Entries Tagged as 'Scandals'

Roger McDowell needs to apologize for anti-gay slurs

Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell seems to have gotten himself into a bit of a spot.  When confronted by a baseball fan in San Francisco, he reportedly hurled anti-gay slurs at him and also responded that kids don’t belong at a ballpark. 

Now, I know there is more to this story than what is being reported to the press or what Gloria Allred, the lawyer representing the “abused” fan, would have you believe, but if there is anything to this story, McDowell needs to shape up. 

I’ve heard some people already draw analogies between McDowell and former MLB pitcher John Rocker who was also known for stating his ideas quite vociferously.  The situations are quite different in my opinion. As much as I did not care for what Rocker said, it must be noted that he made his comments while in a private conversation with a sportswriter.  McDowell, however, was on the field and was in all purposes representing the game of baseball and the organization of Major League Baseball.  If (and again, it’s a big if) McDowell is culpable for his actions, he has what is coming to him. 

Mr. McDowell has “apologized” if you want to call it that.  My guess it was more damage control than anything. 

From the NY Daily News:

"I am deeply sorry that I responded to the heckling fans in San Francisco on Saturday. I apologize to everyone for my actions," McDowell quickly responded in a statement.

It sounds more like he’s saying he hadn’t said what he was thinking. 

We don’t need to make a federal case out of this.  Indeed, the fan in question, environmental researcher Justin Quinn, only really wanted an apology from McDowell.  I’m sure the lawyers involved will talk him out of that. 

But let’s at least get that.  A real one, I mean.

Irabu in trouble again

Oops, it looks like former pitcher Hideki “Fat Toad” Irabu was arrested for drunken driving in the LA area this week. 

The connection of Irabu and trouble seemed to ring a bell and I did a quick search.  Sure enough, in 2008, he got in trouble in a Japanese bar for public drunkenness after failing to pay his bill. 

Lay off the booze, Hideki.

Gerald Laird: Did the Suns play that bad?

An odd story coming out of Phoenix… mlb.com reports that Detroit catcher Gerald Laird was arrested along with his brother Brandon who is a minor leaguer for the Yankees.  The pending charge for Gerald is assault after trying to interfere with another arrest after a Suns-Celtics game. 

"While [security guards] were trying to arrest the suspect for disorderly conduct, the [Laird brothers] interfered and assaulted the security guards," Phoenix police Sgt. Andy Hill told the AP.

One, I’d like to hear Laird’s side of the story and two, why couldn’t he hit like this during the 2009 season (ok, that was a cheap shot).

Cops catch Lincecum with pot

Tim Lincecum’s timing was bit off last week. 

Last Friday, the former Cy Young award winner was caught with pot when he was stopped after driving 74 mph in a 60 mph zone.  Police found a pipe and 3.3 grams of marijuana. 

Lincecum was “cited and released” and will receive a fine for the misdemeanor. 

Rumor has it that the Giants won’t be taking action against him.  But secretly, they’re probably taking some satisfaction that Lincecum’s arbitration hearing will be coming up soon.  No doubt, this will come up during the hearings and perhaps have a little impact. 

Lay off the doobie, Tim.  It’ll cost you.

Sorry, Mr Aaron, I respectfully disagree

There are few baseball players who I can say I have the ultimate respect.  I feel I can put Hank Aaron in that category.  He put in his time.  He played hard and played well.  He lived his life without scandal. 

But I have to disagree with him this time. 

Aaron has publically said (in front of a banquet of Associated Press writers) he wants the list of players who tested positive in 2003 for PEDs to be released to the public. 

Aaron has been a long time and vocal opponent of use of steroids and PEDs.  He has his reasons for releasing the list.  His reasons are admirable, no doubt.  With the release of the list, he reasons the use of PEDs will diminish among current players. 

The thought though, that a presumed PED user broke his all-time record most likely lingers in his mind. 

I still have to respectfully disagree.  These tests were given privately and with the agreement that no other entity would have access to them.  To this point, every name that you have heard up until now, has been an illegal breach of contract. 

I know it isn’t popular.  It is a very populist idea to think that we should find out who they are and punish them in whichever manner possible.  The fact is that there were no penalties for a positive result for the test back in 2003.  The MLB needs to respect this.  If MLB doesn’t honor that, good luck in trying to gain the players’ trust back. 

