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Why on Earth would the Miami New Times give its records to Major League Baseball?

Feb 7, 2013, 7:45 AM EDT

press hat

There were a pretty astonishing couple of passages from the Miami New Times story from yesterday, in which it talked about how Major League Baseball has requested all of its documents for its investigation:

Here’s the truth: We haven’t yet decided what do with the records from Tony Bosch’s clinic … The question of whether to release the records [to Major League Baseball] is thorny, and there are few precedents. They were given to us by a source who requested anonymity. We will not divulge that person’s name. We take this responsibility very seriously … Of course, we do want justice. And as a parent of three kids who play sports, I want badly to discourage use of these drugs that endanger peoples’ health … We will decide in the next few weeks what to do with the trove of records. We will do the right thing.

Buster Olney ready this and didn’t mince words at all:

I am in 100% agreement with Olney here. Major League Baseball is a business, not the government. If the New Times’ exposé was about goings on at General Motors, there would be zero chance at all that it would turn the records of its reporting over to General Motors management, so why on Earth is it considering it now?

This can only be explained by that allusion to the editor’s kids — please, someone, think of the children — and the very successful, century-long campaign by Major League Baseball to make people think that it is some sort of national institution instead of a for-profit business. It already got Congress and the Supreme Court to agree that it’s something greater than a business, getting an antitrust exemption out of them. It likewise pulled that stuff with federal agents and prosecutors during the course of George Mitchell’s investigation, getting them to use their power to give Major League Baseball something it would not have otherwise gotten (i.e. coerced/bargained cooperation from accused drug dealers) because, well, just because.

Now a newspaper.

I don’t tend to publicly wave the banner of the free press as much as people who went to journalism school and who have spent years in the newspaper business do, but in this case I am firmly in that camp. The New Times’ responsibility is not to Major League Baseball. It’s to its readers. The idea that they are even considering handing over those records is pretty insane to me.

  1. Gobias Industries - Feb 7, 2013 at 7:57 AM

    Hey guys, serious question here. If Jon Heyman reported that Ryan Braun’s Fed Ex guy injected Mike Trout with steroids and Bud Selig declared Jeff Francoeur and Michael Young the Most Awesomest Players alive and Jack Morris the Most Awesomest Pitcher alive because they’re in the best shape of their lives, and Craig wrote a post about it and within that post announced his love for the Phillies and the illegality of pie, would the message board collapse upon itself? Think about it.

    • larrytsg - Feb 7, 2013 at 9:19 AM

      PIE???? No way, I LOVE pie! Blueberry pie, cherry pie, lemon meringue pie, heck I might even like Felix Pie!

    • binarymath - Feb 7, 2013 at 12:01 PM

      “…would the message board collapse upon itself?…”

      Yes, but only if the pie analysis included a blathering, incoherent debate about WAR (wedges above replacement) vs. RBI (raspberries, blueberries, Ice cream)

  2. danielponce - Feb 7, 2013 at 7:59 AM

    well… yahoo’s passan broke the braun story, new york daily news had the montero story, and SI has the peralta story. so… im not sure how hard it is to get your hands on the records. idk if miami new times is sharing the records with these other reporters or if there is some information act or something that i dont know about.

    • Old Gator - Feb 7, 2013 at 10:29 AM

      Yeah, it seems like Biogenesis hired a crop duster and sprayed its records all over town. Everyone seems to have a piece of them.

      Even so, the idea of a newspaper (which is really a very benign term for what the New Times is) sharing its information with MLB makes about as much sense as…um…well, as a utility infielder on steroids.

      • danielponce - Feb 7, 2013 at 11:18 AM

        hey they broke the fix-a-flat butt injection story. if thats not respectable journalism, idk what is

      • Old Gator - Feb 7, 2013 at 2:29 PM

        That’s Macondo for you. I handed them a good story and they broke it.

      • danielponce - Feb 7, 2013 at 9:36 PM

        so if this is macondo, lorias aurelino and the fans are remdios. nonononono samsons aurelino we’re remedios and lorias the insane dad. ya. we died because we were only 12 and tried giving birth two the twins the stadium and a high payroll. hmmm well stantons the son with the big dong. i think we can all agree on that. he’ll eventually get traded to his sister that eats dirt that was infatuated with a gay italian… the mets? ummmm seligs definitely pilar… ummm this isnt turning out to well. Old Gator! Halp!

