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Jim Furtado
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Editor - Baseball Primer


Steroids Newsbeat

Monday, April 21, 2014

J.R. Gamble: Albert Pujols’ 500-Homer Chase Is A Bore, But That’s Baseball’s Fault

Gamble in huff: The Sound Of Prostanozol.

Pujols is an interesting case. He’s never failed a drug test (that we know of) and before Miguel Cabrera went Triple Crown crazy, was considered the elite hitter in the game. Just 25 ballers in MLB history have ever hit 500 homers in their lifetime. His countdown to 500 should be a fan-frenzied, anticipated event. But there’s a massive legion of baseball fans, it doesn’t resonate with, because Pujols did it in the heart of the Steroids Era. We have seen a slew of cats get to 500, as 10 new members joined in the last 15 years. Prior to that PED-induced flurry of bombs and video game scores, just four players had reached the total by 1965.

Some of the recent milestone-mashers like Jim Thome and Gary Sheffield have eclipsed the mark, but there are still questions concerning their qualifications for Cooperstown – PED suspicions aside. Thome hung around for 22 years and hit 612 homers. While he was never strongly-linked to PED’s, he’s not considered one of the best players of his generation. Sheffield might be, but he is considered a user.

Most of the elite sluggers of era eventually were outed as PED users. Big Papi was implicated, but he denied it and it kind of got pushed to the background. Pujols was never on the radar, but the numbers he has put up and the era he did it in makes his stats suspicious in the same way people question Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio’s Hall of Fame worthiness.

Baseball will probably try to hitch its promotional cart to Pujols’ feat and go all out to make it a “clean” 500, but there’s no way I’m going to get hyped about anycelebratory festivities and set myself up to once again be disappointed when its discovered that he hit the juice too, because in reality, if Pujols did accomplish these amazing stats clean, then he is the greatest hitter of our generation hands down. Some fans may want to believe that’s the case. At this point, baseball needs that to be true.

...The fact that I can’t embrace this homer chase has nothing to do with how frequently it’s occurred of late. It’s just unlikely to me that guys are going to smash the records of Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Frank Robinson and giants of that ilk, without a little help. There really was no such thing as “clean” during Pujols’ prolific homer years. He came into the league in 2001 and from 2003 to 2010 he mashed over 40 homers six times in those eight peak seasons.

I can’t say he’s dirty. However, if all of his success is “legit,” then the fact that his accomplishments aren’t moving the crowd, in light of everything that has transpired the past 15 years, is an indictment on the game and not the players. MLB is experiencing the calm before the collapse. While TV deals and taking advantage of lower to middle class fans who must budget for a day at the ballpark like it’s a week-long summer vacation has the league on top fiscally, the sacred value of baseball records has been considerably diminished. Baseball will never be the same. The homer will never be viewed the same. That’s just foul.

Repoz Posted: April 21, 2014 at 10:47 AM | 53 comment(s)
  Beats: steroids

Thursday, April 03, 2014

MLB toughens drug agreement provisions

This happened while the servers were on the highway:

Major League Baseball and the players union, alarmed over findings in the Biogenesis case last summer, ratified an agreement Friday to strengthen their drug testing program in hopes of eradicating performance-enhancing drugs from the game.

Baseball not only stiffened its drug penalties, but for the first time will use the expensive Carbon Isotope Mass Spectrometry (IRMS), with at least one specimen from every player. The test, which costs about $400 per person, was previously used only on a random basis, usually as a result of an elevated reading of the player’s longitudinal profiling program. The IRMS test is designed to detect anyone who uses performance-enhancing drugs within a two-week period, instead of only being detected within a 24-hour period.

MLB players will also be required to submit to two urine samples during the season, an increase from 1,400 to 3,200 overall. There also will be 400 random blood collections used to detect human growth hormone in addition to the 1,200 mandatory tests during spring training.

Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: April 03, 2014 at 07:23 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: drugs, steroids

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Rothbard: Baseball’s Steroid Era Is Over. Now We Have to Figure Out Its Legacy

Ding Ding Ding! Hall of Shame used!

At an event co-presented by Arizona State University at Scottsdale’s Clayton on the Park, a panel of baseball insiders offered their observations and opinions.

USA Today baseball columnist Bob Nightengale, the evening’s moderator, asked the panelists whether they qualify statistics based on whether or not the numbers were posted in the era of drugs.

Retrosheet founder David W. Smith, who collects extensive play-by-play data, said he’s not nearly as bothered by the question of drug use as other people. “Is it true that taking steroids made people hit baseballs further?” he asked. Steroids add strength and give people big muscles. But their effect on performance hasn’t been adequately tested or scientifically proven.

It’s not just about muscles, said Barry Axelrod, a longtime agent for baseball players who is currently a special assistant to the general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Performance-enhancing drugs also allow athletes to recover more quickly. And in the case of human growth hormone (HGH), a side effect is increased visual acuity. One argument in defense of Barry Bonds was that he saw the ball better than everyone else. But that excellent vision could have been thanks to the drugs he took.

Smith said that his biggest concern when it comes to PEDs is teenage athletes who emulate pro players’ drug use. “You’ve got a bunch of 15-year-olds who are never going to be professional baseball players who are taking this stuff that is demonstrably horrible for them,” he said.

...Nightengale said that offensive statistics don’t tell the whole story, either: Pitchers were using drugs just as much as hitters. “I have a Hall of Fame vote,” he said, “and I vote for the steroid guys, because it was almost a level playing field.” We don’t know who was doing what. We just know who got caught, he said.

The guys who get caught—and who get the most press for their drug use—are Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, and Roger Clemens. “They’re not easy men to deal with,” said Smith. That doesn’t necessarily make them guilty.

“I don’t have a vote, and I wouldn’t vote for any of them,” said Leavy—not a single one of the players who admitted drug use or were named in the Mitchell report on PEDs in baseball. “I think there should be a hall of shame for those guys,” she said.

Repoz Posted: March 25, 2014 at 07:12 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: history, steroids

Monday, March 24, 2014

Alex Colome suspended 50 games

Like pitch counts, PEDs aren’t going away.

Bruce Markusen Posted: March 24, 2014 at 08:53 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: rays, steroids, suspensions

Sunday, March 09, 2014

The Economist: Babe, Jackie, Jobe

A swooning ode to the late inventor of Tommy John surgery asks why fans treat it so differently than steroid use.

A mere whiff of steroid use is enough to sully the reputation of any athlete, whereas players who recover from TJS are praised for their perseverance. But what could be more unnatural, or provide a bigger advantage, than cutting a tendon out of a wrist or leg and inserting it into an elbow?

Laurila: Sunday Notes: Mets-Royals, Orioles, Expos, Player X on PEDs

X crawls to Mark Mulder’s doorstep and writes in his own blood “DHEA”.

Player X: “I was never an angel when it came to the drug policy. Androstendione was legal at the time. I used Winstrol after coming off rotator cuff surgery. The benefits were amazing. The physical gains of steroids are a given, but what I didn’t expect were the mental gains. The confidence boost the added testosterone gave me was exponential. I went from “I hope they don’t hit this pitch” to “Try and hit this, mother_____”. All of a sudden the negative thoughts and self doubt were replaced by supreme confidence.

“On Winstrol, I could long toss further and further every day. I could pitch back-to-back-to-back games with no fatigue whatsoever. My arm and shoulder grew stronger and stronger until I felt like I was myself again. A killer instinct came back and it was amazing. Yes, there was always the nauseous feeling of having the steroids in my system the fear of testing positive.

“I never really thought of steroids as an issue. I have shot up guys who were afraid of needles and afraid to ask trainers to do so. I never thought we were doing anything wrong. It was just a given. I never once thought others using took away from my performance on the field. I saw it as just trying to get an edge and the big paycheck.

