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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Frank Thomas: Steroid Users Had ‘A Secret Society’

More like the The Speculative Society…

Wednesday, in an interview on 670 The Score’s Boers & Bernstein Show, Thomas said he “had no idea” steroids were being used as much as they were.

“I’ll be honest with you. It was a secret society,” Thomas said. “I had no idea. I think I was the one guy that when they were having that conversation they would stop quickly when I walked in the room. For many, many years I had a lot of teammates involved and I had no idea it was going on the way it was going on. There were always rumblings about one or two guys, but to know the numbers that really came out, I was really, really shocked.”

...As for his own approach while opponents cheated, he said:

“We just saw great players become amazing players. Wow, I got to witness it, I got to play against it,” Thomas said. “It wasn’t just the hitters it was the pitchers also. I went from seeing guys paint around 91-92 MPH to it seemed like the whole staff throwing above 95. The game definitely changed right before my eyes. But me being the hard worker, it was, ‘I got to work a little bit harder, these guys are catching up to me fast.’

“I’m happy to go home now and sleep very, very soundly every night not wondering if someone is going to call me to figure out what happened back in such and such and such, because I’m sure there are a lot of guys going home right now still worried”

Repoz Posted: January 26, 2013 at 11:38 PM | 83 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: steroids

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   1. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: January 26, 2013 at 11:42 PM (#4355777)
Lemme guess..."Gozer Worshipers".
   2. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: January 26, 2013 at 11:44 PM (#4355778)
Thomas said he “had no idea” steroids were being used as much as they were.


This doesn't quite jive with how often we say that reporters knew exactly what was going on in the clubhouses.
   3. Bhaakon Posted: January 26, 2013 at 11:50 PM (#4355781)
This doesn't quite jive with how often we say that reporters knew exactly what was going on in the clubhouses.


Nor with the actual reporters who routinely say that they had no idea of the extent either.

Everybody "knew" (by which I mean they suspected) that a few prominent individual players were using, but no one could prove anything until the government decided to blow through tens of millions of dollars investigating it.
   4. Tripon Posted: January 26, 2013 at 11:55 PM (#4355783)
If there's a secret society I want to join right now, its the Free Masons.
   5. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 26, 2013 at 11:56 PM (#4355784)
The Secret Society destroyed the real ballplayers with their mysterious visits to the bathroom stall.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: January 27, 2013 at 12:17 AM (#4355789)
#2 ... yes but Thomas also says:

There were always rumblings about one or two guys, but to know the numbers that really came out, I was really, really shocked.

What "numbers that really came out"? We reliably know of, what, maybe a couple of dozen players that did roids and most of those still claim they did them temporarily and/or to recover from injury. We've had wild-assed guesses of 50%, 70% whatever but there are no numbers that have come out to be shocked at.

And Thomas says this:

For many, many years I had a lot of teammates involved and I had no idea it was going on the way it was going on

Such as who? I don't recall any White Sox getting caught. By the time he got to the A's, the known roiders were gone.

And if there was one player to shut up around it was Thomas. Still, the Mitchell report makes it fairly clear that players went up to other players and asked them what they were using. It wasn't as open as amp use but if Thomas wanted to know how X had bulked up over the offseason, X probably would have told him ... or he'd have taken Thomas for a narc and pretend he didn't have a clue what he was talking about.
   7. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: January 27, 2013 at 12:20 AM (#4355791)
Frank was a teammate of Canseco's for a bit.
   8. Howie Menckel Posted: January 27, 2013 at 12:22 AM (#4355792)

Maybe he's thinking of the number "103" - that's a bit more than "one or two."

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/31/sports/baseball/31doping.html?_r=0

"Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, the sluggers who helped the Boston Red Sox end an 86-year World Series championship drought and capture another title three years later, were among the roughly 100 Major League Baseball players to test positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003, according to lawyers with knowledge of the results."

   9. Bhaakon Posted: January 27, 2013 at 12:25 AM (#4355793)
What "numbers that really came out"? We reliably know of, what, maybe a couple of dozen players that did roids and most of those still claim they did them temporarily and/or to recover from injury. We've had wild-assed guesses of 50%, 70% whatever but there are no numbers that have come out to be shocked at.


104 out of 1400 or so tested positive in the 2003 survey test. But that's just the players who happened to be partaking when the test were administered; not every player who has taken PEDs is constantly on something.
   10. The District Attorney Posted: January 27, 2013 at 12:30 AM (#4355796)
If there's a secret society I want to join right now, its the Free Masons.
Will no one help the widow's son?
   11.     Hey Gurl Posted: January 27, 2013 at 01:05 AM (#4355816)
The game definitely changed right before my eyes. But me being the hard worker, it was, ‘I got to work a little bit harder, these guys are catching up to me fast.’