  3. wihalofan - Feb 7, 2013 at 7:59 AM

    I know it’s not the same thing, but…

    What if the New Times had information on workers at General Motors who were building unsafe cars, and General Motors wanted to fix that situation. Should they give them the records then? (I realize a baseball player using PED isn’t a safety concern to the general public. Sorta.)

    • paperlions - Feb 7, 2013 at 8:03 AM

      In that case, wouldn’t GM already know of the problem and likely had just been ignoring it in hopes that it wouldn’t manifest?

      • papalurchdxb - Feb 7, 2013 at 8:25 AM

        you mean like MLB does with drug and the NFL with concussions?

      • chadjones27 - Feb 7, 2013 at 8:49 AM

        Didn’t MLB already know of the problem and likely had just been ignoring it in hopes that more homeruns = greater attendance?

      • Old Gator - Feb 7, 2013 at 10:30 AM

        Could MLB announce a sweeping recall of the Macondo New Times?

    • stlouis1baseball - Feb 7, 2013 at 12:06 PM

      Great question Halo. In fact, I considered the same thing. Ignore the thumbs downs.

      What if it were a safety concern (since Craig referenced G.M. as an example).
      Do they (the New Times) have a resposibility to the general public (er…it’s readers)?
      What if they were genuinely concerned with the integrity of the game of baseball?
      Do they have a responsibility to it’s fans (er…it’s readers)?

      Regardless if G.M. knew about the hypothetical safety issues and ignored them…
      Regardless if MLB knew about the hypothetical integrity issues and ignored them…

      Both hypothetical instances could be (potentially) resolved without divulging sources (er…the whistle blower).

      • sportsdrenched - Feb 7, 2013 at 12:58 PM

        I agree with the general question, that does the newspaper have an obligation.

        However, the nature of the evidence might point to the whistle blowers identity. (example, only 2 people had access to said information, and the other person has a strong alabi)

  4. paperlions - Feb 7, 2013 at 8:06 AM

    Here is a trade I bet most people could get behind.

    Papers from cities/regions/states in which public money was used to build stadiums for baseball teams would agree to hand over any an all information they find about player PED use in the past or future. In exchange, MLB agrees to turn over financial information for teams that received public money to build stadiums starting 3 years before the stadium was built until such time as they no longer play in a publicly financed stadium. That’s a win-win. MLB wants clarity on PED use by players and tax payers want clarity of the financial “need” of billionaires that extort them for hundreds of millions of dollars to support their hobby.

  5. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 7, 2013 at 8:09 AM

    I am in 100% agreement with Olney here.

    Craig, can you clarify this idea at all? Are you saying you agree that MLB should try to negotiate for the records by breaking it’s agreement with the MLBPA that the ’03 testing results would be anonymous? Isn’t that a bit hypocritical after some of the comments you’ve made recently?

    • paperlions - Feb 7, 2013 at 8:12 AM

      I assume he was stating that he agrees that the Times shouldn’t even be considering the idea, and instead of handing them over ask MLB for information that the Times has no right to have (just as MLB has no right to have the information the Times has uncovered).

    • Craig Calcaterra - Feb 7, 2013 at 8:29 AM

      Correct — I don’t think MLB should turn over the list of players from the 2003 testing. I don’t think Olney was seriously suggesting they do either. I read it as a rhetorical thing as in “you’d think it crazy for us to ask you to give us something that you consider confidential, why don’t you think it just as crazy to ask us for our stuff?”

      The larger point — that the Miami New Times should tell MLB to pound sand — is the one I’m talking about.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 7, 2013 at 8:35 AM

        That’s what I was assuming, thanks.

      • lardin - Feb 7, 2013 at 8:56 AM

        Craig, How about if the Miami Times goes to the confidential source, and he says to give the records to MLB. Would you have a problem with that? If the source says no way, theres zero chance, if I were the times, that I would give the records over to MLB. But if he says yes, then I definately try to make a horse trade.

  6. deadeyedesign23 - Feb 7, 2013 at 8:24 AM

    Oh my God kill this story with fire so this site can be readable again.

    • Old Gator - Feb 7, 2013 at 10:31 AM

      I have a memo which authorizes me to order a drone strike on it.

  7. hojo20 - Feb 7, 2013 at 8:25 AM

    Did Don Fehr write this post?

