Jon Stewart is a comedian, a political satirist. Last night, Stewart did his job, again. He made me laugh, by failing to call one of Major League Baseball’s all-time greatest players on his use of drugs.
Drug use in baseball is considered a threat to the integrity of the game and threatens to keep out of the Hall of Fame, the game’s biggest names. On Tuesday, Piazza admitted using meth, andro and Vioxx to make it through baseball games. On Wednesday, Piazza went on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and talked about being drafting in the 62nd round of baseball’s 1988 amateur draft.
Stewart buried the lead. LOL!
For years, Piazza has been rumored to be a druggie. So it was funny to hear Stewart ask Piazza if he drew a line between muscle enhancement substances and steroids. Really? Well O-K, technically Piazza didn’t use steroids. (If you believe he admitted to all wrong-doing) Piazza admitted taking andro. Androstenedione is an intermediate step in the biochemcial pathway that produces the androgen testosterone. Above average levels of testosterone are prohibited by the big leagues. Andro is what Mark MacGwire took to get big. Amphetamines, in addition to being against the law without a prescription, are on Major League Baseball’s list of banned drugs. Piazza admitted using those too! Amphetamines are called greenies in baseball playerese. In his book, Piazza also seems to wax nostalgic about his use of Vioxx saying, “I used Vioxx because it was an intense anti-inflammatory and it made me feel good.” It’s not like Piazza is some scrub. He’s a lifetime .308 hitter and smacked 427 home runs in a 15 year career. Piazza was a twelve time all-star and holds the MLB all-time record for home runs hit by a catcher. (396)
Stewart, as I said, is a comedian, a political satirist. He’s also a lifelong New York Met fan. Piazza spent 8 years with the Metropolitans. So now we know a couple of reasons Stewart gave Piazza the “okie-dokie on drug use. The question is where is the sports media. The same group of people is calling for Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa ‘s heads on a stick?
That, despite the absence of clear evidence, either one took anything. Published reports, based on anonymous sources, said both Bonds and Sosa tested positive for drugs banned by baseball, but that’s it. Here we have Piazza admitting he used drugs and the sports media is as quiet as a gazelle among a pride of lions. But its not just Piazza getting a pass. Lance Armstrong skated for years, about what helped him with cycling. It took the testimony of 11 former teammates to finger Lance as a liar. In 2011, Milwaukee Brewer Ryan Braun tested positive for Human Growth Hormone, or HGH. Coincidentally, that was the year, Braun won the MVP. The league suspended him, but Braun had that punishment over-turned, not because he denied there was HGH in his urine sample, but because the chain of custody didn’t pass muster. Is Braun now as big a devil as Bonds in the sports media for allegedly using HGH to hit home runs? Hardly. No one believed MacGwire was guilty of drug use until he refused to testified under oath on whether he used drugs, and no one in the media thought Roger Clemons was guilty despite CLEAR examples of ‘roid rage throughout his career; like getting kicked out of game 4 of the 1990 ALCS for using the “F” word with an umpire, and throwing a bat, coincidentally enough, at Piazza in the 2000 World Series.
For Clemons it took the discovery of his DNA on a needle his personal trainer says was used to inject Clemons with drugs, for the media to suspect him.
It’s not up to Jon Stewart to point out the flaws in our political system or to rip politicians play both ends and the taxpayer, but he does it deftly while entertaining millions of people. In that sense, Stewart fills a very important roll. What we need now is a Jon Stewart to makes us laugh at sports reporting. The Jon Stewart we have now, is not our man.