Saturday, May 18, 2013
Shaughnessy is too good to have to invent anything. He neither invented anything in this instance nor accused Ortiz of using steroids and their cousins. What he did was take his skepticism and his curiosity, good traits for a newspaperman to have, and ask Ortiz about steroids. Ortiz’s responses did not indicate anger of being accused of wrong doing.
I would compare the Ortiz column to the columns I have written about Mike Piazza and my suspicions about his possible use of steroids. I didn’t accuse him of using steroids, but I was and continue to be skeptical.
In the Ortiz case, a person more prominent than the pedestrian bloggers came to the player’s defense. Tom Werner, the Red Sox chairman, posted his own column on Redsox.com last Friday, and it quickly spread to other sites. [...]
We are also in a new sports world. When I started in this business more than 50 years ago, we didn’t have anything like steroids to deal with. Before we caught on to widespread use, we were criticized for not paying closer attention and asking relevant, probing questions.
Now we are being criticized for paying too much attention and asking relevant, probing questions.
The news media are not responsible for asking, in what may be some circumstances, questionable questions. The players created this era and this environment. If players get caught up in being accused with circumstantial evidence, let them complain to Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. [...]
The questions Shaughnessy asked Ortiz were based on what we have learned from our belated entry into steroids coverage, certain types of injuries and improved production at an advanced age (see Bonds), for two examples.
Shaughnessy could have written his suspicions without talking to Ortiz, but what he did was far more acceptable and correct. When I tried to ask Piazza about his alleged use, he refused to talk about it. When I asked the editor of his recently published book and Piazza’s literary agent before publication if he would write about steroids, they refused to say.
“I’m not going to talk to you,” said David Black, the agent, whom I have known for years and who encouraged me to write a book so he could represent me.
Posted: May 18, 2013 at 11:42 PM | 13 comment(s)
Saturday, March 09, 2013
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If the players who compete in the WBC work out and play the way they do with their own teams, they are no more susceptible to injury than if they play for WBC teams. Injury developments from the first two Classics (2006, 2009) bear this out.
In fact, Major League Baseball statistics show that players participating in the WBC have been less likely to be injured than those who are in spring training with their own teams.
Of the 73 major leaguers who opened the 2009 season on the disabled list, only two (Ichiro Suzuki and Rick VandenHurk) played in the World Baseball Classic. And Ichiro had a stomach ulcer, which presumably didn’t result from the WBC.
Of 786 non-WBC players, 140, or 17.8 percent, visited the disabled list in April 2009. Only 9.5 percent of WBC players (11 of 115) needed DL time that first month.
In addition, MLB reports, the lowest percentage of active roster players starting the season on the disabled list over the last eight years occurred in 2006 and 2009, the same years as the first and second Classics.
Posted: March 09, 2013 at 05:10 PM | 12 comment(s)
Saturday, March 02, 2013
Having just lost a bidding battle to the New York Yankees for a Cuban defector, pitcher Jose Contreras, [Red Sox executive] Larry Lucchino expressed his frustration when I called him on Dec. 24, 2002.
”The evil empire extends its tentacles even into Latin America,” Lucchino said.
The comment instantly grabbed a hallowed spot in the lexicography of baseball lore, spreading rapidly throughout the sport and the news media.
It returned to prominence last week when it was disclosed that a three-judge panel of the Trademark Trial & Appeal Board in Washington, D.C., ruled for Major League Baseball’s opposition to an attempt by a private business, Evil Enterprises, Inc., to register a trademark for the phrase “Baseball’s Evil Empire.”
The Long Island, N.Y., company wanted to promote and sell Yankees’ merchandise linked to the designation Evil Empire.
But the Yankees learned of the company’s plans, advised Ethan Orlinsky, baseball’s senior vice president and general counsel for legal and business affairs, and he opposed the company’s trademark application on behalf of the Yankees, who prevailed. [...]
It was the Times’ story, but the trademark decision was as brief as a brief can be. Fifty words on the Evil Empire, 2,000 words on snowboarding.