To what end would it serve to release the list?  We can’t rewrite history.  I suppose, as some have suggested we could restrict the Hall of Fame to only the “clean” ones (and measures of the like) but in my opinion, that would plunge baseball into dark, divisive, bitter scandal all for what is a relatively small number of players. 

MLB and the Players’ Union have a system currently in place for dealing with this issue.  Let’s focus on making sure this works and not go on witch hunts.

Some words of calm wisdom from Tom Glavine… or is it damage control?

Tom Glavine talked to the press Friday about PED testing standards in the major leagues.

“I think that it’s easy to sit on the outside, look at what has happened and blame Bud Selig or Don Fehr and the Players Association by saying that one of these guys or all of these guys knew more and should have known more,” Glavine said. “You know what? I don’t think it’s fair to say that.

While I’m certainly not ready to absolve Bud Selig on the matter especially considering what he said the other day about not taking responsibility on the steroid issue, Glavine’s point is somewhat well taken.  The fans and the media are busy playing the blame game and most of the dialogue I hear is more directed at hatin’ on the player rather than solving the problem. 

My friend Nick once told me, “C’mon, fans like to boo!”.  Of course, he was talking about within a ballgame.  However, you could extend his point to the broader context of Major League Baseball and problems it faces.  A lot of fans (most?) would just as soon read the headlines and listen to the sound bites throw ARod to the wolves.  Most of the media, unfortunately, is complicit in this as well, fueling the fire of contempt rather than providing good solutions to the issue. 

I’m not an ARod fan and I’m certainly not condoning what he did.  I’ve just seen and heard what has happened in the past with similar issues.  Bonds, McGwire, the list is long and problem is still here. 

Glavine does advocate for consequences for Alex Rodriguez, as well he should, 

“There comes a time for everybody in life — I don’t care where you are or what you do — that you have choices to make, and sometimes people make bad choices.  If you make a bad choice, then that’s your responsibility to deal with the consequences of that bad choice, and certainly Alex is having to deal with that.

However, baseball management was definitely responsible, at least in part, for not quelling the steroid issue at some point.  With his statement to the press, Glavine needs to be careful while he treads a fine line between calm, reasoned thought and being a ‘yes’ man for the MLB (ironic since he is the player rep for the NL). 

All parties need to take responsibility…

Witch hunt begins for Pedroia non-voter

As you heard, Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox won the 2008 AL MVP vote comfortably. 

Fortunately, he won the vote comfortably enough that he didn’t need the vote of Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News who left Dustin Pedroia’s name off the ballot altogether

Here was his ballot:

Kevin Youkilis
Francisco Rodriguez
Justin Morneau
Josh Hamilton
Carlos Quentin
Alex Rodriguez
Cliff Lee
Joe Mauer
Grady Sizemore
Carlos Pena

Grant is pretty red-faced about the whole thing.  In between answering emails and phone calls, he’s posted his explanation/apology on his blog.

Did I perhaps get too “cute” at the bottom of the ballot? Yeah, probably. Was that a mistake? Yeah, probably. Was it a mistake to leave him out of the top five; in retrospect, yeah, it was. My colleagues all thought he belonged in the top five. My opinion on this one was obviously wrong. What I’m happiest about is that if my analysis was so wrong, at least it did not cost Pedroia the MVP award. I can assure you I give the MVP vote an awful lot of time. In this case, perhaps I gave it too much time and overanalyzed, particularly at the bottom of the ballot. In retrospect, it’s hard to argue that Pedroia wasn’t one of the 10 best players in the league.

He over analyzed… putting too much weight on stats like BA in scoring position etc. 

Despite all that, while some Red Sox fans are understanding that it was just a stupid mistake, others are calling for Grant’s head.  I’ve seen commenters calling Grant an idiot, a moron and yes, the prerequisite requesting that his voting privileges be taken away. 

Meh, it’s just the American League. 


Update:  Grant goes on The Big Show to explain his non-vote.

The interview can be heard here. (thanks College Baseball Blog)

Captain Obvious here but maybe it would have been better if had just not gone on the air.  Just my opinion. 

The "Boo" stands for Booze

Looks like former MLB pitcher Hideki Irabu had a little too much to drink Wednesday night.

