Back in his first stint at the World Wide Bottom Feeder, back in the days when Bud Selig had yet to seize complete control of baseball, Keith Olbermann used to refer to him as “Acting Commissioner for Life.” As much as Olbermann is the definition of “smarmy ass-hat,” he was absolutely right. But now that Selig’s two-decade-plus reign of terror is coming to a close, Major League Baseball finds itself ready to select it’s new leader.
There’s three leading candidates for the job.
1) MLB Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred
Manfred is considered to be the favorite, which is no surprise considering he’s spent the majority of the last two decades as Selig’s lickspittle.
2) MLB Executive Vice President for Business Tim Brosnan
Known as a savvy negotiator, Brosnan is another lawyer who has been the force behind most of what has made baseball a big-money venture over the past ten years.
3) Boston Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner
Werner made his dough as a television executive, and has been part of two ownership groups; first with the San Diego Padres and now with the Red Sox.
While these guys all have their pluses and minuses, they have one thing in common: they represent “more of the same.” Manfred is a Harvard-educated lawyer who likely already has a to-do list form Selig. Brosnan’s major claim to fame is that he figured out television can be lucrative. As far as Werner is concerned, didn’t Selig already teach us what happens when you let an owner become commissioner?
So, if you think that Bud Selig was good for baseball, and you want to see more of it, then you have no problem with any of the three candidates I’ve mentioned. If you don’t really care about seeing another decade of baseball ruled by Selig’s Taliban, then there is no point in your reading any further. But if you are a baseball fan who is tired of watching baseball being treated as a second class citizen in the country which invented it, then I ask you to consider the following proposition, and if you agree with it, I would ask you to contact Major League Baseball and demand as a fan that I be installed as Commissioner.
Here’s the agenda for my term as Commissioner.
Continue reading →
I’ve said multiple times on this blog that I think the whole steroid argument is a bunch of crap. Whether or not you believe that, there’s no denying the current situation with Lance Armstrong, when viewed against some other past instances, proves the typical American sports fan is a selective over-reactor when it comes to this subject.
To illustrate that point, this argument is broken into three distinct parts:
1) The Part Where We Feign Moral Outrage:
This part is defined by two words…Lance Armstrong.
Here’s a guy who we Americans elevated to hero status not because anybody gives a shit about cycling, but because he was good at pointing how much the French suck at everything. They can’t even cheat properly.
In June 2012, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) charged Armstrong with having used performance enhancing drugs, and in August they announced a lifetime ban from competition as well as the stripping of all titles. This sanction however has yet to be ratified by the Union Cycliste International (UCI), the sports international governing body. At this point, that seems like a formality, but ultimately it really doesn’t matter.
What matters is that Armstrong’s name now goes right next to those of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, namely as guys who became selected targets to be whipping boys in sports that were awash in PEDs. Just like the Mitchell Report and Jose Conseco blew the whistle on the rampant using of PEDs in baseball, such activities in cycling are not news, nor are they a secret; here’s the list of just the guys we know about.
- Alex Zülle – Part of the Festina affair, a doping scandal surrounding the 1998 Tour de France. He admitted to taking EPO (but only to make his sponsors happy, he said).
- Jan Ullrich – He was banned from the Tour de France in 2006 amid doping speculation, and was stripped of his 2005 third-place finish as a result. Was named in the Operación Puerto (Operation Mountain Pass) case, a doping network run by Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes. In 2012, Ullrich admitted to working with Dr. Fuentes, saying it was a mistake.
- Joseba Beloki – Implicated in the 2006 Operación Puerto doping case (though was later cleared).
- Andreas Klöden – Allegedly visited the Freiburg University Clinic during the 2006 Tour de France for an illegal blood transfusion.
- Ivan Basso – Involved in the Operación Puerto doping case, banned two years for “attempted doping.” He eventually “widely acknowledged his responsibilities” in connection with Operation Puerto and offered “full cooperation.”
- Alberto Contador – Stripped of his 2010 title after he was found guilty of doping. That title then went to Andy Schleck … whose brother, Frank, found himself in his own doping controversy during this year’s Tour.
Then, there’s the Floyd Landis case. Not only was this guy a PED user, he may also very well be a con artist.
What gets lost in all of this hub-bub over steroid and doping first surfaced during the Landis case…fund-raising under what may be less than honest circumstances. Landis is also in deep with the Justice Department because Landis established the Floyd Fairness Fund, which was intended to be little more than a donation fund for his defending against doping charges, which he falsely claimed were untrue. It is very possible he may go to jail over this matter.
“Landis ‘knowingly participated in a scheme or plan to defraud … money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises.’ Had he told the truth about his past, extensive use of doping, the prosecutors reasoned, at least some donors would not have been willing to help fund his defense.”
Now, look at Armstrong’s situation. On Wednesday, he announced he was stepping down as chairman of the Livestrong Foundation, which is reported to have raised in the neighborhood of $500 million for cancer research, treatment and support.
To really understand the Armstrong, let’s walk through it step-by-step.
First off, after two years, federal prosecutors dropped their doping investigation of Armstrong in February, with no charges filed. But then in June, the USADA picked up where they left off, accusing Armstrong of using EPO, blood doping, testosterone, corticosteroids, and masking agents. The USADA claimed they had blood samples from 2009 and 2010 that were “fully consistent with blood manipulation including EPO use and/or blood transfusions.”
Stop me if any if this (cough, Roger Clemens’ case, cough…) sounds familiar.
Armstrong responded with the accusation that the USADA was violating their own rules while one of the doctors implicated in case denied the claims, claiming “These charges are the same as those which the Justice Department decided not to pursue after a two-year investigation.” Lance filed a lawsuit against the USADA on July 9, but it was thrown out by a judge the same day.
So Armstrong filed another lawsuit the very next day , but that suit got tossed on August 20. It needs to be noted that the judge who threw out the lawsuit also was suspicious of the USADA, saying “It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that USADA is motivated more by politics and a desire for media attention than faithful adherence to its obligations.”
I didn’t realize Bud Selig and Roger Goodell were members of the USADA. But I digress…
As a result of the dismissal of the lawsuit, Armstrong had until Thursday night to enter arbitration, but instead he opted to simply drop the case, releasing a statement on his website essentially saying “enough is enough.”
“I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999. Over the past three years, I have been subjected to a two-year federal criminal investigation followed by Travis Tygart’s unconstitutional witch hunt. The toll this has taken on my family, and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today – finished with this nonsense.”
After all this, the following day the USADA pounced. Despite never showing any physical evidence, and by securing testimonies of other riders in exchange for lessened penalties (cough, Jonathan Vilma’s case, cough…), and ignoring the fact some of those riders had personal vendettas against Armstrong, and despite the fact the USADA’s jurisdiction to act on this matter is questionable at best, they stripped Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and banned him for life. I’m not sure what point banning a retired guy makes, but I know the crucial point it misses.
In the finest traditions of Selig, Goodell, the NCAA, and any of the other hypocritical and ultimately impotent regulatory bodies ruling sport today, the USADA has simultaneously acted while completely failing to address the problem.
Unless the USADA has a time-machine, their decision does not change what happened years ago. It sure as hell doesn’t help clean up cycling. All it really does is show they are capable of making an example out of a supposed cheater.
In other words, even if the allegations about Armstrong prove to be true, that means the USADA made an example out of Armstrong the cheater, who beat all the other cheaters. Now that they stripeed him of those seven titles, there’s no way of knowing they didn’t just hand that so-called victory to another juicer.
So what’s this all mean? In short…not a goddamn thing. Why? Consider the following.
What happens if the allegations against Armstrong prove true? What happens if it turns out Livestrong was used as a front to fund a world-class organized doping operation? You would think this country would be up in arms over somebody using a cancer charity for a nefarious and/or self-serving purpose. But Americans won’t care about that. They will pretend to care about the “integrity of sport,” but won’t give a frog’s watertight ass about exploiting human suffering and death profit.
How do I know that? The NFL has been awash in PEDs and profiting from breast cancer for years, and nobody gives a shit.
2) The Part Where We Don’t Care: The NFL
For those of you who don’t remember, Houston Texans linebacker won the 2010 Defensive Rookie of the Year Award. He then that award stripped when it was discovered he had tested positive substance. But when the same writers who are so adept at creating the steroid boogie-man were give a chance to re-vote the award, they gave it it to Cushing AGAIN.
First of all, Cushing is the third winner of the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year Award to test positive for the use of PED’s in the past ten years (Julius Peppers and Shawne Merriman).
