Friday, June 21, 2013

6 comments Jim Rich Calls Terry Francona and Joe Girardi Hypocrites, Which Highlights His Own Small Hypocrisy

The Biogenesis scandal has given a lot of sportswriters a chance to do some moral grandstanding and start to take out long-standing grudges on anyone even somewhat affiliated with Biogenesis, Alex Rodriguez, and every other MLB team. Sportswriters rarely pass up a chance to do some moral grandstanding and blame everyone and their brother for steroids being prevalent in MLB. I read the "New York Daily News" sports section everyday for a reason. I like to read sportswriters freaking the hell out about sports and many writers at the "Daily News" do this very well. Jim Rich of the "Daily News" says that Terry Francona and Joe Girardi are hypocrites because they have benefited from managing players who have been accused of using PED's or have been caught using PED's. What's so interesting is that the managers of the Red Sox and Yankees are hypocrites and the focus of Rich's scorn, yet he gives the guys in the Red Sox/Yankees clubhouse a pass for benefiting and playing alongside these PED users. I don't think guys in the Yankees or Red Sox locker room should be scorned for not tattling on their PED-using teammates, but it's an interesting sort of double standard Jim Rich sets forth.

So while Rich criticizes Francona/Girardi for coaching along side these players, while he completely lets clubhouse leaders for the Red Sox and Yankees like Dustin Pedroia, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, and Kevin Youkilis off the hook. If he is going to blame Girardi and Francona for the steroids in the locker room, shouldn't Rich blame the players in the locker room as well. These players, like Derek Jeter, who have (rightly) spoken against steroid use yet said nothing about the steroid use in the Yankees locker room. To Jim Rich, these guys aren't hypocrites at all because no one is supposed to criticize these players. You just don't criticize the Jeter or a scrappy guy like Pedroia. Interesting how this works, huh? Jeter is a great leader of men, but Rich doesn't know how Jeter could have known of A-Rod's PED use. I guess Jeter's leadership doesn't extend to tattling on his teammates. In Rich's view, Joe Girardi should have known and publicly condemned A-Rod when he didn't expect the same from the Yankees players.

Most people would think of the legacies of Joe Girardi and Terry Francona as scrappy players turned successful managers for two of the most influential franchises in baseball history.

Most people would not go out of their way to be contrarians and accuse two managers of being hypocrites for managing two teams that had PED users on the roster, while not calling the players in the clubhouse out for playing on a team that had PED users. Most people are not Jim Rich. I don't think either party should be condemned, but I have a hard time going after Girardi/Francona for not throwing their PED users under the bus, while not holding the Red Sox/Yankees players to the same standard. It's all madness. 

But the Biogensis bombshell this past week, where as many as 20 big leaguers could face suspension as a result of their link to the performance-enhancing-drug lab, has exposed the two skippers for what they truly are:

One of a couple dozen managers who managed players who were proven to use PED's or accused of using PED's, but you simply go after Francona and Girardi because you are more interested in getting attention than being intellectually honest? 


Oh, frauds. So if Girardi and Francona are frauds for managing the Yankees and Red Sox when they were two of thirty teams that at some point had a PED user on the roster, then doesn't that mean Tony LaRussa (I know, the great LaRussa!), Bobby Cox, and pretty much any manager over the last 10-15 years is also a fraud? Wouldn't this mean the "clean" baseball players like Cal Ripken Jr, Chipper Jones, Ken Griffey Jr., Frank Thomas, and other guys who (I don't) think used PED's are frauds as well. Why let them off the hook if you are going to bury Girardi and Francona? Why not call Tony LaRussa a fraud? It's a good thing he is retired because he's a fraud. 

Case 1: On Wednesday, Girardi, when asked about Alex Rodriguez’s alleged PED use and looming 100-game ban, said he was only going to talk about baseball.

What? He didn't condemn and throw one of his own players under the bus? What kind of half-assed leadership and clubhouse does Girardi run? If Girardi's players feel like he will take to the media to condemn their actions how will he keep control of the clubhouse and keep the player's respect? I'm sure Girardi has a lot to say about A-Rod, but he keeps it to himself because A-Rod is a Yankees employee and Girardi is a Yankees employee. 

What would Jim Rich want Girardi to say about A-Rod? Would he want to hear Girardi bash A-Rod or hear Girardi tell the media what a disappointing person A-Rod is? Why do we need to hear Girardi say these things, other than to give media members like Jim Rich something to talk about in their columns? The media simply likes it when teams implode because it gives them interesting stories to write. So Jim Rich wants Girardi to comment on A-Rod's 100-game ban because it will help the team potentially implode and give Jim Rich more stories to write. 

Some people just want to watch the world burn. 