  8. hooks024 - Feb 7, 2013 at 8:39 AM

    the idea of them giving up the records sounds awesome to me. not because I have some delusions about “Justice being served, and rabble rabble…” I’m just a die hard Yankees fan who looks at this as a golden opportunity to run a-rod outta town in shame. god I hate him.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 7, 2013 at 8:57 AM

      I don’t understand this. Why do you hate one of the best players for the Yanks in what, the last 20-30 years?

      • Alex K - Feb 7, 2013 at 9:22 AM

        I don’t either, church. Not a Yankees fan, but holy crap. A-Rod might be one of the 10 best players in baseball history.

      • stlouis1baseball - Feb 7, 2013 at 12:14 PM

        “Baseball has never been a game of integrity, so why should it be concerned with it now?”

        Tell that to Pete Rose Church! Or Shoeless Joe’s relatives. Or Denny McClains family.

  9. illcomm - Feb 7, 2013 at 8:40 AM

    instead if releasing to MLB. they should just post everything relabent on the web for everyone. freedom of information to all is best.

    • chadjones27 - Feb 7, 2013 at 8:51 AM

      If the newspaper posts everything relevant from their “source” doesn’t that undermine all future confidentiality with “sources”?

  10. datdangdrewdundunituhgin - Feb 7, 2013 at 8:46 AM

    hey, MLB – if you want to find out who is using PED’s maybe you should, you know, negotiate for more stringent testing next time. stop doing these silly IQ tests and start running random tests for banned substances. otherwise stay in your lane and let the reporters report.

  11. illcomm - Feb 7, 2013 at 8:52 AM

    Craig. when u add to an article. u should put update at the point where u add. the comments sections becomes flawed when u write bits and pieces at different time frames. u r one of the few writers that correct or change your article without footnotes/updates

  12. mybrunoblog - Feb 7, 2013 at 8:58 AM

    Calcaterra’s notion that the Miami New Times stick to some sort of archaic “journalistic code” and not assist MLB with its investigation is ridiculous. Of course the Miami New Times should never divulge its source but MLB doesn’t want the source just the information learned from the source.
    In the interest of policing the game and seeking the truth they should help MLB investigate this situation.
    I’m not naive enough to see MLB as some sort of investigative panacea in these matters (MLB had blind eye to PED’s for years) but if We all (MLB, press,fans) truly wants PED’s out of the game, then give them some help if they ask.

    • paperlions - Feb 7, 2013 at 9:11 AM

      MLB will get the information when everyone else does, when it is published.

      Is there one legitimate reason that a newspaper should help a private business? There aren’t any lives at stake, indeed, having the information wouldn’t actually aid MLB in any substantive way….unless you consider facilitating MLBs attempts at PR suicide to be helpful.

    • stlouis1baseball - Feb 7, 2013 at 12:11 PM

      On point Bruno. Do we want to get rid of PED’s or not? Are people serious about it?
      If so…then the jig is up! Otherwise, we can ignore it like MLB (and everyone else) and return to post strike days when balls flying out of the parks at record pace.
      All in the name of perpetually turning turnstiles.

  13. rathipon - Feb 7, 2013 at 9:07 AM

    Craig – as far as I can tell, the only reason that was offered for not providing the requested records was essentially: we are journalists and journalists don’t do that. I still don’t see the ‘why’ in that. I agree when you say ‘The New Times’ responsibility is not to Major League Baseball. It’s to its readers.’ But how are the readers in any way harmed by divulging those records to MLB? It seems to me your concern isn’t so much journalistic ethics but more the MLB’s outsized sense of entitlement.

    • paperlions - Feb 7, 2013 at 9:13 AM

      Instead of thinking, “I don’t see why they shouldn’t do it”, come up with one reason why they should. There isn’t one.

      • jeffbbf - Feb 7, 2013 at 9:48 AM

        What a stupid response. There isn’t *one*? Not one reason? Are these national securtity documents we are talking about? Will the American Public be put in some sort of danger if these documents are turned over? The source requested anonymity and MLB is not asking for the name of the source – just the information. That information may help them root out cheaters and deter some players from cheating in the future. And yes, believe it or not, it may serve to educate young players and deter them from using substances that could very well harm them over the long term. Is that a good enough reason for you?

        Cripes – MLB “requested” the documents. They didn’t demand them. Why wouldn’t they ask nicely for them? MLB would be neglecting their duties to try to find offenders if they didn’t ask for the documents. If the paper declines, they decline.