“Amphetamines are, and always have a been, a huge part of the game. I have always used some type of “upper.” It starts with diet pills, Xenadrine or anything Fat Burner from GNC-type stores. It wasn’t until my second year that the word “greenie” was introduced. These were diet pills from Mexico called Asenlix — half green and half white pills filled with a white powder. You could ingest them regularly or split them open and dump them into coffee. Just like cocaine, the powder made your tongue numb. Players would make two pots of coffee, one with greenies, one without. This stuff got you going. Hangovers? Gone. Aches and Pains? Gone. A little tired? Amped up. They weren’t easy to get. You had to wait for your Latino friends to go back to Mexico and grab them.

“The next step would be to get an Adderall or another ADD medication. Legal amphetamine prescriptions are how I circumvented drug testing. Now I had a “medical issue” which required Adderall. When I stood on the mound while on Adderall, everything faded away except for the catcher’s mitt. No crowd noise, no distractions. It was almost like being in the Matrix. Although you were sped up, everything slowed down.

“With any amphetamine there is a vicious cycle. After the game you can’t decompress, so you head to the bar to bring yourself down. The next day you have to bring yourself back up. It takes its toll on your body. We had a coach that came from an era where this stuff was even more abused, the ‘70’s and ‘80’s. His philosophy was that if you weren’t “beaned up’ you were either a ##### or didn’t care about getting better. In actuality, this guy was the best coach I ever played for, just a bit misguided. You could probably assume 50% of the guys in the clubhouse took something along these lines to get going.

“I wasn’t much of a recreational drug user, but one night I was out with some people and did cocaine. By 7 a.m. I’d had my fair share and needed to get to the ballpark. I remember telling some teammates I could trust what I did and they proceeded to be my babysitters all through practice and into the game. I felt like the biggest bag of ####. I could barely talk, move, or even think. I never wore sunglasses but I did that day. I fell asleep in the dugout multiple times and probably dumped 25 bottles of water over my head just to snap out of it. Late in the game they called me to warm up. I went to the bullpen and proceed to throw three balls and said that’s it. I needed to conserve whatever energy I had. I went into the game and told the catcher I’d be throwing fastballs only. I went 3-2 on three consecutive batters and induced three pop flies. We had a day off the next day and I slept two days straight. I never did that again.”

Repoz Posted: March 09, 2014 at 10:40 AM | 54 comment(s)
  Beats: history, steroids

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Howard Bryant: Why have only some players linked to PEDs been banished from baseball?

Howard Bryant: “selective justice means no justice at all.” Free Humberto Cota!

But who survives the steroids era in retirement—who is allowed a future in the game—has been the most subjective and troubling remnant of those dishonest decades. Thus far, the determining factors of redemption have been race, power and personality. The top-level nonwhite players associated with PEDs—Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro—are out of baseball. The white players—Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, Jason Giambi and Matt Williams—survived BALCO, the feds, the Mitchell report and Congress and have been allowed a second act. Three managers who benefited from the power of PEDs—Bobby Cox, Joe Torre and Tony La Russa—will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this summer. The good guys of all races, the guys who win the reputation contest, will be the ones to enter Cooperstown.

...At Henry Aaron’s 80th birthday reception in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 7, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder offered a message to the hundreds in attendance. He said that for anyone who believes in integrity, the number 755 is still “the real home run record.” Everyone cheered, affirming that Bonds is to remain a villain, ostracized from the game. The same day as Holder’s comments, The Washington Post posted an extensive profile on Williams, who was granted his redemption; he referred to his PED use merely as “not my finest hour.”

A kinder, more contrite Bonds might be the Dodgers’ hitting coach. A less loathsome Sosa might be Mr. Cub for the new millennium. Had Palmeiro said to the congressional panel investigating PED use, “I’m not here to talk about the past,” instead of that fatal finger wag, maybe he’d be working for Peter Angelos, an area code away from Williams.

