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Jeff Pearlman believes Craig Biggio was a ‘roider

Jan 10, 2011, 11:36 AM EDT

Craig Biggio

Say what you want about Jeff Pearlman’s take on steroids in baseball, but at least he’s consistent. He was on Mike Silva’s NYBD podcast last night, and doubled down on his accusations:

For the record, Pearlman reiterated his position on Jeff Bagwell saying he was “so certain he used steroids from being around that team, era, and researching his Clemens book.” He would go on to tell me that if Bagwell didn’t use then the “world is flat.”When I asked him if Craig Biggio falls into the same category as Bagwell because he played for Houston, a team that he said earlier in the show was hotbed for PED use, he said yes.

At this point Pearlman is so far out on an accusatory limb that the notion of holding back for fear of a lawsuit or something is silly.  As such — and given how important he and so many others view the issue of steroids to baseball and the Hall of Fame —  is he not obligated to actually report on it? To pass along the information he gleaned from his research for his Clemens book which he says implicates Bagwell and Biggio?

This isn’t a rhetorical question.  There’s so much irresponsible speculation floating around. Pearlman clearly believes that it’s not a point of speculation: it’s fact.  And Pearlman may be right about this stuff.  Doesn’t he do baseball journalism a service by settling the matter? If I was a Sports Illustrated editor I’d be calling him ten times a day, imploring him to write the story.

  1. bloggingleafscentral - Jan 10, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    Maybe he hasn’t sold enough books. I wonder what his integrity would cost? 100k more sold? 500k?

  2. jamie54 - Jan 10, 2011 at 11:49 AM

    Agreed. If he’s so sure then there’s no fear of libel so put it out there.

  3. jkcalhoun - Jan 10, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    Ah, so this is what is meant by intellectual discourse.

  4. ramsbladdercup - Jan 10, 2011 at 11:59 AM

    The best defense for libel = The Truth.

    • Utley's Hair - Jan 10, 2011 at 1:15 PM

      So…what are you trying to say here? Pearlman’s right? or Biggio should come clean and defend himself against baseless accusations made by a hack?

      • ramsbladdercup - Jan 13, 2011 at 5:32 PM

        This is 3 days old and no one will probably read it, but just in case someone is looking through old comments I just wanted to make sure I replied to this:

        What I meant was that if Pearlman has something to say, and it’s the truth then it’s not libelous. So, since he’s a reporter, he should report what truthful facts he has. That’s all.

  5. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jan 10, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    Of course Biggio was using…look at the size of his forearms! <>

    (that was the argument against Bagwell anyway, so shouldn’t the inverse be true about Biggio?)

  6. BC - Jan 10, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    Pearlman is a chipwich.

  7. Adam - Jan 10, 2011 at 12:11 PM

    As Biggio is one of my favorite players of all time, I’d like to take a second and tell Pearlman to go outside and play hide and go f#$& himself. Prove it or shut up.

  8. billtpa - Jan 10, 2011 at 12:43 PM

    Sorry if you covered this, but Pearlman put up another blog on Thursday where he tried to further explain his “point” regarding steroids and the “guilty until proven innocent” concept, and it just perfectly illustrates how completely flawed his position is.

    http://www.jeffpearlman.com/a-final-steroid-thought/

    “I’d equate this more to a murder trial where the accused, and those working on behalf of the accused, hid the bloody knife, the gun and the severed head beforehand so nobody could find them—then argued, ‘No evidence.’”

    And what happens in that situation? Unless you have concrete proof that that evidence existed or that this specific accused person hid evidence of a murder, he walks.

    The real analogy to Pearlman’s point of view is this: there are fifty murders in a month, but the crooked police force hid all the evidence, so we just start arresting and convicting random citizens who we suspect might have committed one of them.

  9. spytdi - Jan 10, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    Biggio’s use, if he did, wasn’t as obvious as Bagwell, Juan Gone, and Brady Anderson. Let it be. They allowed it by not having rules in place to curb the usage. Shame on Selig.

