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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Joe Morgan Wants To Keep Steroid Cheats Out Of Baseball Hall Of Fame | MLB | NESN.com

Joe Morgan is serious about baseball’s standards of excellence. The Cincinatti Reds legend and Baseball Hall of Famer wrote a letter to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Monday in which he implores Hall of Fame voters not to induct known steroid users into the sport’s most hallowed place. Esteemed baseball writer Joe Posnanski shared Morgan’s letter on his blog, and the Baseball Hall of Fame sent it to a wider audience.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 21, 2017 at 11:07 AM | 198 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame

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   101. Booey Posted: November 22, 2017 at 11:37 AM (#5580146)
See David Foss's response in #84, and Rally's point in #89.

I'll bet you could do a similar analysis with some proven steroid users too, though, and find changes in their swing or pitching delivery that could help explain an increase in their exit or throwing velocity. Bonds, for example, had a more compact swing during his late career "2nd wind" than he did for most his earlier career. I think peak Sosa's swing changed a bit from his skinny, base stealing days, too.
   102. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 22, 2017 at 11:37 AM (#5580147)
Jim Bouton in Ball Four wrote that greenies didn't help.

I believe he said they didn't help him. He was a substance virgin at the time he claims to have tried them, and really didn't know what to expect.

Here's that full Bouton quote, from p. 157 of Ball Four:

How fabulous are greenies? Some of the guys have to take one just to get their hearts to start beating. I’ve taken greenies but I think Darrell Brandon is right when he says that the trouble with them is that they make you feel so great that you think you’re really smoking the ball even when you’re not. They give you a false sense of security. The result is that you get gay, throw it down the middle and get clobbered.”


   103. Booey Posted: November 22, 2017 at 11:45 AM (#5580153)
Do PEDs help you throw strikes? It seems most of Johnson's transformation was a byproduct of dramatically cutting down on the free passes.


Sure, but similar to my response to Andy, I think even in most cases of suspected users, there's something you can point to other than "teh roids!" to help explain their jump in performance.

Most the known or suspected roiders career arcs don't look much different than a lot of (presumably) clean players.
   104. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: November 22, 2017 at 11:50 AM (#5580159)

See David Foss's response in #84,
Why? It doesn't change the fact that you dishonestly ignored the major change in his performance and then pretended that it didn't change. David Foss's response is utterly meaningless (I mean, I'm not criticizing him; it's fair to mention it) in this discussion. Every alleged steroid user would cite a change in his diet or training regimen that happened at the time his performance changed as an alternative explanation.
   105. Morty Causa Posted: November 22, 2017 at 11:52 AM (#5580162)
I think the evidence from the Soviet Bloc Olympic athletes proves pretty conclusively that steroids work.

Yes. And the difference between steroids creating muscle and amphetamines should be striking and not merely fobbed off as a distinction without a difference.

Amphetamines unquestionably improve focus and endurance. You can bear down in those crucial situations, and continue functioning at a high level in the late innings of a long game, or in the late games of a long season.

We know a lot more about amphetamines--their use, misuse, and abuse--than we did in 1969. There are huge downsides to this highly addictive drugs that players would be taking substantial doses every day, including the increasing tolerance levels that encourage you to take more and more.
   106. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 22, 2017 at 11:54 AM (#5580167)
See David Foss's response in #84, and Rally's point in #89.

I'll bet you could do a similar analysis with some proven steroid users too, though, and find changes in their swing or pitching delivery that could help explain an increase in their exit or throwing velocity. Bonds, for example, had a more compact swing during his late career "2nd wind" than he did for most his earlier career. I think peak Sosa's swing changed a bit from his skinny, base stealing days, too.


We're reviving a decade old argument that I really don't feel like revisiting, but I also distinctly recall that not only did Bonds's home run numbers spike during his steroid years, but the distance of his home runs also increased. And then there's the fact that no other player in history has had the sort of late career power spikes that he did, and kept it up into his 40's. Unlike Aaron, who some people like to cite as a "precedent" for Bonds' sudden power spike, Bonds had never put up similar numbers earlier in his career, while Aaron had----and in a much friendlier pitchers' home park.

Just to make myself clear, my opposition to Bonds as a HoFer has nothing to do with my overall assessment of him as a player. If he'd laid off the juice he'd still be on my list of top half dozen or so players of all time, right below Ruth and Mays and Aaron. Like Mays and Aaron, he was a consummate five tool player whose only "natural" lack was a great arm, but as a LF that didn't really matter all that much, and he won numerable Gold Gloves as well as stealing over 500 bases. In baseball terms, I view him as a tragic figure, with his legacy clouded by an action that was totally unnecessary, whatever motivated him to pursue it. I don't want to see him honored with a plaque, but if after all these years he eventually does get in, I won't see it as the worst thing in the world, as I think the point will have already been made quite clearly.

But he's not a victim. He victimized himself.
   107. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 22, 2017 at 11:57 AM (#5580172)
See David Foss's response in #84,

Why? It doesn't change the fact that you dishonestly ignored the major change in his performance and then pretended that it didn't change. David Foss's response is utterly meaningless (I mean, I'm not criticizing him; it's fair to mention it) in this discussion. Every alleged steroid user would cite a change in his diet or training regimen that happened at the time his performance changed as an alternative explanation.


The operative word there is "alleged". I'd like to think that as a lawyer, you'd recognize that. Barry Bonds, unlike most of the names who are routinely cited to varying degrees as juicers (Clemens, Sosa, Piazza, etc.), is more than merely "alleged".
   108. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: November 22, 2017 at 12:01 PM (#5580177)

Barry Bonds, unlike most of the names who are routinely cited to varying degrees as juicers (Clemens, Sosa, Piazza, etc.), is more than merely "alleged".
Well, nobody has ever proved it and he hasn't admitted it, so I'm pretty sure that "alleged" remains the only accurate description. (One could use "suspected" if one wants, I guess.)

No idea what that has to do with the point about Puckett in any case.
   109. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: November 22, 2017 at 12:01 PM (#5580180)

I think the evidence from the Soviet Bloc Olympic athletes proves pretty conclusively that steroids work.
...for women.
   110. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: November 22, 2017 at 12:05 PM (#5580182)
We're reviving a decade old argument that I really don't feel like revisiting


And yet ....

If we were to have 100% sure evidence that Mays regularly used steroids and he confessed he thought they helped him, then what?

I think retroactively deciding suspicion of steroid use is enough to merit banning from the Hall of Fame is a travesty. I have zero problem with MLB putting in place a rule stating steroid usage is a disqualification for the Hall from that point forward. But making up such a ban and projecting it backwards is ridiculous.
   111. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 22, 2017 at 12:13 PM (#5580189)
We're reviving a decade old argument that I really don't feel like revisiting, but I also distinctly recall that not only did Bonds's home run numbers spike during his steroid years, but the distance of his home runs also increased.


