Recent Posts

Remember Pittsburgh’s Steroid History When You Boo Starling Marte

“You! In Section 127! Why were you booing me?”
Photo from Getty Images

On Tuesday night, Starling Marte will play his first game in a Pirates uniform since his steroid suspension in April. Since losing their Gold Glove outfielder, the club has been able to tread water in National League Central despite being four games under .500. The general reaction of most will be to boo Marte when he steps to the plate for the first time since April 17th. While this country allows you to voice your displeasure freely, let ?s take a look at the situation as a whole.

When Marte was popped for a 50 game ban back in April, he tested positive for Nandrolone. As most of you know, Nandrolone isn ?t a rogue ingredient in a supplement from GNC. This is probably about as old school as you can get in the steroid game. Hell, the Soviets were juicing with it when they were dominating everyone in the Olympics as early as the 1960 ?s.

How do you think the Steelers were able to maintain such level of dominance during the 1970 ?s? Yep, Nandrolone. Here ?s a question: would you boo them? If Steve Courson were still alive, God rest his soul, would you jeer him if you saw him in public because he used steroids? Let ?s say, heaven forbid for some yinzers morality, Joe Greene was on some illegal drug the Steelers’ doctor got from the Russians. It wouldn’t be to far fetch to imagine, as the Hall of Famer did play through numerous injuries during the team ?s Super Bowl run. No Steeler fan would talk ill on the most lovable figure in team history even if he was juicing. So why the double standard? Oh yeah, Marte was caught red handed; no professional sports league tested for steroids in the 1970 ?s.

And that ?s the only problem with Marte using steroids in my opinion. It’s not the fact that he did performing enhancing drugs, it is the fact that he failed a drug test and cost the Pirates 80 games. Sure he ?s a drug cheat by definition, but hey, he tried to improve his production with a little help. I mean, who hasn’t cheated in something in their life. Please cast the first stone. The old saying goes, ?If you ain ?t cheating, you ain ?t trying. ? Obviously not the most moral look on life, but the morality in sports died a long time ago when it became a billion dollar industry.

Let ?s be honest, PEDs make the game better. I really don ?t care if an athlete gets busted for PEDs. What are they trying to do, enhance their performance right? So at the same time isn’t the athlete in the right for trying to be the best they can be for the fans? Some people might bring up the fact these guys are looked up to by kids and steroid use obviously doesn’t send a great message. Just remember, no one told these guys they had to be role models when they became a professional ballplayer. Some try to walk that straight arrow, which is a noble endeavor, but they are not required to be an example to kids. Athletes should come with a disclaimer: will do amazing things, eventually will disappoint.

Marte has done just that in his short Pirates career: amaze and disappoint. For this team to try and keep pace in this division, they will need their Dominican outfielder back to his old self in as short as time as possible. One respected columnist the city last week suggested the Pirates should trade their All-Star with his value still being high. While most of the column turned into a borderline racist anthology about all Latin ballplayers being dirt poor before they are signed by a major league club, he did bring up a fair point. Marte would bring back some quality pieces, possibly even more than Andrew McCutchen despite his recent tear. And who wouldn’t want him at the price? An average of $10.5 million for 4 years is a steal for a player the caliber of Marte. Even with the occasional lackadaisical play he shows at times, every team would want to take a shot at him. But Neal Huntington isn’t going to do that and rightfully so.

If the Pirates want to make any kind of run towards a division crown over the next couple years, they will need Marte in the lineup to do that. And it is not just because of his bat and glove, he is the only one who can seemingly get the most out of Gregory Polanco. For some reason these two have a symbiotic relationship and they will need that down the stretch of the season, especially if McCutchen goes away in a trade. Granted, Marte could struggle and continue to swing at pitches ten feet out of the zone, something that can’t be fixed by steroids.