Second, many people don’t know that it took nearly a year for the NFL to act on Cushing’s positive test. Prior to the 2009 NFL regular season and we find that Brian Cushing failed a test in September for a substance on the NFL’s banned list, but thanks to various appeals and general red tape, no action was taken until after the season. Compare this to baseball, where there is such a rush to be seen to act that due process and proper procedure is tossed out the window. Even ESPN’s own coverage of this story almost breaks it’s own leg running to make sure you know steroids are really a cycling and baseball problem.
Thanks to ESPN and it’s ilk, football is portrayed as having it’s PED house in better order than baseball, despite the NFL can’t pass the “look how yoked up those dudes are” test that gets applied so liberally to baseball.
Granted, it isn’t hard to figure out that the sheer violent nature of football allows the “survival of the fittest” mentality from those who, from the safety of their sofas, demand entertainment through sheer brutality; a quality baseball most assuredly does not provide. This may be why steroids have been a tolerated part of the NFL since the 1960s.
Make no mistake, they were then, and still are tolerated. Baseball players who test positive get calls for asterisks next to their names, or that they be banished all together. I have yet to hear such calls for the Pittsburgh Steeler dynasty of the 1970s, where there was widespread use of PEDs. I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for them, either.
To be honest, it is the guy on the couch who IS the asterisk. They are the reason there is no outrage about steroids in football. The reason is rather simple. Most football fans don’t understand baseball, so by using the same suppositions which have been proven true about football, they get to think they have something meaningful to say.
To put it simply, football is a sport about bigger, stronger, faster. The very nature of football relies on size and raw strength. Steroids definitely help those qualities. To gaze upon your average NFL player and see nothing but the work of genetic good fortune and hours in the weight room requires a level of blindness only bias can provide.
In contrast, baseball is a sport which relies on hand-eye coordination, which steroids definitely do not help. If that weren’t true, ask yourself this question. How is it during the steroid era, not one average player suddenly became a Hall-of-Famer? Barry Bonds won 4 MVP awards before the “steroid era,” and Mickey Morandini stayed Mickey Morandini.
What really ought to concern football fans is that steroids will ultimately destroy the game. Let’s be honest, there has to be a correlation between the use of anabolic steroids for purposes of creating bigger, stronger, and stronger football players and the increase in the number and severity of on-field injuries. PEDs can turn a man into a 250-pound mass of turbo-charged muscle, but the don’t help the brain protect itself from the impacts those leviathans dish out.
Boil it all down to gravy, and what you get is the fact that while the NFL does test for PEDs, but when those tests turn up positive, it’s back-page stuff; there’s none of the screaming for immediate execution like you get when it happens in baseball. Not only was there the aforementioned Brian Cushing situation, but Shawne Merriman was elected to the Pro Bowl after testing positive in 2006.
After all that, the point remains…despite what we know about steroid use in football, it’s the baseball players who are subjected to public scorn and derision far than anybody in the NFL. If Barry Bonds and Mark McGuire were football players, they would be in the Hall of Fame, no questions asked.
To make a long story short, the problem the baseball steroid moralists ignore is that PEDs in football most definitely have a greater effect on competitive integrity than they do in baseball, they’ve been around far longer in football, which is why they certainly are a contributing factor to football being a far more dangerous game than it was 30 years ago.
Where’s the outrage over that?
3) The Part Where We Over-React: The Melky Cabrera Situation
FACT: Melky Cabrera broke the rules.
FACT: Melky Cabrera got caught, and served his sentence.
FACT: Melky Cabrera is not the first, nor will he be the last, because…
FACT: Sports are now, have always been, and always will be, based on cheating.
Melky Cabrera tested positive for testosterone, and he got suspended. But for too many of the self-appointed steroid moralists, that just isn’t good enough.
For some (usually those who turn their back on the same stuff in football) want Bud Selig to channel his inner Roger Goodell and just start making up Draconian punishments “for the good of the game.”
As an example, I offer CBS Sports pointy-head Gregg Doyel, who never met a blanket assertion he didn’t love.
Have the Giants known all season that Cabrera was juicing? I can’t say that. But I can say this: They didn’t want to know.
Seriously, what good would it do the Giants in May, as Melky Cabrera was embarking on the hottest month of his mediocre career, to wonder aloud how in the world he was doing it? That month Cabrera hit .429 with an OPS of 1.104. Hone in a bit more, and from May 4 to June 1 he hit .445 with a 1.175 OPS. For a month, middling Melky Cabrera was Mickey Freaking Mantle. When the month was over, Cabrera’s batting average — for the season — sat at .376.
To repeat, Melky Carew Cabrera was hitting .376 on June 1. Hell, he was still hitting .346 when it was announced that he had failed a drug test and would be suspended 50 games.
There’s two big assertions right off the bat, so to speak. First, Doyel admits he has now way of knowing whether or not the Giants knew about Cabrera, but that doesn’t stop him from braking the the “guilt by association” broad brush. I can’t wait to see how many comments I get that will do exactly the same thing.
Then there’s the part where Doyel shows his general ignorance of baseball. He compares Cabrera to Rod Carew, then to Mickey Mantle. That ‘s is comparing apples, to oranges, to a lugwrench. Either way, Doyel uses those stupid comparisons to ignore the fact that Cabrera’s performance could easily be explained by the fact that as a Giant, he’s playing the majority of his games in NL West parks, all of which are huge and have huge alleys, which are well-suited to a gap-hitter like Cabrera. After all, it isn’t like all of a sudden he was hitting 40 homers.
But, wait…Doyel gets even more self-righteous.
No team should be able to reap the rewards of a cheating player. Not anymore. Not in today’s baseball, which claims to be trying so hard, and caring so much, about the integrity of its game.
You want to show integrity, baseball? Don’t just punish the player when he gets caught cheating. Punish the team that won all those games unfairly.
Don’t forget Doyel already admits that he has now way of knowing that a team would be aware of a player’s cheating, but he still wants to punish everybody, lumping in the guilty with the innocent and tossing them all into the steroid moralists’ prison.
Not to mention, I would love to see how this sort of punishment gets past the player’s union in ANY sport, let alone baseball.
Then there’s the really fun part. When will I see this same call applied to football? I’ll die waiting for that to happen.
For the life of me, I can’t understand why any of these dopes don’t see the real problem. You can wave a magic wand and asterisk the whole record book if you want, it still doesn’t hit the real motivation…money. Sport is the purest meritocracy there is, and if you want to remove the concept of cheating for purposes of financial gain, you have to make the risk far outweigh the reward.
You want to end the use of PEDs in sports? Forget about suspensions. Go with real punishments, say something like a $10 million fine for a first offense, and no chance of re-instatement until the fine is paid. Yeah, don’t bother telling me about how the unions would never go for that…but that brings us to the point of what needs to happen if you really want this problem solved. Through whatever means, the leagues, the owners, the unions, and more importantly the fans, all have to get on the same page. Crying about the use of PEDs in sports while you keep buying tickets rings a bit hollow.
Generalizations and over-reactions don’t help, and being selective about which sports in which you will accept cheating makes it even worse.
Finally, Someone Else Gets It, Part II – The Ryan Braun Situation, “Osama” Bud Selig and “Chemical McCarthyism”
It’s no secret that I have been a long-standing and vocal critic of the idea that performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs)are the scourge on baseball the media has made them out to be. I’ve illicited my argument to that effect time and time again on this blog, and the recent discussion of the Ryan Braun situation has only offered another opportunity to point out the fallacy that has been foisted on sports fans about the “evils of steroids.”
In an ideal world, there wouldn’t be PEDs; and there wouldn’t be cheating. But we don’t live in an ideal world. The Braun situation exemplifies that, but I fear the real problems inherent in the entire issue of PEDs in sports are being lost because the debate keeps centering on a bunch of half-facts, junk science, and worst of all, indignant presumptions of guilt being tossed about by a bunch of self-appointed moralists and people who have skin in the demonization game. In other words, we’ve become so whipped up over the PED “chemical boogie-man” that we’ve done a lot of things which are far more morally reprehensible than sticking a needle in your arm.
If the history of American popular culture has taught us anything; it’s that Americans love a crisis. We love a crisis so much we will blow right past facts in order to create the emergency “Oh my God, we must act now” mentality which ultimately leads us to create some really awful solutions. I first laid out a case to this effect over a year and a half ago. At that time, Ryan Hudson at SB Nation had penned a piece that echoes my sentiments. In his article, Hudson brings up the fact that there is not a proven link between steroid use and prolific home run hitting. Hudson also points out that very assertion is the central theme behind “Steroids, Other ‘Drugs’, and Baseball,” an exhaustive study of the subject done by Eric Walker. Walker’s work is full of empiric data that casts some serious doubts on the credibility of the claims made by the “steroids are to blame crowd.” Hudson also quotes an piece written by Joe Posnanski that begs the question “What if we are wrong again about steroids?”
