Friday, January 12, 2007

crying over spilt ink.

The Mighty MJD has a great post about the myth of the steroid double standard re: football -- he caught a snippet of Royals 1B/DH Mike Sweeney complaining about how the NFL and football fans don't care about Shawne Merriman's doping since he's headed to the Pro Bowl, and rightly declared it utter crap.

Personally, I don't want Merriman in the Pro Bowl and I was happy he didn't win Defensive Player of the Year, but by the NFL's standards, he is a Pro Bowl player. He served his four-game suspension and came back, and if he plays at the level he did prior to steroids, in a couple years this will be a footnote.

One of MJD's commenters nailed the reason why football gets accused of sweeping it under the rug: baseball writers spilled a lot of ink on Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa during their Maris chase, romanticizing The Chase as the revitalization of the sport after the wasteland of the '94 strike, endemic of the flowery prose regularly lathed on baseball by writers as a poetic game, the thinking man's sport and still national pastime, despite the NFL's severe domination of the sporting world. The rug then got pulled out from under them.

The contempt for baseball's cheaters and the institution that protected them for decades gets foisted off onto other sports, despite the NFL's steroid and drug policies already in place to handle Merriman, never mind what MJD notes as the elite pseudo-intellectualism of baseball (the epitome of this is George Will) looking down on the crass, lower-class football nation and scolding them for imaginary willful ignorance. Since they cannot nail the past cheaters because they've retired or manage to evade official punishment while suffering in the court of public opinion (i.e., Bonds), they need someone to take it out on.

"Nothing on earth is more depressing than an old baseball writer." - Dan Jenkins, modifying the old Ring Lardner quote (“There isn't anything on earth as depressing as an old sportswriter.”)

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