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Bryant Gumbel accuses Bagwell, Nomar and Pudge of using steroids

Jan 21, 2010, 1:24 PM EDT

Gumbel.jpgI don’t have HBO so I missed this, but apparently on Tuesday night Bryant Gumbel ended his “Real Sports” show by reading an open letter* to Mark McGwire, taking him to task over his apology.  While it was silly because it (a) was premised on the notion that anyone should care what Mark McGwire thinks steroids did for him; and (b) assumes that, while he was a private citizen in California this past decade he had any obligation to explain to anyone what he did or did not take in his career, the criticism was nothing new. 

What was new, however, were the names Gumbel named at the end of the letter:

“In closing, guys, please feel free to share this letter with Bagwell,
Nomar, Pudge
and all those others who went from hitting homers to power
outages overnight. Tell ‘em fans are ready to accept what happened.
Tell ‘em we’re ready to move on. Tell ‘em that most of us get it…even
if they, like you, still don’t.”

So there you have it. Gumbel is now the first person to publicly accuse Jeff Bagwell and Nomar Garciaparra and Pudge Rodriguez of steroid use (correction: Pudge was named by Canseco in “Juiced”).  Would it shock me if any of them have taken steroids? No. But unless Gumbel is prepared to actually explain (1) how he knows they did; and (2) why, if he does know, he’s just now coming out with their names, I do hope he’ll spare us the sanctimony over people like McGwire waiting so long to “come clean.”  In other words, put up or shut up Gumbel.

In other news, I am waiting for comments from all of the writers who took the blogger Jerod Morris to the woodshed last year for writing that it was possible, based on a statistical pattern, that
Raul Ibanez had used PEDs.  Gumbel is just accusing without any evidence, so he’s even worse, right?  And if your answer is “well, we know Bagwell, Pudge and Nomar took ‘roids, so this isn’t so bad,” why the hell haven’t you reported it yet?

*If I were made dictator of the planet, one of the first things I’d do is to make the practice of “open letters” punishable by death.  You wanna say something to someone, write them a letter. You want to tell your readers or viewers what you think of someone else, tell them what you think.  Open letters are lazy-ass gimmicks with allow the writer to smugly pretend that they’re giving someone advice when he’s really being a passive-aggressive condescending prick. They’re the literary equivalent of “hey, I’m just sayin.’”  How about this: just say it.    

101 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. kirk - Jan 21, 2010 at 1:33 PM

    If Bryant Gumbel said it, it must be true. He still has a show?

  2. Howard - Jan 21, 2010 at 1:36 PM

    Canseco implicated Pudge in “Juiced.”

  3. Matt S - Jan 21, 2010 at 1:37 PM

    Didn’t Nomar and Bagwell get implicated in the Mitchell Report? I honestly can’t remember, just wondering.

  4. Thomas Gemkow - Jan 21, 2010 at 1:40 PM

    WHO CARE ANYMORE? It is over. It was a blemish on the game. Label all those stats from those years with an asterisk and let’s move on with life already. This has been the longest, most drawn out “scandal” in the history of sports. I am tired of it being on the top of the news.

  5. Tom - Jan 21, 2010 at 1:40 PM

    I like it — open season on anyone who had fluky seasons! Roger Maris, steroid user! Hank Aaron, late career steroid user! Sandy Koufax and Pedro Martinez, obvious steroid users! Obviously we have to target the players who had the one year out of character career seasons (Maris, Brady Anderson, Luis Gonzalez, Adrian Beltre). Since Gumbel is accusing Bagwell, then anyone who had a huge power jump used (Bagwell, Edgar Martinez, Kirby Puckett). Finally we need to target the ripped players (Nomar, Gabe Kapler, Frank Thomas). However, what if players fit in one category but not another like Tony Gwynn? He hit for power late in his career but he was fat as hell. Or Miguel Cabrera (not totally fat yet but getting there).
    This could be a fun game. We can go through each players statistical record and figure out what seasons he used steroids.

  6. Craig Calcaterra - Jan 21, 2010 at 1:42 PM

    Howard: thanks. Fixed it.
    And no, Bagwell and Nomar were not in the Mitchell Report. They were listed in a phony list that came out the day before the release, but they were not included.
    And to be clear: I would not be the least bit shocked if any of them had been steroid users. My problem is that the media gets to have it both ways: completely ignoring steroids for years on the one hand, but crucify players for not “coming clean” earlier on the other. Excoriating a blogger for meekly suggesting that someone may have possibly used steroids on the one hand but letting guys like Gumbel and a bunch of others just throw out names with no evidence whatsoever.

  7. moreflagsmorefun - Jan 21, 2010 at 1:42 PM

    As the days go by Criag it sounds more and more like you are defending McLiar.The fact is he cheated like the other users and he still won’t come clean.He is lying about his performance , ever wonder why they call them perfomance enhancing drug’s.
    Why can’t Gumble have an opinion, he paid his taxes, I assume and he has a show where he is paid to voice his opinion whether you agree or not.
    Opinions are like toilet paper, when you are finished you flush them down the toilet bowl. I authored that line, so pay me to use it, ok.

  8. moreflagsmorefun - Jan 21, 2010 at 1:43 PM

    As the days go by Criag it sounds more and more like you are defending McLiar.The fact is he cheated like the other users and he still won’t come clean.He is lying about his performance , ever wonder why they call them perfomance enhancing drug’s.
    Why can’t Gumble have an opinion, he paid his taxes, I assume and he has a show where he is paid to voice his opinion whether you agree or not.
    Opinions are like toilet paper, when you are finished you flush them down the toilet bowl. I authored that line, so pay me to use it, ok.

