Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

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

Friday, July 29, 2011

Joe Posnanski: Saving Bonds

Pos, Bonds and the transfixed rate of Bob Costas.

My friend Bob Costas left a message for me yesterday. It was a very nice message—Bob is a great guy—but he also had a slight disagreement. Bob and I are very often on the same page when it comes to baseball, but he was reading a small essay I wrote in the magazine this week and he noticed this line:

”(Barry) Bonds and (Roger) Clemens are two of the best who ever played the game. If not for the steroid noise that surrounds them, you could make a viable argument that they are simply the two best ever.”

I should say that my thinking, when I wrote the line, was simply that if you took their numbers and performances at face value, you could make the viable argument that they are the two best ever. Bob, though, read it differently. He thought that I was actually saying without steroids Bonds and Clemens are two of the best ever, perhaps even THE two best ever. This did not bother him so much for Clemens, but it did bother him for for Bonds. He strongly disagrees.

We’ve had similar discussions before, and if I could summarize his thought, I think it goes something like this (and I am reworking this a little bit to get Bob’s opinion more precisely): Barry Bonds in 1998 was a great player. Truly great. But there was no argument to make for him as the best ever. In Bob’s words: He certainly wasn’t Ruth; he didn’t hit like Williams or Musial; as great an all-around player as he was he was not Mays and his career did not have the totality of Aaron. Bob thinks Bonds of 1998 could certainly be in the discussion as one of the 10 or 12 best non-pitchers of all time. But there was no argument for him as the very best. And there is no argument that can be made for him as the very best NOW either without steroids.

Repoz Posted: July 29, 2011 at 11:32 AM | 572 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: announcers, hall of fame, history, media, sabermetrics, television

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

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

Page 3 of 6 pages  < 1 2 3 4 5 6 > 
   201. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 30, 2011 at 07:52 AM (#3888904)
Andy, you basically said "omigaaawwd, Bonds's late career surge was unprecedented and better than anything he did in his late 20s, and therefore steroids must have been a significant factor." The point I made in rebuttal was, shrug, great players do unprecedented things. Walt listed some examples. I cited Rivera, e.g., that his best ERA+s - by far - come at ages 38 and 35. So you going to K rate (*) doesn't negate the point I made, or even respond to it.

There's another aspect of Rivera's performance also: his postseason ERA. A 0.71 ERA in 139 innings, all against playoff teams. Don't people marvel at that continuously? Isn't it similar in many respects to the amazement in Bonds's late career surge? Great players do things that blow people away.

How many things does Rivera have to do to amaze you before you admit that Bonds doing something amazing is just the same thing.

(*) Do steroids increase K rate? Do they even increase velocity? Pedro was a skinny guy and threw 97 anyway, suggesting that velocity has more to do with torque/motion/etc than raw arm strength.
   202. baudib Posted: July 30, 2011 at 08:24 AM (#3888908)
I take Bonds' pre-steroid peak over Mays, personally.

Mantle's tougher. I think you can nick The Mick on some durability issues and competition (pretty sure the AL of Mantle's era was vastly inferior to the NL of the 1950s and certainly of Bonds' era), so it's close.
   203. KT's Pot Arb Posted: July 30, 2011 at 08:33 AM (#3888909)
It was unprecedented to have a player as gifted as Bonds suddenly discover weight training so late in his career.

If Ted Williams started weight lifting at age 34, what does the end of his career look like? Probably much like Bonds.
   204. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 30, 2011 at 08:38 AM (#3888911)
I was blown away that Barry would expect me to believe he thought he was spending all that money on flaxseed oil.
Spending all what money? Are we back in making-up-facts mode?
   205. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 30, 2011 at 08:41 AM (#3888912)
And when you see a 35 to 39 year old player improve on his previous peak years WAY beyond the extent that any other player in the history of baseball has ever done before**---and when we know he used steroids during that period---you don't need to quantify it with any statistical precision to be able to draw a reasonable conclusion that those steroids were "clearly" part of what led to that improvement.
Since he improved in that period way beyond the extent that any other steroid user has ever done before -- and we don't know he used steroids during that period -- your conclusion is not reasonable.
   206. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 30, 2011 at 09:50 AM (#3888921)
Hey, those BALCO boys don't work cheap. Boxer Shane Mosley said one round of treatment at BALCO cost him just under $2000 plus $900 for every batch of "vitamins" Victor Conte mailed to his house. Sprinter Darwin Chambers said his treatments ran up to $30,000 a year. And then there's this. I don't think the BALCO boys were giving these folks the good stuff and holding out on Barry.
You're mistaken. Bonds didn't get anything from BALCO. Not according to Conte, anyway. (And Conte was not shy about calling out athletes who were his customers.)

(Ever think there was a reason the government couldn't prove anything?)
   207. Ron J Posted: July 30, 2011 at 10:42 AM (#3888925)
#206 Conte dealt with Anderson and Anderson dealt with Bonds. But as long as we're being technical, I don't think it's quite true that Bonds got nothing directly from Conte. Blanking on exactly what it was that he got in exchange for a testimonial. I do recall it wasn't much though.
   208. Ron J Posted: July 30, 2011 at 10:54 AM (#3888926)
#203 (and to Ray's earlier point) It wasn't just weights. Remember that Bonds was very much a pioneer on the nutrition front -- to the point of skipping the team post-game spread. This wasn't at all in line with Bonds' inclinations. He's a chicken waffle kind of guy and that can't be good for the waistline.

Aaron aged very well as a player despite clearly losing the battle of the bulge (not in any terrible way, but he did get bigger and slower). Who knows what the effect of hiring a nutritionist and chef (and eating what they provided) would have had on the later stage of his career. I doubt it's zero though.