The over-arching problem is that nobody wants to ask that question. God forbid we as a culture made a mistake when we rushed to judgement. Not only does it mean we may have been wrong; collectively we Americans have a really big problem with being wrong, but that question begs several others which are far more disturbing. It is that disturbing nature of the examination of the whole issue which keeps it from happening as often as it should; when somebody else takes up the cause it stands out to me.
Enter Charles P. Pierce from Grantland. He has penned what I consider to be the penultimate dissection of the Ryan Braun situation as it relates to the steroid issue as a whole. This is why I am breaking it down so Pierce’s excellent piece can be laid against not only the arguments I’ve made against the “Chemical McCarthyism” we’ve created, but those aforementioned disturbing questions we as a society need to face.
The system, we are told, worked. That’s always the second-last refuge of scoundrels. The system, we were told after the Watergate scandal, had “worked,” even though it hadn’t, not fully. The system had been truncated by a cheap political pardon, thereby allowing the main miscreant to spend 25 years walking on the beach, fashioning his own myth of persecution and redemption. In the case of Ryan Braun, whose suspension for allegedly taking one of those drugs of which baseball disapproves was overturned by an arbitrator last week, the “system” did not “work” because there should never have been a system in the first place, and Braun does not have his own San Clemente in which to hide. He will have to go out in public at least 162 times this year and own somebody else’s dreadful mistakes. I do not envy him that job.
40 years after the fact, Dick Marple, the Chairman of the Dubsism Advisory board, still has an apoplectic reaction to all things Nixon. I find Pierce’s analogy between the Braun situation and Watergate monstrously interesting, if for no other reason it lends itself to a presumption of guilt. After all, calling Richard Nixon a crook is like calling a Volkswagen a small, German car.
The more I re-read this, the more it dawned on me that Marple’s reaction to “Tricky Dick” is the same reaction the steroid moralists have to PEDs; table-pounding indignation. The difference is the steroid moralists are less concerned about guilt or innocence; they are interested in letting you know how much they value integrity; ironically, even at the expense of their own.
To me, this situation lends itself to a better analogy; “Osama” Bud Selig and his cronies have been baseball’s version of the Taliban for close to two decades now. While their means of action are not the same, Selig is like the Taliban in the sense he was a creation of the other owners to fight their problems in the same way the Taliban were created by an alliance fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Much like the Taliban, Selig has ruled with dictatorial power, yet attempting to maintain an illusion of some semblance of democracy. Much like the Taliban, the presence of absolute power corrupted absolutely; Selig allowed the infiltration into baseball of a PED monster he may not have de facto created, but tolerated it for years because it benefited him. Now the Ryan Braun situation exemplifes the fact “Osama” Bud Selig is waging a failing war against what he tacitly permitted for years.
You may need a freight train to handle the hypocrisy this is going to bring.
A case like Braun’s was the inevitable outcome of what Scott Lemieux of the invaluable Lawyers, Guns, and Money blog calls baseball’s “War on (Some Classes of People Who Use Some) Drugs.” From its very beginnings, the “war” on performance-enhancing drugs in sports, and especially in baseball, has been legally questionable, morally incoherent, and recklessly dependent on collateral damage to make its point. Long ago, I went over to the purely libertarian position on this question simply because any other solution seemed to me to be incompatible with civil liberties and an equitable sharing of power in the workplace — and because every other “war” on drugs that I’d seen had been an enormous waste of time, money, and manpower.
Pierce doesn’t waste any time going after the underpinnings of the entire debate. When he says “legally questionable,” he is pointing out the fact that all drug testing in professional sports is based on agreements in collective bargaining agreements that survive today only because they’ve never been legally challenged. Even the proponents of drug testing trip over themselves when they offer the “integrity of the game” argument as a rationale.
Ask yourself a question: Did you ever wonder why this entire process keeps itself out of courts at all costs? It was an arbitrator who reversed Braun’s suspension, and it is very hard to get a court to reverse an arbitrator’s decision. The punishments involved are only suspensions, not terminations, and the reason for that is simple. Terminations, i.e. getting kicked out of baseball forever means you aren’t part of the player’s union anymore, and therefore are no longer subject to union agreements, which means if you want to challenge getting kicked out, you are no longer locked into a grievance procedure which involves an arbitrator; you can go to court.
In other words, MLB is on a “witch hunt” for people who are detrimental to the “integrity” of the game, and once they find them, they won’t kick them out because ultimately that may expose MLB to court proceedings which it believes it may not win. The dirty little secret is that courts have precedent for throwing out drug-testing procedures based on several criteria, not the least of which is that courts have ruled unions get into legal “gray” areas when they enter into agreements which infringe on individual civil rights, and random drug-testing without reasonable suspicion may be such an infringment.
In and of itself, that should be your first indicator something is seriously wrong here.
Then, there’s the “morally incoherent” charge. Understand that “integrity” is simply a code-word for “job performance,” and job performance is sports really is the bottom line. MLB is an employer, and like all employers, they have the right to expect their employees not to be impaired on the job, and a s such, employers have the right to fire you if you can’t perform on the job. But when it comes to PEDs, MLB is doing the exact opposite; they are seeking out players who are attempting to improve job performance. I will come back to this point later.
Then there’s the whole issue of collateral damage. Regardless of how the Braun situation is resolved, somebody is going to get their reputation needlessly trashed. If Braun is clean, the Mike Lupica’ s of the world are going to have eat all the “guilty until proven innocent” garbage they’ve been spewing like “He wasn’t exonerated. He was acquitted. There’s a difference.”
‘Then, there is the question of Dino Laurenzi Jr., the guy who handled Braun’s urine sample, who in my opinion is being set-up to be the “fall guy” in all of this. He is now forced to release a statement insisting he followed proper protocol and did not “tamper in any way with the samples.” Honestly, Laurenzi is the guy in all of this I find to be the most credible. Braun’s prepared statement smacked a bit of “lawyer-ese,” and I don’t buy a word coming from MLB or the lab people.
MLB and/or the lab it hired looks to be the dirtiest party in all of this; they sound like they have a personal stake in this mess; Braun’s response was measured and legal; MLB’s and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s (USADA) was almost off it’s hinges.
MLB’s official comment was: “While we have always respected that process, Major League Baseball vehemently disagrees with the decision.” I’ve heard other heated words come from MLB, such as “enraged” or “livid” concerning the arbitrator’s decision. USADA CEO Travis Tygert said, “It’s frankly unreal. And it’s a kick in the gut to clean athletes…To have this sort of technicality of all technicalities let a player off…it’s just a sad day for all the clean players and those that abide by the rules within professional baseball.”
Laurenzi is the only one here who doesn’t have millions of dollars at stake. Braun faced of losing 50 games, which translates into about three million dollars in salary, MLB has been sensitive to this issue ever since the media turned on them, and don’t think that Tygert and his paid pee-testers aren’t turning some decent coin on this PED hysteria.
That should be your second indicator of major flaws; a process to detect the use and enforce the rules against the use of PEDs were clearly the same used for “impairing” drugs, because the reaction to the media-created disfavor of PEDs caused a knee-jerk reactionary solution rather than one well-thought. You also aren’t supposed to notice drug testing has turned into a multi-million dollar business.
Instead of re-thinking the process now that it has been exposed as faulty, and that may be fraught with ulterior (read that as “financial”) motives, we are diving into rationalizations as to why testing is necessary; as if there is some sort of morality which needs defending.
There always have seemed to me to be two main arguments against this position. The first is the question of the player’s health. This is not one to be dismissed lightly, even though, in almost every other context in professional sports, it is always secondary to profits in the mind of management. And the second, more hazy argument is that it is somehow unethical to ingest a substance that will make you play better. Too often, it seems, the former consideration is used to camouflage arguments based primarily on the latter.
The health consideration is doomed to failure in the long run because, well, Science Marches On. Sooner or later, someone’s going to invent a substance that enhances performance without any risk to the athlete involved. The reason this will happen is because whoever invents the stuff is going to get wealthy beyond Warren Buffett’s wildest dreams. Eliminate the health-of-the-athlete fig leaf and all you’re left with is the moral and ethical argument and, on its own, that falls apart with the slightest nudge.
