And then there’s Albert Pujols, who has largely stayed out of the performance enhancing drugs discussion despite his dominant numbers over the last decade. Pujols says he plans to take legal action against former Cardinal Jack Clark for saying on a radio show that Pujols had taken PEDs.
Let’s hope Pujols follows through on his threat to sue. Assuming he’s always been clean he has nothing to lose in a lawsuit and everything to gain. His reputation would be upheld, his status as one of the game’s greats would be cemented, and he can go back to worrying about how to live up to the next eight years on his contract with the Los Angeles Angels.
But lawsuits can be a tricky thing. Does Pujols want an opposing attorney dissecting everything he’s done in his career and everything he’s ever put in his body? Is he so sure of the rightness of his cause that he will risk the kind of scrutiny he’s never seen?
Again, it’s not fair. Pujols shouldn’t have to be defending himself simply because he’s a big hitter. It’s guilt by association because, hey, everyone must be guilty.
That includes Davis, who has already hit 12 more home runs this year than he did all of last season. The closer he gets to the record the more speculation there will be, pressure that Maris didn’t have to deal with when he broke the mark Ruth set in 1927.
It’s not the best time to be chasing one of the game’s most hallowed records. But there will be a time when everyone will have to move on or just give up on the game itself.
About all we can do now is hope that Davis is one of the rare ones who can actually be believed.
Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg