They Get Paid to Do This? (Sports of the Times Edition)

"You decide if Barry Bonds committed perjury, but I know what I believe"

That quote is put here to save everyone the effort of either signing up for the Times’ subscription service or, if already a subscriber, spending 5 mintues reading perhaps the laziest column ever written for the Gray Lady.  Heck, even Jayson Blair and Judy Miller had to take the time to make stuff up. Today, Dave Anderson spends over 800 words of his prestigious Sunday print space (Times Select, subscription only) offering up what could pass for a junior high school book report on the Barry Bonds/SI article. The main thesis of the column? That Anderson has a talent for being able to quote SI at length, while offering absolutely nothing of his own mind.  The quote above is just about the only thing not pulled directly the blockbuster.  I was surprised the Times didn’t print this piece in 24pt font, like we used to do in high school when you had a 4 page paper but had only written 2 pages worth of stuff. Brutal.

11 comments… add one
  • As an antidote, and for something with some opinion, check out John Thorn’s Op-Ed piece:

    YF March 12, 2006, 11:21 am
  • On ESPN’s “The Sports Reporters” this morning, the first subject up for discussion and debate was Barry Bonds and the SI article from the book.
    Among the guest reporters, Bob Ryan, of the Boston Globe, who I usually like, seemed to have guzzled too much coffee, as he almost shouted that Bud Selig had to banish Bonds from baseball forever, sometime in the next two weeks before the season started.
    C’mon Bob, get real. While there’s pretty damning evidence against Bonds, he hasn’t been charged with anything, he hasn’t failed a drug test, and there weren’t any rules on steroid use for most of the time frame there talking about here. If Selig tried to kick Bonds out of MLB, the Players Association would go nuts and the lawsuits would come flying.
    Mike Lupica, of The New York Daily News, whose self-righteous, finger pointing rants make me want to put my fist through the television/computer monitor, blabbered that Selig should open an investigation into Bonds, Balco, and whatever else might come to light along the way. Are you kidding me? Who knows how prevalent steroid use might have been/might still be? Would Selig and MLB want to open THAT can of worms?
    The other guest, Mitch Albom of The Detroit Free Press, was the only one with a reasonable point of view, basically saying Selig’s only viable, realistic option was to let the season progress, see how things went, bank on the tougher drug policy keeping the players in line, and go from there.
    If Bonds were to pass Ruth and then Aaron, would there be an asterisk or something attached to Bonds’ name? Who knows?
    Selig is probably hoping Bonds gets angry and tired at all the questions and controversy and retires on his own, or his production takes a nosedive after a year off and he is unable catch Aaron .
    There are no easy solutions, no easy way out, nothing can be done that will satisfy everyone. It’s a giant clusterf-ck of a situation to say the least.
    But it is what it is and it’s not going away anytime soon.

    whatever March 12, 2006, 12:35 pm
  • I understand that steroids weren’t against the rules of baseball during much of Bonds’ usage. But it was/is illegal (a felony, I believe) to purchase them without a prescription. So why is it excusable for Bonds (and others) to commit a felony just because baseball doesn’t explicitly condemn the act? I never understood this line of argument. Though a crass and perhaps simplistic analogy, there are no rules written by MLB explicitly forbidding armed robbery, but players don’t typically head out to hold up banks after games, do they? I suppose one could say that armed robbery would get you thrown in jail, but it wouldn’t get you thrown out of baseball. Same with illegal steroid use, apparently. It’s a pathetic line of argument, in my opinion.

    SF March 12, 2006, 4:02 pm
  • I’d imagine it owuld have tio be like the 7 strikes and you’re out or too old to play rule they had for steve howe. I don’t think there’s much to do for baseball in this case since it seems that everyone sort of knew what was going on and just turned the blind eye to it as long as those home runs were getting people in the stands and extra highlights on the tv.
    The real freak out will be when bonds breaks ruth…asterix city from all of these writers.

    walein March 12, 2006, 6:35 pm
  • SF, No one is saying what Bonds or anyone else did was excusable. And by the way, Bonds hasn’t been convicted of felony drug possession. But your missing the point here.
    If MLB attempted to kick Bonds out of baseball, he would file suit, it would go to court, and MLB would have to give reasons why they did it.
    They (MLB) have nothing that would hold up. Bonds broke no rules of baseball because there were no rules. And he hasn’t tested positive, like others have. And he won’t be charged with anything because there’s no evidence. Those steroids are gone. It’s all heresay evidence. “Game of Shadows”? While compelling, and it all may be true, it’s HERESAY. Everybody is sure that Bonds used steroids, but nothing can be proven. And Bond’s sure as hell isn’t going to admit to anything.
    So that was my point, that MLB wouldn’t really have a case if they tried to show Bond’s the door. Not that what he did was excusable.
    Actually, Bonds isn’t out of the woods yet. The federal government might decide he committed perjury. He may have further problems with the IRS, who led the Balco investigation.
    But if your hoping MLB goes after Bonds or others who are suspected of using steroids in the past, don’t hold your breath. It’s not going to happen.
    By the way, that bank robbery analogy was really weak. You can do better than that.

    whatever March 12, 2006, 11:22 pm
  • I pretty much agree with you WE. I was just making the point that I am tired of people using the whole “it wasn’t against the rules of baseball” excuse to explain away why Bonds isn’t culpable for taking steroids, but not necessarily in the context of suspension. I wasn’t clear enough. I fully understand that MLB has no solid case against Bonds in re: such a suspension. I guess I am just sick of people blaming the structure of MLB (and yeah, it’s plenty blameworthy, so I don’t want to underplay that), as if it somehow lifts the burden of guilt off of Bonds (and any other players who took steroids).
    And if the bank robbery excuse was weak, why did you basically reiterate it? I think it’s a simplistic analogy, but effectively you are saying the same thing: only jail and the Feds can get Bonds out of baseball. Baseball can’t get Bonds out of baseball.

