I just want to make a few observations about yesterday’s Congressional steroid hearings.
1. Ladies and gentlemen, Congressmen and Congresswomen: if you’re going to talk about baseball players, please learn how to pronounce their names. Miguel Tejada shouldn’t be that difficult a name to say.
2. Congresswoman Watson: Bud Selig was sitting right in front of you. Your fellow Congressmen said his name correctly. Donald Fehr pronounced his name correctly. Senator Mitchell said Mr. Selig’s name correctly. Would it have been that hard for you to actually listen to some of them? That way, you wouldn’t have sounded like such a moron when you decided to start your questioning of Bud Selig by mispronouncing his name.
3. For you Republicans on the panel: please learn a little labor law. I know most of you feel that labor has no rights and that management can do whatever it pleases. But labor law doesn’t work that way. Labor law allows parties to negotiate various items in the labor contract, such as drug testing and punishment. Just because you want Bud Selig to execute a guy doing steroids doesn’t mean he can just unilaterally do it.
4. Congressman Shays, if you’re going to spout baseball history, please be sure to get the history right, or make sure your staff gets it right: it’s the Chicago White Sox and the Black Sox scandal. Not Blackhawks. The Chicago Blackhawks play a sport called hockey, are in the NHL, and did not exist in 1919.
5. More fun with Mr. Shays: if you’re going to state baseball stats, make sure you state the right baseball stats. Rafael Palmeiro’s 300th hit came sometime in the late 80s. I seriously doubt MLB knew the results of his steroids test way back then. The top guy in your party is a former baseball owner. Ask Mr. Bush about some of this stuff because I’m thinking that baseball may be about all that he is good for.
6. Back to you, Mr. Shays: if you’re going to do a historical baseball analogy to the steroids matter, please make sure that not only do you know it’s the Black Sox, not the Blackhawks, but please make sure that your analogy is correct. Yes, those 1919 Black Sox players were kicked out of baseball for cheating. But that doesn’t apply to now. There’s one key difference: the Black Sox players took money to deliberately lose games. Like Barry Bonds or hate him, but the guy wasn’t taking money to throw games. He was taking illegal substances to improve his play. True, improving the play got him more money, but it also helped his team to win.
7. Further, Mr. Shays, and your fellow committee members: you don’t like cheaters and you want the steroids users kicked out of baseball, without any second chances. But why is baseball the only sport about which you’re bitching? Mr. Fehr was correct when he said that the shame of being labeled a ‘roider is a primary reason players aren’t expected to be nailed multiple times. How many commercials have Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, Giambi, etc., done since they were labeled as cheaters? Yet, not only does Shawne Merriman of the NFL’s San Diego Chargers get to do his sack dance every week on national TV, but being nailed doing steroids last season didn’t prevent NIKE from using him to pitch their shoes.
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8. Congresswoman McCollum: as to your discussion of baseball, steroids, and consumer fraud, please see number seven above and my discussion of Shawne Merriman of the NFL. When are you bringing the NFL before your time wasting committee?
9. As to the HGH: the next time you guys want to talk about how evil a drug this is, make sure you confiscate all copies of Continental Airline’s in-flight magazine before Mr. Fehr can get a hold of it and display for a national audience the advertising from the magazine touting the wonders of HGH.
10. Finally, I learned that it’s okay for a guy to go before Congress, shake his finger and deny ever using steroids while under oath, then be caught lying about it. But you better not be caught lying to the dweebs on the staff. How else can one explain the call to investigate Miguel Tejada for perjury while giving a free pass to Rafael Palmeiro?
And yes, I’m really sick of all of this. But hey, I made it through the day without discussing Roger Clemens, so I guess that’s something. – John Royal