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Your morning dose of steroids McCarthyism

Jun 10, 2013, 11:10 AM EDT


There has always been a broad suspicion about steroids that seemed to exceed the actual data available about steroid use. Not necessarily an unwarranted suspicion. We don’t know who did what, it’s reasonable to assume that more players used than were ever caught and thus a lot of that broad suspicion was probably reasonable too. It became problematic when people would level unfounded accusations against specific players, but the idea that “a whole lot more people than we know of were using” is hard to dispute.

As a result, the idea that there has been some sort of steroid McCarthyism is unfair. Yes, some people have engaged in guilt-by-association, especially when accusing specific players based only on their teammates or country of origin, but most people who have voiced concern about steroids have, at the worst, offered some overly-broad generalizations and have drawn what I feel to be overly-pessimistic conclusions.

But Jim Rich of the New York Daily News has decided to go full-McCarthy on Joe Girardi and Terry Francona: they’re “frauds” and “hypocrites” and “jokes” for not condemning Yankees and Red Sox players who used PEDs or speculating on the Biogenesis stuff.  This is offensive to Rich because Girardi and Francona “stood shoulder to shoulder with steroid cheats.” He winds up:

As selfish and infuriating as the two managers’ stances are on the steroid issue, their most egregious hypocrisy lies in the fact that they have managed or played with so many other unnamed cheats, who, in part, were allowed to tarnish the game as a result of their willing blindness.

Francona and Girardi certainly have had plenty of company in allowing this fraud on the game and its fans to exist, but there have been very few who have basked more in its tainted glow.

This is literally condemnation by virtue of association. Rich, like McCarthy, is giving Girardi and Francona a choice between ratting out and/or calling out their colleagues or being considered just as bad as they are.

This is my favorite passage, though:

While Rodriguez was launching 129 of those bombs under Girardi’s watch, the Yankees manager was more than happy to discuss them, presumably because that qualified as baseball talk. But now that every one of A-Rod’s 2,901 career hits (37th most) must be called into question as the result of his second association with steroid use … Girardi feels he’s exempt from the discussion?

If Rich actually believes that Alex Rodriguez possessed no baseball talent that every single one of his hits came by virtue of steroid use it perhaps shouldn’t be surprising that he sees this as such a white or black issue.

People wonder why we can’t have an intelligent discussion about PEDs. It’s because it’s impossible to have an intelligent discussion with extremists peddling this kind of garbage.

  1. Ben - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    Haven’t we had enough American dystopia this weekend?

    • Old Gator - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:54 AM

      What dystopia? This is the norm.

  2. uyf1950 - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    Craig, well said. It should also be point out how many innocent peoples lives were ruined by Senator McCarthy. The same can be said here and now about the baseball lives of players now.

    • chip56 - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:20 AM

      Yes, by all means let us weep for the millionaire baseball players and former baseball players who have had their reputations sullied. I’m sure that they are crying themselves to bed at night…thankfully they have $100 bills to wipe those tears away before they stain the sheets.

      Sorry, but comparing what today’s players are going through to what McCarthy did to the lives of people in his day is like comparing a hot dog to a warm puppy.

      • jobusbartender - Jun 10, 2013 at 12:32 PM

        Yes, by all means everyone who was persecuted by McCarthyism was poor (ex: actors, politicians), all of these ballplayers care only about their bank accounts and their legacies must mean nothing to them. Sure buddy.

      • chip56 - Jun 10, 2013 at 12:54 PM

        Do I feel bad for a guy like Bagwell who was never suspected of being involved in PED use but can’t get into the HOF because of when he played? Sure. Do I feel bad for guys like Alex or Braun for what they’re going through now? Nope.

      • badintent - Jun 11, 2013 at 12:00 AM

        The Senator had Roy Cohen do all the dirty work for him, then he grabbed the headlines.Mr. Cohen was a Jew, hired because McCarthy was concerned that he would be branded as anti-Semitic going after the Hollywood writers, directors, etc. McCarthy witch hunt ended after he made the big mistake of going after the Army. We’ll never know if Roy suggested that the Army was a mistake or a great opportunity( to entrap McCarthy) . Roy later became one of the most powerful men in NYC , had dirt on everyone. His biz BBF was a young wanna- be developer…Donald Trump. .

  3. chip56 - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:18 AM


    I enjoy your writing most of the time. However, can you at least acknowledge that while you’re ripping this writer for being an “extremist peddling this kind of garbage,” that you’re an extremist on the other side peddling your own garbage just as vociferously?

