Baseball and politics don't mix.

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Fryingpan Sports

Baseball and politics don’t mix.

By Bill Smith

If you have ever wondered if government can screw up something innately simple, just look at the people to whom it gives drivers licenses.

Congress got involved in the baseball steroids controversy several years ago. The House and the Senate held hearings and drug (pun intended) players and members of the league and the union in front of TV cameras in the worst reality show in history until “Hole in the Wall” aired last year. But even bad TV has its moments. How entertaining can it be with the “Day of the living dead” Sen. Arlen Specter as host?

Who among us doesn’t get choked up hearing Rafael Palmeiro say “I have never used steroids, period.” Of course that would have been a little more moving had he not been suspended for steroid use less than 5 months later.

Now Congress is way too busy pounding trillions of taxpayer money down a rat hole to be involved with baseball or steroids. But fear not. Another branch of government is stepping in to take Congress’ place—the Courts. Miguel Tejada faces a court date Wednesday because he lied about steroid use. No, not his own. He is expected to plead guilty for lying about steroid use by other players. Because the final sentencing of Tejada might not be done until May, his availability for the Astros season might be in jeopardy. Odds are that he will not get prison time for refusing to throw his fellow players into the teeth of the congressional grinder based on hearsay. The crime is a misdemeanor not a felony. But Tejada is a Dominican and is here each season on a work visa. It is possible that his visa status might be affected. At the very least, I suggest that fantasy baseball players be aware of his legal situation.

Our old buddy Bobby “quick hit of steroids” Bonds is facing perjury charges for lying about his own recreational use of the juice. He can expect to get some quiet time in jail. Given how much the press and talk radio have hounded him, he could probably use the rest.

There is no question that a large number of players are guilty of using steroids but both Bud Selig and Don Fehr deserve to be fired for their joint efforts to hide the problem under the biggest rock available. It is not a sin to be ignorant. It is a sin however to be arrogant about your ignorance. These two have to go. They have done irreparable damage to the sport and the players for whom they have responsibility.

Selig closed his eyes to the problem. No one could look at Sammy Sosa or any of the other guys after they got juiced and not be suspicious. This problem should have been dealt with years ago. But after the strike eliminated the World Series, Selig was willing to ignore the evidence in hopes that the home run race between Sosa and McGuire would bring the fans back to the ballparks.

Fehr is equally guilty. He reportedly blocked some owners efforts to institute testing well before the 2003 study to determine how extensive steroid use might be. Then he claimed that a federal grand jury investigation prevented the destruction of the “totally confidential” results of the study. Don, I have a feeling that the 2003 grand jury has expired in the last 6 years. You blew it!

If baseball wants to really restore public confidence in the game, the owners need to fire Selig and the players need to fire Fehr. SI and the San Francisco Examiner have done a great job digging into the story. It is too bad that the drive bye media doesn’t do the same thing when our elected officials violate the law and the Constitution.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

Technorati Tags: MLB. Major League Baseball, San Francisco Examiner, Sports Illistrated, si, Fehr, Selig, Specter, Palmeiro, Tejada, Congress, Astros, misdemeanor, felony, Bonds, Sosa, federal grand jury, fantasy baseball
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2 Responses to “Baseball and politics don't mix.”

  1. Anna
    on Feb 11th, 2009
    @ 1:42 pm

    They never did…

    Anna’s last blog post..Weight Watchers Oatmeal Spice Muffins recipe – 5 points

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  2. Steve
    on Feb 14th, 2009
    @ 7:56 pm

    I’m not sure why politicians feel the need to get involved in sports. They seem to want to be a part of everything.

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