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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bill James Mailbag - 12/15/12 - 12/16/12

Oh, Paulie DePodesta… won’t see him no more.

I love the All-Decade teams in the Historical Abstract. Do you have a New Millenium team?

1B—Albert Pujols.  2B—Not sure; maybe Utley?  3B—A-Rod (although there are many good candidates. . .Wood Chipper, Rolen, Wright.)  SS—Dirty Rotten.  LF—Bonds.  CF—Carlos Beltran.  RF—Bobby Abreu, or possibly Sheffield.   DH—Papi.   C—Open to Suggestions.  SP—Sabathia, Pedro, Big Unit, Halladay.  CL—Mariano.

if a good fielding / mediocre hitting team and an all-bat, no-glove team are both looking for a shortstop, should they value the available players differently?...

Well. . .I don’t know if this is the RIGHT answer, but then, neither does anybody else.   I would consider the other things at the margin.   If you have a slow left fielder and a slow right fielder, you probably need a fast center fielder.   If you have a bad defensive third baseman, you probably need a good shortstop. 

I think there’s a rational basis for that, which is this.   While we tend to think of plays as “belonging” to one fielder or another… it is easily observable that there are many plays in the field which can be made by either of two fielders (and sometimes more than two.)   It stands to reason, then, that when one player’s range contracts, his neighbor can cover that to some extent.. .whereas if two neighboring fielders both have poor range, there is probably an interactive effect.  

There is a second reason to avoid stacking up liabilities in the field, which is the curvature of the lines.   If you increase hits by 10%, you increase runs by 20%.   If you increase runs by 20%, you increase losses by 44%.   When you stack up parallel liabilities in the field, there may be a more-than-proportional cost because of the curvature of the lines.

If you want to know why some of us get angry at the writers about the Hall of Fame vote, here is an example which might hit home for you, taken from a piece by Howard Bryant on espn.com: “The emerging Generation M (M standing for Moneyball), influenced by its Godfather, Bill James, and his capo, Billy Beane, is also deeply culpable for allowing their calculations to blissfully ignore steroids and, through that omission, attempting to legitimize the whole dishonest era (and themselves) by attempting to make the game revolve around only numbers…”

... There is a large, general historical argument going on about how to evaluate baseball players and about how baseball games are won, and Bryant perceives us—correctly—as being the aggressors in this argument, seizing territory long held by traditional sportswriters.    He resents the loss of this territory, as people have always resented the loss of territory they claim to own, and he focuses this resentment on us.  

But we are transitioning also into a third argument, away from the argument about how to win games and thus how to evaluate players, into one about steroids.   The truth will ultimately prevail in that argument, as it has prevailed and will prevail in the other arguments.   We have to be careful, then, that we do not allow others to assign us territory to defend, and thus wind up defending the indefensible.  

It has never been my position that nothing counts except the numbers.   There is a great deal that matters in baseball that is difficult to document and difficult to assess the value of.

It is not my position that you can’t discount the accomplishments of steroid users.   I think it is entirely fair to apply a discount, if you choose to do so, to the things done by Jason Giambi or Manny Ramirez or any other pill popper.

It is my view, however, that attempting to apply that discount traps you into an ultimately unsustainable balancing act.   At least three players who were almost certainly steroid users have already been elected to the Hall of Fame.   In five years that will be ten players, or 20.   At that point you will be drawing a line between those who were credibly accused of using steroids—who you want to keep out of the Hall of Fame—and those who merely have all the characteristics of steroid users, but who have somehow escaped the accusations.   As time passes it is going to become progressively more difficult to sustain that distinction.

The phils new SP, John Lannan , is 2-5with a 6- plus era in Citizens bank park. How much stock do u give such things generally and how much does it mean for pitching in cbp for lannan facing the nats braves mets etc?

It doesn’t mean anything, except it expands my respect for the Phillies a little.   If a player plays well against YOU, you’d be surprised how much that drives demand for him within an organization.     It’s unusual that a team would sign a player who has pitched poorly against them.

The District Attorney Posted: December 18, 2012 at 09:41 PM | 143 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bill james, hall of fame, history, sabermetrics, strategy

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   101. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: December 20, 2012 at 10:59 PM (#4329809)
Steve Carlton could be another one as a dark horse. Remember his pushing his hand through the bowl of rice and all of that. He was a known workout freak who slipped a little in the mid-70s (kind of like Clemens in his early 30s) and then came back with a vengeance and lasted a long time.

