The Geoff Baker Rigidity Awards

As I wrote this morning, the Jerod Morris/Raul Ibanez incident has made me realize that yes, taking writers to task for making irresponsible, evidence-free steroid allegations is a worthy endeavor. We simply can’t tolerate it, and we should do everything we can to put a stop to it. That’s why, as a continuing service, I will be highlighting similar egregious examples of writers who have leveled the worst, most damaging kind of innuendo a player can suffer.

Except unlike everyone who got bent out of shape over Morris, I’m going to include Genuine Professional Journalists in the public shaming.

I’m calling this feature the Geoff Baker Rigidity Award, after the Seattle Times intrepid writer who noted this morning that the people who hurl this kind of baseless innuendo wouldn’t have passed the “very rigid course” he taught at Concordia University. If you read that piece, you realize that Baker is not a man to be trifled with. People’s lives are on the goddamn line when he’s out in the field, so anyone who wins this award should (a) consider themselves TOLD; and (b) should thank Geoff Baker for saving them from themselves before they go and get someone killed or something.

First up, courtesy of reader Andy H., comes the man who may very well be the highest paid sports journalist out there, which by definition makes him a professional. It’s Rick Reilly who, after retroactively stripping Barry Bonds of his 2004 MVP, goes on to disqualify second place finisher Adrian Beltre from eligibility as well:

We’re throwing out Beltre since, while he denies ever using PEDs, he fell off the face of the planet once baseball put in stricter steroid suspensions in 2005. If he wasn’t cheating, I’m the Queen Mother.

So come on down Rick Reilly and accept the inaugural Geoff Baker Rigidity Award! Because you’ll no doubt be busy getting creamed on national television and raked over the coals in print for the next few days due to your irresponsible allegations, I’ll agree not to make you come here in person to accept it, even if that means you won’t have to look me in the eye.

Got a nominee for the Geoff Baker Rigidity Awards? By all means, my good friends, send it along.*

*Selena Roberts not eligible, as she will soon be receiving a lifetime achievement award.

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  1. bigcatasroma said...


    I don’t have a specific name, but what about anyone who ever hinted that Sammy Sosa juiced?  Maybe the first one to do so – it had to be that knucklehead Marriotti right?  I never knew why he was thrown onto the fire. 

    More to that, Marriotti and the rest of the moral highnesses of ATH – Platschke especially – I can’t stand that dude – have thrown out more names of “cheaters” than Clemente from right field.  Where’s the credibility of “reporters” on shows like that?

  2. Bryan Berry said...

    IIRC, the first person to hint that Sosa juiced was none other than Rick Reilly himself, who challenged him at his locker to take a urine test.

  3. kendynamo said...

    id also like to give rick reilly the garfield award for not being the the slightest bit entertaining since i was in the second grade.

  4. Aaron Moreno said...

    I think it was Whitlock a few years back who said Babe Ruth must have been black or mixed-race. It didn’t seem like parody at the time.

  5. Bob Timmermann said...

    So can I consider Geoff Baker less than perfect because he misspelled Jayson Blair’s name in his piece?

    Not fact checking the spelling of that name could be considered ironic. Or perhaps just weird. Or funny. I’m not sure.

  6. Michael said...

    @bigcatasroma – that was Craig’s point in his NBC article.

    Craig, always remember that Rick Reilly hates baseball in the first place, which adds an additional bias to his fact-free claims.

  7. Ron said...

    Firstly, does Reily know that the Queen Mother is dead and has been for a few years? So if that’s who he want’s to be, it’s okay with me.

    Secondly, can Congress as a whole be nominated for thinking they had a reason to be involved in this while other somewhat trivial issues like governing the country weren’t being taken of?

    I mean, they were so bothered by it that they took time off from voting themselves retroactive pay raises for whatever it is they actually do.

  8. SteakDinnerBoom said...

    This has been a discussion topic on the radio here lately in Chicago because of the Sosa retirement. The one thing to remember is that if this is being tied to Hall of Fame voting, its not a court of law innocent until proven guilty mindset. This is the court of public opinion and you can have suspicion without proof.

  9. Craig Calcaterra said...

    But the problem, Steak, is that neither Baker nor anyone who has spent the last couple of days excoriating the Ibanez blogger has allowed for that possibility. He is an irresponsible basement dwelling blogger for voicing suspicion without proof, to the point where he was worthy of being shouted down by Ken Rosenthal on TV about it yesterday.

    If they’re going to apply that standard to bloggers, they need to apply that standard to professional journalists too, and they have never, ever done that.

