In the wake of A-Rod's public stoning, Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus--and not the dude I went to high school with (a clarification / running joke specificially directed to Paul)--wrote a fantastic commentary today called "Stupid Media Tricks."
Because I believe the article is only available to subscribers--which, if you aren't already, you really should pay the $4/month to subscribe since it's well worth it--I wanted to copy and paste a few snippets because the article has some fantastic observations.
For instance, there's this great bit of sarcasm:
On the baseball media:
This is a big story, in the sense that it involves a famous person, a bad act, and America's true favorite pastime of tearing down people of achievement. It allows the media to rend their garments over baseball's lack of purity on the issue of PEDs, substances which only began to affect the sport in the mid-1990s, which made a mockery of the record book all by themselves, and the rampant use of which makes baseball unique in American sports.
Some people continue to be surprised that highly competitive young men fighting for fame, honor, and a cut of $6 billion would do everything they could to beat the guy next to them, which is a pretty good way to make the Olympic team in Naive.
Take your pick: they missed the story, or they were too chicken-shit to report it. In either case, the piling-on now is disgusting. [...] I propose that for as long as a clearly qualified Hall of Famer remains on the ballot solely because of steroid allegations—or for that matter, proven use—there should be no J.G. Taylor Spink Award given out to writers. If we're going to allow failures during the "Steroid Era" to affect eligibility for honors, let's make sure we catch everyone who acted shamefully.On the testing process:
The players agreed to be tested in 2003 on the condition that the testing be anonymous and no individual results would be tabulated. [...] For reasons that the MLBPA and the testers have yet to explain, the samples were labeled in a manner that allowed the results to be traced to individuals.In summary:
In 2002, the players agreed to anonymous testing in an effort to eradicate a problem, part of a process that created the first CBA arrived at without a work stoppage in decades. This should have been an absolute good. Instead, because of a failure of the MLBPA to tend to details, an out-of-control investigation and prosecution led by an IRS agent, and the government's inability to protect the sanctity of information, 104 players will have their promised anonymity taken away with nothing given in return.If you can read the entire thing, please do. It's ex-cell-ent.
Even cheaters have rights to see their agreements honored, and these 104 men have been violated by their representatives and their government, complicit with a media that repeatedly asks the easy questions and takes on the soft targets while avoiding the real work of uncovering not just names, but truth. The story is bigger than Alex Rodriguez. It's more interesting than Alex Rodriguez. It has more depth and more nuance than the failure of one man to play by the rules.
Tell that story, in a measured voice that embraces complexity, and I'll listen. Until then, it's all just screaming.