And this was right around the time that Tom House was experimenting with steroids too, so it's not like no one was doing it.
   102. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 20, 2012 at 11:08 PM (#4329816)
Andy: Do you think it is very likely that there are steroids users in the Hall of Fame already? If so, then what is the sense of keeping players out just because they got caught?
   103. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 20, 2012 at 11:54 PM (#4329834)
The issue is, what is wrong with suggesting that there is already a HOFer or 3 was a juicer, when the facts and odds make it very likely? What anyone DOES with that information is wholly different from the issue of what the information is.

Srul, go ahead and suggest all you want, but until you actually produce some names along with some actual evidence, AFAIC you're just farting in the wind.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Andy: Do you think it is very likely that there are steroids users in the Hall of Fame already? If so, then what is the sense of keeping players out just because they got caught?

No idea, but let me know when you can actually identify any specific names. You can call on Murray Chass anytime if you want to dig up some fresh innuendo. The funny thing to me about all this is that it's the same people who always prattle on about "witch hunts" who seem to be the most likely to want to jump to conclusions or make assumptions of guilt about just about any player whose name pops into their heads.

-----------------------------------------------------------

More conclusive evidence just in from the Peanut Gallery. You can take this one to the bank:

BTW, on the 3 juicers, Fisk and Ryan are obvious, I've taken them as a given for at least 5 years now.


Serious comment: If that had been Kevin saying that about Barry Bonds, the responses would have filled several pages. And yet I guarantee there won't be a single objection here to scruff's comment. Why? Because as long as you don't care whether juicers get into the HoF, you get a free pass to say anything you want about any player you want, even if you'd be rightfully embarrassed to say it to his face. This is what passes for ground rules here on BTF.

Whereas if you don't want steroid users in the Hall, you can defend players like Clemens and Sosa until the cows come home, on the grounds that the evidence against them is hearsay and speculation, and you still get lumped with the "witch hunters." This has been going on for so long now that I barely even notice it.
   104. Jim Kaat on a hot Gene Roof Posted: December 21, 2012 at 12:34 AM (#4329852)
If that had been Kevin saying that about Barry Bonds, the responses would have filled several pages. And yet I guarantee there won't be a single objection here to scruff's comment. Why? Because as long as you don't care whether juicers get into the HoF, you get a free pass to say anything you want about any player you want, even if you'd be rightfully embarrassed to say it to his face. This is what passes for ground rules here on BTF.


One of many reasons why I don't bother with it anymore, and am surprised that you do. I used to be disgusted and offended and saddened by the groupthink here; now I try to ignore it but when I can't, I try laugh at the ironies, one of which is that the true source of the monolithic groupthink here -- spiteful reaction against traditional baseball writers -- is now the only population which engages in a healthy debate on the issue. At least every other day there's a new HOF ballot in which the author justifies his choices, compares it to other writers' choices, and if any qualm is written about steroids users, the response here is predictable and uniform. Looking back when even the so-called Union was at its peak, the pro-steroids, pro-cheating attitude was already a given here; all we did was "help" it develop its rationales. They stopped thinking about it maybe 10 minutes after considering the issue, back in 02-03; everything they've come up with since has been in complete bad faith, a nonstop current of sophistry and banality. I suspect the only reason JC engaged for as long as he did was, as an ethics professor, he had a professional interest in observing how a group of people, individually decent and rational moral actors (libertarians of course being a glaring exception), could twistify themselves into an ever more convoluted pretzel of collective moral retardation. As one of his heroes said, madness is rare in individuals but in groups, parties, nations and ages it is the rule.
   105. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 21, 2012 at 12:46 AM (#4329858)
Andy: Do you think it is very likely that there are steroids users in the Hall of Fame already? If so, then what is the sense of keeping players out just because they got caught?

No idea, but let me know when you can actually identify any specific names. You can call on Murray Chass anytime if you want to dig up some fresh innuendo. The funny thing to me about all this is that it's the same people who always prattle on about "witch hunts" who seem to be the most likely to want to jump to conclusions or make assumptions of guilt about just about any player whose name pops into their heads.


