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Jose Bautista is not too pleased with Buster Olney’s comments about Melky Cabrera

May 8, 2014, 8:23 AM EDT

jose bautista getty Getty Images

The other day we saw Buster Olney say that, despite having zero evidence whatsoever that Melky Cabrera is using PEDs again, it’s totally cool to assume he is and to thus discount the nice season he’s having. Informing Olney’s thinking, no doubt, is his belief that players all assume that once a guy cheats he’s always a cheater.

Not all players, though. Jose Bautista — without putting too fine a point on calling out Olney — bats down his line of thinking in this article by Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star:

“What bothers me specifically about Melky’s situation is that he’s a free agent after the year and those type of comments can really affect his status as a free agent and his ability to negotiate,” Bautista said before playing the Phillies. “That story can get picked up by somebody else and it can get expanded and blown up into whatever they want, which could be detrimental to his negotiation . . .”

“ . . . It’s not my place to say what is right or wrong,” Bautista said. “I can tell you what my opinion is, not the general opinion of the (other MLB) players. I think if you did something wrong and you were caught and you pay your dues, that should be it. (Failing once) doesn’t mean that you’re always going to be doing something that’s illegal or not allowed.”

Bautista, of course, is quite familiar with being on the bad end of PED hysteria. When he hit 54 homers a couple of years ago there was this idea in the press that it was perfectly legitimate to assume he was taking something illegal and he was accused of such in quite similar terms to that which Olney used on Cabrera in his column the other day. The performance was unexpected so reporters decided that the most logical explanation for it was cheating.

Of course reporters can conclude whatever they’d like. That was Buster’s main argument, summed up with a pithy “All’s fair.” If they’re going to make conclusions that are also accusations, however, they should have some facts or evidence on their side first.

  1. Fruitland Generic Citizen - May 8, 2014 at 8:39 AM

    Jose was accused with zero evidence. Chris Davis was accused with zero evidence. Now Melky. Fluky seasons happen, baseball writers. Doesn’t mean PEDs were involved.

    • bigredmachine75 - May 8, 2014 at 6:29 PM

      Wow where do I begin… First of all when has buster olney ever done or said anything worth giving this much attention to? He hasn’t and he must have some dirt on someone to still be employed! This guy should be stocking shelves somewhere and he would still somehow be annoying doing that! Ok so Melky dabbled and got caught big deal key word got caught as a former player myself in multiple sports 95% or higher of athletes have tried PEDs… Ok and while we are on the subject of PEDs they don’t give you a better swing! Plain and simple Melky is a pure hitter and hits the ball on a line! Come on already with this ignorant talk! Buster should get his testosterone checked himself so he could be one step closer to actually being a man because this guy is literally a joke along with a lot of the ignorant people that have responded to this lame blog! Fact you can take as much PEDs as you want and it won’t make you a pro at anything except possibly body building or power lifting! You see you can’t take out what the good Lord didn’t put in! Fact some of the ALL TIME greats paved the way with PEDs but you would never go there! PEDs were introduced in sports in the 50s yes the 50s so we will never know who did or didn’t! You know what’s really funny is more NBA players have used and still use PEDs than MLB players but you never hear about that and the NFL that’s just a joke! I dare the NFL to drug test at the combines!? Silence around the room! Anyway thanks for reading and if I offended you it’s probably because you needed to be! Buster go apply at the national inquirer and get out of sports!!

      • stevesherman161 - May 9, 2014 at 4:17 PM

        Back in the old days, when a reporter was allowed more than 140 characters to express a thought and when reporting involved actual research, Buster Olney wrote an excellent book called The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty. Unfortunately many excellent reporters have been seduced by the superficiality of television. There is still good baseball journalism to be found in print and on the web: you just have to know where to look.

  2. thetoolsofignorance - May 8, 2014 at 8:53 AM

    Bitter old men demanding high moral standards and behavior that they themselves neither have nor engage in? Why am I not surprized. This is bang in line with Plaschke’s “Grow Up” to Puig. get on that high horse and belabour your point completely cocooned in your own hypocrisy.

    Bautista owns his words and opinions in his comments. He neither demands that others see it his way nor assumes that anyone does. But his opinions are reflective of someone who thinks carefully about themselves and the environment in which their actions and words are going to be represented. The more I hear and see of him the better I like him.

  3. vapor54 - May 8, 2014 at 8:58 AM

    if melky is using, it won’t last long. I’m sure previous offenders are tested often

    • Kevin S. - May 8, 2014 at 9:26 AM

      Heck, you don’t even need to be a previous user to be tested more often. Jose Bautista got tested more often because he started hitting a metric crap-ton of taters.

    • Kevin S. - May 8, 2014 at 9:26 AM

      Heck, you don’t even need to be a previous user to be tested more often. Jose Bautista got tested more often because he started hitting a metric crap-ton of taters.