“This is in MLB’s hands. For me to speculate doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

A statement that basically says, "no comment"? In order to not be a fraud, Joe Girardi must comment on these allegations against A-Rod. Otherwise, by not condemning A-Rod's actions Girardi is basically injecting PED's into A-Rod's ass. 

Really? What could be more about baseball than a guy taking illegal drugs

Jim Rich is putting words in Girardi's mouth. In this quote Girardi didn't say A-Rod's PED use was not baseball-related. He said it was in MLB's hands and it doesn't make sense for him to speculate. Talking about a potential PED suspension for one of his players isn't an entirely baseball-related conversation that Girardi should be having with the media.

to improve his performance to the point that he hits the fifth-most home runs (647) in history, drives in the seventh-most runs (1,950) and wins three MVP Awards?

A-Rod didn't compile all of these numbers because he used PED's. At least some of these home runs and RBI's can't be directly attributed to his use of PED's. I don't know how many, but I feel very safe in believing all 647 of A-Rod's home runs aren't due to his use of PED's. 

While Rodriguez was launching 129 of those bombs under Girardi’s watch, the Yankees manager was more than happy to discuss them, presumably because that qualified as baseball talk.

I'm sensing the sarcasm that is being written here, but when Girardi was asked about home runs that A-Rod hit during a baseball that did qualify as baseball talk. It was in Girardi's purview as the manager of the Yankees. How long MLB will suspend A-Rod isn't really part of Girardi's job description, so when he is asked about it his answers are pure speculation. 

But now that every one of A-Rod’s 2,901 career hits (37th most) must be called into question as the result of his second association with steroid use -

This is the incorrect use of reasoning and logic. Every single one of A-Rod's hits should not be called into question. Steroids improve an athlete's performance, but they don't make a player who can't hit a baseball at all end up with nearly 3,000 career hits. It just doesn't work that way. It is somewhat reasonable to call a portion of A-Rod's career hits into question, but not every single one of them.

don’t forget how he admitted to juicing for the three years he was in Texas, but never before or after, Scout’s honor - Girardi feels he’s exempt from the discussion?
What a joke.

So Girardi is included in this discussion because he is guilty by association? Should the Yankees first base coach or third base coach also be seen as hypocrites? After all, they are associated with A-Rod and because they coach on the team A-Rod plays on they are guilty. How about the Yankees players, including revered guys like Rivera and Jeter, are they guilty by association? After all, why should they be exempt if Girardi isn't exempt? 

Hypocrisy oozes from Girardi’s dismissal of the discussion as a distraction, nothing more than a persistent gnat buzzing around the brim of his interlocking N and Y on an otherwise peachy spring day.

So because Girardi doesn't give an opinion (based on his own speculation) about A-Rod this makes him a hypocrite? It's not hypocrisy, but simply Girardi recognizing he is a Yankees employee and there is nothing to be gained and everything to be lost by commenting. Jim Rich simply wants something to write about and he needs a little controversy to fuel his writing. 

Here is a guy who, as a player, stood shoulder to shoulder with steroid cheats ranging from Sammy Sosa to Chuck Knoblauch, then went on to manage the likes of A-Rod and admitted HGH user Andy Pettitte.

Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera played with Chuck Knoblauch, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, and A-Rod. Neither Rivera or Jeter have ever been implicated in using steroids, so isn't Jeter a hypocrite for taking a stand against steroids while also benefiting from his teammates that use steroids? I would argue "no," but if Girardi is implicated by being a teammate of Sosa and Knoblauch I can't see how Jeter or Rivera are magically off the hook. They both benefited from their teammates using PED's and only condemned these teammates and ex-teammates after their PED use was found out. 

Why even place blame on Girardi or any other players? Blame A-Rod and the other PED users. No player or manager worth a shit is going to throw a current teammate under the bus for using PED's nor should they.

So, let’s get this straight, Joe: while you were earning close to $30 million as a player and/or coach over the past 24 years, it was OK for you to benefit from all of those players’ pumped-up performances, but when someone wants your thoughts on how they went about executing and maintaining that level of play, you say it doesn’t make a lot of sense for you to speculate?

Yes. That's how it works. Girardi is a Yankees employee and isn't going to criticize or speculate on the fate of one of his current players. It's frustrating for a sportswriter who desperately wants some controversy to discuss, but it's the right thing for Girardi to do.

Case 2: Cleveland manager Terry Francona also said Wednesday “as an industry we kind of buried our heads in the sand a little bit.”

While, on its surface, Francona’s indictment is refreshing,

But if you look beneath the surface and need a column idea then you can look at this comment and think that Francona is a hypocrite. 

where was his searing self-assessment when busted steroid cheats Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz were blasting a combined 289 home runs while leading Boston to two World Series over the eight years that Francona was manager?