This doesn't begin to actually answer my question. What is the principle at play here? Or is your justification for your hardline stance against confirmed users, which you have built up over a number of years, really "No idea?"
   106. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 21, 2012 at 01:30 AM (#4329874)
RETARDO,

Nice to see you popping in every once in a while. And for the time being, at least, you've outlasted "Nieosporin", so congratulations on that. (smile)

---------------------------------------------

Andy: Do you think it is very likely that there are steroids users in the Hall of Fame already? If so, then what is the sense of keeping players out just because they got caught?

No idea, but let me know when you can actually identify any specific names. You can call on Murray Chass anytime if you want to dig up some fresh innuendo. The funny thing to me about all this is that it's the same people who always prattle on about "witch hunts" who seem to be the most likely to want to jump to conclusions or make assumptions of guilt about just about any player whose name pops into their heads.


This doesn't begin to actually answer my question. What is the principle at play here? Or is your justification for your hardline stance against confirmed users, which you have built up over a number of years, really "No idea?"


Again with the "principles", as if you can't figure them out.

1. I don't want known juicers in the Hall of Fame.

2. I don't believe in applying loose rules of evidence and hearsay against those suspected of using steroids.

It really is that simple.

Until you or Srul or scruff or Bill James or Murray Chass or Bryant Gumbel or Red Ruffinsore can come up with something better than "there must be steroid users already in the Hall of Fame, because I say so," I'll just let you go on Nodding In Agreement with yourselves, you fearless group of witchhunt fighters.

The truth is that the whole lot of you have been sputtering the same "we know there must be" line for God Knows how many years, and yet for some strange reason no actual names have emerged with any credible evidence against them----as you yourself have argued in one case after another, I might add!

And that's what elevates your moronic nagging from the ridiculous to the sublime. As long as someone's not with you 100% of the way on the underlying issue of steroids, you can't accept the fact that that person is agreeing with you in all the other cases where players are being unfairly accused.

A "rational" person (your favorite word) would look at these discussions and simply conclude "These guys obviously are operating from different sets of premises and principles on the question of steroids", and say "Why don't you just agree to disagree?", and leave it at that. But not you.
   107. valuearbitrageur Posted: December 21, 2012 at 01:43 AM (#4329878)
Cheating is any attempt to surrepetitiously gain an advantage not available to everyone else. Taking steroids and covering it up easily qualifies.

Yes. MLB agreed and adopted this proposition through the Mitchell Report.


How was Fisk supposed to read the Mitchell report in 1980?

How were steroids only available to Fisk in 1980?

How can you surreptitiously ignore the rule book and the date of Fay Vincent's prohibition when you make up a definition of "cheating".
   108. BrianBrianson Posted: December 21, 2012 at 03:22 AM (#4329893)
Serious comment: If that had been Kevin saying that about Barry Bonds, the responses would have filled several pages. And yet I guarantee there won't be a single objection here to scruff's comment. Why? Because as long as you don't care whether juicers get into the HoF, you get a free pass to say anything you want about any player you want, even if you'd be rightfully embarrassed to say it to his face.


If you think steroid use is entirely innocuous, it's not a big deal that you think someone used them. I also think Fisk has eaten a grilled cheese sandwich. I could be wrong, but who gives a ####? Conversely, if you consider it on par with murdering someone, then yes, you shouldn't just throw it around - you're daft, but you should at least be consistently daft.

Fisk is very likely to have used steroids. He's also very likely to have drunk a beer. I could be wrong about either, but I'm probably not. Some people consider either (or both) of those to be terrible wrongs, but those people are too ridiculous to take seriously. It's an interesting conversation to wonder who James believes the steroid users in the Hall of Fame are, although the shouting from the "Won't somebody think of the children!?!?" crowd is irritating.
   109. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 21, 2012 at 09:06 AM (#4329921)
If you think steroid use is entirely innocuous, it's not a big deal that you think someone used them. I also think Fisk has eaten a grilled cheese sandwich. I could be wrong, but who gives a ####? Conversely, if you consider it on par with murdering someone, then yes, you shouldn't just throw it around - you're daft, but you should at least be consistently daft.

Fisk is very likely to have used steroids.


