I don’t get it.
I’ve spent this evening reading about how Chris Davis was suspended 25 games without pay after testing positive for the amphetamines in violation of Major League Baseball’s drug program.
I’ve read Davis’ statement: “I apologize to my teammates, coaches, the Orioles organization and especially the fans. I made a mistake by taking Adderall. I had permission to use it in the past, but do not have a therapeutic use exemption this year. I accept my punishment and will begin serving my suspension immediately.”
Here is the sentence that I don’t get, so it needs some explanation: “I had permission to use it in the past, but do not have a therapeutic use exemption this year.”
I understand that Adderall isn’t a steroid, as it’s supposed to help with focus and concentration. But that’s not the point.
The point is how was Davis’ use of Adderall this year not flagged before now?
Davis said he had permission to use Adderall in the past, like maybe last year when he blasted 53 home runs and was the talk of the town.
But he said he didn’t have “a therapeutic use exemption this year.” OK. Why not? Did he not apply for it? Was his exemption denied by major League Baseball? And if so, why?
Why did he have a therapeutic need for it in previous seasons but not this year? Was his apparent inability to focus and concentrate magically cured by Doogie Howser? Was he cured after he hit his team-record 53rd dinger last year? Don’t you want to know?
I do, which brings me to the Orioles. This team under Buck Showalter has prided itself on paying attention to the details. Well, this was a pretty big detail. If Davis had an exemption in previous years but not this year, wouldn’t the Orioles have known? If I was working for the Orioles and saw that well, you know, one of the game’s best power hitters didn’t have an exemption for his magic bean, I’d want to know why.
I’d go to Davis and find out if he forgot to submit his exemption forms or get clarification from him that he didn’t need Adderall.
You just don’t let someone take away Popeye’s spinach.
I’d look Davis in the eye and remind him that since he didn’t have an exemption, he’d be violating major league baseball’s drug program by taking Adderall. And if he did take it, he be…cheating. Yes, I said it. And I’m sure you thought of it, too.
Let’s just say it together: “Davis cheated.”
Think about it: Don’t you want to know what Davis told the Orioles? Did they ask him about it? If they didn’t, shame on them. They had their chance to do their due diligence and now the man who is second on the team with 26 home runs and third with 72 RBIs is likely done for the year unless the Orioles make it to the World Series.
Here’s the question I have for Davis: Did you tell the Orioles that you knew you would be violating the baseball’s drug policy if you took Adderall – and did it any way?
If that happened, he lied to the organization that’s paid him millions and misled/deceived/betrayed – you pick the word you want – a fan base that has treated him like royalty.
I’ve been to 24 games at Camden Yards this year and couldn’t throw a peanut shell without hitting someone wearing a No. 19 jersey, the free “Crush City” T-shirt the team gave away this year or the Davis shirt with the “O’s” Superman logo on it the team gave away last year.
Now, I’m thinking they should have put an Adderall logo on all of them.
I still don’t get it. But I want to know: Did the Orioles turn a blind eye? Did Davis think “I’ve hit a major-league leading 112 homers since 2012 using this stuff, so screw it, I’m taking it, Major League Baseball, the Orioles and the fans be damned.”
If that’s the case and he just got 25 games, then Davis won and the Orioles won. With Davis and his Adderall, they’re going to win their first American League East Division title in 17 years.
You know what that means: money – lots of it. They’ll be more home games, which means more food and beer sales, and of course, a mountain of money the size of Crush City from t-shirts commemorating a division title – and possibly an League Championship appearance, a World Series and the ultimate payday: a World Series title.
I’m shaking my head. They’re basically all supporting Davis. You’re telling me no one is angry?
“I was very surprised,” Darren O’Day, the Orioles’ union representative said. “I know how much Chris loves playing baseball and loves coming to the park every day and being with his teammates, so surprised that he would put that in jeopardy. Surprised was my first reaction.”
Adam Jones said: “A great guy made a mistake I’m sure he’s regretting. But us as a team, we still stick by him, we still have faith in him. If and when he’s able to come back, we’ll assess that, we’ll see how that works. But we support him. Bad move, bad decision but we support him…People are going to react in the public, are going to rip him and say all this – let them say what they want. In this clubhouse, there’s 25, now 40 guys. We support him. Everybody makes bad decisions, we’re going to have to pick it up in other places because he is a big part of our team and our lineup, and our clubhouse. We’re just going to have to pick it up. We’re going to miss him, but we still support him.”
Uh, Adam, by “mistake” do you mean “cheated?” Davis getting picked off first base is a mistake. Manny Machado throwing his bat and getting suspended is a mistake. Is knowingly breaking the rules by taking a banned drug a mistake?
I’ll give the Orioles credit. They’re handling this brilliantly. It’s all one big, happy orange and black family in the clubhouse. Everyone is supporting Davis and overcoming his loss is “just another bump in the road,” Nick Markakis said.
It took Davis a career to establish himself as one of the game’s premier power hitters, and one bad decision to tarnish his career. Here’s a guy who said last year he considers Roger Maris – not Barry Bonds – baseball’s single-season home run king because Maris “ was the last guy to do it clean.”
Jon Gallo is an award-winning journalist and editor with 19 years of experience, including stints as a staff writer at The Washington Post and sports editor at The Baltimore Examiner. He also believes the government should declare federal holidays in honor of the following: the Round of 64 of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament; the Friday of the Sweet 16; the Monday after the Super Bowl; and of course, the day after the release of the latest Madden NFL video game.