Friday, May 25, 2012

More than an asterisk*

Media coverage of steroids in baseball is old and familiar. Player A injects a needle into his arm and suddenly he hits the ball farther than ever before. In the newspapers the same statistics are repeated, and the same faces on the screen go on about how players from the steroid era should have an asterisk next to their stats. Their distaste surfaced in the case of Jeff Bagwell, who was never implicated in any steroid scandal, but received fewer than expected hall of fame votes— some voters didn’t like the way he bulked up over his career.

In the most recent offseason the media’s sharp eye turned on Ryan Braun, the freshly made National League MVP. The media reduced his incredible season to one more piece of evidence of the destructive nature of steroids in baseball. “He would never be that good without the steroids,” was the common groupthink.