Here's a little test: Would you or Bill James** repeat that accusation to Fisk's face? Why or why not?

**Obviously James wouldn't, as he's shown by keeping his speculations nameless even in public. The great iconoclast speaks truth to power, yada yada yada.






   110. Rants Mulliniks Posted: December 21, 2012 at 09:27 AM (#4329933)
this is incorrect. fisk workout regimen was a hot topic with photos of fisk doing what was listed as his 500th situp and the like.


Just because someone works out a lot doesn't mean they were on roids (and I'm not saying this is what Harv is suggesting). Herschel Walker used to do 1500 pushups, 3500 situps and run 8 miles a day.
   111. dlf Posted: December 21, 2012 at 09:30 AM (#4329937)
1. I don't want known juicers in the Hall of Fame.


Why is whether they are known relevant? It seems that your argument is that steroids provided a unique and unfair competitive advantage that was contrary to the spirit of the game. Whether someone happened to be the client of Brian McNamee or got his dose from some unkown guy at the gym in Souix Falls seems irrelevant to the desire to refuse to honor a user. In fact, it seems the converse would be true -- if a player used but was not known to have done so, they received an even greater competitive advantage than their peer whose use was better known. Pre-testing, the known / unknown dichotomy seems to turn on (a) whether he played post-Caminiti, (b) whether a player was so good that he became the target of intense scrutiny or (c) happened to get his dose from Kirk Radomski.

Fisk is very likely to have used steroids.


For what its worth, Fisk has expressly denied using steroids and has opined that users should not be admitted to Cooperstown.
   112. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 21, 2012 at 10:25 AM (#4329969)
1. I don't want known juicers in the Hall of Fame.

Why is whether they are known relevant?


It's not, but until they're known, then I'd rather not be throwing around random accusations and speculation. God only knows why this is such a difficult concept for some people to comprehend.

From the perspective of a player being accused of steroids without any real evidence to back it up, positions like Brian's

If you think steroid use is entirely innocuous, it's not a big deal that you think someone used them.


must be a great consolation----"If Rick Reilly asks you to pee in a cup, that's monstrous, but I can say anything I want about you, based on no evidence, because I don't care one way or the other!"

The theory seems to be that steroid so-whattism exempts people from ordinary requirements of evidence before throwing around accusations. Reminds me a bit of the dentist in Seinfeld who converted to Judaism just so he could tell Jewish jokes without being tagged an anti-Semite.
   113. BrianBrianson Posted: December 21, 2012 at 10:25 AM (#4329970)

Here's a little test: Would you or Bill James** repeat that accusation to Fisk's face? Why or why not?


The answer is clearly "Probably not, because I'll probably never speak to Fisk face to face." And if I did, it's be a public situation, and clueless people such as yourself are coercing Fisk et al. into denying it - so it would be a pointless fight. Even privately he'd almost certainly have to deny it, expecting I'm trying to sell the story to a tabloid or something. I wouldn't go into a Baptist church in rural Oklahoma and accuse someone of voting for Obama during a service, either; that has no influence on whether I think they did, or whether I'd say as much in a room with a bunch of people who'd never meet them.
   114. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: December 21, 2012 at 10:38 AM (#4329982)
It's not, but until they're known, then I'd rather not be throwing around random accusations and speculation. God only knows why this is such a difficult concept for some people to comprehend.


Whether it's intentional or not, you are completely missing the point. The point is not to point fingers at people without proof. It is that it is very likely that steroid users are currently in the Hall, and will continue to be elected. Thus, admitting known users will not diminish the Hall, because it is already diminished. Keeping out Bonds and Mac will not keep the hall pure, because it is very likely already impure. Keeping out known users only serves to punish those unlucky enough to get caught. If that's your goal, fine. But don't pretend it has anything to do with serving some sort of higher cause, because that ship sailed a while ago.
   115. BrianBrianson Posted: December 21, 2012 at 10:46 AM (#4329992)
Whether it's intentional or not, you are completely missing the point. The point is not to point fingers at people without proof.