Oh for ##### sakes Frank.
   12. bond1 Posted: January 27, 2013 at 01:23 AM (#4355818)
Geez, if you had a lineup of all the mlb players and had to choose who juicing and who wasn't, you would have to pick the Big Hurt because the SOB was so huge. His arms were bigger than most people's legs.
   13. Booey Posted: January 27, 2013 at 01:29 AM (#4355819)
Sounds like Thomas is working overtime to remove all doubt and make sure his HOF case next year is air tight.
   14. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: January 27, 2013 at 01:57 AM (#4355823)
Can you blame him? BBWAA has made it clear what it wants out of candidates.
   15. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: January 27, 2013 at 01:58 AM (#4355826)
Will no one help the widow's son?
We meet upon the level and we part upon the square.
   16. Booey Posted: January 27, 2013 at 02:08 AM (#4355827)
Can you blame him? BBWAA has made it clear what it wants out of candidates.


Nobody?
   17. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: January 27, 2013 at 02:11 AM (#4355828)
14 - nah, it already was
   18. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: January 27, 2013 at 02:24 AM (#4355831)
Frank could be the first inductee to explicitly address PEDs in his speech at Cooperstown. Awky!
   19. Walt Davis Posted: January 27, 2013 at 02:26 AM (#4355832)
Maybe he's thinking of the number "103"

That's a fair point, I'd actually forgotten all about that. Still, 3.5 guys per team. Was he really shocked by that?
   20. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 27, 2013 at 02:27 AM (#4355833)
“I’ll be honest with you. It was a secret society,” Thomas said. “I had no idea. I think I was the one guy that when they were having that conversation they would stop quickly when I walked in the room. For many, many years I had a lot of teammates involved and I had no idea it was going on the way it was going on. There were always rumblings about one or two guys, but to know the numbers that really came out, I was really, really shocked.”


This is the person people have given credit to for speaking up about the issue? By his own admission he had no clue what was going on.
   21. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: January 27, 2013 at 02:33 AM (#4355834)
This is the person people have given credit to for speaking up about the issue? By his own admission he had no clue what was going on.
Ray, enough. We get it. You hate Thomas because he stands as a living rebuke to your pro-steroids position. You wish desperately to see him discredited or somehow besmirched with guilt or complicity in steroid usage, and in the absence of that you're more than willing to snark and or try to cast suspicions upon him. You want to "level" him down to the same place as others.
   22. jobu Posted: January 27, 2013 at 02:42 AM (#4355840)
I hope Thomas is on the level. I always loved watching him hit. But as I read these comments, I am reminded that "pride goeth before the fall." If Thomas used and anyone, anywhere knows that, I imagine we'll soon hear about it.

His first 8 years of stat lines are a thing of beauty. Pujolsesque. Then 1998 occurred.
   23. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 27, 2013 at 03:17 AM (#4355843)
You want to "level" him down to the same place as others.


He already is in the same place as others. That's what you don't seem to understand. There is no evidence that he's any cleaner than Bagwell or Sosa.

But my comment in post 20 was not about Thomas, but was about people, like you, who credit him.

A so-called whistleblower who by his own admission has no clue what is going on and can't identify any people doing what he didn't know about? Why would people credit this person?
   24. Rob_Wood Posted: January 27, 2013 at 03:32 AM (#4355844)
On this point I wholeheartedly agree with Ray.
   25. Tricky Dick Posted: January 27, 2013 at 03:37 AM (#4355845)
As most probably know, Jeff Bagwell and Frank Thomas were born on the same day. They play the same position and have similar WAR totals (76 for Bagwell and 70 for Thomas). Thomas hasn't said anything specifically about Bagwell in his PEDs comments, but now that they will be on the same ballot, it will be interesting to see how sports writers differentiate the two first basemen.
   26. base ball chick Posted: January 27, 2013 at 03:41 AM (#4355847)
frank thomas had nooooooo idea what was going on yet he was calling for baseball to get rid of steroids in 94?

okayyyyyyyyy

but frank SHOULD be in the Hall - i'm just tired of all the stone throwers
   27. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 27, 2013 at 03:42 AM (#4355848)
@24: You know what they say about lying down with dogs...

So, do I have the BTF rules straight? If it's steroids, it's not guilty until proven otherwise, and in court. If it's any other charge, we can just go ahead an assume guilt, especially if alcohol and domestic violence are involved. Do I have that right?

His first 8 years of stat lines are a thing of beauty. Pujolsesque. Then 1998 occurred.
Which is actually rather Pujolsesque, in and of itself, given that the Albert seems to have his own decline underway starting at age 31.
   28. RickG Posted: January 27, 2013 at 11:54 AM (#4355902)
Doesn't seem that long ago that we were saying Pujols' first eight years were "Thomasesque".
   29. Kyle S at work Posted: January 27, 2013 at 12:17 PM (#4355914)
Frank Thomas in 1987. He was 18 or 19 when that picture was taken. I'm inclined to believe that he didn't take steroids - some guys are just naturally huge.
   30. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 27, 2013 at 12:40 PM (#4355927)

Frank Thomas in 1987. He was 18 or 19 when that picture was taken. I'm inclined to believe that he didn't take steroids - some guys are just naturally huge.


