July 11, 2008

I Hate Defending Jim Bowden

I am not a Jim Bowden fan. I firmly believe that the few things he does well are outweighed by the many, many things he does poorly. Yet I find myself sometimes defending Jim Bowden only because so many of his detractors refuse to settle for highlighting his reasonably damning record, and launch into fits of hyperbole that border on the invocation of Godwin's Law.

I hate defending Jim Bowden, but I also hate anonymous sources in sports journalism. ESPN is reporting that Bowden and Assistant GM Jose Rijo are being investigated by the FBI and MLB for activities connected with the signing of international free agents. The only sourced quotes in the entire piece come from Jim Bowden. I freely admit that there are issues and circumstances where granting anonymity to sources sheds light on issues of national concern and advances public discourse. I just happen to believe that ESPN doesn't cover those issues, even on the front page.

If Jim Bowden is involved in a kickback scheme with scouts, agents and international players then he's an awful person and deserves to be fired. But that really has nothing to do with any other aspect of his job. The gap between being a pompous, irritating, generally bad GM and being a felon is larger than the gap between being an amateur sports blogger and a Pulitzer-winning investigative journalist. If Bowden were to be mixed-up in criminal activity then he should be axed immediately, even if he was a Billy Beane-like dealmaker and all-around swell feller.

Modified from M. Layton/Getty Images

In the meantime, until someone is willing to put a name and an accusation together in the public record let's all please step back from the precipice and ease up on the hyperventilating. The truth will out soon enough. In the meantime, brother can you spare a first baseman?

UPDATE: Pretty strong denial from JimBo and JoRijo. Doesn't sound like there's going to any gray area here when things shake out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The defense would be more convincing if Bowden didn't already have a history of lying and if the ESPN article wasn't written by Mark Fainaru-Wada and TJ Quinn. They have a very good track record. Honestly, Bowden's denial means nothing to me. Of course he'll deny it. I think there's fire here.