No, you're completely missing the point. It's too late for that. Fingers have already been pointed, without proof. One can no longer pretend that by no finger pointing they're somehow sparing anyone anything - all they're doing in endorsing the finger pointing that's already taken place. An "I'm Spartacus" moment would be best, but all we have is an opportunity for a "He's Spartacus" moment, or let people guilty of jaywalking be sentenced for murder.
   116. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: December 21, 2012 at 10:53 AM (#4329995)
No, you're completely missing the point. It's too late for that. Fingers have already been pointed, without proof. One can no longer pretend that by no finger pointing they're somehow sparing anyone anything - all they're doing in endorsing the finger pointing that's already taken place. An "I'm Spartacus" moment would be best, but all we have is an opportunity for a "He's Spartacus" moment, or let people guilty of jaywalking be sentenced for murder.


Once again, in English?
   117. Greg K Posted: December 21, 2012 at 11:04 AM (#4330016)
BTW -- Auto-da-fé? What's an Auto-da-fé?

I believe it literally means "act of faith". A kind of theatre of penance for heretics by the Inquisition where the condemned would be marched out with great ceremony for the locals to gawk at, and then burned (or forgiven as the case may be).

In the 21st century I believe it's a by-word for the need to watch people you disagree with, or don't like, publicly humiliated.
   118. DanG Posted: December 21, 2012 at 11:06 AM (#4330018)
Once again, in English?
I think, in essence, you're on the same page. Perhaps your comment addressed a different point than the one he was making.
   119. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: December 21, 2012 at 11:08 AM (#4330021)
Roger Clemens: Not a single stitch of evidence that he took steroids.

Carlton Fisk and Nolan Ryan: Obvious roiders.

Um ... yeah.
   120. BrianBrianson Posted: December 21, 2012 at 11:18 AM (#4330041)
Once again, in English?


Because far too many players have been convicted of steroid use in the court of public opinion based on nothing but having muscles, and we cannot undo that, the only way forward is to convict them all, forcing us to pardon them all.
   121. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 21, 2012 at 11:20 AM (#4330044)
Here's a little test: Would you or Bill James** repeat that accusation to Fisk's face? Why or why not?

The answer is clearly "Probably not, because I'll probably never speak to Fisk face to face." And if I did, it's be a public situation, and clueless people such as yourself are coercing Fisk et al. into denying it -


IOW it's somehow my fault that people like you are going around throwing out Fisk's name as a juicer, but it's okay for you to do it, because you don't care whether or not he did, and even though I'm not the one accusing him, I'm the one to blame. This is getting curiouser and curiouser.

----------------------------------------------

It's not, but until they're known, then I'd rather not be throwing around random accusations and speculation. God only knows why this is such a difficult concept for some people to comprehend.

Whether it's intentional or not, you are completely missing the point. The point is not to point fingers at people without proof. It is that it is very likely that steroid users are currently in the Hall, and will continue to be elected.


And once again, you're simply assuming something without any proof at all, other than what, something you read on coolstandings.com? The last time I looked, "very likely" isn't quite the same thing as "a preponderance of actual evidence", but if that standard works for you, I can't stop you.

Thus, admitting known users will not diminish the Hall, because it is already diminished.

And this is what it's really all about, isn't it? You have no problem with tarnishing reputations without proof, for the purpose of framing the issue so that Mark McGwire is on the same level with whatever name you decide to pull out of a hat. I'm sorry if I don't choose to go along with that little game.
   122. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 21, 2012 at 11:25 AM (#4330054)
Because far too many players have been convicted of steroid use in the court of public opinion based on nothing but having muscles, and we cannot undo that, the only way forward is to convict them all, forcing us to pardon them all.

I unreservedly commend you for your honesty in putting it that way, which is indeed the unspoken bottom line of pretty much every comment I've been arguing with.

But perhaps an alternate solution might be to try to educate people about the difference between speculation and real evidence, even if that's unlikely to produce instant results. I would think that this might appeal to fair minded people regardless of their views on the overall steroids question.
   123. Greg K Posted: December 21, 2012 at 11:30 AM (#4330061)
A friend of mine who just started watching baseball about a year and a half ago is absolutely horrified by MLB's stance on PEDs. He's blown away that Melky Cabrera is going to be allowed to play again.

I'm just glad for his sake he came in when he did.

   124. Ron J2 Posted: December 21, 2012 at 11:43 AM (#4330080)
#94 Agree totally. Chris Dial's explanation of the discrepancy between the way grid based systems and chance based systems see Andruw Jones is that Jones took an unusual percentage of the discretionary chances.