    Please don’t pretend that just because you’re on the other side of the argument that you’re somehow above the fray. You’re just as bad as Rich, you’re just on the opposite end of the same spectrum.

    • Ben - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:20 AM

      Any opinion now is extremist garbage? And more pointedly, opposing guilt by association is extremism?

      • chip56 - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:22 AM

        Um, no – any opinion is not extremist garbage…however the sheer volume of what Craig has been putting out there. How he has been mocking EVERY. SINGLE. ARTICLE. with the words “steroids” in it…that qualifies as extremist garbage.

      • Ben - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:39 AM

        If Craig is an extremist, it’s solely by virtue of often being the only voice on the other side.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:39 AM

        So… every single article with the word Steroids should be… what? Valued on its own?

        And yet the same can’t be said about ballplayers. In particular, specific ballplayers, especially those whose numbers are extremely consistent in terms of power and production.

        Because we all know, according to these articles with the words Steroids in it, and according to commenters who insist on non-biasness when discussing accusations that don’t carry any proof, that these specific ballplayers have cheated, are cheating, and will continue to cheat until they are finally forced the from game through which they maintain their livelihood.

        Well, thank goodness we’ve got some perspective here!

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 10, 2013 at 12:54 PM

        If Craig is an extremist, it’s solely by virtue of often being the only voice on the other side.

        He’s not even on the other side. The other side of steroid “McCarthyism” would be the who cares, let them all do ‘roids. Craig is off to the side, raising his hand, saying hold on a minute, let’s let everything work itself out before rushing to judgment.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:21 AM

      Please tell me what garbage I’m peddling. I’m often accused of being a steroid apologist. But I’m still waiting for someone to tell me where, exactly, I’m wrong. Other than not sharing people’s excitable views about PEDs.

      • chip56 - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:24 AM

        You’re peddling the exact opposite of what these dbags are peddling. How do you not see that? How do you not see the hypocrisy in saying “But I’m still waiting for someone to tell me where, exactly, I’m wrong. Other than not sharing people’s excitable views about PEDs.” when the majority of the articles that you pull from to rip are simply people who also aren’t wrong, they just don’t share your dismissive views about PEDs.

        Again, it’s your forum and I respect the hell out of your right to use it to promote whatever agenda you want to promote. But please don’t sit there and try to pretend that you’re not promoting an agenda.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:32 AM

        I never said I wasn’t promoting an agenda. Not all agendas are garbage. Agendas which call good men “frauds” and “hypocrites” and “jokes” because they had players who used drugs on their teams is garbage, however.

      • chip56 - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:37 AM

        I mean you’re talking in sheer extremes here…comparing this to McCarthyism.

      • chip56 - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:40 AM

        He’s not calling them “jokes” or “frauds” by the fact that they have players on their teams who have done steroids. He’s calling them “frauds” because they laud their players’ accomplishments when they happen and then refuse to talk about them when it’s brought up that those accomplishments were likely attained while those players were using PEDs in violation of league policy and the law.

        He’s not entirely wrong.

      • davidpom50 - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:54 AM

        I can point out a couple places that suggest to me that you’re a bit hypocritical regarding PEDs…
        1. The “if you disagree with the Ryan Braun appeal decision, admit you don’t care about testing” article. And yet, a year and a half later, you’re dismissing the process regarding Biogenesis before it plays out.
        2. Whenever a player is accused of steroid use, you make the perfectly reasonable assertion that we should not be doing so without evidence, and when stories are breaking, that we should wait for more information before condemning anyone. And yet, again with Biogenesis, you’ve ripped MLB for pursuing these guys based on Bosch’s cooperation without having any idea what additional evidence Bosch might be providing.

      • buggieowens - Jun 10, 2013 at 12:39 PM

        What garbage? Well, that is an easy one. You are disrespectful of Aquaman. The Earth’s surface is 70% water. You are mostly composed of water. Respect the Aquaman because one day, the Aquaman will get his.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Jun 10, 2013 at 12:44 PM

        Sorry, but stand by the Braun piece. If you value the PED testing system we have, and you reject the results of that system (which included Braun’s successful appeal) you are not serious about the PED testing system we have. You simply like it when players get busted and hate it when players don’t.

        And weighing the credibility of a witness is ALL ABOUT EVIDENCE. It’s 100% geared toward talking about the evidence. I am critical of MLB to the extent they are leading with Bosch because, based on what we know about him, he’s got credibility problems which weighs directly on the value of the evidence he provides.

