Saturday, January 20, 2007

Wrong again

Brian Giles tells former teammate Mark Sweeney how lame the fans at Petco are. photo by timmer82

I lost track of the number of articles & columns that presumed that the New York Daily News had been absolutely correct when it asserted -- without a named source -- that Barry Bonds had blamed Mark Sweeney for his positive amphetamine test. Taking what a New York tabloid says as gospel is pretty stupid but many journalists did exactly that. The SF Chronicle "reporters," in particular, couldn't stop writing about how 1. this proved Bonds is Satan because 2. he had "thrown Sweeney under the bus" or some variation of that cliche.

There was only one problem -- Sweeney said Friday it wasn't true. Here's what Henry Schulman attributed to Sweeney in today's Chron: "Basically it's something that never happened," he said. "My name somehow got linked to it and it wasn't through Barry. I don't blame Barry for this and I don't know where it came from."

Again, I still think what happened is what Will Carroll in Baseball Prospectus pointed out over a week ago: Bonds probably got a positive because he was taking some kind of supplement to keep his weight down and ease the strain on his knees. Even though that's the most logical-sounding scenario, it doesn't fit with the commonly held view of Bonds among a significant number of sports reporters -- who are among the most guilty of hysterical over-reaction and of being incapable of sober and measured reflection.

It's not really surprising that sports reporters are feeling defensive, with the Chron's BALCO reporters Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada facing jail for simply doing their jobs. But the fact that Sweeney took as long as he did to address the Speedy Bonds issue explicitly is -- in my opinion -- a reflection of the deep mistrust that the Giants players feel toward the news media and its hysterical approach.


Blogger allfrank said...

This is just about the only intelligent comment - and assimilation of various reports - I have seen on the subject. It is mind blowing to watch the media lemmings, in the face of soooo many unsubstantiated rumors, accept as fact an unsubstantiated 'report' in the NY Daily News.
And now, in the face of facts, by and large, just silence from the 'media.'
Second, I don't accept your conclusion the two Chron reporters 'were just doing their jobs.' For several years now it has been apparant that reporters have a limited right to protect their sources. They are no cleaner than Anderson, all three going to jail rather than testify. The two reporters are protecting someone - or someones - who broke a number of laws by revealing secrect grand jury testimony. The reporters had to have some appreciation - certainly the Chron should have - that publishing leaked Grand Jury testimony might lead to another investigation.

2:37 PM  
Blogger Big D said...

Thanks for the comment, Allfrank. The silence in response to Sweeney's comments has been resounding, to employ an especially useful cliche.

As for the Chron reporters who are facing jail, my point has always been that this is yet another example of the squandering of limited government resources to achieve a result with a negligible public impact. What possible public good can be achieved by forcing Williams and Fainaru-Wada to spend time in jail other than them becoming martyrs?

11:31 PM  

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