Aaron gained by a late career change in conditions (mound height), so in an odd way did Bonds. The change in the strike zone (to be specific calling a higher strike) allowed Bonds to discover that despite being the best low ball hitter in the league he seems to have been a better high ball hitter. He had no reason to know this. A lot of pitches he hit out in his late surge were pitches he'd have taken earlier in his career -- they weren't strikes and Bonds never swung at strikes.
   209. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: July 30, 2011 at 11:05 AM (#3888927)
Interesting thread. I chuckled after Andy's era-adjusted OPS+ stats were ignored, but the crowds clamored for league ISO when he mentioned Bonds' place among the career single-season ISO leaderboard, as if adjusting for era there is going to tell us something that OPS+ didn't.

The absolute best part, though, was Ray's 152 and 153, which don't even address the question originally being posed. Very well trolled, Ray.


These guys have been honing their techniques for years, Dan, and I've long been used to it. Although I particularly love the way that Aaron "spike" gets so enthusiastically thrown up every time and then quickly gets withdrawn and substituted by something else. Anything to keep the game alive. But a final kudos for Walt's efforts with Babe Ruth without even once mentioning the goat testicles. Clarence Darrow himself couldn't have shown such lawyerly restraint.

Seriously, you guys have been talking past each other for months now. Give it a rest.

I'll take your sane advice and just wish Ray a happy 38th birthday. It took me only one more year after that to finally open my own business, and maybe Ray will be lucky enough to do the same for himself.
   210. BDC Posted: July 30, 2011 at 12:46 PM (#3888935)
What you simply cannot get around is the fact that many other players used steroids and didn't see this kind of a late-career surge (Ray #178)

That's my thought exactly. I've long been of the opinion that steroids helped Bonds – I don't know if it's on the order of helping him hit 73 HR instead of 70, or 73 instead of 68, but it stands to reason that a little more muscle equals a little more distance on a few fly balls. But the oft-cited parade of players who hit astounding HR totals at advanced ages is a set of one, Barry Bonds, and I don't think one can draw too many generalizations from that.
   211. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: July 30, 2011 at 01:10 PM (#3888940)
even with the juice, Bonds couldn't have lasted until he was 55

Julio Franco must have been on some wicked good ####.
   212. Dan The Mediocre Posted: July 30, 2011 at 01:37 PM (#3888945)
But the oft-cited parade of players who hit astounding HR totals at advanced ages is a set of one, Barry Bonds, and I don't think one can draw too many generalizations from that.


How much of that was being part of a period with a lot of HR across the league?
   213. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: July 30, 2011 at 02:10 PM (#3888951)
You're mistaken.


Those BALCO guys DO work cheap?

Bonds didn't get anything from BALCO. Not according to Conte, anyway.


"The program I created for Barry was a comprehensive nutritional supplementation regimen and had nothing to do with the clear or any other anabolic steroids"

Conte, of course, being the man who dubbed his signature pharmaceuticals "the clear" and "the cream", both of which Bonds indulged in. For his part Bonds claimed with a straight face that he believed these expensive designer PEDs were flaxseed oil and Ben Gay.

Now of course one of the things we know about Conte and his famed "clear" was that he would routinely deliver the drug to client in a flaxseed oil jar (this based on the testimony of sprinter Tim Montgomery) but flaxseed oil costs about $20 for a liter and Conte's fancy drugs are a fair bit more expensive. Perhaps Bonds is a spendthrift. Perhaps he's stupid. But rather than smear him with such accusations I think it more believable that he didn't think he was paying a 10,000% markup on OTC goods from the local Vitamin Hut but was paying a premium price for the very best PEDs in the world.

Plus the blood and urine monitoring at BALCO, of course. He paid for that too.


(Ever think there was a reason the government couldn't prove anything?)


Well there's lawyerly weaseling. They couldn't prove OJ Simpson murdered his ex-wife either. Naturally Bonds himself was well-trained in the way of the weasel from his own team of shysters. "[W]hen asked about documents stating he had paid $450 for a bottle of Depo-Testosterone, Bonds said, "I have never seen this bottle or any bottle pertaining that says Depo-Testosterone."" Oh Barry, that's not just flaxseed oil making you so slippery!
   214. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: July 30, 2011 at 02:26 PM (#3888956)
For his part Bonds claimed with a straight face that he believed these expensive designer PEDs were flaxseed oil and Ben Gay.

Well, the aroma of Ben Gay is pretty unmistakeable.
   215. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: July 30, 2011 at 02:32 PM (#3888959)
For his part Bonds claimed with a straight face that he believed these expensive designer PEDs were flaxseed oil and Ben Gay.


Well, the aroma of Ben Gay is pretty unmistakeable.

Not to mention the aroma of bullshit said with a straight face.
   216. Bob Tufts Posted: July 30, 2011 at 02:54 PM (#3888970)
Darrell Evans - 137 OPS+ at age 38, 135 OPS+ at age 40, hadn't reached those level since he was 26. Highest career HR totals for a 4 year span - ages 36-39 and ages 38-41 - 115.
   217. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 30, 2011 at 03:22 PM (#3888977)
Darrell Evans - 137 OPS+ at age 38, 135 OPS+ at age 40, hadn't reached those level since he was 26. Highest career HR totals for a 4 year span - ages 36-39 and ages 38-41 - 115.


No, no, no - you are only allowed to use WAR to show a late-career surge. Or K-rate for pitchers. Nothing else will do.
   218. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: July 30, 2011 at 03:39 PM (#3888986)
Darrell Evans - 137 OPS+ at age 38, 135 OPS+ at age 40, hadn't reached those level since he was 26.

And when had Barry Bonds ever previously reached his 35-39 numbers? In Little League? In college? In a previous life on another planet? This isn't even as good a comparison as the Aaron late career "spike" of five whole OPS+ points that gets posted and then hem-hawed and dropped when someone points out the difference between "spikes" of 3% and spikes of 36%.
   219. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 30, 2011 at 04:50 PM (#3889020)
Andy, if Bonds is at level X, and then makes changes A (steroids), B (re-focuing his weight training and goals to build upper body strength), C (nutrition), D (change in approach to hit more fly balls), and E (change in approach to swing at higher pitches), and then goes to level Y, how can you reasonably claim that one specific factor was "clearly" the key to it all?

