Steve Schofield of the North County Times seems really against this tribute to Caminiti last night. Here's what he said before the tribute. And here's what he said afterwards. And here's a little quote:
At the very least, the Padres are sending a mixed message to all young baseball players that steroids are acceptable as long as you win.That's almost a good point, but I don't think it's quite the point that's most important. If the Padres didn't win that season, what Caminiti did would still be wrong. The more important, and I think more dangerous point that others in the San Diego media (Ahem... Leitner) seem to be making is that it's OK to do steroids as long as you're a really nice guy and you try hard. Barry Bonds is "selfish" and only out for "glory". Caminiti was loved by his teammates and fans. Barry Bonds using steroids is cause to wish bad things on him, but Caminiti using steroids is forgivable?
Imagine you're a young baseball player and for some reason you think Leitner is a reasonable guy. You're almost, but not quite good enough to make a big league club, mostly due to nagging injuries. Should you take steroids? You know you're a hard worker, and you're more than willing to be friends with everybody and you only really need to do it because that sore back of your just doesn't want to heal up.
Obviously, no. It's still cheating. It's still wrong.
I don't blame Leitner for liking Caminiti better than Bonds, but to forgive Caminiti's steroid abuse because he was a gritty player to begin with is naive and sends the wrong message to everybody.
I'm still interested in finding out how the tribute was received by fans in attendance. Leave a comment if you were there. Were people respectful? Rude? Happy? Sad? I'm just curious. Thanks.