Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

After The Steroid Scandal, Father And Son Learn To Love Baseball Again

Won’t somebody please think of the children…who might grow up to be just like dad?!

Freelance writer Jim Gullo loves baseball and he wanted his son Joe to love it too.

So, in the spring of 2007, he bought seven year old Joe a glove, a bat and a ball, and got him started collecting cards where they lived on Bainbridge Island near Seattle.

It worked. Before long Joe couldn’t stop peppering his dad with questions: “Who was better? George Bell, Albert Bell, or Rico Carty?” And,  “Should Albert Pujols be in the Hall of Fame?” Or, “Can the Mariners trade for Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez?”

Then in December, the Mitchell report named 89 players likely to have used steroids and other performance enhancing drug sand Joe’s questions changed:”It says that baseball players took drugs to make them better?” And, “Isn’t it cheating?”

Joe also wanted to know if the players who took drugs would be punished. But his dad didn’t have any answers — so the two went looking for them.

The result is a physical and emotional journey that Jim chronicles in his new book, “Trading Manny: How a Father and Son Learned to Love Baseball Again.”

THREE WEEKS LATER, the Mitchell Report came out, delivering the news of baseball’s dark secret of drug use. Suddenly, in about the amount of time it took a Bonds homer to leave the building and land with a plop into San Francisco Bay, everything changed for me and Joe. Our father-son fandom nearly ended before it even began.

Repoz Posted: April 04, 2012 at 10:40 AM | 50 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: books, history, red sox, steroids, yankees

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Erix Posted: April 04, 2012 at 11:02 AM (#4096461)
I really, really expected this to be an Onion article.
   2. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: April 04, 2012 at 11:06 AM (#4096469)
Before long Joe couldn’t stop peppering his dad with questions: “Who was better? George Bell, Albert Bell, or Rico Carty?”


"Joe, you didn't pronounce the silent 'e' at the end of Albert Belle's name. I have no son."
   3. TerpNats Posted: April 04, 2012 at 11:14 AM (#4096477)
Before long Joe couldn’t stop peppering his dad with questions: “Who was better? George Bell, Albert Bell, or Rico Carty?”

"Joe, you didn't pronounce the silent 'e' at the end of Albert Belle's name. I have no son."
I just checked the story; there, "Belle" (as in Albert) is spelled correctly. But the initial comment on this thread was accurate -- it read like an Onion parody featuring your typical tweedy, public broadcast-loving yuppie writer Red Sox fan.

And, finally...Rico Carty?
   4. JustDan Posted: April 04, 2012 at 11:15 AM (#4096479)
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 11:17 AM (#4096481)
And, finally...Rico Carty?

“Who was better? George Bell, Albert Bell, or Rico Carty?”


Concur. That is perhaps the least interesting question about basbeall I've ever heard. At least it's original. No one else had ever cared enough to compare them.
   6. DA Baracus Posted: April 04, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4096482)
It does read like an Onion article:

“Yes, according to Senator Mitchell’s report, he took drugs,” I called back from the kitchen.


Who talks like this? And to a kid?
   7. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4096485)
Nevermind. This is too dumb even for me.
   8. TerpNats Posted: April 04, 2012 at 11:24 AM (#4096486)
That is perhaps the least interesting question about baseball I've ever heard. At least it's original. No one else had ever cared enough to compare them.
The kid also asks if Mike Leiberthal is a Hall of Famer. Has Leiby become the new John Boccabella?

(But to be fair, had I thumbed through the Baseball Encyclopedia at his age, I would probably be convinced that Indian Bob Johnson and Joe Vosmik deserved plaques in Cooperstown. Well, you could make a good argument for Johnson.)
   9. The Good Face Posted: April 04, 2012 at 11:31 AM (#4096498)
"Father?"

"Yes Son?"

"I am sorry for asking stupid questions about steroids."

"Son I am proud. Now we can be a family again."
   10. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 04, 2012 at 11:34 AM (#4096505)
Christ, why couldn't this stupid kid have been like all other normal seven year olds and ask his Dad about WaR and EqA, and how to normalize Ichiro's Japanese stats? Why should he concern himself with trivial things like cheating?
   11. Jim Wisinski Posted: April 04, 2012 at 11:47 AM (#4096530)
Christ, why couldn't this stupid kid have been like all other normal seven year olds and ask his Dad about WaR and EqA, and how to normalize Ichiro's Japanese stats? Why should he concern himself with trivial things like cheating?


