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Friday, September 21, 2012

Sweeny: Robinson Cano Non-Story A Lesson In Journalism Vs. Bar Talk

Nowadays there is a difference between a guy in the local tavern saying he thinks a player is taking steroids and the same guy writing that in a social media platform, especially when that person is actually employed by a journalistic organization. The first will quickly be dismissed as bar talk. The second will spread with apparent authenticity and might have some inherent credibility based on who wrote it.

Going the Skip Bayless route on Derek Jeter was simply an opinion, no matter what you thought of it. This was different. This was a wild goose chase based on, apparently, absolutely nothing.

Welcome to 2012.

Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: September 21, 2012 at 07:38 AM | 46 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: media, steroids, yankees

Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: September 21, 2012 at 08:25 AM (#4241846)
Why should I assign credibility to a story of this type based solely on who the reporter is? If he doesn't "show his work" so that I can come to the same conclusion, it's pretty much bar talk. Yawn.
   2. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: September 21, 2012 at 10:37 AM (#4241985)
I'm confused. Is he saying that Bayliss' stupid Jeter comment would have "spread with apparent authenticity" and had "some inherent credibility" had it been tweeted instead of merely spoken on national television?
   3. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 21, 2012 at 10:39 AM (#4241988)
The hilarity here is in Murti expressing shock and disbelief that someone trafficked in an unfounded rumor about whether a player was using steroids.

Did Murti live through the 2000s?
   4. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 21, 2012 at 11:13 AM (#4242021)
The hilarity here is in Murti expressing shock and disbelief that someone trafficked in an unfounded rumor about whether a player was using steroids.

Did Murti live through the 2000s?


But was Murti himself going around throwing out unfounded rumors about other players in that decade? I have no idea, and in fact I've never even heard of the guy, but the answer to that would either add or detract from his credibility here.
   5. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 21, 2012 at 11:16 AM (#4242025)
Why would it? The entire decade was spent accusing players without evidence.
   6. Mayor Blomberg Posted: September 21, 2012 at 12:23 PM (#4242116)
shock and disbelief? where?
   7. ecwcat Posted: September 21, 2012 at 02:07 PM (#4242221)
Never even heard of the "story".
   8. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 21, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4242241)
Why would it? The entire decade was spent accusing players without evidence.

So if Joe Zilch or Murray Chass went around talking about cap sizes and bacne as being proof of juicing, that means that Murti's responsible for them. Yeah, that makes all kinds of sense.
   9. Bob Tufts Posted: September 21, 2012 at 02:29 PM (#4242255)
There may be some good that results from discussion of Joe Dirt's tweet - a potential backlash and more HOF votes for someone that was slimed by similar passive/aggressive accusations - Jeff Bagwell.
   10. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 21, 2012 at 02:29 PM (#4242257)
Why would it? The entire decade was spent accusing players without evidence.

Of course, most of 'em ended up being guilty.
   11. bfan Posted: September 21, 2012 at 02:39 PM (#4242280)
Yes, and except that it took so long between bar-talk and official statement on the Melky offense that we actually had people apologizing for listening to the bar talk/internet rumors, in reporting them, only to later have them come out as true, in the first place.
   12. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 21, 2012 at 02:40 PM (#4242282)
No sentient adult should be surprised if Robinson Cano is 'roiding.
   13. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 21, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4242294)
No sentient adult should be surprised if Robinson Cano is 'roiding.

Replace "Robinson Cano" with "Any athlete" and you've got a better statement.
   14. cmd600 Posted: September 21, 2012 at 03:33 PM (#4242364)
So if Joe Zilch or Murray Chass went around talking about cap sizes and bacne as being proof of juicing, that means that Murti's responsible for them. Yeah, that makes all kinds of sense


Who said that Murti is responsible for them?

The point is that this is the exact same thing as we saw for most of the previous decade? Why is Murti waiting until now to make a stink about how unfair it is?
   15. Bob Tufts Posted: September 21, 2012 at 03:45 PM (#4242389)
Why do people on BBTF take a position that is contrary to their oft-demonstrated political beliefs and propogate a "guilty until proven innocent" mindset?

It's intellectually lazy, contrary to protections provided by our legal system and this inconsistency is being selectively applied to an industry where many minorities are successful.



