Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Michael Schmidt is destroying baseball!

Michael Schmidt is destroying baseball!



No, silly, not Michael Jack Schmidt.

I'm talking about Michael S. Schmidt, a 25-year-old reporter for the New York Times, the one who broke today's remarkably unsurprising, and yet still much discussed, story that the two star sluggers for the 2003 Red Sox, David Ortiz (at top), still a Sox (Sock?), and Manny Ramirez, late of Mannywood, tested positive that year for performance enhancing drugs. At this point, I only think it's a major story when a baseball star of the early 2000s can be shown NOT to have been on steroids or other drugs.

Joe Strupp of Editor and Publisher has a very good story abut journalist Schmidt and his dogged pursuit of the 103 names that are on a supposed-to-be-secret list of players who tested postive in 2003, when the results were not announced and violators were not suspended, as they would be under baseball's current drug policy (50 games for the first offense, as J.C. Romero could tell you). It was also Schmidt who reported another (snark alert) shocker, that Sammy Sosa was on the list. This all started with the Sports Illustrated report that Alex Rodriguez is on that list, too, and three others players including Barry Bonds have been ID'd..

Do the math -- some 96 more names are there for the taking. This is baseball's version of Chinese water torture. The headline of this post is hyperbole -- I don't think that the drug revelations are actually killing baseball at this point, as anyone's who's tried to get a Phillies ticket this year can attest. But it's not helping, either; today I caught a snippet of the Red Sox-A's game on the MLB Network and saw Ortiz hit a go-ahead three-run blast, but rather than feel a sense of awe I just rolled my eyes.

As a journalist, my default position is to support the release to the public of most information (with the obvious exceptions -- troop movements, names of sexual assault victims, etc.) and applaud the reporters who ferret these facts out. In this case, though, there seems something patently unfair about the leaking of a handful of names on this list while the majority of names remain protected. I guess the only people who could officially release the entire list -- like MLB or the players' union -- are prevented from doing so. So instead we'll have anonymous sleazeball lawyers tarnishing some players and protecting others, for months if not years upon end. And who even knows their motivations? The sources of today's Ortiz-Ramirez leak could have been someone trying to boost the Yankees, for all we know. It's not good.

And it's not going to end any time soon.

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Will Bunch
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