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You don’t want to see Raul Ibanez when he’s angry…

with 5 comments

On June 8, midwestern sports blogger Jerod Morris published an article speculating on the reasons for Raul Ibanez’s outrageous start to the 2009 season. In the article, Morris contemplated park factors, opposing pitchers, career splits, and Philadelphia’s loaded lineup, trying to find a concrete causal link between something and Ibanez’s success.

Despite digging for evidence explaining such a torrid start, Morris came up short. In such a small sample size, there really isn’t enough information to explain what the 37-year-old Ibanez is doing.

He turns green in a minute.

To put Ibanez’s 2009 in perspective, he’s reached his career yearly average for homeruns with 20 and he’s halfway to his season average in RBI and runs scored through just 226 at-bats. His on base plus slugging percentage (OPS) is nearly 200 points higher than normal. It’s only the second week of June and Ibanez is forecasted to shatter every one of his career bests, even stolen bases.

Since Morris had difficulty linking Ibanez’s statistics to his current domination, he speculated that maybe Ibanez is doing something else. Morris, however, never indicted Ibanez with anything and instead decided to deal with the issue in shades of gray. He never deigned Ibanez with a scarlet “PED,” but acknowledged the fact that, during this day and age in baseball, steroids are a reasonable suspicion. Morris went on to name his piece, probably due to his hesitation to lump Ibanez with known cheats, “The Curious Case of Raul Ibanez: Steroid Speculation Perhaps Unfair, but Great Start in 2009 Raising Eyebrows.”

After the article was lambasted by John Gonzalez of the Philadelphia Inquirer, news spread quickly.

And Ibanez did not like it.

Ibanez responded by calling Morris’ post “pathetic and disgusting,” alleging that the writer should be held accountable for demeaning “everything [I’ve] done with one stroke of the pen.” He went on to label Morris as a “42-year-old blogger typing in his mother’s basement,” a ridiculously erroneous statement. He further proclaimed that the MLB could have “my urine, my hair, my blood, my stool” for testing and that if he failed that test the league could take back “every dime I’ve ever made.”

Morris appeared on Outside the Lines yesterday evening with the Philadelphia Inquirer writer who “broke” Morris’ story and Major League Baseball writer Ken Rosenthal. Each took turns berating the blogger, basically calling his article misguided and a shame to media-at-large.

And that’s where my problems with this whole ordeal begin.

Rosenthal and Gonzalez are no strangers to incendiary pieces.

What makes Morris’ blog post any more offensive and speculatory than Rosenthal’s piece entitled “Will non-white free agents shun the Red Sox?” In the article, Rosenthal asserts that free agents might be hesitant to join a Red Sox roster peppered with few African-American players; at the time, Coco Crisp was the only non-Caucasian on the active roster.

To me, it’s clear that Rosenthal is insinuating that the Red Sox front office is littered with racists. While it’s probably not the reaction Rosenthal was expecting, it’s a completely plausible response to the piece.

In Gonzalez’s “A cheap shot at Ibanez,” he offers his a cheap shot of his own to another party. In a roundup of news from the day, Gonzalez writes, “Cowboys Stadium opened over the weekend with a George Strait concert. Arlington police arrested 21 people. Who knew George Strait has that many fans?”

Is this not defamatory? Is this not slandering George Strait? Is this not the same kind of misguided and unconcerned journalism Gonzalez accused Morris of? While Gonzalez may have meant it as a joke, it can be seen as an insult.

I remember a Sports Illustrated article from earlier this year titled something like, “Albert Pujols: You Can Believe In Me.” While the article is a deposition vilifying Pujols as the savior of baseball, isn’t it by nature an indication of suspicion of steroids? The only difference between Morris’ piece and that one is that SI has the luxury of interviewing Pujols himself. In fact, if one had to find something wrong with Morris’ piece it’s that Ibanez doesn’t have a voice in it. But how is he supposed to?

It’s clear that Rosenthal and Gonzalez unfairly place themselves on a pedestal above bloggers.

It’s also clear that they never read Morris’ full piece and instead decided to rely on what equate as an Internet wide version of the game “telephone.”

Screw ’em. We bloggers will be taking their jobs soon enough.


5 Responses

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  1. I don’t blame him. It’s seems like u can’t be successful in Baseball without the suspicion of being on the juice. How long until we can enjoy the game without thinking it is “artificially enhanced”?

    Doug Greathouse

    June 11, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    • When MLB starts loophole proof testing and institutes lifetime bans for anyone caught using PEDs, I’ll start watching the game without suspicion. But if the penalty continues to be nothing more than a slap on the wrist (50 games), I won’t trust anyone farther than I can throw them for the time being.


      June 11, 2009 at 2:49 pm

  2. […] This post was Twitted by sportsmaven – […]

    Twitted by sportsmaven

    June 12, 2009 at 12:01 am

  3. Raul Ibanez is a world class act. Just a superstar! Seems people feel the need to put others down just to make themselves feel better. I think he is just great. Phillie are lucky to have him. Plus i have a huge crush on Raul!


    October 22, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    • Ibanez is a stellar player. He’s proven time and time again to be a great asset and RBI producer in any lineup he’s in.
      I don’t think Mr. Morris was putting Ibanez down but rather commenting on what (at the time) appeared to be an outlier year. Since then, Ibanez has returned to his normal form and played more towards his averages. Nothing suspect in that!


      October 22, 2009 at 3:46 pm

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