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Steroids Newsbeat

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

ABC News: ‘Capital Games’: How Congress Saved the Baseball Hall of Fame

Andy Katz and Rick Klein weigh in.

ABC News’ Rick Klein (@rickklein) and ESPN’s Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) report:

A two-time MVP outfielder and a United States senator say the congressional hearings on steroids in baseball nearly a decade ago had a direct impact on preventing players tainted by the baseball’s steroids era from being considered for the Hall of Fame.

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., told the ESPN’s Perspectives podcast “Capital Games” that while he thought at the time the hearings shouldn’t have been a congressional priority, they doomed the candidacies of high-profile players like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, and Sammy Sosa. That, in part, paved the way for this weekend’s crop of three clean players from the same era gaining induction in the Hall.

“What I think the hearing helped do was, that the American people looked up and said, ‘You know, it’s maybe the first time that it really hit us between the eyes that we have a real problem here.’ And I think it helped to change things,” said Donnelly.

JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: July 29, 2014 at 10:21 AM | 54 comment(s)
  Beats: congress, steroids, testing

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Jordan Ellenberg: The Author of How Not to Be Wrong Explains How He Was Wrong

As Horatio Prim once (okay a lot more) said: “Odds bodkins!”

When you write a book called How Not to Be Wrong, you ought to expect to be fact-checked a little. And one of the virtues of the new, data-driven journalism currently in vogue is the habit of going back and checking one’s own old stuff. We’re not supposed to avert our gaze from the howlers in our old columns. We’re supposed to find the mistakes and learn from them.

Overall, my record’s not too bad. Mathematicians over 30 have continued to make major theoretical advances. My criticism of Jonah Lehrer’s scientific sloppiness is looking pretty good. And Stephen Wolfram never did become the world’s most prominent and revolutionary scientist.

But there were some mistakes, too. Here are the three biggest.

Barry Bonds isn’t going to break the home run record. Bonds had 39 home runs in the 88 games making up the first half of the 2001 season, putting him on pace for a record-breaking 72 homers for the year. But I knew the theory of regression to the mean, which reminds us that the league leader in home runs at midseason is likely to have been both good and lucky, and thus isn’t apt to maintain his league-leading pace. Historically, typical league-leaders only hit two-thirds as many home runs in the second half as they did in the first. If that trend held in 2001, Bonds would finish the season with 61 home runs.

In fact, he increased his pace, ending up with 73 home runs and the all-time season record. My reasoning wasn’t bad. It’s just that I’d neglected the possibility that there was another factor besides natural ability and luck that was working in Bonds’ favor.

Thanks to Bill Petti.

Repoz Posted: June 14, 2014 at 04:43 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: giants, history, sabermetrics, steroids

MLB: Ripken, Niekro urge youth to become role models

How are we ever going to Overgrow The Government with this kind of nonsense going on!?

Niekro said he recalled being a young pitcher with the Braves when he was invited into the hotel room of some fellow teammates where he suspected that recreational drugs might be available.

“I knew it was marijuana. I knew that’s what it was,” recalled the 75-year-old former knuckleballer. “I didn’t know what to do, so I stopped and thought, ‘I think I’ll call my dad and ask him what I should do.’ I knew what he was going to say. ‘OK, I’ll call my mom.’ I knew what she was going to say. ‘I’ll call my sister.’ I know what she’s going to say. So it wasn’t that hard for me to decide not to go into that room.

“All I know is that none of it is good for your body. I wouldn’t put them in there because it’s not good for my body.”

Ripken, 53, continued on a similar theme.

“It’s interesting, when it comes to steroids sometimes I’m confronted by some really small kids.” he said. “They ask me the same question because it’s in the news all the time. … They ask me, ‘Is steroids a good thing or a bad thing?’ And it really perplexes me until I realize that they’re trying to make up their minds.

“And then I turn it around on them and ask, ‘What do you think? What’s your take?’ I really want to know what’s trickling down. And I’ll tell you, 99 percent of the kids say it’s wrong. I feel really, really good about that because if you make a determination that it’s wrong, that’s a [significant] decision in your life.”

