Hey, At Least Bill Plaschke’s Not Overreacting

By which I mean, old Bill’s even more of a lunatic than we thought he was. (Thanks to J in the comments for mentioning this). No, I’m not focusing on Bill here to deflect some of the glare off the Manny situation – Manny is clearly an idiot, and we’ve already talked about that and will clearly do so again. The thing is, Bill Plaschke is supposed to be a professional journalist. Just remember that as you listen to this.

Let’s start where it gets good….

We knew, I knew coming in, that this guy was a knucklehead, I warned the Dodgers that you’ve got to give him a one- or two-year deal tops, and the Dodgers only gave him, they were smart about that.

Yes, Bill – congratulations! You were the only one who hoped for a short contract for a 37-year-old poor defender with a questionable personal history. It’s a good thing the Dodgers listened to you… and not everyone else who was saying the exact same thing. Well done.

I had no idea the guy was a druggie, I had no idea the guy was a cheat.

Hey, good to see impartial journalists not jumping to conclusions! First of all, calling him “a druggie” makes it sound like he’s blowing lines in the bathroom, no? And while it may very well come out that he was taking whatever he was taking was to mask cheating, but the point is that we just don’t know yet. As things stand right now, this is where we are, from Baseball Prospectus:

FINAL UPDATE: Spoke with several sources with knowledge of the tests and it appears that Ramirez is both guilty of offense and of some poor judgement. His doctor checked the list, but apparently the old list — HCG was added to baseball’s banned list this off-season. That said, HCG is a big testosterone booster (up to 100% according to Millard Baker, a steroids expert) and is often used to “kick start” the body’s natural production of testosterone after a cycle of steroids.

Clearly, there’s a lot left to learn about this story. The point is, you just don’t know yet, and maybe – just maybe – as a ”professional journalist” you should figure out what you’re talking about before you start blustering. Ah, who am I kidding. It’s Bill Plaschke – you can only expect so much. 

And believe me, to get suspended by baseball – the most lax league of all – and get suspended by baseball fifty games, you gotta be really doing something.

Bill. Oh, Bill. Maybe you should read your own paper sometimes. Tim Brown, reporting on the most recent steroid rules in baseball being implemented in 2005

Facing federal legislation that could have instituted sterner penalties, baseball and the Players’ Assn. agreed on a 50-game suspension for first-time violators, 100 games for a second offense and a lifetime ban for a third. An expelled player could seek reinstatement after two years.

The new policy, which must be ratified by owners and players, is the toughest among the major North American pro sports leagues, banning first-time violators for nearly one-third of a 162-game season. The National Football League and National Hockey League suspend first offenders for the equivalent of a quarter of a season, the National Basketball Assn. for about one-eighth.

So, if by “most lax league of all”, you really mean “toughest among major North America pro sports leagues” then sure, got it. Oh, and about “if you get suspended for fifty games, you gotta really be doing something”? Hmm, why does that ring a bell?

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher J.C. Romero, suspended for the first 50 games of this season after testing positive for steroids last year, filed a civil lawsuit Monday against a nutritional supplement manufacturer whose owner previously served prison time for distributing steroids.

In each case, Romero was assured by the salesperson that the supplements would not cause him to test positive for steroids, according to the lawsuit. Also, Romero claims he did research on 6-OXO, 6-OXO Extreme and ErgoPharm’s other products. Romero “satisfied himself through his research that neither contained any substances that were banned and/or prohibited from use by Major League Baseball,” the suit states.

Romero’s suit is still pending, and I offer no opinion on whether he’s being truthful or not. But it’s at least a reasonable explanation for a fifty game suspension other than “really doing something”. Obviously, that’s a totally different case than Manny’s, but it does serve to show that, as usual, Plaschke doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Clemens was never suspended. A-Rod was never suspended. Barry Bonds was never suspended.

Despite various legal difficulties and Mitchell Report appearances, none of these guys ever failed drug tests. Which is the one thing you really have to do to get suspended. And really, what exactly is his point here? Is he saying that none of those guys never really did anything? Or is he just calling Manny stupid because he was dumb enough to get caught? Either way, neither options pertains to “Manny is bad because he may have done steroids.” Don’t forget that “may have”, because remember – we still don’t know the whole truth.

The bottom line is, this guy has let down the entire city of LA, he has cost the Dodgers millions of dollars, because they set up a whole Mannywood section for him, I’m driving past billboards right now that trumpet Manny Ramirez, so he has put a huge dent in the Dodgers’ finances.

Can someone please buy Bill a subscription to his own paper? Please? Bill Shaikin, from January:

Still, he said, the Dodgers probably could sell another 2,000 season seats if they do sign Ramirez. At the average ticket price of $29.66, according to Team Marketing Report, plus the roughly $17 that each fan spends on food, drink and parking, those additional 2,000 seats would translate into about $7.5 million in gross revenue.

