Wednesday, May 13, 2009

13 comments I Disagree With Gregg Doyel Though I Agree With Him

I wrote yesterday that I felt like a lot of people were tired of all the steroid talk in baseball and we have come to expect that the top players in the league are going to be busted for the use of steroids. I wanted to lay off the 'roids for the day but I had to comment on a Gregg Doyel column. Though I agree with him overall that we should all not be naive, he seems to think that everyone actually believes the excuses those who get caught use to explain the positive test, which I don't think a lot of people actually do believe these excuses, they just accept them because there is little evidence to contradict the story.

I wanted to first comment on this video that ESPN had on its front page near the bottom. If anyone had any doubts that ESPN caters to the Lowest Common Denominator fan, here is what the link for the video said:

Don't Be A Jackass!

Leave it to The Onion to discover the next great donkey prospect on the basketball court. It's satire!

They said The Onion did the video, so anyone who is familiar with the work of The Onion will immediately understand what is going on, but in case someone actually thought that there was a donkey prospect in basketball, ESPN felt the need to include a statement saying it was satire. I wish they hadn't done so, I would love to have known how many morons actually thought this was a real story that was not satire.

ESPN. It's idiocy!

This is the same network that I turned to at 10:30pm last night in a desperate attempt to get some sort of sports news and was treated to the breaking news that Manny had reached out to his teammates. I was worried he wasn't going to do that, I am glad ESPN and Baseball Tonight felt the need to update me on that.

Speaking of Manny, here is Gregg Doyel and his abrasive self.

Baseball star Manny Ramirez blatantly lied to us, and NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield lied even worse. They were caught using drugs, and they lied. Said they hadn't done it. Incredible. But do you know why they lied?

Because they knew somebody would believe them.

I don't mean to be overly sarcastic here but why else would these two lie? To hear themselves talk? They like to keep a notebook of all their lies and show it to friends at parties they have?

People lie in the hopes someone believes them and usually there is at least one person that believes a lie someone tells. I have a friend who swears that O.J. Simpson did not kill his wife and Ron Goldman (and who really knows?), there are many who probably believe Roger Clemens never used steroids, and I personally love to watch UFO Hunters on the History Channel and some of it makes sense to me. We are all crazy in our own little way, the key is to find the right crazy person to believe your story.

As stupid as the drug cheats on the field are -- seriously, in this day and age, how dumb do you have to be to take drugs when you know there will be testing? -- there are even stupider people in the stands.

And yet again the fans are the stupid ones for daring to believe in some of our heroes. The stupid ones aren't the sportswriters and columnists who covered for these guys so many years and those who wrote books about McGwire and Sosa's 1998 homerun chase, but the fans are stupid for still daring to believe in their heroes. The fans may be dumb but we only bought into half of the accomplishments during the Steroid Era because the media bit as hard as we did.

I am not naive, as I wrote yesterday, I believe now almost every player could be suspected of using steroids. I assume no one is clean. It doesn't bother me if a person wants to believe his/her favorite player is clean if he hasn't been busted for steroids. I handle my disappointment through anger, others through denial.

That being said, if you believe the lies of those that already got caught, you are sort of stupid.

I am not going to blame the fans as a whole though, like Gregg Doyel does.

But over time it has become painfully clear that athletes cheat, and will continue to cheat, and that the playing field actually is remotely level because of it, not in spite of it.

That's not entirely true. The playing field is not remotely level when a select group of individuals are using steroids, because every player in the entire league did not use these drugs. I am not sure I have ever heard someone argue the playing field is level in any arena because everyone is cheating...until now.

If you think cheating is isolated and gives undue advantages to the cheaters, then you're as clueless as Manny Ramirez and Jeremy Mayfield. Everyone is doing it, or almost everyone.

This brings up two points in my mind. The first point being that I really don't think steroids are as prevelant in baseball now as they used to be, but again I don't really know. The second point being that if Gregg Doyel has information that steroids are still prevelant or if he knows anything, he should not pull a Kurt Streeter and start blaming everyone who ignores the problem now, he should look in the mirror and see that it is his job as a journalist to report on this. I personally think Doyel is just making things up here.

This guy in Cincinnati was merely the latest in a long, long line of people willing to stake their gullibility to the cleanliness of Ken Griffey Jr.

Remember, Gregg Doyel hates Ken Griffey Jr. and thinks Griffey hates his family.

This isn't an accusation of Pujols or Griffey.

It actually just sounded like one.

Along comes Albert Pujols, putting up offensive numbers unseen since Joe DiMaggio or Lou Gehrig, and doing it at the exact same time the unrealistic numbers of Bonds, Ramirez and the rest were aided by steroids.

This is what pisses me off about the Steroid Era. I want to type, "well maybe he is the exception," but I know that is being naive. I think we should assume until Pujols is caught he is clean, but I also think we should accept the possibility Pujols is/was on steroids at some point.

And we just assume that Pujols, who's a large man by the way, is clean?

