Sunday, May 16, 2010

Shocker! Squawker Jon and I clash over Mike Piazza

I wrote something for The Faster Times about Mike Piazza, and Squawker Jon was not happy about it. You see, I think that before we start debating about whether Piazza should go into the Hall of Fame as a Met or as a Dodger, we should start talking about whether he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame at all. To wit, whether or not Piazza used performance-enhancing drugs.

Anyhow, for my Squawking partner, me writing this piece was the equivalent of booing Santa Claus or something. But my point is that it's unfair for the media to essentially give Piazza a pass on the issue without even looking into whether he used PEDs, when the likes of Mark McGwire have essentially been blackballed from the Hall of Fame for the same subject.

And, as I noted last year, Jeff Pearlman's book on Roger Clemens, not only has a ballplayer saying on the record that Piazza used PEDs, but it also says that Piazza admitted PED use to several reporters back in the day. Yet when the catcher was recently interviewed by the New York Times, the only time the subject of steroid use came up when Piazza declined to answer a question about whether steroid users should be admitted to the Hall.

MLB writers will have to eventually work out as to whether PED users will be admitted to the Hall of Fame (although Jose Canseco says that one has already unknowingly been elected!) But I think it's silly to ban the likes of Bonds and Clemens (who were Hall of Famers before they ever touched a syringe) and let in somebody like Mike Piazza, the 62nd round draft pick who became arguably the greatest-hitting catcher of all time, without even investigating as to whether he, too, did steroids.

Whether or not the player was great with the press - Piazza was a media darling, McGwire, Clemens, and Bonds weren't - shouldn't be a deciding factor in this issue. Although it sure seems like Piazza is getting a pass from the press over this issue.

Anyhow, check out my article, and tell me what you think.

1 comment:

Uncle Mike said...

I don't know where you got the idea that Mark McGwire WASN'T a media darling, Lisa. Up until the St. Patrick's Day Massacre (the 3/17/05 hearings), the media consistently slobbered over him. I think the only reason they turned on him is because they felt betrayed that the guy they elevated to mythological status turned out to be more myth than man.

Piazza gets a free pass because he was a Met, and therefore anyone who is a hero to Met fans is, like anyone who is a hero to Red Sox fans, automatically, a hero to all Yankee Haters everywhere.

Piazza remains a hero, whose steroid status (whatever it might be) must not be discussed; while Clemens remains a villain, whose steroid status is assumed. Well, as that great New Yorker Felix Unger taught us, you know what happens when you ass/u/me. Especially since, to this day, the amount of publicly revealed evidence against Clemens remains at exactly the same level of publicly revealed evidence against Piazza: There isn't any proof, and the testimony comes from equally questionable individuals.

It will take Piazza falling on the same kind of scale as O.J. Simpson, Lawrence Taylor or Pete Rose before the media turns on him. (And even in Rose's case, it took a few years of lying about it before the media decided he was a villain.) After all, look what Kobe Bryant admitted to doing, and what we think he did, and he got forgiven by the media. Will Piazza fall on this scale? Only if he gets caught.

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