The Tejada thing

I hit up the Miguel Tejada pitch-tipping thing at NBC over the weekend, but I didn’t think too deeply about it. I stand by my initial thoughts on the matter though, which were (a) I don’t know if he was doing it or not and I’m not sure anything in the article proved that he was; but (b) regardless of the merits of it all, it’s at least better to see this kind of stuff with people’s names attached than anonymously sourced a la Selena Roberts’ charges against A-Rod.

Since then, readers have shot me two interesting observations. The first observation echoes Deadspin’s take, with one reader voicing her frustration that baseball “seems to show its racism and bigotry more and more particularly with Latino players. The loyalty questions, the laziness complaints, etc.” I’ll grant that Johnny Damon’s quote — “it seemed like all the Dominican guys were killing us” — was unfortunate and is worth probing a bit more, but I’m not sure that there’s any more evidence here to suggest that people had it in for Tejada as a guy from the D.R. than there is to suggest that Tejada was, in fact, intentionally tipping. There were concrete examples of Tejada’s play that his teammates took issue with at the time. I didn’t get the sense that this was some high class version of the old “Latinos are all lazy and disloyal” rant, but I’m open to others’ takes on the matter.

The second observation, from commenter Mike, was a bit lighter:

Tejada says he’s innocent and I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt. The man is no liar. Er…well…he was charged with lying to Congress about PED usage in baseball. But, otherwise, the man is . . . no, actually, Tejada also lied to MLB about his age. Other than THAT, though, the man is no liar. So we should, you know, give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe.

Anybody?

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Comments

  1. Alex C said...

    Well there was also the quote:

    “I think Ron Gant calmed it down before it snowballed into anything big,” said Menechino, now the hitting instructor for the Class AA Trenton Thunder. “Like: ‘Hey, man, we can’t worry about what the other teams are doing in this league. But we can’t pull the Dominican guys out of our team and suspect them of anything until we catch them.’

    I mean, that is straight from the mouth of the only guy in the article actually leveling the accusation, and it makes it sounds like an “us against the Dominicans” thing.

    In a different direction, is it just me or this article incredibly poorly written?

  2. Jack Marshall said...

    Tejada, as Mike suggests, has a well-established integrity problem, and thus cannot/should not be automatically accorded the benefit of the doubt just because he denies something. The article, which WAS badly written, leaves it unclear whether the consensus is that MT was tipping. It seems highly plausible to me that some players would see nothing wrong with doing this in a blow-out, and that a few would be so slimy as to trade hit for hit. I agree that it is worse than steroids, and on par with gambling on games as poison to the game’s perceived legitimacy.

    I really liked Livian Hernandez’s line that he would fight anyone doing it on the field. THAT would be something I’d pay to see…

  3. scatterbrian said...

    Man I remember how Tejada used to kill in SkyDome, to the point where I assumed Toronto would try to sign him as a free agent. In 13 games (69 ABs) from 2001-2003 he hit .391 with 10 HRs and 25 RBIs in Toronto.

    Considering these allegations, his false age and the PED nonsense, I’m wondering if there’s anyone still saying the A’s should have signed Tejada over Eric Chavez….

  4. kranky kritter said...

    Yeah, me. The A’s decided OK we can pay market value for one top everyday player. They picked dead wrong. Chavez’s lack of production killed the team.

    We have zero actual evidence MT did this. Tejada played his @ss off every game against the Red Sox as an Oakland A, and he played in like 900 straight games, too. He was a real gamer. So it doesn’t square with me. I don’t believe these particular allegations at all. Give me evidence, or shut yer mouth. that oughtta be the rule.

    Lying about his age? He sure did. And I accord that a big fat so what. If Luis Tiant hadn’t done it, he probably would have been aged out of MLB 3 or 4 years sooner.

    The PEDs? Guilty of tarnishing the game, no doubt, along with what most sane folks have to figure was at least a third to a half of all the guys who decided to keep up with the Joneses. I hate what PEDS and the subsequent revelations have done to the game and MT is stone cold guilty on that, but the other stuff is IMO bupkus.

    And none of it makes the Chavez deal a wise one.

  5. scatterbrian said...

    kranky:

    There had been rumors of Tejada’s bogus age back when he was in Oakland. I get why he did it, but saying it means nothing is a bit dubious. If he’s older than he says, his decline happens sooner even though you’re paying for closer to prime years. So he’s maybe older than he claims, there was a team meeting about him possibly tipping pitches, and he’s possibly into that stuff that’s starting to circulate about that guy across the Bay.

    On the flipside, Chavez had just come off his third straight season of 29+ HRs, 100+ RBIs, .500+ slugging and God Glove defense, while Bobby Crosby appeared to be ready after hitting .308/.395/.544 in AAA.

    Considering all of the details, extending Chavez over resigning Tejada was not the wrong decision. It didn’t make sense for Oakland to lock up Tejada long-term, especially if they had to overpay. That’s just not practical.

    And it was Chavez’s injuries killed the team, his lack of production was just a byproduct of that.

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