Skip to content

McGwire, A-Rod and the double standards

Jan 13, 2010, 11:03 AM EDT

You don’t have to search hard in my archives to find effusive praise of Joe Posnanski. I tend to agree with him on most things, he’s the best sports writer going in my view, and someone would have to write an awful lot of gold to even begin to get into the conversation as his rival.

But, as Jay at Fack Youk points out, nobody’s perfect. Jay went back and checked, and it seems that, while Posnanski now writes that judging apologies seems unfair, he was perfectly willing to judge A-Rod’s apology last year, and did so in pretty sharp terms.

Posnanski responds via Twitter that the apologies were two different beasts — McGwire’s was voluntary while A-Rod’s was a forced p.r. exercise — but Jay anticipates this, noting that, McGwire’s wouldn’t have come had he not taken the job as the Cardinals hitting coach and that his was no less an exercise in p.r. in practice, even if it seemed more genuine in substance.

Posnanski obviously has a metric crap-ton more goodwill in the bank than do the Jon Heymans and other double-standard bearers of the world, and when you write as much as Poz does you’re bound to cross your streams once in a while.  But fair is fair, and like a lot of other writers (and Bud Selig)  Posnanski seems to be treating McGwire quite differently than he treated A-Rod.

UPDATEPosnanski responds.  In this I think we see the biggest difference between Pos and others who contradict themselves on occasion.  Pos owns up, explains his thought process and is generally transparent about it all — though I think he’s still being a bit willfully naive on the Selena Roberts stuff; her story may have been legit, but A-Rod’s outrage at her in general was more than justified given their shared history and the book she wrote.

Anyway, would any of you hold your breath for Jon Heyman to explain himself? Or Dan Shaughnessy? I wouldn’t. So, the Roberts thing notwithstanding, good for Joe.

  1. Jonny5 - Jan 13, 2010 at 11:17 AM

    It’s as simple as personality. Everyone besides A-roid think he’s a major douche bag, where as Mcgwire is kinda likable. That’s all it is….

  2. Phil - Jan 13, 2010 at 11:34 AM

    It’s a little more complicated than personality, although that’s certainly a factor for many. Right or wrong, A-Rod pinned a target to his back when he signed that contract. From that moment forward, there was no possible way he would get treated evenhandedly in the press.
    I also remember Joe coming to the defense of Selena Roberts at the time because she was a colleague. I was disappointed because Roberts’ book was a steaming pile of s**t, but we all have blind spots for our friends. Since the linked piece was penned around the same time, no doubt that colored his view.
    But unlike Shaughnessy and others, even as he condemns the apology itself, he’s wrestling with the larger questions and trying to achieve some perspective. No excuse for the double standard, but even when failing he’s a saner voice on the issue than almost anyone else writing about it.

  3. lar @ wezen-ball - Jan 13, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    It’s a great point by Jay and a good point to bring up, Craig. His tweet also mentions that A-Rod’s apology was also an attack at the reporter, so there is some difference between the two. Still, it goes to show how hearing something from two different people that you have different attitudes towards can alter your view of what they said.
    Though that’s not a bad thing. Sometimes it takes hearing it from someone you trust/like/etc before you can fully appreciate it for everyone. I’d hope, and expect, Pos to have a better take on A-Rod now that Mac has given him a different perspective.

  4. Jason Rosenberg - Jan 13, 2010 at 11:58 AM

    Like Craig says, when you write a lot, or talk a lot, or think a lot, you’re bound to contradict yourself. Life is too complicated, and issues are usually too unclear, to think that you’ll always be consistent. Lots of things – including our gut instincts about a person and their likability – will come into play. It’s only human.
    What makes Joe different here, to me, is not mainly his willingness to wrestle with the big issues, but his humility. Joe is almost always willing to see the other side, to give credit to other views, to question himself, to change his mind and so on. He manages to be both opinionated and humble, which is hard to pull off. So, when he contradicts himself, I’m willing to accept that as part of a larger, more complicated reality.
    Many sports writers take a “I’m right and you’re a jerk” attitudes as they spew a holier-than-thou stream of invective at anyone who displeases them. If you’re going to be a self-righteous know-it-all, then don’t be surprised when people find joy in your hypocrisies. If you’re willing to see the world as a maddeningly complex place, then you won’t be surprised when it is.

  5. YankeesfanLen - Jan 13, 2010 at 12:00 PM

    Due to the lack of much of a hot stove going on, and the neglible characters left (except Johnny), reading the blogsphere lately has been a Maggie and Jiggs marriage over HOF and steroids (how 2005).
    Is this January baseball talk? I’d much rather go shopping for a 50″plasma than get the transmission fixed (steroids) or vote for “Employee of the Month”(HOF).
    Waiting for those three magic words of April-And That Happened.

