The life of a professional knuckleballer is tough. You’re considered an oddity in the Brotherhood of Pitchers, which is an actual thing requiring annual membership dues and secret handshakes. Your entire game can be knocked on its ass by the wind of a swiftly-passing bird — anything that upsets the air in which the knuckler will traverse. You’re also the guy the coach leans on to eat innings when a game gets out of hand. Don’t even get me started on being a knuckleballer managed by Grady Little in the ALCS.
These hardships have certainly taken their toll on Steven Wright. Once a kingpin of the Sox pitching staff (or at least pretty good when he went 13-6 and had the second-best ERA of any Red Sox starter in 2016), the man has fallen on hard times of late. Last year, he was suspended 15 games after being arrested on charges of domestic violence. This week, he picked up his second suspension, this one for 80 games, for violating MLB’s PED rules.
Now, putting aside for one moment the fact that injecting drugs into your ass cheeks is more heinous a crime than whacking your spouse in the eyes of MLB, your first thought might be that it’s a pretty selfish (some may say stupid) move by Wright. Unfortunately, history is littered with Sox players’ behavior letting down the team. Think of Roger Clemens losing his shit with umpire Terry Cooney and snuffing our slim chances in the 1990 ALCS. Or Ted Williams getting a 60 game suspension for removing his pants during a drunken appearance on the Jackie Gleason show. Or Curt Leskanic “punking” the umps by sending a gorilla to the mound in his uniform and letting the animal pitch two innings before anyone realized it wasn’t him.
As expected, Wright went with the classic “I have no idea how those PEDs got into my body” excuse, similar to how Pablo Sandoval once claimed that 6,000 Twinkie wrappers found in his locker were left there by a drifter. It’s tough to conjure any sympathy for Wright, and it’s not like his absence is going to hurt the Red Sox’ chances in the eyes of fans or anyone using the Poinstbet casino bonus code to bet on them to repeat.
The Sox still have a rotation of Price, Sale, Porcello, Eovaldi and E-Rod. You could argue that’s a better rotation than the one we came so Goddam close to repeating with in 2008, which included Beckett, Lester, Dice K, Buchholz and Wakefield. Am I worried that a once-brilliant knuckleballer won’t be breaking camp with the team? Not at all.
But if the guy you’d least suspect of using PEDs can be nailed and locked out for half the season, it makes you wonder… who else is juicing? And who could be next?
when ya tryin to not look suspicious on mandatory drug testing day pic.twitter.com/dCeEoOcYm6
— Red (@SurvivingGrady) March 6, 2019