Palmeiro's body type didn't change. He failed a test anyway.

Hell, Lance Armstrong has always looked the same to me. I haven't seen a picture of him at 20, but he has looked thin and lean for his entire career.
   31. Publius Publicola Posted: January 27, 2013 at 12:53 PM (#4355939)
Well, Armstrong wasn't trying to get stronger. He was trying to increase his stamina. EPO doesn't make you get any bigger.
   32. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: January 27, 2013 at 01:24 PM (#4355957)
Frank Thomas in 1987. He was 18 or 19 when that picture was taken.

Look at the size of his head! He must have been juicing since he was around 12-14. There can be no other explanation.
   33. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 27, 2013 at 02:15 PM (#4355982)
Frank could be the first inductee to explicitly address PEDs in his speech at Cooperstown. Awky!

It would be absolutely awesome if he got up there and did an Al Pacino "Scent of a Woman Speech".

"Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens. F*** you too"
   34.     Hey Gurl Posted: January 27, 2013 at 02:23 PM (#4355987)
, it will be interesting to see how sports writers differentiate the two first basemen.

Oh, no it won't.
   35. phredbird Posted: January 27, 2013 at 05:24 PM (#4356111)
Which is actually rather Pujolsesque, in and of itself, given that the Albert seems to have his own decline underway starting at age 31.


you mean his "age 31" season.

hey, he's not a cardinal anymore ... i can say what i want.
   36. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: January 27, 2013 at 05:34 PM (#4356117)
Wait ... Frank Thomas only made five All-Star teams?
   37. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 27, 2013 at 05:35 PM (#4356120)
you mean his "age 31" season.
hey, he's not a cardinal anymore ... i can say what i want.


MLB allows Pujols to use amphetamines because he was grandfathered in when they became prescription-only in 1965.
   38. CrosbyBird Posted: January 27, 2013 at 08:37 PM (#4356206)
So, do I have the BTF rules straight? If it's steroids, it's not guilty until proven otherwise, and in court. If it's any other charge, we can just go ahead an assume guilt, especially if alcohol and domestic violence are involved. Do I have that right?

If I can help it, I avoid making assumptions about guilt or innocence without educating myself about the particulars. If there's not enough evidence to form an educated position, I try to avoid taking a position.

Frank Thomas may or may not have used steroids. I don't think anyone here has enough information to declare him either clean or dirty with any reasonable certainty. The same principles that cause me to reject punishing someone that might be (rather than is) dirty lead me to reject praising someone that might be clean.
   39. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 27, 2013 at 08:59 PM (#4356218)
I believe this is on point, and completely sensible. From Joe Sheehan's newsletter:

We just went through a Hall of Fame voting cycle that indicted a number of players' careers on a variety of shaky evidence, from a failed drug test in a final season to a confession of use to "just look at him". Next year, however, a number of players will hit the ballot who come into the conversation with a presumption of cleanliness, such as Greg Maddux and Frank Thomas. That presumption, which is granted based largely on whether your stats were "good, but not too good" and whether you had an acceptable relationship with the media, is utterly ridiculous. We've seen what time and money produces, which isn't very much. If you cloned Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams an infinite number of times and set them loose on every single player who played from 1985 to today, what would they find?
...
The biggest lie of the so-called "steroid era" -- and the intellectually bankrupt way in which the media has convicted the approved villains of that era -- is that we know who didn't use. We do not and we never will. Assumptions that Thomas or Maddux or Jim Thome or Ken Griffey Jr. or Derek Jeter are "clean" are as meaningless as assumptions that Jeff Bagwell or Mike Piazza or Sammy Sosa are not. We don't know. We don't know because no one ever looked so deeply into those players as they did into Bonds, as they did into Armstrong.
   40. Howie Menckel Posted: January 27, 2013 at 09:15 PM (#4356224)
I'm not that interested in the steroids stuff, and the witch-hunting is silly enough that it seems hard for me to picture someone bending too far the OTHER way.

But Sheehan seems to be heading in that direction.
"We don't know" - taken to its extreme - strikes me as a little silly.

If I told you we now somehow know for certain that 10 of the 20 famous names - split evenly among "considered guilty" and "considered clean" - took PEDs and 10 didn't, and you could bet money on which of the 10 did, would you say, "I don't know?"

Or would you go to the Vegas betting window and makes lots of money?

Granted, you might not get them all right, and there might well be a couple of surprises from each group. That's a very good argument for "Should we really be so confident that we are 100 pct accurate?" It's also a good argument for writers not being so smug and self-assured about their voting.

But "we don't know" - as if the perceived clean ones are as likely to have taken PEDs as the ones who are perceived guilty - seems, to use Sheehan's words, "utterly ridiculous."

