Friday, December 14, 2007
What A Week!?
Well, that wasn’t a normal December week in the baseball industry.
First, we all dealt with the disappointment of Fukudome signing with the Cubs. We were told that while we were not outbid in terms of the contract offer, Fukudome’s decision came down to non-financial factors such as playing RF (vs. CF for us) and being the first Japanese native to play for a franchise (obviously, we have had Shingo and Tadahito in Sox uniforms).
Then, Aaron Rowand signed with the Giants, reportedly for five years and $60 million dollars. I am happy for Aaron, his wife and his family, but … (you know)
We held our annual front office Christmas party Wednesday night at the Stadium Club and many of us had a hard time feeling overly festive given the week’s events.
But I have also learned over the years that you never get too high and never too low and sometimes, the moves that don’t get made end up being more impactful than the ones you do. No one can be sure in December.
KW spoke to Scott Merkin of whitesox.com about his reaction to the week and plans moving forward.
Yesterday, the Mitchell Report dominated the day and the news.
For me (I know others said they got bored), it was interesting to watch all three press conferences, Senator Mitchell, then Commissioner Selig and finally Don Fehr of the Players Association, one after another.
I was very impressed by Senator Mitchell’s presentation and his ESPN interview afterward.
Two things he said resonated with me. First, that the "principal victims" (I believe that was the term he used) were the majority of players who did not cheat. They were put in a position where they had to make a decision to either join players using performance-enhancing drugs, or knowlingly, and ethically, decide to compete for jobs, livelihoods and on-field victories on an unlevel playing field.
Secondly, Senator Mitchell pointed out that we (collectively) need to press to stay up with the latest trends in designer-drugs. Judging by test results, the drug testing policy related to steroids is working. But as an industry, we need to find a joint solution that will allow us to keep pace with the designers, who may now feature HgH and five years from now likely will be featuring something even newer. The game needs to keep pace.
As someone outside baseball said to me the other day,
"My guess is that as long as you have chemists, millions of dollars and competition, you are going to have cheating … not just in baseball but in any sport."
Maybe I am naive, but I was struck by doctors who were allegedly willing to write fake prescriptions for side income. My personal experience has certainly been that doctors are among the most ethical and privacy/legally conscious professionals I know. I was amazed at what I read yesterday and last evening related to false scripts and people allegedly buying drugs in pharmacy parking lots.
I certainly was not surprised by Frank Thomas’ commitment and willingness to speak out. As we learn more and more about abuses of the 1990s and early 2000s, Frank’s clean performances should stand out and be recognized. He deserved to win a third MVP (which, if there is any question of whether he belongs in the HOF would have ended that debate) and his career numbers take on even larger scale.
Finally, since I do point out issues I have with media from time to time, it’s only right to point out how great it was yesterday to sit and watch all of those press conferences live and to be able to pull down, print out and read the report. It’s not that long ago that news and information would have been disseminated much differently (and taken much longer) to reach the fan. That’s good for everyone and credit to the media outlets who made it possible.
Also, I thought the Tribune’s sports page today did an excellent job of covering the story thoroughly and fairly.
This morning on Mike & Mike, they were talking to Bob Costas about the steroids issue and whether it mattered to baseball fans (or was it just a media concern).
I’d love to hear what readers of this blog think about the topic. Do you care? Does it matter to you in terms of how you feel about players who allegedly used? Does it make you any less of a fan of a player, team or the game? What do you think about the game’s records and statistics?
I know that’s a lot of questions to throw at you at once, but I would like to hear your thoughts …
Have a nice weekend