Saturday, July 7, 2007

I cold sent this e-mail to SNY...

… Unfortunately, after I sent it I realized that I had left out the line about how Keith’s crime, doing a whole bunch of blow in the ‘80s, was a mistake also made by people as respectable and upstanding as George W. Bush, and that it didn’t stop him from becoming leader of the free world and talking to Jesus:

Dear SNY,

I am a life-time Mets fan and watch almost every game. I generally find the SNY broadcasts by far the best broadcasts in baseball and having Ron, Keith and Gary call games is one of the great advantages of being a Mets fan in 2007.

I have to say, however, that I was fairly annoyed by Keith Hernandez’ handling of a question posed by Gary Cohen about amphetamine use, during Friday night’s game against the Astros. Cohen had asked Hernandez about the use of stimulants in baseball, in relation to the recent suspension of Detroit’s Neifi Perez. Hernandez responded vaguely in a broadly critical manner, mentioned that amphetamines were given out by trainers in the ‘50s, and kept on promising to elaborate during the following inning; if he ever finally did, I missed it. There was very little of any substance to take away from what he said, aside from the fact that he seemed not to want to discuss it.

What is irritating is that anyone who is anything more than the most casual of fans knows that illegal substances are not something that Mr. Hernandez is entirely unfamiliar with. Hernandez’ testimony in the Pittsburgh drug trials and his admissions of cocaine use are all public record. Hernandez was given a suspension as a result of this and he was only able to play in the legendary 1986 season by agreeing to donate part of his salary to drug programs and do community service.

While Cohen was discussing amphetamines, and Hernandez used cocaine, it seems slightly disingenuous for Hernandez to discuss stimulants as if this was something that was foreign to him, something that he might have known was going on in the clubhouse but chose to remain aloof from. Obviously, I appreciate the fact the Hernandez regrets his mistakes and is reluctant to bring up embarrassing aspects of his past, however none of this is secret, and any fan who enjoys Hernandez’ commentary enough to look him up on Wikipedia knows about his involvement with the Pittsburgh drug trials.

My feeling is that baseball fans do not feel overly vindictive about player’s mistakes; what irritates the fans is when things are with held from them. Even the fact of steroid use is not so much a problem to the fan, as the fact that it is impossible to know the extent of steroid use. I think that a fan’s first desire is for knowledge about the game, and that we are not overly interested in making moralistic judgments against our favorite players. Given this, and particularly if Hernandez did indeed learn from his mistakes, it seems like the interests of Mets fans, and the interests of baseball, would be best served if Hernandez, and other players, were to frankly discuss their past and relate it to current issues in the game.

If, on the other hand, there are issues that Keith is deeply sensitive to and things that he is extremely reluctant to discuss, it would be best if Gary Cohen would take this into account and avoid those subjects, and spare us the spectacle of Keith sounding like a small time politician trying to avoid answering questions about what happened to the county’s budget surplus.

Outside of this minor point, I greatly enjoy the coverage of the games and appreciate the excellent job that SNY does of covering the Mets.

Keep up the good work.

1 comment:

nigel fowler said...

Nicely observed, Sam from Queens; I entertained the same thoughts while listening to the exchange.

Is it my imagination, or does the banter between Cohen and Hernandez seem slightly more combative in the absence of the mediating Ron Darling?

I ask this question because it occurred to me that Cohen's raising of the substance subject seemed possibly mischievous; that behind all the yukking-up there's an encroaching enmity.

I hope not because they're a really good team, though perhaps Darling makes a difference.