The Slurve is a truly excellent daily baseball newsletter written by Michael Dougherty, whose white whale is MLB’s investigation into the players mixed up with the Biogenesis clinic in Miami, which he supports. Here’s the nut of today’s edition:
Anything that can be done to punish the cheats is an effort to live up to the contract everyone signed, it’s an effort to change the culture of baseball locker rooms and the incentives of individual players.
The key word here is “anything.” This is, basically, the language of police brutality and prosecutorial overreach. If you believe in the system, you can’t call the players “cheats” before the results trickle in unless you want to turn the All-Star break into an infomercial for your own hobbyhorse. If you’re really concerned about how this scandal is going to affect a younger generation, you might want to wait until all the facts are in (or any of them, really). The problem is not with the Joint Testing Agreement. Players get suspended all the time with little more than a few words from most writers. The problem is living with uncertainty: Did the players use the drugs or not? And can MLB prove it? If you feel comfortable muddying a player’s name before you can answer these questions, the only thing that’s certain is that you’ve backed yourself into a corner of a house on fire, chased there by your own self-righteousness, waiting to be saved by the man with the gascan, the kids with the matches already to blame.