David Steele's blog

David Steele's blog

The Kickoff

June 02, 2006|By DAVID STEELE

There are a couple of good pieces out there about the Human Porcupine, to an extent, but more in general about the way the media has covered him and the entire steroids mess. The fact that the central points are made by writers from completely different generations, cultures and (I'm guessing) experiences, should tell you that this has not been among our finest hours in this business.

One, on MarketWatch.com, quotes esteemed veteran sportswriter and author Robert Lipsyte, who, among his other notable acts, fought to have his paper, The New York Times, refer to Muhammad Ali by that name, rather than Cassius Clay. His current notable act: pointing out, point-blank, that the baseball media "closed their eyes to steroids."

Another one, on ESPN.com, is written by Jason Whitlock, who is considerably younger and louder than Lipsyte, but no less provocative. How provocative? In this column he refers to Babe Ruth as the Sultan of Segregation, pointing out a certain discrepancy in the "legitimacy" of the home run records that people seem determined to brush off.

The bottom line: I've heard a lot of excuses, explanations and rationalizations as to why the people who covered baseball during the Needleball Era did practically nothing about the evidence they saw in clubhouses every day, and why of all the players connected to this, the Porcupine is getting the overwhelming majority of scrutiny and scorn.

Some explanations have been good, some bad. But overall, we were derelict in our duty, and left it up to the feds who busted BALCO and the investigative reporters who pounded on that bust to do our jobs. I hope we don't screw up the next game-altering, history-affecting, society-upheaving scandal that lands in our laps.

david.steele@baltsun.com

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