The Miami New Times has realized that Major League Baseball is a business, not an arm of the government, and has decided not to hand over the records of the Biogenesis clinic to the league. But the best part of it all is one of the reasons: Jeff Loria.
The New Times — perhaps a little self-servingly, given that they have ripped Loria often in the past — details Loria’s history of mismanagement and bad deeds, notes that Bud Selig is supposed to act in the best interests of baseball, and that he has nonetheless enabled Loria for over a decade. They go on:
So this is the guy who wants our records? Isn’t he the same commissioner who in 2002 approved the complicated deal that gave Loria the Marlins, betrayed the City of Montreal, and caused Loria’s partners to accuse the artful merchant of racketeering? … he represents an organization with a long history of getting things wrong …
The New Times goes on to cite every transgression in baseball history — from the Black Sox on down — and says Major League Baseball is responsible. Then notes, specifically, that Selig was on watch while steroids flourished in baseball and guys like Mark McGwire continue to allowed to be part of the game, and worries that Selig may misuse the records to hand out uneven discipline or the like.
It’s all rather amusing, actually, even if the justifications for not handing them over which are attributable to baseball’s misdeeds are all over the map (really? Selig has to pay for the Black Sox scandal and segregation now?). And even if later in the editorial the New Times notes that the real reasons were journalistic ethics, worry about future leakers having their info and identity disseminated against their will and — this seems like the biggest reason — there is an ongoing state investigation into Anthony Bosch that the New Times feel will be imperiled if they hand over records to anyone else.
The important thing here, I think, is the result. It’s just bad form for a newspaper to hand over its investigative records to some private business. One which clearly has a conflict of interest to boot. So even if the New Times’ reasoning here is all rather, well, odd and funny, the right decision was reached.