Jim & Bob's Palatial Baseball Blog

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Code of Silence

ESPN's T.J. Quinn makes an obvious point about some people who were conspicuously silent while the Steroids Era cranked up twenty years ago:

In the wake of George Mitchell's report on doping in baseball, LaRussa's professed ignorance about what went on around him in Oakland and St. Louis has marked him as one of the steroid era's enablers. The 311-page report is filled with tales of missed opportunities for nearly everyone in the major league universe to have intervened in baseball's problem with performance-enhancing drugs. LaRussa might well be emblematic of the enabling that went on, but he was far from alone.

Former Yankees manager Joe Torre, starting life afresh with the Dodgers this spring, managed 20 of the 86 players named in the Mitchell report, more than any other major league skipper. Many of those players, such as Canseco, played only briefly for Torre and did all or most of their alleged doping while with other teams.

But as ESPN spoke to Torre and LaRussa, along with current and former players, trainers, strength coaches, front office officials and owners, a picture emerged of a culture in which loyalty and secrecy trumped integrity -- and winning trumped everything. Baseball was practically an incubator for performance-enhancing drugs because almost everyone in a position to speak up chose not to.

Quinn goes on to talk about how the players weren't exactly breaking down doors to get this story out, either. Because of MLB's tradition of "what happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse," you know.

Noticably absent in Quinn's "code of silence" wrap-up is the media's scrupulous following of the code. Or at least it's faithful adherence to the code until a few years ago, when it became convenient for them to not follow it.

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