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Thursday, February 19, 2009
Rick Reilly is a hackRick Reilly has written one of the most spectacularly horrible columns in his long history of writing spectacularly horrible columns. This time he purports to "re-award" MVP trophies to guys who he believes weren't taking PEDs:
Step up here, Mike Piazza. The late Ken Caminiti of the San Diego Padres stole your 1996 NL MVP, then admitted he was into more juice than Jack LaLanne. Yes, it's 13 years late, but the nameplate is new! And here's yours from 2001, Luis Gonzalez, after you finished behind The Barry Bonds Pharmacy. We won't even mention the home run title you would've won that year.
As Cameron Martin notes over at Bugs & Cranks, how in the hell does Reilly know that Piazza, Gonzalez, Alou, and Pujols weren't on PEDs? What evidence does he have that Sosa and Beltre were? It strikes me that if you want to play the "everyone was 'roiding" game, fine, go ahead and play it because at least there's a cynical consistency to it. But to say, based on nothing other than cuts of jibs, that player X was taking PEDs and player Y was not, is hackery at its most basic.
If the Mitchell Report and the A-Rod affair have shown anything, they've shown that fans' and reporters' steroid parlor games are pointless, because for every obvious case like Barry Bonds, there are several more guys who were juicing that you never would have suspected. In light of that, if Rick Reilly has actual evidence implicating Sosa and Beltre or absolving Piazza, Gonzalez, Alou, and Pujols, he should report it. If he only has reasoned suspicions, he should at the very least investigate them and then report them once he has something concrete. If he's too lazy to do anything other than sling this kind of ill-considered and unserious garbage at his editor every couple of weeks and then cash his outsized paychecks, he should get the hell out of the business, because he's disgracing both it and himself by doing so.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 9:11am
It is HILARIOUS that he chose Luis Gonzalez as a re-MVP considering that (no joke) Gonzalez WAS THE FIRST PERSON WHO REALLY TIPPED ME OFF TO STEROIDS. He looked like a caricature of himself in 2001.
This dude was an average outfielder at best and then suddenly in 2001 he was a power machine? In 1999 and 2000, he OPS’d over .900 for the first two times in his career at ages 32 and 33. Then at 34, he OPS’d 1.117 and hit 26 more homeruns than he had previously.
And this, to Reilly, says, “Totally clean!”
Posted 02/19 at 10:27 AM
Matt M said...
Hear! Hear! Count me in the group that just figures everyone was/is on PEDs and really doesn’t care.
My theory is largely based on Jose Canseco. Every time someone else is “outed” as a user, Canseco grabs the nearest mike and claims vindication. Then there’s the general “the guy’s a jerk but he was telling the truth” reaction. Personally, I think he doesn’t have a clue who was clean and who wasn’t, but the population of users is so large that he can basically name anyone and have good odds of being right.
Posted 02/19 at 10:31 AM
I wrote a LONG email (hoping to tie up the hack’s email address) with what Cameron Martin said.
What happens, when morons like Reilly, find out Piazza or Gonzalez did steroids? Are we going to start shouting to give the 7th place finisher the MVP? How does he know that Piazza or Gonzalez didn’t do steroids? Is he gonna rail against them when he finds out that they did??
An article like that makes me SO freaking mad. And I hate the explanation, “that’s his job - to get a response.” No. Rick Reilly is irresponsible, knows nothing, and I can’t believe he writes for the World Wide Leader of Muck when I’m stuck here in Con Law II, listening to Scalia’s opinion declaring statutes banning racially based “fighting words” unconstitutional . . .
Posted 02/19 at 10:33 AM
Like The Onion said, just give them all to Craig Counsell.
I never read Reilly, but the headline for this one made me roll my eyes in a more exaggerated fashion than usual (well, I didn’t actually roll them because I was alone and what’s the point, right?).
Posted 02/19 at 10:52 AM
Rich I. said...
Forgive me if I’m wrong, but has Sammy Sosa ever been connected to steroids? Sure, he corked his bat, but I don’t recall ever seeing him accused of juicing.
Also, as others have said before, the idea that Luis Gonzalez was clean is laughable. If I had to pick one player whom I think did steroids even though there is no concrete evidence of his usage, it would be Gonzo.
Posted 02/19 at 11:02 AM
When Reilly turned his letter of resignation into SI to head over to ESPNtheMag do you think the SI folks were upset or thrilled? I suspect that there may have been a little party going on after the left the building.
Posted 02/19 at 11:08 AM
Well, Sosa did forget how to speak English in front of Congress that one time when he was asked about it. I also think Reilly himself, in his SI days, also asked him to pee in a cup, and he refused. I’m sure if that man asked me to pee in a cup, I’d say no as well, but Reilly took it as an admission of guilt.
I say lets do one better, lets go all the way back through history, figure out who WOULD have taken steroids, if they had the opportunity, and take away their awards too. That would be a fun game. Teddy Ballgame, always looking for an edge. Babe Ruth, didn’t care a lick about his body. Ty Cobb, he probably was anyway, he was so despicable. They are posthumously banished from our memories.
Posted 02/19 at 11:10 AM
The Common Man said...
Guys, what you don’t understand is that Rick Reilly KNOWS who took steroids and who didn’t. Rick Reilly is everywhere. He sees all and knows all. He is an omnipresent and omnipotent being who chooses not to meddle directly in the affairs of mere humans. You see what I’m saying. Rick Reilly is God. Who else would have such a perfect knowledge of the order of the world, without any apparent evidence to support his claims? So stop complaining and follow the example of your God, the sportswriter. To the gallows with them all (except for Luis Gonzalez, Albert Pujols, and Mike Piazza, ‘cuz they’re righteous dudes)!