Irabu, 39, became angered after his credit card was rejected. He then allegedly pushed the bartender against the wall, pulled his hair and smashed at least nine liquor bottles at a bar in Osaka…

Irabu allegedly pounded down 20 mugs of beer before the incident.


This sounds like a story out of the Heckler.  Ozzie Guillen nailed it when he asked, "Are marginally talented hispanic ballplayers the only ones taking performance enhancing drug?"  GET REAL BASEBALL!!!  No stars have ever been slammed, they just seem to disappear (Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa, Jeff Bagwell, Bret Boone).  There are still roids guys in the game, but so far they’ve somehow managed to escape the dragnet that’s only gotten minor league hispanic players thus far.

7/24/08 NEW YORK (TICKER) –

Milwaukee Brewers minor leaguer Angel Salome was suspended 50 games on Tuesday for violating the drug prevention and treatment program.

Salome is the 18th player in the minors to be assessed the minimum penalty since the start of December.

The 21-year-old catcher was hitting .318 with six homers and 53 RBI in 68 games with Brevard County of the Class A Florida State League.

7/29/08  NEW YORK (Ticker)

Tampa Bay Rays minor league outfielder Jonathan Quinonez and New York Mets pitching prospect Yeiger Sanchez both were suspended 50 games for testing positive for a performance-enchancing drug, Major League Baseball announced Saturday.

Both players, who were with their organization’s Venezuelan Summer League teams, tested positive for metabolites of Nandrolene.

The suspensions are effective immediately.

29 years ago today: Disco Demolition Night

Twenty-nine years ago today, the infamous Disco Demolition at Comiskey Park happened.  The plan was dreamed up thanks to White Sox owner Bill Veek and was executed by a 24-year old up and coming radio jock Steve Dahl.  Dahl was working for WLUP “the Loop” and had just been snatched up from a rival station which was switching their format to disco music (much to Dahl’s dismay). 

Most of you oldsters know the story.  The promo itself seemed relatively harmless.  Bring in a record (y’all remember records?) of disco music that you love to hate, and you get in Sox Park for 98 cents (WLUP number on the dial was 98.3). 

But things got ugly.  People didn’t bring one record… they brought boxfuls.  There were obscene chants from the stands.  Give people a reason to be obnoxious, they’ll take it to the next level.  Pandemonium ensued.  Swindle magazine’s Simon Steinhardt describes the debacle:

After Dahl and co. took another lap around the field, the grounds crew came onto the field to clean up, and White Sox pitcher Ken Kravec began to warm up for the second game. Meanwhile outside the stadium, a mob of disgruntled teens had begun to shake the portable ticket booths. Apprised of the situation, Mike Veeck asked the deputy in charge of the 40 or so police officers on the field to send some of his men out to deal with the delinquents. A couple fans interpreted the departure of the officers as a gift of carte blanche, and ran onto the field to steal second base-first symbolically, then literally. That was all the spark the crowd needed. Pandemonium. Fans came pouring out over the outfield fence almost immediately, while others sprinted down the ramps from the upper deck to join the bedlam. The scene was typical of a World Series celebration (in that era of Chicago sports, the destruction of disco records was the biggest victory imaginable), and with no regard for the game still to be played, people started plucking grass from the field (an anonymous plucker recalls being told, “Hey man, you can’t smoke that!”). They climbed the foul poles, knocked over the batting cage, and started bonfires around the smoldering record sleeves lying on the field. Most of the people on the field were just running every which way, with no idea what to do but too excited to leave the scene. The players stood on the steps of their dugouts watching the chaos, wearing helmets and wielding bats to protect themselves. “I was shocked and amazed,” says Dahl. “And I knew I was in trouble.”

The scoreboard pleaded with “the fans” to settle down.  Bless her heart, Nancy Faust began playing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” on her organ to change the focus of the event. 

Eventually, the game was forfeited. 

It is interesting to see how this event goes down in history.  I’ve never seen the Disco Demolition Night in much of a positive light.  It was an part of Chicago culture that seems to have brouht the worst out in people. 

However, according to Steve Dahl’s bio, this  whole thing is considered “his most influential contribution to the national music scene”.  At least that’s what it says on on the website where you can buy the 25th Anniversary DVD. 

Perceptions are different, I guess.