Dunlap: Ultimate Reaction To Marte Will Be Interesting

PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – We all know what happened to Starling Marte by this point.

Well, check that — we all know what Marte did to himself. It was selfish, it was boneheaded, it was downright silly and cavalier.

There are no excuses Marte can give that would be sufficient (and he didn’t try to offer any) for putting a well-known steroid in his body that cost himself an 80-game suspension and has derailed the Pirates’ season for the most part.

That’s the past.

I’m interested in the future now.

How will Pittsburgh perceive and receive the stunningly-talented outfielder upon returning in the middle of July?

Will he be vilified?

Will he be celebrated like nothing happened?

Will the reaction be somewhere in the middle?

Will it all be forgotten about as soon as he comes up with that rocket arm and guns down an opposing runner at the plate or uses that bat to lace a double into the gap in a huge situation?

That’s my guess.

I’m torn here, but because he’s one of ours, because he’s a guy the Pirates have invested so much in and made so much a part of the future, I’m guessing Pirates fans will pretty much forget about Marte’s glaring transgression as they move forward.

Is that right? Probably not. But it just feels like it will be the case.

We root for guys like Ben Roethlisberger and James Harrison and Le’Veon Bell and will root for Martavis Bryant when he returns — all had off-the-field transgressions or moments of questionable judgment. It’s how sports fans are wired though; if you perform, they forget.

Same thing with Francisco Cervelli, who served a 50-game suspension for his role in the Biogenesis scandal in 2013. Although he was a member of the New York Yankees at the time of his suspension, he has become a fan favorite here in Pittsburgh.

If you perform, they forget.

I’m not saying that’s good or bad — it’s just how it is in sports.

It will be the same for Jung Ho Kang if he ever makes it back to the United States and starts bopping home runs for the Pirates again, too. Although I think his transgressions are more egregious than those of any of the aforementioned men, his behavior downright deplorable, most will cheer loudly when that ball sails over the wall off his bat. To us, to the sports consumer, these men aren’t really men, but just vehicles that drive us to moments of entertainment.

So while I’m intrigued as to the future of Marte, while I’m interested to see what will happen in July when he comes back, it pretty much is predictable, I guess.

If you perform, they forget.

If he performs in the future, not many will care to remember that 80-game void in his career.

Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weekdays from 5:40 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at colin.dunlap@cbsradio.com. Check out his bio here.

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