   41. CrosbyBird Posted: January 27, 2013 at 09:25 PM (#4356230)
If I told you we now somehow know for certain that 10 of the 20 famous names - split evenly among "considered guilty" and "considered clean" - took PEDs and 10 didn't, and you could bet money on which of the 10 did, would you say, "I don't know?"

Almost certainly, because I really don't know. (If we're talking about people that have confessed or failed a test, that's a different story.)

But "we don't know" - as if the perceived clean ones are as likely to have taken PEDs as the ones who are perceived guilty - seems, to use Sheehan's words, "utterly ridiculous."

I generally do not place a lot of stock in the evidence used to form those perceptions. Manny Alexander was the last player anyone thought would have used steroids.
   42. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 27, 2013 at 09:26 PM (#4356231)
If I told you we now somehow know for certain that 10 of the 20 famous names - split evenly among "considered guilty" and "considered clean" - took PEDs and 10 didn't, and you could bet money on which of the 10 did, would you say, "I don't know?"


Yes. I see absolutely no reason to proclaim that Griffey, Thome, Thomas, Jeter, or Maddux are a safer bet to be clean than the Piazzas and Bagwells. The notion is ludicrous. That is the lie about this whole thing, that we know which of the players for which there is no evidence are "clean."

And again, not all players have been treated equally. Not all players have been the targets of investigations.
   43. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 27, 2013 at 09:29 PM (#4356235)
I generally do not place a lot of stock in the evidence used to form those perceptions. Manny Alexander was the last player anyone thought would have used steroids.


Frankly, Manny Ramirez was also. He was seen as being too much of a space cadet, and too naturally talented - a natural born hitter - to be using.
   44. Danny Posted: January 27, 2013 at 09:38 PM (#4356239)
too naturally talented, to be using

I'm pretty sure this was never a thing.
   45. Howie Menckel Posted: January 27, 2013 at 09:41 PM (#4356240)
"Yes. I see absolutely no reason to proclaim that Griffey, Thome, Thomas, Jeter, or Maddux are a safer bet to be clean than the Piazzas and Bagwells."

Interesting choice, the two with the least evidence against them. Did you really miss my point by THAT much? You could have picked A-Rod, you know.

To be fair, if I get a chance I'll list 10 and 10, and then ask again.
   46. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 27, 2013 at 09:44 PM (#4356242)
Yes. I see absolutely no reason to proclaim that Griffey, Thome, Thomas, Jeter, or Maddux are a safer bet to be clean than the Piazzas and Bagwells. The notion is ludicrous.

I generally agree with you on PEDs, but nobody could possibly look at Greg Maddux and Jeff Bagwell and believe they were equally likely to be using PEDs.*


(* Unless you're talking about greenies, and we know the BBWAA members generally don't care about the use of those.)
   47. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 27, 2013 at 09:52 PM (#4356244)
Derek Jeter is the cleanest man in baseball. If there was even a hint of a chance that the face of the Yankees franchise could be tarred with the steroid brush you can be sure Bud would have his hand picked stooge George Mitchell on Jeter's case full time.
   48. GregD Posted: January 27, 2013 at 09:59 PM (#4356246)

Hell, Lance Armstrong has always looked the same to me. I haven't seen a picture of him at 20, but he has looked thin and lean for his entire career.
Cycling is different in that you want to be skinnier. Lance lost 20 pounds in his cancer treatment. When he figured out how to keep himself in racing shape (he couldn't walk a mile but he could recover from riding) at that weigh, he made a giant leap.
   49. CrosbyBird Posted: January 27, 2013 at 10:04 PM (#4356250)
Interesting choice, the two with the least evidence against them. Did you really miss my point by THAT much? You could have picked A-Rod, you know.

That's not really fair. A-Rod isn't "suspected"; he admitted to using steroids for three years in Texas.
   50. Random Transaction Generator Posted: January 27, 2013 at 10:08 PM (#4356254)
Derek Jeter is the cleanest man in baseball. If there was even a hint of a chance that the face of the Yankees franchise could be tarred with the steroid brush you can be sure Bud would have his hand picked stooge George Mitchell on Jeter's case full time.


That's ridiculous.

If there was any active player that MLB would want to protect over all others, it would be Jeter.
He's MLB's golden child. If he gets tarnished, the entire league goes down.
He joins Cal Ripken Jr. and Ken Griffey Jr. as the (modern) MLB "Holy Trinity of All That Is Good and Pure".
   51. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 27, 2013 at 10:22 PM (#4356258)

He already is in the same place as others. That's what you don't seem to understand. There is no evidence that he's any cleaner than Bagwell or Sosa.

Being a persistent advocate for more testing though gives you more presumption of innocence than guys who did not do the same. This is only natural.

#39 is on point but takes it a bit too far. All players deserve the presumption of innocence but we do have more information about some players than others, and we are allowed to have greater suspicions about some players than others. I don't think that gives us journalistic license to print those suspicions nor do I think mere suspicions should keep a player out of the hall.

