Baseball On My Brain

One of the better magazine articles I’ve read in a while, but…

Rick Reilly of ESPN The Magazine put together a really interesting article about how steroids has possibly held back some minor league ballplayers, and he argues that they should sue MLB because of it.

There are certainly some interesting points and examples made, and while I’m not ready to sign off on Reilly’s argument — mainly because I don’t know enough about any of the players referenced or the situations they were in when they could have been called up. Just the fact that one of the players was in the Yankees organization almost speaks for itself…not like they’ve been in the habit of leaning on their farm system for the bulk of their roster.

But Reilly does explain what it would take for a class action lawsuit to work, and while I hate to admit it because it might mean I’m endorsing litigation, he does have a bit of a point. But again – how do you prove it? And would such a case just encourage the “everyone deserves a medal” mentality that is becoming more common throughout athletics?

In some ways, I think it does. Every sport is tainted with some kind of bias or unfair process of selecting who makes the team and who doesn’t. Just read Matt Dahlgren’s Rumor In Town, a great book I just finished, and you’ll see what I mean.

I think the fatal flaw in the argument though is the assumption that rosters are built purely on talent alone. We all would like to think it was the case, but it simply isn’t. If nothing less, some teams simply operate on the mantra that they would rather bring in an established veteran through a trade or free agency as opposed to calling up a youngster.

Definitely a novel idea, one that might even have legs, but one that I think would be fairly difficult to prove, if for no other reason than it would be almost impossible to prove why one player gets picked over another.

What do you think?


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