Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Press attention to PED in baseball; "Offline reputation" matters, too


The Washington Nationals – pitchers and catchers at least – are starting Spring training in Florida, and apparently under a cloud regarding the “reputation” of its star lefty Gio Gonzales.

The Nationals don’t need this.  After the melt down in the ninth inning (at home) in the last playoff game against the Cardinals last October, they need to get right at it.  They don’t need the remote possibility of a 50-game suspension against one of their aces tainting the season at the start.

A Miami newspaper (The Miami New Times) reported the pitcher’s name in the records of a biogenesis (anti-aging clinic) ran by Anthony Bosch.  Gonzalez .   The clinic is said to have given several major league players banned performance enhancing drugs.  Gonzalez denies using any such substances.  He says that his name may be there because his father used the clinic for anti-aging remedies.  But according to a Washington Post story February 13 by Adam Kilgore about a “PED Report”, Gio’s name appears alongside a cream containing testosterone as late as 2012. 

Major League Baseball is investigating.  Of course, all of the pitcher’s tests are negative, so MLB has to track down the statements of various “witnesses”.  It’s not clear that such a process could yield “truth”.  It’s more about reputation.

But it’s disturbing that Lance Armstrong was able to maintain his denials for so long until they collapsed early this year in the course of a very complicated and protracted investigation (see Wikipedia for details). 
  
The Washington Post story link is here

The Miami New Times has its "details" (pun) here. Sounds a bit like supermarket or tabloid journalism -- "The Gio Gonzalez Files".  The "Active Patients" insert appears to be an embedded PDF or image.  Set your popup blocker if you look at this paper.

The more mainstream "Miami Herald" reports Gonzalez's denials, here
  
Right now, the “moral” of the story (so far) seems to be, watch your reputation.  Don’t make enemies.  Watch your whereabouts.  This sounds like pre-Internet era advise from my parents when my father was worried that my employers would have me “followed” when I went into New York City while living in New Jersey. 
  
Perhaps that’s what sports reporters do, troll clinics, looking for printed lists (don’t even need to hack on the Internet), looking for more scandals for scoops. 
  
The problem of damage to one’s “good name” did not start with Facebook. 

My father used to say, we have to worry about what "everyone" thinks, true or not. 

The Armstrong matter is also discussed here Jan. 28.  

Update: Feb. 19, 2013

Station WJLA in Washington reports that Gio Gonzalez has been cleared of using any banned substances. 

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