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…. More more more

This is getting ridiculous:

…. McGwire doesn’t get off the hook, and leave Bonds hanging on one of his own, because people like him more. Or because Cardinals manager Tony La Russa – who starts to come across as some unindicted coconspirator with McGwire – wants to rewrite his personal history as much as Mc-Gwire does.

Nobody is defending what Bonds did with his own drug use, ever. But Bonds didn’t start the “steroid era.” McGwire is the one who did that. He doesn’t get cleared now because of a crying jag that started to make you think he was watching some kind of all-day “Old Yeller” movie marathon.

The guy sure did do a lot of crying, before he ever got to Costas. It was reported in the St. Louis paper that he cried on the phone. It was reported in USA Today by Mel Antonen that he cried on the phone. Tim Kurkjian reported that McGwire cried on the phone with him. Everybody who watched the Costas interview saw what happened there. But the question that doesn’t go away is why he was so broken up if all he was doing was taking “low dosages” of steroids to heal.

Wow. I mean, wow. It’s hard to imagine a more pompous, self-aggrandizing response. Just who the hell does Mike Lupica think he is? Sure, he can be a terrific sportswriter, but man, is he coming off small right here.

And I’m not gonna let it slide. I can’t. It’s wrong. It’s indefensible, really.

If there’s only one place in the world where you can read about how the so-called defenders of the game get called out for the blatant hypocrisy, it’ll be here at OBM. I’ll defend the players. I’ll defend their right to be treated as human beings, as fallible. I’ll defend my favorites, and I’ll even defend the ones I didn’t care so much about. They are men who play games. They stand there, in the spotlight, with all the pressure you can imagine in a world where they get paid millions of dollars to run around and hit and throw and catch a ball. It bears mentioning that sportswriters like Lupica are often the source of much of that pressure.

Be sure of that. When Barry Bonds or Alex Rodriguez fail, when they run out a lousy playoff performance, or strike out with the game on the line; guys like Lupica make their bones telling us how lousy they are:

…. he has made a career of hitting home runs and knocking in runs and compiling some of the best numbers in the history of his game. What he has never done is play in a World Series, even though he was supposed to play in one every year when the Yankees beat the Red Sox out of getting him after the 2003 season. He carried the Yankees for one first-round series in 2004 against the Twins and has never done it again when the games matter the most.

…. Thirty-one to play now. Yankees six out in the wild-card race. They left runners on base the way they have all year. Tuesday night they finally heard about it, and good, the $300 million third baseman most of all. Of course he was the last batter of the game for the Yankees, one last runner on base. Of course he got struck out and got booed one last time for good measure.

That’s from two years ago, when A-Rod didn’t come through. The Yankees lost to the Red Sox, and Lupica’s lead –and back-page headline, by the way– was Enough blame to go around, but it lands on A-Rod.

And that was before A-Rod came clean on using steroids, which, of course, didn’t satisfy Mike -Hall of Fame Defender- Lupica:

…. Alex Rodriguez gave us more than you thought he would when he admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs, a lot more than any big baseball star ever has. Rodriguez gave us his version of the truth. But that’s all it was, his version, and one only provided because he finally got caught.

Rodriguez says he was only dirty when he played in Texas but cleaner than corners on a hospital bed when he was in Seattle before that, and later when he got to New York.

We are supposed to accept all that as gospel because he has made this kind of television confession now. Or maybe he just expects us to believe him because he has always been such a good scout.

Here’s an idea. Since you seem to think it’s completely acceptable to walk around all day telling everyone what they’re supposed to, let me tell you what to do:

Stick to writing about the game. Stop acting like your job is to break these athletes down, make them accountable, hold their feet to the fire, or whatever version of saving the children you happen to posturing about on any given day. You’re not David Halbestram, writing about Vietnam. You’re not Woodward and Bernstein, breaking the Watergate scandal. You’re a sportswriter. If it wasn’t for your ridiculous, gas-bag television show, no one in the world would even know what you look like.

It’s the players that matter to fans. It’s the teams that we root for. Not the sportswriters. And, honestly, if you didn’t write about A-Rod’s girlfriend, or McGwire’s steroids supplier, we’d never notice. Really. We don’t care.

You, and Tom Verducci and the rest of you Great Defenders think you are the story. You’re not. And, quite honestly, we’re all tired of hearing about it. Let it go. Your heroes let you down? Please. Get over it. Let it go.

Pete Rose. Jason Giambi. Marion Jones. A-Rod. Manny Ramirez. David Ortiz. Andy Pettitte. And you made damn sure that Mark McGwire knew he was never ever gonna get in the Hall of Fame if he didn’t apologize. On and on, you sat there, and called for their heads, like some King of all that’s Right. Except that the only way you show up like a King is when you’re being a royal pain in the ass. Not one time did any of these athletes satisfy your demands. Not one mea culpa was good enough. That’s the real story. Why did McGwire bother? We all have seen how you treated every other athlete who capitulated your demands. Why would anyone even consider coming clean, when this is what you get?

Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa are still in your sights. They haven’t asked for your forgiveness yet, have they? And given the shameless way you and the rest of you Great Defenders are acting, why would they ever even consider it? I sure as hell wouldn’t.

Shame on you. Shame on all of you.

UPDATE: Here’s another voice of reason:

…. In the wake of Mark McGwire’s admission that he used steroids and his blubbering, Costas-ized public apology, there’s been a good deal of faux outrage, petty character assassination, bad spelling, and even worse logic as the spineless hacks at the BBWAA and their willing sheep in the blogosphere rushed to pronounce judgement on Big Mac. There were the usual hyperbolic calls for records to be expunged, for purity to be restored to the game, and that sort of sanctimonious nonsense. There were those who nobly pretended to be shocked by McGwire’s admission. And then, there were those who laughed.

All the way to the bank.

I am speaking, of course, of the MLB owners cabal, and, in particular, of the leader, the man with the penchant for the short-sleeve dress shirt, one Bud Selig.

Well done. Hat tip to B


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All commentary is the opinion of John J Perricone unless otherwise noted.
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