Open Thread: Media admits muffing the steroid issue


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.

Categories : Open Thread


  1. Kilgore Trout says:

    Hip injuries scare me.
    Doomsday scenario: AROD misses the season.
    Can Teixeira play third anymmore? well?

    • Slugger27 says:

      wouldnt be a big deal… we’d just trade melky and ipk for david wright and hardly miss a beat

      • Steve H says:

        Wouldn’t make them throw in Reyes? You know A-Rod wants Reyes to replace Jeter in the field and Damon in the lineup.

        • Slugger27 says:

          but then we’d have to part with igawa and colin curtis… if you’re comfortable with giving up that kinda potential just to get a great shortstop entering his prime then that’s your thing

          i guess i’m just more committed

          • Mike Pop says:

            What are you stupid? Your crazy man, I like you but your crazy. Curtis and Igawa are NOTHING, NOT A DAMN THING compared to bringing in Reyes and Wright!

            But that’s a knock at Jeter and A-Rod but the knock at A-Rod cancels out the knock at Jeter and when you divide that by 6 and mutiply it by 2 it actually makes it a knock at the Red Sox which is a good thing.

        • anonymous says:

          I thought our goal was to make the post season this year..

  2. Slugger27 says:

    another reason for not doing it is because its illegal, just to throw that out there

  3. “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.”

    Joe: I agree with you, but there is one problem-

    The only thing that, in the end, really matters is popular perception. If the populace at large perceives these guys to be heroes-and in 1998, it certainly did-then they are de-facto heroes.

    And you just gave me an idea for a rebuttal blog post, so thank you.

    • Slugger27 says:

      i agree… if you inspire people in a positive manner, you can be considered a hero

      the whole team brought the city together after 9/11… just the fact that they gave people a reason to smile, something to cheer for, and something to share in common is heroic in its own way

      that being said, its not really the point joes trying to make

  4. Mike Pop says:

    Take that back!!! Derek Jeter and Mo are heroes!!!!!!

  5. John says:

    From Pete Caldera: “I’m sure everyone would love to have a Grady Sizemore on the team, or a (Evan) Longoria. There’s superstars out there, and Jose Reyes just happens to be one of them.”

    That was not an endorsement of Longoria over A-Rod, for the record.

    so if damon says it, its not an insult? what a double-standard

  6. John says:

    the last line was from me btw, not caldera

  7. Mike Pop says:

    Go to noMaas.

    The picture they got of Pete Abe is pretty good.

  8. Steve H says:

    I love Johnny Damon, but he truly is nuts.

    “If Alex can’t go, we have Cody Ransom, who is probably the best athlete on the team. No one can really do what Alex can do, but we’ll move forward.”

  9. yankeefan91 Arod fan Rooting For Team D.R says:

  10. John says:

    Ransom is on PEDs

  11. Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

    When A-Rod follows what his handlers want him to say, everyone says he’s “Phony” and “scripted”.

    When A-Rod says what’s on his mind, he puts his foot in his mouth time and time again.

    When are we all going to stop taking sides (for or against) stop beating our head against the wall expecting this to all go away or get better. It’s not going to. It’s been like this since he’s showed up and has only got worse over time. It’s pointless blaming the media, they aren’t going away anytime soon and its part of Alex’s job to deal with them. Does anyone think the Yanks look forward to the day when Derek is gone and Alex is the face of the franchise? With the non stop drama and embarrassment that follows him everywhere? God forbid the Yanks have a down year, they will be a laughing stock. A 38 year old A-Rod who’s a shell of his former self and in the Enquirer every week because he’s dating Bea Arthur.

    Alex isn’t a bad guy, he’s just never fit in here. We can blame Jeter for not embracing him, we can blame Torre for playing favorites with his core guys, we can blame Alex for simply not being an east coast guy. Whatever the reason, whoever is to blame, the fact remains its never worked here. He’s won 2 MVP’s here and New York has YET to embrace him.

