My Morning in Exile

Things I wrote while struggling to come up with any ballplayer who, if implicated as a PED user, would truly surprise me. Maddux, maybe. Bob Horner. Lolich.

  • Sammy Sosa: the leaking is way worse than the ‘roiding.
  • A roundup of Sosa opinion in the greater blogosphere.
  • Rizzo says that Manny Acta is the Nats’ “current” manager. If you think that’s a vote of confidence, call the woman you love your “current” wife or “current” girlfriend and see how that works out for you.
  • Johan Santana’s knee is just fine, thank you.
  • Finally, baseball is held to a higher PED standard than football, and I’m not sure I have a problem with that.
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    Comments

    1. bigcatasroma said...

      Craig, one thing that has been bothering me today.  Driving yesterday here in Philadelphia, and listening to a yahoo like Howard Eskin lambaste Sosa for PEDs and what have you, made me realize – is there outrage for the THIRTY DAY sentence of Donte Stallworth???? 

      Look, I, like you, am NOT a fan of the great American fallacy that is football, so God knows I hate talking about it.  But, seriously, THIRTY DAYS???  For DRIVING DRUNK AND KILLING SOMEONE’S MOM????  And the rest of the moralists in the MSM, Eskin to Lupica to whomever, go on phony rants about steroids??? 

      I’m sorry, it’s just that, after a few years of law school, and clerking and what-have-you, I find it more than disgusting that our country’s brand of justice in the form of pleas and mandatories *could* allow for harsher punishments for someone possessing controlled substances than those that KILL OTHER HUMAN BEINGS.  It began in the ‘70s with that idiotic Scheduling, and it allows for minimal retribution, deterrence and punishment when, in the eyes of many Americans, Sosa is the bigger criminal than Stallworth.  Just watch ESPN – yes, they talk about both stories, but in my opinion, there is almost more venom against Sosa for “lying” (and, as you wrote earlier, he didn’t even do that) about some PED to hit a baseball farther, than for someone who used his car as a weapon. 

      Sorry, had to get that off my chest . . .

    2. michael standish said...

      Re Leaking Worse Than ‘Roids:

      The uncharitable among us might ask something like this:

      Would you buy a used car from Bud Selig?

    3. Owen said...

      I love how each name is released one by one, so, those who choose to can get individually outraged by each “revelation.” I know it’s hard to be totally consistent on where you place your anger, but is this 1) a surprise? 2) in light of the last few years, a big deal? or 3) a bigger deal than, well, anything else that made the news today?

    4. Eddo said...

      Craig,

      What was the point of quoting that ridiculous post implying that Sosa’s leak was somehow a result of Obama’s White Sox fandom?  I read the full article/post, and it didn’t seem to be satire.

    5. Craig Calcaterra said...

      Eddo—When I do a “what they’re saying about” post over there it’s merely to show the disparate sorts of reactions people have to a breaking news story.

      That said, you didn’t take that as satire?  It’s a Cubs fan (from what I gather) basically writing that there’s a vast White Sox conspiracy, headed by the President of the United States.  I thought that was hilarious, and by no means took it seriously on its face.

    6. Eddo said...

      Craig,

      I skimmed over the update section, where the author says he’s just kidding Sox fans and Obama, so there’s that.  However, the tone still led me to believe that there was some truth to what the author was saying, at least in his eyes.

      Or perhaps my satire-detector is off this morning raspberry

    7. Jack Marshall said...

      Ok, Craig, riddle me this: if the leaking is really worse than the steroiding (I’m not sure I agree, but it’s bad enough), then how can those “responsible journalists,” who make sure the leaked info is published and thus does the maximum harm, be blameless and admirable professionals? How can an act be wrong but the individuals who must aid, abet and complete the act for it to have any effect be seen not only as doing their jobs, but as providing a public service? The leakers could do no damage at all…in fact, they couldn’t leak!…if reporters said, “Nope, can’t print that: you aren’t supposed to reveal it, it’s confidential, and the public has no right to see sealed documents and confidential medical tests.” If you, Craig, were offered the list by an unethical, law-breaking lawyer-leaker, would you report him to the bar and the court (as the professional rules (RPC 8.3)require, or would you say, “Wow! What a great scoop for Shsterball!” I presume you’d report him, as would I. So is the publishing of the leak also worse than the steroiding?