  9. Jerod Morris - Jan 21, 2010 at 1:44 PM

    Craig, haven’t discussed this yet with Ken Rosenthal, but past experience tells me that he probably thinks Bryant Gumbel is being ridiculous and does not respect the power of the written word.

  10. Aarcraft - Jan 21, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    Bagwell was isn’t in the Mitchell report. And where is Bagwell’s power outage? Last five full seasons he hit 47,39,31,39 and 27. He hit three the next year, but only had 100 at bats and could barely throw across the infield. I just don’t see an outage there.

  11. moreflagsmorefun - Jan 21, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    Don’t forget Boone and his MVP season, the next year he got released and could not make the Mets team and quit in spring training, talk about one hit wonders,,,,,,,,,,,

  12. Ron - Jan 21, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    Great point. Who cares.
    Let’s get back to something more important like the Negro League debates.
    Lets find out how many homeruns Josh Gibson actually hit instead worrying about how many McGwire might have or might not hit.

  13. Craig Calcaterra - Jan 21, 2010 at 1:49 PM

    I will defend McGwire from what I feel are unfair attacks. He said what he did. He’s deluded if he thinks that steroids had no effect on his hitting, but that’s what he believes. Is McGwire not entitled to his opinion too?
    Ultimately of course who cares what McGwire thinks? If he said that he took steroids because a little man on his shoulder told him to it doesn’t chance a single thing about what he did on the field. Let scientists, historians and people who know a bit about this kind of thing figure out how much his performance was enhanced. McGwire’s opinion is irrelevant.
    As for Gumbel, he’s not merely offering his opinion here. He’s very clearly accusing Bagwell Nomar of taking steroids and demanding that they too come clean. That’s not an opinion. That’s an accusation, and accusations should be backed up with evidence.

  14. Jonny5 - Jan 21, 2010 at 1:55 PM

    You know what would be great? If Players who are implicated in steroids, or other wrong doings, by these “reporters” who are just riding the wave trying to scrape up ratings, would just wait outside of the said reporters home and beat the total snot out of them for it. Totally awesome!!! I’m imagining it now, sally boy Gumble getting a pile driver from Pudge!! woo hoo!!!! My hero!!!

  15. Joe L. - Jan 21, 2010 at 1:55 PM

    Isn’t the “open letter/advice” to the audience/a target person how Jerry Springer signs off his shows? I guess then the lesson is to confess your steroid use, or that you really ARE the father of your secret lover’s baby, depending upon from which show the advice is offered.

  16. Old Gator - Jan 21, 2010 at 1:57 PM

    I don’t know why we’re letting eveyone else off so easy and just body slamming atheletes. Herve Villachaize definitely was a steroid user. Stephen Hawkings? Obviously, you can tell by the power outage. James Arness? Plant sap, my ass. So, I’m willing to bet, was Mighty Joe Young, who was a squirrel monkey early in his career. And what about Jim Cantore on the Weather Channel? Look at the size of that guy. You going to tell me you need a build like that to read computer models? Puh-leeze. Let’s have a closer look at Paris Hilton. No serial numbers? Steroids! Let’s level the playing field.

  17. nasheagles - Jan 21, 2010 at 1:59 PM

    Earth to the world– Athletes have been taking steroids since the early 60′s…100% of offensive linemen in the NFL still take something… evolution hasnt magically produced 300 pounders that bench 600 lbs and run a 4.8 40 over the last 30 yrs… its better living through chemistry…

  18. gumbercules - Jan 21, 2010 at 2:00 PM

    I miss “Gumbel to Gumbel: Beach Justice”.

  19. steve - Jan 21, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    Wow, Craig, we’re punchy today. I love the aggressive tone of today’s posts, though. Keep getting slapped around a little, or whatever it is that happened before you wrote today.

  20. GBSimons - Jan 21, 2010 at 2:10 PM

    The size of Leno’s jaw proves he uses steroids. That’s how he beat out Letterman in the ratings and how he was able to get his old show back. You know he had a roid rage fit and pulverized some NBC execs until they caved.

  21. IdahoMariner - Jan 21, 2010 at 2:11 PM

    Boone was not released the year after his career season. He had an amazing 2001, and a pretty good 2002, an awesome 2003, an average 2004 and then a crappy 2005 – -the year he was released. the twins picked him up, then dropped him after a few weeks. I’m not saying he didn’t juice, I’m just saying the dropoff was not as pronounced as you imply.

  22. Neil w - Jan 21, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    I am more concerned that Craig dosent have HBO

  23. Old Gator - Jan 21, 2010 at 2:26 PM

    It’s more likely that Leno suffers from a highly localized form of acromeglia, a kind of Rondo Haddon with precision crafting. If he were on steroids, his jokes would be a hell of a lot funnier.

  24. (Not That) Tom - Jan 21, 2010 at 2:27 PM

    “Opinions are like toilet paper, when you are finished you flush them down the toilet bowl. I authored that line, so pay me to use it, ok.”
    Analogies are like orange juice: no matter how many times you catch that fish, there will always be a brown paper bag to fold.

  25. Benny Blanco - Jan 21, 2010 at 2:28 PM

    Ha!!!!!!

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