Steroids and Baseball: Is Jose de Jesus Ortiz on Drugs?

Believe it, or not, some of my colleagues here at the

Press

think that I’ve been a bit tough on the

Chron

’s Jose de Jesus Ortiz. The opinion of one changed yesterday, however, and just as with the

Clay Aiken matter

, the change of opinion came via anguished e-mail. An e-mail in which my colleague said he just couldn’t take it anymore. That Ortiz went beyond being a hack.

You might be wondering what caused my colleague to change his mind.

Well, as anybody who has read Ortiz over the years knows, Ortiz isn’t one much for consistency. Whatever Astros management wants him to say, he says. Even if it means contradicting what he wrote the day before. For example, take the subject of steroids and Miguel Tejada.

This is Ortiz from Tuesday, writing about Tejada, during the Congressional hearings:

As Martha Stewart learned, it is a crime to lie to a federal investigator. Now, Tejada must wonder if he'll suffer Stewart's fate and land in jail or if he can prove he didn't lie.

Whatever the case, I must say that Congresswoman McCollum probably spoke for a lot of fans when she made her comments before seeking testimony from Mitchell.

"Senator," she said, "if players using these drugs constitutes cheating, and owners and league officials knew about these illegal drugs, as it is clear from the report, then it would appear for more than a decade millions of baseball fans were subject fraud - fixed games played by drug users that illegitimately altered the outcome of the games.

"It's my opinion that we're in the middle of a criminal conspiracy that defrauded millions of baseball fans of billions of dollars over the past 15 years."

Kind of strong. Players like Tejada committed fraud in order to alter game outcomes. Ortiz’s statements in the post imply his agreement with the Congresswoman. Which means Tejada deserves what is coming to him.

But this is Ortiz yesterday, writing about Tejada and the Mitchell Report: “I hope commissioner Bud Selig is proud that Senator Mitchell's report has put a major baseball star in criminal peril based on this report and the hearsay of another player who never actually saw Tejada do anything.”

Now it’s all Bud Selig’s fault that Miguel Tejada is in trouble. Tejada didn’t do anything. He’s a star baseball player. (And where is Ortiz’s concern for the non-star players, or is it only the stars who count?)

But wait, it gets better. There’s only person who can solve all of this for Tejada. And it’s not Tejada. Or George Mitchell. Or the Attorney General. No. It’s Drayton McLane. Ortiz writes that Tejada should call Drayton because Drayton can use all of his powerful contacts to get Tejada out of trouble. Drayton, and no one else, is powerful enough to get Tejada the attorney who can get Tejada off: “Knowing how McLane treats his employees, how smart and powerful McLane is and how many powerful and bright lawyers he knows, I would place some of my first calls to McLane if I were one of his star players and in legal trouble.”

There are several problems with this. First, as a former employee of Drayton McLane, I know how Drayton McLane treats his employees. He treats them like crap. I was fired, as were bunch of people, by way of a computer-generated memo that I received in the mail. After 12 years as an employee. I know of people who found they were fired from third parties. So if this is how Drayton treats his employees, then Tejada’s in HUGE trouble. And if anybody knows about how Drayton treats the people who works for him, it should be Ortiz, since he got to play the role of Drayton’s hit man several years ago.

Second, why does Drayton need to get Tejada an attorney? Tejada’s a rich bastard. I don’t care if he lives in the Dominican Republic, I guarantee that Tejada’s agent knows as many powerful attorneys as Drayton. Unless Ortiz is trying to tell me that Tejada is a frigging moron. After all, Roger Clemens was able to find his own attorney. And Andy Pettitte had no problem with finding Sammy Sosa’s attorney. Is Ortiz trying to tell me that’s Tejada is too stupid to do this?

Maybe Ortiz is telling me this because he writes about Tejada speaking to federal agents when he didn’t have to and how he didn’t have a good attorney advising him or else he wouldn’t be facing this trouble. I guess Tejada wasn’t smart to learn from his fellow Dominican and forget how to speak English.

And here’s a little something else: Miguel Tejada belongs to one of the most powerful unions on the planet. Do you seriously expect me to believe that Donald Fehr can’t find Tejada the world’s best attorney? Now I know Ortiz, being a management shill, probably isn’t going to believe this, but I can guarantee you that Donald Fehr cares more about the welfare of Miguel Tejada than Drayton McLane does.

