Dan's April Fool's column was published a day late, it seems.
In a perverse bit of hypocrisy, The CHB today complains that steroids still dominate the discussion. “[T]he Red Sox season starts tomorrow afternoon … and we are talking about steroids. Now and again. Forever, it seems.
The thing is, if guys like Shaughnessy, the self-styled overseers of baseball, had investigated the issue and held anyone accountable over the past decade, we wouldn’t still be talking about it. But no, they relied on cheap jokes and innuendo because, guess what, actually researching the issue is hard work.
Dan’s hyperbole is out in full force. “[T]he integrity of the game has been irreparably harmed -- more so than at any time since the Black Sox scandal….” If that’s true, then why do more fans buy tickets or watch televised games each year than the last?
He invokes Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis for doing the right thing, omitting that the man “endowed with power to do just about anything to preserve the best interests of baseball” used those same powers to keep blacks out of the sport.
And he blames everyone else – Bug Selig, Major League Baseball and the Players Association (“the silent and too-often-overlooked coconspirator in this cesspool explosion”) – for not cluing him: “Why did he allow us to embrace what we now know to be the artificial home run chase (Popeye McGwire vs. Bluto Sosa) in 1998?” Dan ducks altogether the media’s complicity, without which none of this could have happened. All in all, a shameful display by a man who did nothing but heap praise on Bonds while he chased down the record (see, for example, his Oct. 18, 2002, column).
“We all know,” he writes. “Bonds is in the on-deck circle, ready to overtake Ruth. He did it with his own talent, plus some illegal help from his friends.”
But while the evidence is strong, Victor Conte’s pleas notwithstanding (and it’s possible that Conte was being truthy when he said he did not give steroids to Bonds – it may be that he gave them to Bonds’ trainer who in turn dispensed them to Barry), there is no evidence of the effect, if any, that steroids has on the performance of a major league baseball player. No controlled study has ever been done. Everything else, then, is speculation.
And buck passing.