Archive for the 'The Commissioner' Category
You know, I've kind of ignored all the A-Rod mess. I think he probably broke the rules, and he's obviously a fucking moron, but, I have to say, the leaks and character assassinations have really gotten out of hand. And on top of it all is the bullshit line that Bud –Superman– Selig is somehow cleaning up the game and saving the children. He's learned from his mistakes, and now baseball is gonna be the one sport that gets it right. Yeah, right.
That isn't possible. It is not possible to legislate risk. It is not possible to tell people to do everything they can to be the best, but not that. It is not possible to ask that every member of your union be a completely uniform actor in a complicated world. The goal that baseball is aiming for, that the suits in the MLB and MLBPA offices are aiming for, is not available, and these people are just not smart enough to realize that.
It's sad, really. Thirty years from now, this chapter in baseball history is going to be laughed at. The managers who speak out against the “cheats” are embarrassing themselves. Players like Mike Trout, calling for a lifetime ban for all the “cheats,” don't even seem to understand how the process of discovering the “cheats” works. Neither do the sportswriters. Nor do the managers. The GM's. The agents. These people, who are rushing to throw the Ryan Braun's and A-Rod's under the bus, don't seem to understand how damaging it is to the Players Union, and to the protection of the rights of the players themselves this rush to judgement really is. The players who accepted their suspensions without appeal have literally undone 40 years of advances in the relationship between management and players. Without so much as an argument.
The sportswriters of this generation are destroying the very reputations they hope to burnish with all of their moralizing and posturing and saving of the children. Here's Mike Lupica, once again telling us how Seligula is a great man:
…. It is worth pointing out all over again that the same people who like to bang Bud Selig around for not doing enough about steroids in the buy cialis online no prescription old days now want to bang him around for doing too much.
You sort of can’t have it both ways.
Yeah, well, yes you can. Seligula did do nothing when he was being told he had a problem, and now he is doing too much. He is literally burning down the forest to save a couple of trees. Oh, and Mike? So are you. You and the rest of you children savers are guilty of the same thing. You guys did nothing when the problem was staring you in the face, and yes, you too are now doing too much. It's called over-correcting. It's a common problem. So common, really, that it's a cliche. Just like your protect the commissioner, fuck the players approach to writing.
Your position is shameless, embarrassing, and honestly ridiculous. Thanks for telling us that the boss is right. Never would have imagined that was the case. Oh, and of course….. Fuck all these players. They make too much money anyway. And they don't care about baseball the way you do. Thanks. I forgot.
UPDATE: A-Rod's lawyer is as pissed off as I am:
…. “They are threatening people if they don't speak to MLB; they will refer them to law enforcement,” Tacopina said. “A lawyer can't do that. That is what Major League Baseball lawyers have done here, telling witnesses that they will expose them to the media if they don't speak to them. We have a videotape of MLB investigators flashing badges into a gated community to try and find a witness. That is illegal. Why they are acting the way they are acting, I don't know. Why do they think it is OK to tell mom and dad that, 'We're sorry Mr. Bosch injected your minor, your son with narcotics, controlled substances? We are going to tell the federal prosecutors that he has been a really good guy that he helped us get some baseball players so you shouldn't prosecute him.' That's the deal that they made with this guy.”
…. “I would love nothing more than to sit here and be able to talk about Alex's testing results and MLB allegations and MLB's investigation into Biogenesis as it relates to Alex and specific dates and specific tests,” Tacopina said. “Nothing more, but there is a confidentially clause of the JDA. I will make Manfred a deal if he, in writing, waives the confidentially clause, and agrees that it would not be a breach of the confidentially clause, if he allows us to discuss exactly what he wants us to discuss, including the testing result, including the specifics of the tests, the results, we would be happy to discuss it. It would be my pleasure to discuss it. I would love to discuss it. But the minute I discuss it, I'm in violation of the confidentially clause of the JDA. Unlike them, I'm not going to hide behind some anonymous source leaking stuff that is in violation of the confidentially clause like they have done from Day 1.”
