My Morning in Exile

Gray day, everything is gray. I watch but nothing moves today:

  • Hank Aaron is wrong. Alternative title: the post which has caused all kinds of people to come out of the woodwork and call me an idiot.
  • Mother of mercy! Is this the end of Rico? Er, Prior?
  • ESPN brings the hammer down on sports people tweeting about sports things. Presumably “need coffee — Mondays suk” tweets are still OK.
  • Hideki Irabu threw 93 MPH once?
  • Prince Fielder goes pro-wrestling on the Dodgers
  • Manny: “Everything is gravy.” If he thinks Prince Fielder was excited last night . . .
  • But it all turns out all right, you see. And I go back to being me.

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    Comments

    1. Bob Tufts said...

      Craig:  How you have the patience to actually read the comments today is beyond me. The IQ’s quickly drop from Santana fastball to Jamie Moyers speed within a few posts.

    2. P said...

      They’re like any other mob—they lose any sense of right and wrong (even if they had it in the first place).

    3. J.W. said...

      Baseball gets kind of slow this time of year (you know, except for the games, themselves) so I’m all for a little controversy and pot-stirring. But the response you got for the Aaron bit is really kind of frightening.

      I’ve long said that fans who refuse accept advanced stats/analysis are entitled to do so and don’t bother me in the least unless their refusal indicates a wider unwillingness to think scientifically and logically and to be reasonable. The responses you’ve gotten show an inability to discern what is fair and right and ethical, an inability to get beyond absurd and hypocritical moralizing and the inability to even show a shred of common sense and decency. Particularly troubling are comments that are tantamount to, “well the players gave up their rights when they took an illegal drug.” The fact that people are incapable of taking this situation and imagining a “real-world” equivalent in which they could be in the position the players are in is just unbelievable. Normally I’m all for calmly considering other people’s positions and dealing with these folks head on and trying to change their minds, or at the least not letting comments go unresponded to, but today I’m just shaking my head.

    4. MooseinOhio said...

      Craig,

      Learned a great new word playing Scrabble with my father several years ago that my wife and I have incorporated in our lexicon:  Nidget (see definition below).  My wife thinks of it as a less harsh word to use (coded as well) and I realized that my retired father has way to much time on his hand and feeds he competitive nature by reading the Scrabble dictionary so he can beat as often as possible. 

      Nidg´et
      n. 1. A fool; an idiot, a coward.

    5. Craig Calcaterra said...

      Crazy, ain’t it?  Thankfully I’m having loads and loads of fun with it.  I mean, yes, it’s scary as all get-out that some people think the way they do, but there is something liberating about telling them how scary they are.

    6. Craig Calcaterra said...

      What’s even crazier is that last week I wrote about this same subject in way harsher terms, and got relatively little reaction from it.

      All of the passion on the part of the nidgets (thanks Moose!) is a result of me disagreeing with Hank Aaron.

    7. J.W. said...

      The Twitter issues of the Chargers and ESPN highlight just how easy the decline into totalitarianism is. Starts off innocently enough, a few preemptive strikes for the greater good of the company here, a couple unnecessarily constricting policies there, and all of a sudden you have no freedom. I guess what I’m saying is, let’s not let anyone start building a clone army, mmmk?

    8. MooseinOhio said...

      What I find interesting is that folks want to release the names of ‘cheaters and criminal’, though I am sure not all of the PEDs were illegal, on the grounds that they did something illegal and therefore gave away all their rights.  However, folks do not seem bothered that people (lawyers, other court officers, media) are violating the law by leaking and/or publishing leaked names.  It seems to me to be awfully selective in how and when laws need to adhered to.

    9. ChrisKoz said...

      Good lordy there are some mouth-breathers over there.

      Now, I’m not saying anyone who disagrees with the point is a clueless dope, but some of those reactions are…well…incredibly dumb.

      My old Torts prof had a phrase he liked to use when he wanted to boil an issue down to it’s base components, “the literate 8-year old”. Things like “but that’s not fair!” “I didn’t meant to hit him” ,etc.

      Unfortunately, many of those posters are channeling the literate 8-year old a little too well and just going with their base, gut reactions.

    10. Loren said...

      “Gray day, everything is gray. I watch but nothing moves today”
      Hey! finally a reference I didn’t have to Google.
      I guess having small kids does have it’s advantages after all.
      I swear I’m batting about .150 on the references, and that doesn’t include the ones that I never even recognized as references.

    11. bigcatasroma said...

      I still don’t understand why someone like Aaron (did he pop greenies like the Say Hey Kid?) has more moral outrage over steroids while arguing that Pete Rose should be reinstated.  I think it’s because the athletes are selfish, ignorant fools that only care about themselves – Aaron is mad someone like Bonds beat his HR record, but because Pete Rose was LOSING games on purpose, that meant other teams won.  I don’t know, I’m fishing for something here – I guess what I’m trying to say is that Aaron cares about his own statistics, not the “pureness” of the game or whatever, and that’s why he’s pro-Rose and anti-steroid . . .

