It’s hard to imagine how steroids ran rampant in baseball under the watchful eye of baseball writers. Actually, it’s not hard at all.
Take a guy like Steve Bisheff (left) for instance. The Bish (like most baseball writers) tends to view steroids the same way that Carl Everett views the dinosaurs—they don’t exist. The Bish is one of those hopeless romantics who believes in everything pure about baseball. There is no reason to talk about the dirty side.
Bisheff recently penned a story on Phil Nevin. You all remember the story of Nevin, right? A bust as an overall first pick who jumped around from organization to organization, until he finally found his power groove with the San Diego Padres—the same organization that launched Ken Caminiti’s career. Nevin, who never hit more than nine homeruns in a season, hit 24 homers in 1999, followed by years of 31 and 41 bombs.
Then the power started to fade away. The injuries started to mount up. And then Nevin was traded for Jackie Chan Ho Park. The similarities to Caminiti’s meteoric rise and crash were similar. So with Caminiti being an admitted steroid user, you would figure that the Bish would at least address the subject, right?
You had better believe there was no mention of the “s” word in the Bish’s puff piece. There was not a chance the Bish would ever bring up the subject. Of course, Nevin was a miserable failure in the major leagues, who ended up saving his career with monster numbers that he has never been able to duplicate and is now dealing with a whole host of injuries. Why would that raise a red flag to the Bish? Why would the Bish ever want to do any investigative reporting? The Bish is not a commentator; his job is to hand out literary hand-jobs to his buddies. Obviously Nevin is part of his brood.
Dodgers closer Eric Gagne went from failing starting pitcher, to overnight, dominant closer. Gagne became one of the most feared closers in the game. Suddenly, when the league starts testing for steroids, Gagne is extremely hittable before suffering a major injury. Luckily the LA Times had a big investigative piece on Gagne’s steroid abuse, right?
Not saying that Nevin or Gagne ever took steroids. But both players rose from obscurity to light in the blink of an eye, and that does attract anybody's attention? Obviously these guys must feel that Brady Anderson just had a heck of a year.
In fact, ESPN radio talk show host Colin Cowheard was crucified for even bringing up the subject. That’s the problem right there. Nobody wants to talk about it unless it happens to be Barry Bonds. Then the jokes are endless and nonstop. But the only reason they talk about Bonds is because their hands were forced. It seems if it was up to the baseball media, they would like to forget that all together. Like a Kansas City board of education who would like to ignore fossils, baseball writers would rather move on instead of doing some actual work.
It's funny that newspapers wonder why its industry is dying. Nobody wants to pay for puff pieces and other garbage. If newspapes want to remain viable, they will take a step out of the shadows and actually shed some light on pressing subjects.
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