  10. Chris said...

    Just to be a bit of a nitpicker since we’re talking about ‘rigidity’ and so forth.  He actually taught at Concordia University in Montreal.  University and College have different meanings here in Canada.  Also…wouldn’t want people getting it confused with the institutions named ‘Concordia College’ throughout the world raspberry.

    Not trying to take away from the overall point of the article.  Just saying is all.

  11. Michael said...

    Yes, Craig, lost in this is the fact that the problem with the Ibanez “story” isn’t the blogger at all – listen, there are 10,000 people blogging on baseball out there, some with pretty wacko theories. The “legitimate” reporters and news services chose to distribute this “story.”

    Conflict sells. Editors everywhere urge their reporters to “find the conflict in the story. Maybe it was a silly accusation, but the “legit” media was much more irresponsible for giving it legs.

  12. J.W. said...

    “I give the blogger—I won’t mention his name because I’m reluctant to give him his 15 minutes—credit for going on with Rosenthal. If it was me on the air instead of Rosenthal, I would have torn the blogger to shreds in much the same way. Maybe even worse. I know Rosenthal and spoke to him at the ballpark yesterday after his ESPN appearance with said blogger. When you go on TV and radio a lot, you learn how to destroy people like the inexperienced blogger on-air. It was like that Korean dude pounding on Jose Canseco in Japan the other day.”—Geoff Baker

    I love this paragraph! Baker first big-ups his own celebrity with the “I don’t want to give him his 15 minutes of fame” comment, then compliments himself on his blogger-shredding abilities, then he name drops by saying he’s buddy-buddy with Rosenthal, then he high-fives his celebriosity again with the “when you go on TV and the Radio a lot” comment, then he again boasts about his purported skillz at destroyin’ suckas, and then concludes with an always timely Jose Canseco reference!

    I don’t understand the motivation to write a piece that is as insecure, boastful, aggressive (it’s chock-full of comments that revolve around the idea that a MAN has to be a MAN. Bikers! Death threats! Smacking folks around! Push ups! Keg stands!) and poorly thouht out as this. What astounds me is the ill-will and insular, paranoid thinking that dominates it. I understand Baker’s feeling like in spite of the fact that he went to school to be a journalist and despite the fact that he has dedicated his professional life to journalism it is now slipping away from him as more and more people turn to “bloggers” (we need a new name, blogger is too broad) instead of MSM. But a more journalistic approach, a more progressive, reasonable approach would be to welcome the new forms of media and interaction. I get why Baker feels the need to be so self-aggrandizing, but he doesn’t do himself any favors by taking this tone and I’m sure he’s not showing the best side of himself by doing it.

  13. devil_fingers said...

    Ken Rosenthal:

    “Mark McGwire, the first test case of the Steroid Era, failed to receive more than 23.6 percent of the required 75 percent of the vote in his first three years on the ballot. Maybe McGwire will never approach that figure; I do not vote for him, believing his candidacy is based on power and that his power was artificial to some unknown degree.”

    ‘believing… His power was artificial to smoe unknown degree.’ That’s not only a baseless admission, it’s a weridly admittedly baseless admission. Unless he means andro, which not only wasn’t banned in baseball at the time, but if I remember rightly, wasn’t illegal in general at the time.

    More from Mr. Journalistic Integrity Who I Bet Has Never Passed On A Trade Rumor That Wasn’t Confirmed By Three Independent Sources:’t-blame-positive-test-on-Manny-being-Manny

    “Please, no gloating in Boston, either. If Ramirez is knowingly taking PEDs, heaven knows when he started. Heaven knows which other Red Sox have taken them.”

    I guess since he didn’t mention anyone _specific_ on the Red Sox, it’s an Example of Good Journalism.

    From the same article:

    “Step right up, Manny, to the Hall of Shame. You’ve got plenty of company — A-Rod, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens; Rafael Palmeiro, Gary Sheffield and Mark McGwire.”

    Did I miss something? Did McGwire admit, confess, or fail a test that I don’t know about?

    Maybe I’m being unfair. Worth noting, though.

  14. SteveG said...

    Good thing Morris isn’t a journalist or else he might lose his license. Oh wait…

    Hopefully he has learned his lesson and will stick to trying to sell us beer or athlete’s foot remedy like true professional sports journalists do.

  15. mkd said...

    Baker is an ass. He spent most of the winter peddling bullshit Ichiro-is-the-problem stories to explain why the Mariners lost 100 games last year. The guy is a menace to reason.

  16. Eddie said...

    How is what this blogger did any different from what the “MSM” did to Bonds before news of his positive tests came out?

