Baseball Jeremiad


A Curiously Intelligent Baseball blog

Chass: ‘Zealots Can’t Have It Both Ways’

I possess many mixed feelings about Murray Chass.  He hates the Times with a passion (and possibly with good reason).  He can be a whiner.  Then again, he’s still insightful and shoots from the hip, sparing no prisoners. 

In his latest article, Chass reviews the situation regarding Edison Volquez’s recent suspension for using a banned substance.  However, this framing seems to merely provide cover for him to launch verbal broadsides against his former employer and the anti-doping community.  Yet, there are a few points Chass makes that bear mentioning:

The zealots claim that one positive test is one too many, but they also have cited the absence of positive tests as evidence that baseball’s testing regimen isn’t tough enough. They want it both ways, but common sense says you can’t have it both ways.

The players could have avoided the whole steroids nonsense if they were as intelligent as they were good at playing baseball. In 2003, the first year of testing, if fewer than 5 percent had tested positive, players would have been free and clear of testing. But about 100 players, nearly 7 percent, tested positive, and regular testing was established.


But even if the union and the commissioner’s office were to agree to HGH testing, the zealots would find fault with something else. Label them never satisfied.

I find fault with the conflict of interest practiced by Dr. Gary Wadler, who is the go-to guy for reporters to seek out as one of the so-called experts on performance-enhancing drugs. Wadler is quoted more widely than probably any other individual on the subject.

There’s nothing wrong with being an expert, but I think there is a problem when the expert is connected to the agency that pushes for world-wide adherence to its strict policies and is in business to make money.

Wadler is involved with WADA but seldom is identified as being connected to the anti-doping agency. Why newspapers ignore that connection is puzzling. I used to raise that issue at The New York Tines [sic], but the Times is probably the leading newspaper in Wadler quotes.

In other columns written today by writers about whom I have mixed feelings, William Rhoden, still of the Times, wrote today about a funny feeling in New England: peace.  Rhoden’s thesis is that winning two championships in the last decade have caused Sox fans to mellow out a bit.  This blogger, however, is not buying that explanation.  Thankfully, Rhoden includes a bit of reality (aside from his anecdotal evidence provided by three Sox fans) from Red Sox Manager Terry Francona:

After Tuesday’s exhilarating victory at Fenway, Terry Francona passed through the Red Sox’ clubhouse. He didn’t feel the peace. He wasn’t buying the idea that because of World Series championships in 2004 and 2007, there was a diminished sense of doom when the Red Sox lost.

Francona shook his head. “The sky is still falling,” he said.


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