      • davidpom50 - Jun 10, 2013 at 12:55 PM

        Craig: You’re still wrong about what you assert to be my opinions. Based on everything I’ve read about the Braun case, I think the process allowed a guy who cheated to get away because those responsible for catching him made a mistake. From everything I’ve read, Braun’s defense did not prove (nor did they have to) that the storage procedures would produce synthetic testosterone. That doesn’t mean I don’t care about the process, it just means I think someone screwed up. To me, it’s like a criminal case in which a case is dimissed because even though police found ironclad evidence that he was guilty, but didn’t have a warrant to search his house. Just because the dude walks doesn’t mean he didn’t do the deed.

        And again, with Bosch… you have no idea what baseball has. You have no idea whether his credibility will be a major problem. And it’s hypocritical of you to pass judgement without knowing when so often in the past you’ve admonished others for doing the same.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Jun 10, 2013 at 1:41 PM

        There is a lot of information available about Anthony Bosch. Based on that information, he is a credibility problem. I noted on Friday that if MLB has more than just his word, yes, it could be a very different case. But it is not at all wrong to note that a man who lied about his credentials and changed his story multiple times in a couple of months is going to have a hard time convincing people that he’s telling the truth. That’s not a matter of opinion. That’s just real life.

        As for Braun: MLB had a process in place where they had to do x, y, z. They didn’t do x, y, z and Braun walked. You can totally blame MLB for not getting it right. But — and forgive me if your view on this differs — my writing last year was in response to people who were outraged at Braun for even raising the defense and felt that he should be suspended anyway because MLB not doing x, y, z was “a mere technicality.”

        It doesn’t have to change the way you feel about Braun — call him a cheater, I don’t care — but it is not Braun’s fault MLB couldn’t make its suspension stick.

      • cw2121 - Jun 10, 2013 at 1:42 PM

        davidpom50: You may want to read this:

        “Sources have told Carroll that the defense showed that the circumstances which led to the positive drug test was able to be repeated using the errors of the handler, which he explained on WEEI.”

        Can’t say whether this has been proven right or wrong since, but I remembered it and it interested me at the time. If Carroll is right, then Braun actually did prove “screwing up” was material and could have produced a false positive. It’s at least one thing to read on the other side.

    • heyblueyoustink - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:26 AM

      I read this quote from another flammible post this morning:

      ” Craig, considering your creepy love affair with steroid users”

      And I brushed it off, because it didn’t seem totally accurate. Craig is defending the process.

      But to compare this to McCarthyism in any way is comparing and apple to and apple tree. At the end of the day, the players amass great wealth. I see that as very different from the targeting of every day folks just trying to get by, teachers, union leaders, etc.

      I don’t feel sorry for any of these ball players, to be honest, connected to any kind of juicing program. At the end of the day, they still get paid handsomely.

    • protius - Jun 10, 2013 at 12:04 PM


      You claim that Calcaterra is at one end of the PED spectrum, and Rich is at the other end.

      Can you describe for the readers what, in your opinion, the middle ground should look like?

      • chip56 - Jun 10, 2013 at 12:48 PM

        That whether you agree with the notion that steroids improve performance or not, the fact remains that they are banned in baseball. Players entered into the CBA of their own free will, they know what constitutes a violation and that a violation will result in suspension so the notion that the league is somehow “out to get players” is, on its face, silly.

        Also that the league is under increased scrutiny to clean up the game and so they are forced to go to extremes to avoid the appearance of complacency.

      • protius - Jun 10, 2013 at 1:38 PM

        OK, can you please characterize, in one short paragraph, Calcaterra’s position?

      • chip56 - Jun 10, 2013 at 1:46 PM

        He believes that the rules governing PED use are silly because he’s not convinced that PED’s actually E people’s D. Thus he thinks what baseball is doing in actively going after people they believe use(d) steroids is silly and the media criticism that said players face is reprehensible.

      • chip56 - Jun 10, 2013 at 1:47 PM

        Clearly that should have been “…he’s not convinced that PED’s E people’s P”

      • protius - Jun 10, 2013 at 2:59 PM

        OK, now can you please characterize, in one short paragraph, Rich’s position?

        Try and be as clear as possible.

  4. Stacey - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    Someone make it stop. Please.

  5. manute - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    So you do realize that people are very often asked/expected to disclose others’ criminal activity, right?

