhancing drugs. That is, while Montero's name shows up somewhere, it doesn't show up next to a chemical or, presumably, a note of payment. The paper felt like it had enough evidence to publish the names of the players who had their names published. Montero's name was not published -- therefore, the paper didn't and doesn't have much on him.
(7) The burden of proof is on the investigators, trying to tie players to PEDs. Players are to be presumed innocent until they're proven guilty. But of course that isn't how it works. Consider how you felt when you first heard of Montero's link to Biogenesis. A big part of you probably jumped to the conclusion that Montero had purchased and used illegal substances. We're all inclined to distrust. This is one of the most unfortunate consequences of the steroid era, but it's also somewhat justifiable, just because, yeah, we've been lied to enough. Players are advantage-seekers.
(8) Major League Baseball is going to investigate every player linked to the clinic, so MLB is going to investigate Montero. There is the possibility of a suspension even without a positive PED test result. So it isn't impossible that Montero could end up having to miss 50 games. It's highly unlikely, though, especially if the evidence with Montero is as light as it appears to be. Even if MLB recovers some leads, even if MLB ends up with compelling reason to believe that Montero obtained PEDs, you can't give a suspension because you have reason to believe something. Something will have to be firmly proven, and I don't see that happening here.
(9) It makes you wonder. Right now, I think the appropriate assumption is that Jesus Montero is clean, pending further word. If it turns out that he's not, you wonder what the future holds, in terms of his skillset and performance. We're still so woefully under-informed when it comes to understanding how much better PEDs really make a baseball player. What if Montero was using as a prospect? What would that mean for his future? What if Montero was using as a Yankee or as a Mariner? What would that mean for his future? We wouldn't be able to know. But I don't want to further pursue this line of thought right now, because it feels accusatory. Again, there doesn't seem to be a strong link between Montero and Biogenesis, and Montero says there's not any link at all.
(10) No matter what might come out, try not to pass judgment on Montero as a person. Montero, today, is 23 years old, and in the past he's been less old than that. Young people do irresponsible things, and young athletes are no different. They might be even worse in that regard, given the competitive nature of the business. Again, I'm not saying I believe Montero has a link, here. But just in case he does, it doesn't mean he's this shitty guy, who fans would have to stop supporting. It's fine to have principles but it's so critically important to understand that everybody, everybody, fucks up. Todd Helton just got a DUI. What!