    • clemente2 - May 8, 2014 at 1:29 PM

      I am enjoying watching the divergent path of up and down thumbs on the ‘two’ posts above.

      I gues once a thought sinks in, too many people doubt themselves in the instant it takes to read again.

  4. charlutes - May 8, 2014 at 8:59 AM

    Why can reporters conclude whatever they like? Buster Olney is a piece of dirt. I’ve concluded that based on his low life writing, he is a low life. Thanks for the proof Buster.

    • zzalapski - May 8, 2014 at 9:09 AM

      He and Pedro Gomez probably have an ongoing contest on who can be the biggest hack on ESPN’s baseball beat.

      • stevesherman161 - May 9, 2014 at 4:19 PM

        Gomez is winning in a walk. It ain’t even close.

  5. roadryder - May 8, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    Buster Olney is a stupid dick. And there is evidence for that.

  6. cuns2317 - May 8, 2014 at 9:18 AM

    I have a original idea, if you don’t want to be accused if being a cheater for the rest of your career, DON’T CHEAT! Melky earned that reputation. That is part of paying his dues. And as far as it hurting his negotiations, look how it hurt Peralta.

    • daveitsgood - May 8, 2014 at 10:56 AM

      you mean like Bagwell and Piazza?

    • koufaxmitzvah - May 8, 2014 at 11:00 AM

      What constitutes a cheater? Does wanting to get back on the field and willing to take some European approved medical treatment count as cheating? Does accidentally using the wrong nasal spray count as cheating? Does using pine tar to get a good grip on a baseball considered cheating? Framing pitches? Squeezing down your strike zone with elbow armor or uncompromisingly low squats?

      If you want to be play in absolutes, then be prepared to back up your “findings” with some facts. Because otherwise you just look foolish. Which, according to your argument, makes you one forever.

      • ithrowheat - May 21, 2014 at 8:16 PM

        Being a cheater is using a banned substance, that’s a pretty clear line.
        Not to mention creating a fake website to try and cover it up

  7. sisqsage - May 8, 2014 at 9:24 AM

    Bautista forgets or never cared enough to learn that Melky actually got a raise (and thus a financial reward) when the Jays signed him for like $8 mil a year just months after he got caught in SF and left a first place team without apologizing. So moneywise, he actually made out quite nicely, despite his truly bizarre story that included fake websites designed to shield the truth. He should have received a harsher penalty from Selig for the lying part more than the drugs because it shows a lack of character and that he’s hanging around some truly shady people, which is a bigger threat to baseball’s security and reputation with the public.
    When Melky got caught, Conte from BALCO fame (a true expert on this sleazy topic) said it was beyond stupid because there were several easy ways to avoid detection and Melky screwed up the timing. Maybe he has just gotten smarter about when to take the stuff and still be able to pass the tests now. He’s always been a very good leftfielder. He slumped offensively last year, so given his history, I think we can be skeptical from now on whenever he puts up big numbers offensively. He never hit worth a lick for the Braves. His only big year was when he cheated with the Giants.

    • nbjays - May 8, 2014 at 9:50 AM

      You do know the reason for his slump last season, right? If not, I’ll remind you. He played most of the year in pain from a tumour that was growing on his spine. Once that was removed and the pain was gone, he went and got himself into damn good shape.

      • thetoolsofignorance - May 8, 2014 at 10:05 AM

        I just had surgery for a bad back. I can really sympathise with Cabrera’s back hurting him and I hope the tumor wasn’t anything serious. It does mean that I have to correct what I wrote below here, however. I said that he’s had three really great season. well since he put up a .279/.322/.360/.682 line with a tumor on his spine I think I’ll just have to call that a fourth really good season. Anyone that can hit that well while in back pain from a tumor is a damn good player

    • thetoolsofignorance - May 8, 2014 at 9:52 AM

      left a first place team without apologizing

      Wrong. he apologised AND declined the batting title. Look it up

      He should have received a harsher penalty from Selig for the lying part

      Wrong. He was punished exactly as laid out in the JDA. It was Alex Rodriguez who was over punished, beyond the stated rules.

      His only big year was when he cheated with the Giants.

      Patently false. Check baseball reference. This is his third big season.

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - May 8, 2014 at 10:54 AM

      after he got caught in SF and left a first place team without apologizing.

      Let’s not forget the hypocrisy of the Giants keeping him off the playoff roster while keeping two time PED test failing Guillermo Mota…

  8. zackd2 - May 8, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    Lol so a GM is going to decide who he spends tens of millions of dollars on based on Buster’s article?
    You guys are giving Buster way too much credit. Buster may be wrong, but the overreaction is worse.

  9. alexo0 - May 8, 2014 at 9:36 AM

    Sources say Buster Olney is nothing but a plagiarist anyway. Sources say that Buster simply rehashes gossip he reads online. Sources also say that Olney eavesdrops on off-the-record conversations then publishes it as legitimate information.

