Open Thread: Media admits muffing the steroid issueBy
Haven’t you had enough of the media’s obsession with steroids in baseball? I sure have. The constant headlines about A-Rod do nothing to enhance my enjoyment of the game, and I’m sure that’s true for plenty of others. It’s even worse when they’re trying to out players who used in the past. Not to simplify an issue to one sentence, but: If there were no penalties to using steroids prior to 2004, why wouldn’t you use them?
(Answer: Because of your long-term health. That’s the only good one I’ve got.)
Jason at It is about the money, stupid takes a long look at the media’s role in this “scandal.” (Again, how can it be a scandal if there were no baseball-related consequences to using?) The article includes a massive bullet list of baseball writers admitting they had done wrong by not exploring the situation further. It’s an excellent read if you like hear people admit their mistakes.
A few of them strike me a bit odd. The one that stuck out the most was from Ken Rosenthal. “That is our greatest sin, extolling these guys as something more than they were. Some of us had a feeling that something was amiss. We are more guilty of making McGwire and Sosa into heroes when they weren’t.” Where do I even begin on this?
First of all, McGwire and Sosa are not and never were heroes, even if they hit all those home runs clean. Baseball players are not heroes. They are entertainers. We might attach some narrative lore to them, especially the legendary ones, but that doesn’t make them heroes. There are people who sacrifice their lives for the betterment of others. That’s when you can get into the hero discussion. It does not apply to people who hit baseballs 400 feet.
Second, the crime was not making the players into heroes, even though it was wrong. The crime was not digging deeper into the steroids issue. If other reporters had followed up on Steve Wilstein’s revelation about McGwire’s andro, perhaps this issue would have blown up a bit sooner than it did. Yet most in the press ignored it, and since the public didn’t want to believe it the issue was shelved for a few more years.
At least Jon Heyman is honest: “I guess we were all caught up in the excitement of the home run chase. Rather than spend all of the time and energy [on steroids] when the only guarantee was that we would annoy everyone around us, we took an easier route.”
The first comment on Jason’s post makes a point: “The reason they didn’t report it wasn’t because of a fear of their jobs, or their reputations, or how the players percieved them. They didn’t write it because it wasn’t a story then.” I think that they could have made it a story, though. Tonight on SportsCenter: Baseball players are cheating and tarnishing the legacy of the game. I mean, that’s basically what happened years later, anyway. If the media flat out accused the players of cheating, the public would have gotten into an uproar much sooner. But the media left it alone, and the rest is history.
Now that my rant is over, it’s time to get to the open thread stuff. The Nets host the Celtics, the Knicks host the Hawks, and if you’re into Big East hoops Marquette takes on Pitt on ESPN2. The Rangers picked up forward Nik Antropov from the Maple Leafs (damn Canadian inability to properly pluralize) for a second rounder and a conditional pick. They also nabbed defenseman Derek Morris from the Coyotes for Nigel Dawes, Petr Prucha, and Dmitri Kalinin. Dave at Blue Seat Blogs likes the Antropov acquisition but abhors Morris.