Nationals Baseball: The Gio cloud

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Gio cloud

Yesterday Gio answered questions from the media, and if you read different accounts you get a different story.  Some local accounts and a national one had a confident and happy Gio, answering questions straight fowardly and oh by the way did we mention he got invited to play for the USA in the WBC!? Other national reports took a more matter of fact approach ignoring impressions and relegating the WBC point to a mere sentence.  The local guys seemed inclined to let this sit on the back-burner, at least until the MLB investigation gives us a definitive response by baseball. The national guys have no such inclination.  Jayson Stark even went ahead and posted an opinion piece that questioned Gio.  The nerve!  

I don't necessarily agree with Mr. Stark but I'm very glad he wrote that up. The national reports - AP and ESPN's non-opinion piece are reporting the straight news. While it comes across as dry, it also is the most fair. Gio's attitude is not relevant. His call to the WBC is at best circumstantial evidence in his favor. Instead what we need to know is what happened, what Gio says about it and that MLB is looking into it. On the other side, the local guys come across as a bit soft toward Gio. They know Gio. He doesn't seem like a user. I assume there hadn't been hints or insinuations floating around. The hard evidence is not strongly aligned against him. As long as they keep on putting relevant information out there, what's the harm in not grilling the guy? Is the story a little unbelievable? Perhaps. But it's certainly not impossible so why not give Gio the benefit of the doubt?

Thing is, while Gio the individual may deserve the benefit of the doubt, Gio the ballplayer lost that benefit a long time ago. It wasn't his fault, but that's the truth. As a ballplayer there is zero tolerance now. You even associate with one dirty person and you are going to be questioned over and over about it until most people are satisfied. Above and beyond that, you are going to have to accept the fact that a few people are NEVER going to be satisfied. That's the life of a modern ballplayer. Stark comes from this other side, after seeing ballplayer after ballplayer flat out lie to our faces, he wants Gio to accept the fact he's going to be basically interrogated by the press. He wants us to see how silly Gio's story seems if you take it on face value so that if Gio is found to be guilty we don't sit around and talk about how shocked we are. It's may be a little harsh but that's reality now.

It's not that I expect the beat guys to be doing this. I would imagine in any town we'd see the same type of... let's not say kid's gloves, maybe "older teen's gloves", treatment for a nice guy who has given no indication of guilt where the current known evidence does not clearly convict him. But this type of colmun should have already been out there* already. 

Gio's name was in a book of a known dealer of banned substances, where nearly every other player name in the book is someone who is strongly connected to banned substances. His father's name is in there. The name of the guy he identified as his off-season strength coach is in there. There's far more circumstantially linking him to banned substances, than putting him on the side of angels.

*If we really want someone to put Gio and the team to task about this, it's Boz who should be doing it. It's a columnist thing. But God knows the Unofficial Mascot of the Washington Nationals is not going to be doing that anytime soon.


Clip&Store said...

Ehh we'll see. Like I've said Gio doesn't personality or physique wise seem like the typical roid'er, (though physique can vary based on ped's so that's not as much of the point) so i think that's how he gets the benefit of the doubt. I don't wanna stereotype, but Arod, Melky, Bonds, etc kinda have that douchebag type vibe at least imo. I really don't see how anyone could possibly get that from NatGio. Not that it means he couldn't have done it, but it makes it seem more possible that he didn't.

Zimmerman11 said...

I personally don't care if he did or didn't, except if he DID and is denying it, and then it comes out later, and we lose him for the stretch run and/or playoffs, I will be FURIOUS.

Harper said...

C&S - I wouldn't equate personality with usage and we've seen physique not matter, so I wouldn't let that drive my opinion, but we all don't know anything. In fact I think the best thing we as fans can say is "We don't know. We'll see" but I really do think someone in the DC media should be more... incredulous about this than it seems they are.

Z11 - Now that's the attitude of a fan who wants to win!

Clip&Store said...

True but like i said i think he should be getting the benefit of the doubt until more than a few chicken scratch notes are their "proof". This is like the Salem witch trials all over again.

Harper said...

C&S - I say make him try to curl 100 pounds 10 times. If he does it - he's a user. If he doesn't do it and his arm is irrevocably damaged then he's clean.

Matt said...

Personally, regardless of how MLB decides, I will always suspect that he was using, which is too bad because I think he's generally a good guy. The (circumstantial) evidence is too strong to ignore. I'm not a court of law so I don't have to go with innocent until proven guilty. On the other hand, it is probably not strong enough to remove all doubt.

blovy8 said...

What are the other questions a reporter is supposed to ask? He's denied it. It would be similar to all the made-up destinations for Lohse, because there's only rumors.

Froggy said...

Two things...

1) I really don't give an flock what Boz or anyone else says at this point. MLB knows what the deal is and if they are doing damage control with the Lerners then Gio is one cool cucumber under fire.

and B) I'm going to be a 'loyal season ticket holder' and support my guy.

(ok, three things)...if it turns out Gio is a liar then I'll ask for a refund from the Nats and make my displeasure known in very public way.

Froggy said...

I know you are all about objectivity in reporting and whatnot,(as long as it doesn't have to do with the Yankees at least) so you are probably already aware of the 'Remapping Debate' website where journalists are supposed to ask 'Why and Why not'.