    8. Craig Calcaterra said...

      You’re everywhere today, Jack!  You’re like Rodman in his prime! wink

      I’d answer your question by saying that the reporters are not party to any court order sealing this information.  The names of the steroid users are not part of some Official Secrets Act rendering the information, in and of itself, illegal to know.  As is the case with grand jury testimony, the relevant orders apply to those who are privileged to know the information.  Once they leak it, its out there.

      This would be different if the reporter independently broke a law to obtain the information, but that’s not been alleged here.  Here we have lawyers leaking information they are ordered to keep confidential. That’s not the reporter’s problem, nor should it be.

      And to answer your question, I personally would take the position that I could not run that sort of leaked information, but that’s because I myself am a lawyer.  Sure, it may be possible to argue successfully that I, not being subject to the order myself, could get away with writing about it, but I think the Rules of Professional Responsibility (and my own feeling towards my responsibility to the judicil process) require me to do a bit more as an officer of the court than a reporter or non-lawyer blogger is expected to do.

    9. Jack Marshall said...

      I do feel like I’m harassing you today, but you are being especially provocative…
      But Craig, doesn’t your lawyeresque answer duck the question? I know it’s not illegal to publish information like this, but it can’t be right, either. Essentially, this is information/confidence laundering, isn’t it? Again: how can the journalist that activates the harm in the leak be blameless if the leaker is, as you say, “worse than” the steroid-user?

      On the reporting question, I do think your law license triggers a higher standard, but I am absolutely sure that if you went ahead and published the leak, no bar association alive would open the can of worms required to seek discipline.

    10. Craig Calcaterra said...

      If I wasn’t being provocative I wouldn’t be doing my job . . .

      See, I don’t think the reporter “activates” or “implicates” or “abets” or whatevers the wrong here.  The reporter is a surrogate for the public at large. No matter what J-school students think, reporters have no special rights that a citizen doesn’t have, but they likewise have no special responsibility.  Sure, a reporter disseminates the information in a particularly effective way, but a reporter is just the public, and once sealed information is leaked to the public, it’s out there.

      And course, to the extent there is a criminal investigation into the leak itself a la the BALCO grand jury thing, the reporters are obligated, I think, to divulge their sources if compelled to do so.

    11. Jack Marshall said...

      But we know that’s not true. The journalist applies filters all the time. I don’t think the New York Times has to publish troop movements…it exercises discretion. Your construct only works if the journalist is acting like a public bulletin board, but he’s not. In my book, the SF Chronicle reporters should have returned the Grand Jury proceedings to the Court. We had no “right” to see them, and I feel the same way about the release of A-Rod’s and Sammy’s test results.

      The press as a surrogate for the public at large is a great off-topic debate that I’d love to have some day…but not here.

    12. Craig Calcaterra said...

      But there’s a difference between troop movements and drug test results. The former, presumably, is a matter of national security and the information itself is deemed secret or top secret or some other designation.  I am not, as a matter of legal course, allowed to know where General Sherman is marching his troops (or what the spy sattelite is looking at or the launch codes to the Minuteman Missles).  This information is not not published because of discretion, it’s not published because it’s subject to legal protection.

      The drug test information is only confidential because a court deemed that persons privy to the information may not disclose it.  That’s serious business as far as the persons subject to that court order, but it has no application to those who are not.

      Personally, I’d rather not know the PED test results because I feel that the fact that these things are public is harmful to Sosa and A-Rod and others and it confounds the expectations they had when they took the tests. But I’m not prepared to say that it’s information that we have no right to see, as you put it.  To characterize it as such puts the onus on the citizen to close his eyes, not the government to honor its privacy obligations, and I think that’s the sort of thing that leads to perverse and potentially scary incentives.

      I think that, in this case and others like it, the government can and should honor its privacy obligations. Once they fail to do so, however, it’s not our job to save them from the consequences of it.

    13. michael standish said...

      Re your 3:03 PM post, I do think that “confounds the expectations they [the 100+ players who were assured of confidentiality]had” is an overly generous description of what I’d call “rank betrayal,” hence my remark above about used cars (which I’d like to revise: it should now read “Quien es muy macho? Bud Selig or Richard Nixon?”).