Repoz Posted: June 14, 2014 at 09:29 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: history, steroids

Friday, May 30, 2014

Johnny Damon says he was ‘booted’ from MLB because he didn’t take PEDs

Damon Records: My Sadness.

Johnny Damon’s career might have ended a little prematurely — and against his will — all because he didn’t take performance-enhancing drugs.

Well, at least that’s what he thinks.

The longtime major leaguer claims that he was forced out of baseball for staying away from steroids and other PEDs.

“I played it clean,” Damon said during a recent interview on 810 CBS Sports in Orlando. “That’s what everybody’s going to be looking at. I think I’m one of the only players to come out and say, ‘I guarantee you there is nothing I’ve done that enhanced my baseball career.’”

Damon insists that he played his entire 18-year MLB career without ever using PEDs. But the two-time World Series champ said that players only receive a “slap on the wrist” these days when they get caught cheating, so he understands why so many choose to do it.

“You can’t fault someone who has a chance to make $20 million, $50 million, $100 million for going against the system to get to where they are. You can’t fault them, but I’m as clean as they came and I got booted out of the game because I’m clean,” Damon said. “I sound a little bitter, but I’m not. I have six great kids and I get to be around them every day now. But there are certain guys who cheated the system and they’re still being patted on the back. That’s not great for our kids.”

Repoz Posted: May 30, 2014 at 10:57 PM | 62 comment(s)
  Beats: history, steroids

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Kepner: The true Melky Cabrera, so the Blue Jays hope

As Billy Welu and his yellow-speckled jawline used to say…“Trust is a must, or your game is a bust!”

This is old news, and all parties swiftly moved on: The Giants won the World Series without Cabrera; Major League Baseball, at Cabrera’s request, removed him from consideration for a batting title he otherwise would have won; and the Blue Jays signed him to a two-year, $16 million contract — theoretically more than he would have made without cheating, but less than he would have made had he not been caught.

Now Cabrera is playing for a contract again, and playing very well, after a 2013 ruined by injuries. What does it all mean?

“As his teammate,” starter R. A. Dickey said, “I feel like I have to take it at face value, and face value is that he’s been tested many times. I’ve even seen him tested a lot this year, and it hasn’t come back for anything. So I’d have to say that he served his penalty and he owned up to it — gave back his batting title, all that stuff, and he’s trying to do it the right way now.

“He wasn’t healthy last year. The hope is that what we’re seeing now is authentically who he is. I’m certainly going to believe the best about him.”

Cabrera, a Dominican native, has always been quiet and somewhat shy in public, and his interpreter was not available in Boston to conduct an interview. But Cabrera’s back says a lot about his journey. A tattoo with the M.L.B. logo, applied when he was still in the minors, adorns his shoulder blade. A scar on his lower back, along his spine, reveals the trauma of 2013.

Cabrera, 29, struggled all season with leg injuries that defied explanation. Tests routinely came back negative.

“They couldn’t find anything,” Gibbons said, “just normal wear and tear, so nobody knew what it was. Of course, all you’d hear is, ‘Well, the year before, he was on steroids, so maybe this is the aftereffect of that.’ But it shouldn’t affect you that much.”

Gibbons added: “He couldn’t run, man. Balls were dropping in. We talk about how much our pitching struggled last year, but, shoot, if there was a ball airborne out there, we weren’t getting it. And it finally got to the point we had to shut him down. So he’s rehabbing down in Florida, his back started hurting him and he went and got an M.R.I. — walnut-size tumor, right on his spine.”

Cabrera told reporters this spring that he initially feared for his life. But the tumor was found to be benign, and now that he moves better, he hits better, too. Cabrera earned a degree of skepticism by the choices that led to his suspension, but Bautista said Cabrera deserved credit, not suspicion, for the way he was playing.

Repoz Posted: May 25, 2014 at 09:01 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: jays, steroids

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.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio 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

Friday, January 20, 2012

Source: A’s interested in Manny Ramirez

Just BillybeingBilly.

The Oakland Athletics are “very interested” in making Manny Ramirez their designated hitter next season, a source told ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com.