    • bwelch8080 - Jan 10, 2011 at 12:59 PM

      Perhaps the burden of proof should not be on the player (although their union did block all attempts to clean up the game, blood test, etc.), but why not submit to a lie detector test to “prove” one’s innocence? Would even make for great TV as part of Sportscenter broadcast.

      You could argue Bagwell and others shouldn’t have to prove their innocence without specific evidence, but individuals like Palmeiro could prove their “innocent vitamin” stories pretty quickly if willing to put their money where their mouth is.

      • zidanevalor - Jan 10, 2011 at 1:20 PM

        Lie detector tests are only about 80% to 85% accurate or so, both for false positives and true negatives. That’s at least according to the scientific article I read in college 3 years ago. There may have been some advances since then that I don’t know about.

        Plus, a lie detector test is a lose-lose situation. Either (a) he fails the test and just incriminated himself, or (b) he passes the test, and then people argue that he beat the test. I don’t see too many people going “oh well he passed a lie detector, he must have been clean.”

        A lot of people will believe what they want to believe, no matter how much evidence you present them. To them, winning the argument is more important than learning the truth, because they hate being wrong. How many times have you gotten into a discussion with someone, they make a point, you made a counterpoint with irrefutable evidence, and they just keep arguing?

        So what’s the point in doing a lie detector test if nobody will believe him anyway?

  10. Utley's Hair - Jan 10, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    Pearlman obviously juiced—just look at the size of his forehead!!!!

  11. Chris Fiorentino - Jan 10, 2011 at 1:27 PM

    If he’s wrong, then Biggio, Bagwell and whoever else he calls out for using steroids should sue him. They made enough cash from their playing days that, even if they have no likely basis for a lawsuit, they can have a lawyer write something up that will keep this Pearlman guy tied up in court a while, make him spend money, which he surely doesn’t have as much of as Biggio or Bagwell, and see what happens.

    Maybe they are afraid because the last time a baseball player went after someone for lying about steroid use(Roger the Dodger), he got his ass handed to him so badly that he is still eating it for breakfast daily.

    • billtpa - Jan 10, 2011 at 3:01 PM

      That suit would be thrown out faster than you can physically throw a piece of paper. Clemens’ suit failed not because it was necessarily baseless, but because successful defamation suits are really, really rare. You need to prove that someone made a factual statement about you that they either know is false or are completely ignorant about (basically). Pearlman isn’t even making factual statements at all — he’s acknoweldging they’re suspicions. Bagwell and Biggio, even if totally innocent of what he suspects them of doing, could face sanctions for filing a suit like that.

      So, nice try, but no.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Jan 10, 2011 at 3:56 PM

        But it doesn’t matter…the point would be to get it out there that they did something to fight it. Whether it is a frivilous lawsuit…and you can’t tell me they would face sanctions for filing this suit when there are a million lawsuits filed daily that are a lot more frivilous. Once ESPN leads with “Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell have filed a lawsuit against Jeff Pearlman” that would all that it would take to help clear their names. Even if the suit is thrown out, they can stand on the courthouse steps and tell everyone that they did what they could to clear their names. That’s all I am saying. And then the ball would be in Pearlman’s court.

        Right now, the ball is in Bagwell and Biggio’s court…whether they want it/deserve it, or not.

      • Reflex - Jan 10, 2011 at 6:20 PM

        You forget something important here: Writers are the gatekeepers to the Hall of Fame. The only way I can thin kof to lose support for getting into the HOF faster than by being suspected of PED’s, is to sue a voting member of the baseball press.

        Seriously. That would be an idiotic move and he’d never, ever have a hope of getting in.

    • Reflex - Jan 10, 2011 at 3:02 PM

      Because Pearlman and others are using very careful terms to accuse, terms that would be unlikely to be ruled as lible in court. They do have first amendment protections.

      The “Well then why don’t they just sue?” argument is always put out there, but in reality most of the accusations are made in such a way that there is nothing you can sue over, its just the accusers opinion.

