View Full Version : Baseballís Omerta

12-30-2007, 10:54 PM
I am fascinated by the role steroids have taken in Major League Baseball and other sports so I have spent a lot of time looking into the matter be it reading the Mitchell Report, Juiced, Game of Shadows watching shows on TV or listening to sports talk radio. But one thing has been the most disturbing to me and its not how many players took steroids or the deadly effects of the drugs or the financial gain that could come from steroid use but it is the un-corporation of current and former players.

For those of you not familiar with the term Omerta itís a term commonly referred to as an oath that mafia members take and abide by. Some websites define it as ďthe categorical prohibition of cooperation with state authorities or reliance on its services, even when one has been victim.Ē And if that doesnít describe the players in Major League Baseball in the past 25 years then I donít know what does. The players who didnít use steroids are defiantly victims in many ways one of which is that they could have lost millions of dollars because they chose to stay clean but for a reason I will never understand why they choose to remain silent and viewed as an average player where as they should be viewed as good or great players but they arenít because of the skewed numbers of this era.

In the Mitchell Report, George Mitchell says that he contacted hundreds of players and only a small percent actually came in for interviews. If Iím not mistaking I believe that not a single player who was listed in the report came to argue their side to Mitchell. It also states that a memo from the Union was sent to all the players discouraging them to talk to Mitchell.

Iím an avid listener of Mike and Mike on ESPN Radio and one morning a few weeks ago they asked Mike Golic if he would have cooperated with a Mitchell type investigation and he said he would not have ever talked about what went on in a locker room of his football teams. I understand this is an admitted steroid user himself but he also said it was a mistake he had made in taking these drugs. If it was truly a mistake in his life he would have opened up and let everything out to clear his sport up which in turn, I personally believe, would help in part to clearing up the entire steroid epidemic nationwide.

Maybe I have an extremely biased view on the situation because of my background (a criminal justice major) but I will never understand why clean players stay quiet. Until more players like Joe Oliver step up and demand some type of restitution if only in the form of recognition of how good of a player they actually were, then there is no chance to change the future of the game. There have been people spending time in jail because of what I like to call Baseballís Omerta (Greg Anderson). If someone is willing to go to that length not to talk then what is the difference between this and the Mafiaís Omerta?

Clearly steroids can kill people and the longer players stay quiet the more people will die. There is a reason steroids are illegal and itís because they can be harmful and deadly. People like Griffey, Ripken, Jeter, Larkin, and Maddux, if clean, should speak up so they can get the credit they deserve and if they arenít looking for more recognition then maybe they should speak up so that no more of their friends they are honoring Baseballís Omerta for go out the same way Ken Caminiti did.

I am very passionate about this situation and I donít see a reason for Congressional Investigations, independent investigations, ďOlympicĒ style testing, 3-strikes-your-out rules, blood testing, or anything like that until they can actually get the victims of these crimes to admit they have been wronged. Until we have a group of players come forward and not a Sammy ďThe BullĒ Gravano (Jose Canseco) to willingly talk about steroids in baseball, then Baseballís Omerta wont be broken and with no light on the past and a dark future baseball wont rid completely rid steroids, or any major problem within the players, from the game we all love.

12-31-2007, 02:03 AM
Interesting issue here, and kudos for picking a Thread Title that actually caught my attention for once....

I'll have to think about this a bit more (probably after my head is clear and my body free of toxins starting some point after New Year's celebrations), but off the top of my head, I think the answer to this question may lie in the choice of metaphors. In two ways:

(1) Simply put: the mafia is COOL. I know this will grate on a criminal justice major, but it's true; just as true as "chicks dig the long ball" or "stat wankers moisten their man-panties over OPS." Nobody wants to be the sissy weinerboy who squeals on something awesome, just like nobody fantasizes about growing up to be David Eckstein . So until we find our uber-badass Elliot Ness of Baseball, the clean players stay quiet, and spineless self-serving cretins like Jose "the Bull" Canseco are all you get coming forward.

(2) The bosses hold as much sway in baseball as they do in la casa nostra. They see the profits being turned during chases for Home Run titles. Maybe things would be different if we had an noble and just Don, but we don't. We have Bud Selig, who basically went ahead and did the baseball equivalent of turning a blind eye to getting into the drug racket when all the Families USED to do was run numbers and bootleg liquor, like honorable criminals. There was a buck to be made: MLB made it. Now, they're gonna get run up in front of Congress, and I don't see any "Godfather 2"-style escapes using Jose Canseco's brother against him.

Also, as a non sequitur: "Omerta" was my third most favorite Mario Puzo book. Everybody should read it.....


Natty Redlocks
12-31-2007, 12:20 PM
Good stuff here. The one thing I'd like to take issue with is the assertion that "clearly steroids can kill people". Just like with a lot of drugs, overdoing it with steroids is probably not good for your health. But --as with the war on drugs-- people are quick to accept the assumption that any amount is too much, Just Say No, Drugs Are Bad, Children, mmmmkay.

I have a daughter who will be thirteen in a few weeks. When she was in utero, her amniotic fluid was low and her lungs weren't developing quickly enough. I'm glad steroids were there to help her lungs grow in time for her to be born healthy.

I'm not saying they should just let 'em all go nuts with the stuff; I do think that-- just like with the drug war -- the dangers of drugs are exaggerated and the good they do is not only downplayed but practically taboo to mention.

As far as why so few players talk about it, maybe the "problem" is far greater than anyone wants to believe, and the ones who've never ever used anything remotely questionable are so outnumbered it would be a really bad idea for them to say anything, not due to any mafia-like code but for more obvious, practical reasons.