No matter the race, nice matters. Texas manager Ron Washington tested positive for cocaine and survived, winning consecutive AL pennants. What cannot be so easily finessed is who is allowed clemency and who is banished for the same offense. Selective justice is the ultimate price of the steroids era—a reminder to stay in line and to have powerful friends. And as Alex Rodriguez has now discovered, perhaps too late, selective justice means no justice at all.

Repoz Posted: February 22, 2014 at 04:18 PM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: history, steroids

Friday, February 14, 2014

Science Codex: MLB largely responsible for players’ steroid abuse, UTA researcher says

Explore the future our game demands!

The widespread use of illegal steroids among Major League Baseball players has been fueled by an “economy of bodily management,” the free agent market and exploding television revenues, a UT Arlington assistant professor argues in a newly published research paper.

Sarah Rose, a labor and disability historian, says by attacking individual ballplayers’ morality, commentators have obscured the more salient issue.

“Baseball is representative of the fact that Americans increasingly live in an age of biotechnology in which bodily modification for profit has become the norm and, often, an unstated job requirement,” said Rose, who joined the UT Arlington Department of History in 2009 and is director of the University’s Minor in Disability Studies program.

...“Enticed by the prospect of riches, players and teams harnessed fitness training, reconstructive surgery, biomechanical analysis and performance-enhancing drugs to reduce wear and tear on players’ bodies and, ultimately, radically alter them for profit,” Rose and Salzmann concluded in the paper. “This interplay between economic incentives and medicine created what we call bionic ballplayers: bigger, stronger, and at times, more fragile than their predecessors.”

The study suggests that the question raised by steroids is not individual morality, but rather the morality produced by a political economy of labor that calls for both services and body parts rendered.

Ironically, as Rose and Salzmann’s article went to press, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig had just suspended 13 players for using steroids.

“Why has professional baseball players’ steroid use been characterized as an immoral illegitimate bodily enhancement, when other medical interventions, such as ‘Tommy John’ elbow reconstruction surgery, have been celebrated as career-saving cures?” Rose questioned. “While admittedly different, we show that both bodily interventions arose out of the same dramatic shifts in the business of baseball – shifts that drove the medicalization of the game and players’ bodies.”

The researchers contend that before the advent of salary arbitration and free agency, ballplayers were disposable parts in a high-risk work environment. But buoyed by exploding television revenues, the free agent market drove players’ salaries into the millions, transforming the economics of bodily management.

Repoz Posted: February 14, 2014 at 08:05 PM | 60 comment(s)
  Beats: history, steroids

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Klapisch: A-Rod should have ended the lie long ago

As Bob Dylan sorta said…“All the truth in the world adds up to one big ass Chrysler”

There’s no way he’ll ever play for the Yankees again. The team’s hierarchy would just as soon buy out the remainder of Rodriguez’s contract than allow him back in the clubhouse. Rodriguez’s teammates are long past the fatigue factor with his controversies. Don’t think for a minute they wanted him to show up in Tampa this month.

So where does A-Rod land in 2015? Finishing out his days with another team is a long shot at best. No owner would risk Selig’s wrath by signing the most hated man in the game’s modern history. Selig used his own scorched-earth policy to finish off Rodriguez, making it clear what happens to his enemies.

That’s Selig’s enduring legacy, proving he’d go to any lengths to wipe out PEDs. Rodriguez’s camp never got over the shock of discovering that Selig was even tougher and more ruthless than the slugger himself. And that sent a chilling message, not only to A-Rod, but anyone else considering using performance enhancers.

...That’s probably why A-Rod fought so hard before finally giving up on Friday — because his system was supposed to be foolproof. He was never supposed to get caught like this. It took Rodriguez nearly a full year to understand Selig and Bosch were too powerful, too motivated, too mean to overcome.

