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.

Sammy’s corked bat up for bid in online auction

If anyone is interested in plopping down $10,000, you could own parts of Sammy Sosa’s corked bat that he used in the game he caught using it.  The auction at Schulte Auctions is still going on and the bid at the moment is $9.840.  Hurry, Hurry though!  The auction ends October 31. 

The current owner of the bat?  Former reliever from the Cubs (and pretty much every other NL team) Mike Remlinger, who won the game that night against Tampa Bay.  He had the foresight to pick up the barrel of the bat (MLB confiscated the rest of the bat. 

The Cardboard Connection has a good write-up on the story.

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.

Q&A on the 03 drug test ruling

The New York Daily News has a pretty objective breakdown (a FAQ, if you will) on last week’s court ruling centered around 2003 drug test.

Q:Was the ruling a surprise?

A:Not exactly. It upheld previous rulings by other federal judges, and the bulk of the opinion’s reasoning was a reiteration of established legal precedents, especially concerning probable cause and other protections of the Fourth Amendment.

Maybe a bit dry reading for those who just want to skip to part where hang those taking PEDs but *I* found the article interesting. 

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.

Disco Sucks!

Thirty years ago a promotion at a major league baseball game went wrong, it went really wrong.  Mike Veeck, son of White Sox owner at the time, Bill Veeck, the P.T. Barnum of promotions was in charge of promotions for the White Sox.  Thirty years later, this promotion lives on, Disco Demolition was the brain child of 25 year old Loop disk jockey Steve Dahl & Mike Veeck.  The Loop was a rock station in Chicago and disco, popular in some circles, was despised by rockers.  Thus the promotion, bring a disco record to Comiskey Park, get in for a buck, and all of the disco records would be blown up by Dahl between games of a scheduled doubleheader between the White Sox and the Tigers.

Mike Veeck believed there would be a few fans, perhaps 1,000, who would take advantage of the promotion, and enjoy a cheap night out at the ole ballpark.  He had no idea he would be remembered for coming up with the worst promotion in the history of the game, this coming from the son of a guy who batted a midget, Eddie Gaedel, in a major league game.  Thousands of pot smoking disco haters showed up for the explosion between games, they couldn’t have cared less about baseball.  There wasn’t enough security to handle the crowd, which soon overtook the ballpark.

They demolished the playing field, along with a few disco records, making the playing field unplayable for the second game, which was forfeited by the White Sox to the Tigers.  Even the ever popular broadcaster Harry Caray and the infamous owner Bill Veeck’s pleas couldn’t get through to the stoner fans, who’d overtaken the field.  As a young White Sox fan, I remember hoping the second game would be played, how embarrassing to lose a game by forfeit.

What do you remember about Disco Demolition Night?

Soto tested positive for pot at WBC games

So Geovany Soto has been found tested positive for marijuana earlier this year at the World Baseball Classic

Great.  I drafted a stoner with my first pick in my APBA league last year. 

Of course, the media is handling the way they always do.  They trot out their trite template they use for articles in these situations.  Such articles include the apology from the player (“I fully understand the ramifications of my actions. I have and will accept any and all consequences”.. blah blah), how disappointed the team and league is in the player but they will support him and meaningless accolades in this inappropriate time (Asst GM Randy Bush:  "I think he would never make excuses.  That’s the kind of guy he is…").

Of course in this situation we can’t neglect the over-analyzation by countless journalists and bloggers of Soto.  Jjust maybe this all might have to do with his year long slump, right??.  

ESPN’s Nick Friedell seems to think so.

  In all seriousness, though, this news is embarrassing for everyone involved, most notably Soto. The Cubs’ catcher is hitting just .228 on the year and looks like a shell of the player that was the NL Rookie of the Year last season. He doesn’t look nearly as powerful, or as fit, as he did when he clubbed 23 homers and 86 RBIs in 2008. In short, he’s been a disappointment, and now with this news being public plenty of fans will wonder if all the adulation got to his head.

A little over two years ago we had a similar situation when then White Sox pitcher Freddie Garcia was found to have been found to have tested positive for pot at the WBC.  We all know what happened to Garcia’s effectiveness after that. 

Maybe Friedell has a point.

Sammy Sosa, Steroids, and Anonymity

What is the biggest issue here?  The fact that Sosa may have used PEDs?  Or that the results from a federally administrated (and confidential) test which were contractually promised to remain anonymous were made public?

From Circling the Bases:

The greater wrong in my mind is the fact of the leaks themselves. I’m a lawyer by trade, and it shocks me that fellow officers of the court are divulging this sort of information to the media. This is evidence that was seized in an ongoing criminal case that is subject to court order putatively preventing its release. The act of leaking this stuff is, at the very least, a violation of that court order and a violation of legal ethics. Depending on the exact language of the order, it could be a criminal act. I don’t know about you, but that causes me far more concern than whether Sammy Sosa took steroids six years ago.

I know, I know, now that the truth is known, no one cares.  No one is going to cry a river for poor Sammy Sosa.  I don’t have any sympathy for him myself.  But the issue of anonymity during these tests are crucial.  I still think it’s a slippery slope we’re sliding down. 

These “anonymous” tests are going to mean jack squat after a while and its use as a tool will lose its effectiveness.

Manny, PEDs and the media

It’s interesting to me, in light of Manny Ramirez’ suspension for performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), how certain media elements are handling the story.  While some like ESPN or Sports Illustrated are taking a more hard line approach, MLB.com not surprisingly is towing the company line and taking a more conciliatory approach. 

Compare these two articles that came out the day the suspension was announced, one from Sports Illustrated and the other from MLB.com.

Both are factual and to my knowledge, accurate.   However, the SI makes some clear or at least implied allegations that go beyond Mr Ramirez:

Ramirez is the first major star to be suspended under baseball’s stricter drug-testing rules that went into effect in 2003. Until now, baseball and the players union have portrayed drug use as having been nearly eradicated in the past few years, pointing out that the major drug-related stories — involving Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez and the revelations in the Mitchell Report — involved drug use prior to the 2003 tightening of the program.

It’s also interesting to note the tone of the headlines of “Related Articles” from SI.  Manny saga no longer funny, the sarcastic Didn’t see this one coming and Do you buy Ramirez’ excuse?

MLB.com’s initial article, predictably and I guess blamelessly, has a very official and almost apologetic tone to it.  There are quotes from Ramirez about his “doctor’s excuse “ and his statement of apology to the owner of the Dodgers; Joe Torre, his teammates and of course, the fans. 

We also read the requisite statements from other baseball officials on how “saddened” they are. 

Links to other articles on MLB.com point to official documents such as Major League’s official drug policy and the official statements by Ramirez and the player’s union and the MLB. And more articles about how others are sad about this…. but not angry. 

Where am I going with this?  Do I think MLB is evil because they don’t tell the whole story or because they sugar coat the issue?  Not really.  Do I think ESPN, USA Today Sports and others are the bastions of sports freedom because the speak the truth?  HARDLY. 

Just this and maybe it’s painfully obvious, baseball fans need to diversify their sports news input.  Since MLB.com obviously has direct access to the information, it’s a great place to go for the hard facts like stats, boxscores, game wrapups etc.  But for good analysis, I’ll read the columnists on the more independent (but not as independent as I’d like) media outlets. 

But for straight out-and-out opinions, I’ll read the blogs.