    Why don’t we just admit to ourselves that this is a bad marriage? And has been since day 1? And given his contract, its virtually impossible to get rid of him. The thought of eating 100 mil to have him win MVP’s elsewhere is untenable, and the thought of dealing with his non stop drama as his skills decline is even worse.

    BTW-Just wait until that book comes out.

    • Dude, I’ve admitted it ages ago.

    • Mike Pop says:

      What if the Yankees win 3 of the next 6? Does he get welcomed finally?

      • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

        Mike, he’s been here 5 years. What do you think?

        Giambi, Mussina, Sheffield were all were given huge contracts, never won anything here and never received 10% of the negative attention Alex gets, despite the fact that two of them were involved in steroid scandals themselves.

        • You’re probably 100% right. When we win 6 titles in the next 8 years, they’ll be perceived as “CC’s and Tex’s rings” and ARod was just along for the ride.

          Basically, this guy was screwed even before he got here. Because he played the same position as Jeter. I think Yankee fans hate ARod based on the fact that in Seattle and Texas, he was a better AL SS than Jeter and stole his shine and his spotlight, and so he’ll never, ever, ever, ever be good enough no matter what.

          • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

            No, that’s not it at all. That puts all the blame on the fans and none on Alex. Part of his job is to deal with the media, and he’s absolutely horrendous at it. As good as he is on the field, he’s equally bad with the media.

            Check out that link Joe posted. It’s funny and gives you a reporter’s perspective.

            • I read the link.

              I’m just advancing another hypothesis. I’m saying that ARod was already in the hole when he got here. In order to dig his way out, he needed to do two things: be excellent with the media and win titles. When those things didn’t happen, he dug himself deeper in the hole, sure, but I personally feel that he was already down before he started. He had negative goodwill from day one, IMO.

    • AndrewYF says:

      The thought of ‘dealing’ with A-Rod’s drama is WORSE than the Yankees paying him to win MVPs elsewhere?

      At least we know where your priorities lie. Sheesh.

      • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

        “The thought of eating 100 mil to have him win MVP’s elsewhere is untenable, and the thought of dealing with his non stop drama as his skills decline is even worse.”

        Try reading what I said again.

        • AndrewYF says:

          It’s still worse to have the Yankees deal away a player, pay a large part of his contract, and have him win the MVP with another team. That way, they not only don’t get his MVP production, but they don’t even get his ‘declined’ production he would have provided. They get absolutely nothing, and they’re paying for it. I don’t see how this is an argument.

          • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

            Try again. Take off the ‘A-Rod can do no wrong glasses’ and read what I actually said. I’ll give you a hint “as his skills decline” is a key phrase.

            • AndrewYF says:

              Yes, I read your statement and it’s still wrong. “As his skills decline” A-Rod is still better than no A-Rod. Unless you would have had the Yankees sign Joe Crede or Mike Lowell. Sure, they suck and would cripple the Yankees, but at least we won’t have TEH DRAMA!!!!!

              • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

                Quick question-Yanks won 3 WS with who at 3B from 1998-2000?

                Because they would “suck” and be “crippled” and couldn’t possibly win with a career .257/.323/.422 at 3B.

                BTW-You can’t win with Mike Lowell? Seriously?

                • AndrewYF says:

                  Oh god, the ‘crappy players win, A-Rod doesn’t’ argument. A classic go-to for delusional A-Rod haters, which it looks like you are proving to be.

                  The fact is this: the Yankees have a much, much, much better chance at winning with A-Rod than they do with Joe Crede. I really, really, really can’t see how that is in any way or form arguable, at all.

                • The fact that we can win without ARod doesn’t mean getting rid of ARod is a good idea.

                  We also won titles without a good leftfielder. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pursue Holliday or Manny next winter.

                • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

                  Andrew, did you see what TSJC just posted? That’s what a rational argument looks like.

                • Mike Pop says:

                  I’m not taking sides but Andrew’s argument is very rational.

                • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

                  Which part did you like Mike, when he referred to anyone that disagrees with him a “delusional A-Rod haters” or when he said “really” for the third time?

                  I found both equally persuasive myself.

                • AndrewYF says:

                  But I was right, and you were wrong. The only irrational person in this thread of debate was you, when you tried to say that A-Rod being on the team was worse than A-Rod being off the team and a worse player being here in his stead, while the Yankees pay another team to take A-Rod off their hands.

                  And I didn’t refer to anyone as an A-Rod hater, just you.

                • Mike Pop says:

                  No….he makes a good argument. You bring up those, what I believe to be Scott Brosious’ stats and I too hate that argument. You put Scott Brosious on the Yankees the past couple years, I don’t think they make the playoffs. He also said the Yankees chances of winning are much better with A-Rod than with Joe Crede, Mike Lowell, or whoever else. I take A-Rod and all his stupid bullshit over the “crappy” player even if that guy hits 340 in the playoffs and plays a little better defense. Has A-Rod struggled in the playoffs? Oh, god yes. But would the Yankees been better off letting him walk or not of had him over the past 5 years, I don’t think so. They would obviously be better off if he just sucks over the next 9 years but as fucked up as it is, the Yankees can probably afford to field a competetive team year in and year out even with 27.5 AAV devoted to a shitty player.

                • Mike Pop says:

                  Also, I am not taking sides and really could care less which way this argument goes. Just throwing in my 2 cents. You know I like the both of ya and don’t start shit unless you say something about my family ;).

                • Mike Pop, your mother smells of elderberries.

                • Mike Pop says:

                  Hey, let’s leave the mothers out of this.

                • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

                  Mmmmmm. . . elderberries. Now I’m starvin.

  12. Infamous says:

    I used to be ignorant and young and hated Bonds because, well, I guess the media suckered me in. I believe its collussion that Bonds was not signed last year and probably this year for the league minimun. Yes what Bonds did was not right, but what do I care what he does if it was not against the rules? As long as he produces on the field and helps my team win then I am happy.

    For $500,000, or whatever the league minimum, I think Bonds can still help a borderline team, probably an Al team, jump into contention and be worth 10x what they would pay for him.

    • Dude, it’s not that Bonds did PEDs that everyone is freaking out over, it’s the fact that he obviously lied about it and the likelihood that he lied under oath.

      Teams don’t want to take on the legal risk.

      And, dude, he’s, uh, not exactly what you’d in his prime

      • Joseph P. says:

        I absolutely enjoy your copious use of the word “dude” in this thread.

      • I disagree. I think even had Bonds fessed up and come clean immediately, had he told the 100% truth the moment he was exposed and been even MORE forthcoming and MORE open than ARod was, the media and the fans would still hate him and treat him as a pariah.

        Like ARod, I think the die of “do we like the guy and hence, forgive him his trespasses or do we hate the guy and revel in his misery” was cast on Bonds long before he did a drop of testosterone.

        The world is like Junior High. We like who we like and hate who we hate, largely for arbitrary, immutable, and superficial reasons.

        • A.D. says:

          Bonds teammates hated him when he was a sophomore in college…he never exactly rubbed people the right way

          • Yup. Bonds doesn’t fit with the mainstream public’s narrative of what a sports star should be (cocky but humble, talkative but with nothing challenging or opinionated to say… oh, and white, if possible; happy and sunny and meek and unthreatening if not.)

            He was doomed to being disliked from day one. You’re a black superstar but you don’t turn his hat backwards and blow bubbles like Ken Griffey Jr? You don’t have a passion for the game. He’s a black Adam Dunn, and the only thing worse for baseball than a white Adam Dunn is a black one.

        • That’s extremely well said.

          You should write a blog.