I didn't RTFA but I doubt that anywhere in it the kid asks "Dad, is it true that all those great players in your youth and before were hopped up on illegal amphetamines all the time?" or "Dad, is it true that people pretty much glorify Gaylord Perry's flagrant cheating by using the spitball?". As usual only certain types of cheating are actually considered bad, everything else is ok.
   12. Greg Schuler Posted: April 04, 2012 at 12:01 PM (#4096540)
Are you sure this isn't a Chris Burke article?
   13. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 12:05 PM (#4096543)
"Dad, is it true that people pretty much glorify Gaylord Perry's flagrant cheating by using the spitball?".

Anyone who hates the spitball hates baseball, America, and puppies and kittens.
   14. Dale Sams Posted: April 04, 2012 at 12:20 PM (#4096568)
My kid is about to turn 7 and i can't teach him to catch* to save my life. I don't particularly remember my dad teaching me, so it must have been myself and school. I blame his school.

*He's been able to throw like a maniac since age 2, but now THOSE mechanics have somehow been messed up and he's starting to throw like a girl. You know what I mean, all elbow, no shoulder.
   15. Guapo Posted: April 04, 2012 at 12:33 PM (#4096582)
"Hey, Dad, I found this bottle of Viagra by your bed. I'm so disillusioned!"

"Go to your room!"
   16. jacjacatk Posted: April 04, 2012 at 12:34 PM (#4096583)
Based on experience with two boys (13 and 10 now) and various levels of coaching from 5-13, you don't teach kids to catch, and you mostly don't teach them to throw, they figure it out pretty naturally, and they do better when that "learning" takes place with kids at the same level as them or slightly better. The best you can do, generally, is gently correct certain flaws (leading with the wrong foot, swiping at balls, etc). At some point (about 11 with my oldest, didn't happen with my youngest before he switched to football), they can actually start to implement mechanical instruction and it will be worth trying to really work on things. The downside is that the instruction they need at that point will mostly have to come from someone other than a parent (this probably happens both because they're on the verge of being rebellious teens, and because you've been trying to coach them for so long that they've just tuned out advice from you).
   17. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: April 04, 2012 at 12:38 PM (#4096585)
My kid is about to turn 7 and i can't teach him to catch* to save my life. I don't particularly remember my dad teaching me, so it must have been myself and school. I blame his school.


If he has access to a wall, give him a glove and a tennis ball or something else that's a little softer than a baseball or softball. He'll figure it out.
   18. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: April 04, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4096594)
My kid is about to turn 7 and i can't teach him to catch* to save my life.

The good news is you may have a future Jose Canseco on your hands. The bad news is you may have a future Jose Canseco on your hands.
   19. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 04, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4096595)
I didn't RTFA but I doubt that anywhere in it the kid asks "Dad, is it true that all those great players in your youth and before were hopped up on illegal amphetamines all the time?" or "Dad, is it true that people pretty much glorify Gaylord Perry's flagrant cheating by using the spitball?".

Why would he? He's 7.

He probably also didn't ask about Watergate, the 1950 Army football cheating scandal, Teapot Dome, the 1951 Giants stealing signs, and the CCNY point-shaving scandals.
   20. Greg K Posted: April 04, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4096630)
If he has access to a wall, give him a glove and a tennis ball or something else that's a little softer than a baseball or softball. He'll figure it out.

Probably the best thing my dad ever did (and he's done a lot of great things) is bolt a giant slab of plywood over the garage door. To me heaven is taking short-hops off the driveway all afternoon.
   21. PreservedFish Posted: April 04, 2012 at 01:25 PM (#4096645)
To me heaven is taking short-hops off the driveway all afternoon.


I could do this for an hour every day.
   22. Greg K Posted: April 04, 2012 at 01:26 PM (#4096648)

I could do this for an hour every day.

Agreed. In many ways my childhood was freakin' awesome.
   23. PreservedFish Posted: April 04, 2012 at 01:35 PM (#4096660)
I just joined a dodgeball league. But stickball or wiffleball is what I really want to be doing.
   24. Greg K Posted: April 04, 2012 at 01:40 PM (#4096672)
I just joined a dodgeball league. But stickball or wiffleball is what I really want to be doing.