    All’s fair, buddy.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 8, 2014 at 10:15 AM

      Yup. I don’t have any “evidence” of Buster Olney’s plagiarism, but I think we are well within the bounds of common sense to assume he rips off the hard work of other writers and shills misinformation for Boras. It is a shame but we just can’t trust a word he writes as being original and/or agenda-free.

    • Liam - May 8, 2014 at 10:19 AM

      Buster Olney writes a lot of articles. Like it or not, the debate will rage on if Olney is abusing ADHD prescription medication to write them all.

  10. thefugitivekind - May 8, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    “Of course reporters can conclude whatever they’d like.”

    I disagree. Reporters report. People like Plaschke, Chass, O’Shaughnessey and – sometimes – Olney aren’t reporters, they’re gossip columnists. They’re Louella Parsons or Hedda Hopper in male drag. Or Walter Winchell back from the dead.

    I just want to read the scores and get a brief description of the game each morning as I eat my breakfast. And a little wit with the description would be nice. Is that too much to ask? That is why I say that ATH is the best innovation in baseball REPORTAGE since , oh I don’t know, the 1940′s maybe. I’ve thought that since I stumbled on to Shysterball, lo, these many years ago.

    • zackd2 - May 8, 2014 at 9:47 AM

      I agree with you to some degree. But I don’t consider those guys reporters. Reporters are suppose to report news, not be on 10 different TV game shows a day giving their input on 50 topics a day. Maybe if they actually focused on reporting and columns instead of sportscenter, first take, 1st and 10, around the horn , pardon the interruption, espnnews, etc then they could actually report good articles.

  11. schmedley69 - May 8, 2014 at 10:09 AM

    Once you get caught cheating, it puts everything that you have ever done into question, as well as everything that you do moving forward into question. Don’t like it, then don’t cheat. The court of public opinion is a lot different than a court of law. The steroid cheats have stained their names forever in a lot of people’s eyes, and they will have to deal with the consequences.

    No sympathy at all for Melky Cabrera, who routinely taunts fans in the stands by pretending to throw them a ball, only to yank it away at the last second.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 8, 2014 at 10:17 AM

      Are you a dog?

      • schmedley69 - May 8, 2014 at 10:58 AM

        Yes, I’m a steroid sniffing dog, and Cabrera still smells like a cheat.

    • billyboots - May 8, 2014 at 12:43 PM

      Link? Proof? I’ve seen Melky play in person twice and I don’t remember him taunting any fans.

      • schmedley69 - May 8, 2014 at 6:18 PM

        Were you in his home ballpark? He does it all the time. He did it in Philly this week. Did it all the time in the 2009 World Series. Even Chipper Jones called him out for it once:

        http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/newsstand/discussion/chipper_jones_calls_out_melky_cabrera_for_taunting

        “Earlier in the game and the series, Cabrera taunted fans in the left field seats when he pretended to throw baseballs to them. He also made a hand gesture in the sixth inning when Jason Heyward didn’t try to tag from second base on a fly ball to deep left field.”

        Not only is Melky Cabrera a juicer, but he’s also a dick. Don’t see why so many people have sympathy for the guy.

      • billyboots - May 9, 2014 at 9:13 AM

        I wasn’t in Melky’s home park. Once was at Target Field and once was at Miller Park. I didn’t see him do anything like that in Minnesota for sure, can’t be certain about Milwaukee as I was on the other side of the field. Either way, I learned something new.

  12. lukedunphysscienceproject - May 8, 2014 at 10:14 AM

    I agree 100% that Olney is being unfair. However, Bautista’s claim that further accusations could hurt Cabrera’s future free agency are ludicrous. For God’s sake, he got a $16M contract IMMEDIATELY after his suspension? You think any team is going to care what Buster Freakin Olney is saying at contract time if Cabrera keeps up this pace?

  13. notsofast10 - May 8, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    If he is cheating he will get caught because the “legend of Selig” testing is so prolific that there is no way any body can use and get away with it ….right?

  14. stevietimmy - May 8, 2014 at 12:05 PM

    Oh for Christ’s sake. What, I am supposed to feel sorry for poor ol’ Melky? He who is a professional athlete making millions of dollars and then CHEATED by knowingly taking a banned substance and instead of “coming clean,” tried to cover his tracks by creating a bogus website? Ol’ Melky who, during his TAINTED season in 2012 won the MVP at the All-Star game, which in turn resulted in the Giants opening the World Series at home that year? I am sure Verlander much preferred starting the series on the road than at home.

    And yeah, so what if Olney is less a reporter than a gossip colu… I mean, blogger. Look no further than this lil cult of personality known as “HBT” for similarly daily occurrences of whimsical, albeit personal, musings.

  15. hunnymoney - May 9, 2014 at 3:34 PM

    Sounds like one juicer sticking up for another juicer…

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