ESPN’s coverage before and after yesterday’s unveiling of George Mitchell’s report on PED-mania in baseball was pretty heavy by WWL standards. Perhaps not as wall-to-wall as the NFL Draft, but certainly right up there with “Who’s Next?” or the documentary about the making of the “Stump The Schwab” videogame. The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman, however, couldn’t help but notice one prominent member of the “Baseball Tonight” crew was indisposed.
Why didn’t ESPN put Fernando Vina, who was outed in Mitchell’s report, on the air? The report says Kirk Radomski, the Mets clubhouse attendant, “sold anabolic steroids or human growth hormone” to Vina six to eight times from 2000-05.
Vina is an ESPN baseball analyst. He was identified as such during the “SportsCenter Special Report.” But after watching for six hours, waiting to see if Vina would appear on what was touted as super-comprehensive coverage of a “historic” day in baseball, I gave up.
ESPN suits called on a kitchen sink of “experts” and reporters to cover this story, but could not get a member of their own staff, implicated in Mitchell’s report, on the air. The faculty at Bristol Clown Community College should have sent its new investigative team – T.J. Quinn and Mark Fainaru-Wada – into the streets to track down Mr. Vina.
Then the always reliable Bob Ley could have asked him this question: Fernando, is this allegation true? And if it is, how could you sit here during the season, during numerous discussions on steroids, and lie?
Another interesting question for ESPN’s BBTN staff — how is that Steve Phillips, general manager of the New York Mets during much of Kirk Radomski’s tenure in the Flushing clubhouse, had no clue one of his employees was the Pablo Escobar of steroids? Or even worse, that a guy on the Mets payroll, had something to do with Roger Clemens’ fix?
Even if Steve Phillips doesn’t owe the public an explanation, he probably ought to apologize to Mike Piazza.