Fernando Tatis’ silly PED excuses belied by lack of action

The made-up stories of a PED taken for ringworm and/or a fungus for a “bad haircut” coming out of Fernando Tatis’s camp belies the reality he never said a word when it mattered. Upon hearing of his failed drug test a few weeks ago, Tatis didn’t object, didn’t protest and ultimately didn’t force the issue of his test result to an arbitrator, as is his right. Word is, Tatis was one of the clearest cases of drug cheating in memory, with the failure coming only a couple weeks before the announcement, possibly only delayed by a few hours or a day to bury the news on a Friday night.

Of course, there was no burying this, as Tatis is a “transformative” player who helped turn San Diego into a baseball hotbed, arguably one of baseball’s greatest talents and the signer of a record $340 million contract. While Tatis is now unavailable well into the 2023 season due to a combination of mistakes of his own making, including motorcycle accident(s) and the wrist injury kept secret until he arrived hurt in spring, barring further developments that contract will likely stand.

The drug foray was just dumb according to folks in the know. “Clostebol is not what’s making him a great player,” is one informed person’s belief. At best, it helps “at the margins.” What’s more, Tatis wasn’t even playing when busted in mid-summer.

In any case, there hasn’t been much sympathy for Tatis – not from teammates, media or fans – since he failed the steroid test and his camp followed up with a statement making the ridiculous claim he got busted because he inadvertently ingested the anabolic steroid when he took a drug for ringworm. Anyway, if some quack prescribed the wrong drug, he’d also have documentation from a doctor or pharmacist for a real grievance, not just wild words for the internet.

San Diego Padres' Fernando Tatis Jr. walks to the dugout
Fernando Tatis offered excuses for his PED suspension, but didn’t challenge it.
AP Photo

None of the drug cheats ever comes completely clean, but Tatis may be the first case where the parents have gotten into the well-worn denial act. While they didn’t sway anyone, perhaps it shined a light on exactly why Tatis would go that route. First the mother attempted to bolster the ringworm tale with pictures on Instagram (apparently it has since been deleted), then the father, the former St. Louis Cardinals player, came up with the fantastic story that it came from a spray he used to treat a “fungus due to a haircut,” in his telling to esteemed journalist Hector Gomez.

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