Friday, June 12, 2009

Player v. Blogger

This week saw a new trend emerge in sports: a player responding to a blogger.

Earlier this week, Midwest Sports Fans blogger Jerod Morris, questioned how 37-year old Raul Ibanez was able to get off to such a hot start after flying under the radar for most of his career. At the time of Morris’ post, Ibanez had 19 HR, 54 RBI, 46 R and .329 BA through 55 games. In 2006, Ibanez had a career best 33 HR, with the Seattle Mariners.

Morris analyzed factors such as home ballparks, quality of pitching faced and the new lineup in Philadelphia. He then went on to “acknowledge the elephant in the room.” The elephant being that when an aging player comes out of nowhere to put up unusual numbers, doubts are raised…especially after all the repeated denials of players past and present later to be found out to have cheated.

Ibanez was not a fan of the insinuation, looking into the possibility of taking legal action. Taking a page from the roider’s handbook, he came out firing saying, "I'll give back every dime I've ever made.”

I have endorsed that idea in the past. Contracts need to be tied to the athletes behaving ethically. If you are caught using you PED’s you would need to return all monies earned in your current contract. These guys are still role models, right? If you’re cheating, you shouldn’t be rewarded. A change the incentives will lead to a change in behavior.

As faith should have it, Ibanez hit a 3 run home run in the 10th inning to beat the Mets last night. It’s his 21st of the season, one behind MLB leader Adrian Gonzalez with 22.

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