LADY AT THE BAT: On Raul Ibanez and Steroids

Thursday, June 11, 2009

On Raul Ibanez and Steroids

I first learned of this story yesterday morning, but was unable to post anything about it because every media outlet I turned to for information failed to mention the name of the blog that was the original source of it. I don't know if that was done on purpose. My suspicion is that is was, but again, I don't know.

Anyway, in case you have not heard, earlier this week JRod of Midwest Sports Fans wrote a post about Raul Ibanez and performance enhancing drugs. On Wednesday, John Gonzalez of The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote an article criticizing JRod for the post. The title of the article is A Cheap Shot at Ibanez. In Jim Salisbury's article yesterday, Ibanez angrily refuted JRod's "claims."

Everyone knows what Ibanez said, including:

"...Unfortunately, I understand the environment we're in and the events that have led us to this era of speculation. At the same time, you can't just walk down the street and accuse somebody of being a thief because they didn't have a nice car yesterday and they do today. You can't say that guy is a thief..." and, [Philly.com]

"I'll put that up against the jobs of anyone who writes this stuff. Make them accountable. There should be more credibility than some 42-year-old blogger typing in his mother's basement. It demeans everything you've done with one stroke of the pen." [Philly.com]

Ibanez is absolutely right about the environment we live in. He's also right about how wrong it is to accuse somebody based on appearances.

Maybe he needs to practice what he preaches.

It sounds to me that Ibanez did not even read what JRod wrote. He read only the John Gonzalez article and drew his conclusions from there.

I read JRod's post. It is well thought out and carefully written. Here's an excerpt:

"...It’s time for me to begrudgingly acknowledge the elephant in the room: any aging hitter who puts up numbers this much better than his career averages is going to immediately generate suspicion that the numbers are not natural, that perhaps he is under the influence of some sort of performance enhancer. And since I was not able to draw any absolute parallels between his prodigously improved HR rate and his new ballpark’s hitter-friendliness, it would be foolish to dismiss the possibility that “other” performance enhancers could be part of the equation.

Sorry Raul Ibanez and Major League Baseball, that’s just the era that we are in — testing or no testing.

Personally, I am withholding judgment until we see a full seasons’ worth of stats. Many players put together terrific runs of 150-250 ABs in the midst of otherwise normal or just slightly above average (based on their career numbers) seasons. Ibanez’s terrific 219 AB run since Opening Day is just magnified right now because it came at the start of the season."

At no point in the post does JRod state emphatically that Raul Ibanez is now on or has ever been on performance enhancing drugs. Yet, Ibanez judges JRod on "appearances," drawing on that tired image of all bloggers being 42 year old losers, typing away in their mothers' basements.

Raul, wake up and smell the philly cheese steak. It's time to lose that stereotype.

Bernadette

4 comments:

www.buyingachampionship.com said...

I completely agree with you. I don't believe JRod was slanderous in his remarks, nor do I believe he actually made a claim that Raul was taking steroids. While I do think we need to be careful with what we post on blogs and on the internet in general, we must remember that we are granted freedom of speech and press, and we are free to express our opinions without interuption. That doesn't necessarily insure us against libel/slander suits, but unless Raul suffers some sort of damage from this kid's blog, there's nothing to worry about.

Bernadette said...

"...we must remember that we are granted freedom of speech and press, and we are free to express our opinions without interuption."

Exactly. Ibanez seems to have forgotten that.

I just don't think he read the blog post. If he did I can't imagine him getting as upset as he did.

Keith said...

About five years ago, Will Carroll of BaseballProspectus.com reported that Mark Prior's mechanics were terrible and that he was hiding an injury. He was publicly dismissed by the Cubs' front office, Chicago print media, and by Prior as being some know-nothing blogger in his mother's basement despite his having already established himself as one of the most knowledgeable authorities on pitcher injuries.

As we all know, Prior went on the disabled list a week later and has pitched in roughly three major league games since then. I thought that was the beginning of the end for the negative streotype for internet writing at the time, but the stigma still lives on today, as Ibanez' comments prove.

Bernadette said...

The minute people in the mainstream sports media hear the word "blogger," they dismiss what's being discussed as irrelevant, without even going to the blogger's site and reading what was written. I didn't see JRod on "Outside The Lines," but from what I've heard, Ken Rosenthal of FOX exposed himself as having done this very thing. (If anyone saw the show please correct me if I am wrong.)

I guess prepping for a show appearance (and investigative journalism in general) doesn't include reading blogs, even if the subject of the story is the blog itself.