Oddly enough it took moving to the UK to get me back playing baseball. I have no idea how I went some many years without playing. Plus I get to play 1B! Short-hops galore!
   25. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 02:29 PM (#4096752)
I feel sorry for this kid.
   26. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 04, 2012 at 02:40 PM (#4096761)
I feel sorry for this kid.

Why? Because he's already developed a keen moral sense and has a father who wants to spend time with him?
   27. Greg K Posted: April 04, 2012 at 02:42 PM (#4096762)
Why? Because he's already developed a keen moral sense?

I assume he meant because he's a Red Sox fan.
   28. Walt Davis Posted: April 04, 2012 at 02:48 PM (#4096774)
Hold on now ....

y'all ain't indirectly dissing Rico Carty are you?

I extol the achievements of Carty around here all the time! Well, as in probably 3 or 4 times in 10 years or something but you get the point.

Belle: 295/369/564, 143 OPS+, 6700 PA, 37 WAR
Carty: 299/369/464, 132 OPS+, 6300 PA, 31 WAR

I think I've compared them before but maybe not. Carty was somewhat better than that line looks as he missed his age 28 and age 31 seasons in their entirety (one was injury, one was illness if I recall) and it took him a while to get healthy again after the last one. But for his age 29-30 seasons:

900 PA, 357/434/570, 168 OPS+

very Belle-like.

The question is what George Bell is doing in there.

He probably also didn't ask about Watergate, the 1950 Army football cheating scandal, Teapot Dome, the 1951 Giants stealing signs, and the CCNY point-shaving scandals.

Yet he did ask about Rico Carty. Apparently at least he reads my posts -- bright kid! :-)
   29. Ron J Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:15 PM (#4096817)
#28 Separated shoulder in 1967, tuberculosis in 1968 and a bad knee injury ("crushed" IIRC) in 1971.

Also got beat up by 3 Atlanta cops in 1971.

Newspaper story

For some reason this isn't mentioned in either the wiki article about him or the bb-ref bullpen piece on him.
   30. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:24 PM (#4096828)
The question is what George Bell is doing in there.

Why, the man is a former MVP, unlike those scrubs Albert Belle and Rico Carty.
   31. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: April 04, 2012 at 04:29 PM (#4096911)
Probably the best thing my dad ever did (and he's done a lot of great things) is bolt a giant slab of plywood over the garage door. To me heaven is taking short-hops off the driveway all afternoon.


I learned how to throw submarine style because it came back as a line drive instead of a grounder. Of course, back then, peer pressure made all the kids do whatever Dan Quisenberry did.
   32. Nasty Nate Posted: April 04, 2012 at 04:46 PM (#4096925)
When we were kids playing wiffleball, we had our equivalent of the spitball: a banned pitch called the "pop-ball," which was when you popped inward half of the ball so it was caved in and wouldn't carry much when hit. banned.
   33. alkeiper Posted: April 04, 2012 at 04:50 PM (#4096927)
What was the biggest MLB scandal when you were seven years old. For me that would've been 1989, the Pete Rose ban. I don't think I understood what was going on fully.
   34. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 04, 2012 at 04:51 PM (#4096929)
I learned how to throw submarine style because it came back as a line drive instead of a grounder. Of course, back then, peer pressure made all the kids do whatever Dan Quisenberry did.

How was your poetry?
   35. Dale Sams Posted: April 04, 2012 at 04:54 PM (#4096933)
What was the biggest MLB scandal when you were seven years old. For me that would've been 1989, the Pete Rose ban. I don't think I understood what was going on fully


All I remember "scandal-wise" from when I was 7 was Pete Rose (He's everywhere!) beating up Harrelson.
   36. Greg K Posted: April 04, 2012 at 04:57 PM (#4096937)
What was the biggest MLB scandal when you were seven years old. For me that would've been 1989, the Pete Rose ban. I don't think I understood what was going on fully.

The strike happened when I was 10. I didn't fully grasp what was going on except that a bunch of jerks (whether players or owners) were stopping me from watching baseball.
   37. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 04, 2012 at 04:57 PM (#4096938)
What was the biggest MLB scandal when you were seven years old. For me that would've been 1989, the Pete Rose ban. I don't think I understood what was going on fully.

