Ibanez flap: New Media isn’t at fault; dumb old baseball is

A blogger suggests a player’s late-career surge is suspicious because of you-know-what. The player — Raul Ibanez of Philadelphia — calls the blogger “some 42-year-old typing in his mother’s basement.” Old Media (meaning John Gonzalez of the Philadelphia Inquirer) takes Ibanez’s side. New Media takes a hit. And I say …

The blogger in question — Jerod Morris of Midwest Sports Fans, who says he’s 27, FYI — was clumsy in method but correct in thesis. This is baseball. Baseball has a steroids issue. Did Morris have a shred of evidence, other than generic numbers about hitting stats in certain ballparks and some data regarding Ibanez’s history of first-half hitting, to implicate this player? Nope. (So far as I can discern, Morris has never met Ibanez.) But is Morris accurate when he says baseball players are now guilty until proven innocent? Yes indeed.

How many happy baseball stories have soured? McGwire and Sosa were saviors. Now they’re pariahs. Barry Bonds was the greatest hitter ever. Now he’s the biggest cheat. Roger Clemens was the holder of seven Cy Young awards. Now he’s one shameful dissembler. A-Rod was supposed to reclaim the home-run record in the name of virtue. Now he’s A-Roid. Manny was being Manny until it was discovered he needed a female fertility drug to help him be Mann(l)y.

In the post-steroids era, can baseball ever regain its credibility?

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This isn’t, as ESPN’s Outside the Lines sough to have it, about Old Media vs. New Media. It’s about MLB against itself. (Confession: I’ve been working for newspapers for 31 years, five months and three days. I’m so old-school my institution of learning had a wood stove and a schoolmarm.)

Part of me wants to be moved by Ibanez’s impassioned denial — “You can have my urine, my hair, my blood, my stool, anything you can test,” he told Jim Salisbury of the Inquirer — but my cynical side recalls Rafael Palmeiro making an impassioned denial before Congress before he tested positive. Indignation isn’t nearly so righteous as it once was.

Is it unfair Ibanez’s name even gets mentioned in the context of steroids? Absolutely. But Ibanez’s game, sad to say, got itself where it is by turning a blind eye to blatant unfairness. Nobody knows what was real and what wasn’t. And nobody, whether he’s sitting in the commissioner’s office or snuggled up in his mom’s basement, can see a way out of this mess. Nobody, I say.

35 comments Add your comment

[...] Ibanez Flap: New Media Isn’t At Fault; Bumb old Baseball Is — (AJC, Mark Bradley Blog) [...]

Greg Hawkins

June 11th, 2009
3:14 pm

“Steroids in MLB is the issue” and has been way to long. The Commissioner is more Politician than a leader and has fumbled this ball from the get go. Someone needs to “Stand in the Door” and say “Enough”. But gee, it might affect attendance and in this economic climate we can’t do that. When is that going to happen or is this an issue you dump on the next Commissioner? Politics wins 1, baseball 0.

Mark Bradley

June 11th, 2009
3:16 pm

And a lousy politician to boot.

AJC

June 11th, 2009
3:19 pm

“some 42-year-old typing in his mother’s basement.”

That hurts!!! Mom told me that if I spent a few hours outside today doing sports related activities, that she’d make grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner..I’m in a quandary because I’d rather be in the basement with my computer, but we are talking grilled cheese sandwiches here…What to do?

Reid Adair

June 11th, 2009
3:19 pm

You are right, Mark. Ibanez needs to blame Major League Baseball, not some internet blogger. This guy wrote it, but there are likely MANY people out there who think it.

Ibanez is paying the price for Major League Baseball turning its collective heads to this issue and allowing it to get completely out of control.

MightyQuinn

June 11th, 2009
3:23 pm

The current commish is the ultimate “fox guarding the henhouse” of all time. Baseball will NEVER have a real commisioner (in its original intent) again. Money/profit rules all.

Mark Bradley

June 11th, 2009
3:24 pm

Life is all about the tough choices, AJC.

Jim

June 11th, 2009
3:28 pm

When you are this player’s age and you dramatically improve, there is going to be questions. The best example is Roger Clements who got better as he got older. Just does not happen like that unless, there is something “special” going on.

Ward Cleaver, Beaver's Dad

June 11th, 2009
3:30 pm

That biting comment strikes home with a number of bloggers but not so many on this particular blog, I suspect. There is an AJC baseball blog that might be threatened by such a statement but I cain’t let own which won it is for obvius raisins.

Mark Bradley

June 11th, 2009
3:33 pm

Me, I never blog from the basement. Sometimes from in front of my extremely high-tech TV, though.

Jim

June 11th, 2009
3:35 pm

And Mark, I do agree that baseball has the poorest leadership going. The commissioner is at best a hack, who buried his head when the Steroid Era was going and now wants to look tough. Can’t have it both ways Bud.