   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 21, 2012 at 03:50 PM (#4242397)
Why do people on BBTF take a position that is contrary to their oft-demonstrated political beliefs and propogate a "guilty until proven innocent" mindset?

It's intellectually lazy, contrary to protections provided by our legal system and this inconsistency is being selectively applied to an industry where many minorities are successful.


Because that standard only applies to criminal prosecutions.

In the rest of life, we generally use "more-likely-than-not", or preponderance of evidence, like in civil trials.

And in the vast majority of cases, PED suspicions have eventually proven true.
   17. Bob Tufts Posted: September 21, 2012 at 03:51 PM (#4242402)
In the rest of life, we generally use "more-likely-than-not", or preponderance of evidence, like in civil trials.


Like stereotyping people?
   18. Bob Tufts Posted: September 21, 2012 at 04:09 PM (#4242434)
Those charged in the kangaroo court of public opinion are demanded to prove that they didn't do something that may have happened decades ago to the satisfaction of the press and the populace, and that is patently absurd. Charges stick to those that are not liked by the media and those that are viewed kindly get a pass, and that is bad journalism - and bad ethics.

No matter how many times a suspicion becomes true, it doesn't make the next rumor accurate. BBTF exists to be a fact-based website on baseball, and thanks to my experiences in life with unfounded sordid rumors of drug usage while a Giant and Royal pitcher, I prefer to try to be fact-based no matter where and when I am. That way it's a lot easier to keep my story and convictions straight.
   19. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: September 21, 2012 at 04:15 PM (#4242446)
Why do people on BBTF take a position that is contrary to their oft-demonstrated political beliefs and propogate a "guilty until proven innocent" mindset?


Because the "PEDs until proven innocent" mindset is usually combined with the "And if he did use PEDs, he didn't do anything wrong, because it's ridiculous to be punished for trying to improve your performance and help your team, and also he didn't do anything wrong because they don't work anyway" mindset.
   20. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 21, 2012 at 04:18 PM (#4242451)
Over the past 100 years of baseball history, the positive yet bogus stories about major leaguers have ounumbered the negative yet bogus stories by ... what ... 10,000 to 1? 100,000 to 1? Were any stories about Ed Whitson's flagrant bigotry published?

Net-net, the presence of a popular press has been a massive boon to players' reputations and wallets.
   21. bfan Posted: September 21, 2012 at 04:22 PM (#4242456)
No matter how many times a suspicion becomes true, it doesn't make the next rumor accurate.


So if Steve Howe said they got it wrong on his 7th suspension in baseball, you took that at face value?
   22. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 21, 2012 at 04:23 PM (#4242458)
So if Steve Howe said they got it wrong on his 7th suspension in baseball, you took that at face value?

Baseball should never have suspended guys for cocaine use. That was pure PR and mob appeasement.
   23. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 21, 2012 at 04:23 PM (#4242459)
Like stereotyping people?

Sorry, don't see the connection. If the evidence is such that something is more-likely-than-not, how would that conclusion be stereotyping?

It would be stereotyping to conclude something based on some unrelated characteristic, in spite of contrary evidence.
   24. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 21, 2012 at 04:27 PM (#4242462)

Baseball should never have suspended guys for cocaine use. That was pure PR and mob appeasement.


That depends. If guys showed up to work under the influence, or were dealing, I can certainly see suspending them.
   25. bfan Posted: September 21, 2012 at 04:30 PM (#4242466)
I always thought the drug thing was a concern for a player getting in over his head in an addiction, and crossing into the realm of throwing games to absolve debt.
   26. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 21, 2012 at 04:31 PM (#4242469)
If guys showed up to work under the influence, or were dealing, I can certainly see suspending them.

Sure.

But Vida Blue, Jerry Martin, and Willie Aikens were suspended for a year (*) for attempted cocaine possession. That's flat-out reactionary.

(*) Later arbitrated down.
   27. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 21, 2012 at 04:35 PM (#4242475)
But Vida Blue, Jerry Martin, and Willie Aikens were suspended for a year (*) for attempted cocaine possession. That's flat-out reactionary.

Were they convicted? Is there a general rule on criminal convictions?
   28. Bob Tufts Posted: September 21, 2012 at 04:39 PM (#4242485)
What evidence that is credible exists to support the use of illegal PED's by Jeff Bagwell? What is the ridiculously low theshhold that allows writers to keep him off the ballot?

