Andrew Hamm: the Bipolar Express

Ruminations on theatre, music, and just about anything else that crosses my bipolar brain.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Curt Schilling on the Mitchell Report

From Schilling's blog, 38 Pitches. Schill has been a very vocal advocate for cleaning up the game for many years, and has never been shy about giving a controversial opinion. He's also my favorite active baseball player.

It is a long, complex read, and these excerpts don't do it justice. But if you don't have 20 minutes to read the whole thing, you should at least see these parts:

On admitting guilt:

...These three guys (Andy Pettite, Brian Roberts, and Gary Bennett) were man enough to admit they were caught, made a huge mistake, and asked for forgiveness. There will be many who say they only admitted what they did because they were caught, which is probably true in every case, but the fact of the matter is that when you look at how many names are now out there, very few have chosen to own up to the mistake and take responsibility. To dissect the manner of their apologies, or try and discern intent is irrelevant to me. I know all three guys are good people. The world is full of good to great people that have made mistakes of this magnitude or worse. I’ll argue that this mistake in many cases doesn’t define the people I know, but merely points to another fact of our lives that people continually dismiss.

We’re human, we make mistakes, some bigger than you, some smaller, but at the end of the day it’s what makes us human. These guys made mistakes and I do mean mistakes. They didn’t accidentally do this, this was a conscious decision with far reaching implications and they should be held accountable. Problem is the fans version of accountable is completely dependent on their opinion of the player in question. If you are a fan then all is forgiven, or there is much less vitriol than you might have for other names mentioned....

On Jose Canseco:

...The problem I have, and the opinion I have, is based on the fact that he (Canseco) lied his entire career, every single day of it. He cheated his entire career, and lied about it. He spent his entire career on the record claiming he didn’t use PEDs (performance-enhancing drugs), yet only when his life was in shambles and only when it served Jose Canseco the most, did he ‘come clean’. Only then did he become this bastion of truth and honesty. Is that not the scam of scams? He made his hundred million or so, and when he was no longer good enough to compete up here, only when cheating stopped being enough to keep him competitive, only then did he scream ‘blackballed” and vow to get his revenge. Only then did he tell the truth, or his version of the truth.

Which in the end gets us here. Say what you want about Jose, and there are things I disagree with and think he’s wrong about, but I have yet to find someone he’s named who’s NOT been guilty or tried to clear their name. The view I have on that is maybe a bit too simplistic but I look at it like this. If Jose had named me in his book, it would have taken about 20 minutes for me to issue a press release vehemently denying the allegations, which would have been as closely followed as possible by as large a legal action as I could have possibly taken to sue for slander, libel, defamation of character and anything else I’d have been able to legally do. It’s either that, or I’m guilty. There is no gray area here, you either did, or you didn’t and Jose, up through today, hasn’t called out anyone that’s sued his ass off for false representation, slander, libel or whatever you would do if someone said something like this about you, that you didn’t do....

On Roger Clemens:

...So as a fan my thought is that Roger will find a way in short order to organize a legal team to guarantee a retraction of the allegations made, a public apology is made, and his name is completely cleared. If he doesn’t do that then there aren’t many options as a fan for me other than to believe his career 192 wins and 3 Cy Youngs he won prior to 1997 were the end. From that point on the numbers were attained through using PED’s. Just like I stated about Jose, if that is the case with Roger, the 4 Cy Youngs should go to the rightful winners and the numbers should go away if he cannot refute the accusations....

Schilling's focus on the lack of libel suits is an angle I hadn't thought of. When is Alex Rodriguez going to sue Canseco; when is Bonds going to sue the writers of Game of Shadows? If they don't sue for defamation of character, we can only assume that they are refusing to do so to keep evidence out of court.

He's got me softening a bit on the guys who apologize; if they're guilty and have even half of a conscience, what other choice to they have? The only problem with that, Andy Pettitte, is that HGH has to be in your body for months to do anything. It's not something you take once or twice, look in the mirror, admire your new six-pack, and move on; it's not something you take once or twice and your torn rotator cuff is all better. I think it's likely these guys are plea-bargaining in the court of public opinion; admitting to enough for us to get mad for a few seconds, then forgive them. I maintain a high level of skepticism with these guys who claim to have "only tried it once or twice." If you believe that, you probably believe Bill Clinton didn't inhale.

But regarding Slimeball Canseco, look: It wasn't going to be an angel who named names. It was going to be a user, it was going to be a sleazebag, and it was going to be someone who had a lot to personally gain. It was going to be someone who had as few scruples about calling out former teammates as he did about cheating in the first place. Canseco is our mob informant, and a seven-figure book deal is his immunity. This final bit of slime is the one redeeming moment, the necessary evil, his overall reason for being, before he drifts away into the oblivion of some horrible VH1 celebreality show.

One thing does have to be mentioned here, though: Last season was a great one. From top to bottom, start to finish, it was full of drama and as many great stories as a year of baseball has had in a long long time. Is that because of PEDs? Of course not; if the Mitchell report has brought nothing else to light, it has confirmed the idea, long held by me, that pitchers are benefitting as much as the hitters. The field isn't exactly level, but both sides of the ball have benefitted. I'm not ready to throw out entire seasons. Steroids and HGH didn't create Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins, the Rockies' win streak, Buchholz's no-no, or the chapion Red Sox. Most or all of that would have happened in a clean league.

I'm not ready to give up on baseball yet. Not as long as there are Curt Schillings and Jimmy Rollinses in the game.

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  • At 12/20/2007 5:18 PM , Blogger Frank Creasy said...

    Here's the problem with juicy rationalizations such as those Schilling is doling out to guys like Andy Petite: It's a fairly short mental leap from "sorry I did it" to the Nurenburg defense ("I was only following orders").

    "The Decline and Fall of Western Civilization: Epilogue."

  • At 12/21/2007 11:50 AM , Blogger Andrew Hamm said...

    The most insidious issue, and one I've only heard Jason "Genius" Whitlock mention is this: You're gonna tell me Joe Torre didn't know about Clemens, and Tony LaRussa didn't know about McGwire? What about the culpability of the managers?


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