      • rathipon - Feb 7, 2013 at 10:05 AM

        Sure. In the absence of those records, MLB will likely be unable to complete an investigation into a serious potential rule infraction. Thus, many players who could potentially be proven cheaters may get away with it. In fact, an entire sports agency which may have been facilitating this type of cheating, and putting the health of its clients at risk in the process, might get away with it. Like it or not, the question of PED’s in baseball raises a concern among many fans about the very integrity of the game. The public wants an investigation – and the government isn’t going to do it this time. MLB is the appropriate party. I would imagine that many readers of the Miami New Times are baseball fans and have an interest in this matter being properly investigated. And since the newspaper has a responsibility towards its readers, it should provide the records to MLB.

        Let me put it this way. You might disagree with my argument in favor or providing those records, and that’s fine, but at least it’s an argument. Nobody in this thread, as far as I can tell, has actually explained WHY the Miami New Times shouldn’t provide the records to MLB other than: journalists never do that. WHY shouldn’t they do that?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 7, 2013 at 11:13 AM

        Like it or not, the question of PED’s in baseball raises a concern among many fans about the very integrity of the game.

        While I understand where you are coming from with the rest of your post, the above quoted part seems odd. Baseball has never been a game of integrity, so why should it be concerned with it now? Drugs, but illicit and performance enhancing, have been in the game for decades. For years, owners and MLB did everything they could to keep minorities from playing. If the game wasn’t clean to begin with…

      • paperlions - Feb 7, 2013 at 11:30 AM

        You still didn’t list a single reason for the paper to give MLB the documents. Your only reason appears to be that you want them to do it so that MLB can continue their hunt for those nefarious PED users (all the while ignoring wife beaters and drunk drivers)….as if somehow on the field integrity is what is important, not off the field integrity.

        There isn’t a single reason for the paper to help MLB out. MLB has always been a 1-way street, taking and taking and taking.

      • stlouis1baseball - Feb 7, 2013 at 12:12 PM

        See Bruno’s post Paper.

      • bh192012 - Feb 7, 2013 at 1:28 PM

        Read the article? Seriously, it’s quoted above:

        “We will not divulge that person’s name. We take this responsibility very seriously”

        As for motivation… Read the article? Seriously it’s quotes above:

        “Of course, we do want justice. And as a parent of three kids who play sports, I want badly to discourage use of these drugs that endanger peoples’ health”

        I compeltely fail to understand how Craig or Paperlions can post/read direct quotes from the sources that say they want to give that info and protect the source of that info. Absolutly amazing the comprehension failure here. Off the charts bias is the only way I can understand your blinders.

        Why would they give that info….. because literally they want to. Their only hesitation is calculating if they can do that and still maintain their journalistic integrity, which none of you have any chance of evaluating, since you don’t have the documents to know if the sources name is implicated on them FFS! Why is it that Braun is innocent until proven guilty but the newspaper is guilty until proven innocent? You can bitch if/when they reveal the source against it’s will.

  14. themohel - Feb 7, 2013 at 9:11 AM

    Craig – you’ve become so emotionally attached to this story that you’ve lost your logical mind. Don’t you think the source gave the information to the Times in order that the public sees it? Wouldn’t that source be happy if the records appeared in toto in the paper (thru a link on its web site)? Otherwise, why give them in the first place? Sounds more like you don’t want them published.

  15. jm91rs - Feb 7, 2013 at 9:13 AM

    I understand the concept of protecting sources, but if the information that they have doesn’t directly point back to the source they are protecting, there’s no harm in giving the information over to MLB. There is absolutely no Media ethics issue here. If the source can remain protected and the information they’re turning over has mostly already been put into new papers across the country, what’s the big deal? Think about it, I tell you I have a notebook that says A-Rod used this drug. What changes if I give you the actual notebook? I already told you what’s in it, so if I give it to you you’ll know it’s true but likely won’t learn anything new.

    Journalistic code is just code talk for “I know something you don’t know, hahaha”. Let’s give MLB everything they need to bust the guys that cheat, so we can get through this ridiculous era of suspicion and the rest of us can truly appreciate what we’re watching without wondering if the player is clean.

    • Alex K - Feb 7, 2013 at 9:31 AM

      If you’re someone who will worry about players taking drugs you can never stop wondering. Players will always take drugs that they think will help them get ahead. They have been doing it for a very, very long time. Testing will also always be playing catch-up to new drug technology. Don’t for a second think there will ever be a point when the game is 100% drug free.

