Two things to mention…. One, SI has the Zito contract details:
…. Pitcher Barry Zito will make a base salary of $10 million from the San Francisco Giants in 2007, then receive raises of $4 million in each of the next two seasons.
Two, ESPN’s Bill Simmons, just the funniest sportswriter alive, takes on the Mark McGwire/Hall of Fame hypocrisy:
…. Some writers won’t vote for McGwire because he probably used steroids — keep in mind there’s never been proof that he did, other than a visible bottle of andro and those 135 pounds of muscle he added from 1990 to 2002 — which would be fine if they weren’t so pious about it. Not content with simply dismissing McGwire’s candidacy and moving on, they need to climb on their high horses and rip the guy to shreds. Of course, many of them would appear on any radio or TV show for 50 bucks and a free sandwich. We’re supposed to believe they would refuse the chance to take a drug that would enable them to do their job twice as well and make 10 times as much money? Yeah, right.
These people have now become the self-proclaimed moral arbiters of baseball, and they need you to know that Big Mac cheated, disgraced the game, deceived the public, tainted the record books and pushed the sport into a spiritual free fall. They rush to tell you that they can’t vote for McGwire because their conscience won’t allow it. San Jose Mercury News columnist Ann Killion wrote that she can’t vote for McGwire because she wouldn’t be able to explain it to her kids.
She concluded her column with this: “All I can do is cast my own vote judiciously. And be able to look my kids in the eyes when I do it.”
Ann, I’m glad you’re such a thoughtful mom. Seriously, that’s great. But a vote for McGwire isn’t exactly an endorsement of drug use. And anyway, part of our country’s problem is the shortsighted way we “protect” our kids from life’s harsh realities.
Wait, Bill, are you saying you don’t want to save the children?
Seriously, I’d love to just cut and paste the whole thing, but there’s enough there to give you a very clear idea of where he’s coming from. And as for my readers who wonder why I spend so much time fighting for the “cheaters,” well, it’s because so few voices of reason are out here in the sportwriting world. I keep banging the drum, because so many others are playing guitar, as it were.