Hat Tip to Baseball Musings
In the face of so many calls for stricter penalties by so many misguided moralists in the mainstream media, Commissioner Selig has come out and said he is in favor of increasing the penalties for PED’s. This is, of course, absurd. The penalty system is fine. The testing system is as good as it needs to be:
…. In the year ending with the 2012 World Series, there were seven positives for performance-enhancing substances and 11 for stimulants among 3,955 urine tests and 1,181 blood tests, according to a report issued in November by baseball’s independent program administrator, Dr. Jeffrey M. Anderson.
So, .003% of all the tests come back positive, and the Commissioner, as well as the complete fools in the media are all in a tizzy about solving a “problem” that doesn’t exist. Again, the program works fine. But if you’re in the mood for a different take, David Pinto has a suggestion:
….I would suggest, however, that suspensions may not be the way to go. My recommendation would be to hit the players hard in the wallet. Every positive test moves the start of big money back two years, or does a reset to the minimum salary. So if a first year player gets caught, he has to wait five years instead of three for arbitration, then eight years instead of six for free agency. If he is already collecting an arbitration or free agent salary, the next two years are paid at the minimum. In other words, cheating takes away the salary guarantee. A player might take a chance for 50 games. He might not take a chance for millions of dollars.
It’s an interesting take, but again, the system works. Players are being harmed by the suspensions, teams are being harmed. Melky was essentially an outcast in SF after his suspension, banned from the postseason, and from an eventual championship. What more do you want? Shoot them? It’s a game, people. Someone cheats, they get suspended. Three strikes and you’re out. That’s enough. The Players Association should resist any further calls for tougher penalties. They have no incentive, and they are not required to.
UPDATE: Eric thinks the system isn’t working. Well, I think it is. I think we’re talking about something working versus a completely unrealistic goal of 100% eradication. We’re confusing “works” with “perfect.” No system will catch everyone, for the exact reasons you just stated, the incentives are too great. The idea isn’t to eliminate use to the point of 100% clean. That’ll never happen. To even come close to 100% would entail a level of personal invasiveness no player would thoughtfully agree to. That’s why we shouldn’t listen to the sportswriters, the players, or the owners, or even the commissioner when it comes to this issue. They aren’t experts. Far from it. They are consumers, they are sheep. When they say things like 11 positive tests out of almost 4000 vials of urine means the system isn’t working, it just illustrates how out of touch with reality they are.
There will always be a small percentage of people willing to do anything to achieve success. For the most part, those people are lauded as our heroes. The players agreed to this system. If some of them want to circumvent it, so be it. Some of them will get caught, and some won’t. That’s life. We could easily insure that every single person who ever speeds gets caught. Put GPS tracking devices in every car, and have it automatically issue a ticket every time you exceed the speed limit. Anybody want that? I could go on. How come it’s OK to ask Derek Jeter to allow someone to come to his house any hour of the day or night and ask him to pee in a cup? Because he plays a game? How is it so hard to see the absurdity in this situation?
The players have already given huge concessions in this situation. To give more baffles me.
If I were in the majors, I would never vote to allow that kind of intrusion in my life. But that’s me. I find it amazing that so many people would actively petition for the removal of another person’s privacy.
Well, the Hall of Fame vote has come and gone, and the child-savers have made their point:
…. By mimicking Congress on the deficit debate and kicking the steroid needles down the road for another year, the Baseball Writers Association of America made a powerful statement Wednesday that it does take the integrity/sportsmanship clause in the Hall of Fame ballot seriously and that the writers plan to look long and hard at all the proven and suspected cheats before awarding them a plaque in Cooperstown.
Only someone blinded by power and self-aggrandizing moralizing could fail to see the irony of being proud to mimic Congress, at a time when our government has an all-time low approval rating. Oh, and of course, Madden voted for Jack Morris, perhaps the most poorly qualified candidate of the last ten years. His argument for Morris is as flawed as his arguments against Bonds and Clemens, or, for that matter, Piazza.
…. Voting for a known steroid user is endorsing steroid use. (um…. no it isn't) Having spent too much of the past two decades or so covering baseball on the subject of steroids — what they do, how the game was subverted by them, and how those who stayed away from them were disadvantaged — I cannot endorse it.
