When I think of famed documentary maker Ken Burns I think of a peaceful fella who takes us back to a different time through the wonders of public television. I think of those images of Babe Ruth and the Negro Leagues. I think of jazz music. I think of the legendary man of the spoken word, Shelby Foote. I think of old black and white still pictures set to soft, relaxing, period music and gentle narration. Kinda like this...
When I hear the name Ken Burns, I don't think of cursing steroid users in baseball... but it's apparently time for my thinking to change.
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, the man behind the definitive documentary on the history of America's pastime had harsh words for players caught using or suspected of using steroids.
Burns was asked about a number of topics including his thoughts on the Baseball Hall of Fame with yesterday's vote electing no new members to Cooperstown. When asked if he would vote for Clemens, Bonds, and Piazza, Burns said he would not have done itt this year. When asked if he would ever vote for them, the filmmaker remarked he wanted them to "suffer for a while." Later on in the interview came this exchange...
"THR: Are you going to do "The 11th Inning" now?
Ken Burns: We need a few things to happen. Like the Cubs win the World Series; that would automatically do it. A few things like that. But you know, there are a few things that never change. We know some pitchers extended their playing careers, we know some people hit the ball farther, but nobody hit .406, nobody had a 56-game hitting streak, no pitcher won 30 games, no pitcher won 35 games, no pitcher won 25 games. Maybe that helps you make it less onerous, but at the same time, those motherf---ers should suffer for a while."
I can't wait for the uncensored 11th Inning for the Baseball series that features Ken Burns ripping everyone from steroid users to Doris Kearns Goodwin. At the very least, the next installment could incorporate this, with Burns replacing Brian Williams.
I wonder what he means by suffering, though? Listening to BBWAA members sanctimoniously preach about the sanctity of the Hall of Fame seems like it should be suffering enough. If it isn't, there's always the fact that Aaron Sele received a Hall of Fame vote.
The evidence that "everyone" used PEDs is strong. The Mitchell Report identified 89 players who allegedly used. But, we know this was a sampling, not anything near a complete list. Aside from a handful of random people who spontaneously confessed or were accidentally detected, the Mitchell Report only includes those in webs connected to five providers: BALCO, former Met batboy and clubhouse employee Kirk Radomski, former Yankee strength coach Brian McNamee, and two rejuvenation clinics in the South. Fifty two were associated with Radomski, who was required to talk to Mitchell as part of his sentence for money laundering and illegal drug distribution. Only a fool would believe that all, or even most of the PEDs in MLB came from these five sources. These providers are just the ones who were busted and forced to squeal. You have to believe that there were providers in all major league cities. Think Houston or St Louis. Or the Bash Brothers. McGwire's use was apparently connected to widespread availability connected to gyms, as presumably was the case with many others. Sammy Sosa, to pick a random name, has not been connected with any of these sources. In 2002, the Major League Players Association agreed to testing of all players to see if there was a problem. 104 players tested positive, admittedly a group with some overlap to those identified in the Mitchell report. The results were supposed to be kept secret, but some, like David Ortiz and A-Rod, have leaked out since the federal government obtained a copy of the list. But wait, there's more. Testing procedures have improved since these 2002 tests. Barry Bonds apparently was not on the original list, but when his sample was retested in 2004 at UCLA, it came back positive. It is unknown how many of the "clean" samples in 2002 would be dirty if retested today.
I think of a sanctimonious douche who needs to be taken off the public dole in the worst way. His documentaries have Michael Moore levels of accuracy.