Max Kellerman apologized Tuesday after the ESPN host previously revealed himself to be a conspiracy theorist on Albert Pujols’ power resurgence.
Pujols is chasing 700 home runs, a number no one expected him to reach this year, his final MLB season. But thanks to a surprising second-half power resurgence, the 42-year-old future Hall-of-Famer is just three home runs away from the extraordinary milestone. While everyone is seemingly amazed by Pujols finding the fountain of youth, Kellerman took his surprise a step further by offering some blunt skepticism.
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“It is amazing, how Pujols, who was in steady decline for years, suddenly, it’s like he discovered the fountain of youth! I don’t know how he’s doing it!” Kellerman said sarcastically on Monday’s This Just In. “Bartender, I’ll have whatever he’s having! This is unbelievable. He sure has turned back the clock…how does a player turn back the clock like this? I guess it’s willpower and practice. All these years between then and now he hasn’t been practicing, apparently.”
So not only did Kellerman appear to infer Pujols was cheating, but he also questioned the 42-year-old’s work ethic. After apparent backlash from Pujols and the Cardinals, Kellerman addressed the comments on Tuesday’s This Just In.
“We showed video of Albert Pujols as he chases 700 home runs,” Kellerman said as he began his version of an apology. “I commented that he seemed to be hitting the ball much better than he has in a long time. Some, including Albert, inferred that my curiosity as to how he was achieving this recent level of success could only mean that he was benefiting from something other than a lot of hard work, practice and his natural ability. For that, I apologize to Albert and the Cardinals’ organization.”
In 2013, Pujols sued former MLB player Jack Clark for going on a St. Louis radio show and making the claim that the Cardinals slugger used performance-enhancing drugs earlier in his career. A few months later, the lawsuit was dropped and Clark publicly retracted his statement.
Kellerman didn’t retract his snide remarks about Pujols in his apology. But Kellerman also didn’t go so far as to directly allege PED use with Pujols, the ESPN host just strongly inferred there may be some artificial assistance.
Some fans will always be skeptical when they witness a surprising power surge after MLB turned a blind eye to seemingly obvious steroid abuse in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. Pujols entering July with just four home runs and proceeding to hit 14 since certainly counts as a surprising power surge. But Kellerman isn’t just some fan, he hosts a prominent show on one of MLB’s biggest media partners in ESPN. Unsurprisingly, MLB will frown upon Kellerman broadcasting conspiracy theories to defame one of their legendary figures.