The only contrary evidence to dismiss tales of use of illegal PED's are tests that say otherwise. Then these tests are quickly dismissed, saying either the drug in question wasn't able to be detected or a designer drug was used.

Bagwell is stereotyped (generalizations about typical characteristics of members of the groups - he got "bigger", see his baseball rookie card!) then experiences prejudice (attitude toward members of the group based solely on their membership in that group (all players, especially home run hitters in the 90's were using), then is discriminated against (HOF votes are withheld by BBWAA members based being "bigger" and a home run hitter in the "steroid era")

   29. bfan Posted: September 21, 2012 at 04:46 PM (#4242497)
But Vida Blue, Jerry Martin, and Willie Aikens were suspended for a year (*) for attempted cocaine possession. That's flat-out reactionary.


Actually, they were convicted of an attempt to purchase cocaine. They served time in a federal prison. At least 2, Blue and Aikens, spent many of the next years with multiple drug offenses and transgressions. Aitkens was selling crack cocaine. Their offense was a bit more dramtic than merely trying to possess.



   30. Bob Tufts Posted: September 21, 2012 at 04:47 PM (#4242498)
Supposedly, cocaine was being ordered from the ballpark, delivered to the ballpark and in such amounts that they were not for Vida Blue's personal use. I think freshdirect style drug delivery to Royals Stadium would cause MLB some concern.
   31. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 21, 2012 at 04:47 PM (#4242499)
What evidence that is credible exists to support the use of illegal PED's by Jeff Bagwell? What is the ridiculously low theshhold that allows writers to keep him off the ballot?

I wouldn't withhold a HoF vote from Bagwell.
   32. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 21, 2012 at 04:48 PM (#4242506)
Supposedly, cocaine was being ordered from the ballpark, delivered to the ballpark and in such amounts that they were not for Vida Blue's personal use. I think freshdirect style drug delivery to Royals Stadium would cause MLB some concern.

Once it crossed into the workplace, the player doesn't have a leg to stand on.

If that's true, he should have gotten the full year.
   33. bfan Posted: September 21, 2012 at 04:53 PM (#4242514)
What evidence that is credible exists to support the use of illegal PED's by Jeff Bagwell?


None. I look at Bagwell's career, and there is no funny uptick in HRs; no anomoly of any note.

I look at Brett Boone's career, where he goes from a punch-less middle infielder to a 35+ HR a year guy, and back to a punchless middle infielder after they start testing for steroids.

I am going to make a judgment about steroid use for one of those players, without proof of that steroid use (just one guy's word). I do not feel badly or prejudiced at all; I feel like someone who can reach a logical conclusion (that lacks a smoking gun) based upon a set of facts, and I think that is the way the world works, every day.
   34. Bob Tufts Posted: September 21, 2012 at 04:54 PM (#4242518)
So if Steve Howe said they got it wrong on his 7th suspension in baseball, you took that at face value?


Howe checked himself into rehab in 1983 and admitted his drug and alcohol addiction problems. Too bad we were more concerned with either punishing him or condoning his illness by playing him if he could still throw 90.

If treatment of his addiction was paramount he stood a better chance of being alive today.
   35. bfan Posted: September 21, 2012 at 05:01 PM (#4242529)
Howe checked himself into rehab in 1983 and admitted his drug and alcohol addiction problems. Too bad we were more concerned with either punishing him or condoning his illness by playing him if he could still throw 90.


I would hope that counseling and treatment would be a part of any drug suspension, but as I am sure many of you who have been close to these addictions know, rehabilitation starts with the addicted individual, and until they take it on themselves to make a change to overcome their addiction, all the 3rd party intervention in the world is not going to stop the individual from lapsing. Howe was blessed with a skill that provided him enough money to get help; I wish for his sake he had done so, but I am not going to blame baseball for Steve Howe's troubles.
   36. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: September 21, 2012 at 05:10 PM (#4242537)
I think freshdirect style drug delivery to Royals Stadium would cause MLB some concern.


Well it would certainly make going to Royals games more bearable, that's for sure.
   37. Bob Tufts Posted: September 21, 2012 at 05:13 PM (#4242539)
I wish for his sake he had done so, but I am not going to blame baseball for Steve Howe's troubles.


