Wednesday, January 16, 2013

And if you believe that, I have a bridge I’m looking to sell.

Or “Methinks he doth protest too much.”

I feel sorry for a lot of today’s celebrities, especially athletes. After years of (self?) denial, Lance Armstrong admitted he used performance enhancing drugs. Ballplayer after ballplayer swears on a stack of bibles that he’s clean, only to have the evidence turn out to prove him “misstating.” The fact that not one player was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame must indicate something. (Political prognosticator Nate Silver takes a calculated look at the results.)

So what are we to make of  Mike Piazza? Although no one (as far as my recollection goes) has actually come out an accused the presumably-Hall-of-Fame catcher of untoward behavior, there has been a lot of whispering about big heads and back acne. He has a new book coming out in juts about a month in which he addresses steroids, et al. According to this story on the WCBS-TV site:
[Co-author Lonnie] Wheeler didn’t want to give up to0 many details about the book, which will be released on February 12, but he did hint that Piazza will continue to deny that he ever abused steroids and performance-enhancing drugs.
“Anybody who’s looking for Mike’s answer to PED questions will find it there,” Wheeler told Newsday. ”I believe he’s clean.”
“I believe.” Interesting choice of words coming from a many who makes his living by them.

Is it fair to tar every player with the suspicion brush? Of course not. But, unfortunately, fans and the media have been burned too many times to just accept — with very few exceptions — anyone’s word at face value.

And because I’m such a cynic, I can’t help remembering all the pre-press buzz brought on by rumors of drug use and intra-team animosities in Selena Roberts’ bio of Alex Rodriguez and Joe Torre’s most recent book, perpetuated by the media no doubt hungry to increase sales. The chatter went on for weeks, but once the titles actually came out and people had a chance to read them, it turns out, to use another Shakespeare reference, that it was much ado about nothing.

Check out other great articles at Ron Kaplan's Baseball Bookshelf.
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