Since Bonds has retired, we've had several players see similar surges in their power numbers after they adjusted their swing to increase their launch angle. Jose Bautista is the prime example, but there's also Chris Taylor this year with the Dodgers, and other examples, all done ostensibly without steroids. I wonder if Bonds was just the first hitter to discover the secret of the launch angle.
   112. Booey Posted: November 22, 2017 at 12:15 PM (#5580193)
We're reviving a decade old argument that I really don't feel like revisiting


That's fine, but TBF, this entire thread and the headline article is a revival of that decade old argument. People who aren't in the mood to repeat all their past points probably should skip this thread entirely. Everything anyone is saying - including myself, obviously - is something that has been repeated hundreds of times over. ;-)

But he's not a victim. He victimized himself.


I don't think Bonds, McGwire, etc are 'victims', necessarily. And I don't care about their feelings. I care about the legitimacy of the HOF, and I think their exclusion paints an inaccurate picture of baseball history and does a disservice to fans (I'm personally much less interesting in visiting knowing that the 3 best players I've ever seen - Bonds, Clemens, and ARod - won't be there). But of course, many other fans who care just as much would be less interested if they WERE included, so whatcha gonna do...*

* Complain on an internet message board, obviously. :-D

(talking about myself)
   113. Morty Causa Posted: November 22, 2017 at 12:19 PM (#5580196)
Why were they hiding their taking of steroids and the like, and lying about taking them?

"If taking steroid is wrong, I don't want to be right", was the anthem of many partakers.
   114. Booey Posted: November 22, 2017 at 12:23 PM (#5580199)
Why were they hiding their taking of steroids and the like, and lying about taking them?


Why do people hide and lie about their recreational drug use? Cuz it's illegal, and frowned upon by many. Even if you don't personally think something is wrong, it doesn't mean you can't understand that other people do and you'd rather avoid judgment (and possible legal trouble, in this case).
   115. BDC Posted: November 22, 2017 at 12:23 PM (#5580200)
I wonder if Bonds was just the first hitter to discover the secret of the launch angle

I seem to remember a comment in one of Ted Williams' books, where he addressed the prevailing idea (in the 1960s) that a level swing was ideal, and said that in his opinion a slight uppercut was much better.
   116. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: November 22, 2017 at 12:25 PM (#5580202)
#94:
Agree that if no advantage obtained use cannot reasonably be called cheating.


If you pop up with a corked bat, you cheated.


#100:
Do PEDs help you throw strikes? It seems most of Johnson's transformation was a byproduct of dramatically cutting down on the free passes.


One question mark certainly adds another question mark to Johnson's much-repeated, much-reported "Nolan Ryan turned my career around" story.


#113:
Why were they hiding their taking of steroids and the like, and lying about taking them?


The same reason they hid and lied about taking amphetamines, up to and including being sworn in?
   117. Morty Causa Posted: November 22, 2017 at 12:35 PM (#5580208)
So, it was only the legal prohibition that made them sneaky-pete it. They had nothing to fear from the public or from MLB officials?
   118. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: November 22, 2017 at 12:36 PM (#5580209)
Curt Schilling's HOF case is almost entirely built on the work he did after turning 30 years old. He was 52-52 with 113 ERA+ in fewer than 1000 innings with half his appearances as a reliever.

After 30:
164-94 with a 134 ERA+ and 2272.2 IP.
   119. SandyRiver Posted: November 22, 2017 at 12:41 PM (#5580213)
I wonder if Bonds was just the first hitter to discover the secret of the launch angle.

I think some other guy may have discovered that about 80 years earlier.
   120. DavidFoss Posted: November 22, 2017 at 12:50 PM (#5580222)
I think some other guy may have discovered that about 80 years earlier.

It is not extremely common, but there are a fair number of guys who hit first and then hit for power later. Kluszewski... even Musial & Yastrzemski.
   121. Booey Posted: November 22, 2017 at 12:50 PM (#5580223)
So, it was only the legal prohibition that made them sneaky-pete it. They had nothing to fear from the public or from MLB officials?


Not from MLB officials, no. From the public, yes. That's what I was referencing when I mentioned them preferring to "avoid judgment."

People who don't like them (and Bonds had plenty of those, even before the PED allegations) - or the curmudgeons stuck in the good old days that think records are set in stone and should never be broken - will look for any excuse they can latch on to to discredit their accomplishments (like the * talk for Maris, even if it was never actually applied, or the "juiced ball" comments you hear constantly whenever offense rises).
   122. Booey Posted: November 22, 2017 at 12:57 PM (#5580230)
It is not extremely common, but there are a fair number of guys who hit first and then hit for power later. Kluszewski... even Musial & Yastrzemski.


Yaz's power numbers were just weird. He established himself as a 15-20 homer hitter, jumped up to 40 for a few years, then dropped back to 15-20 for most of the last decade of his career. Overall he had three 40 homer seasons...and 12 qualifying seasons with less than 20. The breakdown for his 23 year career is as follows:

0-9 homers - 1
10-19 homers - 14
20-29 homers - 5
30-39 homers - 0
40+ homers - 3
   123. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: November 22, 2017 at 12:59 PM (#5580232)
Why were they hiding their taking of steroids and the like, and lying about taking them?
They weren't. Not until after the public hysteria began. (And that public hysteria, I reiterate, was driven by Congress, not the other way around.)
   124. TDF didn't lie, he just didn't remember Posted: November 22, 2017 at 01:03 PM (#5580240)
Unlike Aaron, who some people like to cite as a "precedent" for Bonds' sudden power spike, Bonds had never put up similar numbers earlier in his career
From '90-93, Bonds lead the NL in SLG 3 times, and all of MLB twice (including his 1st year in San Fran, which was every bit the pitcher's park that County Stadium was).

EDIT: In his entire career, Aaron led the NL 4 times in SLG, including all MLB three times.
   125. Booey Posted: November 22, 2017 at 01:05 PM (#5580244)
They weren't. Not until after the public hysteria began.

This too. I don't remember many reporters asking them about steroids during the late 90's/early 2000's. Fans and media alike seemed to be content with the unspoken 'blissful ignorance' agreement.
   126. Morty Causa Posted: November 22, 2017 at 01:07 PM (#5580245)
McGwire and Canseco were accused before Congress got involved. And denied use.
   127. Morty Causa Posted: November 22, 2017 at 01:10 PM (#5580249)
Fans and media alike seemed to be content with the unspoken 'blissful ignorance' agreement.

You don't remember the chants directed at Canseco in Boston?
   128. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: November 22, 2017 at 01:17 PM (#5580254)

You don't remember the chants directed at Canseco in Boston?
Playful taunting of an opponent during a postseason series, that were never treated as a serious thing and dropped immediately thereafter? I remember that, yeah.
   129. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 22, 2017 at 01:20 PM (#5580258)
Playful taunting of an opponent during a postseason series, that were never treated as a serious thing and dropped immediately thereafter? I remember that, yeah.

Not hardly. I was at multiple A's-Red Sox games in the 1989-93 period, and the "Sterrrrrroids, sterrrroids" chants aimed at Canseco were ubiquitous.
   130. Booey Posted: November 22, 2017 at 01:22 PM (#5580261)
You don't remember the chants directed at Canseco in Boston?


Sure, and it seemed at the time to be just a handy excuse to taunt an already unpopular opponent, similar to what they likely would have done if Canseco had recently gotten a DUI or been busted with a hooker or whatever. Jose stepping out of the box to flex for the crowd pretty much confirmed how serious everyone was taking those allegations.

What I don't remember is anyone saying that he should be suspended or banned for life or stripped of his MVP or that his 40/40 "record" was tainted or that he should be barred from the HOF if his career ended up warranting it.
   131. Rally Posted: November 22, 2017 at 01:23 PM (#5580264)
I wonder if Bonds was just the first hitter to discover the secret of the launch angle

I seem to remember a comment in one of Ted Williams' books, where he addressed the prevailing idea (in the 1960s) that a level swing was ideal, and said that in his opinion a slight uppercut was much better.


I don't know if Ted is the first to write about it, but certainly responsible for popularizing it to some extent. Ted also explained why the slight uppercut is best - the baseball is travelling at a downward trajectory from the pitcher, so you aren't trading contact for power. You are maximizing your chance of contact with the slight uppercut.

I'm sure Bonds had the proper uppercut from day one. The difference between early and late career Bonds is 1) he was bigger and stronger and 2) he took his already great pitch recognition skills to a level that is hard to believe.

I find #2 much more interesting than #1. Steroids could be the explanation for #1, but that is something a whole bunch of players did. I don't think anyone approached what Bonds did for pitch recognition. It's not just the walk totals, so many of those were intentional anyway. It's his extreme elimination of the strikeout. All the other known or suspected steroid power hitters increased their strikeouts while hitting for more power. With Bonds it was almost as if he could read the pitcher's mind and know what's coming.

I have seen stories about this, anecdotal evidence of Bonds watching a pitcher from the bench and telling people what pitch was coming next before it was thrown. I can't verify those. I do wish anybody in the media had been as curious about his pitch recognition as they were about whether he was injecting something.
   132. Rally Posted: November 22, 2017 at 01:25 PM (#5580268)
Not hardly. I was at multiple A's-Red Sox games in the 1989-93 period, and the "Sterrrrrroids, sterrrroids" chants aimed at Canseco were ubiquitous.


Did they keep up the chants in 1995-96 when Jose played for the Red Sox? That will tell you how many just wanted to taunt an opponent, versus how many were offended by the disregard of integrity for the sport.
   133. Sunday silence Posted: November 22, 2017 at 01:29 PM (#5580271)
I really dont think Morgan's position, even if adopted, is a long term solution to this issue. If not our generation than future generations will point out the hypocrisy of having one sort of substance helper vs one set of substance helper, not to mention Babe Ruth/sheep semen or whatever was, quack remedies from the 20s and all sorts of in between meds/psuedo meds.

They an position that almost unchallengeable or something that has widespread support going forward. Taking positions that are obviously polarizing will not end this.
   134. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: November 22, 2017 at 01:29 PM (#5580272)
I have seen stories about this, anecdotal evidence of Bonds watching a pitcher from the bench and telling people what pitch was coming next before it was thrown.
Steroids give you ESP? That actually does seem to be something of an unfair advantage; I might have to rethink my pro-steroids position.
   135. Sunday silence Posted: November 22, 2017 at 01:32 PM (#5580276)

I think retroactively deciding suspicion of steroid use is enough to merit banning from the Hall of Fame is a travesty. I have zero problem with MLB putting in place a rule stating steroid usage is a disqualification for the Hall from that point forward. But making up such a ban and projecting it backwards is ridiculous


Right. Something like this seems intellectually honest (at least to me) and could probably garner wide spread support.

I also dont think former ball players are really the best arbiters of this.
   136. Sunday silence Posted: November 22, 2017 at 01:37 PM (#5580282)
Why were they hiding their taking of steroids and the like, and lying about taking them?


There's obviously a competitive advantage thing going on here as well. No one in successful business is going to tell you how they do it exactly. Why would baseball be any different? If I had a tremendous PED cocktail that was working why would I make that public knowledge. This seems quite obvious.

I brought that up with Andy a couple years ago in this very debate. I had a friend in South Carolina who wanted to sell his book collection and I contacted ANdy (cause he had the best book store hereabout) but he would not give me even as estimate over the phone, can you blame him? I am more likely to sell if I have to truck the books on over to him. Plus yeah its hard to evaluate books by photo and such. I get that.
   137. SoSH U at work Posted: November 22, 2017 at 01:43 PM (#5580286)
They weren't. Not until after the public hysteria began. (And that public hysteria, I reiterate, was driven by Congress, not the other way around.)


You can say it as many times as you want, but it doesn't make it any more accurate on repeat mentions. The absolute biggest development was the Caminiti feature in SI. That led into the Rick Reilly/Sammy Sosa "Could I trouble you for a cup of piss?" moment. You also had the initial BALCO grand jury testimony (which gave us Giambi's vague apology to Yankee fans before the 2005 season). All of which predated the Congressional hearings. The idea the public was just totally dandy with roid usage in baseball until Congress told them otherwise is fiction. The hearings were just a mark on the timeline. A significant one, but not some inflection point.

Hell, this site was hysterical with roid talk long before Congress got involved.
   138. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 22, 2017 at 02:27 PM (#5580310)
That will tell you how many just wanted to taunt an opponent, versus how many were offended by the disregard of integrity for the sport.

Most fans aren't offended by the disregard of integrity of the sport unless its done by the opponent.
   139. TJ Posted: November 22, 2017 at 02:32 PM (#5580315)
What I would like to see are the results of surveys of MLB players from 1970 on as to whether using amphetamines or steroids were considered "cheating" by them. I could live with whatever the results were becoming the official HOF position. Make them separate questions, like:

-Do you feel players who used "greenies", "amped-up coffe" the "red juice", etc, were cheating? Yes or no.

-Do you feel players who used steroids, HGH, etc, were cheating? Yes or no.

To me, it doesn't matter what we fans think, what the BBWAA voters think or what the HOF thinks, since none of us were living in the MLB forest. The only ones who know if the players considered that cheating are the players themselves. Maybe they agree with Joe Morgan, maybe they don't. But it would be nice to know.
   140. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 22, 2017 at 02:43 PM (#5580319)
Unlike Aaron, who some people like to cite as a "precedent" for Bonds' sudden power spike, Bonds had never put up similar numbers earlier in his career

From '90-93, Bonds lead the NL in SLG 3 times, and all of MLB twice (including his 1st year in San Fran, which was every bit the pitcher's park that County Stadium was).

EDIT: In his entire career, Aaron led the NL 4 times in SLG, including all MLB three times.


Bonds' four highest OPS totals came between age 36 and 39, and his five highest HR/AB rates came between 35 and 39. Aaron's best late years were comparable to years he'd put up much earlier in his career while his home park was County Stadium rather than the Launching Pad.

   141. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 22, 2017 at 02:49 PM (#5580323)
I had a friend in South Carolina who wanted to sell his book collection and I contacted ANdy (cause he had the best book store hereabout) but he would not give me even as estimate over the phone, can you blame him? I am more likely to sell if I have to truck the books on over to him. Plus yeah its hard to evaluate books by photo and such. I get that.

