Friday, April 29, 2011

Scandals Barely Noticed

Has anyone noticed the number of arrests and general reports of bad behavior involving players and coaches that have been reported since the season started?

They have ranged from Atlanta Braves coach Roger McDowell getting into it with fans, Mike Leake of the Cincinnati Reds being picked up for shoplifting a few shirts, and, back to the Braves, the arrest of pitcher Derek Lowe on a DUI charge.

That's only part of the list. Former major leaguer Carl Everett was arrested on an assault charge that involved a weapon. Elijah Dukes, another former big leaguer, was arrested on a charge of driving with a suspended license.

All of this off-the-field news can't make baseball happy. The amazing thing is that all of this police blotter activity has made barely a ripple on some sports media sites. It seems that it wasn't long ago that the arrest of a player would be big news. And the idea of a coach or player having a fracas with fans would have produced a huge reaction.

Now, the reports just churn through the internet media machine and are swallowed up by the next breaking news. Maybe it's the short attention we all have now. Or maybe it's a high tolerance for scandal in sports after watching O.J. Simpson and then the steroid era, but something has changed.

I'm no moralist and I certainly never thought baseball players were saints. But it seems that for the most part these incidents are met with a collective yawn. The teams involved and Major League Baseball will look into the incidents and levy the fines or suspensions they deem appropriate. (McDowell was placed on administrative leave today.)

I know there's always been a section of fans who will accept any behavior as long their team wins. I wonder if we are getting closer to the day when that is the predominant sentiment.

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