Wednesday, July 10, 2013

6 comments Rick Reilly Lets Others Ask the Tough Questions about Chris Davis, Won't Answer the Tough Questions Himself

I was going to write about Rick Reilly's column on Chris Davis when BotB reader Haris contacted me over Twitter (You can follow him on Twitter @kingharis) saying he had a guest post about the Reilly column he would like to write. I liked the way he turned the tables on Reilly so I agreed it was a good idea and here is what Haris wrote.

First, thanks to Bengoodfella for letting me vent here. I know the dynamic of denouncing those who denounce power hitters as PED users with no evidence is getting a little played out in the blogosphere, but it's a battle worth fighting. (Not like, world hunger or anything, but still.)

Rick Reilly, frequently (rightfully) lambasted in these pages as the colossal asshat that he is, recently wrote a column about Chris Davis. Reilly, on the basis of things done by other people when Chris Davis was a child, outright accuses Davis of cheating and using PEDs, and concedes that no evidence will ever convince him otherwise. There's no need for me to dissect this column in detail - Mike Bates at SBNation does an excellent job, including the question why none of these writers showed their moral indignation while the steroid era was in progress - but I do want to take this opportunity to call attention to Reilly's attitude. It's an attitude he shares with many sportswriters who, unfortunately, have a built-in audience of millions and propagate this crap whenever they can, making the lives of informed sports fans just a little worse than they need to be. (Basically, Reilly feels good about himself when he writes this crap. He shouldn't.)

Reilly's column was prompted by the following Twitter exchange between Davis and a young fan:

Reilly, to whom it never occurred to ask this question himself, follows up with Davis:

RR: You said you weren't on steroids, but have you ever done any performance-enhancing drug, period?

CD: I have not ever taken any PEDs. I'm not sure fans realize, we have the strictest drug testing in all of sports, even more than the Olympics. If anybody was going to try to cheat in our game, they couldn't. It's impossible to try to beat the system. Anyway, I've never taken PEDs, no. I wouldn't. Half the stuff on the list I can't even pronounce.

RR: Which is a great answer. And carries less power with me than a mosquito's burp. ... That's not fair to Chris Davis -- who can prove a negative? -- but it's what baseball deserves.

That's the maddening attitude sportswriters like Reilly bring to the table: "I was an idiot for two decades and now I feel stupid for not noticing steroids, so I'm going to take it out on defenseless innocents who do the same things that those who fooled me did." I wonder if Reilly would mind if the tables were turned...

If you recall, Philadelphia sportswriter Bill Conlin, also by all accounts a colossal asshat, was accused of child molestation and resigned in disgrace. This prompted me to ask Rick Reilly:

Unlike Davis, Reilly hasn't even bothered to reply. By his own logic, this means that Reilly is more likely to be a pedophile than Davis is to be a PED user - he can't even be bothered to deny the accusation! Of course, even if he denies it, it means nothing. We won't be convinced otherwise unless he can prove he's not a pedophile. That's not fair to Rick Reilly - who can prove a negative? - but it's what bad sportswriting deserves.

Hey, Kim Kardashian, is that really your baby?

Hey, Rick Reilly, is it true that you killed Trayvon Martin?

It's Bengoodfella here again. Thanks to Haris for writing this. Two points I wanted to make in addition to what Haris wrote. 

1. It's not like Davis has not shown previous to this year he could hit home runs. He hit 33 home runs last year. In AA at 21-22 years of age he hit 25 home runs in 301 (which is the same pace he is hitting home runs this season) and he hit 54 home runs in 867 at-bats in AAA from the ages of 22-25. He hasn't hit home runs quite at his current pace but he is getting regular playing time and he is 27 years old (in the prime of his career). I'm not naive, Davis could be using steroids, but it's not like he hasn't been a home run hitter prior to this season.

2. Let's not forget that Roger Maris never hit more than 39 home runs in a season and then in 1961 he hit 61 home runs. Maris only surpassed 30 home runs in a season three times during his career and he hit 61 in a single season. If he did this in 2013 then he would be treated the same way Chris Davis is being treated by Rick Reilly. So the "real" single-season home run king seems kind of fishy to put up 61 home runs in a season if you take the time to look at his career numbers. Davis could be having a season like Roger Maris had where all went right for him. Maris went from hitting 39 home runs in a single season to hitting 61 home runs in a single season, then never surpassing 33 home runs in a season from that point on. Know that if Chris Davis is a cheat then Roger Maris could be considered a cheat too using the same logic used by Rick Reilly to convict Davis without evidence.


Aaron D. said...

*gasp* A guest writer? Bengoodfella is slowly turning into Peter King right before our very eyes!

Bengoodfella said...

Aaron, I wish I could have thought about that so I could have headed that joke off at the pass! HH didn't use any allegory so I feel like I am safe in the "bad guest writer" department.

Snarf said...

I think you missed the most disgusting, vile, morally reprehensible part of Reilly's piece:

This caused a twitter twunami.
(Italics are his, not mine)

Bengoodfella said...

My eyes read that as tsunami. I missed that completely.

Oh, that's terrible.

Charles Barkley said...

Hey Ben, I think you mean "turrible"

Bengoodfella said...

If I were Rick Reilly I would mean Twurrible.