Based on past statements, such a dismissal is also obvious to many former players, including Hank Aaron, who has said no steroid users should go into the Hall (“The game has no place for cheaters”), Andre Dawson (“Individuals have chosen the wrong road, and they're choosing that as their legacy”), Goose Gossage (“Cheaters should absolutely not be in the Hall of Fame”), Todd Zeile (“Why doesn't anybody see that it's cheating and it's wrong?”), David Wells (“To me, if you've cheated as a player, that's as bad as being a scab”) and Dale Murphy (“Everyone understood that it was against the law . . . It was also against the spirit of the game. That's why everybody did it in secret. I have a hard time endorsing that, because there were a lot of guys who decided, 'I'm not going to do that.'”)
Where are all the former players arguing for known steroid users to be in the Hall? Anybody?
The former players who are speaking out against steroid users are conveniently ignoring the fact that they all used amphetamines throughout their careers, as did virtually every player who played baseball up until the
steroid hysteria led to the new drug testing system. The ones who won't come out and support the alleged steroid users are afraid they'll have to be asked about their own use of illegal drugs to gain an advantage. Verducci comes across as especially hypocritical when he characterizes “greenies” as diet pills. Right.
Also in his completely bullshit op-ed piece is his admission that he has decided that he knows who has used PED's and who didn't. It's always exciting when you get to write about what people have done in their lives while ignoring facts, or their lack. More tragically, know-nothing, soap box pontificators like Verducci get to decide whether a player who has worked his ass off for thirty years gets to be acknowledged for their sacrifice and career accomplishments.
But, that's what happens when people with literally NO TRAINING WHATSOEVER in the use and results of performance enhancing drugs are given the power to decide who warrants inclusion and who is shut out.
The good news is that it is all but certain the Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, Biggio, Bagwell, Piazza, Palmeiro and the dozens of other superstars of the last 15 years will eventually gain entry to the Hall of Fame. And then, the old-timers –who were as guilty as sin of using the steroids of their era– can puff their chests out and whine about how these guys are the bad guys. Not them. Oh no, they
Once again, Tom Verducci is for a problem that doesn't exist:
…. Major League Baseball has a drug problem again and is engaged in discussions with the players' association regarding what to do about it. The very specific problem is the use of fast-acting synthetic
testosterone, the primary performance-enhancing drug of choice among emboldened players who believe they can avoid detection with dosages that are carefully timed and controlled. Testosterone was the
substance that triggered positive tests in the previous 12 months by Ryan Braun of Milwaukee, Melky Cabrera of San Francisco, Bartolo Colon of Oakland and Yasmani Grandal of San Diego.
…. I argue the rise in usage sends baseball another message: the penalty is far too light. When players calculate the risk-reward ratio, the risk of losing 50 games is insufficient. If the owners and players were truly serious about a clean game, first-time offenders would face a minimum of a one-year ban. Unfortunately, there are no current discussions about amending the penalties.
There are no discussions about amending the penalties because there is no reason to amend the penalties. There are no penalties that would stop a player from using anything he can get away with to either make it as a baseball player, stay a baseball player, or finally land that life-altering multi-million dollar contract. None. Unless you wanna have it be one failed test, lifetime ban; which, of course, the Players Association would never agree to.
Here's what Verducci is missing…. The system works exactly how baseball and the union want it it to. They system is designed to do one thing; reassure the public. It works fine. Players have failed tests, been suspended, and come back. Some have been released, some have been exiled, (you think Melky Cabrera wishes he hadn't missed that World Series run?) and some have been welcomed back. But baseball has perhaps the most high profile, public shaming of drug users out of all the major sports. What is there to be gained in a more punitive world? More sad men for Verducci and Lupica to lord it over?
Once again, the men who think it is their job to protect the children will never be satisfied. They will never stop their crusade, ignoring the reality that the scientific, controlled, and medically supervised use of PED's in sports is around the corner. In some ways, we are already there. Railing against the evils of one type of performance enabler while detailing the benefits of another is the highest form of blind hypocrisy. But then, look at who is doing all the yelling, and look at why.
Once again, MLB absolutely fucks the Giants over, with a 12 noon start on Sunday, followed by consecutive 9am starts
on Tuesday and Wednesday (all times PST). So much for anyone who has a job in San Francisco.