Don ?t be afraid to cheer Marte when he returns. You can boo because he missed 80 games, you have earned that right, but don’t hit him for the steroids. If you wouldn’t hit any of the Steelers of the 70 ?s for it, don’t you dare do it to Marte. If you want the Pirates to somehow go on a run and win the division, getting behind your Gold Glove outfielder from the start might allow him to get off a fast start in his return. They are only back seven games and with four against the first place Brewers this week they can split the difference. Winning the division this season may only be a fantasy to most Pirates fans, but with playing more than half of their games against divisional opponents the rest of the season they will have all the opportunities in the world to take the NL Central. Every step of the way, they will need Marte to be at his All-Star level of last season. Just remember, don’t be a hypocrite this week Pirates fans. Know your history.

About Rich Donahue (31 Articles)
Rich Donahue is a contributor to Point of Pittsburgh. He covers Duquesne basketball and recruiting for Pittsburgh Sports Now. Previously he was the editor for City of Champions, which is a part of the FanSided Network.
Contact: Twitter

9 Comments on Remember Pittsburgh’s Steroid History When You Boo Starling Marte

  1. Though not in concert with your approach on this, I have no boos for him. I would even consider him brave for having paid for his wrong and brought himself back to playing readiness.

  2. Joseph Stuby // July 17, 2017 at 12:52 PM //

    Comparing him to Steelers of the 70s doesn’t fit. The entire NFL used roids like vitamins..trainers handed them out as such. Since then the dangers have become more widely known and that’s why you shouldn’t use them. But to say not to boo Marte for drug use? Come on…he’s a cheater! He belongs in the same club with Pettite, Braun, and A-Rod! A no good cheat! I could care less if he remains a Pirate! Trade him….good riddance!

    • Rich Donahue // July 17, 2017 at 9:13 PM //

      You are right steroids were like candy in those days, but whether they took it in 1977 or 2017, they are in the same category. If you want to refer to Marte, etc as a cheater by all means do so, but remember to include those Steelers in that club as well. A spade is a spade no matter how it’s dealt.

      • Some flaws in your argument. Mainly, its not cheating if its within the rules…morally wrong, but not against the rules. You can’t remove the era from an action and judge them as equivalent. Smoking in a restaurant in 1977 vs 2017? Richard Pryor / Gil Scott-Heron Racist Word Association in 1975 vs 2015? Moderate drinking during pregnancy was rampant and accepted in the 70s, but not now. I can line up another 50 other examples if you are not willing to concede the fallacy of this argument.

  3. Michael // July 17, 2017 at 7:29 PM //

    I would make it a point to “boo” Marte during his first AB as he needs to understand his lack of good judgment cost the team and the uniform I cheer for dearly. He was counted on to be an integral part of this year’s Pirates lineup and he was not due to his selfishness. Once I get done “booing” his first AB, I will consider him admonished for his behavior and make it a point to embrace him as I have the likes of many other Pittsburgh players, see Cervelli, Bell, Holmes and if we needed to go back in time many of the Steelers of yesteryear (although they were not suspended and did not hurt the beloved uniform I root for. Marte, please do us a favor and adhere to the rules so we do not have to deal with another suspension as my ability to forgive a second time will not be as easy to come by…

  4. Piraterican21 // July 17, 2017 at 7:44 PM //

    Kudos to you for writing this article.

  5. Frank C. // July 17, 2017 at 8:45 PM //

    He paid for his crime. The slate is clean. Leave him alone and hope and cheer him on to maybe winning our division.

  6. THoff84 // July 17, 2017 at 9:16 PM //

    Don’t you dare? 70s NFL is a shoddy comparison for modern MLB…like a trip to the moon and pluto are both space travel. Steroids left a black mark on baseballs resurgence after the strike, ruined an entire generation of heroes and wonderful moments with the taint of scandal. Emerging from that era, the Brauns, ARods and Martes are cheats who deserve no cover from the boos and jeers their selfish actions earned them. Entertainment? More self interest and greed. I was as big a Marte fan as you could ever find, but I will soundly boo him tmrw from my full season seats in row A of left field, and much longer than just his first at bat.

Comments are closed.