Thursday, December 12, 2013

Rick Reilly gets OHsofuckingclose to writing a good article; ruins it in the last five sentences

Been working on a post about Jonah Keri's MLB trade value rankings, but it's not done, so I thought I'd share this tonight.  Holy ballsack, there is no way Rick Reilly wrote the first 95% of this.  You can bet your bottom dollar he wrote the last 5% though--particularly the last sentence.  You'll see.  Most of this is so inoffensive (and at times, even dryly funny) that I can present it with very minimal comment.  The subject matter: while HOF voters are taking idiotic (and often completely unfounded; Bagwell, Biggio, and more to come) stances regarding players who are allegedly tied to PEDs, the expansion era committee voters happily sent in three managers who managed several of STEROID HISTORY'S GREATEST MONSTERS for extended periods of time.  Although the two voting bodies consist of different people, that's fucking dumb, no?

I'm so pumped up for next July in Cooperstown!

I can't wait to see who's going to be in the crowd at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony for new members Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre.

Maybe Mark McGwire will show up? It might be as close as he'll ever get. La Russa managed him for 15 seasons in both Oakland and St. Louis and says he never saw McGwire do a single steroid. Imagine that.

Simple unadorned sarcasm that doesn't have a cringe-inducing pun or play on words.  Like I said, if you're like me, you'll have a hard time believing Rick wrote this.

Maybe Alex Rodriguez will attend? He probably won't get in, either. Former New York Yankees skipper Torre says he didn't even notice A-Roid's alleged PED use in the four years he managed him. A-Roid's got plenty of time to go to Cooperstown. He's appealing a 211-game suspension for PEDs. Torre? No ban for him. In fact, he's an executive vice president of Major League Baseball now.

Maybe former Atlanta Braves manager Cox will look out in the crowd to see his old star Gary Sheffield. Probably not. Cox says he never saw all the PEDs Sheffield was taking when he had him right under his nose in the Atlanta clubhouse.

To be fair, Cox was probably legally blind by the mid 90s.

In all, the three managers being inducted oversaw at least 34 players who've been implicated as PED users and never noticed a thing wrong.

Now this isn't entirely fair.  It's not like any of these managers have (to my knowledge) gone on record and swore that they never once ever suspected any of their players ever took any steroids ever ever cross my heart and hope to die on a stack of Bibles.  But the general point here is 100% fair--the national media and a good chunk of baseball's fanbase have spent the last 15 years getting preachy and angry about steroid use.  It's escalated during the course of the last 5 or so years to a fever pitch.  It's probably not going away anytime soon.  So given that the role of a manager is to know his players inside and out so he can put them in the best possible position to succeed on the field, how is there zero outrage directed at these guys?  I'm not saying that steroidmongers should treat managers exactly the same as they treat players.  I'm saying, given that there are dozens of writers and hundreds of thousands of fans bursting with moral indignation at the idea of guys like Clemens and Bonds getting into the HOF, why hasn't there been ANY discussion at all on the national level about the role managers played in enabling steroid use?

Sorry.  Rick, you're doing a good job.  Back to you.

You could build a wing with the admitted and suspected drug cheats they won with: A-Rod, Roger Clemens (Torre), Jason Giambi (Torre and La Russa), McGwire, Jose Canseco (La Russa), Melky Cabrera (Torre and Cox), David Justice (Torre and Cox), Andy Pettite (Torre), Manny Ramirez (Torre with the Dodgers) and Sheffield (Torre and Cox.)

What the fuck is Melky Cabrera doing with the rest of these guys?  Other than that, great point.

If we get really lucky, maybe disgraced HGH pitcher Darren Holmes will show up. He played under all three of them!

I'm sure Rick didn't do that research himself, but the fact that he thought to ask someone else to do it represents a level of effort miles beyond what he usually puts out.

It's just another year in the Hall of Farce, 

Dumb, but not as dumb as his usual "jokes."  I'm just thrilled he DIDN'T go with "Hall of Shame."

where the codes of conduct shift like beach sand; where the rules for one set of men are ignored for another; where PED poppers can never enter, but the men who turned their backs to the cheating get gleaming, bronze plaques.

Hail The Great Enablers!

Holy crap, it's a little melodramatic (it's not like the managers were buying the steroids for the players or anything), but wow, that's borderline good writing.

La Russa's slipping on the Hall of Fame jersey Monday is the sight that really tested my gag reflex. He did more for juicers than Jack LaLanne. 

A dated reference, to be sure, but again not nearly as dumb as his usual fare.  I expected a joke about Orange Julius or something.

He managed McGwire and Canseco -- the Wright Brothers of the Druggie Era -- for 21 combined seasons. He made millions on their pimpled backs, won his first World Series title on their syringes and built his 33-year managing career on their artificially carved biceps.

Under La Russa, the Oakland clubhouse became a kind of leather-upholstered showroom for creams, rubs and injections that allowed players to work out harder, recover quicker and attack the game like a wolf in a hen house. It didn't change much in St. Louis, either, where he says he didn't notice what McGwire, Troy Glaus, Fernando Vina and Ryan Franklin were doing.