    McCarthy forced people to testify about their and others’ Constitutionally-protected political activity. So this is, um, kind of different.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:22 AM

      He’s complaining about Girardi and Francona not telling the media about PED stuff. When MLB would likely prefer them to not say a damn thing.

      It’d be different if those guys weren’t talking to MLB at their request, which as managers they are obligated to do.

      • chip56 - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:42 AM

        Craig, he’s pointing out that managers laud their players for their performances during the games but then go mute when it’s pointed out that, in retrospect, those accomplishments took place while the player in question was using Performance Enhancing Drugs.

        He’s not entirely wrong to point this fact out.

      • dluxxx - Jun 10, 2013 at 12:44 PM

        And Craig is pointing out that as a manager of a player that is currently being investigated by MLB for steroid use, them not commenting is probably what MLB would prefer. Seeing as how Rich’s article is basically him ripping Girardi for not giving him a quote, and then ripping Francona for giving him a quote is petty.

        The fact that he then starts to rail on them for not sitting down and detailing everything they know about alleged steroid use is disingenuous at best.

        And to use your favorite line. Craig isn’t completely wrong.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 10, 2013 at 12:44 PM

        those accomplishments took place while the player in question was using Performance Enhancing Drugs.

        Were they? And he has proof of this right? Because when you make a statement like that, and then draw conclusions based off that statement, you look like a giant horse’s ass when the leading statement isn’t factually true.

    • jobusbartender - Jun 10, 2013 at 12:56 PM

      Isn’t the MLB forcing Bosch to name names based off a non criminal lawsuit?

  6. sdelmonte - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    And now for an interesting dose of perspective:

    The Mets radio team of Howie Rose and Josh Lewin, in talking about playing a day game after the 20 inning marathon on Saturday, noted that some players clearly looked wiped. And that in the old days, greenies might have changed things in this case. And that they were pretty sure that the many times of late where players are sleepwalking through the games were a reflection of being in the post-greenie era.

    After which Rose quickly noted that he isn’t advocating greenies. Merely stating the fact that things have changed.

    At no time were the broadcasters making accusations. Or casting aspersions. Or really expressing an opinion other than “the rules are the rules, and while we support them, things are not what they were.”

    It was a refreshing discussion that was the opposite of all the overheated noise about PEDs. We need more of such things.

  7. charlutes - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    What want to know is does anyone read this crap from these types of writers? And if so how dumb are these people?

  8. cur68 - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    In short order (if it hasn’t happened already), someone will post that “Craig Should Stop With All The Steroid Posts” with a toccata on “This Is Getting Old” a back beat of “Steroids Apologist!”.

    Bullshit, I say. The “Steroids! Ban ’em all” idiots don’t stop. They are loud, proud, ignorant, and prolific. So why should those who wish to be reasonable and realistic be quiet?

    As for this guy Jim Rich; what a posturing buffoon. Where’s his outcry over all his colleagues who for years ignored what was going on? Not only that, the complete disconnect over how small an advantage steroids confer vs how much more an advantage you get from altering a baseball. Its all cheating, but why isn’t he getting his lil underpants twisted over that stuff? Spitballs, scuffing, or cutting the ball definitively hands a pitcher a clear and measurable advantage whereas all those career minor leaguers who’ve been suspended for ‘roids didn’t seem to be going anywhere, steroids or no steroids. Gaylord Perry had mangers…going to pillory them, too Jim?

    • dluxxx - Jun 10, 2013 at 12:21 PM

      Well of course not! Wink wink, nod nod. If you aren’t cheating you aren’t trying…

      Unless of course you are using steroids. Then you’re a dirty good-for-nothing cheat!!!


  9. davidpom50 - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    As a committed anti-PED guy, I dislike idiots like this who prevent a legitimate conversation even more than I dislike the zealots on the other side, the PED apologists who claim steroids don’t help baseball players be better at baseball.

  10. buzzookaman - Jun 10, 2013 at 6:31 PM

    It’s just a game and it is more fun to watch if all the players are on the juice, or drugs like pain killers. I want to see stars like Curt Schilling be able to pitch with a “bloody sock” or Barry Bonds hit 73 homers. It’s just a game and cheating and stealing is part of baseball. Why don’t people want their President , Congressmen or elected officials to take drug tests? They actually try to do something important sometimes.

  11. buzzookaman - Jun 10, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    BTW why is it ok to shoot up pain killers to enhance your performance or to be able to play at all? But you can’t take product x to help hit more homers ,throw harder or steal more bases.

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