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And the Steroids McCarthyism gets even more odious

Jan 5, 2011, 12:36 PM EDT

Jeff Bagwell AP

SI’s Tom Verducci on Jeff Bagwell:

Bagwell’s numbers look worthy of Cooperstown, but he has been tied to steroid speculation enough that he “defended” himself in an ESPN.com interview last month. His defense? “I have no problem” with a guy juicing up, he said. To take such a position today is wildly irresponsible. It also invites the very talk that Bagwell claimed to be “sick and tired of.”

Bagwell was an admitted Andro user who hired a competitive bodybuilder to make him as big as he could be, who claimed, McGwire-like, that Andro “doesn’t help you hit home runs,” who went from a prospect with “no pop” to massively changing his body and outhomering all but six big leaguers in the 13 seasons before steroid penalties (Ken Griffey Jr. and five connected to steroids: Bonds, Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire and Juan Gonzalez), and who condones the use of steroids — but said, “I never used.”

Wow. Forget evidence or even eyeball-speculation. Now it’s enough to be merely “tied to speculation,” — query; who’s doing the tying? — to have defended oneself and to have engaged in “irresponsible” talk. That gets you branded a cheater by some writers now. That’s enough on which to base character assassination.

Do these people have any idea how horrifying they sound? I understand when the Jeff Pearlmans of the world go off the rails because that’s just what they do. But Verducci? He’s a smart and able writer, but when it comes to this stuff he sounds like Roy Cohn when he worked for the Senate Permanent Subcommittee.

What has come over baseball writers?

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/tom_verducci/01/04/hall.of.fame.ballot/index.html#ixzz1ABQB3gOl

  1. mattintoledo - Jan 5, 2011 at 12:43 PM

    I’m pretty sure the reds have gotten to them.

    • jkcalhoun - Jan 5, 2011 at 1:50 PM

      Or the greenies.

  2. BC - Jan 5, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    I love how all this Bagwell stuff never came up until we got close to his first time on the ballot.

  3. jasonc2300 - Jan 5, 2011 at 12:47 PM

    I thought sportswriters demanding people apologize for various indiscretions, and then eviscerating them when the apology wasn’t good enough, was about as ridiculous as this type of debate could get.

    But now we have a writer who uses someone defending himself against accusations of steroid use–a defense only offered because sportswriters suddenly decided to make those accusations–against that person.

    Classy.

  4. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 5, 2011 at 12:54 PM

    Come on sheeple, wake up! They should just administer a simple test. Just take each individual and drown them. If they survive, they are a witch. If they don’t, they weren’t.

    Wait, we’re witch hunting right…

  5. CJ - Jan 5, 2011 at 1:03 PM

    So let’s get this straight: Verducci writes more drivel insinuating that Bagwell used. Said article in and of itself further “ties” Bagwell to using. Then the goof goes on to insinuate that Bagwell’s being “tied” to using should basically disqualify him from Hall consideration. Well, that’s reponsible journalism at its best. I guess it’s the circle of jouralistic life: write something bad about a person, point out that said person is “tied” to this evil deed, and then indicate that the person doesn’t deserve X, Y, and/or Z because he is “tied” to something so terrbile.

    Heck, if that’s all it takes, I could have fun with this. Let’s see, who’s reputation should I smear first……….

    • stevejeltzjehricurl - Jan 5, 2011 at 1:14 PM

      Verducci writes at SI, doesn’t he? Peter King works at SI as well. Peter also works for NBC Sports on Sunday Night Football with Al Michaels, who worked on Monday Night Football with Frank Gifford, who once worked with O.J. O.J. has been alleged to have beaten and killed his wife and also murdered Ron Goldman.

      Hey, maybe I’m wrong, but I think Verducci can be “tied” to any and all of O.J.’s atrocious acts.

      • davidw7 - Jan 5, 2011 at 1:16 PM

        lol Bravo sir, Bravo *Claps Hands*

      • CJ - Jan 5, 2011 at 1:24 PM

        Well done. I was thinking something less harmless, than you know, murder. At least for a start. Baby steps.

        Florio really does where a toupee, and therefore should be removed from consideration for the Jimmy Johnson-Donald Trump Hair Hall of Fame.

  6. stevejeltzjehricurl - Jan 5, 2011 at 1:09 PM

    I just lost a lot of respect for Verducci. This is ridiculous.

    Look, if you want to punish someone by withholding a Hall of Fame vote based on innuendo and unfounded speculation, go for it, particularly if you think the BBWAA standards for voting allow for it. But don’t punish a guy for having a different opinion on the issue than you. Plenty of people involved with baseball have concluded the same thing as Bagwell — who gives a crap if these guys used PEDs? If you read through to Bagwell’s interview, you can actually see him reference Andy Pettitte’s desire to recover from injury and play without pain, and wonder what’s wrong with that view. That’s a valid point of view, even if you disagree with it. Punishing him for holding that point of view is, for lack of a better term, un-American.

  7. davidw7 - Jan 5, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    I guess once good ol’ Ken Griffey jr is eligible he will have this all to come. I guess being a “slugger” among other attributes is what one shall be condemn on. I hope Bags gets a good percentage once it’s made public. He has no chance of being a first balloter, but here’s hoping the support he seems to be getting will help future ballots.

  8. JM Lattanzi - Jan 5, 2011 at 1:13 PM

    This Verducci article is the journalistic equivalent of a drive-by shooting. A bit hyperbolic, to be sure, but mere insinuation leaves someone else to have to clean it up after its all over.

