Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports recently wrote an article defending David Ortiz of any accusations out there that suggest he may have used a performance enhancing drug. Rosenthal, in a thinly veiled attack against the RJG, said: "Now, in blogs and chat rooms and other Internet vehicles, people blithely suggest that players such as the Red Sox's David Ortiz are in decline because they no longer take PEDs." Then later says "It's irresponsible. It's unfair. It needs to stop." Of course, Rosenthal, who reads the RJG religiously (meaning twice on Sunday), is referring to this post we had about Big Papi.
Rosenthal basically says that bloggers go too far since they don't have to hold to the standards of journalistic integrity. He says that its because of this journalistic integrity that the main stream media lagged behind the steroid story throughout the 90's and never brought it to the forefront when it was most prominent. As Rosenthal puts it:
"It's not an excuse, but the adherence to journalistic standards is one reason the reporting lagged behind the story. Many of us erred on the side of caution — not a bad thing when you're talking about people's reputations. Better to be accurate than wrong."
He goes on to say that the only way they could have broken the story would be by player admission, and that would be hard to get. However, that's a load of crap. I agree that journalists need to be absolutely certain of their sources before putting anything into print, but that process begins when you start asking questions. Maybe questions like, "Why have 3 different players broken Maris' homerun record 6 times in a 3 year period, when no ones even come close for nearly 40 years?" Must be the size of the ballparks, right Rosenthal? Or maybe you were buying into McGwire's creatine argument.
Sure, fans don't need to hold to the standards of journalism, but even as high school students, we knew that it wasn't natural, and we talked openly that they had to be on steroids. If high school students were talking about it, I'm sure those in the media, who saw it up close had to at least suspect it. What a journalist should have done is look into the story. No player is willing to talk Rosenthal? Yes, because Canseco has been so quiet about the subject.
Rosenthal, spare me the indignity. You and your colleagues sat idly by as steroids swept over baseball, and did nothing. Then when it became a story (which happened much later than it should have), you all vultured your way in to get a piece. So don't talk to us about integrity, and I don't want to hear your excuses either. Ironically, we agree that it isn't fair to suspect players of PED use, and we said that in our post. But we're not in the age of accusations as you suggest, we're in the era of suspicion. An era that you and your colleagues helped create.
So not only will we continue to write about our suspicions, we hope you'll follow your own standards of integrity and start investigating the questions that you have, in other words, doing your job. We were right about our suspicions back in the 90's and if we the fans don't ask the questions now, history suggests, that no one will. But we know, we know "the adherence to journalistic standards is one reason the reporting lagged behind the story." Yeah, okay.
But of course, you did do some investigating, as you point out in the article:
"Here's one thing I do know: Before steroids, players actually declined as they got older. Ortiz is 33. Maybe he is losing his skills. Maybe he just stinks."
Or maybe he was on 'roids. I don't know why Ortiz is declining, but in this era, you have to ask, and as uncomfortable as it may be, its a legitimate suspicion. Of course, you can't raise the suspicion, but we can. Blogs are the voice of fans, we don't need to follow your standards, and that's what make us a powerful tool. Trying to get us to stop would be asking the fans to sit idly by as those in your profession did throughout the 90's. No thank you.
Lastly, though I know I make sweeping generalizations, I also know that not all journalists are to blame. There are some excellent journalists out there who did look into the story, and the story was finally broken. You're a good writer too, Rosenthal. If your point is to say that its not fair that people suspect Ortiz, then I agree. But you and your field is partly to blame for this era, and arguing that the fans need to stop the finger pointing is complete nonsense. As I said before, if we don't ask the question, history suggests no one will.