    14. Tom said...

      Hate to sound jaded, but I no longer care if Sosa, Big Mac, Palmiero, A-Rod, Bonds , etc, did PED’s or whether or not they are HoF worthy. Fergie Jenkins—convicted of trafficking, HoF
      Willie McCovey—convicted tax evasion or fraud, HoF, same with Duke Snider. If there is reason to pursue an investigation, turn it over to a Grand Jury and law enforcement, opinions and hearsay are, in my opinion, piss pore efforts to boost ratings or reporter stature. We the fans are guitly as well, we just want the excitement and the great numbers, be honest, we all suspected the above, but we paid for the performance. Rose is a slimeball, but the 4256 were clean. Vote them in, put “1st in steroid era to break Maris’ 61 recors” on the plaque. Now let’s move on and enjoy the great seasons we are seeing from Halladay, Greinke, Mauer, the Dodgers(gag) and grieve the continued downfall of my Braves.

    15. Jack Marshall said...

      Yeah, Tom, you do sound jaded, and also less than discriminating. There’s a big difference between what a player does off the field, unrelated to baseball, and the rules he breaks that affect the game itself, its stats, reputations, and who gets roster spots. And the Hall of Fame standard is separate from either. If you really don’t see the critical distinctions between cheating on taxes and cheating to set home run records, then this is probably a controversy you should sit out.

    16. Jack Marshall said...

      Blackadder: Every profession defines what “character” means in the context of its specific needs and culture. For example, although all states require lawyers to be “of good moral character,” they generally limit what would be bad moral character to breaking the law, cheating in school, getting kicked out of the army and not paying debts—-because of what lawyers do and what they have to be trusted to do. (There is a porn star and part-time Nev. prostitute currently in law school, and she will be admitted to any bar she chooses.) The character clause in the Hall requirements should similarly apply to character as demonstrated on the field and as a representative of the game during one’s playing career. Thus Rob Dibble’s argument that Ron Santos personal courage dealing with illness should put him over the line for the Hall is just plain wrong, and Ty Cobb’s nasty personality, Babe Ruth’s excesses, Orlando Cepeda’s post-career drug problems, Steve Garvey’s dalliances and Willy McCovey’s tax issues are NOT relevant, and shouldn’t be. Cheating and law-breaking related to baseball (Shoeless Joe, Hal Chase, Rose—-though how to treat post-playing baseball-related transgressions is a close call for me—-Barry Bonds, Gaylord Perry, Sosa) are. Otherwise, writers feel that Jim Rice’s and Steve Carlton’s surliness are evidence of “bad character,” and Ted Williams’ service record and Jimmy Fund activities get considered as part of his Hall of Fame vote.

    17. Jack Marshall said...

      Congrats, Kurt, that’s one of my three least favorite rationalizations for cheating. Yet somehow, when it turns out that a high-priced professor, executive or judge has fabricated credentials, honors or jobs on the CV (e.g. “cheated”), he or she gets canned in disgrace, and nobody says, “But look: they were still really smart, accomplished and talented!” And when a Nobel prize candidate admits he fabricated his research results, nobody says, “Well, but he’s obviously brilliant anyway: do you doubt that he could have done the study without fabricating results?” What is it about the concept of having consequences for cheating that is so difficult to grasp? You don’t find ways to extract the results of cheating, so there’s a “good” record after the dishonest stuff is removed. If you could do that, then there would never be any downside to cheating…either you get away with it, or you get credit for what you would have done without the cheating anyway. Such a deal!

    18. Blackadder said...

      Hall of Fame guidelines dictate “Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.”  The “soft” factors are integrity, sportsmanship, and character.  Off-field issues can certainly bear on one’s judgment of a player’s character and integrity, and sometimes his sportsmanship as well.  So someone taking the “character clause” seriously should certainly consider off-field actions.  Now, historically, voters have—in my opinion, to their credit—ignored the character clause.  But if they have decided to take it seriously now, as it appears they are, then they should consider all evidence that bears on a player’s character.

    19. kurt a ehrsam said...

      If Sammy wants to clear his name, he’s free to bring a defamation suit against the reporters who broke the story. As Craig says, there’s no reason for the reporters to respect the gag order, as they’re not parties to it.

      Sosa hit over 600 home runs in the major leagues. Suppose ‘roids added 50 of those. Does anyone seriously think that he isn’t a Hall of Fame talent because of that?

    20. Gerry said...

      “call the woman you love your “current” wife or “current” girlfriend and see how that works out for you.”

      I often call my wife my “ex-fiance” or “former girlfriend” and she doesn’t seem to mind.

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