  13. Slugger27 says:

    i think his appeal dropped severely last year cuz he had already broken the HR record

    given his age and skills, only 14 teams could even have a spot on the team for him…. out of those 14, look how many have set DHs

    the rays couldve used him i guess, but they did just fine without him

    unless you’re one of those 14 teams, a playoff contender, an opening at DH, an obp problem, and in need of some national attention, why risk the possible PR backlash? i dont think it was collusion at all…

  14. Thomas A. Anderson says:

    Performance enhancing drugs have never and will never take down baseball or any professional sport. The accusation of a fixed world series in 1919 did more damage to the game than any PED scandal will. Not having a world series in ’94 put a much bigger dent in the sport than PED’s ever have and ever will.

    Based on the money fans keep pouring into the sport,the ratings these games get, the attendance records that keep falling, fans have proven time and again that they don’t care about PED use NEARLY as much as the media thinks they do.

    Am I disappointed in Alex over this? Sure.

    Do I wish that players didn’t use PEDs and relied on their own abilities to compete? Sure.

    But I am not naive enough to believe that Alex should take the blame alone, nor do I believe that players won’t cheat. There is too much money to be had in professional (and college) sports for players to not cheat.

    Again, they are human just like the rest of us. And I don’t hold them to a higher moral standard because of what they do.

  15. A.D. says:

    Is there any news on Edwar’s injury?

  16. Hey, the Ravens finally did something: Re-upped Ray Lewis and signed Matt Birk!

    True, they’re not as young or as good as Bart Scott and Jason Brown, but at least they stopped the bleeding a bit… Oh, and the other good news is, they play in the same division as the Browns and the Bengals, so no matter how rough of an offseason they had, they’re still guaranteed at least a second place finish…

  17. David Lee and Al Harrington are really growing on me. It’ll be a shame to see them both leave so that we can go sign LeBron and his runningmate in a year and a half.

    (And yes, I stopped saying LeBron and Bosh, because I’m starting to fantasize about LeBron and Wade instead. Although I’m not holding my breath; I think Wade ends up going to Chicago in the Summer of ’10 to play with Derrick Rose and claim MJ’s long-dusty mantle.)

    • Mike Pop says:

      Wade will not be a Knick. He has stated that the weather up in NY will keep him from going there. (I know that’s not a 100% gaurantee but I highly doubt he ends up as a NY Knick.)

      • Yeah, it’s just a crazy fantasy, but it would never happen.

        Here’s my “not with detailed though, off the top of my head” predictions on where they land in over the next two summers:

        Boozer: Pistons
        Iverson: Blazers (think about it)

        LeBron: Knicks
        Bosh: Knicks
        Wade: Bulls (or back to Miami)
        Joe Johnson: Nets
        Nash: Mavericks

        • Mike Pop says:

          High expectations for your Knickobockers but entirely possible. I remember Nash said he would like to play for Toronto, Dallas, NY, or stay in Phoenix. So it depends how much he demands but we all know it is about the money most of the time. Would you like him to be on the Knicks assuming you could afford him if he came for cheap? Say you missed out on Bosh and only got Lebron or something like that. I hope Joe Johnson goes to the Nets, that’d be sexy.

          I agree with you on Wade. I don’t like him very much but when he “has that look in his eye” he is just downright unstoppable.

          I think you end up with Lebron and either Amare or Bosh like you have said.

          • If I get LeBron but miss out on Bosh, I’m turning to the following secondary options, in order of preference:

            1) Joe Johnson
            2) do nothing and wait for the Draft Class of 2006 RFA’s to take a one year deal and hit the market the following summer (Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, etc)
            3) bring back Al Harrington
            4) Michael Redd
            5) Dirk Nowitzki or Amare Stoudamire (I’m not too enthused about them, they’re 2 of the 5 worst defensive players ever…)

            I’m not giving Nash anything more than the mid-level exception. If he wants to play for peanuts because he knows he’s got a shot at a ring playing with LeBron, Bosh, and D’Antoni, fine. But he’s not a high-quality player anymore. (And he was wildly overrated during his peak anyway.)

