Blog Entry

Jose Bautista and simple-mindedness

Posted on: June 10, 2011 3:16 pm
Edited on: June 10, 2011 3:29 pm
By Matt Snyder

We all know the story by now. Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista went from being an also-ran -- if that -- to the best hitter in baseball with a virtual snap of the fingers. Since he did so just south of his 30th birthday and less than a decade since baseball was forever stained by the steroid era, there are some people who just can't grasp the fact that a player can sometimes just get better without using PEDs.

There are other explanations:

- He changed his swing.

- He was finally given full-time playing time and left alone.

- Once he got hot in 2010, his confidence grew. Hitting is just as much mental as it is physical after all.

- He was just a late bloomer. Sometimes it takes players a while to come into their own.

- Davey Johnson hit 43 home runs in 1973 and otherwise never more than 18 in a season. Was he on 'roids? There are more examples like that in baseball history, too.

But none of those matter to the many fans who just can't shake the cynicism. He has to be doing steroids, you'll hear: "He can't just get good like that. It's not possible." Just like it's not possible to get rich without cheating or recruit well in college hoops without paying players. Or you can't win an election without being dirty. And on and on the list goes. Obviously there are places where that stuff happens, but it's just lame to assume it happens without any evidence of it.

Friday on Jim Bowden's SiriusXM radio show, Bautista was a guest. He said that he had been tested 15 times over the past three years and every test came back negative (Bowden via Twitter). Now, I can hear the cynicism already: "How do we know that's true? He's lying. He could be using HGH anyway, because that's untestable."

You can believe that. Then you can explain why the notorious juicers in the early 2000s were herculean (Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, etc.), showing noticeable increases in size, while Bautista is six feet tall and less than 200 pounds. Same as he was as a bit player for the Pirates. And he hasn't tested positive for anything.

If Bautista ever does test positive, I'll admit I was wrong and take the abuse from the "I told you so" crowd. Until then, I'd rather be perceived as naive than a narrow-minded simpleton who refuses to give credit to a player for working hard and bettering himself.

I believe Jose Bautista is clean, and I believe the evidence is on my side.

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Category: MLB

Since: Jun 10, 2011
Posted on: June 10, 2011 6:30 pm

Jose Bautista and simple-mindedness

"Naive" would've been a good description if Bautista was playing in 1988. This is 2011 and we know a TON more about steroids. Matt Snyder isn't naive - he's just flat-out dumb to think Bautista's clean. Anyone/everyone else is too. How much more proof do you people need? After over 10 years of juicing (probably closer to 15) and seeing mediocre talent turned into huge numbers because of steroids , you STILL don't believe guys are juicing? REALLY? Yall still believe in the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, and Santa Clause, too?

This quote was priceless, too: "HGH isn't a magical formula. It can't transform a bad player into the best player in the league by itself."

Uh remember Ken Caminiti? Juan Gonzalez?? Sammy Sosa??? All 3 were MVPs yet none would've hit more than 20 homers without steroids. And, frankly, there's enough research to suggest that none actually DID hit more than 20 homers without steroids.

Since: Jun 3, 2008
Posted on: June 10, 2011 6:14 pm

Jose Bautista and simple-mindedness

Dimpled....actually Bautista changed his swing by swinging earlier, not later.  He was swinging too late when he was on the Pirates and then was told to start prepping and swinging as the pitcher started to release.

As for all the cynics... keep believing what you want, Baustista has merely changed his approach, style, got a full seasons worth of AB.  Look at his past seasons stats (other than HR's), he has been steadily increasing since his start.  Other stats such as runs and RBI's are going to obviously increase as your OBP increases.  Think about it, if you are getting on base you have a greater chance of getting runs and RBI's as long as the other players are doing well also which is happening in Bautista's case being on the Jays.

Since: Nov 14, 2008
Posted on: June 10, 2011 5:49 pm

Jose Bautista and simple-mindedness

Who knows if he took anything? I understand the cynicism and it's completely justified, but at this point, he deserves the benefit of the doubt. Even if he is, I'm just glad it's finally a Jays player who decided to cheat. It's annoying when it's mostly Yankees and they already have advantages. Toronto needs all the help they can get!

Since: Jul 14, 2008
Posted on: June 10, 2011 5:47 pm

Jose Bautista and simple-mindedness

He hasn't hit a HR in 11 games. If he was roiding his pop ups would be clearing the fence. Move back in the box, start your swing later and swing as hard as you can helped him alot. A good hitting coach will do alot for you. He was with the Pirates for a couple of years i don't see to many stars coming out of Pitt these days. After Pitt he was with 3 or 4 teams so someone saw something in him.

Since: Aug 19, 2007
Posted on: June 10, 2011 5:41 pm

Jose Bautista and simple-mindedness

It should also be noted that steroids don't make you hit .345.

Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: June 10, 2011 5:35 pm

Jose Bautista and simple-mindedness

You missed the main reason for his emergence:

the Jays brass said, "swing for the fences and Pull every pitch"...

with a "greeen light" from management, he listened, and BOOM, a power Pull hitter was born!

Since: May 23, 2011
Posted on: June 10, 2011 5:35 pm

Jose Bautista and simple-mindedness

The main difference in my mind is that guys like Barry Bonds were already really good even before they started 'roid-ing. Their increased muscle just added to the great contact and power they already had. Bautista wasn't ever that good. Sure he coulddd be taking HGH, but it doesn't seem to add up. HGH isn't a magical formula. It can't transform a bad player into the best player in the league by itself.

Since: May 12, 2010
Posted on: June 10, 2011 5:24 pm

Jose Bautista and simple-mindedness

Making assumptions and accusations based on circumstantial evidence is always shaky.  If you consider this whole issue, like Snyder does, you understand just how complex the real situation is, and how many factors may be involved in Bautista's improvement.  Even with a positive test for banned substances (let alone without one), we don't really know what factors are causing Bautista's improvement, or to what degree they're causing it.

What bothers me more than the blind assertion of Bautista's guilt is the thought process involved.  Apparently, the only criterion involved in the judgment of guilt or innocence is home runs.  Yet, we should have learned from the names in the Mitchell Report that home run power and using banned substances don't always show up together.  The presence of so many mediocre players on the report should have forced us all to recognize that statistics alone never would and never will help us determine whether a player is cheating.  Using home runs alone for that purpose, as so many are doing with Bautista, is a prime example of the simple-mindedness that Snyder is fighting in this piece.

Since: May 13, 2011
Posted on: June 10, 2011 4:55 pm

Jose Bautista and simple-mindedness

clean or not who the ^&%$ cares the fact is he's getting away with it if he is doing it and hes successful thats all that matters anyone else can try it first that have to get away with it and if they do it and get away with it then they are successful and thats all that counts im not saying he's doing it but all im saying is that it doesnt matter if he's doing it all long as he gets away with it leave him alone until or unless he get caught then you can say something

Since: Feb 23, 2011
Posted on: June 10, 2011 4:19 pm

Jose Bautista and simple-mindedness

You cannot blame fans for being skeptical when 90% of the studs from '90-'04 have been implicated.  That is not fair to Bautista, but life ain't fair sometimes.  As long as he and his teammates and family know he's clean, that should be enough.  I'm sure it sucks to hear stuff like that, but that is the way of the world.  He has had many positives come from this emergence but this is one drawback.  Again, not his fault, just comes with the territory.  

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