Of a Wednesday TMZ report citing an October 2009 sexual assault accusation against Mets starter Johan Santana, The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman wonders, “If the name on the complaint was “Alex Rodriguez”, would there have been a real sense of urgency across the media board?” Though I’ve already weighed in (albeit in 140 character or less form), Raissman is just as right as he’s bald when warning, “no one knows where the story is headed…and no one can accurately predict how much of a distraction it will be to Santana and his teammates.”
Some of Santana’s pitching performances (velocity down, blah, blah, blah) have been subject to question. Now every time a Santana performance is deemed subpar, there will be a new set of inquiries. Are continuing media reports of this seamy sexual encounter interfering with his brain waves? Is dealing with his family taking his focus away? Johan, how long has all this stuff been on your mind?
And what happens when Jane Doe goes public, in front of microphones and cameras?
Some outlets, such as ESPN-1050, ignored the story for much of Wednesday afternoon. Instead the station opted to pound its listeners with Bonnie Bernstein updates featuring news of Team USA’s dramatic 1-0 World Cup win over Algeria, the Wimbledon marathon match and Lawrence Taylor being indicted on sexual assault charges.
The oversight was not without irony.
“You have to watch carefully how this thing is going to play out,” said WFAN’s Mike Francesa, pointing out that the story could take on a life of its own.
This is a talkie who has been around for all those Mets days of whine and bleach, rape allegations and drugs. Those stories did not end in happy recaps.