September 08, 2009

Nobody Knows Anybody, Not That Well.

So, first, just to be veeeeery clear about this: I don't think Derek Jeter ever used steroids. No clue or circumstantial evidence or even the vaguest rumor has ever indicated otherwise. I think only Mariano Rivera would be a bigger surprise to me, if he turned up on that list.

That said, with everything baseball has been through this decade, wouldn't it probably be a good idea to stop writing articles like this one? Newsday's Wallace Matthews discusses Jeter's upcoming Yankee hits record, in a piece titled "Fair Ball: Just Clean Hits For Jeter":
...It also will serve to remind us how pathetic were the excuses of this era's steroids cheats and their many media apologists, to wit: "Everybody else was doing it, and I was just trying to keep up.''

Jeter's career exposes that for what it is: a lie, a lame excuse, a sign of weakness and absolute proof that all the talent in the world can't compensate for a lack of character.

Because (until proven otherwise), Derek Jeter, all 195 non-spectacular pounds of him, never needed that kind of help. ...

...You can call that moralizing if you like. I call it celebrating a man who did things the right way rather than excusing or, worse, glorifying boys who took the easy way out.

I don't know that I'd call it moralizing, but I would call it a bit of an assumption (as Matthews knows, of course, hence the "until proven otherwise" parenthetical). Again, I don't think Jeter took steroids - but until about seven months ago, sports sections were full of stories on how A-Rod was going to be the clean-living hero who breaks Barry Bonds' home run record. And yeah, it's DEREK JETER, so I'll cheerfully give him the benefit of the doubt, and when I watch him play steroids are the last thing on my mind. I'm not saying we should run around suspecting and accusing everyone who sets foot on a diamond. I'm just saying: you never really know until you know, you know?

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