Thanks to yesterday’s otherwise turgid Congressional hearings, the traditional PED whipping boys Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens and Rafael Palmeiro (or as Christopher Shays might prefer, “Palmary”) aren’t the only parties under scrutiny. The San Francisco Chronicle’s Ray Ratto takes note of Giants ownership’s previous teflon status and predicts little action from Major League Baseball. “Disciplining management is Selig’s job,” writes Ratto, “one that to date he has not seen fit to actually perform, given that (a) he is management and (b) he works for management.”
Selig is probably going to be everything Congress used to savage him for being: hesitant, nervous, tentative and ultimately seeking a way to be as minimalist as possible.
Why? After all, the Giants mean little enough to him, and a quick human sacrifice would make him look decisive and fair-minded on an issue that fires Congressional fast-twitch muscles.
But the why not is the fascinating part. Whatever Giants management’s culpability with Greg Anderson (and by the damning account of former team trainer Stan Conte, it is considerable), the S.F. folks are not close to being alone. The Yankees’ role in the Brian McNamee story, the Mets’ in the Kirk Radomski story, as well as links to the Padres during the Ken Caminiti era, the Dodgers and, by extension Selig and the other owners – all of it comes into question.
In other words, what’s good for the goose is logically good for the whole lake.
You see, baseball’s legacy, reiterated by Selig and Donald Fehr on Tuesday, is that the industry as a whole regarded the issue as unimportant to the greater goal of making money. Selig and the owners had been made aware of the problem as far back as 1988, according to former Cincinnati and Florida trainer Larry Starr, who said he and other medical experts made the problem known to the owners at the winter meetings that year.
More recently, when former Giants assistant trainer Barney Nugent talked to MLB security head Kevin Hallinan about the Greg Anderson problem, Hallinan said he would do something about it … and nothing was done.
In other words, we are back at the central problem of baseball’s handling of the performance-enhancing-drug matter – the industry is in too deep to discipline itself. The moving-forward part, it is doing, at least enough to mollify Congress. But the looking-back part? That it cannot effectively do, not on its own.