I don't recall that moment, but just to clarify what would have been my response, I could easily have told your friend whether it would probably be worth his while to truck the books in,** simply by asking him a few questions about the total number he wanted to sell, the subject matter(s), a few sample authors and titles, and whether the books were free of underlining and had retained their original dust jackets. That would've covered about 90% of it right there.

** Or if it'd have been worth my while to go down there. I traveled to England and all four corners of the continental U.S. to buy significant collections of books and / or memorabilia.
   142. The Duke Posted: November 22, 2017 at 02:50 PM (#5580324)
I would like to hear if people think Morgan will be successful in his mission. Will it deter yes votes ? Most people here are pro-steroid so I’d be interested to know if you think it will affect voters.
   143. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 22, 2017 at 02:58 PM (#5580329)
I think it will deter some amount of yes votes. Hard to know what percentage. Will it be enough to keep a player or two out? Probably. Keep them all out? No.
   144. QLE Posted: November 22, 2017 at 03:16 PM (#5580334)
The Tracker should be coming up in the next couple of weeks for us to see, but the impression I have is two-fold:

1) A lot of the sort of people who would in theory be motivated by this already are voting against everyone associated with steroids, and don't need Morgan's help;

2) A lot of others, especially among the younger voters, aren't going to be motivated by it at all- note that Fire Joe Morgan is now twelve and a half years old, so there are likely a considerable number of voters who view Morgan in a heavily negative light and would never do anything based just on his desires.
   145. Morty Causa Posted: November 22, 2017 at 03:19 PM (#5580335)
Hell, this site was hysterical with roid talk long before Congress got involved.

Yes. And fans were indeed talking about it. When McGwire was on his road to set the home run record, I had both friends and acquaintances who were both fans and not fans, as well as weightlifters and bodybuilders, and they all, to a man, said, you don't get a body ripped like McGwire's was unless you do steroids and PEDs. Hell, McGwire looked like he could have taken on a sliverback gorilla and had it scampering for safety.
   146. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: November 22, 2017 at 03:30 PM (#5580339)
Bonds' four highest OPS totals came between age 36 and 39, and his five highest HR/AB rates came between 35 and 39. Aaron's best late years were comparable to years he'd put up much earlier in his career while his home park was County Stadium rather than the Launching Pad.

Speaking of stadiums, Bonds put up those seasons hitting in one of the most difficult parks for a lefty to hit homeruns at. In his 73 HR season, my recollection is that there were at least a dozen really deep flyballs to RF that would have gone out in most ballparks . Not sure that we have any sort of data that far back, but having watched most of that season I'm pretty sure that I'm not exaggerating that he would have had another dozen or so homers hitting in a neutral park.

Fun stat: Bonds in 2001 hit .614 (153/249) on balls hit into the outfield (.449 BABIP).
   147. Booey Posted: November 22, 2017 at 03:32 PM (#5580340)
Yes. And fans were indeed talking about it. When McGwire was on his road to set the home run record, I had both friends and acquaintances who were both fans and not fans, as well as weightlifters and bodybuilders, and they all, to a man, said, you don't get a body ripped like McGwire's was unless you do steroids and PEDs. Hell, McGwire looked like he could have taken on a sliverback gorilla and had it scampering for safety.


Yes, but noticing/suspecting something and actually caring or being outraged! about it are two different things, and the latter is what I'm saying I just wasn't seeing at the time. There wasn't much (any?) talk of the record being tainted back in 1998 or even 2001. No calls for drug testing that I can remember. Everyone was happy to look the other way and just enjoy the show ('blissful ignorance', as I said in #125).
   148. Morty Causa Posted: November 22, 2017 at 03:43 PM (#5580348)
No, everyone wasn't happy to look the other way. Many of those fans I had conversations with weren't. The media was seduced by McGWire and the whole shebang and stayed in denial. They didn't want to ruin a good story, so they didn't do any research or investigation. And they didn't listen and report on those fans who weren't enthralled.
   149. DavidFoss Posted: November 22, 2017 at 03:49 PM (#5580350)
Yes, but noticing/suspecting something and actually caring or being outraged! about it are two different things,

McGwire's use of PED's was actually late-season news. For week in late August, when McGwire had 51 HR's and Sosa had 49, everyone learned about 'androstenedione'. It hadn't been banned yet so the story blew over after a few days of discussion.
   150. SandyRiver Posted: November 22, 2017 at 03:50 PM (#5580351)
From '90-93, Bonds lead the NL in SLG 3 times, and all of MLB twice (including his 1st year in San Fran, which was every bit the pitcher's park that County Stadium was).

Adding to Andy's response in #140:
The victory margins for Bonds' 3 early 90s SLG titles were .006, .044, and .072: average .041.
In 2001-04 the margins were .126, .177, .062 (the season his dad was dying), and .155: average .130. He was the best in 1990-93; he was in another league in 2001-04.
   151. fra paolo Posted: November 22, 2017 at 03:50 PM (#5580352)
Apropos of Joe Morgan's influence, I noticed the other day that he was one of the key people who started pushing the Jack Morris bandwagon back in the day. Michael Wolverton wrote about it at Baseball Prospectus.
   152. Booey Posted: November 22, 2017 at 03:57 PM (#5580355)
McGwire's use of PED's was actually late-season news. For week in late August, when McGwire had 51 HR's and Sosa had 49, everyone learned about 'androstenedione'. It hadn't been banned yet so the story blew over after a few days of discussion.


And most the criticism went towards the reporter who discovered it rather than towards Mac himself.
   153. PreservedFish Posted: November 22, 2017 at 04:04 PM (#5580357)
"Happy to look the other way" certainly describes most baseball fans in 1998. But that was a special exuberant shared nationwide event. The idea that there was no stigma associated with steroid use until after the turn of the millennium is a fantasy.
   154. Booey Posted: November 22, 2017 at 04:08 PM (#5580359)
No, everyone wasn't happy to look the other way. Many of those fans I had conversations with weren't.


Obviously my use of the word 'everyone' was hyperbole, but your experiences talking to fans was very different than mine, then. I remember the great HR race of '98 as very much a 'water cooler' event, where people who weren't even baseball fans were talking about it daily (and I don't even live in an MLB city). I do specifically recall people bringing up the possibility of steroids, but mostly just as a side note that was basically shrugged off as immaterial. I don't remember anyone saying that it would taint the record or made the chase less enjoyable. I DO remember some people rooting against McGwire, but they usually fell into 2 camps: A) People who were rooting for Sosa instead, or B) traditionalists who seemed to think the old timey records were sacred and should last forever (IOW, the GOML types).
   155. Booey Posted: November 22, 2017 at 04:16 PM (#5580360)
"Happy to look the other way" certainly describes most baseball fans in 1998. But that was a special exuberant shared nationwide event. The idea that there was no stigma associated with steroid use until after the turn of the millennium is a fantasy.


