Thursday, March 24, 2005

Observations on the Hagin/Helton Firestorm

I haven't met Cardinals broadcaster Wayne Hagin. I haven't met Rockies player Todd Helton. So my comments about the current steroid and media maelstrom involving these two come from afar. But often it seems the farther away one is from a situation, the more clearly one is able to see it. My attempt at a vision of the forest, and the trees, follows.

Observation 1: I can't believe Wayne Hagin could be so "un-cerebral" as to even come close to accusing a ballplayer, especially in the current climate, of being a steroid user. Whether he meant to say steroids or not...(which is still being debated)...Hagin shouldn't have even gotten close to the subject....particularly when talking about a specific individual.

Even Wayne, who seems like a very likeable and well-educated fellow, now admits that he "screwed up" in broaching the subject. With his extensive broadcasting experience, he should have known better than to allow himself to be "misunderstood" in an on-the-air, and on-the-record, situation that dealt with such a sensitive, and potentially flammable, matter. If he thought that because he was talking on a St. Louis radio station that the story wouldn't "go national", or get back to the people in Denver, he was not thinking clearly about that either.

Many times when you're the subject of questions in an interview situation, you feel the urge to be more than just a good guest. I've been there a few times. You're tempted to answer specific questions as honestly and forthrightly as you can. You want to provide "a nugget" that will make the listener "take notice". I suspect Wayne gave in to such a temptation to provide "some meat" in an otherwise ordinary interview situation.

OK...lesson learned. I'm sure his employers at the Cardinals have him on "double-secret probation" after an unexpected and unseemly PR problem. Would Hagin's predecessor have ever gotten himself into such a mess? I think we all know the answer to that one.

Observation 2: If Todd Helton didn't do anything wrong, why is he throwing such a big fit at an accusation that supposely doesn't hold water? He said...when told of the comments by Hagin...that he would never forgive him. Never forgive him? Excuse me, but a simple "The guy is wrong" would have been sufficient.

Let it go Todd. If you would have had a calm and confident reaction to the media, the whole thing probably would have gone away by now. But, because the media smelled smoke...they continue to look for the fire. You could have let Hagin explain himself to you personally and then put out the fire with a simple..."I understand what the man was trying to say...and I accept his explanation". But You won't take his phone call. You certainly won't admit that he is someone who used to cover your games on a daily basis and might have a clue about the situation. Your childish reaction to the whole mess...puts even more of a spotlight on you than apparently is comfortable. Will you hold up under the scrutiny you are now bringing on yourself with your thumb-sucking, elementary-school behavior?

"The lady doth protest too much, methinks"....William Shakespeare..Hamlet

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