OK, let me get this straight, when a blogger like Jerod Morris openly speculates about Raul Ibanez’ dramatically improved performance, he’s a bad, bad man. But when a multiple Emmy winner like HBO’s Bryant Gumbel goes even further — in front of a much wider audience — it’s simply business as usual. The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron watched Gumbel’s most recently closing remarks on “Real Sports”, and judge for yourself if anyone is being unfairly tarred with the same PED brush.
“Finally tonight, an open letter to baseball’s usual suspects. Dear Barry, Roger, Sammy and Rafael, I’m writing in hopes you saw Mark McGwire’s phony non-apology last week and learned from it. I’m assuming that you, like most people not named Tony LaRussa, got a good laugh out of Mark’s crocodile tears and his self-serving claims about truth, guilt and the pharmaceutical way.
“So on behalf of all fans, do us a favor. If and when you’re ready to come clean, don’t insult us with talk of how much of what you did was God-given and how much was chemically induced. Let us figure that out, OK? And don’t play us for idiots. Spare us the lies about talking ‘roids for health reasons. We’re all grown-ups. You took stuff for the same reason most of us break or bend rules. You thought you could get away with it. And you did.
“You did because commissioner Bud Selig, being Bud, was, of course, asleep at the switch when you suddenly grew Shrek-like necks and bloated biceps. But even Bud’s selling absolution these days. He’s cheering any and all mea culpas, even half-assed ones. If you don’t believe me, just ask A-Rod, Manny, Papi, Jason and the others who’ve come forward because they had to. There may be no crying in baseball, but there is forgiveness, maybe even enough to get you to Cooperstown.
“In closing, guys, please feel free to share this letter with Bagwell, Nomar, Pudge and all those others who went from hitting homers to power outages overnight. Tell ’em fans are ready to accept what happened. Tell ’em we’re ready to move on. Tell ’em that most of us get it…even if they, like you, still don’t.”
Curiously, Brett Boone, Brady Anderson and, uh, Mike Piazza, escape Gumbel’s far-reaching wrath.