Score another victory for Baseball's Best Fans, who trip over their dicks telling you about how their team always Plays The Game The Right Way.  I hope Will Leitch falls out of a hot air balloon.

He spent eight hours a day around these guys, eight months a year, and yet he never saw a thing. Maybe he dressed in a different clubhouse?

Who knows whether and how many of these players were openly using in the clubhouse, but the managers aren't idiots.  You know they knew.  Sorry to acknowledge Canseco, because the last thing he deserves (besides attention) is acknowledgement, but I pretty firmly believe him (and Ken Caminiti, and the rest of the long list of players who have said that everyone in baseball knew everyone was using).

But he goes into the HOF and those players never will. Maybe he can send them some Instagrams.

A pretty bad cultural reference without any meaningful context other than "this is one-uh them apps them kids like to use these days," but still, this is an A+ relative to everything Reilly has done since like 2004.

Hey, you think any of the three skips will mention how PEDS helped them get to that sunny afternoon in Cooperstown?

Oh, and I can't forget to thank Katalina at Tijuana Pharmacy for all her help. Like my players always said, "We can't get cut without Kat!"

You won't even have to be in Cooperstown to smell the hypocrisy. Even the faintest scent of a rumor of PED use is enough to sink a player now.

Managers? Odorless.

Take Houston Astros great Craig Biggio. He had more than enough career to get in, and even though there isn't a stitch of evidence against him, the writers have kept him out because they have a niggling hunch he might've used.

Again, the BBWAA is not responsible for the election of these managers, but the broader point is absolutely worth talking about.  Currently, the discussion about steroid use by subtopic is split up as follows: 90% players, 5% MLB itself, 5% owners.  Managers need a chunk of that pie.  A pretty big one.  (Obviously the owners and league could also stand to gain at least twenty percentage points as well.)

Remember, kids: If you play the game under even a single cloud of suspicion, you're out. Manage it under one? Come on in and pull up a plaque!

Can you imagine this in any other sport? Do you think for a second Johan Bruyneel, the manager of all of Lance Armstrong's cheating, champion Tour de France teams, didn't know what was going on? You figure Bonnie and Clyde's driver just thought they were always running late?

As I think I've made pretty clear around here, I dislike steroid users but do not hate them with the flaming passion of a thousand burning suns.  I especially dislike guys like Bonds and Clemens, who were gigantic assholes in addition to using steroids, but what are you gonna do?  They were great players, as were McGwire, Sosa, Palmeiro, etc.  I don't want to be in the business of being the morality police and punishing players for conduct that wasn't against the rules when they were doing it.  I also don't want to be in the business of deciding who would or would not have gotten in anyways absent steroid use.  And I sure as fucking fuck especially don't want to be in the business of deciding whether a guy who's never been formally connected to steroids "looked like a user," or some horrendous garbage like that.  

So you know what?  If I were voting, I'd pretty much just vote without factoring it in.  That might allow for the admission of a guy like McGwire or Sosa who may not have made it in without roids, but that's a far lesser evil in my mind than the exclusion of guys like Bagwell or Biggio.  I don't like steroid use, but Jesus, can we please unbundle the national panties?  It happened.  There are now good measures in place to curb its use.  Anyways, this has been a great and thoughtful article by Rick, and I'm happy to see what he may be in the process of turning over a new leaf, so why don't we---

Next month, the writers are expected to vote down McGwire for the eighth time and Clemens for the second time. 

Oh no.  Rick, please don't.  Please stop while you're ahead.  We don't need to delve into this.  You've done a great job here--

They're right to do it. 

Noooooooooooooooo.  Even if you disagree with my steroids stance and agree with his, I hope you can agree that he didn't need to go into this.  The article would have been just fine without it.

Those guys are tainted beyond any reasonable doubt, though Clemens still maintains innocence. But for the expansion error 

Rick, please!  That's the kind of joke we're used to seeing from you!  The wheels are coming off!

committee to let these three managers in -- unanimously, no less -- after winning hundreds of games with better chemistry is the gold standard of double standards.

Jesus.  That's so disappointing.  Just please don't finish with one of your signature horrendous one liners--

If you believe they didn't know, then you'll fit perfectly in Dupers Town.

And the collapse is complete.  Jean van de Velde, Rick.  Rick, Jean van de Velde.


Jonah K. said...

Don't get too big for your britches, Larry B. Consider yourself cautioned.

Anonymous said...

Jonah Keri is probably a nice guy in person, but I can't think of anyone that comes off more like a smug, hipster know-it-all. He seems like the kind of guy who sees a team sign a free agent to a seven year deal and immediately bray, "They'll regret the last two years!" Or wail like a stuck banshee about how bad Miguel Cabrera's fielding is, like anyone gives a shit.

I do feel bad that the Expos died on him though. I'm not a monster.

Larry B said...

There is no caution on the internets, Jonah. You should know that by now. Bite me.

Chris W said...

jooooonah kerrrrrrri