I agree that steroid use in general had a negative stigma even back then (the Ben Johnson incident in 1988 was a big deal, for example), but I disagree that 1998 was just a single year blip where people collectively ignored it to enjoy the chase together. "Happy to look the other way" seemed to describe most baseball fans for a decade before 1998 and for at least a few more years afterwards.

Edit: IOW, PED's were a bigger deal in places like the Olympics than they were in baseball. Similar to how everyone cares about steroids in baseball now, but many people still don't seem to care about PED's in football.
   156. EddieA Posted: November 22, 2017 at 04:27 PM (#5580363)
In 1998, at my company water cooler it was accepted that McGwire and Sosa were on steroids along with many others. We said they aren't Olympic athletes - the attitude being pro athletes should do steroids as it is not against the rules. We were only recreational athletes but we dutifully participated in the little creatine and andro fads, because we thought we might get some power boost without having to inject ourselves. I think this was about the time the damning SI South Carolina/SEC college football steroids article came out.
   157. PreservedFish Posted: November 22, 2017 at 04:28 PM (#5580364)
Booey #156 - Yes, I agree with all of that. I mostly agree with your point about blissful ignorance. What I disagree with is the assertion that baseball players had no reason to suspect that steroid use would have been frowned upon. (I hope I haven't mischaracterized the argument.)
   158. Booey Posted: November 22, 2017 at 04:49 PM (#5580379)
What I disagree with is the assertion that baseball players had no reason to suspect that steroid use would have been frowned upon. (I hope I haven't mischaracterized the argument.)

Sorry, I probably wasn't being clear, but that's not what I was trying to argue. When I mentioned "avoiding judgment" in #114, that's actually exactly what I was referring to. Morty asked the age old "If they didn't think it was cheating, then why would they hide it?" question, and my answer was basically that even if they didn't think it was cheating, they had to know that some people would think it was, so why risk alienating those fans? I don't see being quiet about your training regimen - legal or otherwise - as an admission of guilt.

Different sport, of course, but look at Lance Armstrong's admission; he said he didn't consider it cheating at the time. He saw it as just something you had to do if you wanted to compete at the highest level. And he might have been right. But he still didn't talk about doping openly at the time. Why? Probably because fans aren't close enough to the action to see that part of the sport and might not understand the dominant culture. I could certainly believe a 1990's baseball player having the same mindset and wanting to keep his PED use from fans, despite personally thinking that juicing was just part of the game and something he had to do to keep up, rather than being a deliberate attempt to gain an unfair advantage.
   159. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: November 22, 2017 at 04:56 PM (#5580384)
What I disagree with is the assertion that baseball players had no reason to suspect that steroid use would have been frowned upon.


You are correct and they had good reason to suspect this. The reporting of the Andro was seen in a negative light but as mentioned above, since it wasn't illegal at the time the story blew over in a few days.

It was blissful ignorance. Reporters didn't ask, players didn't tell. It was as simple as that. It's a shame we didn't have exit velocities back when Bonds was doing his thing because he just seemed to crush the ball every single time he got wood on it.

Bond's mastery of the strike zone was extraordinary(no steroids are helping you with this). You could see the pitcher thinking that if threw a strike it was going to be hit hard, really hard somewhere. Votto is getting to this Svengali level of control and he bumped up his homers last year. It'll be interesting to see if he can hit 40+ in 2018 whilst maintaining his amazing BB and K rates.
   160. PreservedFish Posted: November 22, 2017 at 05:05 PM (#5580387)
Booey #158 - I find that an interesting argument, and you may be right, but it's still not convincing that these athletes get to skate. Basically it suggests that the dominant culture in the upper echelon of the sport had a strange, blinkered, compromised morality.

It's tough to believe that Lance Armstrong did not think he was cheating, unless he means that in the "everyone else was doing it too" sense. Sometimes that's a decent excuse (like speeding when you're going with the traffic flow), but sometimes it isn't (like, say, wage theft or price fixing).

To be clear ... I support steroid users for the HOF. But I am not going to believe that Jose Canseco or Ken Caminiti did not believe that he was cheating.
   161. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 22, 2017 at 05:05 PM (#5580388)
I would like to hear if people think Morgan will be successful in his mission. Will it deter yes votes?

I doubt it. Writers at least like to think that they're following their own instincts, not the herd.

Most people here are pro-steroid....

I'm one of the few surviving "union" members here, but I don't think that "pro-steroid" fairly describes most of the BTF support for a non-character clause related HoF. It's more like a varied mix of the following points:

1. "It's not fair to punish only known juicers, when there were others who were just lucky enough not to be caught."

2. "If you're for punishing steroid users, then what about greenies?"

3. "If steroids are cheating, then what about Gaylord Perry?"

4. "Bonds and A-Rod would've been HoFers even without steroids, so even if you apply a 'steroid discount' they're still Hallworthy."

5. "It's okay to bar the players who tested positive after testing began, but it's not fair to bar players retroactively."

6. "There were too many other things going on during the "steroid era" for us to be able to single out steroids as the cause of those otherworldly power numbers."

7. "If character is an issue, then why shouldn't it apply to HoF members like Cap Anson or Tom Yawkey, whose racism was far more destructive to sportsmanship than a strategically applied needle or cream."

IMO all of those above arguments lie somewhere along the spectrum of sophistry and half-truths, but I don't think any of them are "pro-steroids" as much as they're in favor of a Hall of Fame that's closer to a Hall of Statistical Merit. Which is a perfectly cromulent position that I simply don't agree with.

   162. Booey Posted: November 22, 2017 at 05:16 PM (#5580395)
It's tough to believe that Lance Armstrong did not think he was cheating, unless he means that in the "everyone else was doing it too" sense.


I think that was basically what he meant (or, that's how I took it anyway). And I could see a baseball player having the same mindset. The athletes would certainly have a better grasp of what everyone was doing than we would, but of course, they'd also have plenty of incentive to lie and say that everyone else was doing it too (even if they weren't) to deflect attention away from themselves, so I don't know.

My WAG WRT sillyball era steroids was that not everyone was doing it, but enough players were that every player at least knew or suspected some teammates that were. And unless they were calling out their own buddies at the time, they don't have much ground to condemn opponents years after the fact (Curt Schilling and Frank Thomas - you won titles on the backs of PED using teammates. And I think you know it).
   163. Zach Posted: November 22, 2017 at 06:49 PM (#5580433)
Amphetamines unquestionably improve focus and endurance. You can bear down in those crucial situations, and continue functioning at a high level in the late innings of a long game, or in the late games of a long season.

From what I've read of '70s ballplayers, I suspect the real appeal was that amphetamines unnaturally speed hangover recovery.
   164. Zach Posted: November 22, 2017 at 07:12 PM (#5580441)
"Happy to look the other way" certainly describes most baseball fans in 1998. But that was a special exuberant shared nationwide event. The idea that there was no stigma associated with steroid use until after the turn of the millennium is a fantasy.