    • Kevin G. says:

      What are the possible teams you think LeBron could go to (besides the Knicks)?

  18. Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

    Apparently, 40+ years of cocaine use has finally caught up to Robin Willams.

  19. T-Dizzle says:

    tommie what do you do for a job?

    • AndrewYF says:

      Recognizing that there is still a lot of baseball to play in Spring Training, what do you think the chances are that Andrew Brackman could pitch his way onto the Major League club without ever spending a day in the Minors?
      – David B., Ohio

      Could he? Yeah, he probably could. But would that put Brackman in the best position to succeed? Absolutely not.

      I like this game.

    • Mike Pop says:

      That is good.

    • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

      That is FABULOUS!

      I had a Cairn terrier that I used to catch dreaming all the time. I always wondered what could be going through that lil’ head of his. I figured that a big, angry bone was chasing HIM.

  20. Moshe Mandel says:

    Sooo, next offseason- Manny, Bay, or Holliday?

    • Matt says:

      I think I’d be most comfortable w/Manny because he’d require the shortest deal and is the most reliable. We don’t know how Matt Holliday will do in the AL/not Coors and the same goes for Bay in a full season in the AL/Fenway.

  21. Dave says:

    “The constant headlines about A-Rod do nothing to enhance my enjoyment of the game”

    ENHANCE? To me, it is the exact opposite. It really is destructive to the enjoyment of the game. I have never been so depressed, annoyed and angry about baseball as I was this off-season and that has everything to do with the medias obsession over this issue and nothing to do with any other aspect of the game.

    “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.”

    I cant believe Heyman actually wrote this recently. I mean he says that people would get annoyed with media writing about the issue back during the homerun chase but wouldnt that lead him to believe that perhaps, people are annoyed about it being covered incessantly a decade later. What changed? Heyman says these articles would be annoying back then and to me, they are even more annoying now as some are trying to make up for their past transgressions by complete overload. And that is why, this issue is getting so fricken annoying. I guess heyman should heed his own words here.

  22. Mike Pop says:

    Wow, ESPN just said TO got released.

    • Mike Pop says:

      (sheds a tear)

      • Mike Pop says:

        I know I’m talking to myself, but damn. I am shocked. I hope a team picks him up and he has a “Randy Moss-esque” year.

    • andrew says:

      I saw the headline and the first thing I did was come on here to see what you had to say because i don’t really know any other cowboys fans… happy? sad? indifferent?

    • Yeah, I don’t get why this happened now and not a month ago.

      Why wait until all your fallback options (like Houshmandzadeh and Coles) are gone? Yet another move by Jerry that doesn’t make sense.

      Like I said before, the Cowboys are fast becoming the Mets of the NFL.

      • Mike Pop says:

        Lol. It’s funny I came on right after you make this comment. I don’t know, I guess he has a “plan” in place. The Boys’ can still compete but definitely aren’t an explosive offense like they were with him..

        Hmmm, maybe Torr Holt, I doubt that Jerry has the picks/money to pull off a Boldin deal. I don’t understand the cap as well as alot of fans but I know they take a cap hit so it’s not like they are doing this to clear all his salary. I know Jerry saves cash, I don’t know. A little upset but I’ll live. I would of rather seen a four or 5 games to see what the offense could do. Roy, Crayton, Austen, and Witten though. Not too bad.

        • Mike Pop says:

          Wow, excuse me. From what I read, it is almost a 10 mill cap hit. Damn, Hakeem Nicks better fall!!

          • I’ve been trying to think of where TO can go. He obviously can’t go back to SF or PHI, he can’t go anywhere where there’s not a winning situation, or reasonably close to a winning situation, he can’t go anywhere where there’s a young, inconsistent, or emotionally fragile QB, he can’t go anywhere where they value character are locker room cohesion highly and don’t take on troubled guys… etc.

            Here’s all I got:


  23. Drew says:

    does this mean bud selig is off the hook? get the hell out of here!! stupid media! sorry ben and mike and co.

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