Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Around the Horn

--Shysterball has a theory, and The Common Man thinks it's a good one. In light of all the anti-ballplayer news released or leaked by the government in the past week, he writes,
"Ya think it's a coincidence that both this and the A-Rod leak are happening all a couple of weeks before the Bonds trial? I sure don't. In fact, I can almost see this as an orchestrated operation in order to bolster the opening and closing statements of the Bonds prosecutors. Rather than refer to lies about a raid five years ago, the prosecutor can stand up and say 'this was no innocent lie! The headlines in just the past month show that the scourge of steroids is as rampant as ever! Like A-Rod and Tejada, Bonds is a ballplayer who thinks he's above the law and worked to thwart an important government investigation!'"

Indeed, the timing is suspicious. Virtually at any point before this, this information could have come out about Rodriguez. And the charges could have, presumably, been filed against Tejada at any point in the past three years, given the amount of information the government has had. It's not that these players don't deserve to be highlighted and punished. They deserve a good spanking from Uncle Sam, and perhaps a small one from the general public for their transgressions. But if you see Roger Clemens in the news this week, you'll understand what's up. And for more information on how the Federal prosecutors are manipulating the justice system, feel free to read this and this. And Craig's got, like, a dozen more where that came from. When you fight the law, this is why the law wins.

--And for the record, The Common Man is officially taking back what he wrote about Alex Rodriguez the other day, when he said A-Rod was finally acting like a man. The apology was still a good idea, and The Common Man thinks it could have been worse. But sloughing off responsibility for your actions on a permissive culture and naivete is not manly (more adolescenty). But here are some important things to keep in mind. First, most ballplayers are, actually, grown adolescents. Living in a bubble where they are surrounded by fawning friends and fans, reinforced by the locker-room mentality that is more animal house than house of mirth. Also, as The Common Man pointed out in the comments section below, there was a lot of fishiness going on in that Rangers clubhouse. From the Mitchell Report, Pudge Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmeiro, David Segui, Ken Caminiti, and Ismael Valdes all played for the team in the steroid era, as did A-Rod. And those are only the guys that have gotten caught (though technically, none of them have been officially punished, so caught is a relative term). While you should be disappointed in A-Rod, don't judge him more harshly than you would an average ballplayer or teenager who did something wrong.
Because there was a culture of drug use at work in Texas, and he was part of it. You should reserve the majority of your scorn for the front office types, field management, strength and conditioning coaches, and, yes, reporters who allowed their clubhouse to become a drug den. Chuck Norris is weeping over his Texas Rangers.

--A big congratulations to Lar at wezen-ball (The Common Man still wants to understand the name of the blog, though) for getting Rob Neyer's seal of approval this morning. Lar is a recent reader of The Common Man and has just begun commenting, and getting praise from Neyer is basically like having God send down the dove and say "this is my son, with whom I am well pleased." Lar does a lot of fun stuff with old resources, taking a look at how contemporaries viewed some of the game's greats. Today, for instance, he recalls Hank Aaron's chase for the home run record through Peanuts (who knew Snoopy had such power?). He's off to a tremendous start in his blog, and The Common Man wishes him only the best. Meanwhile, Rob, The Common Man likes God too.

--Speaking of awesome blogs, DrugMonkey deserves significant praise for being on The Common Man's bandwagon for a while, having linked to him for the first time months ago. He writes primarily about sciencey issues, many of which are over The Common Man's liberal arts-loving head. But he's snarky and smart as hell. And if you love-ah da science, and want to know who the rising stars are in substance abuse research or how to get funding for your crazy-awesome science, he's as good as you'll find.


Josh said...

Common Man,
I really enjoyed reading your take on A-Rod. I think the apology was a good idea and he did man up and admit that he made a mistake, but at the same time he took shots at Selena Roberts and blamed his use on the drug culture. Not cool.

Keep up the good work.

lar said...

Thanks for the kind words, TCM. It was pretty cool to get that praise from Neyer. Not sure I'd use that same metaphor, though. It seems a little... weighty. :-)

As for the name "wezen"... it's the name of a star in the constellation "Canis Major" (The Great Dog). I always liked the way it sounded, and I thought the humor involved with it was pretty funny, though admittedly quite geeky and esoteric (it's the star at the point where the dog's hind leg and tail meet - so it's the dog's butt).

I didn't really expect to be writing a blog that other people would read, so I didn't spend much time thinking of a name. I use for my email, so I just used that as the name of the blog. Maybe I should have thought a little harder, eh?