I do not disagree. Howe would have needed the strength to give up baseball and remove himself from its toxic environment (constant travel, drink and more), then learn to function away from the game. It would have probably led to a better chance of avoiding serious relapses.

It amazes me that Josh Hamilton is able to function as well as he has with only minor issues.
   38. vivaelpujols Posted: September 21, 2012 at 05:39 PM (#4242570)
Yes this is a wild goose chase but Skip Bayless saying Jeter did steroid with no evidence is an opinion. A very important distinction.
   39. Bob Tufts Posted: September 21, 2012 at 05:53 PM (#4242580)
Skip Bayless saying xxxxx did steroid with no evidence is an opinion


Broadcast worldwide. On the world's major sports network which has credibility - not a "mere blog".

I fear many of you would have fallen for the Proctor & Gamble devil worship rumors of the late 70's/early 80's - or at least worshipped a guy named "Stan" per "Family Guy".

   40. AJMcCringleberry Posted: September 21, 2012 at 08:07 PM (#4242656)
And in the vast majority of cases, PED suspicions have eventually proven true.

They have?
   41. Bob Tufts Posted: September 21, 2012 at 11:38 PM (#4242745)
And as someone whose career was ended partly by unsubstantiated BS, I hope none of you ever have to experience the knowledge that you were collateral damage for someone else's actions.

"When there's smoke, there's fire" is also BS. There's only fire when there is fire, and far too many people (sportswriters, cough....) tend to be shouting fire in a crowded MLB media scrum when there is no fire to be seen.

OK, I will give up now and take a leave of absence from BBTF for awhile, as this subject is too personally painful for me to deal with in a calm manner past this point.
   42. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 22, 2012 at 07:32 AM (#4242797)
Why do people on BBTF take a position that is contrary to their oft-demonstrated political beliefs and propogate a "guilty until proven innocent" mindset?


Because the "PEDs until proven innocent" mindset is usually combined with the "And if he did use PEDs, he didn't do anything wrong, because it's ridiculous to be punished for trying to improve your performance and help your team, and also he didn't do anything wrong because they don't work anyway" mindset.

That's a lot of truth to that. Being a steroid hardliner while resisting the sort of mindset that conflates bogus "evidence" with actual evidence is not likely to win you many followers around here. But there are too many conflicting BTF views on this whole subject to try to reduce it all to a few sound bites. The dominant BTF voices on PEDs are mostly libertarian, but once you get past that there's no common viewpoint.

---------------------------------------------------

And as someone whose career was ended partly by unsubstantiated BS, I hope none of you ever have to experience the knowledge that you were collateral damage for someone else's actions.

"When there's smoke, there's fire" is also BS. There's only fire when there is fire, and far too many people (sportswriters, cough....) tend to be shouting fire in a crowded MLB media scrum when there is no fire to be seen.


Bob, if you're not going to be showing up here for awhile, those are pretty good thoughts to leave us with.
   43. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: September 22, 2012 at 08:32 AM (#4242807)
I believe the players are guilty until proven guilty
   44. dejarouehg Posted: September 22, 2012 at 11:05 AM (#4242853)
The players, thanks in large part due to the efforts of Orza and Fehr, brought this "collateral damage" upon themselves.

Granted, the owners/Selig and the media were co-conspirators and equally guilty of tacit endorsement of what was happening but in the final analysis, no one cares about them.



   45. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: September 22, 2012 at 11:16 AM (#4242862)
The players are guilty until proven guilty

Translate this into Latin, and put it underneath the silhouette of the man in MLB's logo.
   46. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 22, 2012 at 12:32 PM (#4242910)
The players, thanks in large part due to the efforts of Orza and Fehr, brought this "collateral damage" upon themselves.

True to an extent, but unless you see public ratting out of one's teammates as a viable solution to countering that, you're still talking about mixing up the guilty with innocent.

Granted, the owners/Selig and the media were co-conspirators and equally guilty of tacit endorsement of what was happening but in the final analysis, no one cares about them.

Though they should, since although they may not be "equally as guilty" as the actual juicers, they certainly were in a better position to make their voices heard about it than the players themselves. This isn't a blanket indictment, since plenty of the media were only on the fringes of what was going on, but when you get cases like Steinbrenner's acceptance of that altered Giambi contract, no profession of innocence has much credibility.

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