I was at my dad's softball game listening to the Tigers game and it was the night Denny McLain came back from his half-season ban for consorting with the type of people Rose consorted with. The crowd gave him a standing ovation that seemed to go on forever. A couple months later he was in trouble again for dumping a couple buckets of ice water on two local sportswriters. (And then a couple months after that, he was the primary piece in the heist of Joe Coleman, Ed Brinkman, and Aurelio Rodriguez from the Senators.)

Somehow I survived the trauma.
   38. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: April 04, 2012 at 04:57 PM (#4096939)
How was your poetry?


Not as good as my moustache.
   39. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 04, 2012 at 05:03 PM (#4096951)
All I remember "scandal-wise" from when I was 7 was Pete Rose (He's everywhere!) beating up Harrelson.

Rose at least had the decency to wait until school had been dismissed in the Eastern Time Zone before engaging in his assault.
   40. Perry Posted: April 04, 2012 at 05:33 PM (#4096967)
Man, I don't even remember anything from when I was 7, at least not in baseball. My first baseball memories are from the year I was 9 -- Ken Johnson throwing a no-hitter and losing, Chico Ruiz stealing home with Frank Robinson at the plate, the Phils' collapse, the Phils beating the Reds 10-0 on the last day to enable the Cardinals to win the pennant (first game I really remember watching on TV), that great Cards-Yanks World Series. Oh, and in the other league, Phil Linz and his harmonica.

First thing I remember that could be called a scandal was the next year, Marichal vs. Roseboro. That shook me up, seeing photos of that.
   41. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 04, 2012 at 05:45 PM (#4096976)
When I was 7 years old I guess the biggest "scandal" in baseball was the then-unknown Giants' sign stealing in the Polo Grounds, though in terms of seriousness it pales in comparison to the CCNY point shaving scandal that pretty much killed big time college basketball in New York City for several generations.
   42. Daunte Vicknabbit! Posted: April 04, 2012 at 05:51 PM (#4096980)
I remember the inaugural Marlins game, and then going to the A-S game in Pittsburgh with my crazy uncle who told me they werent going to play a World Series. Oh, and playing the #### out of Baseball Stars.
   43. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: April 04, 2012 at 05:57 PM (#4096988)
When I was 7, a bunch of people in the area were killed by poisoned Tylenol capsules. That ruined Halloween because, it was my understanding at the time, somebody might put Tylenol in the candy they gave out. In baseball, a bunch of fat drunks from Milwaukee, who kind of looked like the fat drunks on the White Sox, almost beat the Cardinals in the World Series.
   44. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 06:06 PM (#4096998)
After The Steroid Scandal, Father And Son Learn To Love Baseball Hookers & Blow Again


This would've made for a much more interesting article.
   45. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 04, 2012 at 06:25 PM (#4097018)
It's hard to enjoy your physical and emotional journey with a hooker while your son is peppering you with questions.
   46. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: April 04, 2012 at 06:32 PM (#4097025)
It's hard to enjoy your physical and emotional journey with a hooker while your son is peppering you with questions.


Yeah, because you have to pay extra.
   47. flournoy Posted: April 04, 2012 at 07:17 PM (#4097098)
What was the biggest MLB scandal when you were seven years old. For me that would've been 1989, the Pete Rose ban. I don't think I understood what was going on fully.


Easy. Kent Hrbek pulling Ron Gant off first base. I still hate that guy.
   48. Walt Davis Posted: April 04, 2012 at 09:06 PM (#4097315)
When I was 7 I wasn't really a baseball fan yet but that was the Cubs' infamous 1969 collapse.

I suppose McLain must have been in trouble for something the next season when my baseball fandom really began. But the first strike of 1972 was the first "scandal" I actually remember. Or the Peterson-Kekich trade, when was that? In the "what do we tell the children" theme, even as a child I had enough sense not to ask about wife swapping to begin with.
   49. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 11:43 PM (#4097468)
Posting here because it's a steroid thread, from Vanity Fair [emphasis mine.]:

The medical experts acknowledge that most users will see some small benefits. Recent data indicate that they will lose a few pounds of fat and gain a few pounds of lean muscle. But they won’t gain any muscle strength. (A recent study of H.G.H.’s effects on a competitive sprinter, however, suggested that the therapy improved his time by almost 4 percent.)