For example, I wouldn't keep Bagwell or Piazza out of the Hall (Sosa is more of a marginal candidate on the merits even without steroids. Although I'd probably vote for him, I also don't have a problem saying that he's more likely to have used steroids than Frank). Clemens is another guy that we agree on, Ray, and you've done a good job on this site poking holes in the case against him.
   52. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 27, 2013 at 10:26 PM (#4356261)
If there was any active player that MLB would want to protect over all others, it would be Jeter.

Yes.

He's MLB's golden child. If he gets tarnished, the entire league goes down.
He joins Cal Ripken Jr. and Ken Griffey Jr. as the (modern) MLB "Holy Trinity of All That Is Good and Pure".


No. The league would survive a Derek Jeter positive test, in part because sportswriters would work overtime to rationalize it (just like they carried water for Andy Pettitte). And I don't think anyone's been emotionally invested in Ken Griffey Jr. for a decade now, even if he did make an All-Star team 5 or so years ago.

I put Ripken in a different category but more because of the era in which he played. If a bona fide star from the "pre-steroid era" was found to have used I think it would force a re-examination of even the parts of baseball history that were supposed to have been clean. It wouldn't kill baseball but it would be negative.
   53. Howie Menckel Posted: January 27, 2013 at 10:40 PM (#4356265)
Let's boil it down - with a gun to your head, and you have to get it right, would you say Maddux or Clemens is more likely to have used PEDs? Some of you sound like you'd rather get your head blown off than to even take a guess.

Me, I'll take a wild stab at picking the guy whose own wife says she got injected by a very unsavory character - at least, to hear Clemens supporters describe him.

This is totally different than saying whether Clemens should or should not be kept out of the Hall of Fame based solely on suspicion. I'm not heading a lynch mob on any of that.

It's more about wondering if there is any common sense whatsoever, beyond "we don't know" anything at all. You're not on a jury, and you're not voting either guy in or out of the Hall of Fame here.

   54. CrosbyBird Posted: January 27, 2013 at 10:49 PM (#4356270)
Let's boil it down - with a gun to your head, and you have to get it right, would you say Maddux or Clemens is more likely to have used PEDs? Some of you sound like you'd rather get your head blown off than to even take a guess.

Without a gun to my head, I'd say Clemens is more likely. I'm just not comfortable saying that he certainly did use or that Maddux certainly didn't.
   55. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 27, 2013 at 11:49 PM (#4356288)
too naturally talented, to be using

I'm pretty sure this was never a thing.


I read multiple writers in the aftermath of Ramirez's suspension(s) saying they didn't expect him to be using because he was a natural hitter. Feel free to disagree; I'm not going to push back that hard, because I'm too lazy to dig some of the pieces up.

Here's something from Joe Sheehan written April 2011 which kind of gets at this somewhat:

It's sad; I think of Manny Ramirez as someone who could wake up at 7 a.m. New Year's Day at the Playboy Mansion smelling of cheap women and expensive Scotch, grab a bat and rope line drives. Maybe he is that guy, but he didn't think he was, and that's sad. Manny Being Insecure is perhaps the one state no one ever considered.

   56. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 27, 2013 at 11:56 PM (#4356292)
I generally agree with you on PEDs, but nobody could possibly look at Greg Maddux and Jeff Bagwell and believe they were equally likely to be using PEDs.


I do, and that's the point: nobody knows anything. Here are some pitchers linked to PEDs. How many of them are Greg Maddux types, either by body type or pitch type?

Kevin Brown
Andy Pettitte
Ryan Franklin
Rafael Betancourt
Juan Rincon
Felix Heredia
Jason Grimsley
Guillermo Mota
JC Romero
Edinson Volquez
Bartolo Colon
Ricky Bones
Denny Neagle
Ron Villone
Kent Mercker
Mike Stanton
Matt Herges
Jim Parque
   57. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 28, 2013 at 12:03 AM (#4356296)
Let's boil it down - with a gun to your head, and you have to get it right, would you say Maddux or Clemens is more likely to have used PEDs? Some of you sound like you'd rather get your head blown off than to even take a guess.


Umm, that's not an equal comparison. For as much as I've pointed out what a serial, self-confessed multiple liar McNamee is, Clemens is simply not in the same boat as Maddux since Clemens does have someone pointing the finger at him. That counts for something.

Before the Mitchell Report? I'd have gone with Clemens. On the grounds that he worked too hard and was too proud of what he did to be getting an edge via PEDs.

Me, I'll take a wild stab at picking the guy whose own wife says she got injected by a very unsavory character - at least, to hear Clemens supporters describe him.


Huh? All three people -- Clemens, his wife, and McNamee -- agreed that McNamee injected Debbie.

The dispute was not over whether McNamee injected Debbie.

EDIT: Oh, I guess you were questioning whether McNamee is unsavory. Really? A drug-dealing self-confessed multiple liar who was investigated for rape and who according to Rusty Hardin the authorities believed that he committed the rape? That character doesn't have any whiff of unsavoryness?