Rodriguez tried casting himself as the victim of a witch hunt, tried to depict Bosch a criminal in his own right, even implied Selig’s investigation was racially motivated.

Ultimately, it was a waste of time, which is the only thing A-Rod has left in the wake of his failed legal action — time, plenty of it. An entire baseball season during which he can ask why he didn’t open his eyes sooner.

Repoz Posted: February 08, 2014 at 01:19 PM | 63 comment(s)
  Beats: steroids, yankees

Friday, January 31, 2014

Variety: Kurt Russell Open to Steroid Use in Baseball

Escape From Reality: Starring Snake Plesac

While promoting his new documentary “The Battered Bastards of Baseball” (pictured above), Kurt Russell dropped by the Variety Studio and gave an impassioned take on the use of steroids in modern baseball. Russell, who played minor league baseball and was the son of actor-turned-baseball owner Bing Russell, also the subject of “Battered Bastards,” believes Major League Baseball is no longer in the steroids era, adding that steroids still have their place in the game, and should not be completely discounted.

Repoz Posted: January 31, 2014 at 10:40 PM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: steroids

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Ryan Braun: Return the MVP

Maimonides, the great scholar of medieval Jewish thought and practice, writes about sin and repentance that “one who verbally confesses to his sins and does not affix it to his heart to abandon them is like one who immerses in a mikveh (ritual bath) while clutching on to a reptile.  For such an immersion is to no avail until the reptile is gotten rid of, as it is written, “One who confesses and forsakes his sin will be shown mercy.”  (Proverbs 28:13)


Ryan Braun needs to return his MVP Award from the 2011 season.  Having admitted that he used steroids during that ignominious year of personal achievement, the award itself remains in his possession “like one clutching to a reptile.”

Quite simply, the apology is not whole, the repentance is not complete, until the 2011 MVP Award is returned to Major League Baseball.


Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: January 28, 2014 at 11:50 AM | 50 comment(s)
  Beats: biogenesis, judaism, peds, ryan braun, steroids

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Union would expel A-Rod if it could

“When he comes up to bat, you can hit him and hit him hard,” one player on the conference call told Yahoo Sports. “That’s what I’d do.”

Anyone want an OBP machine?

Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: January 21, 2014 at 01:53 PM | 57 comment(s)
  Beats: a-rod, steroids, union

Friday, January 17, 2014

Jeopardy! Hall Of Fame Answer Goes Horribly Wrong

354 wins did not overcome the controversy as this ex-Red Sox pitcher didn’t make the Hall of Fame cut in 2013. Who is Mark McGwire? (Trebek snorts mockingly.)

The other contestants responded with “Who is Pete Rose?” and “Who is Curt Schilling?” Hey, at least one of those guys was an ex-Red Sox pitcher. Or a pitcher at all! [WABC]

I lost on Jeopardy, baby…

plim Posted: January 17, 2014 at 04:53 PM | 140 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, steroids

Oz: Was the alleged A-Rod bribe to Tony Bosch actually just a billing error? Maybe

Just what the anti-aging facility ordered, another A-Rod story:

Presented in the “60 Minutes” story was an unsolicited wire transfer from “Arod Corporation” to Bosch’s criminal attorney, Susy Ribero-Ayala, in the amount of $49,901.51. Manfred told “60 Minutes” that he and MLB considered this a bribe.

But Steve Fishman of New York Magazine found this odd. Fishman, you’ll remember, wrote a big piece on A-Rod recently and then published those strange e-mails between A-Rod and New York Yankees president Randy Levine.

Fishman wondered, who pays $49.901.51 as hush money. It’s too specific an amount. Why not $50,000, nice and round? Fishman did some digging and discovered:

  In fact, documents obtained by New York suggests that the wire transfer was a legal payment made in error. Rodriguez’s attorney Roy Black sent Rodriguez a bill for that same amount on April 2, 2013 – six days before the payment to Ribero-Ayala. According to e-mails examined by New York, Rodriguez’s business staff confused the wiring information and accidentally sent the payment to Ribero-Ayala on April 8.

