Bob Nightengale Continues Our Fake News Dilemma

Depending on what your personal politics are, there was a moment or 31 that led you to believe that fake news had become an important issue during the election.  For people that follow politics, it was a new and stunning revelation.  If you are a baseball fan, particularly one who is invested in Hall of Fame voting, you have been well aware of this problem.

Despite having the numbers to be a first ballot Hall of Famer, Mike Piazza had been largely kept off of people’s ballots due to the unfounded presumption he had used steroids during his career.  That is unless you believe noted dermatologist Murray Chass and his unsupported position that Piazza having back acne was a sure indicator of steroid use.  Note, there are several causes of back acne in adults that have nothing to do with steroids.  Despite that people have used the back acne, as well as Piazza’s physique as the basis for their mostly unfounded belief he used steroids.

What has been peculiar is the same litmus test has been used as an indication that Jeff Bagwell used steroids, but someone like Rickey Henderson did not.  Ultimately, what we have seen is a guessing game where some writers are presenting opinions as fact without any reprecussions.  And yet, despite the absence of proof on players like Piazza or Bagwell, there are some who continue to insist they used steroids.  Worse yet, they are using Piazza’s induction into the Hall of Fame last year as a basis to justify the induction of Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and other players who have been proven to use steroids.  The latest example is Bob Nightengale:

In his column for USA Today, Nightengale would double-down on this claim:

The BBWAA finally recognizes the absurdity of keeping Bonds and Clemens out of the Hall of Fame but letting Mike Piazza, Bagwell and soon Ivan Rodriguez into the hallowed halls.

Simply put, this is fake news.  It is fake news because the is absolutely no documentation, test results or otherwise, that establishes Piazza has used illegal PEDs during his entire career.  In the absence of any valid proof, this is fake news not even fit for publications such as The World Weekly News, The Onion, or the National Inquirer.  Yet somehow, some way, this was published in USA Today even though it was presented as fact.

Overall, Piazza’s induction into the Hall of Fame establishes is a player who was the greatest hitter at his position deserves enshrinement into the Hall of Fame.  If you wanted, you could extend Piazza’s induction coupled with Craig Biggio‘s induction into the Hall of Fame to stand for the proposition that innuendo and unfounded rumors are insufficient to prevent a worthy player from being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

However, you cannot state Piazza’s induction into the Hall of Fame stands for the proposition that steroid users should now be inducted into the Hall of Fame because, simply put, there is no incontrovertible evidence Piazza used steroids.  To assert otherwise would be to propagate the issue of fake news in our society.


0 thoughts on “Bob Nightengale Continues Our Fake News Dilemma”

  1. Gothamist says:

    I really wonder if the internet will almost kill off traditional newspaper journalism like photography did to the late 19th century painting (i.e. Impressionism)…. Is it already over? …. I seldom find much insight from NY dailies and I find that after reading the Daily News coverage of sports outside of MLB I am in a state of shock…….Try reading DAILY Bondy covering Phil Jackson and Carmelo Anthony……. It may not be fake news but it is not fair, true or journalistic…the assumptions, judgments, leaving out details, no connection or due diligence with history, targeting disrespect on icons, respecting divas despite track records, immaturity of writers, not credible and clearly lacking substantiation …. I think back at the YouTube video of SAM ZELL LECTURING Orlando Sentinel reporters about the job of a journalist… like Bob Nightingale?… Is Nightengale pandering? … Is it about his job is generating page views? … WHAT ABOUT THE NEW YORK MEDIA NOT EVEN REVEALING HOW THE METS ARE $100m short every year into 2020 paying off the entire (SNY takes on $350m) and SNY only paying $45m annually for cable ? … as there are five teams doubling that sum. … why is tne MEDIA media silent on the Jay Bruce one year contract, the insurance policy for losing Cespesdes – If the Yankees held up all FA moves, any assumption of a Wade Davis one year contract over moving Brett Gardner at one year at $13m? …Does the media say anything about the Yankees getting $100m from YES maybe because they own 15% of YES and not 65%? … The Mets do not need the Post or the News very much anymore?…. and the Dailies need Dolan and Wilpon ? …. MEDIA IS ABOUT SELF INTEREST IF NOT SURVIVAL…? … Will fake news become an EPS issue if not a lifesaver? … IS FAKE NEWS ALSO ABOUT KNOWING THE Facts and never reporting it for it may mean losing your reserved press box seat at Citifield? …

  2. Gothamist says:

    Correction on previous comment:

    Wilpon / Katz – refinanced the $700m losses in the Madoff funds in 2015, at $350 m debt equally for SNY and the Mets…. Thus even with very favorable interest rates the $350/5 is essentially $70m a year plus the interest rate x $175, the average balance over five years… I estimate $75m annually for Saul Katz’s recovery from his Madoff investments plus $45 million on the SNY cable deal to get it to FMV … that is a $120 annual drain on the Mets…. Who loses, the fans do and ultimately the ecosystem differential if they can not spend an extra $25m a year until they pay their starters… without the $115m until 2021 will they do much to keep the starters (assuming they are all healthy?).. … btw the SNY deal remains at $46m annum in 2021.,, so let us get 20/20 and ask Katz and Wilpon to sell some buildings to pay off the debt and stop paying the Mets $46m at <50% of the market value they should be paying…

    1. metsdaddy says:

      There is much in your comments, but the one area I wanted to hone in on with the issue of sitting on information. I don’t believe that is “fake news” but I do agree that not reporting on something is a real issue. As it pertains to the Mets, it at least appears that the Madoff scandal is still an issue. Now, as a Mets fans, we want this attached to each and every article that addresses this team not making moves in the offseason. However, at some point, that becomes overkill, and a writer/editor has to note the redundancy is no longer needed.

      As for the reporting on the issue, I know Howard Megdal has done some excellent reporting on the issue. Moreover, I believe reporters like Mike Vaccarro have done a good job of not letting the Mets off the hook for letting good seasons go by the wayside.

      Thank you for reading and for your insightful comments.

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