Especially when that one specific factor provided exactly zero other players with similar results? And it's not like we don't have a massive sample.
   220. AROM Posted: July 30, 2011 at 05:13 PM (#3889033)
Can you guys agree that steroids could have been one factor in Bonds' late career hitting, but not the only one and not necessarily the primary one?
   221. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: July 30, 2011 at 05:27 PM (#3889036)
Andy, if Bonds is at level X, and then makes changes A (steroids), B (re-focuing his weight training and goals to build upper body strength), C (nutrition), D (change in approach to hit more fly balls), and E (change in approach to swing at higher pitches), and then goes to level Y, how can you reasonably claim that one specific factor was "clearly" the key to it all?

What I'd like to know (seriously) is why you repeatedly insist on conflating what I've written a million times into "the key to it all"? How does "one factor" (which is what I've written every time the subject comes up) get transformed into "the key to it all" once it emerges from your filtering process?

You've listed five changes that Bonds made in his late career, all of which can reasonably be said to have contributed to his unprecedented power surge. There is absolutely no way to quantify any of these factors.

And yet for some reason, you demand a quantification of only one of these factors---steroids---before accepting that it contributed to that unprecedented surge. Why don't you demand of yourself that you also quantify the effects of the the other four factors? Obviously you can't do that, but do you then dismiss them as well?

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

Can you guys agree that steroids could have been one factor in Bonds' late career hitting, but not the only one and not necessarily the primary one?

AROM, that's a question that should be exclusively directed to Ray, since I've been saying that over and over ever since the BALCO revelations first came out, whether or not it penetrates some fairly thick skulls who can't be bothered to read what I've actually written. The truth is that I sometimes think that some of these birds just love to argue for argument's sake.
   222. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 30, 2011 at 05:34 PM (#3889040)
Can you guys agree that steroids could have been one factor in Bonds' late career hitting, but not the only one and not necessarily the primary one?

I'd certainly admit it might not be the only factor, but I'm reasonably confident that it's the primary one.

I'll put it this way. Barry Bonds had a 165 OPS+ through age 35. With normal aging, we would have expected him to decline and end up with an OPS+ in the mid-150's for his career. Best case, he finishes at 160.

Now, if you wanted to argue that weight lifting/nutrition/changed approach might had let him stave off aging, and maintain his 165 through the end, I could buy it.

Improve him a lot, so that he ups his production to 180-185, and ends with a 170 OPS+? Possible, but doubtful.

Improve him most of the way from the 165 to the 227 he did put up? No freaking way.

Plenty of guys have worked out and changed their approach as they age. At best they maintain or get a little better. If his regime was so successful w/o the drugs, everyone would be doing it.

Edit: It's not like Bonds was in lousy shape in his 20's. He was a tremendously fit, athletic player. Weights don't do that much.

To me, Barry Bonds is a 160 OPS+ career hitter. A great, great player. But not among the very, very best.

I categorically refuse to give him any credit or recognition for being any better a player than he was from 21-35. He just wasn't that guy w/o massive cheating.

Edit: Quite frankly, I'm shocked anyone wants to defend Bonds. He's a thoroughly unpleasant person that massively tainted the game we all love.

I can't fathom why anyone is happy with what he did, and would want to give him credit as "the best". I guess some people really love iconoclasm and anti-heroes, and will hitch their wagon to anything that helps that cause.
   223. Morty Causa Posted: July 30, 2011 at 05:47 PM (#3889043)
I know I’m going to end up hating myself for entering this briar patch….

I don’t view what Jolly Old moots as irrational at all. In the final analysis, you might not agree with his argument and contentions, but it isn’t irrational at all. That is, if you understand that being rational doesn’t require being perfectly and totally and irrefutably right. Being rational doesn’t even mean having the most reasonable, or the best, argument.

We decide things by probabilities based on what is known—or what we take as a given. Moreover, nothing is absolute. Nothing is set in stone. Especially in this instance where so much is not known about who was juicing and who wasn’t. But, everything is about probabilities. Great players do age like normal players or any other players; the decline is extended somewhat in many cases, but they do age and decline per the same pattern. When they don’t, that is what needs to be explained.

Let’s begin with: Bonds was not in that top-tier inner circle class of greatness until such a time…. Moreover, for he had established a level of play that ran five years that was decidedly below that level he subsequently (in athletic old age) surpassed, seemingly at a cruising speed of about 110mph. How he got into that class is the issue that requires explanation. Saying generally that great men do great and extraordinary things doesn’t explain anything—indeed, it’s an obdurate stance against explanation and discovery.

Looking at his career, now that it is over, we can say that unlike everyone else, he had his best years at a time when no other player had theirs. What happened? Players age: Bonds didn’t. Not when it came to that most complex of physical skills in baseball—hitting, and hitting home runs, especially. It looks like he was aging, then, all of a sudden, he wasn’t. Athletes don't have their best years (by far their best years) in athletic old-age—best years, in fact, out of the context of the rest of their career. Not in any sport. Can it be denied Bonds did? Do you think that Bonds just found it within himself to make a quantum leap in his late ‘30’s? That’s certainly possible in the sense that anything’s possible—and if that’s the way you live your mental life, well, may God bless you.

No one before or since changed their exercise and eating habits? And if there were others, did they all get this quantum jump in performance? Or anything near for so long. If you want to think Bonds solely and singularly beat this inevitability rule because he’s this Godlike, sui generis, freak of nature, a sort of the Einstein of baseball (who also aged and declined btw), it behooves you to explain how that could come about in way that is more convincing than making a mythological hero claim.

