Last week, ESPN columnist Rick Reilly wrote a piece for that site in which he appears to have suggested — if not explicitly, than at least by means of implication — that Baltimore first baseman Chris Davis‘s recent feats of strength haven’t been achieved by the fairest of play.
Regarding Reilly’s rhetorical liberties, the present author has little to say — first of all, because that’s not his (i.e. the author’s) literary bailiwick, really, and, second of all, because “colleague” Michael Bates (if one could call him that without chortling) possesses considerably greater reserves of outrage.
Of some interest to the present author, however, was a point Reilly made with regard to members of the family Culicidae and their digestive practices. From the relevant passage (bold is author’s):
You said you weren’t on steroids, but have you ever done any performance-enhancing drug, period?
“I have not,” Davis said, simply. “I have not ever taken any PEDs. I’m not sure fans realize, we have the strictest drug testing in all of sports, even more than the Olympics. If anybody was going to try to cheat in our game, they couldn’t. It’s impossible to try to beat the system. Anyway, I’ve never taken PEDs, no. I wouldn’t. Half the stuff on the list I can’t even pronounce.”
Which is a great answer. And carries less power with me than a mosquito’s burp.
There is no doubt that Reilly, who defended cyclist Lance Armstrong for years, might have something in the way of trust issues apropos professional athletes. Again, it is not the author’s intention here to plumb those particular depths.
More notable, though, is Reilly’s comparative clause, which implies certain truths about mosquitoes of which the public might be unaware. Curious about the scientific validity of Reilly’s claim, the present author appealed to the masses for help on the matter; was aided by concerned citizen Eddie Bajek; and, finally, directed to an actual, real-live entomologist named Marcus, to whom this author sent an email outlining all relevant facts.
Marcus’s response is reprinted in full here:
Yes I am an entomologist and I don’t mind answering your question. No, mosquitoes don’t burp. Good luck with your article.
Hark! Science has been conducted! This post is complete!
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