    SF March 13, 2006, 7:40 am
  • WE, I think you are missing the ultimate point. Selig and MLB don’t need to win a lawsuit to achieve their immediate objectives.
    In the short term, MLB should want to move beyond the steroid era ASAP. Allowing Bonds to break the record instills a permanent reminder that we are not out of that era. Even now, we are still talking about steroids after testing and stiff penalties are in place.
    I think Selig, for better or worse, should take a page from the Bush playbook on enemy combatants and suspend Bonds indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the game. I agree that such a move would never ultimately hold up in court, but it could keep Bonds out of baseball until things could be sorted out legally. By that time, Bonds will be too old to play. I’m sure MLB would be willing to pick up the financial tab of the remainder of Bonds’ contract plus punitive damages in exchange for him not breaking the record.
    Sure the plan is ugly and unfair. But MLB is not a democratic society but a sports and entertainment corporation that should act in its long tern interests, even if it sacrifices short term fairness.
    Instead of the bank robbery analogy, which is appropriate as well, I liken it to a ballplayer bringing a gun onto the field and shooting another player. There’s no specific rule against that, but you can be sure that MLB would deal out a stiffer suspension than if a player charged the mound.
    Also, I believe that MLB outlawed performance enhancing drugs in the early 90s. Penalties and enforcement weren’t decided until recently. I’ve heard this many places but can’t find support on the internet. Has anyone come across any? Please post a link if you have. Thanks.

    lp March 13, 2006, 3:24 pm
  • However, they cannot suspend Bonds simply because of “leaked” and yet sealed testimony, or because of criminal and ex girlfriends allegations. I have a folder at home that says lp was doing boat loads of steroids for the past few typing sessions. As long as Bonds doesn’t fail a drug test or get busted shooting drugs or taking drugs…they have no claim to suspend him.
    Is he guilty? Most likely.
    “but it could keep Bonds out of baseball until things could be sorted out legally.”
    What does that mean?
    Would tht include banning Mark McGwire from the Hall?
    Schmidt for using speed?

    walein March 13, 2006, 4:03 pm
  • I think Selig, for better or worse, should take a page from the Bush playbook on enemy combatants and suspend Bonds indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the game. I agree that such a move would never ultimately hold up in court, but it could keep Bonds out of baseball until things could be sorted out legally. By that time, Bonds will be too old to play.
    Bonds’s lawyer would immediately petition the court to be allowed to play while the case works its way through the courts. He would most likely get a very fast “yes” from the judge, probably with a proviso that he undergo regular testing.

    john March 13, 2006, 4:49 pm
  • What I don’t understand is why so many people think baseball needs a criminal conviction to do something. Rose and the Black Sox were not convicted in criminal court, yet were banned. The Black Sox actually were acquitted of the charges brought against them.
    Giamatti banned Rose on the strength of an investigatory report. If Selig appoints an outside investigator that essentially confirms the details of “Shadows,” then he can cite Giamatti as precedent and throw the bum out.
    The fact that Selig is being so namby-pamby about this probably the most frustrating thing about it. Ever since the BALCO investigation started, he’s had the opportunity to launch an investigation or otherwise try to deal with it. He didn’t. Now, while the most publicly tainted player in the game is set to break the sport’s most hallowed record, he won’t even talk about record book changes or otherwise returning the game’s integrity.
    Statistics are baseball’s bible. We can’t erase all the cheaters from the books because we’ll just never know. But why can’t we erase the ones we know about?

    Paul A. March 13, 2006, 6:26 pm
  • lp,
    “should take a page from the Bush playbook”…. Huh?!! Like he knows what he’s doing?!! What’s the name of THAT book, Recipes for Disaster?
    Unbelievable, the Bush playbook. That’s a killer.
    “By that time Bonds will be too old to play”… Oh yeah, that sounds like a surefire strategy. You should write a letter to Bud Selig suggesting that. He’ll probably scratch his head and say,”now why didn’t I think of that?”.
    These analogies of bank robbery and attempted homicide/murder in comparision to some athlete using performance enhancing drugs in athletics just seem a little over dramatized to me, even though they might get your point across in a crude sort of way. In fact, I believe SF referred to the bank robbery one as crass.
    Anyway, if your “Ultimate Point” is that MLB suspend Bonds for bad conduct, keep him twisting in the wind till he’s too old to take a healthy cut, (how old would that be? AARP?), then pay him off and tell him to take a hike, well, your kidding, right?

    whatever March 13, 2006, 10:46 pm

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