But I’m sure Drayton McLane’s on the phone with the attorneys right now. Only he’s not trying to figure out how to save Miguel Tejada, he’s trying to figure out how to get out of Tejada’s contract. And if Drayton paid any attention to Bud Selig’s testimony on Tuesday, then he wants to get the hell out of the way as quick as he can because he heard what Selig was saying about San Francisco Giants’ owner Peter Magowan and possible punishments for Magowan for turning a blind eye to Barry Bonds and BALCO. So all that Drayton needs to do is to get involved in helping Miguel Tejada and suddenly he’s the next Magowan.

Inconsistency, your name is Ortiz.

But wait, I’m not done. It gets worse.

Ortiz feels that Tejada is innocent because he talked to two of his fellow sportswriters who covered Tejada in Oakland and Baltimore. One of the writers even helped Tejada write his autobiography. And these guys told Ortiz of Tejada’s sensitive and good nature. Which is all nice and everything, but his sensitive and good nature tells us nothing about whether Tejada did the juice. Not that it matters because it’s not Tejada’s fault. It’s the fault of George Mitchell for writing the report.

Because if George Mitchell doesn’t write the report, then Tejada’s not mentioned for using steroids, which means that Congress has no reason to think he lied to them about Rafael Palmeiro.

The logic escapes me. As a friend of mine said upon reading this: if Tejada would have committed murder, it wouldn’t be Tejada’s fault for getting arrested, it would be the fault of the DA for demanding that Tejada be arrested. This brings me to quite possibly the stupidest person in the world…

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to quote Roy Oswalt on the matter of Miguel Tejada (from this same Ortiz posting). "I don't think it's fair to single out certain people from one or two guys that were suppliers or whatever when you don't have the whole group," Oswalt told Ortiz. "If three people got murdered by three different people and we caught only one of the murderers, we're not solving anything by catching only one third of them.”

So, according to the Oswalt logic: unless we can catch all murderers, it doesn’t make any sense to catch any murderers.

I love Roy Oswalt. If Roy Oswalt wasn’t on the Astros, the team would be worse than the Tampa Bay Rays, but reading this quote leads me to believe that he’s spent a little too much time out in the sun riding that tractor Drayton bought him several years ago.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

But before I go, I’ve got another issue to address with Mr. Ortiz. Ortiz writes in this same Tejada post: “Let's not forget how the left wing nuts ripped me in March for embracing Attorney General Al Gonzales and posting a picture of us two smiling together at Minute Maid Park.”

Ortiz, I was one of those left wing nuts. And I didn’t rip you for embracing Alberto Gonzalez and posting a picture of you two. I blasted you for being so freakin’ inconsistent.

I wrote about this last year, and you can find the post here. But for those of you too lazy to take a look, here’s a brief summary:

Ortiz wrote this long post about what a great guy Alberto Gonzalez was and about how he didn’t care what Gonzalez had done, how it was disgraceful the way Gonzalez’s friends were dumping him and about how Gonzalez deserved support. I can appreciate that. I can’t agree, but I can appreciate the sentiment. But then Ortiz said the people of St. Louis supported murder because spring training fans in Florida gave St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa a standing ovation the day after he was arrested for drunk driving.

I ripped Ortiz for this not because I support drunk driving, but because I couldn’t understand how a man who approved the use of the torture and lied before Congress could gain Ortiz’s support, but the people of St. Louis were to be condemned for doing what he advocated, showing support for a person in need.

That doesn’t make me a left wing nut. Now I might be a nut because I continue to read Ortiz’s crap, but pointing out the hypocrisy of Alberto Gonzalez versus Tony La Russa doesn’t make me a left wing nut.

Oh, one more thing. Ortiz, if you’re so concerned about Tejada’s legal counsel, why don’t you get in touch with David Medina? You keep talking about how he’s your friend, and about how he’s a first rate legal mind. And seeing as he’s just been indicted for arson, I’m guessing he might have a little free time coming up on his schedule since Medina’s fellow Supreme Court justices might ask that he recuse himself for a while.

Tell you what, I’m calling for an investigation myself. I want Ortiz to be investigated. I want to know if he’s taking drugs. – John Royal


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