This has happened before, and it’s a travesty.
UPDATE: Apparently, the early schedule I saw on Stubhub was incorrect, or has been changed. I don’t know, but the game times are different. The SF Giants site says the Sunday game is now at 6:30, and the Tuesday game at Cincy is at 2:30, and it doesn’t say EST, but I’m sure that’s what it is. The other two road games are showing as TBD. So there.
The NY Daily News’ Bill Madden is in the minority when it comes to common sense:
all of Fame’s Great Dilemma: It continues to bill itself as a museum, and the custodian of the game’s history, and records. But down the road, how does the Hall justify that if it excludes the holders of the most significant of those records?
…. with 15 MVP and Cy Young Awards between them, Clemens, ninth all-time in wins and third in strikeouts, and Bonds, the all-time home run leader, are the two most decorated players in the history of the Baseball Writers’ awards voting — and yet those same writers, many of whom are of the opinion they have an obligation to abide by the “integrity and sportsmanship” clause, feel compelled to say “No” when it comes to a plaque in Cooperstown.
…. “The problem you have now is that the Hall of Fame is supposed to tell the history of the game, good and bad,” said a baseball official, “and unfortunately there is this inconsistency between the records and the people elected to the Hall. If you’re going to keep out the suspected steroids players, don’t you then also have to put an asterisk or something on their records? You can’t have it both ways. Obviously, the commissioner has no intention of putting an asterisk on the records, and so, if they’re going to stand, Bonds and Clemens should be in the Hall of Fame. And, frankly, so, too, should Rose.”
Um, yeah. I’ve been saying that for going on a decade. Better late than never.
Meanwhile, Mike Lupica, (savior of children, baseball and integrity, though maybe not in that order) still wants us to know he’s got it right about Bonds and Clemens:
…. You break no laws, by the way, if you don’t care whether Clemens and Bonds and Sosa were shooting up in the dugout.
You don’t have to care.
But if you do, ask yourself a question:
Do you believe Clemens was clean over the second half of his career?
Once again, we see how it is with guys with a computer, a newspaper and am axe to grind. “Apologize.” Done. “Not enough.” “Gotcha, now go on trial.” Beat it. “Not enough.”
On and on. Just remember that Clemens was better than Lupica’s boyhood idols, Bonds was better than Lupica’s boyhood heroes, and that’s why he won’t let up. Guys like Palmeiro, guys like Ramirez, those guys he’s already forgotten about. Jason Grimsley? The only time Jason Grimsley will be in a Lupica article is if he shoots somebody. He didn’t beat an immortal.
UPDATE: In a related article written by Murray Chass, I came across this Buster Olney quote:
“The institution of baseball condoned the use of performance-enhancing drugs for almost two decades with inaction. To hold it against a handful of individuals now is, to me, retroactive morality.”
Again, not to belabor the point, but I have been saying that for going on a decade. At the risk of repeating myself, I’ll also mention that Pete Rose is in the same boat with these moving target assholes.. The sportswriters who now champion his permanent exclusion from baseball absolutely knew he was betting on sports for years; and at least a couple of them suspected he was betting on baseball. They said, wrote and did nothing, until it was politically expedient to act shocked and horrified.
On and on…. They demanded that Rose admit what he did, come clean, and apologize. The minute he did, they jumped down his throat insisting that he didn’t apologize the right way. Jason Giambi went through the exact same thing. So did A-Rod. Only Andy Pettitte appeared to handle his apology the right way. Of course, the writers already didn’t believe he was cheating anyway. He was an acknowledged “good guy,” which meant that he was a good interview for the sycophants.
The US Federal Government, under the direction of the IRS, Jeff Novitzky, and bevy of federal investigators, prosecutors and judges, has been dealt a devastating and quite clearly embarrassing loss today, as New– Metabolic Enhancement Training (m.e.t – High Converting!
/2012/writers/michael_rosenberg/06/18/roger.clemens.not.guilty/index.html?eref=sihp&sct=hp_t12_a0″>Roger Clemens joins Barry Bonds in virtually clean sweeping their accusers. After spending something in the ranges of $120 million dollars, after countless illegal searches, witness intimidations and appeals, motions and legal maeuverings, the feds find themselves, once again, losing in the court of law. Roger Clemens has been found not guilty of all charges, less than a year after Barry Bonds was found guilty of one count, obstruction of justice, in his farce.
