Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Taking Sabean to the Woodshed

One of the fun things that spun out of yesterday's Congressional hearing was the suggestion that baseball may discipline Brian Sabean for turning a blind eye to Barry Bonds' PED use.

My view of this is that baseball probably shouldn't get into retroactive discipline based on the Mitchell Report because (1) Mitchell's points about turning the page are good ones; and (2) we know with almost 100% certainty that the Mitchell Report represented cherry-picking of the most obvious kind. Yes, Sabean was inexcusably negligent -- or worse -- in the way he dealt with Bonds and his entourage, but who's to say that others weren't just as bad? I say baseball should lay off of Sabean because I'm not big on making examples out of people while others skate.

But just because baseball shouldn't discipline him doesn't mean he shouldn't be disciplined. Indeed, if I own the Giants, Sabean would be on the unemployment line, and not just because he gave $60M to Aaron Rowand. Let's recall his antics from pages 122-23 of the Mitchell Report:

Sabean told [Giants' trainer Stan Conte] that if Conte objected to Anderson and Shields being in the clubhouse, Conte should order them out himself. Conte said he would do this if Sabean would support him when Bonds complained, which Conte believed would be the result of his actions. Sabean did not respond to this request for support, leading Conte to believe that Sabean would not do so if Bonds protested. Conte therefore decided to take no action to deny Anderson or Shields access to restricted areas.

Whether the issue is steroids, leaving wet towels on the clubhouse floor, or any other work rule, if I had a manager leave his underlings out to dry like this he would be out on his keister.

So, Bud: lay off. Magowan: feel free to crucify him.


APBA Guy said...

You seem to be making the presumption that when Sabean was leaving Stan Conte out on a limb, that Sabean was acting independently. It is accepted on faith out here in the Bay Area that Sabean did or did not do anything with respect to Bonds that wasn't directed, sanctioned or guided by policy from the owner.

The Mitchell report didn't address this, nor has Giants management and ownership been publicly questioned about this. But the sports writers here all believe that the Bonds environment was created by the owner.

Shyster said...

That's an excellent point, APBA. If anything, it makes discipline of Sabean even less appropriate. It also, in my mind, calls into question whether Mitchell had any intention of calling ownership into account over any of this.