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Steroids Newsbeat

Friday, September 19, 2014

En Banc Court May Call Foul on Bonds Conviction

As the Corporal’s head explodes:

SAN FRANCISCO — An en banc appellate panel reviewing the criminal case of Barry Bonds on Thursday afternoon seemed poised to reverse the former baseball slugger’s 2011 obstruction of justice conviction.

[...]

But on Thursday afternoon, an 11-judge en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit directed a flurry of pointed questions at Assistant U.S. Attorney Merry Jean Chan, arguing on behalf of the government.

Circuit Judge William Fletcher asked Chan how the government’s position that the obstruction of justice statute applies to truthful but evasive testimony might apply to lawyers in civil cases. When Chan answered that the obstruction statute could apply to a lawyer who intentionally misled an opponent in hopes that the opponent might not follow up, Judge Fletcher asked, “So how many San Francisco lawyers do you intend to put in jail?”

For those who care, the oral argument can be watched here; it wasn’t entirely one-sided, but the panel seemed pretty skeptical about the government’s theory.

David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: September 19, 2014 at 11:48 AM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: barry bonds, steroids

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Report: More players to be named in connection with Biogenesis

Two law enforcement sources tell me investigation revealed previously unnamed MLB players. Names will be revealed. Expect more suspensions.

TDF, situational idiot Posted: August 05, 2014 at 05:14 PM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: steroids

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Untold and Insanely Weird Story of A-Rod’s Doping Habits (and why MLB quietly banned EPO, cycling’s drug of choice)

Rodriguez told Bosch that he wanted him to speak with Conte on the phone and hear out the rival self-proclaimed sports chemist’s ideas.

It was a meeting of the doping scientists, likely rife with professional jealousy, and an eager patient at the ready. We now know what Bosch says came next: a doping protocol possibly unprecedented in baseball, further lies and, ultimately, another lesson learned by MLB.

...this reads like fan-fic.

Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: July 30, 2014 at 11:03 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: a-rod, alex rodriguez, balco, epo, peds, steroids

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) Posted: July 29, 2014 at 10:21 AM | 63 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

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) 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

Mattingly: Braun shouldn’t be MVP if PED appeal fails.

Throwing that bogus 4.2% bump in HOF voting weight around already, eh Donnie.

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he hopes that Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun is successful in appealing his positive test for a banned substance, but that it would “make sense” to revote on the MVP award, or strip Braun of the award if it is found that he indeed used a banned substance.

“In the end, I hope the appeal it’s something that was a mistake. I don’t want to see anything bad come out of it for him,” Mattingly said.

When asked if a player who tested positive for a banned substance should be stripped of the MVP award, Mattingly answered, “I don’t know. It makes sense though, a little bit. It’s not 10 years later, it’s a month later.”

...Mattingly said he thinks Kemp should’ve won the award in the first place.

“To me Matt was the best player in the game last year,” Mattingly said. “Ryan had a great year too.

“But you guys (the media) always ask me about unwritten rules, about catchers and stuff like that. Then we have the unwritten rules about voting, because he wasn’t on a winning team. You guys gotta get your unwritten rules together.”

Repoz Posted: January 10, 2012 at 06:59 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, dodgers, steroids

Monday, January 09, 2012

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.

JE (Jason) Posted: January 09, 2012 at 07:56 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, steroids

Wyers: Suspicious Minds

Rob Neyer wrote an article about keeping an open mind during Hall of Fame voting season... Neyer writes in the comments, in response to a reader saying there’s no more evidence Jeff Bagwell used PEDs than Barry Larkin:

Really? None at all?

Let me suggest a thought experiment, AstroB.

I would like you to assign numbers to two players, representing the likelihood that they used steroids at some point in their careers.

The players are Derek Jeter and Edgar Martinez. Go....

if we look at players who have actually been identified as taking steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs—either through the Mitchell report or suspension by MLB—they aren’t any bigger than the average player. The average PED user was 73 inches tall and 193 pounds. The average MLB player over the same time span was 74 inches, 195 pounds…

What if Neyer wasn’t referring to body type, but position? Designated hitter has different offensive requirements than shortstop and no counterweighting defensive responsibilities. But let’s look at changes in home runs per plate appearance between the two positions in the pre- and post-“steroids” era:

                    SS_HR_PA     DH_HR_PA
        1980-1992   0.011        0.031
        1993-2011   0.017	 0.038
        Difference  0.007	 0.007
The District Attorney Posted: January 09, 2012 at 12:42 PM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, history, steroids

Sunday, January 08, 2012

NY Times: Kepner: At the Hall of Fame, Forgetting History and Perhaps Repeating It

What we have are perceptions. It is fundamentally unfair to suspect all muscular players of using steroids. But players could have pushed for testing in the 1990s; management could have aggressively confronted the issue; reporters could have raised more suspicions. We all failed, and now we must decide what the mutated records really mean.

By my count, 33 players over the next five ballots (including the one to be unveiled Monday) could make a realistic case for the Hall of Fame. They may not have a winning argument, but they belong in the conversation. These 33 fall into four categories.

¶ Virtual locks, barring evidence of steroid use: Barry Larkin (2012); Craig Biggio (2013); Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and Frank Thomas (2014); Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz (2015); Ken Griffey Jr. and Trevor Hoffman (2016).

¶ Possible, barring evidence of steroid use: Curt Schilling (2013); Jeff Kent and Mike Mussina (2014).

¶ Doubtful, based on playing career, voting track record or both: Edgar Martinez, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Tim Raines, Lee Smith, Alan Trammell, Billy Wagner, Larry Walker and Bernie Williams.