  6. YANKEES1996 - Jan 13, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    This truly is nothing new A-Rod has always been the whipping boy for sports journalists, ESPN analysts and everyone else. In the world of accusations and apologies A-Rod has more to complain about yet he never has, the test results that bore his name were supposed to be confidential and the report was seized by the government unlawfully, which is still be being resolved in court.(yawn) Now, that being said I am a fan of A-Rod but his apology was weak at best, but he did apologize to his teamates and that is respectable in my opinion. McGwire on the other hand his apology was weak as well but his ego during his apology was unbelievable, his apology was spurred on by one thing and one thing only and that is that he has a job waiting. If he was not trying to return to MLB we would all still be suspecting him of his use, and his name would still be linked to Clemens, Bonds and Palmeiro just to name a few. I don’t care who it is apologizing for PED use we are never going to get the whole story of why, where, when, by who and for what reasons, these guys are just not going to go there. The report that is being held captive and leaked one name at a time should be publicized in its entirety so that the game of baseball can truly heal, as long as names are simply leaked out one or two at a time the game is never going to move past this black time in its history and these discussions are going to rage on. The come clean apology has yet to happen and probably never will and along with the players there are plenty of owners, general managers, managers and clubhouse attendants and medical staff that could probably benefit from that type of apology as well. That fact that Bud Selig and every sports writer and news person treats each of these guys different is not that surprising because each of these guys plays a different role inside MLB and inside of MLB history. A-Rod has set some records and holds some records but he has yet to touch the type of revered record that Bonds, and McGwire and Ripken have touched. But A-Rod signed the largest contract ever with Texas and he is extremely well compensated with the Yankees and that kind of success put a target on his back and tremendous pressure on his shoulders and of course everyone wants to take down the biggest person they can, so that is why A-Rod is treated like a second class citizen. Johnny5 in his above post refers to A-Rod as a douchebag, but I would be willing to bet that he truly knows nothing about A-Rod, has never seen him play or talked to him or had him sign an autograph for him or his kids he has formed his opinion of the man based on the writings of the people who are most critical of A-Rod.

  7. Patrick - Jan 13, 2010 at 12:11 PM

    Well, the difference to me is, Mac’s coming back into the public view of his own volition. If he didn’t want to make this apology, he could’ve stayed underground. It’s not as though he needs the money. (Right?)
    A-Rod, on the other hand: I have no reason to believe he would’ve breathed a contrite, baby-blue-sweatered word if Roberts hadn’t pinned him to the wall, while he was under contract, in the era of random testing.
    The main sympathy I have for these guys is that they’re under suspicion simply because they hit home runs or threw really hard, when the reality is, we should suspect them all — Maddux, Lofton, Jeter, Counsell, and everybody in between. They all had access, and they all had motive.

  8. bernie - Jan 13, 2010 at 12:12 PM

    I’ve been a fan for over 50 years and I remember Jim Kaat coming into spring training camp on his last year looking like Hulk Hogan. I believe it was Kaat and Carnie Landsford both came in very large from the previous fall. It just didn’t look natural or normal bulk from weight lifting. I also remember the Pirates of Willie Stargel, why do think they called him “Pops”? It wasn’t because of his age. All of them try to get an edge. Steroids is no different and we can’t condemn one of them without questioning did all of them cheat, one way or another.

  9. EvilEmpireE 2010 - Jan 13, 2010 at 12:31 PM

    McLiar ………..
    If you believe McLiar I have three bridges for sale, if you buy
    two I will throw in a third, at no cost, for real, call me.

  10. hardjuge - Jan 13, 2010 at 12:45 PM

    Maybe McGuire can become a manager and get in as a manager. The roid issue should not affect his evaluation as a manager or coach.

  11. EVIL EmpireE 2010 - Jan 13, 2010 at 12:46 PM

    McLiar, plain and simple, he is just as dirty
    as A-Rod and NO better!!
    HALL OF SHAME

  12. Jonny5 - Jan 13, 2010 at 12:50 PM

    “Johnny5 in his above post refers to A-Rod as a douchebag, but I would be willing to bet that he truly knows nothing about A-Rod, has never seen him play or talked to him or had him sign an autograph for him or his kids he has formed his opinion of the man based on the writings of the people who are most critical of A-Rod.”
    Who posting on a baseball site hasn’t seen A-rod play? I’d bet none, me included. Who posting here has talked with A-rod? I’d bet none, you incluuded. As far as having him sign an autograph? I think not, ahem, http://jeffpearlman.com/?p=3588 .
    And furthermore, you said he was a whipping boy, you said everyone treats him like a second class citizen (which boggles my non multimillionaire jet setter mind btw).Wasn’t what I said pretty darned close to what you said? He dated Madonna for heavens sake and kisses himself in the mirror….. :>X ok……trying to adjust my memory of that… Well rumor has it, well.. Is it true he has a picture of himself with a horse body, yes as in a Centaur, over his bed???? LOL!!