Molitch cites several studies that explored whether H.G.H. therapy could in some way slow the aging process of adults with normal hormone levels. “All of those studies have uniformly shown no benefit,” he says. “It was a legitimate question to ask. It’s been asked and answered.”

Worse, the doctors say, are the potential hazards of long-term H.G.H. use. It’s thought that people whose bodies produce too much H.G.H. face increased rates of cancer, heart disease, and early mortality. But the medical community also suspects that H.G.H. increases the risks of edema, high blood pressure, prostate cancer, and breast cancer. Because it stimulates cell growth, H.G.H. basically fertilizes any sort of malignancy. That’s among the reasons why many endocrinologists don’t encourage adults 50 or over (who are more prone to malignancies) to take H.G.H.

In the end, though, the doctors understand why actors and athletes go for it anyway. “Their lives and income depend on being the best,” Korenman says. “They think, everyone is doing it, and the difference between being No. 1 and No. 2 is less than 1 percent.”


Keep in mind that hGH is usually stacked with testosterone because it's believed to produce an "added benefit."
   50. TerpNats Posted: April 05, 2012 at 01:10 AM (#4097564)
I was at my dad's softball game listening to the Tigers game and it was the night Denny McLain came back from his half-season ban for consorting with the type of people Rose consorted with. The crowd gave him a standing ovation that seemed to go on forever.
July 1, 1970, vs. the Yankees; I remember hearing the game on the radio in Syracuse that night.

A couple months later he was in trouble again for dumping a couple buckets of ice water on two local sportswriters. (And then a couple months after that, he was the primary piece in the heist of Joe Coleman, Ed Brinkman, and Aurelio Rodriguez from the Senators.)

Somehow I survived the trauma.
Thank Bob Short for his assistance...and for transferring your trauma to the baseball fans of Washington, who had already undergone a quarter-century of it. They may finally end said trauma by mid-decade.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
The Ghost's Tryin' to Reason with Hurricane Season
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-2-2014
(5 - 8:06am, Sep 02)
Last: Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde

NewsblogOT: Politics, September, 2014: ESPN honors Daily Worker sports editor Lester Rodney
(34 - 8:04am, Sep 02)
Last: Misirlou's been working for the drug squad

NewsblogBlue Jays Acquire Mayberry Jr.
(8 - 8:02am, Sep 02)
Last: Rants Mulliniks

NewsblogSources:  Cubs cut grounds crew’s hours to avoid paying health benefits
(42 - 7:58am, Sep 02)
Last: Rants Mulliniks

NewsblogNo-hitter! Four Phillies pitchers combine to blank the Braves
(15 - 7:58am, Sep 02)
Last: Colin

NewsblogPhoto of the day: Bill Murray, indy league ticket-taker
(104 - 7:38am, Sep 02)
Last: zonk

NewsblogHBT: Jorge Soler with an extra-base hit in each of his first five games
(3 - 7:26am, Sep 02)
Last: zonk

NewsblogRobothal: Changed [Manny] Ramirez enjoyed helping Cubs prospects grow
(14 - 6:41am, Sep 02)
Last: Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class

NewsblogTrevor Hoffman's Hall of Fame induction seems inevitable
(8 - 5:50am, Sep 02)
Last: Bourbon Samurai in Asia

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - September 2014
(6 - 2:36am, Sep 02)
Last: RollingWave

NewsblogNitkowski: Wanted: Major League manager...sort of.
(8 - 2:07am, Sep 02)
Last: Robert in Manhattan Beach

NewsblogOMNICHATTER 9-1-2014
(40 - 2:01am, Sep 02)
Last: MNB

NewsblogAstros Fire Bo Porter
(57 - 1:54am, Sep 02)
Last: base ball chick

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 1957 Ballot
(10 - 1:12am, Sep 02)
Last: Moeball

NewsblogRon Roenicke rips into home-plate umpire
(17 - 12:18am, Sep 02)
Last: Bunny Vincennes

Page rendered in 0.5629 seconds
52 querie(s) executed