It's more about wondering if there is any common sense whatsoever, beyond "we don't know" anything at all. You're not on a jury, and you're not voting either guy in or out of the Hall of Fame here.


I'm only on a jury once every few years. So most days I go through life, I am not on a jury. And yet, I need to make decisions and judgments every day anyway. When I make my decisions and judgments, I tend to try to apply facts and logic.

In other words, I see absolutely no reason why the notion of being on a jury is relevant to the question of why we should think some players are clean but other players are not.
   58. Howie Menckel Posted: January 28, 2013 at 12:16 AM (#4356301)

"I'd say Clemens is more likely. I'm just not comfortable saying that he certainly did use or that Maddux certainly didn't."

That's perfectly reasonable.

"The dispute was not over whether McNamee injected Debbie."

Correct. And the fact that one player's wife was injected by what you agree is an unsavory character who worked with that pitcher extensively suggests nothing at all whether that player is more likely to have used such substances himself? It is logical to not even be able to guess, not even 51-49, which is more likely?
Really?




   59. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 28, 2013 at 12:38 AM (#4356312)
Correct. And the fact that one player's wife was injected by what you agree is an unsavory character who worked with that pitcher extensively suggests nothing at all whether that player is more likely to have used such substances himself? It is logical to not even be able to guess, not even 51-49, which is more likely?
Really?


Really. It perhaps shows that Clemens has bad judgment, for working with someone who - according to Clemens - ultimately revealed himself to be untrustworthy, but I don't particularly see why a trainer who Clemens thought was a good trainer who helped him should be cast aside by Clemens because he had access to HGH. McNamee injected Clemens's wife? So? Did McNamee do so without Debbie's consent? No, so I don't really see what your point is.

Of course, you're only looking at one small piece of this, anyway. What about the fact that Clemens and Pettitte were best friends for years, teammates for years, lived near each other, trained together, trained together with the same trainer -- and so before Pettitte testified in his deposition everyone predicted Pettitte would know chapter and verse about what Clemens was using. And yet on the subject of Clemens using PEDs given to Clemens by that very same trainer, what did Pettitte witness? Nothing. What did Pettitte know? Next to nothing. Pettitte recalled one obscure conversation from years earlier in 1999/2000 where he thought Clemens told him he had used HGH, but where he also acknowledged that he may have misunderstood -- and in fact for years after a subsequent 2005 conversation "took it for that, that I had misunderstood."


   60. base ball chick Posted: January 28, 2013 at 02:21 AM (#4356364)
actually i would suspect maddux more strongly because the government spent MILLIONS looking everywhere trying desperately to find SOME evidence that clemens shot up and all they could find was mcnamee who is just not believeable and i think that clemens has done more than enough to clear his name

maddux hasn't been investigated at all and so i have a lot more evidence that clemens did NOT use
   61. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 28, 2013 at 02:34 AM (#4356368)
actually i would suspect maddux more strongly because the government spent MILLIONS looking everywhere trying desperately to find SOME evidence that clemens shot up and all they could find was mcnamee who is just not believeable and i think that clemens has done more than enough to clear his name

Perhaps. I've always wondered just how much evidence the government expected there would be all these years later. It seems like a miracle that a few FedEx tracking slips and canceled checks survived. Beyond lucky pieces of evidence like that, it seems like all these cases were ever going to be is a "he said, he said" between players and shady people like McNamee.
   62. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: January 28, 2013 at 02:41 AM (#4356372)
Jim Parque

Clearly he was doing it wrong.
   63. Howie Menckel Posted: January 28, 2013 at 08:28 AM (#4356415)

[stops banging head against blind wall]


   64. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 28, 2013 at 09:46 AM (#4356429)
He was 18 or 19 when that picture was taken. I'm inclined to believe that he didn't take steroids - some guys are just naturally huge.


Which gave him a terribly unfair advantage. Why not level the playing field? Now steroids are bad and dangerous and someone has to think of the children... so Harrison Bergeron is the way to go. How many HRs does Frank hit with 50 lb weights strapped to each of his elbows?
   65. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: January 28, 2013 at 09:58 AM (#4356433)
frank thomas had nooooooo idea what was going on yet he was calling for baseball to get rid of steroids in 94?

This seems like the key point to me. Thomas has been calling on MLB to get rid of steroids for years, and yet now he's saying that he had no idea how many people were using? That's a little odd.
   66. Ron J2 Posted: January 28, 2013 at 10:59 AM (#4356477)
#31 Armstrong didn't just use EPO. Among the many things he used was testosterone. No surprise there really. In his interview with Playboy he noted that one of the side effects from his cancer treatment was a low level of testosterone.

And #48 according to one commentator one of the secrets to Armstrong's success was that he lost bone mass to his cancer treatment. According to this report, he was every bit as strong as Jan Ulrich, just weighed less.
   67. Swedish Chef Posted: January 28, 2013 at 12:18 PM (#4356521)
I've skimmed this thread now and there are no words for my utter disappointment that there is no baseball/roid version of the Stonecutters song here.
   68. Ron J2 Posted: January 28, 2013 at 12:30 PM (#4356532)
#65 Doesn't seem odd at all to me. Dead easy for me to see him having a sense that some players were likely getting chemical help without knowing how many, never mind who.