  13. Evil EmpireE 2010 - Jan 13, 2010 at 12:52 PM

    La Russa is the BIGGEST DOUCHE, he knew everything but didn’t care.He made alot of money, won alot of games got DRUNK and went home.He has said he knew about Conseco using STEROIDS but never told anyone, THAT IS A DOUCHE FOR YOU!!!!!!!!
    McLiar want’s back in now, so he is telling the truth, yeah!!

  14. hardjuge - Jan 13, 2010 at 12:53 PM

    I wish the world would get over steroids, shut up about them and go on. If you don’t want to vote for a guy when its his time that’s fine, but there are more important things in the world.

  15. EvilEmpireE 2010 - Jan 13, 2010 at 12:54 PM

    Jeter, really, all 20 homers a year Jeter, what you smoking???

  16. Phil - Jan 13, 2010 at 1:02 PM

    Posnanski’s response to Fack Youk.

  17. IdahoMariner - Jan 13, 2010 at 1:17 PM

    Pos’s (eventual) response, the one noted in your update, is why I love Pos. You are right Craig, I’m not going to hold my breath on those others ever explaining themselves or re-examining what they’ve put out there or ever believing that they should. Pos is a gift to baseball (and sports) fans.

  18. YANKEES1996 - Jan 13, 2010 at 1:53 PM

    Do you base all of your impressions on rumour? I have spoken to and had A-Rod sign some stuff for my kids at 09’spring training when I took my son down for his first spring training trip. Why should any fans care about his behaviour off the field or what he has in his house or who he dates as long as he is not breaking the law? The way I look at it is just because he is in the public eye does not give you or anyone else permission to pry into his private life. Has he or any other player ever pried into your private life? I think NOT!

  19. Joey B - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:01 PM

    “All of them try to get an edge. Steroids is no different and we can’t condemn one of them without questioning did all of them cheat, one way or another.”
    Ehh, that’s a convenient excuse. That’s like saying that, just because we don’t catch all tax cheats, we shouldn’t penalize the ones that we do catch. And isn’t a broad generalization to accuse everyone of cheating? There is really nothing wrong with punishing someone that cheats, even if he isn’t the only one that does so.
    Shouldn’t there be at least some nominal consequences to those that cheat?
    To be honest, a lot of that wouldn’t be quite so bad if not for the spectacle of seeing Mac and his son celebrating. Here he is on one hand, stealing a record that doesn’t belong to him, and on the other hand celebrating it with his son.

  20. Patrick - Jan 13, 2010 at 2:36 PM

    The question, my man, is not how many home runs he hit, or how big his upper arms got, or how many MPH he could get on his 4-seamer. Performance-enhancing drugs can be used to enhance all kinds of physical performance, by all kinds of increments: Harder line-drives instead of soft flies, 89-MPH fastballs instead of 86, 13 stolen bases instead of 7 — to say nothing of the injury-recovery benefits. The extra something that turned McGwire from an above-average hitter into a Hall-of-Fame-calibre hitter? That could be the same extra something that turned David Segui from a AAAA player into a passable Major Leaguer. And it could also be the extra something that kept Jeter on the field so regularly into his mid-30s. You just don’t know, about any of them.
    What’s your angle, man? That a guy with Jeter’s Atlas-esque physique and God-given talents would never need the juice, or even benefit from it? Dude’s just powered by his love of the Pinstripes, ain’t he? That’s adorable and all, but wake up and smell the andro.

  21. Tarsha Naman - Jan 14, 2010 at 2:26 PM

    Hi buddy, your blog’s design is simple and clean and i like it. Your blog posts are superb. Please keep them coming. Greets!!!

  22. MVD - Jan 15, 2010 at 5:02 AM

    A-Rod is clean. Selena Roberts lied.

  23. Baseball headlines - Feb 3, 2010 at 4:29 PM

    I can see that you are an expert at your field! I am launching a website soon, and your information will be very useful for me.. Thanks for all your help and wishing you all the success in your business.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Who's outside looking in on playoffs?
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. R. Castillo (2525)
  2. J. Hamilton (1937)
  3. M. Trout (1905)
  4. J. Heyward (1887)
  5. D. Ortiz (1856)
  1. J. Ellsbury (1797)
  2. S. Pearce (1780)
  3. C. Kershaw (1743)
  4. D. Jeter (1728)
  5. A. Pagan (1718)