  Rodriguez’s employees had Ribero-Ayala’s name in their payment system because Rodriguez had previously paid her $25,000 to help cover Bosch’s mounting legal fees, when the two were still telling the same story — and Bosch had thanked him for that.

  On April 9, 2013, Rodriguez realized that the second payment was in error, according to the e-mail chain, and Ribero-Ayala returned the money, which was then transferred to Black’s law firm’s account.

JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 09:03 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: a-rod, biogenesis, mlb_discipline, steroids, yankees

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Marchman: Major League Baseball’s War On Drugs Is An Immoral Shitshow

Major league ballplayers should never have agreed to drug testing. They should have told any handwringing writer who had anything to say about it to #### right off, and they should have said the same to any handwringing politician who wanted to do something about it. They should have made clear that they would go on strike forever rather than agree to it, and if necessary they should have done so, because this was inevitable once the players ceded control over their own bodies to an outside authority in response to a moral panic.

Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: January 16, 2014 at 10:13 AM | 67 comment(s)
  Beats: a-rod, marvin miller, peds, selig, steroids

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A-Rod’s Routine: A Day in the Life of a Major-League Doper

*Testosterone Lozenges (nicknamed “gummies”)*: “Sublingual” steroids are placed under the tongue. A-Rod was instructed to place a “troche” under his tongue just before game-time.

*Cream in the Morning, Cream at Night (nicknamed “pink food”)*: Two different types of “transdermal” creams, one applied in the morning and one in the evening—or “a combination of the two above creams applied in the evening.” Except on the days when drug tests were imminent! In April 2012, Rodriguez allegedly messaged Bosch to ask for advice as a drug test approached. Bosch told A-Rod if he was asked for a urine sample to “wait the longest you can and don’t use the pink until after.”

*Two Shots a Day (At Least) In Phase One*, Rodriguez was instructed to inject hormones under the skin in the morning and the evening, with an extra midday dose on Mondays and Friday.
Vitamin C! Amid all the HGH, testosterone, and GHRP, good old Vitamin C oral doses.


Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: January 15, 2014 at 04:17 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: gummies, hgh, npr, peds, steroids

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Verducci: New testing protocols could change game in fight against PEDs

The article goes into some depth about how biological passport testing works and how it’s a vast improvement over the old method.  I’m sure that it is, and I fully support MLB enhances its anti-doping efforts.  It’s a credit to Tom Verducci to research this and write a layman friendly article like this.

...but golly gee damn, sometimes I just wish we were talking about the merits of RBI and W-L.  Hopefully, as testing continues to improve as it seems to, doping will become ever scarcer and further removed from the hot stove.

Baseball began to see a trend mushrooming in 2012: players were turning to fast-acting synthetic testosterone to cheat. The 4:1 T:E ratio was providing room to maneuver for that cheating. So baseball owners and the players’ association that year began discussing how to bring their Joint Drug Agreement up to date with state of the art testing protocols. They agreed they needed to run more of the more sensitive IRMS tests, but needed a better “trigger” mechanism than the 4:1 ratio. And that’s why they turned to the biological passport testing system.

Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: January 14, 2014 at 02:01 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: a-rod, biological passport, bosch, hgh, peds, steroids, testosterone

Rodriguez’s ‘Gummies’: Files Detail Doping, Down to Milligram

Alex Rodriguez took an energy cocktail on Mondays and a therapy cocktail on Fridays.

He used a special cream in the morning, and a testosterone cream in the evening.

He took testosterone lozenges before games “as needed.”...

describes in detail the shadowy life — and complicated diet — of a big-league doper who juggled four injections with two muscle treatments, two skin creams, two lozenges, and six oral doses. And that was just “PHASE 1,” according to the report….

Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: January 14, 2014 at 08:25 AM | 79 comment(s)
  Beats: a-rod, steroids, yankees

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Case of Alex Rodriguez - CBS News

Here’s the 60 Minutes Arod segment:

Jim Furtado Posted: January 13, 2014 at 11:07 AM | 49 comment(s)
  Beats: alex rodriguez, steroids

George Mitchell: The steroid era isn’t over

Baseball World Still on Fire: Saving an Endangered Field! (fiction aisle)

Every society has laws against crime, but no one expects an end to crime; it’s a continuing problem that must be aggressively deterred and punished. So it is with the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports.

There will always be people who want so badly to gain a competitive edge that they are willing to cheat, even at great personal risk to their health. There also will be those who see profit in meeting that demand. As the money offered to premier athletes continues to rise rapidly, the risk-reward ratio skews increasingly to greater risk-taking. All sports face a continuing challenge.

Major League Baseball has moved in recent years to meet the challenge. For that, Commissioner Bud Selig deserves great credit. Credit also should go to the players and their union; they have come to understand that their interest lies in a strong, effective and fair program of testing and vigilance to limit drug use to an absolute minimum. I’m heartened that more players than ever are speaking out against steroid use, as has the Players Association. I hope the tide is turning against it in all sports.

Learning that our childhood heroes are fallible is disillusioning. But we grow up and get over our disappointment, and we understand it as another example of life’s complexity. Not every great human being is a great athlete. Not every great athlete is a great human being. Talent and morality may coexist, but they often do not.

It’s understandable, and human, to want clarity and finality. But in sports, as in life, some complexity and uncertainty are unavoidable, for fans and for those sportswriters who vote on candidates for the Hall of Fame.

Repoz Posted: January 13, 2014 at 06:56 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: steroids

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Bobby V says he suspected juicing on mid-80’s Rangers

Looks like The Steroid Era included at least the last 9 seasons of Jack Morris’s career.
Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: January 09, 2014 at 09:50 PM | 55 comment(s)
  Beats: bobby valentine, rangers, ruben sierra, steroids

Frank Thomas: Steroid users ‘should not get in’ Hall

Asked whether players linked to PEDs should be allowed in, Thomas referenced current Hall of Famers he has spent time with and their vehement stance against steroid users joining the club.

“I’ve got to take the right stance too,’’ Thomas said. “No, they shouldn’t get in. There shouldn’t be cheating allowed to get into the Hall of Fame.’‘

Thomas hit 521 home runs and drove in 1,704 runs in his 19-year career, impressive credentials but surpassed by the gargantuan numbers put up by Bonds (762 and 1,996) and, to a lesser extent, Palmeiro (569 and 1,835), Sosa (609 homers) and McGwire (583 homers).

Yet none of those four got even 35% of the votes due to their close connections with steroids, whereas Thomas was elected on his first year of eligibility with an 83.7% mark.

Bonds and Clemens, regarded as the dominant players of their generation and among the all-time elite, saw their support shrink in balloting by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Clemens went from 37.6% to 35.4%, Bonds from 36.2% to 34.7%.

“As to what they did, I don’t think any of us will ever really know,’’ said Thomas, who played football at Auburn and was an imposing 6-5, 250 pounds, “but I can tell you what I did was real, and that’s why I have a smile on my face right now, because the writers definitely got it right.’‘

madvillain Posted: January 09, 2014 at 02:10 AM | 171 comment(s)
  Beats: frank thomas, hof, peds, steroids

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Bryan Curtis (Grantland): What the Baseball Writers Were Doing During the Steroid Era

Lots of fascinating stuff in this one: Ray Ratto talks about Thomas Boswell’s swinging ####; Richard Justice on Bagwell; Jose Canseco lying in bed talking about steroid users; TJ Quinn on overhearing Bonds’ testimony. RTFA.