    12. Jack Marshall said...

      “Some names are leaked, so bring on the rest. Why alienate some and not all?”  This comment over at NBC is typical of what far too many people call “logic” and “fairness.” If some people in a group get screwed, the fair thing is to make sure everyone in the group gets screwed. Or the converse: some people get an unfair advantage, so the only fair thing is to give everyone the same unfair advantage. I spend my whole day trying to explain this. People who think like this make a lot of laws and policy in this country—-they may even constitute a majority. Be afraid.

    13. J.W. said...

      It’s my optimistic belief that they don’t represent a majority, just a very vocal minority, and the degree of their compassionless, vitriolic nidgetness (I’m guessing Moose’s dad wouldn’t let me get away with this) creates a confirmation bias situation where it starts to seem like these people comprise the majority of the country/world. At least that’s what I have to believe or else I would feel like there’s no hope for changing folks.

    14. Richard in Dallas said...

      Craig – You know my feelings on the subject of PED’s. They haven’t changed since I last chimed in on one of these discussions. For the record, Henry Aaron is GRRATNESS both because of his accomplishments and his humility. I agree with his sentiment here, but understand the reasons not to do what he would like. The only reason that the release of these names (or the inability to do so) is that Donald Fehr is an a**hole and Bud Selig is a pu**y. The confidentiality of the list should never have been a negotiated restriction! I do, however, have a question for the shyster in you: If laws were, indeed, broken, would not the union be liable for not disclosing known criminal activity to the proper authorities? Isn’t there an obligation to the criminal justice system to disclose such known activity, regardless of any civil contract? That being the case, should the list not be turned over to police, who then could publish it if they wish?

    15. Richard in Dallas said...

      Craig – You know my feelings on the subject of PED’s. They haven’t changed since I last chimed in on one of these discussions. For the record, Henry Aaron is GREATNESS both because of his accomplishments and his humility. I agree with his sentiment here, but understand the reasons not to do what he would like. The only reason that the release of these names (or the inability to do so) is that Donald Fehr is an a**hole and Bud Selig is a pu**y. The confidentiality of the list should never have been a negotiated restriction! I do, however, have a question for the shyster in you: If laws were, indeed, broken, would not the union be liable for not disclosing known criminal activity to the proper authorities? Isn’t there an obligation to the criminal justice system to disclose such known activity, regardless of any civil contract? That being the case, should the list not be turned over to police, who then could publish it if they wish?

    16. Craig Calcaterra said...

      Richard:  there is no obligation to report a crime except in certain limited cricumstances. If there was in the case of steroids tests in baseball, every employer in the country who conducts employee drug testing would be obligated to turn in its employees who test positive.

      The list actually exists as it currently does because federal agents seized the tests and the information from which the list could be complied (i.e. identifying information combined with test results).

    17. Jack Marshall said...

      THAT’s a good way for unions to behave: convince your members to take a drug test under assurances of confidentiality, then report the violators to the police! No employer is under an obligation to blow the whistle on an employee for drug abuse as the result of a voluntary (or mandatory) drug test, and a union that did so might as well just pack it in. The fact that you could even ask this question goes a long way toward explaining why you agree with Aaron. Wow.

    18. Richard in Dallas said...

      OK, so the clubs are under no OBLIGATION to turn over the list, but since laws were or may have been broken, are they not exempted from maintaining anonymity in the case that they turn the list over to law enforcement?  And if the contract stipulates that the list NOT be made available to law enforcement, doesn’t that constitute conspiracy?

    19. Richard in Dallas said...

      @Jack – I agree with Aaron in principle, and the reason is (contrary to whatever you may believe) that I want to be sure that such a culture never again rears its ugly head in the game that I love so much, PLUS, I want to be sure that the only pressure my son ever feels regarding PED’s in his baseball career is to NOT do them…

    20. Craig Calcaterra said...

      No, Richard, they’re not. For one thing, not all PED-positive tests represent illegality. There are banned substances that aren’t illegal. More commonly, there are players who took drugs legally in the Dominican Republic or somewhere and then came here and tested positive.  So the assumption that there was illegality here is a false one.

      More generally, under your construction, any drug counselor would be obligated to report his patients to the police.

      More generally than that, the police really, really don’t care about past drug use. They investigate possession, distribution, etc., but if you go to a police station and tell them that your neighbor smoked pot last week, they’re not exactly going to get off their butts and start building a case against him.

