200 Miles From the Citi

September 26, 2010 7:19 AM

Of Jose Bautista And His 50+ Homers


Sunday Paper (Year 2, Volume XXXIX)

There's been a lot of talk about the adjustment Jose Bautista made to his swing, and how that adjustment has resulted in a ridiculous increase in his power.

There's also been a lot of speculation - both explicit and implied - that there is more at play here than a swing adjustment.

It's unfortunate, but it's a sign of the current state of Major League Baseball.

Never again will a player be able to hit more than 50 home runs without a shadow of speculation cast by each bomb.

I'm going to admit that I'm gullible enough to believe Jose Bautista is clean.  He's got the body of a light hitter - I'm going to believe that his adjustment was effective, and that's where these homers are coming from.

But there are a lot of people who aren't as gullible as me - and they have a right to be skeptical.  We've been burned before - by a lot of players for a lot of years...and a lot of homers.

To call that speculation irresponsible journalism is, well, irresponsible journalism.  A jump from 13 homers to 52 homers is a red flag - legitimate or not, it is cause for speculation.  To ignore the possibility that it was chemically enhanced is wrong.

It's not Jose Bautista's fault.  So far as I can tell, he's done absolutely nothing wrong.

His only problem is that his 50+ homers have come after baseball has suffered a huge black eye.

It's the fault of Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds and everyone else who caused that black eye that steroids will be brought into any conversation like this one.

That's the stain those guys left on the game.  And it'll leave a mark on players for years to come - even those who have done nothing to deserve being doubted.

*Yes, I am aware the Dolphins beat the Jets twice last year, and I'm aware that this year's Dolphins team is better than that team.  But I also think this year's version of the Jets is better than a year ago.  I think tonight's game will most likely be another too-close game between the Jets and the Dolphins...but shame on the Jets if they lose.

I am just not buying into the Dolphins this year.

This 2-0 start?  They kind of struggled with the Bills.  And they beat Minnesota pretty soundly, but that's more Brett Favre beating himself after a team gets ahead of him.  Credit Miami with getting out in front of the Vikings and forcing those mistakes...but the bottom line is the Dolphins are beatable.

And I think the Jets will beat them.

They showed their bounceback ability last week, after starting 0-1, then beating the Patriots.  This is a redemption game in itself, since the Jets did lose twice to Miami a year ago.  Expect another round of redemption against Miami tonight in front of a national audience.

*I hope there's a message sent to Braylon Edwards tonight.  If he plays at all I think it's a bad decision by the Jets - if he plays early and often, forget it.

*Let's see how often Chad Henne throws to his left tonight.  My prediction - less than five times.

*As teams clinch their playoff spots (how annoying is it that the Phillies are on their way to another division title?), congratulations to the San Diego Padres for hanging in there until the season's final week.  I'm rooting for the Giants to win the West because I picked them at the start of the season, but how can you root against San Diego?  I totally expected them to fade at some point - they just haven't.  In fact, the Mets turned into what I figured the Padres were - first-half pretenders, faders right after the All Star break.

*Thanks to Justin at Sports Crackle Pop! again for letting me fill in with my last SI Review of the foreseeable future...Justin has another guest writer in next week, then he's back from his busy fall.  I've said it before, I'll say it again - I love reading his reviews, and I love whenever I get the chance to step in for him.

*I don't know about you, but I find Chris Mortenson obnoxious on Twitter.  Perhaps it's the limited character space, but he comes across quite arrogant.  Not me, I hope.  Judge for yourself - follow me @200miles_citi.

A Member Of