Whether or not it's specifically true of Jones, it is an issue.
   125. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: December 21, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4330093)
The last time I looked, "very likely" isn't quite the same thing as "a preponderance of actual evidence", but if that standard works for you, I can't stop you.


Aren't you the guy who always claims that judicial standard of proof is not necessary in these cases?

Let me put it another way. It is extremely unlikely that there is no steroid user currently in the Hall. I don't who they may be, and frankly I don't care. I do care somewhat that PED's were widely used (and for all I know, still are), and it distorted the historical record. I would have loved to see what Barry could have done clean, competing against clean competition. But I also would have liked to see what Satchel Paige could have done pitching for the NY Giants (or whomever) in the 30's. I would have liked to see what Ted Williams could have done without losing 5 years to military service. I would have liked to see what the White Sox could have done in 1920 and beyond had Joe Jackson and Ed Cicotte been honest. All of those have distorted the historical record. The game has never been free of outside influences of one sort or another.

It seems to me your position is, that once a current hall member becomes positively identified as a user, then all bets are off and you will freely admit Barry, Mac, et al, into the hall. That seems to be overly technical.
   126. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: December 21, 2012 at 12:01 PM (#4330109)
And this is what it's really all about, isn't it? You have no problem with tarnishing reputations without proof, for the purpose of framing the issue so that Mark McGwire is on the same level with whatever name you decide to pull out of a hat. I'm sorry if I don't choose to go along with that little game.


I'm not tarnishing anyone's reputation. For the umpteenth time, it's not about specific individuals. It's about institution and the law of large numbers. It's unlikely that no current member of Congress ever took a bribe. It's unlikely every catholic priest child molester has been positively identified. It's unlikely everyone who has ever driven under the influence has been arrested or otherwise been identified. I feel the same about the Hall WRT steroid use.

Look, it's logical and consistent to say "No hall, ever, for anyone positively identified to have used steroids." It's not, to say " No hall, ever, for anyone positively identified to have used steroids, unless we positively identify a current member who used." Since it's very unlikely that no current member used, the last step is unnecessary, and overly technical.
   127. AROM Posted: December 21, 2012 at 12:11 PM (#4330120)
I would have loved to see what Barry could have done clean, competing against clean competition.


I'm fairly certain we saw that in 2006-2007. Still the best or nearly the best hitter in the league at age 42 while passing every drug test he was required to take. At that point the hounds were on to him to the extent that I strongly doubt he could have gotten away with taking anything illegal.

A friend of mine who just started watching baseball about a year and a half ago is absolutely horrified by MLB's stance on PEDs. He's blown away that Melky Cabrera is going to be allowed to play again.


Dude served a 50 game suspension. I'm horrified by the implication that a first time offense should result in a lifetime ban.
   128. JJ1986 Posted: December 21, 2012 at 12:21 PM (#4330131)
A friend of mine who just started watching baseball about a year and a half ago is absolutely horrified by MLB's stance on PEDs. He's blown away that Melky Cabrera is going to be allowed to play again.


He should probably stay away from the NFL.
   129. BrianBrianson Posted: December 21, 2012 at 12:27 PM (#4330144)
But perhaps an alternate solution might be to try to educate people about the difference between speculation and real evidence, even if that's unlikely to produce instant results. I would think that this might appeal to fair minded people regardless of their views on the overall steroids question.


I wouldn't use the word "solution" for something that will never produce worthwhile results. Replicators are not a solution to hunger in Africa, for instance.
   130. Bob Meta-Meusel Posted: December 21, 2012 at 12:32 PM (#4330156)
BTW -- Auto-da-fé? What's an Auto-da-fé?


I wasn't expecting the Spanish Inquisition.
   131. Jim Kaat on a hot Gene Roof Posted: December 21, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4330196)
you've outlasted "Nieosporin", so congratulations on that. (smile)


He's had to make do with trolling LGM blog. These must be sad days indeed for him, with fewer and fewer news images of Gazan and Iraqi mangled dead to masturbate to, his Randian hero Mr. Ryan sent packing by a Chicago machine-pol untermench, and his administrator/protecter here now gone for greener pastures. You just can't stab enough homeless people to make up for all that.