Mark Bradley

June 11th, 2009
3:37 pm

I’ve been around a few commissioners, and every time I see Bud Selig in a media setting I think, “How did this guy get here?”

NC Braves Fan

June 11th, 2009
3:46 pm

What’s interesting here is that Ibanez would call more attention to it by commenting so extensively on it. What are the chances this would have been a story if he would have stayed mum?

Steroids or not, Ibanez is probably off to a killer start due this year to three factors – new ballpark, new league, new lease on career.

PMC

June 11th, 2009
3:48 pm

blame the ballpark.

Hillbilly Deluxe

June 11th, 2009
3:54 pm

Mark, you have to hand it to Bud Selig. Who else could make that disaster if a commissioner Bowie Kuhn look good by comparison?

Jim

June 11th, 2009
3:55 pm

How he got there is the easy part. The owners wanted one of their own to guard the “hen house”. I suspect that they looked around for the guy who would be the easiest to handle and keep in line. I have never understood how they got away with that one. The beat goes on.

Hillbilly Deluxe

June 11th, 2009
3:55 pm

ahould have said “of a commissioner”

Brad Markley

June 11th, 2009
4:30 pm

Mark,

I’m going to change my name from AJC to Brad Markley for F3′ing purposes. So any time you see a post by Brad Markley, don’t discount it, because it’ll just be another quality post by the poster formerly known as AJC.

Note: If you’re opposed to Brad Markley let me know, and I’ll just use the name “Sawamura Award Winning Pitcher Kenshin Kawakami”…Your call, but I’m really hoping that you don’t have a problem with Brad Markley.

Regards,
Brad Markley, formerly known as AJC

Dr. Jesse

June 11th, 2009
4:30 pm

In 1966 I began following baseball passionately. I saw my hero of the game [Dale Murphy] go from sure Hall of Fame as compared to his peers {Gold Gloves, back to back MVP, home run king, 398, and All Star 6 times} tp becoming irrelevant due to drugs. I watched your “mates” elevate cheaters at the cost of my hero. He has heard the line of “you still have to hit the ball” and dreamed of HUNDREDS of warning track outs. Oh but for ten more feet.

You are the key part of the machine the clogges the mind with numbing prattle about ad-hominum attacks on us who dare question how Javy Lopez can put on thirty pounds of limber muscle and add 25 dingers in a contract year. {see how Chippers numbers fall as he ages}. He still hits the ball….any ball but injuries and age cannot be overcome without Dr. Roid.

Save me the crap. Write your overpaid columns in your plaid boxers in front of your big screen and pretend you do not believe physiology can be altered at age 42 [or older]. Look at your skin and face and body aches. Change that and leave the rest of us realists alone!

BTW Glavine got what every Met deserves. Go Braves!!!!!!!!! Never remarry the Wh^^^ who leaves you for money.

Mark Bradley

June 11th, 2009
4:33 pm

It’s all yours, Brad. Thanks for asking.

Brad Markley

June 11th, 2009
4:43 pm

Thanks Mark….Is it true that Terry Pendleton told Barbaro Canizares to forget everything he has ever learned about hitting when he arrived today?

Sawamura Award Winning Pitcher Kenshin Kawakami

June 11th, 2009
4:52 pm

Mark,

Brad Markley is to close of a name to Mark Bradley and you don’t want people thinking that I’m you, because that would be awful. So I’m going with Sawamura Award Winning Pitcher Kenshin Kawakami as my name.

Sawamura Award Winning Pitcher Kenshin Kawakami

June 11th, 2009
5:01 pm

Dr. Jesse, I heard that Tommy Glavine as a sign of protest was going to be inducted into the HOF as an LA King.

marseilles mutt

June 11th, 2009
5:01 pm

Taken on balance, think about how the proper utilization of steroids could have helped the game of baseball. Using Chipper Jones as a case in point, he would not have missed half the games he has if he had been able to take steroids in a properly prescribed manner to help aleviate some of his personal’aches and pains’.

On the other side of the coin, how many of those who are criticizing the players would have had the guts to say “No!”, when literally millions of personal dollars were involved.

Ain’t been the same since ‘94, and that is sad. Loved the day when the players truly were the ‘guy next door’, and held down off season jobs.

By the way, your piece on Chipper Jones was stellar. Further, what makes him even larger in my sight was how he handles his personal problems. Few admit to “My bad!”, when they are wrong, and take whatever is dealt to them like a man as he does. Rather rare today.

Jim R.

June 11th, 2009
5:13 pm

Wow-I am not quite certain why Dr. Jesse turned his vitriolic crayola on you personally Mr. B, but I hope his pestiferous diatribe does not obscure two good points. First, why is Dale Murphey not in the Hall Of Fame? I welcome comments. Second , his assertation that ‘your mates elevate cheaters at the cost of heroes’ is dead on. Mark Mcguire’s chase of Maris’s record was as exciting as it gets, why derail the headlines with questions about how he developed so fast as such an age. We all knew it was not via the barbell route but were so enthralled we were willing to look the other way as we were all caught up in the excitement. Bottom line, that is what sells newspapers. Until afterwords when he is ‘caught’ doing what we should have known all along he was doing then that becomes the headlines. We love to see’em fall almost as much as we like to see’em soar. Watching the Murph excel over and over with class and dignity just ain’t front page material. If only he had impregnated a supermodel or shot an exotic dancer! Now that’s news!

randy

June 11th, 2009
5:46 pm

mark, did terrance moore get fired?

