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.

And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Where we stand:

  • The Brewers and Cubs both won, giving them each a half-game boost over the Phillies and a full game boost over the Mets, who lost, but keeping the status quo between themselves. Chicago has a one-game lead over Milwaukee for the second Wild Card and a five-game lead over both New York and Philly;
  • The Nationals lost to the Cardinals, reducing their lead for the top spot in the Wild Card race to a half game. We’ve sort of assumed for a couple of weeks that they were a lock at the top but, know what? They’re not;
  • The Twins put a half-game more on their lead over the idle Indians in the AL Central, making the margin five;
  • The Rays and Indians both had the night off while the Athletics lost, putting the Rays a game and a half behind the A’s in second and first, respectively, in the AL Wild Card race while Cleveland trails Tampa Bay by one and a half.

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Tigers 5, Orioles 2: When I did yesterday’s recap I didn’t realize that this was a wraparound series and none of you corrected me so I guess that tells ya how this matchup rates in our collective consciousness. Jordy Mercer hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Victor Reyes hit a two-run double in the second to help Detroit earn the split.

Brewers 5, Padres 1: Corey Spangenberg spent five years with the Padres before this season but he set any residual loyalties aside while facing his old comrades, driving in three runs, including a tie-breaking, two-run triple in the fourth inning. Zach Davies, meanwhile, allowed one run over five and the Milwaukee pen held San Diego scoreless for the final four innings. The Brew Crew has won ten of eleven.

Twins 5, White Sox 3: The Sox took an early 2-0 lead but those were the only two runs Twins starter José Berríros allowed while pitching into the eighth inning. Jorge Polanco hit a sacrifice fly and Nelson Cruz knocked an RBI single in the second to tie things up and Mitch Garver‘s RBI double in the fifth put the Twinkies ahead for good. They didn’t hit a homer in this one. I hope they feel OK.

Cardinals 4, Nationals 2: Marcell Ozuna drove in all four of the Cardinals runs with a two-run homer and a two-run double. He also nailed a runner at home plate in the fourth to keep the Nats from tying things up:

The Nationals are looking over their shoulder and seeing the possibility of three NL Central teams making the postseason while they’re on the outside looking in. Not saying it’s gonna happen, but it could.

Cubs 8, Reds 2: Kyle Schwarber hit a three-run homer and Nicholas Castellanos hit a two-run double while five Cubs relievers tossed five and two-thirds scoreless innings. Schwarber — who we have always identified with stellar defense, right? — also made this diving catch:

Rockies 9, Mets 4: Rockies pitcher Antonio Senzatela hit a tying, two-run single in the fourth after which Trevor Story, a far more usual offensive contributor, smacked a three-run homer to blow things open for Colorado. In all the Rockies roughed up Steven Matz for seven runs on six hits in four innings. Before that single, Senzatela had been 0-for-44 on the year.  Brandon Nimmo and Jeff McNeil each homered in a losing cause for New York.

Diamondbacks 7, Marlins 5: Robbie Ray pitched five and two-thirds innings of no-hit ball and left the game after allowing only one run in six innings. Once he was gone, however, the Fish put up a five-spot in the top of the seventh to come back from being down 3-0. Their lead didn’t last long as the Snakes put up a four-spot in their half of the seventh, including a bases-clearing three-run double by Jake Lamb, to give themselves back the lead and, ultimately, the game. Lamb also knocked in the game’s first run while being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the first. There are easier ways to get an RBI but whatever works, right?

Royals 6, Athletics 5: The A’s six-game winning streak comes to an end thanks to some late inning heroics by Royals batters. Specifically, Brett Phillips hit a tying home run off Liam Hendricks in the ninth after which Adalberto Mondesí hit an RBI double to put Kansas City on top. That Mondesí double isn’t an RBI if not for the fact that, one batter earlier, Whit Merrifield reached second thanks to a Ramón Laureano letting the ball simply pop out of his glove. Oops.