Warning: This post written under the influence of Big League Chew.
People out there know that I have long been a supporter of the Boston Red Sox captain, Jason Varitek. I am loving his offensive resurgence after a miserable season, and I am frankly insulted at the assumptions, after his two-homer day yesterday brought him to 10 0n the season, that his performance is due to some type of steroid.
Look, last season was a hard time in the man's life and he struggled at his job. We've all been there. But to assume that this is not natural is ridiculous.
I think that people are discounting the influence that personal issues can have on a player's performance. In 2007 we were all over J.D. Drew for his lack of production (except for the $14 million swing in Game Six of the ALCS) while his child was undergoing treatment for a serious medical condition.
Last season, while he still didn't live up to his contract, Drew's performance was vastly improved, especially when he was hitting in the third spot during Ortiz' injury in June.
The same could be said for our Captain last season. He was going through a nasty (by all reports) divorce and had his worst offensive season as a pro (by becoming a serial killer of rallies), but still managed a pitching staff that helped the Sox get to the seventh game of the ALCS.
Now that he has had a whole off-season to get the monkey of his back, work with Dave Magadan and retool his whole approach at the plate from the left hand side, his average has improved and his power numbers are up. Why is it that people are instantly assuming that, even with the other factors that had limited him last year and also the increased rigors of MLB's drug testing policy (Manny's positive has to be evidence that something is working a little at least), Varitek is using some type of PED?