P Rose

June 11th, 2009
5:47 pm

Bite My Tire

for Bud Selig

You know that it would be untrue

You know that I would be a liar

If I said they had a clue

Sosa Bonds or Mark McGuire

Come on Bud and bite my tire

Come on Bud and bite my tire

Ibanez is such a liar

The time to pussyfoot is through

The situation’s gotten dire

MLB can only lose

And the sport become a funeral pyre

Come on Bud and bite my tire

Come on Bud and bite my tire

Bradley’s preachin’ to the choir

If Clemens wasn’t on the juice

If Manny isn’t gettin’ higher

Barry’s head is like a moose

Ibanez, he might as well retire

Come on Bud and bite my tire

Come on Bud and bite my tire

Donald Trump should say “you’re fired!”

Jack G.

June 11th, 2009
6:15 pm

Baseball is the culprit here, but the Media has its share of blame also.

Example—-The Media crucified Rocker, but no one , I repeat no one ever said he lied.

NCBravesFan

June 11th, 2009
6:56 pm

Well Mark, Schultz has Hot Phone Sex Princess, and now you have Sawamura Award Winning Pitcher Kenshin Kawakami patrolling your l’il space in the blogosphere.

As the late Mel Allen would say, “How ’bout that?!”

Supes

June 11th, 2009
7:28 pm

Repeat after me, there is no testing for HGH, which is just as potent as anabolic steroids for putting on muscle mass and improving overall strength (through muscle gains). You can only detect it through blood doping and let’s face it…it’ll never happen. If baseball players CARED so fraking much about “coming out clean”, submit to Olympic standard type testing. Then it’ll be CLEANED UP once and for all. Until then, it’s still a joke. (current system) and it DOESN’T work, no matter how Bud and anyone else tries to spin it.

[...] Mark Bradley | ajc.com – [...]

Nate

June 12th, 2009
4:55 am

Everyone here in Philly knows that Rauuuuuuul is off to such an amazing start both because he’s playing in a new league, so the pitchers don’t know what they’re up against, and, more importantly, because he hits in a lineup stacked with MVP-caliber hitters, so the pitchers couldn’t start pitching around him even once they realized what they were up against. I mean, I haven’t checked the guy’s stool or anything, but I’d be shocked if he were juicing. And I know I’m not the only phan willing to give Ibanez the benefit of the doubt. Plus, why would a guy who just signed a 3-year contract worth more than $10 mil per year do anything to jeopardize his job? And knowing he’d make the same great money even if he sucked, why would he even bother cheating? The guy’s just great.

Random

June 12th, 2009
10:49 am

MB: ” And nobody, whether he’s sitting in the commissioner’s office or snuggled up in his mom’s basement, can see a way out of this mess. Nobody, I say.”

I certainly can — it’s simple.

LEGALIZE STEROIDS.

Period, the end. End the hypocrisy and witch-hunts in one fell stroke.

Buzz Capra

June 12th, 2009
12:48 pm

Dumping on Selig is an easy cop-out for the ill-informed. The MLBPA is 100% to blame for the steroid mess, not MLB. Fehr would never agree to drug-testing in any form and Selig would have had to shut down the game and break the union in order to start a drug-testing program. The MLBPA’s membership were the cheaters/users and their union protected them from detection until the scandal broke and they had to agree to the current testing program under extreme public and congressional pressure.

Ibanez might be clean and could be being unfairly scrutinized but I don’t feel sorry for him one bit. He should have been one of the many clean players in the steroid era (assuming there were some) who demanded that their union protect the clean players, not the cheaters, by demanding a vigorous drug testing program from day one. This is the price you pay for not standing up and demanding that the union look out for all of its members and not just the guys hitting 75 homeruns per year while losing their hair and sporting acne all over their backs.

Put the blame where it belongs: On the players and their union. If Raul Ibanez is really PO’d, he should not blame some blogger who is making a natural point about a 37 year old who is having a career year in the steroid era. He should go find Donald Fehr and punch him in the face!

Selig has actually done quite a masterful job of generating public pressure on the issue and then using that to extract drug-testing-concessions from the union. The Mitchell Report was 100% his idea and he was smart enough to realize that, even though it would generate bad publicity for his beloved sport, it was the only way he could get the leverage necessary to clean up this major problem long-term.

Tom

June 13th, 2009
7:47 am

TIME FOR PETE ROSE TO BE IN THE HALL OF FAME….wait, was he on steriods? or just plain stupid?