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Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Don't paint Pirates with Marlins brush

In the wake of the Marlins getting their wrists slapped for not spending enough money, Dejan Kovacevic checks out the Pirates:

This is like steroids. Sometimes you have to believe your eyes. If hitters aren't throwing crazy numbers on the board, you can reasonably believe that drug testing is doing something, right? I don't believe that the players' ethics have changed much. But most of them probably figure it's just not worth the risk of getting caught or the hassle of finding good stuff that won't be detected. And it's also probably true that the testing regime has created an atmosphere that not only discourages drug use, but encourages those who aren't predisposed to such things in the first place.

I believe my eyes when it comes to the Marlins and the Pirates, too. I don't know if the Marlins were "cheating" -- if they really weren't plowing their revenue-sharing money back into the franchise -- but I do know that whatever they were doing just looked bad.

It's all about appearances. You hit 70 home runs and people are going to wonder how you did it. You spend $25 million on payroll and people are going to wonder what you're doing with all that money the Yankees gave you.

Perception might not be reality. But usually it's close enough.