      There are some specific cases where it would work though. I am pretty certain that Rafael Palimerio could have sued Canseco because Canseco was very specific in his accusation, even claiming to have injected Raffy himself. He also could have sued Tejada for the tainted Vitamin B12 shot if that story were true. In my opinion of course, I’m not a lawyer so I could be wrong. But in both cases he was wronged by a third party and flunked a drug test, so to clear his name I think a lawsuit could have done the trick given the circumstances.

      I don’t think anyone has made explicit falsifiable claims in the case of Bagwell or Biggio, so there isn’t much that can be done.

  12. dondbaseball - Jan 10, 2011 at 2:20 PM

    Let’s face it, we all want to be baseball writers, otherwise why even blog? While I don’t agreen with Pearlman on many of his items, just as I don’t agree with Craig, I do enjoy reading them and then think about my own opinion on it. So on Bagwell, I am suspect of him, the more time that comes, the more information we will get to determine his situation so while he has great numbers and I endorse teaching his wide batting stance to my players to encourage hip rotation and balance, I am dubious about him. On Biggio, I tend to think he didn’t partake due to his consistent physique over the years, I just think he compiled stats and don’t view him as a Hall of Famer. He has great numbers and wouldn’t be near the bottom of HOFers but my definition is a “game changer” and Biggio never impressed me that way. I still respect Pearlman’s right to say what he wants as he isn’t a Murray Chass type and seems to have definitive data as to why. Craig Calc said it best to give the details if you feel so strongly on the data…

  13. davidw7 - Jan 10, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    I was waiting for this. He’s working his way through the Killer B’s. Not sure if he’s already mentioned Berkman, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s next on the hit list.

    • aaronmoreno - Jan 10, 2011 at 4:51 PM

      Or Sean Berry and Derek Bell?

  14. stevejeltzjehricurl - Jan 10, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    I am certain, based on reading Pearlman’s blog and understanding his political views, that he’s biased against Biggio and Bagwell because they played in Texas and Pearlman is a liberal who hates everything from Texas because it’s a red state and George W. came from there.

    Hey, I have as much evidence to support that as Pearlman does to support his Bagwell./Biggio steroid theory.

  15. bobwsc - Jan 10, 2011 at 4:46 PM

    Pearlman probably cheated on his wife. I have no evidence of it, but some men do cheat, so he probably did. so there Pearlman, defend yourself. and I hope you’re reading Mrs. Pearlman.

    • aaronmoreno - Jan 10, 2011 at 4:52 PM

      Of course he’s cheating on his wife, just look at the size of his…….wait, no.

  16. cogitobaseballergosum - Jan 10, 2011 at 5:04 PM

    If Craig Biggio used, the controversy about steroids is over. They obviously don’t have any effect.

    • motherscratcher23 - Jan 12, 2011 at 12:05 AM

      This is just a weird comment. Craig Biggio was really, really good.

      Really good.

      At baseball.

      Like, Mila Kunis/Natalie Portman sex scene good.

  17. billybeaneismyhero - Jan 10, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    To call Pearlman a no talent a$$ clown is an insult to a$$ clowns everywhere. Where does he get off making baseless accusations about a player using (or not using) steroids?

  18. Adam - Jan 11, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    I was watching the MLB Network yesterday and they had a round table with Bob Costas (who annoys the every living daylights out of me), Tom Verducci, Jon Heyman and Peter Gammons. The topic? Steroids and the HOF.

    According to Verducci he will not vote for a player he suspects did steroids. Period.

    Heyman said he’d vote for them if he thinks they were a HOF player before they did steroids. In other words, he’s going to vote for Clemens and Bonds. What he did suggest, which is insane but I wouldn’t be surprised if the HOF did this, was to induct PART of their career, or make not of when they started using steroids.

    Gammons seemed to be on the side of keeping steroid users out but he didn’t go into as much detail as the other two.

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