    How about accusations for Brady Anderson?  Bret Boone?  What have they ever done except post career years?

  17. Capper said...

    Nice trash piece………

    Seriously people, the “attack journalism” is tired….let it die! Write about interesting, entertaining, informative material that make people want to read your work in the future.

    The blogosphere has turned into nothing more than high school cliques, with the kids who think they are cool picking on everyone else…….Its simple, don’t point out people you have issues with, or feel superior to……why draw more attention to them….if they are wrong, or just idiots, people will figure that out on their own and stop reading their work.

    This type of article has really turned me and several others off to what isd otherwise a nice blog (USS Mariner), while always a “snooty”, know it all blog, its recently more often than not turned into attacks on Baker sprinkled with good stuff…….but its the attack pieces and constant “We are awesome” type posts that turn a lot of us off.

  18. Seattle Zen said...


    You write:“the Jerod Morris/Raul Ibanez incident has made me realize that yes, taking writers to task for making irresponsible, evidence-free steroid allegations is a worthy endeavor.”

    Yet just yesterday you bring attention to a blog that does just that – “Tennis has a Steroid Problem”.

    Should you not have taken him to task? His “evidence” are photos of muscles. Pathetic. How about a little consistency?

  19. Jake said...

    how the Hell did Rick Reilly get to be the highest-paid sportswriter in America?

    this isn’t even as bad as Barry Zito being the highest-paid pitcher of all time.  This would be like Mariah Carey signing a contract to be the highest-paid pitcher of all time.

  20. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Zen—fair enough, though to be clear, I wasn’t endorsing the tennis guy’s allegations. Some things, even if we disapprove, are worth linking on a “hey, look at that” basis.

  21. lisa gray said...


    easy to shred some dude in his momma basement. too bad dude didn’t throw back some of rosenthal’s own “speculations” back at him

  22. Jester's Dad said...

    Good points Devil Fingers, and props to CC for shining a light on MSM’s “baseless accusations”.  As a somewhat frequent listener of sports radio and podcasts, it seems as though print journalists have a strong preference for slander over libel. It’s one thing to suggest something on the air, it’s another thing to put it in writing.  Call my crazy, but I don’t see the distinction in world where everything is available in a digital format.

    At this point, it’s hard to see rants like Rosenthal’s as anything more than self preservation, and it’s hard to blame him.  Discredit the new guy and keep him down, isn’t that the American way?

    Rosenthal has access that the rest of us dream about.  I wish he would spend more energy using that access to provide thoughtful analysis, and less time grinding the journalistic integrity axe.
    I respect the standards of integrity and solid reporting, but they are no excuse for a decade of playing ostrich when it comes to PEDs.  The signs were slapping reporters (and fans) in the face in the 90s.  Every baseball writer heard about the andro in McGwire’s locker.  I remember being at a game at Fenway in 1999 hearing the fans chant “steroids” at Jose Canseco.
    Recognizing that a reporter needs more for a story than a fan needs for a taunt, why did it take so long for the MSM to use their access to find enough evidence of steroid use to write thoughtfully about it?
    Forgive us Ken Rosenthal and Geoff Baker, if we, the consumers of media, flock to those who are willing to speculate. . . without access, that’s all we can do.

  23. Michael said...

    SeattleZen: Craig was MAKING FUN of the tennis-steroid site. Smart people don’t have to rant to get their point across. smile

  24. Will Young said...

    In a completely different vein from the PED allegations, Jim Souhan, of the Minneapolis Star Tribune once suggested that Joe Mauer completely invented an injury:

    “In spring training [Mauer] caused a scare with what was termed a ‘stress reaction.’ I’ve spoken with trainers in other sports who have told me there is no such thing.”

    Column here:

  25. Kent Williams said...

    Craig: Please don’t quote me as anything but “someone who has spent a lot of time in the Blue Jays press box.” (I’m the founder of Batter’s Box and was probably the first blogger to get daily press passes, though they refrained from giving me a season credential and photo ID.)

    Baker is more of a narcissist than any of the players he covers. Others on the beat used to joke that the only items on the walls of his apartment were framed photos of himself. And mirrors. All Geoff cares about when writing any article is increasing his own profile. He has such tremendous respect for the truth that he never resorts to using it. Though the “White Jays” fiasco was absolutely shameful, he never apologized and couldn’t stop grinning about all the attention for at least a week.

    Rigidity is but one aspect of Kid Flash’s unique pathology, I mean personality. (He “confessed” that was his nickname in one of his many soliloquies about his own greatness.)

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