It isn’t just that he did what he did. As it is with other athlete’s extraordinary feats and accomplishments, it’s at the time of his life that he did it. Ruth didn’t hit 60 home runs at age 37, or 54 or 59 in his late ‘30’s; he wasn’t both an excellent pitcher and superior hitter in his ‘40’s. Players do do extraordinary things—but what they do fits into an established pattern that comports with their history and with comparisons to the performance curve of other players. Players don’t get better in extreme old athletic age. But, Bonds did. And not just to a minute degree. Maybe there’s an explanation, but just saying that it’s one of those things is not an explanation.

This isn’t to deny that people react to steroids (other most all other things) with varying responses. If Bonds was on a steroid regimen, he is nevertheless a cases study in optimum response. People’s reactions to all drugs and chemicals vary. That’s understandable and explainable. Pulling a sword embedded in rock out is not. Parting the Red Sea needs some better explanation than, well, some people have a stronger hand wave than others. It is mindboggling either way, but one is lot more believable than the other.

Nevertheless, there's a trajectory down in the performance curve that correlates with getting old. Bonds somehow beat that—and he beat it by a lap. How likely is that, if we assume it was only nature and good work and eating habits? And becoming smarter. Bonds was truly an extraordinary exception, one way or the other. One explanation seems to be in a nature of a supernatural one—the other in the nature of physical cause and effect. There’s something to consider when it comes to either. One seems a better explanation. But not enough that we should get too righteous about it. What’s the better explanation?

The best evidence rule isn’t that the evidence has to be absolutely incontrovertible. It doesn’t have to refute every possible objection, however trivial and facile. It just means, what’s more likely to be the case, all things considered, that can be considered.

But listen: steroids are different--they synthesize with protein to make tissue, esp. muscle tissue. That makes them different. Is that too complicated to understand? I don’t think so. Did Bonds in late career look like someone who made tissue or didn’t he? Did he continue to perform, and out-do previous performance, like someone who made muscle tissue or didn’t he? Does that all fit into the conventional wisdom with regard to steroids or doesn’t it? After all, this is what steroids are for—and this is what athletes and bodybuilders/weightlifters say it does. (Moreover, drugs like amphetamines don't do what steroids do.) Yet, this is ignored with the objection—well, there could be some other explanation. Or, maybe he was just different. There’s always a possibility that he’s the first person born of woman who doesn’t follow the aging pattern.

This doesn’t mean he should go to jail; it does mean that suspecting him of using steroids is not irrational. If it looks like super duck, quacks like super duck…. Maybe it’s not just hard work and making yourself smarter. Maybe it’s radioactivity that made him Radioactive Man. It’s good attorneys raising every objection and quibble to test the prosecution. But, at every given point in time, there’s a best explanation for something. Some of these objections seem on par with the Twinkie defense gambit. It’s not steroids—it’s this, it’s that, it could be this or that, anyway bet you can’t prove it isn’t, oh, look at the ducks, etc
   224. mex4173 Posted: July 30, 2011 at 06:01 PM (#3889049)
Edit: Quite frankly, I'm shocked anyone wants to defend Bonds. He's a thoroughly unpleasant person that massively tainted the game we all love.


From the very beginning of reading and learning about baseball as a kid, I've always seen the message that "cheating is terrible (wink, wink), and you shouldn't do it (wink), and these players were totally not respected for their ability to cheat (wink, wink, wink). These other players were completely ostracized when their cheating was found out (wink, wink). Cheating has no place in baseball (wink, wink, wink, wink, wink)."


I'm not sure this is exactly a defense of Bonds, but I have a hard time seeing much taint in steroids, and just steroids.
   225. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: July 30, 2011 at 06:18 PM (#3889053)
AROM, that's a question that should be exclusively directed to Ray, since I've been saying that over and over ever since the BALCO revelations first came out, whether or not it penetrates some fairly thick skulls who can't be bothered to read what I've actually written. The truth is that I sometimes think that some of these birds just love to argue for argument's sake.

Andy, you do realize that your "not-the-only factor" stance has already been acknowledged right here in this very thread, right? And that this acceptance of nuance is not something that is shared by many others on your side of the Bonds divide, don't you? And that the question therefore needs to directed to those individuals as well?
   226. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: July 30, 2011 at 07:06 PM (#3889068)
Andy, you do realize that your "not-the-only factor" stance has already been acknowledged right here in this very thread, right?

Take a look at what Ray wrote in #219 and see if you still believe that. He's belabored this strawman so many times that I've honestly lost count, and continues to do so no matter how many times he gets called on it.

And that this acceptance of nuance is not something that is shared by many others on your side of the Bonds divide, don't you? And that the question therefore needs to directed to those individuals as well?

That first part is true, and that second part is fine, but in that case I'd think that the question should be directed to those individuals, and not just to "you guys" as if we all were thinking in unison. Or at least it might have acknowledged that I'd already answered that question repeatedly for about the past six and a half years---is that really too much to ask?
   227. RobertMachemer Posted: July 30, 2011 at 07:14 PM (#3889070)
Oi. Bonds's problem is apparently that he was the outlier, and since outliers never occur on their own, there has to be a nefarious reason for it. After all, "where there's smoke, there's fire" -- so even though there have been a few players who've done surprisingly well at a late age (among the few players good enough to get to play at a late age), the one who had the greatest years at a late age MUST have 'cheated' (for given values of 'cheating').
   228. JC in DC Posted: July 30, 2011 at 07:14 PM (#3889071)
Great post, Morty.
   229. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: July 30, 2011 at 07:48 PM (#3889083)
Oi. Bonds's problem is apparently that he was the outlier, and since outliers never occur on their own, there has to be a nefarious reason for it.