Speaking of good times, remember when accusations of roiding was pure character assassination and potentially grounds for a defamation suit? Burley, Dial, Treder, et al. -- Carlton Fisk needs you!
   132. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 21, 2012 at 01:12 PM (#4330220)
The last time I looked, "very likely" isn't quite the same thing as "a preponderance of actual evidence", but if that standard works for you, I can't stop you.

Aren't you the guy who always claims that judicial standard of proof is not necessary in these cases?


I've said that I don't conflate legal proof with "a preponderance of actual evidence," but I don't think that the latter standard is being met in the cases of the names being thrown around here, including Clemens, Sosa, and (oh, yes) Fisk.

The fact that Barry Bonds was convicted on a minor charge means little to me, but the fact that he came within a single vote of being convicted on the more substantive charge does. The fact that the prosecution's key witness refused to answer questions is also something that weighs in my judgment that Bonds was indeed a juicer.

And the fact that Clemens fought the charges from the beginning and was completely vindicated in court makes it very hard to say that I know he was guilty as charged. Klapisch differs with me on Bonds, but I think he's on the right track in terms of trying to draw the line between known and unknown, and giving the benefit of the doubt to the unknown.

And this is what it's really all about, isn't it? You have no problem with tarnishing reputations without proof, for the purpose of framing the issue so that Mark McGwire is on the same level with whatever name you decide to pull out of a hat. I'm sorry if I don't choose to go along with that little game.

I'm not tarnishing anyone's reputation. For the umpteenth time, it's not about specific individuals. It's about institution and the law of large numbers. It's unlikely that no current member of Congress ever took a bribe. It's unlikely every catholic priest child molester has been positively identified. It's unlikely everyone who has ever driven under the influence has been arrested or otherwise been identified. I feel the same about the Hall WRT steroid use.


So then I guess you'd be in favor of putting statues of known bribe takers on the floor of the Senate; you'd be in favor of sanctifying known child molesting priests as long as there are unidentified others like them still at large; and you'd be in favor of letting convicted DWI drivers keep their licenses as long as not all drunken drivrs get caught.

Well, I guess that would certainly be as "consistent" as what you're demanding of the BBWAA, but I'm not sure I'd want to go that route in any of those cases, either.

------------------------------------------------------

Speaking of good times, remember when accusations of roiding was pure character assassination and potentially grounds for a defamation suit? Burley, Dial, Treder, et al. -- Carlton Fisk needs you!

I sure do, but as you say, those were different days. But apparently now as long as you preface your character assassination with "I don't care if they juiced or not", it gives you a free pass to throw out anything against the wall to see if it sticks. That must be a big consolation to players like Fisk and Bagwell.
   133. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: December 21, 2012 at 01:26 PM (#4330258)
So then I guess you'd be in favor of putting statues of known bribe takers on the floor of the Senate; you'd be in favor of sanctifying known child molesting priests as long as there are unidentified others like them still at large; and you'd be in favor of letting convicted DWI drivers keep their licenses as long as not all drunken drivrs get caught.


You're still not getting it. It's that YOU would be in favor of putting known cheaters into the Hall if only someone already in is outed. THAT makes no sense.

edit: To be fair, I suppose it makes sense if you truly believe in your heart of hearts that nobody currently in the hall ever used, and that the only way you would change your mind is if you were shown actual proof and an actual name. I think that takes a lot of willing suspension of disbelief, but it's possible I suppose.
   134. Jim Kaat on a hot Gene Roof Posted: December 21, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4330313)
the only way forward is to convict them all, forcing us to pardon them all.


Like I said, bad faith. Andy's right to commend you on your honesty. I bet your inbox is swamped with the opposite, though: "Stop giving the game away! Just when we've all agreed to muddy the waters, you go and clear them again!"

Just to make it absolutely crystal, the "convict them all" angle is exactly the purpose that was always behind Dial's "greenies are the same as roids" sophistry and various others' "cocaine is the same as roids" bullshit. It's all fake and cynical and everyone knows it, the only interesting issue for me is that while it's an argumentative way of life for libertarians, so much so that they probably no longer realize how pathetically dishonest they are, but for the others there is probably some cost to the soul.
   135. BrianBrianson Posted: December 21, 2012 at 02:21 PM (#4330347)
RETARDO indeed. The evidence suggests that most of them used steroids anyhow. That other performance enhancing drugs have been used since time immemorial is entirely pertinent. If I actually thought steroids were cheating in a way fundamentally different from all the previous cheatings, why would I advance the "Why do you ninnies give a ####?" argument.