I found an interesting video interview series with David Callahan, the author of "The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead." Really worth watching.

You can find it at:

Harper said...

Matt - yeah in a civil court the Nats might get damages for this. Can't prove he's guilty but that's a lot of circumstantial evidence that could cause them damage. Pretty sure baseball suspensions though skirt far closer to the criminal pre-sumption of innocence because that is one hell of a union the players have.

blovy8 - I'd like to see him questioned pretty hard about the role that guy from the U of Miami played for him his offseason, what they did, what supplements he used if any, if he knew anything about why that guy was on the list. I'd ask him questions about his own training - what he does and uses. Also questions about his father. How exactly is this stuff used in weight loss? So he knew nothing about his father visiting this clinic? He acts like he never heard of it. I'd ask when he was tested by MLB over the course of last year (understanding he doesn't have to answer, but I'd ask). That's just off the top of my head.

Froggy - 1) It doesn't matter but I like to see feet held to the fire when people are silly enough to stick them close to the fireplace. B) Understood - I may disagree but there is no "right way to be a fan".

Well, now I'm just interested in what you would do.

Zimmerman11 said...

As long as there are millions of dollars to be made, and the people figuring out how to cheat are ahead of the people trying to catch the cheaters, this is going to happen in professional sports. I just assume they're all using and it's a level playing field. It's not as bad as that SNL sketch about the steroid olympics, but to think players are clean now (or ever were) is kind of misguided, IMO.

PChuck said...

The Stark piece was biased and ill-informed. It was as if he'd written before the interview...assuming he was actually at Nats camp and was a part of the interview with Gio.

Why was he at Nats camp anyway, assuming he was there? Jesus Montero also made a denial. Why didn't that get any coverage from Stark? Why isn't he out there, hunting down A-Rod, the Yankee, where the real story is for ESPN.

Jayson Stark appeared to just want to stir up something and I don't mean tea.

Harper said...

PC - not saying Stark didn't want to make a ruckus but he was at Nats camp and it made sense for him. Gio is a 20 game winner on the NL favorite to get to the WS. Montero is nothing for noone (sorry Mariners fans!). A-Rod is up in NY still so assuming Stark is down for ST he certainly wouldn't go up there (besides ESPN doesn't lack for guys looking at A-Rod) It's a new thing for Nats fans, but this team is going to be the story at times.

Anonymous said...

Stark's piece struck me as being rather sloppy. He wrote that Gio had to explain the reference to pink cream in those notes. I looked at that page on the New Times web site, and it looked to me more coincidental than anything. The much more important question (which you mentioned) to ask is what is Gio's relationship with the strength coach. Gio could have a good explanation for that, but Stark (or anybody else) didn't ask about that.

Donald said...

It's perfectly plausible that if Gio's father visited Bosch, or if Bosch knew the Miami strength was working with Gio, that he'd consider Gio a prospective client and would keep some sort of tabs on him. Maybe just to be able to talk intelligently to him about the potential benefits of PEDs if they ever met. Not saying Gio is innocent or guilty, but I'd say the most concrete evidence is in the tests he's had to take. Second would be paid receipts, sworn testimony, etc. The fact that someone wrote his name in a book seems pretty far down the list.

Froggy said...

To answer your question, first thing is to call my account executive and at least give them a chance to say something. After that, our seats are about 10 rows up on a sight line from 2b to 1b right behind the home side photographers dugout, so wearing a nice 'Cheat to Win' t-shirt (with the curly W as part of Win) should suffice.

Us little people got to stand up to the man!

Wally said...

Hey Froggy - sounds like you have Dugout Box seats, @ $5k per season ticket. I doesn't seem that you are exactly an Occupy Wall Streeter! I'd like some of that 'little people' action.

As for Gio, I agree the local guys are holding off on him, but the strength coach is the only question that really needed to BA asked right now, so I don't think it is a complete white wash by them. I think it is a little more about PED - fatigue across the general public creeping in everywhere but the national media guys. And no one understands why one thing is ok, and the other thing isn't. Todd Boss just wrote a great story on this.

Froggy said...

Yes they aren't OWS seats, but I did just make our last installment payment on Feb 1, so don't mistake me for a fat cat! Even though we did get them in 2007 when the Nats were begging for fans, four seats at $5k a pop and you can see why I would be a bit upset to 'invest' in hypocrisy. To your point, I guess we will see the character of the owners and management in the long run in how they deal with this.

Thanks for the tip on Todd Boss as I didn't even know about his blog. He brings up some pretty inarguable points in his piece. Particularly with cortisone and lidocaine (now Toradol is the drug of choice) without which professional and college sports would not exist.

Nathan Armstrong said...

That Stark piece seems pretty biased now, after that piece I just read on Chooch. Particularly telling are these two sentences;

The first week of spring training 2013 has turned into a banned-substance alibi tour. But for the All-Star catcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, at least there were no alibis given.

If Gio is innocent, shouldn't he "at least" give an alibi? Also, Ruiz would have a hard time "at least" giving an alibi, as he tested positive. Twice.

I just think bringing the whole PED tour alibi angle was unnecessary, and really shed some light on his bias.

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