Alex Rodriguez, 600th HR yesterday afternoon elicited the usual reaction from baseball scribes. You know who I’m talking about, the Ian O’Connor’s and Bob Klapisch’s, of the world amongst a cast of thousands who inevitably write, “ARod cheated the game”. “He doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame”, “He really only has 444 “clean” HRs (Pete Abraham on Twitter yesterday), etc…. However, what these moralistic writers won’t tell you is that they turned a blind eye to PED use as they applauded and extolled the virtues of McGwire, Sosa, ARod and Bonds. Publicly, writers have been aware of PEDs since October 1988, when Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post wrote the following about Jose Canseco, “the most conspicuous example of a player who has made himself great with steroids”. Did this create a huge media firestorm, as previously seen with ARod? Nope. How about after the strike of 1994?
In July ’95 Bob Nightengale’s story included a quote from then Padres GM Randy Smith saying, “we all know there’s steroid use, and it is definitely becoming more prevalent.” In that same article Nightengale quotes Tony Gwynn stating: “It’s like the big secret we’re not supposed to talk about”. Where was the media outrage back then? Where were all the holier than thou baseball columnists spewing and hand wringing for drug testing?! What were all the hard-hitting investigative reporters doing besides sticking their collective heads in the sand? That’s right…nothing.
The media now want us to believe they are outraged, that they are the moral police in place to ensure the game is “clean” and that the “truth be set free”. But they don’t really want that. They knew all along players were getting bigger, faster, were hitting the ball farther, throwing it harder, but looked the other way for 15+ years. Hypocrisy reigns supreme. They will keep HOF worthy players out of the Hall because they “cheated” the game. But didn’t the same writers cheat the game they cover and make a living from by not reporting what they knew and saw was happening? Remember, in August of 1998 when McGwire and Sosa were locked in their chase for 62 and androstenedione was discovered in McGwire’s locker? The media quickly dismissed it as a nutritional supplement as they waived their pom-poms and watched the TV ratings and revenues roll in.
So next time the media laments how “sad” they are or how “bad” this is for the game and “the kids”…remember they played as big a part as anyone in creating the situation they now condemn. When the first baseball columnist comes “clean” telling us how he/she cheated the fans and the game by concealing what they saw everyday in the clubhouse, I’ll be all ears. Until then excuse me as I attempt to block out all the white noise from the media that similar to Clemens in front of Congress “misremembers” what they know about PED usage.
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