ESPN analyst Steve Phillips is the subject of a wide-ranging podcast interview at Dan Levy’s On The DL, and in light of recent allegations regarding Mike Piazza, the former Mets GM was asked, “was it a ˜don™t ask/don™t tell™ situation or did the GMs at the time never even think to ask?”
As a general manager at that time, I think that all of us wanted a clean game. I think I speak for every general manager “ nobody wanted steroids or performance enhancing drugs in the game. On the other side of it, if we couldn™t get that “ and there wasn™t testing at the time “ then we wanted a level playing field. Now that meant that we wanted everybody not doing it. But if there was no system in place to stop other people from doing it, then as a general manager, I wasn™t going through my clubhouse looking at every shoebox in the locker and trying to see what this guy was doing and that guy was doing.
Compare and contrast that answer with a Phillips-penned item for ESPN.com from April 29, 2007, one with the ominous headline, “If Names Are Released, Reputations Might Be Ruined”.
I was often accused of being in the Mets’ clubhouse too much during my years as general manager (1997-2003). I have to admit that I am hoping that there aren’t any of my former players outed by this process as it would indicate that not only was I in the clubhouse too much but that I was also deaf and blind.
Was Steve Phillips the GM that respected the collective bargaining agreement and players’ right to privacy or was he the suit breathing down their necks in the clubhouse? If reputations stand to be ruined by accusations made in Jeff Pearlman’s latest book, what of the owners and executives who made their names and fortunes as Mike Piazza’s employers? If there was no testing in place and Phillips & his peers were reasonably certain opposing players were using PED’s, wouldn’t ensuring a “level playing field” require turning a blind eye?