Shame on the government, wasting enormous amounts of money, time, and damaging the reputations and careers of athletes, remember, athletes. Disgraceful behavior, and all I can say is thank God the juries saw through this sham.
UPDATE: When I say sham, I mean, it was a house of cards, an “investigation” into something that simply was not worthy of investigation. There was no evidence. It was he said, she said, with a famous guy getting his name and reputation destroyed in the process. It was the feds saying, “Fuck that guy, he lied to us, let’s make him pay.” And pay he did. Clemens knows his name will never again be free from connections with PED’s.
The BALCO investigation, the one that started us down this maze of bullshit, started because of a personal gripe Jeff Novitzky had against Barry Bonds. Novitzky thought Bonds was arrogant, and he went out and broke the law, stepped way outside the boundaries of his authority, exceeded his responsibilities, and eventually got Bonds in court. The cost of the Bonds’ trial was estimated to be in the range of $50 million dollars, and seven years later, after putting Greg Anderson in jail for almost two full years in an effort to coerce him into testifying against his friend failed, the trial ended with Bonds being found guilty of a single charge of obstruction of justice. He got a couple of months house arrest.
Now Clemens doesn’t even have to deal with that kind of BS, he only has to deal with the baseball Hall of Fame writers who have decided that they have to save the children, so they’re already writing how they aren’t gonna let him in anyway, regardless of what the jury of his peers thought. They know better, apparently. They know he cheated, even though he didn’t. Even though they say everyone was doing it, and baseball was pretending it wasn’t a problem, they have decided that these guys, the ones who beat all their heroes, are gonna pay.
Again, if the powers that be in baseball don’t care about the BBWAA abusing it’s privilege, then why should we? If Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Rafael Palmeiro, Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza and countless other all-time great players are going to be black-balled, then what kind of Hall do you have? I’ll tell you, you have one that will be increasingly marginalized. You’ll have a Hall that will be missing an entire era of stars. And you’ll have a Hall that will be missing it’s fans.
I don’t need Bill Madden to protect me from Roger Clemens. I don’t need Mike Lupica to protect the “honor” of the Hall of Fame from Barry Bonds. The Hall of Fame is there to honor the greatest baseball players of all time. The short list I just put up contains some of the greatest baseball players to ever wear a uniform. If they aren’t in the Hall of Fame, it is the Hall of Fame’s loss. It is the fans loss. It is baseball’s loss.
UPDATE, Part II: Charles P. Pierce says what I want to say so mnuch more eloquently and clearly that I am almost embarrassed to link to his work. Read the whole thing:
…. trying Clemens a second time has to be the biggest waste of federal criminal-justice resources since the last time Alberto Gonzales drew a paycheck.
…. Après lui, of course, come the hysterics, the stalwart drug warriors who have fashioned high dudgeon into profitable careers fighting what my friend Scott Lemieux, of the Lawyers, Guns, and Money blog, calls “The War On (Some Classes of People Who Use Some) Drugs.” The anti-drug enforcement complex — which was born in the drug frenzies of the 1980s, but has its deepest roots in the racially compromised anti-drug campaigns
that began in the 1920s — found its way into sports through the current hand-wringing about PEDs, as though every drug with which sports have acclimated themselves doesn’t “enhance” performance in some way. I don’t know what’s funnier — the fact that it seems to have dawned suddenly on the drug warriors and their media enablers that the great unwashed masses out there simply don’t give a damn about their grand crusade, or the fact that it seems to have dawned suddenly on those same people that really rich guys can afford really good lawyers.
The NY Daily News’ Bill Madden embarrasses himself in this blatant attempt to land on the “right” side of the morally pure:
…. Bud Selig could make this
easy for everyone by citing those precedents and placing Bonds on baseball’s permanent ineligible list.
That is just ridiculous, really. Just like all the writers falling all over themselves to make sure we know that the prosecution “won” in the farce of as trial we just witnessed. Nobody “won.” Justice wasn’t served, didn’t prevail or overcome. Her wheels didn’t grind exceedingly fine. This was a witch hunt, a travesty, an outrage that anyone associated with will forever find themselves smeared in.
