The St. Louis Cardinals have been receiving a lot of media coverage lately, in large part due to Albert Pujols’ pursuit of 700 home runs. Lately, members of the media have begun taking subtle, and not so subtle, shots at Pujols, saying that his recent hot stretch can only be explained by one thing: steroids.
Those two media members are ESPN’s Max Kellerman and Barstool’s Chris Klemmer.
ESPN’s Max Kellerman, Bartstool’s Chris Klemmer accuse Albert Pujols of cheating
Back on August 30th, Klemmer posted an article titled “This Albert Pujols Hot Streak Feels Fishy”, citing Pujols’ turnaround since July 5th and Jack Clark’s old PED accusations as an argument for why Pujols may have been cheating this season. Klemmer wrote the following…
"I wish I could enjoy this run more. This whole hot streak just feels fishy to me…It seems that the media is celebrating this run but with a bit of apprehension. No one is publicly accusing Pujols of anything nefarious and they shouldn’t do that outright without proof. But it also feels like no one is asking any questions."
Klemmer does claim that he is not saying Pujols is using PED’s, but his headline and article raise questions about Pujols with no evidence other than “it does not feel right”.
Kellerman, on his show “This Just In with Max Kellerman”, reflected on Pujols’ 697th career homerun, said the following about Pujols’ surge toward 4th all time (video linked here).
"By the way, it is amazing how Pujols, who was in steady decline for years, suddenly it’s like he discovered the fountain of youth. I wonder how he’s doing it? Oh my god the bat speed, everything. He’s killing the ball. Matter a fact, bartender, I’ll have whatever he is having…He sure has turned back the clock. I just wonder if there was anything that could be pointed, how does a player turn back the clock like this? I guess it’s just willpower and practice. All these years between then and now he hasn’t been practicing apparently."
If you listen to the audio of Kellerman, you can clearly hear the sarcasm in his voice as he talks about how Pujols “must just be practicing harder” rather than juicing up like other guys did.
Kellerman and Klemmer both use the classic “well, we did not say he used PEDs” tactics while either building a strawman argument for it, or making jokes about how this is the only explanation. This is unprofessional from both of them as well as their media outlets for allowing such takes. It is one thing for a random fan to rant on Twitter and make such accusations, it’s another thing when media members employed by large platforms make such takes.
Could it be that one of the greatest players to ever play is being utilized in a platoon that plays to his strengths? Or that he is revitalized upon returning to St. Louis and in his final season? To Kellerman and Klemmer, that does not explain this output from the 42-year old. Fortunately, the majority of fans and media are celebrating number five’s pursuit of greatness.