By The Common Man
We asked you to be vigilent. And you have come through for us.
We asked you to find us more writers who believed, without evidence, that Jeff Bagwell was too “suspicous” to have naturally played baseball so well, knowing that it would be equally fair for all of us to collectively suspect those writers of being dirty, stinking plagiarists based on the same lack of evidence they use to punish Jeff Bagwell for his big arms and for the era in which he played.
And you (if your name is Joshua Powling, aka @AstroBrit, of The Crawfish Boxes and AstroBrit’s Astros from Across the Atlantic) found us two in one article. God bless you (Joshua Powling), for bringing to our attention:
Hersh describes himself as “Olympic sports writer for Chicago Tribune since 1987 and Tribune Company since 2004″and nowhere in his biography does he at all mention baseball. Nor does he mention it on his Twitter feed. And yet, despite not primarily covering baseball since at least 1987 (according to his own words), Philip Hersh has a BBWAA Hall of Fame vote. How he “earned” it is beyond The Common Man’s powers of deduction. Here’s how he used his power:
“Happy to omit Mark McGwire for the sixth straight year and Rafael Palmeiro for the second; I never will pick either doper. And I’m still too suspicious about Jeff Bagwell to include him.”
At least Hersh allows room for doubt, which is only fair given that he actually has no evidence whether Jeff Bagwell used PEDs or not, just as he has no evidence whether Larry Walker, who he voted for, who was a direct contemporary of Bagwell, and who was also a big power hitter didn’t use. But whatever, we’re just tossing around suspicions. Unlike…
Meanwhile, Paul Sullivan is most definitely a baseball writer. He believes in eliminating “the ‘shrinkage’ candidates.
Gone with a whisk of the Sharpie were Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire and a few other unindicted but suspected contributors to the PED mess, players whose numbers otherwise would merit serious consideration. Sorry, Jeff Bagwell, but you shrunk more than most.”
Ha, look how nicely he accuses Jeff Bagwell without actually accusing him. He didn’t use PEDs, but he’s a “suspected contributor to the PED mess,” whatever that means. And he “shrunk more than most.” Well done Paul. Very few of your colleagues have been actually brave enough to do more than say they suspect Bagwell. You, instead, imply very heavily that he used. That takes guts…you know, to not actually say what you think like that.
Anyway, does it strike anyone else as suspicious that two of the Tribune’s writers came to the exact same conclusion…in the same article, no less…based on absolutely no evidence? If either one of these guys wrote a book about the jazz age and a guy named Shmatsky who liked to throw big parties and stare across a lake at a red light, wouldn’t you question their creative process?
The tragic thing is that, unless one or both of them comes forward with a confession or offers definitive proof they didn’t cheat off each other (perhaps security footage of them writing the story, and phone and email records to confirm they didn’t get their stories straight first), The Common Man is afraid we’ll have to suspect both of them of plagiarism.
Unless, of course, they’d like to change their positions on the ethics of punishing someone for an offense despite having no evidence that an offense actually occurred, let alone was committed by the specific individual in question. In the meantime, we’ll again point out: no one is accusing Misters Hersh and Sullivan of anything. We’re just suspecting them of being plagiarists until they prove they aren’t.
Update: As Theo Gerome of Hot Corner Harbor points out, Scot Gregor, the White Sox reporter for The Daily Herald, also decided to dispense some vigilante justice, based on zero evidence:
“Suspicions of using “performance enhancing drugs” weigh heavily on my decision to leave off productive players such as Bagwell, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro and Juan Gonzalez.
This has become an annual problem, and we voters receive no guidance on the PED issue. Until there are clearer guidelines, suspected players will not be getting my vote.”
Well, God forbid that Scot Gregor use his own best judgment and a sense of actual, you know, justice and fairness to come to an independent conclusion as to how to handle players who have become suspected of PEDs use based on no evidence. Way to be a leader, Scot. Until we get more stringent guidelines from the BBWAA regarding what constitutes plagiarism, we’ll just have to assume you are yet another gutless, coniving snake of a plagiarist. Feel free to provide exonerating evidence so we can clear your name, if you can find anything.