  16. MattJanik - Feb 7, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    I am so, so very happy so many of you don’t work in media. It would be a terrifying world out there when you were turning information over to the authorities every time you stumbled across a piece of information. The media being in bed with enforcement agencies is bad news, EVERY time.

    • mybrunoblog - Feb 7, 2013 at 10:01 AM

      You must not work in the media either.
      If you really believe that law enforcement and members of the media do not routinely assist one another you are both naive and misinformed.

    • stlouis1baseball - Feb 7, 2013 at 12:17 PM

      Really Matt? “EVERY” time? You can’t think of one time it is a good idea?

  17. takavl - Feb 7, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    Whoa. Some people commenting here have either forgotten the putative reasoning behind journalism/newspapers/investigative reporting — I suppose that the gossip/entertainment/fashionista/hyper-partisan propaganda industries have occluded this, not to mention the FCC doing away with the Fairness Doc as well as public schools and diminished budgets forcing many districts to do away with civics/constitutional studies, but here goes —

    Journalism is not supposed to be stenography, it is supposed to act (in a democratic republic), at least in part, as a check on both private and govt. power. Part and parcel of this is anonymous sources who blow whistles and the threat of RECRIMINATION, whatever the recrimination might be and the degree of such. Hello? The Miami NT rightly and justifiably is telling MLB to piss off, and Craig’s half-serious idea of the quid pro quo is logical and makes the point wonderfully…

    • MattJanik - Feb 7, 2013 at 11:43 AM

      You said this far better than I did. This is exactly the issue.

  18. umrguy42 - Feb 7, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    “If the New Times’ exposé was about goings on at General Motors, there would be zero chance at all that it would turn the records of its reporting over to General Motors management, so why on Earth is it considering it now?”

    Not sure I entirely agree with this analogy. To my mind, it might be closer to, if they found goings on at, say, a parts supplier for GM, in which case, I could certainly see GM asking for the records (whether they’d get them is a good question, but I could certainly see them asking so as to not have to re-cover the same ground).

  19. pmcenroe - Feb 7, 2013 at 9:56 AM

    If there is a precedent of newspapers handing over records, as the writer stated, why would MLB not try and ask for them? Can you blame them? What’s the harm in asking?

    Obv. it is important to protect their source and the Times does not HAVE to give it to them. But who cares if they do or don’t, it’s their choice. I don’t really understand why this is a big story.

    • pmcenroe - Feb 7, 2013 at 9:59 AM

      *does not HAVE to give the records to them*

  20. mazblast - Feb 7, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    The New Times doesn’t HAVE to turn the records over. However, I see no harm in them doing so, as long as the name of their source is properly redacted from the materials turned over.

    Where, precisely, is the harm in MLB getting this information? It doesn’t constitute proof of violations, but it gives MLB’s investigators an idea of where and towards whom to look.

    As for the source, unless he/she had a deal with the New Times that restricted its use, as far as I’m concerned, once it’s out, it’s gone, it’s fair game for usage. Once I use a $20, I don’t get to say where it gets spent again.

  21. Carl Hancock - Feb 7, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    So the newspaper should just hold on to these records and publish accusations against players that could damage their careers and reputations while not providing the same documents to those that can punish or clear the names of said players after an investigation? Bullsh!t. Reporters are playing judge, jury and executioner in this case. It’s amazing how full of themselves reporters seem to be.

    • stlouis1baseball - Feb 7, 2013 at 1:03 PM

      Be careful Carl. You may get another email. Hahaha!

  22. lawrinson20 - Feb 7, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    Not getting into the legalities, but: it’s in the PUBLIC INTEREST to have baseball clean. It’s, supposedly, our National Pastime. I don’t see the conflict in a journalistic entity PASSIVELY assisting in this effort. If they can do it without revealing the source, why wouldn’t they? Not doing it would be obstructing another organization’s ability to police itself, and while MLB may have no jurisdiction over the materials, unless the newspaper has a good reason to WITHHOLD the materials, again — why not allow access?

    I’m assuming usage of PEDs is not an actual crime. So, this isn’t, technically, an evidentiary issue. Unless Bosch is suing to prevent the release of the materials, i don’t see why it’s wrong for two independent and non-competing organizations to assist each other.

  23. coryfor3 - Feb 8, 2013 at 2:08 AM

    In a shocker Craig takes the side of PEDs

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