What Did Sid Know, And When Did He Know It?

The depressing coverage of the Mitchell report on steroid use in baseball raises many questions, such as what took one Alan Huber “Bud” Selig Jr. so long to notice the syringes in the trash cans. One question that is apt for this forum: Could and should the media have uncovered this story long before George Mitchell did?

The Mitchell report would have won a Pulitzer if it had been a newspaper exposé. My understanding is that Mitchell didn’t have the power to subpoena. So did he really have that much more ability to uncover the truth than the Fourth Estate?

Unlike George Mitchell, reporters are in clubhouses every day. Did they never notice syringes in the trash, as the Twins employee did? Reporters have hundreds of sources in and around the business of baseball. Did none of those sources have the ability and inclination to help reporters uncover even a fraction of the stories contained in the Mitchell report?

I’m out of my League here. I don’t know this issue well, and I don’t work in sports media relations. But I do wonder whether sports reporters are so caught up in hero worship, relationship protection, statistical spin, and the timely boarding and unboarding of bandwagons that they were asleep at the switch as one of the biggest baseball stories in decades was unfolding all around them.

– Loveland

6 thoughts on “What Did Sid Know, And When Did He Know It?

  1. John Gaterud says:

    All spot-on points. Beyond the lack of outrage from the general media-drugged public (sporting and otherwise) — which I suspect has been completely narcotized by decades of countless personal and professional scandals in every social, cultural, business and political arena imaginable — I’ve been struck nonetheless this week by the (non)reaction of other media types to the MLB story: just another collective shrug. Telling to me were the business-reporter yahoos on CNBC who said, in effect, “We’re not talking about shooting smack, so move on.” For better theater, watch the squirming of HBO’s Bob Costas — The Great Baseball Authority Himself — as John McEnroe and Charles Barkley prod him to explain his own journalistic whereabouts on the question during his past decade-plus of hucksterism. The best piece I’ve read explaining how this system works on every beat is Nick von Hoffman’s “The White House News Hole” (New Republic, 1984), which was about the only daycare center in America that Reagan hadn’t closed: that of the WH press corps(e) billeted in the basement. But once again I.F. Stone says it best: “The Establishment reporters know a lot of things that are true but don’t report it — or know a lot of things that aren’t true but can’t report it.” Clemens is a cheat? Why, Rog once met a Make-A-Wish kid. I saw the photo. What’s the deal? Play ball!

  2. Sparky says:

    Sid is too busy performing felatio on sports agents and jocks to notice the steroid scandal. When will they ever fire that senile clown?

  3. jloveland says:

    Interesting article in Editor and Publisher on this.

    http://www.mediainfo.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003685221

    Sample:

    “The bottom line is, we were nowhere on it,” says Howard Bryant, who covered baseball during the late 1990s and the first part of this decade for the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News and the Boston Herald, and now tracks football for The Washington Post. “It was too easy to ignore what was happening — and we did ignore it.” Adds Jeff Pearlman, a former baseball writer for Sports IIlustrated, “I think we just blew it.”

  4. Hey – whats up. Thanks a bunch for the blog. I’ve been digging around for info, but i think i’m getting lost!. Yahoo lead me here – good for you i guess! Keep up the good work. I will be coming back over here in a few days to see if there is any more info.

  5. Dennis Lang says:

    Amazing!! The rediscovery of a two-year old post. The Crowd has staying power. Loveland endures. Good one.

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