You've got to remember that in the 1990s, people taking a run at Maris was almost a rite of summer. You'd calculate people's paces, extrapolate to 62 or 65, then be a little disappointed when Ken Griffey, say, finished with 56 (1997 & 1998). 61 was absolutely seen as something that could be done by the right hitter who had a great year. Then two great hitters got hot the same year, pushed each other, and both finished past the magical line. From a narrative perspective, it wasn't any more surprising than multiple runners turning in four minute miles within a year of Roger Bannister.

*After* 1998, it started to be apparent that there was a new class of slugger who could turn in crazy home run numbers every year. Sammy Sosa broke 61 3 different times -- and didn't lead the league in any one of those years. It wasn't a question of a great hitter having a magical year at all -- it was just what the steroid guys do. And then guys all the way down the order started hitting lots of homers every year, too.

If McGwire and Sosa were the only guys to break 61, and if 1998 were the only year they did it, I think people would still be willing to look the other way. But the Sillyball years really rubbed your nose in it.
   165. Jay Z Posted: November 22, 2017 at 07:17 PM (#5580444)
Bond's mastery of the strike zone was extraordinary(no steroids are helping you with this). You could see the pitcher thinking that if threw a strike it was going to be hit hard, really hard somewhere. Votto is getting to this Svengali level of control and he bumped up his homers last year. It'll be interesting to see if he can hit 40+ in 2018 whilst maintaining his amazing BB and K rates.


But Bonds always had strike zone mastery, throughout his career.

Whereas Sammy Sosa had no mastery of the strikezone whatsoever. And he still was able to transform his career the same way Bonds and McGwire did. Even Sosa made it over 100 walks when the pitchers were forced not to pitch to him. I think the, um, transformation was driving any strikezone adjustments, not the other way around.

Votto has sustained. He hasn't gotten better like Sosa, Bonds, McGwire. He did cut his strikeouts in 2017, but it didn't lead to any extra hits, just different outs. Ditto Ted Williams, a similar hitter who aged very well, absent that he had to rest more. He didn't actually get better in his 30s on a rate basis.
   166. Zach Posted: November 22, 2017 at 07:22 PM (#5580445)
It's tough to believe that Lance Armstrong did not think he was cheating, unless he means that in the "everyone else was doing it too" sense.

I actually have some sympathy for Armstrong, because literally every cyclist on the tour was taking EPO, and the math was so unrelenting.

Suppose you're an average person with a hematocrit (percent of blood volume consisting of red blood cells) of 40. You take EPO and raise your hematocrit to 50.0 (the legal threshold for bicycle racing). You have now increased your power output by 20%, in a sport where 1% is a decisive advantage. Before they set a limit of 50, Bjarne Riis raced with a hematocrit of 60!

On a climb like the Alpe D'Huez, that 20% increase in power translates to something like a half hour. That's the difference between a Tour winner and a total nonentity. It was literally a choice between doping and finding another job.
   167. Zach Posted: November 22, 2017 at 07:29 PM (#5580450)
Reading Tyler Hamilton's book on the subject, most cyclists seemed to have the opinion that it was impossible to win a multi-day event without doping. They even had a term "pan y agua" (bread and water) for the days when circumstances made them race clean.
   168. SoSH U at work Posted: November 22, 2017 at 07:48 PM (#5580454)


(Curt Schilling and Frank Thomas - you won titles on the backs of PED using teammates. And I think you know it).


I think that's unfair to Thomas, for two reasons. First, he wasn't just mouthing off about steroids after baseball addressed it (like Schilling did), but was calling for testing before baseball had a policy. And, his '05 Sox team won a title after testing began.
   169. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: November 22, 2017 at 07:57 PM (#5580457)
I'd point out some difference between late Clemens, which (after a mid-career stumble) looked much like early Clemens.


Late Clemens looked nothing like early Clemens. Late Clemens threw 100-110 92 mph fastballs and 88 mph splitters 33 times a season. Early Clemens threw 130 97 mph fastballs and 92 mph sliders 35 times a season. And mid-career stumble Clemens led the league in strikeouts in 1996.

If McGwire and Sosa were the only guys to break 61, and if 1998 were the only year they did it, I think people would still be willing to look the other way.


Yep. Lots of folks have argued that the anti-Bonds animus played a major role in breaking the camel's back on steroids, but the problem really was that while two guys going 65 and 70 was cool, guys going 60+ year after year wasn't. It's one thing to want somebody to finally hit 62; it's quite another to want it to be a regular occurrence.

   170. Booey Posted: November 22, 2017 at 08:42 PM (#5580469)
I think that's unfair to Thomas, for two reasons. First, he wasn't just mouthing off about steroids after baseball addressed it (like Schilling did), but was calling for testing before baseball had a policy. And, his '05 Sox team won a title after testing began.


Fair enough. Thomas is one of my all time favorite players, so I felt dirty criticizing him anyway.

Schilling can go to hell, though :-D (but he still belongs in the HOF)
   171. cardsfanboy Posted: November 22, 2017 at 09:28 PM (#5580479)
I have seen stories about this, anecdotal evidence of Bonds watching a pitcher from the bench and telling people what pitch was coming next before it was thrown.


I'm reading as I'm replying so if anyone replied after the fact to this comment I haven't seen it yet.... Bonds was sitting in the dugout and talking to a player and saying it was going to be an off speed pitch, because Ozzie Smith moved a step to compensate for it as the pitch was being thrown... I found that to be one of the more impressive comments. 1. the fact that Bonds was picking up on that and 2. the fact that Ozzie was making relatively subtle movements from his defensive position because of the pitch selection.

Bonds has pretty much always had a legendary baseball IQ from early in his days in Pittsburgh, so that is why I think it's hard to separate the PED/Talent/changing of his style from everything.
   172. cardsfanboy Posted: November 22, 2017 at 09:32 PM (#5580480)
I would like to hear if people think Morgan will be successful in his mission. Will it deter yes votes ? Most people here are pro-steroid so I’d be interested to know if you think it will affect voters.


I'm pretty sure he will be successful, most of the writers currently voting for Clemens or Bonds will still make their vote, but at the same time, the guys who might have decided to add them, will wait another year now.
   173. cardsfanboy Posted: November 22, 2017 at 09:38 PM (#5580485)
No, everyone wasn't happy to look the other way. Many of those fans I had conversations with weren't. The media was seduced by McGWire and the whole shebang and stayed in denial. They didn't want to ruin a good story, so they didn't do any research or investigation. And they didn't listen and report on those fans who weren't enthralled


Considering that the "media" is the bbwaa, a collection of quite possibly the most incompetent professionals in history of organized professionals, it's not a surprise at all that they failed to do their job. They have failed for years before and continue to fail. It's just not a real body of people that most people would consider to have professional standards. They live in a crossworld of being reporters and journalists and never deciding on which line they would like to hang out. For every good bbwaa member out there, you have probably about 5 waste of space who are living off of their paychecks/reputation because they once wrote an article that people liked. When you do have the guys like Reily who do report, they have the personality of a drunk uncle groping his niece and nobody wants to listen to them. (meanwhile after the fact, those same incompetents are now claiming that the entire era is tainted because of rampant use that was NEVER REPORTED BY THOSE INCOMPETENTS...but it was rampant, and they would have known....seriously, you can't complain about roid use in the 90's, and be a voter who has never written an article exposing roids use during the decade...if you are, you are just a useless hypocrite that is helping to maintain the lack of professional standards that we assume is the norm for the bbwaa)
   174. cardsfanboy Posted: November 22, 2017 at 09:50 PM (#5580487)
To be clear ... I support steroid users for the HOF. But I am not going to believe that Jose Canseco or Ken Caminiti did not believe that he was cheating.