Yes, that explains why every other baseball "outlier" has also been so ruthlessly attacked and had his outlier feats dismissed as the products of cheating. I'm thinking about all those exposes of Babe Ruth and his sheep testicles, which led Dan Daniel on a crusade to revert the home run record back to Gavvy Cravath.

After all, "where there's smoke, there's fire" -- so even though there have been a few players who've done surprisingly well at a late age (among the few players good enough to get to play at a late age), the one who had the greatest years at a late age MUST have 'cheated' (for given values of 'cheating').

Well, there is that little matter of BALCO, but that was obviously all a frameup plotted by the Medicare Chapter of the Roger Maris Fan Club. There couldn't possibly be any other grounds for suspicion.
   230. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 30, 2011 at 08:04 PM (#3889087)
I'd certainly admit it might not be the only factor, but I'm reasonably confident that it's the primary one.

I'll put it this way. Barry Bonds had a 165 OPS+ through age 35. With normal aging, we would have expected him to decline and end up with an OPS+ in the mid-150's for his career. Best case, he finishes at 160.


I reject the premise. I don't know why we would graph "normal aging" onto him. He was not a normal player. Normal players don't put up a 165 OPS+ through age 35.

A "normal great player"? That gets back into the discussion we were having above. Why would we be surprised when one of the 10 greatest players in history does something unique?

Now, if you wanted to argue that weight lifting/nutrition/changed approach might had let him stave off aging, and maintain his 165 through the end, I could buy it.

Improve him a lot, so that he ups his production to 180-185, and ends with a 170 OPS+? Possible, but doubtful.

Improve him most of the way from the 165 to the 227 he did put up? No freaking way.


Why not? Only because you say so.

Edit: Quite frankly, I'm shocked anyone wants to defend Bonds. He's a thoroughly unpleasant person that massively tainted the game we all love.


I don't think "Bonds is a bad guy" is a license to make illogical arguments. It's your argument I have a problem with. It doesn't hold up.

Nor do I think steroids "massively tainted the game," or tainted the game at all. They were part of an era, just like anything else. If they improved performance, they were a drug of choice for doing so, just like amphetamines.

I can't fathom why anyone is happy with what he did, and would want to give him credit as "the best". I guess some people really love iconoclasm and anti-heroes, and will hitch their wagon to anything that helps that cause.


Since the conclusion that steroids clearly caused his performance increase is not supportable, I of course will easily give him credit as "the best" (subject to one's flavor of normal era/league difficulty adjustments and the like).
   231. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 30, 2011 at 08:37 PM (#3889098)
Andy, if Bonds is at level X, and then makes changes A (steroids), B (re-focuing his weight training and goals to build upper body strength), C (nutrition), D (change in approach to hit more fly balls), and E (change in approach to swing at higher pitches), and then goes to level Y, how can you reasonably claim that one specific factor was "clearly" the key to it all?

What I'd like to know (seriously) is why you repeatedly insist on conflating what I've written a million times into "the key to it all"? How does "one factor" (which is what I've written every time the subject comes up) get transformed into "the key to it all" once it emerges from your filtering process?


Because you think that without steroids, he wouldn't have had the late career surge.

That makes steroids the key to it all.

If not, why do you want him blackballed from the Hall of Fame? Because he changed his diet?

You think that steroids are cheating because you think they are the key to massive gains in performance. You can wax poetic about "other factors" as much as you want, but you don't actually think these "other factors" would amount to a hill of beans without steroids. As you've said. (See below.) That's why you keep harping on Bonds's late career surge compared to what he did earlier, as if his late career surge in itself is Evil and proof all by itself of the massive gains available from steroids use.

So let's stop playing games. If you don't think steroids are the key, then your entire presentation on the steroids issue is utterly in conflict with itself.

You said (post 163*) that steroids "clearly helped." You said (post 163) that the notion that Bonds "somehow discovered a way to walk on water" without steroids "doesn't wash." You said (post 170**) that steroids were "clearly part" of what led to Bonds's late career improvement. That means that without steroids, he does not have that late career surge.

--------------
Footnotes:

* Andy, Post 163: Except that I'm not "boiling all of that down to steroids", with or without the four !!!!. I've said a million times here that Bonds was a fabulous player, possibly the greatest ever if you ignore steroids and adjust for league strength, and even without steroids he's still almost certainly in the top half dozen. And I've also many times acknowledged the other factors that helped his power numbers, such as his changed swing, etc. Try as you might to pretend that I am, and I'm sure you'll continue to do so, I'm not going the Kevin route, bless his heart.
But while "boiling it down" to nothing but steroids is crazy, it's also crazy not to acknowledge that they clearly helped, even if you can't quantify how much they helped with any precision. "Great players do great things", but that still leaves the fact that no "great player" in 135 years worth of Major League history has ever improved at age 35 to anywhere remotely the degree that Bonds did. Your essential argument here is that Bonds somehow discovered a way to walk on water at an age when 98% of players begin rapid declines, and when only a tiny sliver of players, "great" or otherwise, manage to show even the tiniest improvement at all. I give you credit for trying, but it just doesn't wash.


** Andy, Post 170: And when you see a 35 to 39 year old player improve on his previous peak years WAY beyond the extent that any other player in the history of baseball has ever done before**---and when we know he used steroids during that period---you don't need to quantify it with any statistical precision to be able to draw a reasonable conclusion that those steroids were "clearly" part of what led to that improvement.
   232. BDC Posted: July 30, 2011 at 08:59 PM (#3889103)
Can you guys agree that steroids could have been one factor in Bonds' late career hitting, but not the only one and not necessarily the primary one?

Absolutely, and I also agree with much of Morty's #223.

Too much of the discussion, as Morty says, is legalistic, spun around the legality and morality of steroids and such. Basically, Bonds at ages 27-29 (1992-93, his second and third MVP years) was an extremely great player. He dominated baseball in both slugging and on-base percentage, played left field like a star centerfielder, and stole 30-40 bases a year.

