Baseball is held to a higher PED standard: so what?

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Bud Selig says what everyone else already knows:

Commissioner Bud Selig said that baseball draws more attention and
criticism for its steroid revelations than does football during a radio
interview on Tuesday.

“We are held to a higher and different standard,” Selig said during a 17-minute appearance on the Dan Patrick Show.

The Commissioner engaged in discussion of the NFL’s Pittsburgh
Steelers, whose four-time Super Bowl championship teams from 1975-80
have been alleged to have conducted in widespread use of steroids and
included players who later admitted to using performance-enhancing
drugs. “We have to be very careful that we don’t overreact to a
situation,” Selig said. “For instance, the comment in football that
came out about the great Steelers teams of the ‘. Should they take
those Super Bowls away from the Rooneys? I don’t think so.

I don’t know that we should be surprised about the different standards,
and I don’t know that we should even be bothered by them. At least not
too terribly.

It’s a fact that baseball lagged way behind football in instituting
its testing regime, and to large degrees was dragged kicking and
screaming into the testing world. When that happens, you have to expect
that you’re going to be criticized. This is especially true given that,
because of the delay in getting to where we are now, baseball caused
itself to go through a series of high-profile reveals (Bonds, Clemens,
A-Rod, Sosa, the whole of the Mitchell Report) that football never had
to endure.

As for the criticism itself? I view it as akin to the difference
between having a parent who’s hard on you as opposed to having one that
doesn’t give a crap. Sure, neither is ideal, but there’s something good
to be said about people caring enough about the integrity of baseball,
its records, and the health of its players to criticize the game, even
if they go overboard about it from time to time. It tells me that
baseball still matters to people, and that’s important. As for
football? I get the sense that people largely don’t care about such
issues. They simply want to be entertained, and it’s far more
entertaining to watch faceless, gigantic dudes bash into one another
than to see smaller guys do it.

Given that they change the rules and the length of the seasons every
couple of decades, there is little magic to the NFL record book. What’s
worse, given how short the average NFL career is, there is little
opportunity for fans to get close to the players. I question whether a
large number of NFL fans know or care just how damaging the sport is to
the men who play it. I question whether they realize the alarmingly
high mortality rate among NFL players from the 70s and 80s. If they
did, one would think that there would be far more scrutiny of PEDs in
football — PEDs that almost certainly still persist no matter how long
the testing regime has been in place — than there currently is. But it
isn’t there, and that tells you something about the average football
fan or writer’s reltionship to the game.

So even if I, like Bud Selig, occasionally note the unfairness of
baseball’s heightened standard, I’m more or less fine with it, and Bud
should be too. Baseball is a better game than football in my view, and
the passions it provokes are merely evidence of its underlying
greatness.

Are the Cardinals about to go on a free agent binge?

John Mozeliak AP
Associated Press
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The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.

St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.

The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.

Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?

Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.

 

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.