That is one thing I find funny in these discussions, is that people on the "pro-ped-acceptance" side seem to make the argument that the person doing the illegal thing didn't think they were doing anything "wrong.".... I'm fairly certain that everyone that did it, did think they were doing something at least gray (as mentioned--everyone was doing it) but for the most part, I'm pretty comfortable accepting the argument that they knew they were doing something wrong. But I do think in their mind it was no more wrong than Niekro using a nail file type of thing or a corked bat. I find it hard to believe they saw it(from their point of view) as any more than that.

Note: I don't think that the pro-ped acceptance side believes that the people didn't think they were crossing the lines, but that there are just so many other actions that cross the lines that it's not really a point to focus on.
   175. cardsfanboy Posted: November 22, 2017 at 09:52 PM (#5580488)
I think that was basically what he meant (or, that's how I took it anyway). And I could see a baseball player having the same mindset. The athletes would certainly have a better grasp of what everyone was doing than we would, but of course, they'd also have plenty of incentive to lie and say that everyone else was doing it too (even if they weren't) to deflect attention away from themselves, so I don't know.


There is some evidence to suggest that at least one gm implied to several prospects that if they want to make it to the majors that they needed to find some 'help'... and I don't think that particular instance (from memory, it was implied it was the Mets) is the exception to the rule. I think there were probably 100% organizations in baseball looking for ways to better their players chemically, while trying to keep their hands clean.
   176. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 22, 2017 at 10:52 PM (#5580498)
Bond's mastery of the strike zone was extraordinary(no steroids are helping you with this). You could see the pitcher thinking that if threw a strike it was going to be hit hard, really hard somewhere. Votto is getting to this Svengali level of control and he bumped up his homers last year. It'll be interesting to see if he can hit 40+ in 2018 whilst maintaining his amazing BB and K rates.

Beyond his home run totals, one of Bonds' most amazing stats was his 2558 to 1539 walk to strikeout career totals. For a lively ball slugger, that's just mindblowing. Off the top of my head, I can think of very few other perennial home run threats in the last 40 or 50 years whose career walks exceeded their strikeouts---Other than Bonds, the only ones who jump to mind are Frank Thomas, Rickey, Don Mattingly, and (maybe) Yaz and Sheffield, but I'm not sure about those last two. There may be others, but I doubt if anyone even approaches Bonds' 5 to 3 ratio.
   177. ajnrules Posted: November 23, 2017 at 12:47 AM (#5580513)
Late Clemens looked nothing like early Clemens. Late Clemens threw 100-110 92 mph fastballs and 88 mph splitters 33 times a season. Early Clemens threw 130 97 mph fastballs and 92 mph sliders 35 times a season. And mid-career stumble Clemens led the league in strikeouts in 1996.

Mid-career stumble Clemens also finished second in ERA and strikeouts and led the league in ERA+ and fewest hits per nine innings pitched in 1994, but you knew he was in a mid-career stumble because he failed to reach double digits in wins. (He had 9, never mind he only had 3.93 runs per start and missed half of August and all of September due to a strike.)
   178. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: November 23, 2017 at 03:24 AM (#5580519)

To be clear ... I support steroid users for the HOF. But I am not going to believe that Jose Canseco or Ken Caminiti did not believe that he was cheating.
I don't know about their secret thoughts. But Jose Canseco's book was not a denunciation of the culture of steroid use; it was a celebration of it. Reading the book, one could not have come away with the conclusion that he thought it was cheating. And Caminiti's SI interview did not come across that way, either. He was not tearfully (sincerely or falsely) apologizing; he was simply telling what he did matter of factly. (And it didn't make him a pariah in the game, either; the Padres hired him as a spring training instructor thereafter. And later inducted him into their team HOF with, AFAICT, no major controversy.)
   179. DJS, the Digital Dandy Posted: November 23, 2017 at 11:27 AM (#5580573)
From what I've read of '70s ballplayers, I suspect the real appeal was that amphetamines unnaturally speed hangover recovery.

I fail to see how this is a point in favor of amphetamines vs. steroids. Steroids aren't magical things either; one of the primary mechanisms of action for anabolic steroids is a recovery effect as well.
   180. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: November 23, 2017 at 07:09 PM (#5580627)

I fail to see how this is a point in favor of amphetamines vs. steroids
Are you serious? From teh 40s throught eh70s when day games were more common and the season was more compressed, recovering from a hangover is critical to get on the field (competently).

Let's say Mantle played one extra game every two weeks because of greenies. Suddenly that's 10%. Now take away 10% of his HRs.

Getting on the field is more important than anything steroids can do.
   181. Bug Selig Posted: November 23, 2017 at 07:55 PM (#5580630)
I had both friends and acquaintances who were both fans and not fans, as well as weightlifters and bodybuilders, and they all, to a man, said, you don't get a body ripped like McGwire's was unless you do steroids and PEDs.
If this is true, they could not have been more wrong. You need to make up conversations with smarter people.
   182. Rennie's Tenet Posted: November 24, 2017 at 09:41 AM (#5580672)
The Hall seems to have shot itself in the foot here? Ballot came out yesterday, and this is all anyone noticed?


Quoting myself from 100 posts ago. Now with the Passan and Ortiz articles on the record, this was just a stunningly stupid thing to do.

I'm not even sure if Bonds and Clemens have real momentum. Half of their recent jump came from purging retired voters. I'm inclined to think that last year's increase came from voters who think that if gatekeepers like Larussa and Selig are in, you can't punish the players from that era.
   183. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: November 24, 2017 at 01:17 PM (#5580730)
1. He stayed on the field. Being healthy and able to play as the body ages is a thing steroids will help with.

2. He got bigger and stronger due to increased weight room work. Recovery after heavy weight sessions is a thing steroids will help with.

3. He decided to hit more home runs. While being healthy and stronger certainly help there, it's a secondary correlation, not direct.

4. He perfected a metronomic swing that never altered. This was not due to steroids; it may have been due to the body armor.

5. He refused to swing at anything he couldn't drive. This has nothing to do with steroids.

6. He became the most deferred to player in the game by the umpires. This had nothing to do with steroids.

7. Pitchers stopped throwing him pitches to get him out, which meant he either walked or was in a hitters count (to get pitches to drive.)
   184. PreservedFish Posted: November 24, 2017 at 01:36 PM (#5580736)
I object to the idea that one can tick off what attributes are and aren't steroid enhanced. Steroids - in conjunction with intense exercise and self-mastery - created the bigger muscles that enabled Bonds to swing the bat faster. Swinging the bat faster allowed him to improve his patience and selectivity, which in turn fed into #'s 5 and 6.