I double over with laughter when anybody tries to trot out the “health of the players” argument. Let me see if I get this straight…Peter Gammons wants me to believe that “the Braun test result tells is that the Commissioner’s Office and the players don’t care if it’s the MVP or a 4A utility infielder, they want a level playing field. Thus, in a sense, this speaks for the sincerity of the program, that it doesn’t protect the faces of the sport or anyone’s favorites, that Ryan Braun gets no different treatment than some kid in the Dominican Summer League.” But on the other hand, “Osama” Bud Selig thinks that he can play a “health” argument for a testing protocol that would allow Ryan Braun to load up on addictive, narcotic pain-killers, chew tobacco, or drink himself to death, but has no right and drink himself blind, but no right to use even prescribed medication.
That’s important to note because if it turns out this test was skewed by the effect of legitimate medical treatment, Selig and Major League Baseball have a major league problem. Not only can they not hide behind the “health of the players” argument, there would also be a perfect legal reason for somebody to get the entire MLB drug-testing policy scrapped.
Now, let’s go back to that point about MLB seeking out players who are attempting to improve job performance. It smacks of the “moral incoherency” Pierce mentions, in the sense it destroys the moral and ethical argument for drug testing.
Can someone seriously argue that it is ethical to take a drug to make a performance possible, but unethical to take a drug that makes that performance better? Isn’t making a performance possible at all the ultimate performance enhancement? If there had been a drug that would have given us five more seasons of Sandy Koufax at the top of his game, how would that have been a bad thing, everything else being equal? Sports are rife with drugs. Without drugs of one sort or another, the NFL season would never begin, and the baseball season would end sometime in June owing to a lack of participating teams.
This is really where I feel like I have to wrap duct tape around my head to keep it from exploding. It’s time to just come out and say it…America is a drug culture. Turn on your television and tell me how long it takes for you to see a commercial for some prescription or over-the-counter drug. Sporting events themselves are rife with ads for (insert brand of alcohol here). We Americans want our doctors to give us a pill that fixes everything; so why are we shocked athletes might want a little something to boost their performance?
More importantly, why do we care? There’s too many of us who are simply refusing to believe the possibility that Braun may in fact be clean in all of this.
Now we have Ryan Braun’s experience with the “system,” and nobody can be surprised that his urine was badly handled. And, by the way, let’s stop calling it “the sample,” too, OK? That’s misdirection by euphemism, and it works to hide the personal violation that mandatory drug testing truly is. Ryan Braun had to give baseball some urine, and the baseball official tasked with handling Ryan Braun’s urine kept Ryan Braun’s urine in his freezer for 44 hours, which is a long time to keep someone else’s urine, to my way of thinking.
It can’t have surprised anyone who’s watched the casual way constitutional safeguards have been generally tossed aside in drug cases over the past 30-odd years. It can’t have surprised anyone who’s read the revelations about how the criminal justice system has been perverted by bungling crime labs and incompetent medical examiners. (Here in Massachusetts, we are rather the home office of the latter problem.) Ultimately, in any authoritarian solution, the people with the power get lazy, and stupid, and they start making enough mistakes that people get tired of living with them. It’s one of the reasons we don’t have East Germany anymore. And baseball always has had a sweet tooth for the authoritarian solution.
Translation: “The guy who hung on to Ryan Braun’s urine for 44 hours did nothing wrong because our instructions were written by half-bright marmosets. We are now on a nationwide search to find smarter marmosets.”
Until the late 1960s, baseball’s fundamental economic structure depended upon the authoritarian device known as the reserve clause. In the 1980s, it engaged in the authoritarian — and monumentally stupid — collusion strategy to regain the control of its players that it had lost to courts and to arbitrators. It maintained its authoritarian attitude toward racial segregation for longer in its history than any other sport. (That was the direct result of baseball’s hiring as its first commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis, who was so enamored of issuing authoritarian dictums from the bench that, as Tim Weiner points out in his excellent history of the FBI, some anarchists sent him a bomb through the mail. And that was before he demanded — and got — dictatorial powers from the baseball owners and authored his own authoritarian solution to the problem of the Black Sox.)
Indeed, looked at from a different perspective, the people who look to baseball because they yearn for constancy in a changing and accelerated world are expressing little more than what Lewis Lapham calls, in a different context, “the wish for kings.”
If the history of world politics has taught us anything, it is that many of the most murderous tyrants began the reigns of terror under benevolent auspices. To me, one of the only noble causes in the whole anti-steroid argument is the defense of players who want the option of not pumping chemicals into their bodies in order to feel competitive with the guy at the next locker. But for the illusion of protecting that option, Selig and the rest of the MLB Taliban stomped all over the rights of all the players.
First and foremost, Ryan Braun shouldn’t have to prove himself innocent; no American should. There’s a reason why the Constitution sets specific protections. Granted, MLB isn’t the government, but when the stakes are as high as they are; the penalties here are 50 games and subsequently millions of dollars; the process needs to be a hell of a lot better defined than it is now. Barry Petchesky over at Deadspin said it the best – “If the procedure is so fucked up that some dude can keep a jar of Ryan Braun’s pee in his fridge over the weekend, then maybe Major League Baseball should worry less about Ryan Braun’s appeal and more about a chain of custody that relies on a courier knowing the hours of his local Kinko’s.”
But what really galls me in all of this is the use of the word “technicality,” as in “Braun got off on a technicality.” I’m no lawyer, but even I know that “chain of custody” is crucial to ANY bit of evidence to insure it’s integrity. This is why “chain of custody” is mentioned 33 times in the MLB Drug Testing Policy, and it’s why it doesn’t require the supercomputers at NASA to understand why the USADA is pissed by the arbitrator’s decision; their entire pee-testing for-profit business model is built on this “Chemical McCarthyism.” Much like the communist-hunting Senator Joseph McCarthy of the 1950’s, USADA’s raison d’être is all about finding and rooting out the players who USADA CEO Travis Tygert has judged as not being “clean.”
If “Osama” Bud Selig and his cronies are the Taliban, then USADA is the East German “Stasi ;” they are little more than Selig’s Secret Chemical Police. To understand the true nature of the USADA’s role, imagine s system where cops were paid per arrest, and there’s no constitutional protections against the cops arresting anybody they want…whenever they want. That’s essentially the role of the USADA; “Osama” Bud Selig forces the players to give the “Stasi” a reason to arrest them, the process by which they are deemed worth of arrest has now been shown to be flawed, and it doesn’t require input from the FBI crime lab to see why the USADA is viewed with suspicion by the players and the union.
As for the Baseball Taliban, they are the ones stuck on “technicalities.” They’ve made their best hay when they’ve offered up a sacrificial lamb; you can’t tell me Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens weren’t thrown under the Federal bus even after MLB lauded both of them. The Baseball Taliban were so sure they could offer up Ryan Braun’s head as a show they will take out a rising star for the sake of the supposed new chemical morality; this game is all about Congress letting MLB keep its anti-trust exemption, and the score of that game gets measured in the number of scalps they hand over as the “dirty cheaters.” McCarthyism, pure and simple.
Lastly, there’s the issue of this “Reefer Madness“-style hysteria. The steroid moralists use this to convince people there is something pernicious to all of society in the issue of PEDs, and even if they happen to be right, they never offer anything tangible to back up the hysteria they create.
The steroid frenzy is of a sad piece with this history. It began, as all drug frenzies do, with a series of scare stories guaranteed to terrify the rubes. Then came the rush to pass laws and regulations without really thinking them through because this was The Greatest Crisis There Absolutely Ever Was. Then came all the people who made careers out of the laws and regulations prompted by the original frenzy. Then came all the reporters and commentators who got rich enabling the people most directly profiting from the frenzy and/or being professionally outraged on behalf of “the fans” but, really, only expressing their own anger at not being allowed to be 14 years old anymore.
You could hear it all again over the weekend. Major League Baseball was crying doom to anyone who would listen. Rob Manfred, MLB’s president of labor relations, took refuge in outraged bafflegab.
“The extremely experienced collector acted in a professional and appropriate manner,” Manfred said in a statement. “He handled Mr. Braun’s sample consistent with instructions issued by our jointly retained collection agency. The arbitrator found that those instructions were not consistent with certain language in our program, even though the instructions were identical to those used by many other drug programs.”
Translated from the original Bureaucrat, this reads, “The guy who hung on to Ryan Braun’s urine for 44 hours did nothing wrong because our instructions were written by half-bright marmosets. We are now on a nationwide search to find smarter marmosets.”