¶ Left out because of performance-enhancing drugs: Based on suspicion, Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza; based on admission, Mark McGwire; based on evidence, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa; based on admission/evidence/playing career, Juan Gonzalez and Andy Pettitte.

That leaves us, in 2016, with 10 new Hall of Famers elected by the writers. Seven reached a significant round number: 300 victories for Glavine, Johnson and Maddux; 3,000 hits for Biggio; 500 home runs for Thomas; 600 home runs for Griffey; 600 saves for Hoffman. Larkin was a most valuable player; Smoltz won a Cy Young Award, and Pedro Martinez won three.

The group is impressive, to be sure, but it only partly covers the era it represents. The Hall of Fame is the cradle of baseball history. However they did it, Bonds, Clemens and the rest made a significant impact. Together - with Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson - they will form the phantom limb of Cooperstown.

bobm Posted: January 08, 2012 at 05:53 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, steroids

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Former Sox flack takes hacks

Dirt gets dug!

It turns out that Fenway dirt isn’t dirt at all. In the infield, it’s a substance called “Turface,” a brick-red clay material that Henry had ordered to match the color of the crushed brick that makes up the warning track in the outfield. I brought this up at a meeting, and we landed on the idea of giving away little plastic bags of the stuff, labeling it authentic Fenway Park infield dirt. “Dirt,” Lucchino said, twisting up his face. “We’re going to give our fans bags of dirt?” His reaction seemed to sink the notion right there. But on the next trip, to New Hampshire, we brought along about 100 little bags of the dirt — which of course had never been closer to the Fenway infield than the dugout. But that didn’t matter. The bags disappeared the instant they were shown off to the admiring crowd.

Players get played!

I said something about how if he [Henry] was socializing with Playboy Playmates, keeping him out of the press was going to be problematic. He simply scoffed and insisted he’d never dated a Playmate.

Nomah’s a space cadet!

I’ll never forget the time, at some point after the space shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003, that NASA arranged for two female astronauts to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Sox home game and deliver a brief tribute to their fallen colleagues… I didn’t normally mingle with the players, so it was a bit of a thrill to be sitting wedged among Nomar Garciaparra, Tim Wakefield, and other stars. Nomar curiously watched my interaction with the two women, who were dressed in their bright-blue flight suits, and finally nudged me and asked who they were. I explained that they were astronauts. “Hey,” Nomar replied, “I saw this show on Fox that said we never really went to the moon. The whole thing was faked. Can I talk to her about that?”

“Sure,” I said, eager to witness this conversation.

Coleman diplomatically handled the inquiry from Nomar. “I’ve heard about that,” she said, “but it would have to be an enormous conspiracy.”

“Did you see the show?” he quickly rejoined. “It was really convincing…. I don’t know.”

She hadn’t seen the show and looked plaintively at me as other players began to join the conversation. “Hey,” I said, trying to change the subject. “Cady is going to spend six months on the International Space Station. Talk about training for the big show.”

Intrigued, Nomar asked about the size of the space station. “It’s really big,” Coleman said.

“Is it as big as Fenway Park?” Nomar asked.

“No, not that big,” Coleman replied. Then she started looking around for ways to illustrate the dimensions of the orbiting vehicle.“How far is it from home plate to first base?” she finally asked. About six players yelled in unison: “Ninety feet.”

“It’s about that size,” she told them.

“That’s not big,” Nomar said. “That’s small.”

Me oh Mia!

scotto Posted: January 04, 2012 at 10:33 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball geeks, media, red sox, steroids

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The Future (And Past) of the HOF

It’s all well and good to say that the next three baseball Hall of Fame ballots will be “unprecedented.” I’ve written that a few times, and it sounds good.

Next year’s ballot will include: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, Craig Biggio, Sammy Sosa, Mike Piazza and Kenny Lofton.

The 2014 ballot will include: Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Mike Mussina and Jeff Kent.

The 2015 ballot will include: Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Gary Sheffield.

Yes, that flood of talent and controversy FEELS unprecedented—and in some ways that’s true. It certainly is a deep run of great players, and a few of them—especially Bonds and Clemens—are connected to PEDs in a way that unquestionably will affect the way the voters judge their careers. I have written before that in many ways the voters—and I am one of them—will be trying to determine the soul of the Hall of Fame.

But, I realize now I fell victim to one of the classic blunders. I overlooked history.

sptaylor Posted: January 03, 2012 at 04:47 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, steroids

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Report: Braun’s suspension likely to be upheld

Future Saint Tainters, get in line!

Ryan Braun may be itching to tell his side of the story, but having his appeal upheld is very unlikely, according to a report from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The details:

  An MLB official told me there are only two ways for Braun to win his appeal: Prove there was a lab error with the testing or say the Brewers signed off on the treatment.

  I was told to forget proving a lab error because the system is designed to prevent such an occurrence. Each player’s urine sample is divided into two samples. The first is tested and if it’s positive for any banned substance, the second sample is put through a more rigorous, comprehensive testing regimen to assure the result is valid.

  The MLB official also told me that the Brewers did not sign off on whatever substance Braun took. So, it’s unlikely that excuse would be used during the appeal process.

The biggest problem with hoping to have the 50-game suspension overturned, according to the report, is that it doesn’t matter why Braun took a banned substance. Even if it was accidental or he didn’t know a certain substance was against the rules, the only thing that matters is that he took a substance and violated the MLB rule. He has proclaimed his innocence due to not believing what he took was “performance-enhancing” and that he has a prescription for a personal medical condition. Again, though, it’s reportedly unlikely that either of those reasons will matter in the appeal.

Repoz Posted: January 01, 2012 at 08:54 PM | 62 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, rumors, steroids

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