I am not sure being a large man is evidence he is using steroids because generally large men are the ones who hit more homeruns, so I would say a person being a large man means he is more disposed to hitting homeruns generally. You don't see a lot of small guys hitting 40 HR's in a year. I guess the question is how Pujols got large...

On my part, that means noting that, holy cow, Ken Griffey Jr. hit more than 45 home runs or had more than 118 RBI just four times in his career ... and all four years were 1996-99, which were Steroid Central. And since that time, Griffey's body has magically broken down. Now, is that an accusation of Griffey?

Yes, that sounds very similar to an accusation. Or a huge coincidence and I am not sure I believe in coincidences in regards to a baseball player's statistics during the Steroid Era.

Griffey's injuries were hamstring injuries and multiple tears in his knees and legs. I don't know if those are indicative of steroid use or not.

It is not.

It still sounds like one.

And none of this "I cheated, but only for three years" crap out of Alex Rodriguez's mouth. And not Brian Roberts' "admission" that he used steroids one time. Or Andy Pettitte's "admission" that he used HGH twice.

No. Come clean. All the way.

Here's the thing. We have no way of determining whether this is the truth or not. Sure, it sounds like a lie and it very well may be a lie. How do we know though? Baseball fans don't necessarily believe what the athletes are saying, we just don't have access to prove what the athletes are saying is a lie. Other than Selena Roberts, who uses anonymous sources to prove her facts, which are useless to fans, there is no evidence that contradicts many of the steroid fables. We need facts, not conjecture from some unnamed source.

So I think Gregg Doyel is wrong. The fans don't believe the lies, they just don't have a way to determine whether the lie is true or not, so they have to accept the statement from the athlete as fact and believe them for the time being. The entire fan base of MLB can not be investigative reporters and try to get to the bottom of the lies or potential lies or we can take what information we are given and make a decision based upon it. A story admitting the use of steroids by an athlete is good enough for the fans because it's the best they can get. Some story is better than no story. Sure we all want the real truth, but as Gregg admitted in the column here, that ain't happening.

Mayfield went amateur chemist on us when he said, "I believe that the combination of a prescribed medicine and an over-the-counter medicine reacted together and resulted in a positive drug test."

But he didn't name the prescription, or the OTC medicine. Why? Because those companies would sue him. Because he's lying.

I think anyone who has half a brain thinks Jeremy Mayfield is lying, but what can we do about it? I would never defend the use of steroids or never want anyone on my favorite teams to use steroids but there is nothing I can do about it. I am not going to dislike baseball or football just because there are some who use steroids. I am not going to quit my job and start to investigate whether Jeremy Mayfield is telling the truth. If he is, great. If he is lying, which is more likely in my mind, it doesn't matter to me as long as he gets punished. Everyone can see through the lies the athletes tell, but the public has to accept the lie until further evidence of the athlete's lie is proven.

The problem is, there are Ramirez fans who believe him. And there are Mayfield fans who believe him. You can't outlaw stupidity, so those people are allowed to exist.

Just because Dodgers fans still support Manny Ramirez doesn't mean they believe his lies. There is a big difference I think Gregg Doyel is missing here. There is a grey area between believing the athlete and supporting the athlete when he comes back. I don't personally support Manny when he comes back because he is a cheater and I don't believe his story at all. I think most people who believe Manny's story just want to believe it and those people are probably going to be Dodgers fans or Red Sox/Indians fans in denial. It's pretty weak in my opinion.

And because they exist, outright lies like the ones told by Ramirez and Mayfield will continue to exist.

Yes, if it were not for stupid people who believe the lies, those lies would not exist. I would like to know how Gregg Doyel knows the difference in those who actually believe Manny Ramirez and Jeremy Mayfield and those that just accept the lie because it is the only information the public has?

I love giving my opinion and I wanted to give my opinion on two NBA semi-controversies going on right now. If I find an article that is worth covering about the topics as well, I may post it, but I haven't found one yet.

In regards to the Orlando fan wanting Big Baby to apologize for bumping into his son after hitting the game winning shot Sunday night...if you don't want to take a chance you could be a part of the action, don't sit so close to the court. Baseball fans don't get angry when an OF/IF/C ends up in the stands with them while chasing a fly ball and basketball fans don't get angry if a player jumps into the crowd to save a loose ball. It's a similar principle here. Davis hit the shot very close to the Magic sideline and was excited so he turned around and starting running back to his teammates and accidentally hit a kid with his body. He apologized (possibly unnecessarily) and it is over, but for the father to act as if Davis had violated his son and publicly demand an apology was a bit much in my opinion. Sometimes when you are close to the action at a game, you get too close to the action and that was the case here.

The second semi-controversy has been this back and forth between Mark Cuban and Kenyon Martin about what Cuban said to Martin's mother. I like Mark Cuban and I wish there were more owners like him who showed passion for his team and did not always look at the financial aspect and wanted to put together a good team. He truly cares, which is wonderful to have in the NBA when there are so many owners and GM's that don't care. I am looking at you Michael Jordan and Robert Johnson. That being said, he has no business yelling and acting like an ass during a game...especially when talking to a player's mother.