Francona's head was in the sand. That's exactly what his quote says. "As an industry" baseball had their heads in the sand a bit. Ortiz and Ramirez weren't busted steroid cheats at the time the Red Sox won these two World Series, so it is possible Francona didn't know. Where was a column about steroids in baseball and how MLB has their head in the sand 15 years ago from Jim Rich during the Steroid Era? Where was all of Jim Rich's searing indictment of baseball managers over a decade ago? It was nowhere because he was too busy enjoying the Steroid Era.

Francona won an average of 93 games a season and made the playoffs five times on the inflated backs of Ramirez and Ortiz, but did you ever hear a word of suspicion from him as he was hoisting his World Series trophies and being lauded as one of the best managers in the game?

This is just stupidity. Is Francona supposed to stop the World Series victory parade and alert the Red Sox fans to his suspicions that Ortiz and Ramirez are using PED's? What kind of manager who likes his job and doesn't want to lose the respect of his team announces his suspicion that some of his players are using PED's? I didn't realize Francona needed to call a press conference to alert everyone to his suspicions of PED use on the Red Sox roster.

Jim Rich can try as hard as he wants, and he's trying very hard, but simply being the manager of the Red Sox during a time when two Red Sox players were using PED's doesn't make Francona a hypocrite or culpable for the actions of either baseball player. I love how some in the media are adopting the "Why didn't the players and managers tell everyone about the steroid issue?" stance now as if reporting on steroid use in baseball is Terry Francona's job now or was his job in the early 2000's. It was Francona's job to manage the Red Sox, and whether Jim Rich likes it or not, it is not Francona's place to publicly speculate that two of his players are using PED's when neither player had tested positive at that point. 

As selfish and infuriating as the two managers’ stances are on the steroid issue, their most egregious hypocrisy lies in the fact that they have managed or played with so many other unnamed cheats, who, in part, were allowed to tarnish the game as a result of their willing blindness.

What about Tony LaRussa? He managed Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire. Canseco literally wrote the book (or two books) about steroids in baseball and he was managed by LaRussa in Oakland. Why does LaRussa get a pass? It's fun to point blame and not pointing the finger at specific individuals certainly doesn't help your column get read, but there was more willing blindness in baseball than that exhibited by these two managers. 

I'm also not sure how it is hypocrisy for Francona to say MLB stuck it's head in the sand. He's admitting there were mistakes made, so he's not really being a hypocrite. He admitted a mistake was made.

Francona and Girardi certainly have had plenty of company in allowing this fraud on the game and its fans to exist,

But Jim Rich writes for a New York paper and so he only cares about Joe Girardi and Terry Francona's hypocrisy. Those Yankees and Red Sox players, like Derek Jeter, who are disappointed in players like A-Rod they aren't hypocrites though. Jim Rich has to select who he calls a hypocrite based on whether he likes that person or not. Sure, Jeter played with named and unnamed cheats, but his stance against PED's in baseball isn't hypocrisy because Jim Rich doesn't want it to be hypocrisy. It would sound insane, and it is insane, to call Derek Jeter a hypocrite for speaking against PED use while playing on a team with PED users. Jim Rich would get torn apart by other members of the media, so he goes after Joe Girardi. Rich only points the finger at select individuals. He points the finger at the managers for managing and playing with cheats, but never at the current players who also played with cheats. They're off the hook.

but there have been very few who have basked more in its tainted glow.

There's Dusty Baker who has basked in the tainted glow of steroids. He managed Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa. Yes, managers and players benefited from steroids, but I don't know if it is fair to single out Girardi and Francona. Plus, if Jim Rich wants to talk about willful blindness then he needs to start that conversation by talking about the media's willful blindness to the records being set during the Steroid Era.


JimA said...

What is it the managers were supposed to know? Were they responsible for drug testing?

You're absolutely right. A manager isn't there to hand reporters a hot story. His job is to put a team on the field that's ready to play.

Bengoodfella said...

Jim, the manager is responsible for calling his own players out. The players on the other hand, they are not responsible for saying anything at all. The players must stick together, while Jim Rich expects the manager to sell his players out and get fired.

johnny doe said...

um, Rich HAS called out the players before. not 10 years ago, but close enough:

Bengoodfella said...

Johnny Doe, I read that. He called Mike Mussina out and said he needed to take a reality pill or whatever.

Most other players he called out in that column were guys who used steroids. So it's not really close enough at all. He called out one player in that column but did say all players were guilty.

He wrote one column where he called out one player by name. This current column calls out the managers by name, yet he fails to mention how guilty he thinks the players are. I'm not sure that lets him off the hook in my opinion.

Susan Smith said...

Terry Francona is is a popular manager. His organizing capability is excellent. I like him so much.

Bengoodfella said...

Susan, yes, I like him too. Terry Francona is great. He makes good of decisions on baseball field with players get happy wins games and money.

Thanks for the feedback that didn't feel automated at all.