Monday, August 10, 2009

Defending Jim Leyland

Read this piece from the Freep's site, then come back to me.

Welcome back. Take a seat. I'm about to support Mr. Jim Leyland. This doesn't happen often nowadays.

Let's go over "Special Writer", Jamie Samuelsen's piece, little by little.

Jim Leyland said Sunday that most people who care about the steroids issue probably don’t like baseball. Kind of harsh or is he spot-on? Well to start with, he’s dead wrong.

You see what you did there? You did what is called "taking out of context". It's what a-holes in the "gotcha" media do nowadays. Now granted, your opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the Detroit Free Press or its writers, but it is on the Freep's site. Try and be professional. This is what Leyland said:

"I've always thought when something was confidential and sworn to be confidential I don't know how stuff like that comes out," Leyland said. "I don't condone steroids or growth hormone or anything else... For the most part, I don't think fans (care.) The people that probably care about it are the people that probably don't like baseball. So they really got something to (complain) about baseball. I don't think the fans care that much. Or maybe they do, I don't know."

He didn't say "most" people. He said "the people that probably care". In his opinion. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to, maybe. But Jim's right. The ones you always hear screaming to the heavens are those that like to bash baseball. The ones that are out for "a story". Those guys, and the people that are brainwashed by them. Sadly, most people in this country do not like to think. They'll beleve anything they hear on TV.

Talk to the average baseball fan, Jamie. I do all the time working in a sports bar. People are sick of the steriods talk. Testing is in place. You can't change the past. Lets move on. But first, explain to me why The Marlboro Man is "dead wrong".

I like baseball a lot. It’s my favorite sport, by far. And I care about the steroid issue.

When you're dealing with cases of "most" or "probably", there are going to be exceptions. In your case, you are the exception. You also seem like a douchebag.

I’m pretty sure Bud Selig likes baseball (although he doesn’t act like it given his decisions sometimes) and I know he cares about the steroid issue.

Yeah, but we were talking about fans...not the bloody Commish. He has to care. It's his job, half wit. Leyland was talking about the fans.

And as for your little shot about Selig not acting like he cares sometimes with his decisions? Screw you. Bud Selig takes a lot of crap, but let's run down his resume a bit.

-Realigned the teams into three divisions per league and introduced the wildcard system to go along with it. Result? More teams make playoffs. More fans are happy. More exciting division races to follow.

-Interleague play. Purists (old white people) hate it. But the average fan loves it still 12 years later judging by attendence.

-World Series home field advantage going to the winner of the All Star Game. This came after the All Star fiasco, but it has worked. The idea was to make the players care more and interest the fans more. I think it has worked.

-Was a big part of organizing the World Baseball Classic helping to make baseball a worldwide event, not just the national pastime.

-Implimented strict PED testing and fines in 2005. Too late? Maybe. But it's there now.

-Credited for the financial turnaround of baseball during his tenure with a 400% increase in the revenue of MLB. Also introduced profit sharing among the teams.

He doesn't seem to care, you say? Was it an attempt at a joke? Believe me, you're talking to the master of jokes that don't work. I think you're just talking out of your ass. Please continue.

Albert Pujols likes baseball and he cares so much about the issue, he’ll tell anyone who will listen that he’s clean.

What do you want him to do? Lie? Say he's on PED's? The man is repeatedly asked about drugs and he answers them honestly. (I hope.) Why bring him up? LEYLAND WAS TALKING ABOUT THE AVERAGE FAN!

Leyland’s overall point is correct.

Cue up "A Few Good Men" here. No! You said he was "dead wrong". I asked you, "dead wrong?" You said, "Is there any other kind?" I can have the court reporter read it back to you...

Most of us are sick and tired of the story. He’s tired of talking about it, and we’re all tired of reading about it.

By the way, thanks for writing about it for us to read when we're tired of reading about it. Wait, didn't you earlier say that you cared about this stuff?

But to simply lump all the steroid talk into a group of baseball haters is ludicrous. And I’m guessing that’s one line that the skipper wishes that he had back.

Ludicrous? No...THIS is Ludicrous.

And by the way...have you ever heard of Jim Leyland? The man rarely, if ever, says something that he would like to take back. And he didn't lump "all" of anything. You're now paraphrasing instead of taking him out of context. Another dick move on your part.

Leyland used a classic jock-ocracy strategy. “You simply don’t get it.” When someone in sports is proven wrong, doesn’t have the answer or simply wants something to go away, he says, “you just don’t understand.”

Uh oh. Here we go. This is where Jamie starts thinking back to his childhood when he was picked last for kickball and gets mad at athletes. Take cover, kids. I smell a hissy fit. That or he's going to go on a rant that has nothing to do with Jim Leyland, baseball, or steroids.

Rod Marinelli loved doing this as Lions coach. My goodness, the collective amount of football knowledge that fans and media lacked according to Marinelli was simply staggering. Yet, the Lions somehow managed to go 0-16. Hmmm, maybe we did know what was going on. Marty Mornhinweg did this, too. When Joey Harrington was clearly outplaying Mike McMahon in training camp in 2002, Mornhinweg scoffed at the media, saying that anyone who knew football knew that McMahon was better. That eventually became the lesser of two evils. But Marty was just going to a bunker and talking about how we simply didn’t understand.

Get off topic much, Jamie? The Lions have nothing to do with what Jim Leyland was trying to say and you know it. The Lions were going to be terrible no matter who was the coach, by the way. Blame Matt Millen for that, not poor Marinelli or Mornhinweg. And for the record, comparing McMahon and Harrington is like comparing Paris Hilton's acting skills with a first date with Paris Hilton. Either way, there's a lot of sucking going on. Back to your nonsense.

I’ve written and talked about steroids so much, that I just end up repeating myself.