The professional thumb-suckers in my business spent the weekend talking about “technicalities” and being offended by the fact that Ryan Braun held a press conference in which he excoriated MLB for the clownish way its “system” had hung him out to dry. People who denounce him for engaging in “victimology” overlook the fact that he really was a victim. Where does he go to get his name back? Why did we know about him at all while his case was still under appeal? Why, indeed, was any action taken at all while his case was still under appeal?
(“No, no!” said the Queen. “Sentence first — verdict afterwards.”)
The “war” on steroids always has been Kafka rewritten by Lewis Carroll. It is always going to have victims like Ryan Braun — or, worse, some player is guaranteed one day to be the victim of a demonstrably false positive result — because that is the nature of all authoritarian solutions. Once, when Mick Jagger and Keith Richards received preposterously heavy sentences after being busted for pot, a British newspaper thundered in response, “Who breaks a butterfly on a wheel?” New butterflies, same old wheel.
No matter how thin you slice it, its still baloney. Major League Baseball is now trying to police a problem to which it gave tacit approval, it cares little who it steamrolls in the process of saving its own face, and all of this mess stems from the fact this is another issue where we in this country allowed an easy belief supplant a hard truth. We are a “quick fix” culture, we are a “drug culture,” and we are killing ourselves with a silly “my drugs are OK, but yours aren’t” argument.
It’s no secret that this blog has not been friendly to Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt. We’ve been the home to the Frank McCourt Death Watch, during which we have compared him to a parasite, insinuated that he may be one of the worst human beings in history, and had noted sports manager Joe McGrath author a definitive take on the sliminess he personifies. Now that McCourt has announced he is putting the Dodgers up for sale, it is time for us to take what may be a final look at the final days of the McCourt regime.
1) Remember When You Could Shoot Looters?
Here’s the story from last week that had absolutely no “shock” value, other than the use of the word “loot.” That’s a pretty strong verb considering how lawyered-up this whole mess has been. “Looters” conjures images of people scavenging the bones of disaster victims; people who get shot by the National Guard. But the real hilarity comes when you break the story down.
Dodgers owner Frank McCourt looted nearly $190 million from the Los Angeles team, using the money for non-baseball use in violation of Major League Baseball rules, according to Delaware bankruptcy court documents filed on Monday.
It’s the first time the league has specified an amount, according to a report in a Los Angeles newspaper.
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig wants to oust McCourt.
First of all, no kidding Selig wants McCourt out. That sentence qualifies this story for the “Thank you, Captain Obvious” award. But the key is that verb “looted.” Just look at the thesaurus entries for “loot” as a verb.
- Main Entry: despoil
- Part of Speech: verb
- Definition: ravage, destroy
- Synonyms: denude, depopulate, depredate, deprive, desecrate, desolate, devastate, devour, dispossess, divest, loot, maraud, pillage, plunder, raid, rifle, rob, sack, spoil, spoliate, strip, vandalize, waste, wreak havoc, wreck
- Main Entry: embezzle
- Part of Speech: verb
- Definition: steal money, often from employer
- Synonyms: abstract, appropriate, defalcate, filch, forge, loot, misapply, misappropriate, misuse, peculate, pilfer, purloin, put hand in cookie jar, put hand in till, skim, thieve
- Main Entry: gut
- Part of Speech: verb
- Definition: clean out, strip
- Synonyms: bowel, decimate, despoil, dilapidate, disembowel, draw, dress, empty, eviscerate, exenterate, loot, pillage, plunder, ransack, ravage, rifle, sack
- Main Entry: knock off
- Part of Speech: verb
- Definition: steal
- Synonyms: filch, knock over, loot, pilfer, pinch, plunder, purloin, ransack, relieve, rifle, rip off, rob, thieve
- Main Entry: maraud
- Part of Speech: verb
- Definition: pillage and plunder
- Synonyms: despoil, forage, foray, harass, harry, loot, raid, ransack, ravage, sack
So, let’s look at what brought such a strongly loaded term. Major League Baseball asserts that McCourt broke at least one of the baseball “Ten Commandments” when he diverted team revenue to a non-baseball use.
Allegedly, McCourt misappropriated the following figures:
- $73 million in parking revenue through Blue Land Co., a non-team related entity
- $61 million in team revenue to pay off personal debts
- $55 million from team revenue for personal use
“The Dodgers are in bankruptcy because McCourt has taken almost $190 million out of the club and has completely alienated the Dodgers’ fan base,” the league said.
Major League Baseball asserts this violation is grounds for termination of McCourt’s franchise. Do you think it is a coincidence this story broke last week and a scant few business days later the Dodgers are literally on the auction block?
2) The Last Great Act of Douche-Baggery
Anybody who has been following the McCourt saga knows there have been several layers of lawyers involved in this mess. One of those layers revolves around the Bryan Stow situation.
In case you’ve forgotten, Stow is a San Francisco Giants fan who, for the cardinal sin of having a few beers during a Dodgers-Giants game on opening day in March, was beaten nearly to death in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium. Stow hasn’t seen the outside of a hospital or rehabilitation center, which obviously has run up some seriously hefty medical bills.
In order to pay these medical bills (which Stow’s lawyer Thomas Girardi has said could head north of $50 million), a civil suit was filed against McCourt; the contention being “security at the stadium was inadequate and lighting in the parking lot was insufficient, and that the organization did not promote responsible alcohol consumption.”
Naturally, that sort of liability has to factor into any sort of bankruptcy proceeding, which of course McCourt is embroiled in. This means Stow’s representatives are on the official committee of creditors, which means you can tack on Stow’s medical bills and various damages to McCourt’s, which makes Stow a “wild card” in McCourt’s upcoming critical bankruptcy court hearing.
So what does McCourt do in advance of this hearing? Blame the guy who got his brain spilled all over the Dodgers’ parking lot.
Another controversy around beleaguered Dodgers owner Frank McCourt erupted last week when an attorney defending him against a lawsuit brought by the family of Bryan Stow raised the possibility that Stow might be held partly responsible for the beating that left him brain damaged.
“In 23 years, I have yet to see anything at Dodger Stadium involving any form of altercation that didn’t involve at least two willing combatants,” Jerome Jackson, the attorney, said on an ESPN radio talk show. He cited a report in Sports Illustrated that Stow’s blood alcohol level when he arrived at the hospital was 0.176%, more than twice the legal limit in California for driving. (Not that Stow was driving when he was attacked.)
This is exactly why people hate lawyers. Jackson’s logic is akin to a drunk driver saying to the mother of child he just ran over “You should have kept your damn kid off the road in the first place.” But the douche-baggery gets even worse.
“I find it flabbergasting,” Jackson said, “that there’s this groundswell of animosity if not hatred toward McCourt and the Dodgers, but there doesn’t seem to be any public anger against the guys who did the beating.” To the contrary, what is flabbergasting is that Jackson doesn’t understand the depth of fan anger at McCourt in general. As Jackson points out, the McCourts did not beat up Bryan Stow. But certainly Dodgers fans feel bruised by McCourt’s woeful stewardship of the ballclub.
That’s a pretty big slice of sophistry if ever I saw one. Not only is that argument intended to make you believe none of this was McCourt’s responsibility, but it is also setting up the ugly, yet all too real legal strategy behind this obfuscation of the facts.
It’s hard to believe Jackson wasn’t posturing when he said he doesn’t understand why the alleged assailants have not been named in the civil suit. The Stow family attorney, Thomas Girardi, says naming them would only delay the suit because their testimony would probably not be available until after their criminal trial. Meanwhile, a civil jury can assign a percentage of responsibility to the assailants, even if they are not named in the suit.
McCourt’s lawyers will surely come out swinging at trial, but they should respect the injured plaintiff. One of McCourt’s problems has been his consistent cluelessness about the public relations effects of his decisions. Neither he nor Dodgers fans need to see his lawyers making a similar blunder.
It’s that last sentence that holds the key. McCourt simply doesn’t get that he continues to make himself look like a complete asshole, and that the court of public opinion has a lot of power.
But, the real question is exactly what kind of douche is Frank McCourt?
3) Finally, A Sale
At long last, baseball’s long national nightmare is over.
Embattled Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and Major League Baseball reached an agreement late Tuesday to sell one of the sport’s most storied franchises, ending a seven-year run that included four trips to the postseason before recently becoming mired in legal troubles capped by a filing for bankruptcy protection.
A joint statement said there will be a “court-supervised process” to sell the team and its media rights to maximize value for the Dodgers and McCourt. The Blackstone Group LP will manage the sale, which could include Dodger Stadium and the surrounding parking lots.