That’s obviously not exactly accurate, because I have no idea if the “could sell another 2,000 seats” came to fruition. The point is, though, that the season ticket plans have already been paid for and a first-place team that traditionally draws well isn’t going to suddenly be playing in front of 8,000 people a night. Besides – this is a suspension, which means Manny doesn’t get paid, which means the Dodgers save approximately $7.7 million of his salary. I don’t doubt that they’ll lose out on some day-of sales over the next two months without Manny, but really, a huge dent? They might even make money on this.

A huge dent in the clubhouse psyche, because all these kids that are playing so well, they have come to believe, because all the media out here, they say “Well, Andre Ethier’s only a great player because he bats around Manny”, “Matt Kemp is becoming a great player because he plays around Manny.” These guys believe they have to have Manny, the fans believe they have to have Manny.

Oh, you mean, all those great kids that you’ve been dying to get rid of for years? Those kids? Guess what, Bill: you are the media that says those things. So no, I don’t think they believe they have to have Manny, and I know the fans don’t think that. Not that you’d be in touch with the fans, or anything.

He just, he suckered everybody, and shame on him.

Bill Plaschke: a paragon of impartial journalism.

I don’t think - I’m going to trumpet – I’m going to write a column that says, the Dodgers have got somehow to figure out a way to fire this guy. This guy can’t come back here. Because you can’t do this to these fans again, because this is devastating to this city’s baseball culture. Absolutely devastating.

Bill, I think you’re going to be in the minority here. First of all: there’s no way they could get rid of him even if they wanted to. Second: will he help the team win? Yes, he will. Therefore, most fans would want him back. Simple as that. Third: “you can’t do this to these fans again”. Again? What? Are you already planning on breaking a second Manny drugs story in July?  

ESPN anchor: Bill, Scott Boras has had a conversation with our Peter Gammons, and he says that this positive test has been triggered by something prescribed by a doctor for a personal medical issue. Your reaction?

(Plaschke laughs like a gibbon, the laugh of the soulless damned, the laugh of righteous indignation from someone who of all people, has no leg to stand on in terms of fair and accurate judgement). Now wait a minute, was there a Dominican cousin in there anywhere? Come on! Who in their right mind would believe that?

Let’s ignore the subtle racism for a second and just point out that I’ve yet to see anything that suggests this isn’t the case. So, your answer is, “everyone”. Yes, Manny got busted because his doctor prescribed him HCG, which – as the Baseball Prospectus clip above shows – is banned by baseball. There seems to be absolutely no question that this is how the positive test came down, so: Bill Plaschke, wrong again.

Come on. Manny appealed this, and you don’t think they gave him every chance, the Dodgers are a marquee franchise, you don’t think they, (*snip*), there’s no way that’s correct! There’s absolutely no way that’s correct, that’s a joke.

Fact: Manny did not appeal this, says FOXsports.com:

Ramirez’s people and the union say they considered an appeal but chose not to pursue it because Ramirez doesn’t want to miss a significant portion of the second half of the season.

So that’s yet another inaccuracy by Bill. Awesome interview, great job! Again: when you say “there’s no way that’s correct”, it turns out that it was “entirely correct.” 

How many times are we going to keep believing players who say, “I don’t know what it was, my cousin slipped it to me”, and again, I’m just waiting for the Domincan cousin to show up here, this whole thing’s ridiculous.

Well, you finally got one thing right: this is ridiculous. Bill, were you even paying attention? At no point did Manny say he didn’t know what it was. He said he thought that it wasn’t on the banned substances list. He never denied taking it. Huge difference! The fact is, even if he was taking this while coming off a steroid cycle, today’s story would still be true: he took a drug from his doctor, not knowing it was on the banned list. Whether he took the drug after steroids, to fix sexual problems, or because he liked the color, it doesn’t change the accuracy of that one claim.

Get the guy out of a Dodger uniform, get him out of baseball, because what he has done to this town, he has suckered everybody in, because I’m telling you, this is as bad as any suspension of anybody, because their whole franchise was based around Manny Ramirez.

“Get him out of baseball?” Look, if it turns out that Manny in fact was juicing, then I’ll be right on board with the anger, but this is coming dangerously close to “personal vendetta” territory here, Bill. You realize that other players have been caught with steroids, right? And not a single one has been kicked out of baseball. So let’s go ahead and change the rules, just for Manny. Brilliant idea.

Oh, and while I understand where he’s going by saying the franchise was “based around Manny”, I like to think it’s based around winning (and yeah, making money.) They can still do that.

So Bill, please. Take a deep breath, try not to hurt yourself (*sigh*… I guess) and relax. Try to remember that you’re a reporter, and if you can’t keep your bluster in check, at least try to get the facts right? Okay? Thanks. 

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  1. [...] had it out for Manny, and could barely contain their glee when he was suspended. Like, for example, here. And here. And here. Really, that’s what bothered me more than anything. You want to get on [...]