I don't know what happened in that situation and I don't want to be too hard on Cuban because he did apologize publicly (on a blog), but he has to keep his cool together a little bit better than he did. I think what really pissed him off is that he has had a battle with the NBA since he bought the Mavericks about the officiating and the officials completely fucked (from my point of view) the Mavs at the end of the game. I don't think Cuban is really that angry of a person, I just believe he is so tired of the officials making mistakes he just let loose on Kenyon Martin's mother as a result of the bad call. It was a bitch thing to do on his part but if we look at the big picture, I can see why he got angry. The Mavericks have an especially bad recent history with the officials, Cuban used to keep track of the officials tendencies, and now his team loses an important game on a non-foul call. It doesn't excuse the behavior though.


The Casey said...

I was watching the Mavs-Nuggets game when Carmelo hit the three to win it, and I didn't think it was that bad a call. There was incidental contact, but no more than there was at several other points in the game that were also not called fouls. Also, and this is the damning thing to me, when Wright (I think it was Antoine Wright) bumped Carmelo, he immediately threw his hands in the air, the way players do when they're trying not to get a foul called on them. I think Wright really made a bad play there. If you're trying to get the foul called and stop the shot, go ahead and wrap him up. I just didn't think the refs did that bad a job there. Plenty of other times they have, though.

Bengoodfella said...

You are correct that Wright threw his hands up in the air after he bumped Carmelo and I just believe that should have been a foul call, regardless of whether he meant to do it or not. I realize it is the last part of the game and all, so officials call that differently and I guess it should not have been a foul if it was not called that way earlier. It just looked like one to me.

Wright needed to do a better job of indicating he was trying to foul, it was a weak attempt, though I thought it was still a foul. I think Mark Cuban has about had enough of the NBA officiating and he took it out on the wrong person.

The Casey said...

And I'm not sure 50 games is enough of a punishment. Maybe a season. I realize that's a huge punishment, but I don't know that 50 games is deterring anyone.

WV: fojohyli

Bengoodfella said...

Completely agreed, but my problem is this. Jordan Schafer got suspended 50 games last year being associated with HGH, though (shockingly) he denies ever taking it and says that he was associating with those who had some ties to it rather than actually taking the drug.

Regardless of whether you believe his story or not, the evidence seemed circumstantial at best. There was no failed test to fall back on. I don't know how I would feel if he had a full season taken away from him without any type of positive test (though I hear there is no test for HGH) or some other type of proof other than someone ratting him out.

I would love for the penalties to be increased but I would want some of the language changed a little bit in the drug policy.

Bengoodfella said...

I don't want to change the subject off the post and steroids but I want to say I read the Simmons-Gladwell "discussion" today that reads more like a fucking circle jerk of congratulations for each person's ideas.

I may tackle it at some point but I tell you what, regardless of whether the ideas or good or not, those two are incredibly impressed with each other. It's not like I expected each person to call the other wrong at any point but it is tough to read because they are just in agreement on everything and all the ideas each have, the other thinks is brilliant.

Ok, back to steroid talk.

ivn said...

I've waded through the Simmons-Gladwell exchange (what can I say, I'm putting off a rather large research paper due at the end of the week) and Billy starts waxing nostalgic about U2, Bruce Springsteen, and the fucking Police. I wonder if him and Peter King will go to a show together next time Billy's in Boston?

Bengoodfella said...

Yes I read that as well. I of course have some things to say about the conversation, it is a lot to read. It wasn't even a conversation, it was a mutual love association. These two love each other so much.

They are both probably on steroids.

AJ said...

I don't even know who this other guy is, to be honest.

And I'm not going to read an email exchange between people, I do that at work all the time. Why not just write a real column instead of goofing off and emailing someone?

Seriously, that would be like us putting all of our comments listed on this page into a main article on ESPN...

Bengoodfella said...

I know I have said it three posts in a row but what struck me the most was how much they just loved each other's work. Of course Gladwell is writing the foreword to Bill's basketball book. They had some ideas and comments in there that were off the wall at times in my opinion.

Martin said...

One thing about Wright was that he said he was afraid to hit Carmelo too hard because he was scared of getting a flagrant foul. After watching the games this post-season, it was a justified fear, but he should have instead just wrapped him up with a big hug.

Bengoodfella said...

I guess also he could have been called for an intentional foul as well? Maybe if the refs thought he wasn't going for the ball? I don't know if I understand all those rules anymore.

Martin said...

Yeah, I've never understood how these aren't called "intentional" fouls. If these aren't intentional, then what are? They have almost taken intentional foul and moved it into the realm of "shoving/pushing for no reason" or some such.

Bengoodfella said...

I mean I understand the idea behind the rules but the application doesn't make sense to me. Intentional foul means the person is not trying to go for the ball, I think. I believe the NBA needs to just re-evaluate the whole flagrant and intentional foul system a little bit.