The announcement came as the Dodgers and MLB were headed toward a showdown in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware at the end of the month as mediation between both sides was ongoing.
No matter what happens, there’s two things that need to come from this sale.
First, I want to never hear the name “McCourt” ever again. If there were a way to have both Frank and that rat-faced ex-wife of his deported to some sort of leper colony, we need to get that done. Throw in anybody named “Kardashian” on that list as well (but that’s another story.)
Second, and most important, we must never let Bud Selig off the hook for this fiasco. We must never forget it was Selig who created this mess, and we must ensure he is held accountable for that; a trip to that same leper colony would work for me.
Yeah, I know it isn’t official yet. But Jim Crane is set to become the new owner of the Houston Astros; hell, someday we might even officially announce it.
Houston businessman Jim Crane and current owner Drayton McLane agreed to a $680 million sale in May. McLane said at the time he expected the deal to gain league approval by mid-July. However, Osama Bud Selig and the geniuses who run Major League Baseball have seen fit to keep Crane waiting in the lobby flipping through old magazines.
The prevailing attitude is the deal won’t be approved until the MLB owners meetings on August 18. Naturally, that could put a pinch on any deals the Astros might want to make in advance of the upcoming non-waiver trading deadline, July 31.
However, Crane and his people have been treated like a President-Elect; they have been given access to documents and have been consulted on personnel decisions including the release of veteran Bill Hall and the firing of pitching coach Brad Arnsberg. The expectation is they will continue to to be involved in any trade decisions even if the sale has not yet been approved.
This begs a million dollar question: If you are allowing Crane and his people a seat at the Astros’ decision-making table, it seems a safe assumption the sale is going to be approved. So why is Crane being left to idle in Osama Bud Selig’s purgatory?
The problem is twofold. First, Jim Crane is largely unknown. Up or down, McLane is known in Houston as “Uncle Drayton.” That sort of familiarity engenders respect or breeds contempt, which leaves Crane in an awkwardly neutral position.
That’s why here at Dubsism have dug up some facts which both will educate baseball fans about this new probable owner and doom his candidacy; it seems Selig may be holding this guy up because he isn’t the usual parasite who has been ushered into ownership under Osama Bud Selig and the rest of the MLB Taliban.
1) Jim Crane is no carpet-bagger
Unlike Frank McCourt, Jeffery Loria, and many other owners who don’t live in the cities in which they own franchises, Jim Crane has lived in Houston for nearly three decades, and has built several monstrous piles of cash there.
2) Jim Crane is a self-made man
Crane arrive in Houston from Kansas City in 1982 towing his whole life in a rented U-Haul trailer.
3) Jim Crane know how to build an organization
Crane’s first company was called Eagle Global Logistics. At it’s inception, it consisted of one employee and one truck. When Crane sold it for $300 million, it was a major player in the world of international freight with 11,000 employees and a client list including Nike, 3M, and Target.
4) Jim Crane has a loyal inner circle of friends
When you don’t know about a man’s character, look at his friends. Crane has a small circle of close friends who didn’t take the opportunity to get some cheap publicity for themselves by dropping the dime on Crane when the media was itching to get the scoop on the Astros’ new owner.
5) Crane is a baseball guy
While he was not a major-leaguer, Crane was a Division II baseball star at the University of Central Missouri in the 1970s. He was an honorable mention Division II All-American as a pitcher, notching a 21-8 record with a 2.42 ERA for UCM.
6) Crane is still a “sports” guy
Tons of high-level executives in this country can play some serious small-ball, but Crane is regarded as the best golfing CEO in the country. You can buy a bag full of high-tech sticks, you can buy memberships at the best country clubs, but you can’t buy a swing.
If those six facts don’t tell you this guy is no McCourt or Wilpon, don’t forget this guy was in a partnership with the suddenly-popular Mark Cuban on two occasions, once to buy the Chicago Cubs and once to buy the Texas Rangers. Of course, his association with Cuban may be what sticks under Osama Bud Selig’s turban, but the baseball Taliban is running out of guys who can bail out the mess they’ve created.
Editor’s Note: This article is a collaborative effort between Dubsism and Ryan Meehan from First Order Historians. Ryan also has his own blog, East End Philadelphia, which is featured in our BlogRoll and it is well worth the read.
Today’s world gives us no shortage of things which make us want to stab ourselves in the eyes. Many of us retreat into the world of sports to escape the fetid sewer that is current events. The trouble is that if you think about it, the world of sports is simply a reflection of that sewer; as if ESPN were a constipated horse who has been fed nothing but Taco Bell for a month finally letting loose on a big mirror.
Yeah, it sounds like a far-fetched concept until you consider the following:
1) People who believe we were wrong for killing Osama Bin Laden
We only have two words for you Prius-driving sanctimonious assholes who think your diet of tofu and sticks gives you the right to opine on a war in which your very own tree-hugging ass has a stake; those of you who believes there is a justification for having a moral, ethical, or tactical disagreement with how we went about killing the world’s moist infamous terrorist.
Let’s break down your arguments; doing so opens a veritable Pandora’s Box of stupidity clad in Birkenstocks wrapped a sheath of completely hypocritical pussification.
First there’s the moral – this was a military mission to kill the world’s most dangerous terrorist, one who got that distinction by killing tens of thousands of innocent people of various cultures in hundreds of terrorist attacks against various targets in various countries. However, just because America is amongst the list of countries upon which these atrocities were inflicted, and because you happen to hate America, somehow your education consisting of three semesters of community college allowed you to justify the evil of Osama Bin Laden. In other words, your “morality” allows for the slaughter of innocent people just because you think Wall Street is responsible for your inability to get a “real” job. Wall Street isn’t what is keeping you a 35-year old guy waiting tables; the fact that you spend all day smoking dope and whining about shit you are never going to get off your ass to change is.
Then, there’s the ethical. Bartender, set up a shot of 190-proof Truth – sometimes, there is no other way to deal with bad people than to turn them into dead people. That’s why the goal of the mission wasn’t to put Bin Laden into a “time out;” the goal was to kill him.
These people are our enemies for a reason: They dedicate their entire lives towards making sure that we live in fear by killing innocent people. Not to mention, you can’t negotiate with somebody who is willing to die in the process of killing you; fanatics don’t believe in peace, they believe in death.
Now for the shot of 190-Proof Irony – all you dumbfucks who think this war is somehow America’s fault and love to spend all your time protesting don’t understand that if America were to lose it’s freedoms to these kind of people, your Birkenstock-wearing asses would be the first ones to get marched down into a gravel pit and machine-gunned. Go wave your hippie protest signs on a street corner in Teheran and see how long it takes you to end up with a rope around your fucking neck.
See, the dirty little secret is that democracies rarely lose their freedoms to military conquest; rather they tend to give them away because we allow people who contribute nothing to society to have an equal say about matters of common concern. Chowski had a great thought about this: “If you’re a dictator that holds people in oppression your entire life, the chances that you will die peacefully in your sleep are very slim.” Truer words were never spoken, but the converse is equally true: A democracy which does not defend its freedoms against all threats both foreign and domestic is destined to lose them.
In other words, you need to understand these people want to kill you just as much as they want to kill us. If you want to wait like cattle for the slaughter, that’s fine; nobody needs you. But stay the fuck out of the way of those of us who value our lives.
The Sporting Equivalent: Now that Bin Laden is gone, can the Navy Seals take out Bud Selig?
Let’s look at the similarities between the late uber-terrorist and Osama Bud Selig: Bin Laden has led a decades-long war against the West, Selig has spent decades destroying baseball from within. Look at some of Selig’s shining accomplishments:
- Ushered into the ranks of ownership lowlifes like Frank McCourt, Fred Wilpon, and Tom Ricketts
- Defaulted the real seat of power in baseball from the Commissioner’s office to owners like the late George Steinbrenner and Jerry Reinsdorf
- Oversaw the explosion of salaries due to the irresponsibility of the owners, and blamed in on the players
- Allowed a work stoppage that cancelled a World Series and shortened two seasons
- Nearly allowed another work stoppage after the first fiasco
- Got rid of a bunch of terrible umpires, only to replace them with worse ones
- Threatened contraction – again blaming fans for the stupidity of owners
- Ignored the whole steroid problem, then tried to act like some pretentious defender of virtue once he got off his pock-mark ass
Show me a bigger threat to his sport than Selig, and we can call off the Seals. Until then, I want the Seals to bring me his hollowed-out skull.
