Points of view

Thou shalt question idols: on Derek Jeter and Bob Dylan

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Bob Dylan’s new album Tempest came out today. I just bought it at Starbucks. Then I read the New York Times with my grande iced coffee. There was an article lavishing praise on Dylan’s continued mastery. And there was an article about how Derek Jeter just keeps getting better, even at age 38.

I remembered a Rolling Stone interview in which Dylan sited Jeter as his favorite player. Apparently Dylan goes to a lot of Yankees games. 

ESPN’s Skip Bayless caught a ton of flak recently for suggesting that Jeter may be juicing. And while Mr. Bayless is usually ignorant, high-volume and hyperbolic, in the case of Jeter and the juice, he’s on the money. He has expressed a healthy skepticism about a 38-year-old who looked washed up not so long ago and is now making a run at his first-ever batting title.  

George Vecsey used to write articles for The Times assassinating the character of players caught using. He blamed managers who looked the other way, players, players’ agents, the players’ union, the owners and the homer-crazed fans.  

He blamed everyone but the media.  

But the media pushed McGwire on us even while seeing drugs in his locker.

The media, with locker room passes we fans don’t get, saw these players naked everyday, adding 60 pounds of muscle in a few short months. Journalists stayed silent, betraying the fans, the game and their own journalistic integrity.  

When I would write that to Mr. Vecsey, he would say he could not write anything without proof. But Mr. Vecsey and his journalist buddies were just being lazy.

Whatever happened to investigative journalism?

They saw the muscles, but instead of making some calls and looking into it, they just went along for the ride. Sammy Sosa’s homers were the sports world’s version of Weapons Of Mass Destruction. The press was shamefully complicit.  

Even without hard proof, one can express doubt. That’s what a free country and free press is all about. You can doubt your leaders. And you can doubt your heroes. We can doubt the Captain of the Yankees. Respectfully. 

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