SBD/February 8, 2013/Media

MLB Network Does Not Shy Away From PED Scandals, Other Issues That Impact League

MLB Network has been “setting a righteous tone for all radio outlets and regional sports networks by focusing on baseball’s red light district of liars, cheaters, drugs and wellness clinics,” and if the league is “going after the cheaters, it certainly is not going to give them a soft place to land on its TV network,” according to Bob Raissman of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Viewers of the channel “can keep up with the latest information on the AL, NL and PEDs.” MLB Net on Tuesday night “aired a graphic of some of the drugs” Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez allegedly used, according to documents released by the Miami New Times. The network then brought on Bleacher Report’s Will Carroll, whose “beats are injuries and sports medicine, to analyze the effect some of these drugs could have had.” That kind of discussion would “never be seen on a local pregame show, whether it be on YES, SNY, NESN or whatever.” Nor would viewers “see it on NFL Network or NBA TV, two other league-owned national TV outlets.” Fans can “look no further than how NFLN covered” the allegations that came out during Super Bowl Media Day about former Ravens LB Ray Lewis using deer antler spray. Raissman: “Not a word about the spray, and the possibility of it containing a banned substance, was mentioned on NFLN until Lewis was asked about it by a reporter.” Just over a month after MLB Net’s launch on Jan. 1, 2009, SI’s story “about A-Rod testing positive in 2003 broke,” and MLBN “passed its first credibility test.” Four years later, the net's “song remains the same” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/8).

ONE EXAMPLE: MLB Network's Tom Verducci on Thursday noted Tigers SS Jhonny Peralta "is the latest big-leaguer with reported ties" to a Miami anti-aging/drug clinic. The broadcast went on to discuss the Miami Biogenesis Clinic and the players linked to it and PED use. MLB Network’s Larry Bowa noted the penalties handed out by MLB for PED usage "aren’t stiff enough." Bowa: "I thought the thing was cleaned up a little bit, and I still believe it’s working, but now this comes out. It’s a black eye for baseball again" ("MLB Tonight," MLB Network, 2/7).
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