Ramirez, 39, has been working out in Miami since December and has plans to have open workout sessions for clubs interested in his services at the end of January.

Last week, ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com reported that the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays had a look at Ramirez batting in an indoor cage.

“The Orioles and Blue Jays saw Manny work and Baltimore liked what it saw, but Oakland has been the team that has expressed the most interest, even before having him work out,” the source said.

Ramirez, a .312 lifetime hitter with 555 home runs and 1,831 career RBIs over 19 seasons, was reinstated by Major League Baseball from the “voluntarily retired” list after the Dominican player opted to leave the game instead of serving a second suspension for violating the league’s banned substances policy in 2011 while playing for the Tampa Bay Rays.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 20, 2012 at 06:22 PM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, rumors, steroids

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ryan Braun pleads case to special panel Thursday trying to avoid 50-game suspension

I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to play this game, and I am appalled that you would begin a three-member panel inquiry with a topic like that!

Ryan Braun, the National League’s Most Valuable Player, pleaded his case Thursday before a three-member panel that will decide whether he faces a 50-game suspension for testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone.

The appeal came just two days before Braun will accept his MVP award at the New York Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s dinner Saturday night at the New York Hilton, sources familiar with Braun told the Daily News.

A decision by the panel, which includes MLB Players Association executive director Michael Weiner, MLB executive vice president for labor relations Rob Manfred and independent arbitrator Shyam Das, is not expected to come before Braun accepts his award. It was unclear if the hearing would continue into Friday.

...The Milwaukee outfielder, however, is playing a game that no major leaguer has won; despite conflicting reports, no player has ever seen a suspension overturned by the arbitration panel, according to people familiar with the process.

It is possible for a player to test positive for a banned substance and see his case dismissed in advance of arbitration because of chain of custody or other issues, without the public ever learning of his positive test. But Braun is past that point, and is looking to the arbitration panel as his final chance to avoid suspension.

Repoz Posted: January 19, 2012 at 11:42 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, rumors, steroids

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

MVP Ryan Braun to speak at dinner

BBWAAH, must we?

Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, who faces a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug, is expected to speak at a banquet where he will accept his award for being voted National League MVP.

Braun will appear at the annual awards dinner of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Saturday in New York, a spokesman for the player told The New York Times.

“He will be there and he will accept his award,” Matthew Hiltzik told The Times.

...He has not made a public appearance since news of the positive test broke on Dec. 10. Hiltzik told The Times that Braun does not intend to do interviews Saturday. Braun was named MVP on Nov. 22.

Repoz Posted: January 18, 2012 at 10:14 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: awards, brewers, rumors, steroids

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

BPP: An interview with Robert Creamer

Creamer: His Life and Times. Terrific interview with Womack. (answers shortened here to save site/brain from exploding)

Who’s the greatest baseball player you covered?

Willie Mays. Period.

I seem to remember that Bill James, using his fabulous, desiccated statistics, demonstrated that Mickey Mantle, who was Willie’s almost exact contemporary, was actually the better player, and I’m not equipped to argue with Bill, although I’ll try. And there are DiMaggio, Williams, Musial, Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez – no, wait. I didn’t cover DiMaggio, who retired after the 1951 season — I didn’t start with Sports Illustrated until 1954. But that’s still a pretty impressive collection of players to put Willie on top of.

You’ve written biographies on Casey Stengel and Babe Ruth. If steroids had been a part of the game when Stengel and Ruth were players, do you think they would have used?

Sure. Yes. Absolutely. Hell, for decades before the big scandal about steroids in baseball, clubhouses used to have plates or dishes filled with little candy-like pills players gulped or chewed on routinely. My mind is gone – I forget what they were called.. Uppers? Bennies? I can’t recall. But that was standard. Athletes are always looking for an edge and that was a way to get them fired up. I have never been as upset by steroid use as the moralistic holier-than-thou baseball writers who vote on the Hall of Fame. What a bunch of self-important phonies!

I mean, you’d think all an ordinary player would have to do is take steroids to hit 70 home runs or bat .350. But I think McGwire was telling the truth — he took steroids to hold back distress, to make him physically able to play the game. Steroids don’t make a player good. Think of the hundreds, even thousands of players who have been in and out of the major leagues and who may have dabbled in steroids and think how few have hit 50, let alone 60 or 70 homers.

