Saturday, February 21, 2009

The biggest cheaters in the A-Rod scandal? Not who you'd think...

As the only Yankees fan posting on this blog, I feel ethically obligated to at least post something about the A-Rod saga. Now, I have to admit I'm a bit disappointed by the revelations. I've always been a big A-Rod fan, and it's disappointing to me that A-Rod's legacy is now apparently compromised by steroid allegations. I'm also disappointed by the way the press conference and softball interview with Peter Gammons were handled; apparently his press people are the WORST PRESS PEOPLE EVER. Maybe it's the former reporter/PR professional in me, but I think there were probably about one million better ways A-Rod could have come out ahead of the story.

That said, to me, A-Rod isn't even the biggest "bad person" in this story:

1) Whoever leaked the information: So, let me get this straight. Someone tells the players that they'll be tested for performance-enhancing drugs, tells them that the information will be kept secret, and then, names are leaked. Does anyone wonder why the players don't trust any treatment program put forth by MLB?

2. The media: Now, as I've noted quite a bit on this blog, I used to be a member of the media, both for a local newspaper and for a college publication. So, in that time, I've been in a couple of locker rooms, and interviewed a few athletes pre and post-game.

That said, even with that limited experience, it puzzles me a bit when the media hides their heads in the sand as to their own culpability in the "steroid era" (which is a ridiculous term as is), but are ready to burn at the stake any athlete who used, or (as discussed on "Mike and Mike in the Morning" this week) any athlete who didn't turn themselves into the players' version of "Deep Throat."

I'm sure everyone remembers when AP reporter Steve Wilstein spotted Andro in Mark McGwire's locker and asked him about it, and the ensuing fall-out. Whether he did the right or wrong thing isn't the point; the point is that, with that "access" that the baseball writers are always so willing to trumpet, there's no doubt that there are reporters who saw evidence of steroid use and didn't report on it, or didn't mention it to managers or other supervisory personnel for that given team. I'm not advocating that they should have been tattle tales, but it's a little odd that those same reporters are now ready to crucify the players.

Finally...there's a lot of talk about putting some sort of sign in the Hall of Fame about the "steroid era." There are a couple of problems with this. First, there's already a sign in the Hall of Fame that talks about steroid use, and how it may or may not have affected the numbers of the era. Second, and most important, if we're going to do that, shouldn't there be a sign talking about the "greenie era" that preceded the "Steroid era?" All questions for anaother day I suppose.

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