As far as staying on the field, it seems to me that health and the lack of health are both frequently reputed to be results of steroid use.

But this is just more reason to vote for the steroids guys. There's no possible way to account for, and adjust away, the effect of steroids. Even Bonds and his trainers could not possibly do the math accurately.
   185. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 24, 2017 at 01:50 PM (#5580745)
I object to the idea that one can tick off what attributes are and aren't steroid enhanced. Steroids - in conjunction with intense exercise and self-mastery - created the bigger muscles that enabled Bonds to swing the bat faster. Swinging the bat faster allowed him to improve his patience and selectivity, which in turn fed into #'s 5 and 6.

That first sentence seems to be contradicted by the two that follow it.

The problem is that way too many anti-steroids people totally obscure their point by imagining that steroids constitute some sort of magic pill (or cream), whereas in fact the "magic" can only kick in when a player has the intelligence and discipline to take full advantage of their properties. That's what separates the Bondses and the McGwires from the collection of hapless chumps who think that steroids and a few weight lifting sessions are going to transform them into----Barry Bonds or Mark McGwire.

   186. PreservedFish Posted: November 24, 2017 at 01:55 PM (#5580749)
Andy, it should make sense in the context of the previous post. Sam asserted that steroids had nothing to do with Bonds' patience and batting eye.
   187. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 24, 2017 at 02:13 PM (#5580758)
The Hall, quite frankly, doesn't deserve Clemens and Bonds. And the rest.
   188. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 24, 2017 at 02:25 PM (#5580762)
You don't remember the chants directed at Canseco in Boston?


That's what shows nobody cared. It was all in good fun. There wasn't the venom in it that was inherent with, say, ARod years later.

Nobody threw at Canseco because they thought he had used.
   189. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 24, 2017 at 02:32 PM (#5580766)
It would be interesting to see an interview with Bonds that intelligently -- and non-accusatorily if that's a word; i.e., setting the whole steroids issue aside -- discussed the changes he made to his body and approach as he aged and also saw that the game around him was changing.

Does such an interview exist?

   190. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 24, 2017 at 03:04 PM (#5580777)
Andy, it should make sense in the context of the previous post. Sam asserted that steroids had nothing to do with Bonds' patience and batting eye.

Okay, upon further reading of Sam's comment I see what you were getting at. And while I think we can make educated guesses about the general relationship between steroid use and specific ways it'd show up for a player, it's madness to suppose that can either apply those hypotheses across the board to all steroid users, or to convert them into a mathematical formula for any given player.
   191. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: November 24, 2017 at 03:46 PM (#5580802)
I object to the idea that one can tick off what attributes are and aren't steroid enhanced. Steroids - in conjunction with intense exercise and self-mastery - created the bigger muscles that enabled Bonds to swing the bat faster. Swinging the bat faster allowed him to improve his patience and selectivity, which in turn fed into #'s 5 and 6.

As far as staying on the field, it seems to me that health and the lack of health are both frequently reputed to be results of steroid use.

But this is just more reason to vote for the steroids guys. There's no possible way to account for, and adjust away, the effect of steroids. Even Bonds and his trainers could not possibly do the math accurately.


I think we actually agree. I have stated for a decade now that a HOF without Bonds and Clemens is a joke, and Cooperstown continues to fade into utter Old Man Screaming At A Cloud irrelevance with every passing year. My list was more to show that there were multiple correlated things going on in the late 90s and early 2000's that combined to contribute to Bonds' late career transformation into a Babier Babe Ruth.

I could add other things, such as the way MLB's strike zones tightened and shrunk over the course of the 90s until it basically existed as a postage stamp low and in, which is the generic sweet spot for most every left handed power hitter ever, but was particularly a Here There Be Dragons zone to try to pitch to Bonds.

I do think there's a significant element to the old Ty Cobb meme with Bonds late career power spike too. He jacked his HR numbers because he wanted to. It's relatively well known that his ego was strafed when his 40-40 campaign was more or less forgotten entirely due to the media circus around McGwire/Sosa '98. At which point he said "okay, if that's what you want from your stars, let me show you how that's done."
   192. bachslunch Posted: November 24, 2017 at 07:25 PM (#5580839)
Nice. Now that LaRussa, Torre, and Selig are safely enshrined, let’s make sure the players get hung out to dry on the HoF. Real classy of Joe and the Hall.
   193. Zach Posted: November 27, 2017 at 04:44 PM (#5581679)
From what I've read of '70s ballplayers, I suspect the real appeal was that amphetamines unnaturally speed hangover recovery.

I fail to see how this is a point in favor of amphetamines vs. steroids. Steroids aren't magical things either; one of the primary mechanisms of action for anabolic steroids is a recovery effect as well.


It's not really an argument about PEDs, it's just an observation of the culture in that time period. People weren't taking greenies to get an edge on the field as much as to recover from / enable more of the partying they were doing off the field.
   194. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: November 27, 2017 at 04:58 PM (#5581686)
#173:
Considering that the "media" is the bbwaa, a collection of quite possibly the most incompetent professionals in history of organized professionals, it's not a surprise at all that they failed to do their job. They have failed for years before and continue to fail. It's just not a real body of people that most people would consider to have professional standards. They live in a crossworld of being reporters and journalists and never deciding on which line they would like to hang out. For every good bbwaa member out there, you have probably about 5 waste of space who are living off of their paychecks/reputation because they once wrote an article that people liked. When you do have the guys like Reilly who do report, they have the personality of a drunk uncle groping his niece and nobody wants to listen to them. (meanwhile after the fact, those same incompetents are now claiming that the entire era is tainted because of rampant use that was NEVER REPORTED BY THOSE INCOMPETENTS...but it was rampant, and they would have known....seriously, you can't complain about roid use in the 90's, and be a voter who has never written an article exposing roids use during the decade...if you are, you are just a useless hypocrite that is helping to maintain the lack of professional standards that we assume is the norm for the bbwaa)

Lest we forget, numerous writers didn't merely avoid or ignore steroids-- they joined the attacks on Steve Wilstein's credibility and professionalism after he broke the McGwire andro story.
   195. simon bedford Posted: November 27, 2017 at 07:04 PM (#5581755)
193 is the argument I cannot stand, of course adding alertness and concentration chemically that you cannot create naturally IS trying to get an edge on the field, why they needed that edge is absolutely irrelevant to the discussion of "cheating" through chemistry.
   196. PreservedFish Posted: November 27, 2017 at 09:17 PM (#5581821)
People weren't taking greenies to get an edge on the field as much as to recover from / enable more of the partying they were doing off the field.


Sure. Only hungover players ever took greenies.
   197. Lassus Posted: November 28, 2017 at 12:13 AM (#5581851)
and Cooperstown continues to fade into utter Old Man Screaming At A Cloud irrelevance with every passing year.

This sounds more like a description of this website than the Hall.
   198. manchestermets Posted: November 28, 2017 at 11:45 AM (#5581942)
People weren't taking greenies to get an edge on the field as much as to recover from / enable more of the partying they were doing off the field.


How is having recovered from a hangover not getting an edge on the field?
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