By the by, I hope Mike Greenwell enjoys his 1988 award.
Posted 02/19 at 11:10 AM
If RR can be irresponsible, why can’t we???
LUIS GONZALEZ TOOK STEROIDS!!! I KNOW HE DID!!! 57 HOMERUNS MY A**!!
Pass it along
Posted 02/19 at 11:14 AM
Derek Scott said...
Reilly’s a natural at figuring out who’s ‘roiding up:
Posted 02/19 at 11:15 AM
Of course Reilly has evidence that Sosa was juicing. Sosa refused to show Reilly his peni—err, submit to a Reilly-administered (!) steroids test about five years or so ago. That’s proof! If Rick Reilly invades your personal space and out of the blue demands that you do something incredibly personally invasive for the benefit of his career, you sure as heck better do it—that is, if you don’t want to be convicted in the court of Judge Reilly and spend the rest of your career paying for it.
Seriously, though, I refuse to even read his articles on TWWL. I don’t want to bump his traffic numbers, and I’m more than convinced that I’m not missing anything at this point.
But do you remember when he was a really, really good writer? Ah, memories….
Posted 02/19 at 11:16 AM
Thanks for sharing that link. Pretty interesting read. I guess that’s about as hard-hitting and negative of a piece that Rick Reilly could ever write, huh? There’s a little skepticism in there, and some “clever” juxtapositions, but he did seem to be trying his best to not actually say anything negative. It certainly wasn’t scathing, though.
Posted 02/19 at 11:50 AM
Dan Whitney said...
Isn’t there all kinds of insinuations about Piazza’s steroid use? I mean, 62nd (I think) round draft pick, only as a favor to Lasorda, goes on to become the top offensive catcher of recent memory? Lasts late into his career, avoids typical aging-catcher injuries, and continues to mash 500 foot homeruns? How can he be awarded Caminiti’s MVP when they were likely on the same sauce?
Eff Rick Reilly.
Posted 02/19 at 11:55 AM
Rick Reilly has been mailing it in and living off his reputation for years. The guy doesn’t even write complete sentences anymore. There was a time when he was a good writer, but everything he does now is half-assed and flippant. All he does now are fluff pieces and nothing to take seriously.
Posted 02/19 at 11:58 AM
When I read this garbage, I was horrified that someone in the mainstream media could legitimately write such bunk. Then I thought maybe I was missing the point. Maybe Reilly was making a joke that we can’t believe anyone is clean, that he is making a mockery of the people calling to erase records and return awards. But no, its just irresponsible pseudo-journalism.
I’m suspicious that many writers actually know a bunch of the players that were using, but since they didn’t report it at the time and don’t have proof, they have to be quiet about that now. If PEDs were really that prevalent, and beat writers are in the clubhouse EVERY day for 6-8 months, it seems preposterous that they didn’t observe anything. As a result of keeping those stories quiet they have compensated with their over the top outrage to people like Rodriguez, Bonds, and Clemens.
Posted 02/19 at 12:11 PM
APBA Guy said...
Christine Brennan at USA Today wrote a much better article about PED’s in baseball than anything the never read Rick Reilly could conceive.
Basically she said that until baseball (union, players, owners, commissioner) admits that their testing program is all spin, and they get an independently adnministered, year round testing system, there will be this drip, drip, drip of revelations.
Speaking of Luis Gonzalez, how about Brady Anderson?
And really, does anybody read Reilly? I put ESPN the Mag straight in the recycle bin. I’ve tried to get rid of it but it’s impossible. Worldwide leader my a**. Can’t even maintain a mailing database.
Posted 02/19 at 12:44 PM
If PEDs were really that prevalent, and beat writers are in the clubhouse EVERY day for 6-8 months, it seems preposterous that they didn’t observe anything.
These guys are in the clubhouse every day (a key distinction that separates them from the lowly bloggers), yet every single one of them missed the biggest story of the last 15 years. There seem to be three possibilities:
a. They’re not doing their jobs.
I vote for (c). I’m sure that (a) and (b) apply to a large segment, but surely someone would’ve broken this.
Posted 02/19 at 12:56 PM
Worldwide leader my a**. Can’t even maintain a mailing database.
It’s funny—I’ve moved twice in the past year and a half, and have updated my mailing address with ESPN.com each time, yet it continues to come at my old, old address (my old roommate still lives there). Strangely, I don’t miss it.
I have to admit, though—they have some good baseball blog content. Of course there’s KLaw and Neyer, but Olney (if you can get past the harping on stuff like the evilness of Manny and Boras) and Gammons have some pretty interesting stuff to say, too.
Posted 02/19 at 01:03 PM
Pete: I think you should have added - d) too fearful of writing what they observe because keeping the job was more important than investigating a story.
Granted it must have been difficult for some not to dig deeper and try to undercover a story but I suspect that for most the idea of ruffling the feathers by being the first to push the issue was too great. Generally the first folks to blow the whistle get to deal with all the negative fallout, which in this case would more than likely have ended their careers as a baseball beat writer and I doubt many wanted to lose that gig.
Not sure I want to call them coward but realists who struggled with the fear that doing what may have been the right things was too costly to bear. Of course many of them can now be called hypocrites as they are ripping players for not coming forward and reaping the negative consequence for exposing the inner working of the clubhouse. The MLBPA does not forgive those who break ranks - just ask Kevin Millar and a few others who to this day are still tarnished as being strike breakers and will not be covered by PA.
Posted 02/19 at 01:09 PM
love it - you are dead on accurate!
Posted 02/19 at 02:07 PM