No, Derek Jeter will not play the anti-PED hero for you

47 Comments

If that headline sounds familiar it’s because I used one remarkably like it two weeks ago. Then, as now, I do so in response to a Bob Klapisch column. Then, as now, Kalpisch is using his column in a desperate effort to make Derek Jeter into some kind of anti-PEDs hero.

Two weeks ago he did so via comparison between Jeter and A-Rod. Today Klapisch actually tries to get Jeter to say all of the anti-PEDs things he likes to say. To get Jeter to come out firing against A-Rod and everyone who uses PEDs, whom he refers to as “baseball’s felons” (yes, really). The best/worst part: there’s a desperate fanboy element to it all which is almost embarrassing:

That’s why I asked the captain about his message to young fans about steroids — specifically whether he’ll use the farewell tour to renounce performance-enhancing drugs once and for all . . . All it would take is a few words from Jeter about the dangers of using PEDs — to one’s career, health and reputation — and he’d likely get through to some kid on the fence.

And of course Jeter doesn’t do that. Because there is absolutely zero in his history or what we know of his character that would inspire him to put himself out there on a controversial subject like this. He is far too smart for that and, based on his very words, both in the past and here, explains that he is not going to do it. Yet, despite him not taking Klapisch’s bait, Klap concludes thusly:

I have no doubt Jeter disapproves of both players’ use of PEDs and the lies they’ve told along the way.

He has to believe that. To not believe that may cause him to question whether the guy he thinks is some cross between God and Superman has a nuanced thought about a topic that isn’t nearly as black and white as Klapisch likes to claim it is.

I really can’t recall when I’ve ever seen a more blatant instance of a baseball writer projecting like Klapisch is projecting here. It’s almost enough to make me feel sorry for him.

Red Sox owner: “spending money helps”

Getty Images
5 Comments

The other day Rob Manfred said, as he and other owners have said often in the past, that there is no correlation between payroll and winning. He said that defensively, in response to criticism of the slow free agent market of the past two offseasons.

As we have noted in the past, Manfred is not being honest about that. While, yes, in any given year there can be wild variation between payroll and win total — the Giants stunk last year, the A’s won 97 games — common sense dictates otherwise. What’s more, a recent study has shown that there is a pretty strong correlation between winning and payroll over time. Yes, you can fluke into a big season with a low payroll — Deadspin compared it to a cold snap occurring during a time of climate change — but if you want that “sustained success” teams claim they want, the best way to ensure it is to spend more money over time.

If you know anything about baseball labor history, though, you know well that the Commissioner and the owners will continue to mischaracterize the dynamics of the business as it suits them. Mostly because — present lefty sportswriters notwithstanding — very few people push back on their narratives. Fans tend to parrot ownership’s line on this stuff and, more often than not, baseball media acts as stenographer for ownership as opposed to critic. That gives owners a far greater ability to shape the narrative about all of this than most institutions.

Which makes this all the more awkward. From David Schoenfield of ESPN:

In apparent contradiction to his own commissioner, Boston Red Sox owner John Henry said Monday that, while there is not a perfect correlation between a bigger payroll and winning, “spending more money helps.”

Which is right. The correlation is not perfect — teams can spend a lot of money on a bad team if given the chance and a low payroll team like the Rays can bullpen their way to 90 wins — but you’re way more likely to win year-in, year-out if you’re spending than if you go cheap all the time and hope for a miracle season.

Which is not to say that Henry is some labor activist owner. He and his fellow front office officials have a long history of backing the league office on just about everything that matters and will no doubt do so with labor matters in the runup to the next CBA negotiation. The owners tend not to have a solidarity problem.

But Henry does seem to draw the line at peddling baloney, which is a shockingly necessary thing when the league and the union’s relationship turns acrimonious.