Repoz Posted: January 17, 2012 at 06:41 AM | 59 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, history, media, steroids

Jesse Barfield says arm tells all in war for drug-free baseball

Yikes! Greg Luzinski must have been on turanabull from a very young age!

Since Barfield is so familiar with strong arms he thinks it’s a giveaway to which players are on performance enhancing drugs. The giveaway is not when an outfielder suddenly develops a rocket arm. It’s when someone with a rocket arm suddenly can’t throw.

“When you look at guys, you have a pretty good idea of whether they are on something or not. It’s not natural to have muscles growing out of your neck like this,” Barfield said, holding his hands on his neck in a big circle.

Barfield said outfielders using PED’s build up their muscles so much around their shoulders, they can’t throw.

“They can’t get the arm up over the top because of how the muscles are built up,” he said. “It’s not natural. Guys who could throw, suddenly can’t throw.”

Barfield said it was never an issue with the Blue Jays of his era. With Lloyd Moseby and George Bell as his outfield mates, Toronto had one of the finest young outfields in the business.

“As close as we were as a team we would know if anyone was doing anything like that and if they were, we would have . . . stopped it right away.”

Repoz Posted: January 17, 2012 at 05:57 AM | 51 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, history, steroids

Monday, January 16, 2012

CAPUTO: Why I won’t vote for Bonds, Clemens or Sosa for the Hall of Fame

Former Tigers pitcher Jack Morris was named on the second-most ballots - nearly 67 percent.

In the aftermath, Peter Gammons, one of the preeminent baseball writers of all time, talked on MLB Network about how he put Morris on the ballot the first three years he was eligible, but stopped because another baseball writer had displayed extensive statistical proof to him that Morris’ 3.90 ERA was “not because he pitched to the score” but rather because he lost a lot of leads.

Right then I decided this coming year, the first time they are eligible for election to the Hall of Fame, I am not voting for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens or Sammy Sosa.

...Gammons said Bagwell is like a hockey player (whatever that means) and was one of those 10-to-12 hour per day in the weight room guys, who lost weight later in his career (ala Pudge Rodriguez) because he had a shoulder injury that prevented him from lifting. It’s the type of thinking that was prevalent from many baseball writers during the steroids era. Always buying the story. Unfortunately, I was one of them. I’d like to think I’ve learned my lesson.

...But if Hall voters are going to be so picky about the career ERA of Jack Morris, why not about possible PED use?

I strongly feel this: If Morris gets in, it will still be the Hall of Fame.

If Bonds, Clemens and Sosa are inducted, it would become

(Yanks out Rogers’ Dictionary of Cliches ~ Looks for entry form)

the Hall of Shame.

Repoz Posted: January 16, 2012 at 06:40 AM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, history, media, steroids, tigers

Friday, January 13, 2012

College Football: Postseason Thread

Forsch 10 From Navarone (Dayn) Posted: January 13, 2012 at 08:22 AM | 892 comment(s)
  Beats: community, steroids

Stein: Judaism on Steroids

The widespread use of PEDs in baseball is nearly as old as the game itself. In 1889, pitcher Pud Galvin of the Pittsburgh Burghers began endorsing a testosterone supplement made from dog testicles. He won 23 games that season. Anecdotal evidence indicates that baseball legends Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, and Babe Ruth experimented with testosterone, amphetamines, and sheep testicle extract, respectively. By the 1970s, amphetamine use was rampant, and an increasing number of ballplayers soon began experimenting with anabolic steroids and human growth hormone. Cocaine reached epidemic levels in the 1980s.

Jewish sources confirm this human desire for self-improvement, but also discuss the potential moral and medical drawbacks. The most comprehensive study of medicine in the Bible and Talmud remains Biblisch-Talmudische Medizin (Biblical and Talmudic Medicine), published by Julius Preuss in 1911. Preuss, who was a doctor and Hebraic scholar, utilized a rigorous, analytical approach in studying the ancient texts, and this extensive volume reflects a lifetime of serious medical and Judaic scholarship.