2) The Casey Anthony Trial
Thanks to the NFL Lockout, you would think that infant killing became our new national sport. You would think the gruesome details of the malicious, intentional death of two-year old girl would be anything that you’d want to hear about. Yet, you can’t turn on your TV without hearing more minutia about how some high school dropout couldn’t take the pressure of changing a diaper, so she killed her baby.
Sorry, but it’s not fascinating; it’s horrible. The problem is there are people out there who have this kind of dysfunction in their real lives, and if you happen to know these people, you see the kind of suffering the sort of selfish sociopathic bitch like Casey Anthony can inflict. J-Dub happens to know somebody who wanted grandchildren more than anything else in this world, then had her daughter threaten to get an abortion if she wouldn’t provide free day-care. What do you think the odds are of that kid ending up duct-taped in a Hefty Cinch-Sack the first time “Mommie Dearest” wants to hang out with her lowlife, druggie friends?
It all comes down to this. It is a genuinely terrible thing it took those kids for everybody to realize what worthless pieces of shit their mothers are. It’s hard to tell which is the bigger crime, a mother who fucks up her whole life with bad decisions, covers herself in tattoos, and finally loses the respect of her family whom she used and abused her whole life, then tries to opt out of her responsibility by killing her own child, then acts shocked when she is hauled in front of a jury to answer for it, or that same jury deciding that her long list of manipulative lies are a good enough reason to let a murderer take a hike.
Regardless of whether you are a baby-killer or a sucker juror, did you really think we all wouldn’t notice what was really happening here?
To that end, here’s the letter Meehan sent to America’s new sweetheart:
You a misanthropic bitch whom no one should feel sorry for and you sincerely deserve all of the psychological torture that you have endured. It is truly a shame that you will miss the chance to be repeatedly raped with a mop handle before eventually being beaten to death with a tube sock full of batteries in prison.
Of course, he fucked up by accidentally mailing the letter to Elizabeth Smart. Boy, was his face red!!!
The Sporting Equivalent: O.J. Simpson
Americans really have trouble with stereotypes. Murderers aren’t supposed to be sports stars or the “girl next door.” Maybe this is why two clearly guilty people like Anthony and Simpson got away with murder. Or it could be because both cases had prosecutors who couldn’t convict a ham sandwich.
In either event, what matters is that the more you shine a camera on something, the more confused the picture gets. With Anthony, it all became about whether or not she was a “good mother” and “accidental death;” with Simpson it was all about “if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” It was all enough to make people forget about the victims, which is a crime in and of itself.
3) Anybody whose last name is “Kardashian”
First of all, why the fuck are these wastes of oxygen famous in the first place? Beside the facts their father was one of those scumbag lawyers that allowed O.J. Simpson to get away with murder, and their step-father is some ex-Olympic hero who has had enough bad plastic surgery to make him look like the wife of a Romanian goat farmer, we both have become convinced they exist only for those times when you are stuck standing in line at the supermarket where they assail you from the cover of every one of those brain-softening tabloids.
For the unpardonable crime of trying to buy a gallon of milk, I have to live through the “news” that one of these multi-talentless bimbos is pregnant, one of them is tired of being called fat, and another one is getting yet another series of spooge injections into her ever-widening ass which has become little more than a dick pin-cushion for every 2nd-rate pro athlete. Stop wasting my time with these stupid bitches until the “news” is about a fatal car accident, complete with photos of their corpses impaled on a guardrail.
Oh, and a hearty “Fuck off and die” to every one of you late-night talk show hosts who perpetuate this plague by giving these morons a forum in which they are allowed to speak like they are some sort of role model. Anybody who thinks a Kardashian has anything meaningful to offer should have their genitalia removed with a hedge-clipper to save future generations from this mental gonorrhea.
Since they want to eye-rape all of us with their reality-show bullshit, here’s how we really give it some spice. We turn the show into a game-show style contest, where these three compete with each other doing what they do best, exploiting their own alleged sexuality. The stunts they have to pull become increasingly difficult as the game goes on, with the ultimate goal being like a “snuff” film; all three of them choking to death on a flaming railroad tie.
The Sporting Equivalent: Danica Patrick
Yeah, I know we’ve beat on her before, but she representative of the same problem. She exploits her supposed sexuality, which covers for the fact she’s never won a fucking thing, which covers for the fact she is about as important to racing as a quart of engine sludge.
Not to mention, I wouldn’t mind seeing her get the flaming railroad tie treatment.
4) The “Angry Birds” app
Meehan works in the cell phone industry, which explains why the mere mention of this app causes him to turn purple and lose control of his body functions. For those of you who aren’t familiar, it consists of a slingshot on the left hand side of the screen. A bird is in the slingshot, and when you press the screen the bird flies across the screen and knocks bricks out of different structures.
That’s it. No explosions, no real mayhem, no large breasted comic-book style heroines flashing their wares. Just fucking birds.
First of all, I’m shocked the ASPCA or PETA hasn’t gotten their collective tampons in a knot over this. They’d have no case, but neither do any of their other claims; but this is the perfect sort of meaningless shit they love to get all worked up over. If someone designed an application where you shot kittens out of a cannon, even if they landed on giant white fluffy pillows we’d never hear the end of it from either of those two groups.
So, basically Arkanoid wasn’t good enough, so we killed it, but people had the desire to shoot bird-like characters across the screen and to fill that need, we got this shit. Fuck that noise, Arkanoid was awesome.
The Sporting Equivalent: ESPN3.com
If you wanted proof ESPN really doesn’t get what its viewers want, just look at ESPN3.com, the World Wide Leader’s attempt at streaming sporting events on-line. Your viewing selections include (whenever the site isn’t locking up your browser) such exciting events like AAU basketball, FIFA’s Under-17 World Cup, the American Le Mans Series Northeast Grand Prix (Qualifying Rounds Only), and the World Netball Championships, whatever the fuck that is.
Show me Danica Patrick and Hannah Storm doing a guest spot on the new and improved Kardashian Flaming Railroad Tie Hour and I’m totally there.
5) Bruno Mars and that awful “Grenade” song
Exaggerating is something that even I find myself doing quite a bit, but Bruno Mars does it to a level that is just over-the-top dopey. The perfect example lies in this cocksmoking tool’s song “Grenade.” Basically, he is using this song to tell the world he’s just another guy who has fallen in love, and therefore relinquished any claim to his balls. In short, he dick-fucks your eardrums for three minutes regaling you with tales of all the shit he would suffer through would suffer through for this girl. To be quite honest, I wish these weren’t figures of speech because I’d love to see this guy do any of this stuff he mentions in the song.
“I’d catch a grenade for love”
This is just stupid. Nobody catches grenades. Nobody expects anybody to catch grenades. Not to mention, since when does a gesture of love require A) a third party and B) military-grade explosives. Ladies, if you are dating Bruno Mars, this line likely means he thinks it would be the “bomb” to have a three-way with you and his buddy who also couldn’t get laid in a women’s prison even if he had a fistful of keys. So, unless you want to end up on the old “spit-roast,” you need to ditch this clown. Face it, only a guy who can’t get laid would go to the extreme of grenade-catching.
“I’d jump in front of a train for love”
That actually sounds pretty hardcore, until you stop to think about the logical extension. The whole point of some sort of “Grand gesture of love” is to get some chick to come across with some action. Even if your “gesture” moves her so much to give you the best head you’ve ever had in your life, the exercise is a bit pointless if your junk ends up floating in a jar down at the County Hospital.
“I’d do anything for love”
If you’d catch a grenade or jump in front of a train for her love, by this point she knows you’re desperate. Saying “I’d do anything for love” just means she can’t wait to hear the next dumbass stunt you’re about to propose; meanwhile she’s thinking about all the practical stuff you will be doing for her just for the promise of a little trim. Next time she moves, guess who is going to get a fucking hernia lugging her shit up three flights of stairs? That would be you, “Mr. I would do anything for love.” Besides, Meat Loaf already covered this.
“I would die for you baby, but you won’t do the same…”
Well, not after that she won’t…You want to know why? You’ve already shown you aren’t worth dying for. Know what people die for? Things that matter, like the honor of duty for your country, or to save the life of another human being, not for some crybaby raisin-sac whose whole life seems to revolve around getting a piece of ass and making a complete douche-nozzle of himself in the process.
The Sporting Equivalent: Pay-Per-View Sports
This all starts back in the late 80’s, but it continues to this day. Today, it’s all that UFC, wrestling, and monster truck shit, but back in the day there was no better way to fleece the guy “who would do anything for sports” then to get him to pony up $50 for a Mike Tyson vs. Insert Future Corpse Here fight; one that inevitably only lasted 80 seconds.