    21. Jack Marshall said...

      Richard: I agree with Aaron “in principle” if that means I think it would be nice if we could have the whole list without breaking the law or promises to the players who took the tests in good faith under assurances of anonimity. Since what Aaron proposes violates principles of fairness, loyalty, contract and law and would be both impossible and wrong, though, it’s like agreeing “in principle” that we should all live forever with gorgeous, submissive, happy concubines.

      I share your revulsion at the drug culture and I share your objectives. But I don’t see what the list has to do with any of that. It’s not complete, it’s for only one year, and it doesn’t include players who used illicit substances that weren’t tested for. Whatever it proves, it’s far from enough.

    22. Mo said...

      Why aren’t you talking about Irabu more…lol?  Anyway, I think he actually threw higher than 93.  Let’s not forget, he was the two-time pitcher of the month in the AL…which isn’t much to hang your hat on but it does indicate there were brief stretches where he was an effective pitcher.

    23. Jack Marshall said...

      Richard: that’s disingenuous. The use of the term “witch hunt”  always includes the implication that those being hunter are victims and those doing the hunting are fanatics. The creator of the false use of witch hunt, playwright Arthur Miller, was always sympathetic with the Communists in the creative community, and was willing to give a pass to the Communists in the government to paint HUAC and McCarthy targets as heroes and good guys—-and they weren’t all heroes and good guys—-so there was a clear black and white dichotomy. You continue this deceit with your supposed equivalencies:  Abigail Hobbs FALSELY accused people of being witches. Elia Kazan did not falsely accuse anyone—-he acknowledged that individuals already on record as being in the Communist Party were. Abigail Hobbs is a villain. Grimsley and Kazan were men placed in ethical dilemmas. I don’t care that “witch hunt” is commonly used—-it’s commonly used deceptively or ignorantly, and you aren’t ignorant. Because people think of witch hunts as hysteria over non-existent crimes that victimize innocent people, when you apply the term to something like baseball’ steroid problems, it is misleading.

      Unless your deep understanding of the Salem trials includes inside knowledge that people were really being turned into newts, it’s a careless and in some cases, intentionally muddling analogy.

      The Bakersfield child molestation case in the Eighties is one example of “witch hunt” being used correctly.

    24. Richard Dansky said...

      Jack:

      In your rush to a perhaps overly literal definition of “witch hunt”, you’re missing the larger part of my point, namely, the approach of the “hunters” and the response of the community to those who made tactically wise confessions.

      And the last time I checked, Jason Grimsley Grimsley is one of those who “…used steroids in contravention of the rules, sportsmanship and U.S. law richly deserve to be discovered, shamed and punished.” Sounds pretty villainous to me.

    25. Jack Marshall said...

      Uh-uh-uh! Can’t pull that one, Richard…you cited Grimsley because he pointed to other users, and I was referring to him only in that context—-as you well know. Kazan was also one hell of a great director, but that isn’t at issue either.

    26. Richard in Dallas said...

      @ Richard – This is NOT a witch hunt!  A witch hunt, simply put, tries to punish people who either didn’t do a crime, or DID do something that some zealots percieve as doing some harm to someone or something.  The fact is, the players that used PED’s DID do harm on many different levels: 1) the integrity of the game and its records 2) the other players who either didn’t do it and lost income because they ended up further down the scale than they would have been, or did do them and therefore did harm to themselves 3)  the fans who were cheated out of a true test of the teams’ abilities 4) the owners (yes, the owners), who were not getting what they thought they were paying for.  If there is actual harm being done, then what is being sought is PROSECUTION, not persecution…

    27. Richard Dansky said...

      And riposte: If Grimsley hadn’t been using, then he never would have been in the ethical dilemma you describe grin

      Besides, if we really want to go literal on this one, several of the girls involved in the initial hysteria did in fact learn palmistry and fortune telling from someone who claimed to know necromancy and other forms and magic. In their own minds and in their current perception, they were certainly as guilty of “witchcraft” as Jose Canseco is of better living through chemistry.

      Of course, those were the girls who then turned around and started accusing everyone else.

      But to hopefully wrap this up, I don’t think you’re addressing the core parallel that caused me to make the comment in the first place. Those who make public contrition are largely unscathed (the nine “witches”, including Tituba, the Brian McNamee of Salem, who turned colony’s evidence were not hanged, and in at least one case got restitution), those who do not avail themselves of this option get, in the words of Giles Corey, “more weight”.