Over 18 chapters, Preuss covers anatomy, neurology, psychology, obstetrics, sexual health, Jewish medical rituals, dermatology, and a range of obscure and familiar maladies as discussed in talmudic and biblical writings. He also chronicles ancient remedies, some fantastical, others familiar. For an earache: pour lukewarm kidney fluids in the ear (though melted chicken fat works in a pinch).  A fever calls for radishes; a cold for beets; and cabbage works across the board.  Wine, small fish, and leeks were known to aid digestion. Fred Rosner, who translated Preuss’s tome in 1978, summed up the general health and nutrition advice of the Talmud: “Eat moderately, eat simply, eat slowly, and eat regularly.”

However, the advice is not merely gastronomical. Rabbis throughout Jewish history also experimented with a range of concoctions meant to increase strength and stamina—kosher PEDs.

In tractate Gittin, the sage Abaye recommends a mixture of ground safflower boiled with wine to promote vascular and sexual health. Rabbi Yohanon appears to have been a fan of the formula and offers an emphatic endorsement: “This restored me to my youthful vigor!” Maimonides, in his treatise “The Regimen of Health,” mentions oxymel, refined syrup of roses, and infusion of tamarind as effective means to increase strength and ward off disease.

Of course, Braun was not busted for high levels of tamarind in his system. Regardless of talmudic inspiration, cheating is certainly frowned upon in Jewish law. At the least, steroid use represents a violation of gneivat da’at, deceit; at most, it is downright theft. If steroids influenced Braun’s on-field performance (which, I understand, is kind of the point), then he effectively robbed another worthy ballplayer of the MVP trophy, a spot on the All-Star team, and perhaps a lucrative spot on the Brewers’ roster.

PEDs also violate the biblical prohibition of self-endangerment. Based on the verse “you shall guard yourself rigorously,” rabbis derived a series of laws prohibiting physical or spiritual self-harm. Steroids may qualify as both: Physical consequences of steroid abuse include liver tumors and cancer, jaundice, high blood pressure and increased cholesterol, kidney tumors, fluid retention, and severe acne; men may experience shrinking of the testicles, reduced sperm count, infertility, baldness, breast development, and increased risk of prostate cancer. Psychologically, steroid abuse can lead to increased aggression, anxiety, and depression.

H/T DSM

JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: January 13, 2012 at 08:22 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, steroids

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Steroids Era to consume Hall voters

NOM NOM NOM

“It’s going to be agonizing,” BBWAA general secretary Jack O’Connell said after Tuesday’s news conference, repeating the phrase for emphasis.

Guapo Posted: January 11, 2012 at 11:13 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, steroids

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

MLB.com writers weigh in on 2013 HOF ballot

NEXT YEAR’S ASSHATINESS…TODAY!! (and I didn’t even get a chance to close my scurverzoid HOF notebook up!)

Hal Bodley
I will not vote for anyone linked to steroids. Never! That means Bonds, Clemens, Sosa fall into that category and will not get my vote. I do not feel Piazza, Schilling and Biggio are legitimate first-ballot candidates. So the only candidate at this point I’m certain I’ll vote for will be Morris—in his 14th try. Between now and then I might change my mind and go for Bagwell.

Ken Gurnick
I’m not voting for anybody from the steroid era.

Richard Justice
Voting for: Biggio, Bagwell, Raines, Morris, Fred McGriff, Piazza, Schilling.

Steroids will dominate the conversation because Bonds, Clemens and Sosa will be on the ballot for the first time. Piazza, like Bagwell, has been connected to steroids by nothing more than rumors, and that’s not good enough for me. Schilling is a lot like Morris in that he was at his best when the games meant the most.

Terrence Moore
Beginning in 2013, I’ll consider something even more so than I have before, and they are two words on my Hall of Fame list of rules: “integrity” and “character.” It says voters must take those words into account when selecting Cooperstown, folks. So no Bonds, Clemens or Sosa for me.

Repoz Posted: January 10, 2012 at 05:09 PM | 76 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, history, projections, sabermetrics, steroids

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