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Friday, July 23, 2010

Reporters' double standard when it comes to A-Rod's 600-homer pursuit

I'm writing this while watching tonight's game, as Alex Rodriguez goes after his 600th home run. But a lot of reporters have been denigrating the chase, partly because of A-Rod's admitted steroid use, partly because they just don't like the guy, and partly because bashing A-Rod sells papers.

I can totally understand and respect if somebody doesn't think this pursuit is anything worth discussing due to A-Rod being an admitted PED user. That's the price A-Rod has to pay for juicing - that any record he achieves now is tainted. I'm okay if some Yankee fans don't want to get excited about this.

But that means that reporters and fans have to hold the same standard with any other player caught using PEDS as well. Even when it's a beloved figure like Andy Pettitte. Now, don't get me wrong here - I'm not trying to bash Andy here. He was - and is - one of my favorite Yankees. Just saying that they should be treated the same way on the same issue.

You may remember that Andy got his 200th win as a Yankee last month. The New York Post, New York Daily News, Newark Star-Ledger, and The Associated Press, among others wrote about it, but none of them mentioned Pettitte's admitted use of HGH as a Yankees. Nobody speculated how many of those wins might have been fraudulently obtained.

In a web search tonight, I could only find one article about Pettitte's 200th win which even mentioned Pettitte's HGH use. It was from Wallace Matthews of ESPN, who said those three letters would keep Pettitte from voting him into the Hall of Fame. Oddly, though, most of the rest of the column was about how A-Rod was selfish in somehow letting his aching hip overshadow Pettitte's night.

If you're going to hold A-Rod's steroid use against him, you have to do the same for Pettitte's HGH. And for David Ortiz. And for Manny Ramirez. And for anybody else out there who's been caught. Don't just put that scarlet syringe on Rodriguez. Even if it will help you sell a few papers.

What do you think? Tell us about it!

6 comments:

kcourtsclayton said...

Funny thing about this: I always forget that Andy Pettitte was an admitted PED user. Maybe because it isn't used To preface EVERY article I read (admitted steroid user, Andy Pettitte, for example). I'm with you Lisa--I love Pettitte. I love his Southern accent with his NYC-born look. I love how humble and soft-spoken he is. BUT there is a clear double standard.
I also must go on the record as saying that steroids do not bother me. I have a very difficult time judging someone for something that I would have done. I KNOW that, in their shoes, I would have done the same. If most people are honest, they will admit that they would have done it too. Most--not all. So who am I to judge Alex or Andy or Clemens? If there was a pill that was "undetectable" that made me better at my job, I would take it without question.

Interestingly, I'm reading "Great Sports Writing" (an SI book) and I find it extraordinary that those writers didn't know that something was going on! Artices about McGuire and Bonds always included references to their bloated stats, as well as their increased physical size. We are all complicit!!! It's just more comfortable to point fingers from afar than to admit that everyone had a hand in the steroid era!!
As for me, I will always root for Alex. He went through so much (media-inflicted--not self-inflicted) but has come through on their other side. I'm not sure what exactly is wrong with wanting to say the right thing (does anyone think Jeter's bland post-game comments are his true feelings??) with was one of the accusations against my man...but I'm sure glad that he put the negativity behind him.

Roger 9 said...

I agree with what you wrote. Users of PED simply do not belong in the Hall Of Fame.

Cody Eding said...

It's a huge double standard. A-Rod has taken a huge beating in the media, while guys like Pettitte get off relatively easy.

An accomplishment is an accomplishment. Mention PEDs, but that still doesn't take away that A-Rod has hit 600 home runs.

He's a Hall of Famer in my book; maybe not first ballot, but definitely in. It's the generation, and it's no different that players in the past using greenies and amphetamines.

Paul said...

In short, I agree with you about the double standard. As for the Andy comparison - well in addition to the fact that A-Rod has far more star power than Pettitte, there's a lot more people with 200 wins than 600 HRs and it is also widely expected that A-Rod will eventually top the list. So A-Rod is in a different category and that's how the media works.

Cheers from Boston!

Matt on Earth said...

I agree with your post to an extent. There I'd a big double standard. Much of that stems from people's perception of various players. Pettitte comes across more honest than guys like A-Rod or Clemens - hence the pass. I personally hope A-Rod / Pettitte both do well because that helps the team do well. However, regardless of whatever either player achieves, I'll still consider their respective blemishes on the record.

Well said Paul.

kcourtsclayton said...

Oh and since I didn't mention it--players of every generation have used some sort of PED. Just because the PEDs of today are more sophisticated doesn't mean anything. The intent was there--to get an edge over the competition--which is what really matters IMO.
I say that all deserve to go to the Hall of Fame. Sports writers should not be the ones to vote on this--particularly in light of the fact that most "journalists" these days lack the required objectivity. The majority of sports writers work from a clear bias toward a team or a league. That should not be the difference between admission to the HOF and exclusion.