See, the problem is since the guy “who would do anything for sports” is also “the guy who would do anything for love,” he’s blown all his dough romancing that chick who works at McBurgerQueen who has pimples and kind of a big butt, but has a first-class set of knockers. This means he’s invited all of his buddies over to watch the fight if they chip in on the cost.
It gets worse when the aforementioned lack of funds means he has to pass the hat for beer money, and while he’s hustling down to the Kwik-i-Mart in order to get back before the fight, the guy in line in front of him at the store is trying to buy something with a check, and by the time he gets back, Tyson’s opponent has long since been hit by the train, caught the grenade, or whatever other sort of analogy you wish to use for Tyson’s patented brand of “I’m gonna fuck you ‘til you love me” prison violence.
Here’s the deal…Let that moment where you realize the replay just doesn’t have the same effect and you know it never will; let that moment be the one of clarity where you realize Pay-Per-View isn’t worth it, and neither is that chick at McBurgerQueen.
-J-Dub and Meehan
Editor’s Note: Mr. McGrath has long and storied history in the management of professional sports franchises, most notably as the general manager of the Charlestown Chiefs of the now-defunct Federal League. Oh, and this is probably a good time to mention that Mr. McGrath’s views are his own, and do not necessarily reflect those of Dubsism, our staff, or anybody else whose house you might want to burn to the ground.
What a lot of you don’t know about me is that I love to read in my spare time. I picked up this habit on those long bus trips to places like Peterborough back in my Federal League days. The other night I found this book of quotes, and it had a section on stupidity. As I read through some of these quotes, it occurred to me just how rampant stupidity is in our world. Albert Einstien once said only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity. I don’t that guy ever said anything ever more important. The funny part is that so many of these quotes, eve if they are hundreds of years old still apply to some of the shitheads we have out there today.
1) Bud Selig, Commissioner, Major League Baseball
“The only thing that ever consoles man for the stupid things he does is the praise he always gives himself for doing them.” – Oscar Wilde
For life of me, I can’t figure out what this shit-for-brains was thinking. He has one guy who wanted to buy the Dodgers and had the money, cash goddamn money, and all of it that day. Instead, Commissioner Big Brain sells to a guy that has less than 2% of the cash up-front, and has the rest of the money in a financing plan shakier Oprah’s flabby ass.
2) Brian Sabean, General Manager, San Francisco Giants
“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and consciencious stupidity.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
You baseball guys are such pussies sometimes. In hockey, if our star goalie gets plowed over, we just send a few of the big boys out to exact some “street justice.” But when Buster Posey got creamed on a play where deserved to get creamed, you bitched about it so long and loud you probably went through two full menstrual cycles while you did it. Teach your boys to play hard, but play smart, and most of all, keep your little fairy-yap shut. The game is about them, not your soft, fluffy ass.
3) David Kahn, General Manager, Minnesota Timberwolves
“Success in almost any field depends more on energy and drive than it does on intelligence. This explains why we have so many stupid leaders.” – Sloan Wilson
This is right in my wheelhouse, as I was a general manger you far more years than I care to remember. There’s tow parts to the bottom line to success in that job.
- Never question the integrity of the league commissioner, even if you know the cocksucker is so crooked his driver’s license picture looks like a question mark.
- Never fire a coach who is happy to have a shitty job.
I rarely see a guy who steps in it like this moulyak. He blew through both of these in less than a month. First, he essentially calls NBA Commissioner David Stern a crook by insinuating the league’s draft lottery is fixed. Of course Stern’s a crook, he’s a Commissioner. To be a Commissioner, you have to be a politician, and to be a politician, you have have to be slimier that a snot-covered pile of worm-filled horse shit. You just can’t say it.
Then he jerks around Kurt Rambis on the Wolves’ head coaching job. Look, I get Rambis couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag if you gave him a map and a blowtorch, but nobody in their right mind wants that job. If you have a guy whose is happy to fail in a job where you expect failure, be happy with that.
4) Jim Hendry, General Manager, Chicago Cubs
“The ugly and the stupid have the best of it in this world. They can sit at their ease and gape at the play. If they know nothing of victory, they are at least spared the knowledge of defeat.” – Oscar Wilde
Let’s be honest, anybody in a leadership role with the Cubs clearly understands this. Without the thrill of victory, there is no point of reference for the agony of defeat. That means if you are Jim Hendry, there’s just of lot of confused staring into the opposing dugout and wondering, “Why do those guys all seem so happy?”
5) Jim Riggleman, ex-Manager, Washington Nationals
“Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives.” – Oscar Wilde
I understand how the blue-collar set thinks Riggleman standing up for his pride is a noble and honorable act. That’s exactly why they are on the lower rung of the social ladder and will never climb it. Riggleman wasn’t some ball-scratcher making eleven bucks an hour on some assembly line; he had signed a binding contract to do a job, for which he was to be paid in one year what the people worshipping his titanic act of stupidity make in a decade. Instead, Riggleman doesn’t have the raisins to live with his pride being wounded a bit and commits career suicide over it.
6) E. Gordon Gee, President, Ohio State
“Between a fellow who is stupid and honest and one who is smart and crooked, I will take the first. I won’t get much out of him, but with that other guy I can’t keep what I’ve got.” – General Lewis B. Hershey
Time for some brutal honesty for Brutus F. Buckeye. The “resignation” of Jim Tressel was not an attempt of the university to ward off NCAA sanctions. It was attempt by Gee to yank his ass out of the fire. Gee committed the cardinal sin of letting a subordinate get away with murder because he was producing results. Every once in a while, you have to make sure your people aren’t doing things for which you ultimately will be held accountable.
When you find out something on which you need to act, there are plenty of ways to deal with such a problem that still insulate yourself. Put a sealed letter of reprimand in his file that contains a clause to the effect of “you are on double-secret probation for period of time X, at the end of which this letter will be removed from your file.”
The trick is you keep that letter in your file along with a log of everytime the farted in the wrong key; that way you have a record that you acted on known bad behavior, and you have plenty of stuff to introduce into the record for any potential legal proceedings.
Either way, you will have cards to play instead of losing your job for “looking the other way.” Denial always means death when the word gets out.
Honestly, I’ve been trying to stay away from this situation that has evolved from the incident on opening day at Dodger Stadium. Anybody who knows me knows I have a life-long hatred of the Dodgers. But it has become so clear that Frank McCourt has done something I never thought possible; he’s made the Dodger organization eminently more hateable.
First and foremost, stop calling what happened a “tragedy.” Calling it a tragedy infers there is more than one victim. There is only one victim; his name is Bryan Stow and he is in a coma because a few individuals committed a criminal act by assaulting and pummeling him nearly to death.
If you want to talk about multiple parties, then you have to talk about who is responsible for this act of senseless brutality. Obviously, there are the people who committed the crime; these are people who need to be found and punished. But then there’s Dodger owner Frank McCourt. The importance of the fact this happened at McCourt’s ballpark cannot be understated, because he created the environment which made this assault possible.
What happened to Bryan Stow is the culmination of a series of events, all of which were set in motion by McCourt. Ask anybody who has been to Dodger Stadium in the last five years and they will tell you it has become a dangerous place. There is a distinct lack of security; there’s a distinct lack of uniformed police. There used to be a distinct presence of stadium personnel in the parking lots after the games; McCourt got rid of them while instituting a emphasis on beer sales. It is all a recipe for this kind of incident.
What worse is the day after Stow was beaten into a coma, McCourt denied that Dodger Stadium had a security problem, and it took nearly a week of the Dodgers being flamed in the media before McCourt finally admitted there was a problem and hired former LAPD chief William Bratton.
How the hell can one man be so blind? There’s a guy who was beaten into a coma on his property, which by definition means there’s a problem. The thing that really bothers me is that McCourt doesn’t react to the beating that occurred at his ballpark, rather he reacts to the flaming he received in the media. In other words, this hire smacks of a public relations move rather than a decision made in the interest of public safety.
This really ought to be the last straw; this should be the point where Major League Baseball steps in and assumes control of this franchise. Since the McCourts are in the middle of a nasty divorce, and since Frank McCourt is already circling the financial drain, it is pretty clear he stopped caring about the well-being of the franchise a while ago. But looking for leadership from Bud Selig is like looking for a ham sandwich in Mecca. Instead, we are all going to get to watch the death of one of the historic franchises of Major League Baseball, which means Bryan Stow near-death will ultimately be for nothing.
That’s the real tragedy.