You and everyone else that won't shut up about it. But you're tired of reading about it. Well, keep writing about it. God forbid, you guys ever move on from this.

And in a way, that’s what Leyland was trying to say. Why are we rehashing the same issues over and over and over again? But in a very small way, Leyland is part of the problem. He’s part of this MLB code where everyone involved in baseball is simply silent. No accusations. No claims. Everyone just plays dumb and keeps quiet.

Just like the armed forces. Or in a family. You don't rat out your brothers and sisters, Jamie. It's called trust. Honor. Ever hear of it? Jim Leyland and everyone else in baseball has to come back to the park the next day with the same guys and try to play as a team, get along on the field, and win games. That becomes a bit harder when you're pointing fingers in the papers about your teammates. Plus, these guys are payed to play a game and hopefully, play them well. They're not paid to police themselves.

Leyland said that there is no proof that his former star Barry Bonds ever took steroids. Well, other than the inflated numbers, the inflated biceps and the inflated cranium, I guess he’s right. There is no positive test (other than the one that came out in the grand jury in San Francisco).

Bonds never tested positive when baseball had their new rules and punishments. I think that's what Jim was saying. Was he on stuff? Of course. But, why do you want Leyland to dance on the man's dead career? He just stated a fact. Jim Leyland doesn't throw his players under the bus unless they throw him first. (See Grilli, Jason.)

But here's the follow up question: “Do you think he took steroids?” He’d say that’s a B.S. question and that we just don’t understand baseball.

Don't put words into a man's mouth that commands the respect of a Jim Leyland, please. I think he's earned that respect over the years. But, for poops and giggles, is that what Jim would say? I doubt it. The b.s. part? Probably. The other part? Not so much. You seem like a very bitter man, you know that?

But, of course, the answer is yes. Everyone thinks Bonds took steroids, just as everyone thinks Mark McGwire did and now really everyone thinks David Ortiz did too.

No they don't. Not everyone, especially with "Big Papi". Ortiz still maintains that he didn't take steroids, just supplements and vitamins that obviously had something banned in them. And lots of people believe him. Jim Leyland does.

And if Papi took them? Do I care? No. 2004 was one of the greatest baseball seasons in history. David Ortiz has done more for kids and charities than 90% of any athletes in sports do. He brought happiness to thousands upon thousands of people over the years and provided many moments that will live on forever. Am I going to forget any of it because he might have been taking drugs and, by the way, was competing against pitchers that might have been taking the same drugs? No. I'm not. The same is true for Big Mac, Man Ram, and the rest.

And almost assuredly, another big name will leak out from that 2003 list in a matter of months. It’s just the way this story goes.

And this "story" and it's leaks are against the law. Results were not supposed to get out. Whoever is leaking these names to the press, I would argue, is someone that hates baseball. What other reason is there to bring up 2003 when these guys are considered "clean" nowadays? Gotcha! Pricks. I hope they find them and they go to jail. You know why? Because whether McGwire, Ramirez, Ortiz, Ordonez, Pudge, or David Friggin' Eckstein were, were not, are, or are not on PED's, they play my favorite sport, they play it well, and they entertain me. (Well, not Eckstein.)

If the media cares so much about sports and PED's, why aren't they all over football? If half of the NFL is not on HGH, then I will purchase a Nate Robertson jersey and dance up and down the streets of Detroit to the tune of your choice. No...they only want to tear down baseball, for some reason.

Selig has tried to deal with the issue head on, at least once he was forced to.

Did Bud turn a blind eye? Looks like it. But it brought baseball back, saved a franchise or two from disappearing, and made the game popular to a new generation of fans. Cal Ripken wasn't going to bring fans back after the strike all by himself.

The rest of baseball seems content to ignore the problem and hope it goes away. And if asked about it, like Leyland was, they just shout down the questioner and act as if they simply don’t understand the game. We understand the game all right. And more than that, we understand the game that Leyland is trying to play. It’s just getting a little bit old.

You are the one that doesn't understand, dude. Steriod use was out of hand. Usage is definately down, now, due to testing. They can't test for HGH yet. So, that's a problem. But it's a problem that we've been hearing about day after day after day after...

Baseball fans care about watching their team win. Believe me, if I thought we could get away with it, I'd have Clete Thomas bent over and taking shots of andro in the ass three times a day if I thought it would help the Tigers win the World Series. Maybe I'm wrong.

But we're talking about baseball, a sport where one of its oldest sayings is "if you're not cheating, you're not trying". From greenies, to stealing signs, to corking bats, to spitballs, to PEDs...cheating is nothing new in baseball.

No matter what the case may be, whether it is baseball, football, working in an office, designing video games, taking an exam in school...people are going to do dishonest things to get ahead. Sometimes you get away with it. Sometimes, you do not. In baseball, people got away with taking steroids for a long time...possibly going back to the 70's, from what I've read. But they're doing the best testing that they can do as of now. We can't change the past. We can only learn from it and move on. It took a while, but I think baseball is doing just that.

So, Jamie, please move on. And if you don't want to? Keep it to yourself. You yourself admit that people are sick of hearing about it...even though you don't understand why. As a self-described baseball fan, just try enjoying baseball for the game, the playoff races, and the moments that you never know when are going to happen. That's what I do. And if you can't? Then maybe you're not the baseball fan that you think you are.


John Parent said...

Rogo- Once again, your work is top-notch. Reminded me a bit of with the way you broke down the article.

My thoughts have always been that steroids happened and that there were a whole lot of players taking them. If the hitter is juiced and the pitcher is juiced, is the playing field level? Absolutely. As you said, let's move on. There are pennant races to enjoy.

Rogo said...


Thanks for the kind words.

And yeah, notice one of the article tags is "ripping off FJM style". Man, I miss those guys.