In his late 30s, he was a distinctly better hitter, but his speed and defense were much reduced, his durability decreased, and numbers like OPS+ are a bit skewed by the fact that nobody would pitch to him, leading to hilarious IBB totals.

Nobody has ever done anything remotely like it, but there are players who have had similar aging curves. Brian Downing's was more extreme (and steroid suspicions would be logical to make in his case as well; he started working out and got much buffer as the years went by). Hank Aaron's career looks something like Bonds, if more consistent throughout, and with Aaron as well you have the "crazy outlier" factor. Darrell Evans has been noted. Bonds was both better and weirder than any of these guys, seemingly on his own planet. But he was not insanely better as an overall player in his late 30s than in his late 20s.

I think that steroids helped him become a better HR hitter late, as did circumstances, and I think that he was a ridiculously great player no matter what, and got the most out of both his talent and his training/drug regimens, and I think for that matter Bonds may have been juicing for a long time; I think lots of players were juicing outside of the years of suspicion (cf. AROD's bonehead "I only did it in Texas" contention, part of the young man's general desire to take a leak on the Ballpark while casting the rest of his career as part of his candidacy for sainthood :)
   233. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: July 30, 2011 at 09:08 PM (#3889105)
Yes, that explains why every other baseball "outlier" has also been so ruthlessly attacked and had his outlier feats dismissed as the products of cheating. I'm thinking about all those exposes of Babe Ruth and his sheep testicles, which led Dan Daniel on a crusade to revert the home run record back to Gavvy Cravath.


Meanwhile one can still purchase deep-fried testicle fritters at Rockies games. Shame on your hypocrisy baseball! Shame!
   234. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: July 30, 2011 at 09:26 PM (#3889112)
What I'd like to know (seriously) is why you repeatedly insist on conflating what I've written a million times into "the key to it all"? How does "one factor" (which is what I've written every time the subject comes up) get transformed into "the key to it all" once it emerges from your filtering process?

Because you think that without steroids, he wouldn't have had the late career surge.

That makes steroids the key to it all.


No more than it makes any of those other factors I've also acknowledged "the key to it all". Jesus Motherfucker of Mercy, are you the densest person on Earth?

A refresher course in what you wrote:

Andy, if Bonds is at level X, and then makes changes A (steroids), B (re-focuing his weight training and goals to build upper body strength), C (nutrition), D (change in approach to hit more fly balls), and E (change in approach to swing at higher pitches), and then goes to level Y, how can you reasonably claim that one specific factor was "clearly" the key to it all?


First you yourself list five factors, including steroids. Then in a classic bait-and-switch, you rag on me for agreeing with those five factors! Heads you win, tails I lose, at least on Planet Ray.
   235. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 30, 2011 at 09:28 PM (#3889114)
Andy: Do you think Bonds would have had the late-career surge without steroids?
   236. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 30, 2011 at 10:03 PM (#3889130)
Andy: Do you think Bonds would have had the late-career surge without steroids?

I'll answer that, NO!

I reject the premise. I don't know why we would graph "normal aging" onto him. He was not a normal player. Normal players don't put up a 165 OPS+ through age 35.

A "normal great player"? That gets back into the discussion we were having above. Why would we be surprised when one of the 10 greatest players in history does something unique?


Ray, I'm not projecting from average players, I'm talking the 20 or 30 greatest players ever.

None of them came remotely close to doing what Bonds did.
   237. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 30, 2011 at 10:11 PM (#3889137)
Andy: Do you think Bonds would have had the late-career surge without steroids?

I'll answer that, NO!


Well, yeah, I knew your answer already; I disagree with you, but at least you're being direct and non-evasive on the issue. That's why I asked Andy.
   238. Morty Causa Posted: July 30, 2011 at 10:32 PM (#3889145)
Post 228:

Thanks.
   239. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: July 30, 2011 at 10:36 PM (#3889147)
Y'know, the fact that the season was roughly twice as long during Anson's latter career might have something to do with this.

####, of course. Not sure how I forgot to account for that.

Well, the only thing left to do is provide a good example, and acknowledge that I ###### up here.


To be fair, the WAR difference overstates Anson's case as a good example for old age improvement, but the OPS+ difference probably understates it; the league was almost certainly substantially tougher in Anson's older-age seasons than it was during what you'd expect to be his prime.
   240. Brian C Posted: July 30, 2011 at 10:48 PM (#3889151)
To be fair, the WAR difference overstates Anson's case as a good example for old age improvement, but the OPS+ difference probably understates it; the league was almost certainly substantially tougher in Anson's older-age seasons than it was during what you'd expect to be his prime.

SO I WAS RIGHT AFTER ALL!!!!

None of them came remotely close to doing what Bonds did.

Well, none of the other alleged steroid users did what Bonds did, either. Many of them (e.g., Giambi, Canseco, Juan Gonzalez, Sosa) were shades of their former selves at or soon after 35, with steroids - and subsequent injury struggles - being given as a reason for their rapid and sudden decline. McGwire was gone at 37.

I actually don't blame Andy or snapper for their reaction to Bonds's late career. It is, unquestionably, something hugely unusual, and it's only normal to wonder how in hell that happened.

What I don't understand is why "steroids" are a more logical answer than any other. It just seems like lazy thinking to me, as if "steriods" are a magic bullet that answers all the questions just by virtue of their being verboten. It's such an easy answer, because people have a bad view of steroids and also a bad view of Barry Bonds, and those two factors by themselves seem to be doing a lot of heavy lifting here. And occasionally, it crosses over into nakedly illogical emotional appeals, like snapper's last edit in #222.

It just doesn't make much sense to me. Whatever the reasons for Bonds's surge ("better exercise" seems just as silly an explanation), the steroid case has just as many holes in it as any other explanation.
   241. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 30, 2011 at 10:59 PM (#3889162)

Well, yeah, I knew your answer already; I disagree with you, but at least you're being direct and non-evasive on the issue. That's why I asked Andy.


