Rhetorical Analysis: Steroid Era vs. Hall of Fame

By: Lycurgus Lines


Cheating in Sports: A Moving Target

By Jose Antonio Tijerino

Online “Genius” Annotations – https://genius.com/Jose-antonio-tijerino-cheating-in-sports-a-moving-target-annotated

Over recent years, important figures in baseball have written biased articles on the topic of steroid use in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Each of these articles typically include some type of fallacy. It is adamant we discover these fallacies as readers because that is how we can separate fact from bias.

Cheating in sports: A Moving Target, by Jose Tijerino contains many common fallacies to help prove his stance on the dilemma. “If you ain’t cheatin,’ you ain’t tryin’,” is an old adage in sports which some attribute to the great Richard Petty, a man so revered he is nicknamed ‘The King.’ This is the author using the Hitler card, but in a reverse fashion. Richard Petty is referred to as “the King,” making it seem as if everything he says is correct and right. The author here uses this quote from a famous sports figure to represent that side that supports cheaters.

In this next section we notice a slippery slope fallacy. “Youth coaches have admitted to teaching young players how to flop and hold to gain an advantage and fool the officials. This behavior is accepted for some reason but when someone mentions steroids…” Here we see that he creates a slippery slope from flopping in basketball to popping PEDs and using steroids. These two acts, although both considered cheating under some standards, are completely different instances. One is a serious, dangerous act, while flopping is just a simple in game penalty. Later on he drops another slippery slope fallacy. “Since I mentioned kids, what are we telling young people about cheating? Are we saying that the act of cheating depends on how it’s defined or accepted by authority? That cheating depends on how it’s perceived? I’m a firm believer that what we learn as kids with sports manifests itself into other areas of life from traffic violations to financial malfeasance which will land someone in prison and not simply being kept out of the Hall of Fame.” Here is another example of a slippery slope fallacy. This is yet another inevitable chain reaction that starts with flopping in basketball and amounts to becoming a criminal and landing in prison.

The last fallacy occurs when Jose Tijerino is discussing an oppositions stance on the topic. “The Hall of Fame is littered with plucky managers who stole signs as part of their strategy such as Hall of Fame player-manager Rogers Hornsby who actually wrote an article title “You’ve Got to Cheat to Win.” A Straw man fallacy is present here. Tijerno tears down this former manager’s stance before describing to the readers what basis the article contains. He just absolutely destroys his oppositions stance by calling him a “plucky manager.” Name calling is a key sign of the straw man fallacy.

Finally, the application of the voyant tool allowed me to see one of the largest fallacies of all. He used the word “cheating” marginally more than any other word in the article, showing us that he believes the players who take part in this are cheaters. This shows to the readers that he looks down upon the steroid users with this negative connotation.

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Jose Canseco Twitter Rant – https://twitter.com/JoseCanseco?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Genius Annotations – https://genius.com/11514058

The next analysis comes from a series of twitter posts in January 2017 from a man named Jose Canseco. Canseco is a former player who has admitted to “juicing” and is also known as the “Godfather of Juicing.”

The immediate assumption in this situation is the qualified authority fallacy. Canseco can only gain from PED users to be allowed to enter the Hall of Fame, as he is a known steroid user who wants to be in the Hall of Fame. His bias and motive to lie makes his argument unreliable at best.

A bold statement to start off the rants introduces the first fallacy. “The Hall of Fame voters have no idea what they’re talking about”. An appeal to ignorance is employed here by jumping to a powerful conclusion without backing it up with facts. This is similar to assuming there is a ghost upstairs when a noise is heard in the attic. He also makes another bold statement in the form of an inspirational quote later in this rant. “People who cannot handle the truth or do not want to hear the truth are extremely corrupt.” Pathos is employed here when he attempts to make an inspirational and bold statement to play on reader’s emotions.

The next fallacy occurs in the following tweet. “If moike Piazza who used steroids is in the Hall of Fame Pudge Rodriguez definitely belongs in the Hall of Fame much better catcher.” After multiple grammatical errors we realize that he is appealing to logic with a comparison. The comparison is made between two PED users. One who is in the Hall of Fame and one who never will be.

The final fallacy we notice is “Tom verducci’s ballot for the Hall of Fame what an idiot he said that Jeff Bagwell never use steroids you have got to be kidding me right.” Canseco attacks Tom Verducci by name calling and questioning his words. This is an example of the straw man fallacy.

Voyant was employed on this article and it was discovered that the word truth was used an excessive amount of times. This implies that what he is saying is true and his oppositions opinion is false. There is no way for the reader to make an educated assumption of the debate without hearing both sides. Canseco only presents his side and announces it has the “truth.”

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Both articles incur many fallacies from the bias of the writers. Though they both share the same first name, Canseco and Tijerino hold nearly opposite views on the subject of steroid use in the Hall of Fame. Analyzing for fallacies allows the readers to tear down many of the fake arguments and discover the cold hard facts in the article.


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