Baseball writers knew, right? They knew and they didn’t tell us. Well, by the mid-‘90s, they knew something. But it was hard to square what they knew with what they could get past their editors.

Back then, before McGwire and Braun and Melky Cabrera, a scout would lean against the cage and nod at certain ballplayers. “See that guy?” he’d say. “He’s making my job hard.” Players like Frank Thomas and Tony Gwynn would complain loudly; Ken Griffey Jr. did the same, but usually off the record. But the players would hesitate to name their colleagues, and they had little evidence.

“It was truth without portfolio,” said Ratto. “It was quote marks, truth, close quote marks.”

Darkness and the howling fantods Posted: January 08, 2014 at 05:26 PM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: bbwaa, steroids

Friday, December 27, 2013

Gammons: The Hall of Fame Debate; PEDs

For his next column, Gammons will exclaim, “Cameron is right,” leading the BTF site to implode.

Sheehan is right. These elections will forever be fractious until we come to grips with The Steroids Era, which despite the hours and money put in by Bud Selig, Manfred, et al to try to get the enablers and chemists that lie below the skin of the sport, we still don’t absolutely know still don’t exist. Again: not one of the 13 players suspended because of the Biogenesis lab actually tested position, and if one believes what those who should know have privately passed on, those who have tested positive in the last couple of years did so because they strayed from their professional trainers and chemical specialists.

Oh, we also have players who have tested positive for amphetamines. Are they now supposedly ineligible for Cooperstown? Greenies and beans were rampant in the Fifties, Sixties, Seventies and Eighties, eyesight’s were affected and the ability to ramp it up again helped career home run totals creep past 400 or 500 or 600. I love watching the grainy film of The Mick, head down, rounding the bases, or Don Larsen jumping into Yogi’s arms, but baseball was not played in a Franciscan ordinary; did the Giants really find an edge in the ’51 playoff?
The question was raised on MLB Radio about three managers being inducted into the Hall this summer and that no questions were raised about whether or not any of them won games using players who used PEDs. …

Racial discrimination is a far more serious blight than performance-enhancing drugs, and 21 years after Elijah (Pumpsie) Green broke the Red Sox color bar, owner Tom Yawkey was posthumously voted into the Hall of Fame, forgiven. A Boston street is named after him.

There are some who would argue that human beings who were cheated out of the opportunity to play in the major leagues represent a darker period than records that were shattered by cheaters, but we learned to live with it. The time has come when we have to figure what we can live with, and what we cannot.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Juan Gonzalez MVP Trophy, other memorabilia, on the auction block

Gonzalez has put a number of items up for auction through, an auction house that specializes in sports and entertainment memorabilia. The “Juan Gonzalez Collection” includes seven items and is highlighted by Gonzalez’s 1996 AL MVP Trophy.

The catalog also notes that Gonzalez has signed the trophy and states it is his original MVP trophy.  The bidding for the MVP trophy started at $10,000 on Wednesday. It had received two bids and was up to $11,000 by Wednesday evening. The auction runs through January 10.

Among other items from Gonzalez’s collection that are up for auction:

• The “Babe Ruth Crown” he received from the Maryland Professional Baseball Players Association in 1992 (starting bid was $3,000)

• Silver Slugger bats he received in 1996 and 2001. The bats are being sold separately. (starting bid was $1,000)

• A trophy presented to him for being the Rangers nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award in 1997 (starting bid was $1,000)

• An AL Player of the Month trophy for September, 1997 (starting bid was $300)

• The “Ultimate Juan Gonzalez Game Equipment Collection,” which features game-used gloves, bats, jerseys and hats, along with some signed baseball cards (starting bid was $600)

Gonzalez is not the only player offering memorabilia for auction. Former St. Louis manager Red Schoendienst, 90, has put up a number of items including his miniature Hall of Fame induction plaque and a number of World Series rings.

Egad, Igor!

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