To follow up on your appeal to "greatest players in history", I looked at all hitter who put up a 140 OPS+ through age 35 (min 7000 PA). There are 40 of them, 3 of whom (Pujols, Berkman and ARod) haven't had a post-35 career yet.

Of the 37, do you know how many had a higher OPS after 35 than before? One, Bonds.

Of the rest, most collapse pretty quickly. The only one to basically maintain his level? Manny Ramirez (154 before, 152 after) another known roider.

Of the rest, the dozen best at sustaining their performance (Ruth, Williams, Musial, Speaker, Mays, Aaron, Frank Robinson, Schmidt, Thome, Stargell, Collins and Chipper Jones) averaged an 11% decline, ranging from -3% for Williams to -21% for Musial.

So the elite hitters that aged best averaged -11%, Bonds was +38%.
   242. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 30, 2011 at 11:01 PM (#3889163)
And occasionally, it crosses over into nakedly illogical emotional appeals, like snapper's last edit in #222.

It's not an emotional appeal to influence your decision.

I'm just baffled that otherwise reasonable people suspend their logic to defend that ####-heel.
   243. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: July 30, 2011 at 11:03 PM (#3889166)
Take a look at what Ray wrote in #219 and see if you still believe that.

Ray doesn't speak for all of "us" anymore than snapper speaks for all of "you."

in that case I'd think that the question should be directed to those individuals, and not just to "you guys" as if we all were thinking in unison.

This works both ways. Or you could just not respond to stuff that doesn't apply to you, except perhaps with a generic reminder that you do not in fact hold to that particular version of the anti-Bonds position. I'm just not getting why you need to be so worked up about a point that you don't in fact dispute.
   244. robinred Posted: July 30, 2011 at 11:16 PM (#3889176)
So the elite hitters that aged best averaged -11%, Bonds was +38%.


And you will never prove that was mostly because of steroids. You believe that it was; you want it to be. But you will never know. Neither will Andy.

Now, as Morty pointed out, there are a lot of good reasons to believe that it was. Some people go with those reasons and make their calls about Bonds' place in history and whether he should be in the HOF, others take a more legalistic approach (Ray representing the extreme version of this position here) and figure since it can't be proved, and a lot of guys were probably doing PEDs, well, forget about it--put Bonds in the HOF, ignore the PED accusations, and give him his full historical due.

This is one of many reasons the discussion goes inevitably back to the moral and ethical issues. There is no way to settle the question of exactly how much PEDs helped Barry Bonds on the field.
   245. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 30, 2011 at 11:22 PM (#3889179)

And you will never prove that was mostly because of steroids. You believe it was; you want it to be. But you will never know. Neither will Andy.

Now, as Morty pointed out, there are a lot of good reasons to believe that it was. Some people go with those reasons and make their calls about Bonds' place in history and whether he should be in the HOF, others take a more legalistic approach (Ray representing the extreme version of this position here) and figure since it can't be proved, and a lot of guys were probably doing PEDs, well, forget about it--put Bonds in the HOF, ignore the PED accusations, and give him his full historical due.

This is one of many reasons the discussion goes inevitably back to the moral and ethical issues. There is no way to settle the question of exactly how much PEDs helped Barry Bonds on the field.


I have no problem with Bonds eventually getting into the HoF. I think he was a HoF player before he roided.

I just object to people putting him up there with Ruth, Williams, Mays, etc. He wasn't that player until he met the miracles of modern chemistry.
   246. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 30, 2011 at 11:27 PM (#3889181)
Some people go with those reasons and make their calls about Bonds' place in history and whether he should be in the HOF, others take a more legalistic approach (Ray representing the extreme version of this position here) and figure since it can't be proved, and a lot of guys were probably doing PEDs, well, forget about it--put Bonds in the HOF, ignore the PED accusations, and give him his full historical due.


I don't take a "legalistic" view, but a logical one. I've looked very closely at the issue of whether steroids significantly increase baseball performance. Every piece of evidence that it does is counter-acted by another, equally strong, piece of evidence that it doesn't.

I don't know how one gets from there to "oh, clearly steroids increase baseball performance," or "oh, clearly X's performance was due in significant part to steroids."

There's no clear pattern. In other contexts, we have clear patterns. There's a clear pattern that hitters normally peak around ages 26-28. There's a clear pattern that pitchers with low K rates have dimmer futures. But there's no clear pattern for steroids users. For every data point in X direction (on late career, on height of performance, on durability), there's a data point in the opposite direction.

Studies of spike seasons have been done. People have looked.

Then you move from hitters to pitchers and it becomes more complex.
   247. robinred Posted: July 30, 2011 at 11:35 PM (#3889189)
I don't take a "legalistic" view, but a logical one. I've looked very closely at the issue of whether steroids significantly increase baseball performance. Every piece of evidence that it does is counter-acted by another, equally strong, piece of evidence that it doesn't.

I don't know how one gets from there to "oh, clearly steroids increase baseball performance," or "oh, clearly X's performance was due in significant part to steroids."


The problem with that is that you don't know which drugs, and in what combinations, and for what periods of time, and under what (if any) supervision different guys took steroids, and how said guys then worked out/trained under those conditions while taking those drugs. Add to that the point Morty made about different people responding to drugs in different ways, and it's a morass of unknowables. In sum, the fact that steroids don't appear to have helped Gary Bennett much doesn't mean that they didn't really help Barry Bonds.
   248. Dan The Mediocre Posted: July 30, 2011 at 11:37 PM (#3889190)

I just object to people putting him up there with Ruth, Williams, Mays, etc. He wasn't that player until he met the miracles of modern chemistry.