The Times ran the story matter of factly, no attempt at humor by a humorless paper.
Posted: March 02, 2013 at 09:25 AM | 5 comment(s)
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Chass forgets the Hall of Fame Molitor
With Raines’ vote total rising, the voting members of the Baseball Writers Association are either forgetting or ignoring that Raines admitted in 1982 and in subsequent years that he used cocaine.
At one of the drug trials in Pittsburgh in 1985, Raines testified that he kept cocaine in the back pocket of his uniform pants during games and that when he had to slide, he slid headfirst to make sure he didn’t break the glass vial in which he kept the illegal drug.That was Raines himself saying that – on the witness stand under oath in a federal court room. ...
But if a voter follows the BBWAA rules in regard to steroids, he should realize they also pertain to drugs such as cocaine.
“Voting,” reads rule No. 5, “shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.
”Voters might not think about it consciously, but when they decide not to vote for a steroids user, they are invoking the “integrity, sportsmanship, character” clause. The same clause applies to Raines. ...
My favorite, Jack Morris, did not benefit from the absence of surefire first-timers on the ballot. With four fewer ballots cast, the pitcher gained three votes and only 1 percent to 67.7. Next year he could suffer with the addition of Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine to the ballot, or he could benefit if the voters say let’s put all the good pitchers in.
Most likely, he will join Gil Hodges as the only players who gained more than 60 percent of the vote three times and were not elected.
Posted: January 12, 2013 at 08:49 PM | 55 comment(s)
hall of fame
Sunday, December 30, 2012
Frank Russo is a baseball collector who doesn’t collect bats, balls, uniforms or autographs.
A 53-year-old resident of East Brunswick, N.J., Russo collects obituaries and death certificates of major league baseball players. He keeps track of their causes of death, and when he can find them, he takes pictures of their gravesites.
And if all of that is not unusual enough, he is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR for short) who does not consider himself a sabermetrician and has no use for sabermetrics or whatever the new-age metrics are called, you know, the ones I have no use for (the SABR guys despise me, Russo said, which is ok with me).
Russo has written a book, “Bury My Heart at Cooperstown,” subtitled “Salacious, Sad and Surreal Deaths in the History of Baseball,” and he maintains a Web site, TheDeadBallEra.com, “where every player is safe at home” and which he dedicates to “deceased major league ball players.”
The site has fascinating stuff, which you can’t get anywhere else.It has sections on murders, suicides, beer drinkers and hell raisers, accidents, obituary listings, necrology by location, grave site listings, grave photo archives and death certificates. Those headings make their sections obvious. But how about “bad to the bone?” What might be found there?
Four lists of owners, managers and players:
Headhunters: Don Drysdale, Burleigh Grimes, Sal Maglie, Carl Mays, Van Lingle Mungo, Whit Wyatt, Early Wynn
Hotheads and Bad Asses: Johnny Allen, The Cleveland Spiders, Ty Cobb, Lefty Grove, Joe Medwick, John McGraw, The Old Orioles
Cheapskates: Ed Barrow, Charles Comiskey, Charlie Ebbets, Chrlie Finley, Clark Griffith,Connie Mack, Frank Navin, Branch Rickey, George Weiss
Notorious: Cap Anson, The Black Sox, Hal Chase, Jim Devlin, Andrew Freedman, Chick Gandil, Chris Von Der Ahe
Posted: December 30, 2012 at 02:26 PM | 16 comment(s)
Sunday, December 09, 2012
What about bacne as a basis for suspicion, Murray?
What I think we know now, though, is there is no basis for the suspicion of Rodriguez critics – and he has plenty of critics in the news media as well as among fans – that Rodriguez’s hip injuries are the result of his admitted use of steroids. ...
[D]octors who discussed the hip injury were unanimous in the view that steroids could not be considered the culprit in Rodriguez’s hip problems, even though reporters tried hard to make it seem otherwise.
Posted: December 09, 2012 at 06:42 PM | 7 comment(s)
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