My knowledge of the serious workout culture in the 90s is strictly second hand, but from what I've heard, there's no way to avoid knowing that it was likely that a fair number of gym rats were using some form of chemical help. Nobody would have any real idea of the actual numbers, but given that top athletes are as a group both very competitive and not at all risk adverse it would be quite surprising if there weren't some players who were working out seriously and not using some form of PED.

   69. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 28, 2013 at 12:48 PM (#4356542)
there are no words for my utter disappointment that there is no baseball/roid version of the Stonecutters song here.

You can't handle the truth.
   70. Cris E Posted: January 28, 2013 at 01:50 PM (#4356574)
Thomas has been calling on MLB to get rid of steroids for years, and yet now he's saying that he had no idea how many people were using? That's a little odd.


Not really. In the moment he probably had a good idea that guys were cheating, perhaps that his massive natural strength advantage was being eroded away, and that he was against it. As time went on, he or others thinking of his position might remember it as being perhaps more strident than it really was. Today it's nostalgia time and he's mostly interested in polishing his bona fides as an anti-PEDs warrior, not hunting evil-doers. If someone would have pushed for names and numbers back in the day he probably would have backed off publicly, just as he is here. I don't mind his position then or now.

And regarding Maddux, I actually think he might have given more thought to them than most guys. He's more than a little driven, and as the Smartest Pitcher Alive he'd likely have discovering how to gain value from them while not drawing attention to himself. His whole game was precision, not power, and I'd expect his PED use to follow a similar path.
   71. bunyon Posted: January 28, 2013 at 01:53 PM (#4356579)
How many HRs does Frank hit with 50 lb weights strapped to each of his elbows?

317.


65. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: January 28, 2013 at 09:58 AM (#4356433)
frank thomas had nooooooo idea what was going on yet he was calling for baseball to get rid of steroids in 94?

This seems like the key point to me. Thomas has been calling on MLB to get rid of steroids for years, and yet now he's saying that he had no idea how many people were using? That's a little odd.


I think it is odd, too. But here are some things I believe (though can't prove):

Frank Thomas is now in PR mode, trying to buff his image for the HOF vote. I think he wants in and can tell which way the wind is blowing.

Roger Clemens regularly used HGH.

Greg Maddux, at least once, used something other than greenies that has now been banned.

>50% of the people that played MLB between 1990 and 2005 at some point in their athletic career used steroids or HGH.

Andy Petitte is a lying little weasel.


Basically, I'm to the point of not liking anyone.

   72. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 28, 2013 at 01:57 PM (#4356583)
Not really. In the moment he probably had a good idea that guys were cheating, perhaps that his massive natural strength advantage was being eroded away, and that he was against it.


If we want to go this far, then Thomas's massive natural strength advantage was unfair, because other players didn't have such a massive natural strength advantage, and so Thomas was putting up numbers unfairly. In that case, he should have been forced to hit with a strike on him to offset this. If we're concerned about the playing field not being level, then let's level it.

In the absence of such being done, I will not credit Thomas's numbers and I don't think he belongs in the Hall. He made a mockery of the game by playing with an unfair natural strength advantage. Others tried to use steroids to catch up to him in strength because they weren't born with such a massive size advantage, and he spoke out against it and tried to preserve his unfair advantage. That really is pretty terrible, and indicates poor sportsmanship and integrity. He fails the character clause.
   73. RickG Posted: January 28, 2013 at 03:11 PM (#4356637)
In the absence of such being done, I will not credit Thomas's numbers and I don't think he belongs in the Hall. He made a mockery of the game by playing with an unfair natural strength advantage. Others tried to use steroids to catch up to him in strength because they weren't born with such a massive size advantage, and he spoke out against it and tried to preserve his unfair advantage. That really is pretty terrible, and indicates poor sportsmanship and integrity. He fails the character clause.


Yeah. In fact, we should throw out all the pitchers, since they had a natural advantage by being able to throw a ball 90 mph. The hitters couldn't do that.

And we should throw out all the hitters. They had a natural advantage -- the hand-eye coordination necessary to make contact with a ball moving 90 mph. The pitchers couldn't do that.

And we should throw out all the managers. They had a natural brainpower advantage that non-Hall managers obviously didn't have.

And we should throw out the owners, because let's face it, they had a naturally-occurring financial advantage that people in Botswana could never hope to have.

And we should throw out the umpires, because they were allowed to wear more body armor than anyone else on the field, and that's an unfair advantage too.

And we should throw out everyone who played before desegregation, because hey, they had an obvious advantage that players of today don't have.

And we should throw out anyone who played after Free Agency began, since they have the ability to decide where they wanted to play, and players of yesterday couldn't.