Using steroids was no different from using greenies, or scuffing the ball, or hiding vasoline in your asscrack. That's why it's not a big deal.
   136. Srul Itza Posted: December 21, 2012 at 04:05 PM (#4330445)
Auto-da-fé? What's an Auto-da-fé?


I believe it literally means "act of faith". A kind of theatre of penance for heretics by the Inquisition where the condemned would be marched out with great ceremony for the locals to gawk at, and then burned (or forgiven as the case may be).


BZZZZZZT Wrong.

The correct answer is:

It's what you oughtn't to do, but you do anyway.

   137. Jim Kaat on a hot Gene Roof Posted: December 21, 2012 at 05:05 PM (#4330511)
With apologies to Jim Henson...

When you see someone who won't vote for cheaters
it means everyone's a cheater too
And if ya don't excuse steroids
then they should take that ballot from you
Your morals should be like ours
flushed down real far
Our favorite thing to do
is fap to stats in momma's basement and yell
Barry Bonds'll do!

Barry Bonds'll do!
(That's pathetic)
We love that he's an evil snail
We put him in the Hall of Merit
And approve all his career entails

Well.. you..
Say in the Hall of fame steroids have no place
But greenies and coke and jenkum and mace
Are all the same to us
We're Randian and robonerdish
We like our players turd-ish
But sportwriters make a fuss
they don't fap to stats in mama's basement
and say Barry Bonds'll do

[kazoo solo]

Barry Bonds'll do
(that's pathetic)
Our ethics gooeyier than the stuff in Odo's pail
Putting cheaters in the Hall of Fame
Makes up for years of social fail.
So.. if..
You have the job we've always wanted
And ya don't vote amorally the way we want you to
Then we'll sling html poop in yer face
At the BTF place
And make our sticky spreadsheet dreams come true
fappin to stats in mama's basement
Screaming Barry Bonds'll do.
   138. Jim Kaat on a hot Gene Roof Posted: December 21, 2012 at 06:40 PM (#4330577)
cf http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFJ2jxIe4CQ
   139. mos def panel Posted: December 21, 2012 at 08:10 PM (#4330633)
Good work Captain Swing...we miss you over at SN. :-(

Come back more often!
   140. zenbitz Posted: December 22, 2012 at 12:35 AM (#4330744)
The only reason you even have the evidence that you have on Bonds is that an overreaching IRS agent had a vendetta against him. There are certainly steroid users of that era that are just as "guilty" as Bonds but no one bothered to investigate them.
   141. J.R. Wolf Posted: December 22, 2012 at 01:47 AM (#4330779)
A friend of mine who just started watching baseball about a year and a half ago is absolutely horrified by MLB's stance on PEDs. He's blown away that Melky Cabrera is going to be allowed to play again.

I've been watching baseball for decades and I'm totally horrified by the MLB's "stance" (read "fold") on PEDs.

NO WAY Melky Cabrera should ever be able to play baseball again. What the MLB is doing - or, rather, not doing - is a disgrace.
   142. Greg K Posted: December 22, 2012 at 02:04 AM (#4330789)
I've been watching baseball for decades and I'm totally horrified by the MLB's "stance" (read "fold") on PEDs.

NO WAY Melky Cabrera should ever be able to play baseball again. What the MLB is doing - or, rather, not doing - is a disgrace.

I may or may not have an opinion on this issue, but so long as Melky Cabrera could possibly contribute to a Blue Jays playoff appearance it will have to be resigned to the "trivial" bin. Priorities people!
   143. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 22, 2012 at 08:07 AM (#4330821)
The only reason you even have the evidence that you have on Bonds is that an overreaching IRS agent had a vendetta against him. There are certainly steroid users of that era that are just as "guilty" as Bonds but no one bothered to investigate them.

Those 90-100 million tax dollars were well spent. Not only did they legally establish the fact that some folks are really ticked at Barry Bonds, but the high-profile case ensured that our precious children will grow up to give curt, to-the-point replies.
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