Bonds is gonna get in the Hall of Fame or not, and at this point, with the Hall being used by the writers to make some moral statement, who cares anymore. If the man who has the hit the most home runs in a a season and in a career doesn’t get in, and the man who has the most hits of all time doesn’t, and a pitcher who is arguably the greatest ever doesn’t, well, then, what the hell kind of Hall of Fame do you have? One that will lose all relevance to the fans who love the game. At some point, you just have to accept that people are fallible, a simple and reasonable stance that these guardians of purity have completely forgotten.
The sportswriters who choose to deny these great players don’t deserve their vote. Well, maybe deserve isn’t the right way to put that. They are using their vote to make a statement. They are using the Hall of Fame. That doesn’t seem right to me.
A Hall of Fame is for honoring the greatest baseball players of all time, not the nicest, or the ones who are the most polite.
Oh, and not for nothing, but Seligula is gonna get in the Hall of Fame on day, and he has no business banning anyone.
Really. What am I supposed to say about the Bonds trial? That it’s finally happening?
It is a disgrace, a travesty, an embarrassing display of everything that is bad with our short-sighted, wrong-headed elected officials; who should’ve put a stop to this seven years ago.
I really needed Kimberly Bell to explain to me that Bonds’ testicles weren’t as big as they used to be.
The people in the courtroom should be ashamed of
themselves. Judge Susan Illston for allowing the hearsay testimony, and the prosecutors, for stooping so low.
Not to belittle the accomplishments of our venerated commissioner of baseball, but the news from Milwaukee –the Brewers are planning to erect a statue of Selig– is really disturbing.
First off, is there anyone who doubts that this idea could only have come from the team’s “owner,” who just happens to be his daughter. I mean, who else is gonna come up with a horrible idea like this? It certainly isn’t the fans, who have watched as the Selig family has gotten rich beyond their wildest dreams –mostly due to the tens of millions of dollars the team receives through revenue sharing, money that Selig has refused to spend on the team for as long as revenue sharing has been going on– and the increase in revenue due to a taxpayer-funded new ballpark.
Now there’s an accomplishment worthy of a statue, mooch millions upon millions of dollars off of the other teams in baseball, and off your fans and your local community, and then refuse invest in the team for decades.
But, besides some of these obvious issues, you put up statues for the great players in your franchise’s history, as opposed to filthy rich guys who charge ten dollars for a Miller Lite; the idea is off-putting for a variety of lesser concerns.
Selig’s legacy is stained by his complicity in the steroids issue. He cannot distance himself from what happened on his watch, whether you think it was a true scandal, or simply an overblown media creation. He was there, as commissioner, when Sosa and McGwire “saved” baseball, and there were people in his office that were whispering in his ear that there was a problem. He knew, and he did nothing, well, if by nothing, you mean, ignore the issue.
He’s handled several other issues rather poorly as well, don’t you think?
He tried to contract teams out of existence. That didn’t go so well, you might remember.
You could say I’m being unkind. OK, forget, for a moment, all of the things he did poorly. What has he done well?
Really, what has he accomplished that you could say is remarkable? What would you say is Bud Selig’s legacy?
Owners and players making lots of money?
The Pete Rose fiasco? Yeah, he handled that one well.
How about shunning Bonds and McGwire for alleged PED use while standing behind David Ortiz? Yeah, very well though-out.
You do remember that he was the commissioner when the players went on strike, just about killing the game.
Oh, and he was commissioner when the owners colluded against the players, resulting in a hundreds of millions of dollars lawsuit that the league lost.
These are just a few of the reasons the idea is terrible. The most obvious one I haven’t even mentioned:
He’s still alive. His “legacy” could hardly be a known commodity, even now, towards the end of his career. You wanna honor the guy when he retires, throw a parade. Have a big dinner, and give him a car. A bronze statue? When he finally brings the team a championship you might want to consider a statue, maybe. It’s quite a bit early in the story of his life to build him a bronze statue.
Only in a sports town so bereft of real baseball heroes and champions could the idea of a statue of Seligula be given consideration.