And we should throw out the commissioners, since they basically set the rules, and that's not fair either.


The RDP Hall of Fame: Luis Aparicio and Red Schoendienst.
   74. madvillain Posted: January 28, 2013 at 03:15 PM (#4356641)
Ray: Frank Thomas is a helluva guy to make your argument with and it's not doing you any favors. If you can't parse out the difference between Bagwell and Frank, Clemons and Maddux, and you are indeed an attorney, then you're being intentionally obtuse.


If you're not, I feel sorry for your clients because they aren't paying for sound logic.
   75. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: January 28, 2013 at 03:34 PM (#4356658)
His position now bothers me a little because one of the main arguments the anti-steroids people are making is that steroids are different from greenies because there was a culture of secrecy (hence the headline). Players were more open about greenies, therefore using them wasn't really cheating. Of course none of us really know how many people were using and how many people were aware of the usage, but I can't help but feel that some of the comments from the media and Thomas sound like "I'm shocked that steroid use was rampant in MLB!"
   76. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 28, 2013 at 03:49 PM (#4356677)
Ray: Frank Thomas is a helluva guy to make your argument with and it's not doing you any favors. If you can't parse out the difference between Bagwell and Frank, Clemons and Maddux, and you are indeed an attorney, then you're being intentionally obtuse.


First, I certainly parsed out the difference between Clemens and Maddux. I wrote this in post 57 above:

Umm, that's not an equal comparison. For as much as I've pointed out what a serial, self-confessed multiple liar McNamee is, Clemens is simply not in the same boat as Maddux since Clemens does have someone pointing the finger at him. That counts for something.


As to Thomas v. Bagwell, no, I don't see any difference. It's not exactly shocking to me to consider that people who scream the loudest about something might be doing that something themselves. Human history is awash with such examples. Why people would think that just because Thomas spoke out he's clean is beyond me.
   77. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 28, 2013 at 04:28 PM (#4356737)
SI, 2004:

Boog Powell was on M&M's, not hGH. Frank Thomas of the White Sox was born gigantic. And Americans grow ever larger by the month. It's hard to believe now, but Reggie Jackson's playing weight was 200 pounds. The self-styled "straw that stirs the drink" was built like an actual straw, swizzle-stick skinny compared with Thomas, who is listed at 275.


If Thomas is clean, he perhaps spoke out against steroids because he didn't need them; he was naturally huge, and got a massive advantage over most of the other players due to his size.

Easy to speak out, in that case. I'm not moved by self-serving comments.
   78. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 28, 2013 at 04:37 PM (#4356749)
Here's a Verducci piece from March 2007, discussing the Rangers' signing of Sosa.

Note the comments re Thomas. What other slugger could predict the exact time frame when he would start to play well and not be accused of knowing when his steroids regimen would kick in?

That seems unlikely. Both Washington and Jaramillo are optimistic, pointing to the success of Thomas, who, at 38 and coming off a down season, rejuvenated his career with the A's last year. Washington, a third base coach with Oakland in '06, recalls that Thomas told the team he would need spring training and then 100 to 110 at bats to get started. "I think it took 103--and he took off," Washington says. ( Thomas hit .184 with seven homers in his first 103 at bats and .295 with 32 homers in his 363 subsequent at bats.) Sosa will likely get the same opportunity, seeing enough at bats in spring and the season's first month to find his stroke.


http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1108502/2/index.htm
   79. vivaelpujols Posted: January 28, 2013 at 05:32 PM (#4356831)
I don't see any evidence that Bagwell used and Thomas didn't. Ray's position is completely rational here. I also don't think Thomas speaking out against steroid usage is particularly beneficial to his case, as he didn't start until his career was pretty much done and he had nothing to lose (if he did take steroids) and everything to gain. I also generally dislike players imposing their moral views on other players (although I'd much rather Thomas do so than Goose Gossage or Dale Murphy).
   80. RickG Posted: January 28, 2013 at 05:38 PM (#4356838)
Ray, that conveniently ignores the fact that Thomas was coming back from a broken foot that almost ended his career. He was talking about getting back into playing shape after not being able to swing a bat for several months. Thomas didn't even get into a minor-league game until March 17 of 2006, but the A's wanted him to break camp with the big club (and he did).

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2119802

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2373029
   81. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: January 28, 2013 at 05:52 PM (#4356859)
Frank Thomas in 1987. He was 18 or 19 when that picture was taken. I'm inclined to believe that he didn't take steroids - some guys are just naturally huge.
Frank Thomas that was playing football at Auburn University? Sure, he'd have no exposure/access to steroids there!
   82. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: January 28, 2013 at 05:58 PM (#4356863)
Greg Maddux, at least once, used something other than greenies that has now been banned.
Wait, what?
   83. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 28, 2013 at 06:07 PM (#4356879)
Wait, what?


He said he believes it to be true, although he cannot prove it. It's a six impossible things before breakfast sort of assertion. He's not claiming to have knowledge or evidence or anything.

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