  9. thinman61 - Jan 5, 2011 at 1:15 PM

    So are we minions, or Fifth Amendment PED Apologists?

    • jkcalhoun - Jan 5, 2011 at 1:20 PM

      We are not here to talk about the past.

    • thinman61 - Jan 5, 2011 at 1:22 PM

      Or maybe fellow travelers?

  10. evanhartford - Jan 5, 2011 at 2:25 PM

    Craig et al,

    I don’t get it. You’re attacking sportswriters for following the rules. They essentially have free will to vote whomever they want (limited to the names on the ballot) based on an incredibly subjective set of guidelines. Its not up to you to decide if they’re “right” or “wrong”. If you think the voting conditions should be changed, fair enough. But don’t go crying everytime you disagree with someone’s vote. Their reasoning is irrelevant.

    This is a classic case of, “don’t hate the player, hate the game”.

    • paperlions - Jan 5, 2011 at 2:32 PM

      That isn’t what people are doing or saying at all. No one has criticized who Verducci votes for or why, they are criticizing his basis for calling someone a cheat, which requires only that someone proffer the baseless suggestion that a player used steroids.

  11. jkcalhoun - Jan 5, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    Verducci’s latest includes these comments:

    A Hall of Fame vote is the highest endorsement of a career. There is a difference between understanding steroid use and endorsing it.

    And therein lies his fundamental mistake. A vote for Cap Anson was note a vote for segregation. And vote for Ty Cobb was not a vote for prejudice or crazed violence or whatever. Instead they were merely recognitions of their extraordinary records, abilities, and contributions to their teams.

    Similarly, a vote for a Bonds or a Clemens is not an endorsement of steroid use. (For crying out loud, we don’t even have definitive knowledge that Bonds used anything classified as a steroid at the time, even after all the articles, books, pre-trial disclosures, and volumes upon volumes of comment!)

    A vote is merely an assessment of the total value of a player’s record, ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played. And you can say for any particular vote that the value is primarily derived from only a subset of these.

    Again, what in tarnation is so hard about this?

  12. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Jan 5, 2011 at 2:40 PM

    How come all these guys voted for Alomar and Blyleven, who were PED users. How do I know? Just look at the guns on Blyleven. Besides, you can’t throw that kind of a curveball unless you are juicing. Alomar, well, his up and down years offensively are enough to say he was juicing it.

    Want more proof? We don’t need no stinking proof, we are the keepers of the game, the morality police.

  13. merkleboner - Jan 5, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    Craig, I think you, as well as other pinko Commie liberals (and I call you that affectionately) should research the history of Joseph McCarthy a little more closely before you go bandying about the word “McCarthyism.” You may find it actually hurts your argument a bit. McCarthy had evidence, he just couldn’t reveal it, whereas your journalists do not.

    • jkcalhoun - Jan 5, 2011 at 3:26 PM

      Craig’s got his historical facts straight here. Although McCarthy was fond of claiming he had evidence, his so-called evidence typically failed to amount to sufficient grounds for his accusations of espionage or subversion. Unless political affiliation constitutes sufficient grounds for such charges [and let's agree that it doesn't], McCarthy was blowing smoke.

    • ta192 - Jan 5, 2011 at 4:57 PM

      McCarthy didn’t have evidence, he had innuendo, rumor, and hearsay. If he’d had even a shred of real evidence against even one person, he might have saved his Senate career. I actually watched about 2 days of his shenanigans on TV (yeah, I’m that old), and when I asked my father what the hell was going on, his response was, “Anybody can hold up a briefcase and say he has the names of so many people that did such and such. Doesn’t prove anything, doesn’t mean anything.”

      • Gary - Jan 5, 2011 at 8:35 PM

        McCarthy was only vaguely right. There really were Commies all over the place, but he was not interested in ferreting out the real ones. He just smeared people. It’s exactly like what’s going on now.

  14. Adam - Jan 5, 2011 at 3:56 PM

    Edgar Martinez: He was a fabulous hitter with one of the purest righthanded strokes of his time. (Go ahead, make a list of the prettiest swings you’ve seen. I bet almost all of them are lefthanded, i.e. Ted Williams, Griffey, Palmeiro, John Olerud, Ichiro Suzuki. Righthanders lack style points.)

    But Martinez had no value for half of the game of baseball (the defensive half) and didn’t attend to the hitting half nearly enough to compensate for his job as a specialist. (Please stop calling DH a “position.” It’s no similar to a position than punter is to quarterback in the NFL.)

    How is the DH not a position? Granted it SHOULDN’T exist, but 14 teams in MLB seem to believe it is a position. 14 guys get paid like it’s a position. 14 lineups feature a slot that says DH on it.

    And how is being the best DH of his generation not attending to hitting?

    I like a lot of Verducci’s work and commentary, but he’s way off here.

    • Adam - Jan 5, 2011 at 3:57 PM

      That second paragraph should be cited too, it’s Verducci’s drivel.

  15. tigerprez - Jan 5, 2011 at 5:24 PM

    Gosh, after all of this, I’m not even sure we should be judging a players stats, let alone his character. After all, who appointed us to be judges of a man’s career numbers? Judge not, I say.

    It’s probably better that we just let all players into the Hall. I don’t mean all players accused of PED’s; I mean ALL players who ever played the game. I mean, I don’t want to judge anyone. That’s all. It’s going to make the induction ceremonies a bit long-ish, but I think it’s the only safe route to take. Plus, I really want to see which hat Mike Morgan chooses for his hat.

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