    28. RichardInDallas said...

      @ Jack – The list is a means to humiliate the cheaters, and convert them into pariahs that may never see the HOF unless they buy a ticket.  It’s not so much that I want to inflict unpleasantness on the offenders, but to instill the fear of unpleasantness into anyone that even THINKS about using in the future.  The embarassment, the loss of fan support, and the potential loss of future income would, I think, be enough of a deterrant to keep the guys on the straight and narrow…

    29. Jack Marshall said...

      RiD: 1) I don’t think the list is a fair or effective way of doing that. The players who took tainted supplements in 2003, the experimenters and the full-scale, all in, long term juicers are not the same, and don’t deserve the same fate. 2) What’s special about 2003? If we’re going to accept the “why just the leaked names?” logic, how is it fair to make the 2003 list the official black list (along with the Mitchell Report), when we know it doesn’t cover before or after, or even during? 3) The Hall of Fame is a pretty strange mode of punishment, since the vast majority of players won’t get in anyway.I’m sure Barry and Roger and many others will say, “I’ll take the glory, the money and the stats, thanks: getting left out of the club is a pretty cheap price to pay.”
      The only thing releasing the list would deter is trusting the Players Union. I guess that’s something…

    30. Richard Dansky said...

      RiD: Ryan Franklin doesn’t seem to be suffering. Neither does Guillermo Mota. Or Andy Pettite. Or Manny. Or Big Papi. The only ones who are really getting killed are the few high-profile deniers.

      This is, in a very real sense, a witch hunt. Those who confess to the sin are forgiven – and the sanctimonious crowd can feel good about doing so – and those who deny simply have more weight heaped upon them. As noted above, there were a whole lot of ways to get on that list in 2003, many of them neither illegal nor immoral. But because the list exists, it can be used as a bludgeon to score cheap points, to force acts of contrition, and to drive the conversation in ways beneficial to certain parties.

      The easy solution would be to release the list, take the hit once, and move on. Except, of course, that to do so would be illegal, that it would probably open the door to a never-ending stream of lawsuits, and it would simply tell the leakers that their tactic worked – leading to more lists, more leaks, and a never-ending cycle.

      If there are those on the list who want to come forward, they should be given the opportunity to do so. That gamble worked for the Giambino and it worked for Pettite. Odds are that most of the names on the list are folks that the average fan – or even the average reader of this blog – doesn’t give a rat’s ass about anyway. But to release the entire list would be to contravene the rule of law, and to hand another weapon to whoever’s doing the leaking. Both of these are, I think, unconscionable.

    31. Jack Marshall said...

      Richard: PLEASE stop using “witch hunt” this way.

      There were no witches. It was a hunt for a non-existent sin, and hence 100% cruel and unjust. There were and are PED abusers. Those who used steroids in contravention of the rules, sportsmanship and U.S. law richly deserve to be discovered, shamed and punished. Maybe it’s difficult or impossible to do it, but finding out who cheated (or who didn’t) is a legitimate objective, and while I feel sorry for those who burned in Salem (actually they were mostly hung, but bear with me here…)I have zero sympathy for A-Rod, Sammy and Ortiz as they get flamed by disillusioned fans and indignant sportswriters. They were real, live cheaters.

      The existence of witches was a fantasy.

      The analogy with the requirement of confession for absolution in the witch trials is somewhat better, except that 1) the confessions to witchcraft were false 2) they were obtained under torture and 3) those who confessed were killed anyway.

      I take it back: it’s a lousy metaphor, period.

    32. Richard Dansky said...

      Jack:
      I’m not going to go into the details of Mather-era justice – for whatever it’s worth, you got a few of your facts wrong – because it would be a long and boring digression, and not actually germane to the point. The term “witch hunt” has long since acquired a non-Salem-specific meaning, so I think you are perhaps being overly literal in your objections here. Functionally, Elia Kazan is equivalent to Abigail Hobbs, who is functionally equivalent to Jason Grimsley. Name on a list, pressure to name other names, doing so to cover one’s own tucchis.

    33. Anne said...

      Is it OK to bring the topical discussion over here?

      I believe that we will never have a definitive list of who used and who did not unless all players are interrogated using mega doses of truth serum. (How does truth serum interact with PEDS?).

      I have zero respect for Selig or Fehr and the mess they’ve created.

      I don’t think that taking PEDs is in the same league as doctoring a baseball, corking a bat or stealing signs. The former is armed robbery, the latter rolling through a stop sign. If things are done on the field, you can get caught on the field; the victims are also on the field and have the opportunity to exact revenge. Shooting up or otherwise ingesting illegal and/or prohibited drugs makes victims of your own team mates, the fans, every other player in the game, the historical record, the HOF players and voters, everyone remotely connected to the game; those victims have no means of revenge / no way to seek justice because they don’t know who the offenders are. Small wonder they vent at blog writers and call for all the names to be released already. 

      I feel sorry for the clean players, especially the minor leaguers who never had that sip of coffee.

      I hate thinking almost every player is a user, but I do even now with so many holes in the testing program.

      I hate this death by a thousand cuts and have sympathy for the Release the List movement.

      I understand the legal side and I very much believe in the rule of law that makes our country great.

      So my question is this: is there a way to release the names legally? If there is, do you think it would help? If there isn’t or you think it wouldn’t help, what would? How does baseball regain its cred?

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