He was 8th in WAR through age 33 (what he did up to 1998). How would he not be up there with him?
   249. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 30, 2011 at 11:44 PM (#3889195)
He was 8th in WAR through age 33 (what he did up to 1998). How would he not be up there with him?

Cumulative stats don't work vs. those guys, since all three lost multiple years of batting production (to pitching and Wars).

I've said he was probably a top 10-12 player. There is no case that he was #1 if you exclude his steroid years.
   250. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: July 30, 2011 at 11:50 PM (#3889205)
Andy: Do you think Bonds would have had the late-career surge without steroids?

Yes, but not to the extent that he did.

And since your reading comprehension is often less than wide awake, I'll say it again, with emphasis:

Yes, but not to the extent that he did.

And just to be even more sure it sinks in:

YES, BUT NOT TO THE EXTENT THAT HE DID.

If that hasn't been implicit in everything I've written about Bonds, your powers of deduction are even more limited than I thought.

And if that's "evasive" to you, then please tell me (non-evasively, of course) just how Bonds would have fared without

---"A (steroids)"

---"B (re-focuing his weight training and goals to build upper body strength)"

---"C (nutrition)"

---"D (change in approach to hit more fly balls)"

---"and E (change in approach to swing at higher pitches)"

Of course by your own previous standard---the one that you're holding me to WRT steroids---saying that any of these factors is "non-quantifiable" is nothing but an "evasion".

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

Take a look at what Ray wrote in #219 and see if you still believe that.

Ray doesn't speak for all of "us" anymore than snapper speaks for all of "you."

in that case I'd think that the question should be directed to those individuals, and not just to "you guys" as if we all were thinking in unison.

This works both ways. Or you could just not respond to stuff that doesn't apply to you, except perhaps with a generic reminder that you do not in fact hold to that particular version of the anti-Bonds position. I'm just not getting why you need to be so worked up about a point that you don't in fact dispute.


cercopithecus aethiops, I apologize for the short answer, because you're more or less an innocent victim who temporarily got caught in the crossfire. But if someone had been asking you the same question for the better part of four years, and you'd patiently repeated the same answer every time, and yet he still kept pretending he didn't read your answer the first hundred times, you might get a bit irritated yourself.

And it's not just Ray. Look what Brian C just wrote:

I actually don't blame Andy or snapper for their reaction to Bonds's late career. It is, unquestionably, something hugely unusual, and it's only normal to wonder how in hell that happened.

What I don't understand is why "steroids" are a more logical answer than any other.


I don't notice that Brian directed his point only to snapper. I don't notice that he exempted me from holding that opinion.

How am I supposed to react to that? You tell me. Is every post a virgin birth, where everything that's been written before is erased, and everyone has to start from scratch? Isn't it reasonable to except people to take the time and effort to distinguish apple positions from orange positions before writing things like that? Or is it simply that to some Primates, all "anti-Bonds" opinions are impossible to distinguish from one another, like one black person from another in the mind of a racist? Again, you tell me.
   251. robinred Posted: July 30, 2011 at 11:52 PM (#3889210)
OT:

Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland.
   252. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: July 30, 2011 at 11:53 PM (#3889212)
To follow up on your appeal to "greatest players in history", I looked at all hitter who put up a 140 OPS+ through age 35 (min 7000 PA). There are 40 of them, 3 of whom (Pujols, Berkman and ARod) haven't had a post-35 career yet.

Of the 37, do you know how many had a higher OPS after 35 than before? One, Bonds.

Of the rest, most collapse pretty quickly. The only one to basically maintain his level? Manny Ramirez (154 before, 152 after) another known roider.

Of the rest, the dozen best at sustaining their performance (Ruth, Williams, Musial, Speaker, Mays, Aaron, Frank Robinson, Schmidt, Thome, Stargell, Collins and Chipper Jones) averaged an 11% decline, ranging from -3% for Williams to -21% for Musial.


Give Mickey Mantle or Jimmie Foxx Bonds's work ethic instead of drinking away their talent, and you likely have 2 more. Hell, there are probably a bunch of elite hitters for whom this could be said. Paul Waner and Al Simmons come to mind. Take ALS away from Gehrig and you probably have another one.

Back to Mantle. He was drinking himself to death and still putting up OPS+'s as high as 170 in old age. You don't think that had he done everything Barry did, sans roids, he could have put up a season or 2 well over 200 in the AL of the mid 60's?

That's what I hate about Mantle. He could have been the greatest of all time, but now we'll never know, as he drank it all away.
   253. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: July 30, 2011 at 11:56 PM (#3889215)
So the elite hitters that aged best averaged -11%, Bonds was +38%.


And you will never prove that was mostly because of steroids. You believe that it was; you want it to be. But you will never know. Neither will Andy.

Et tu, Robin? When have I ever said that Bonds's improvement was "mostly because of steroids"?

I'll make you a deal. When I discover an uber-mathematician who can assign percentages to all of the various factors that led to Bonds's fantabulous late career power spikes, I'll let you know, and I won't even charge you for the information. Until then, lay off the mindreading. Okay?
   254. robinred Posted: July 31, 2011 at 12:01 AM (#3889222)
Et tu, Robin? When have I ever said that Bonds's improvement was "mostly because of steroids"?


All I said is that you will never know, which is true. The rest was directed at snapper. The quoted part was something he wrote.
   255. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 31, 2011 at 12:01 AM (#3889223)
I don't take a "legalistic" view, but a logical one. I've looked very closely at the issue of whether steroids significantly increase baseball performance. Every piece of evidence that it does is counter-acted by another, equally strong, piece of evidence that it doesn't.

I don't know how one gets from there to "oh, clearly steroids increase baseball performance," or "oh, clearly X's performance was due in significant part to steroids."


The problem with that is that you don't know which drugs, and in what combinations, and for what periods of time, and under what (if any) supervision different guys took steroids, and how said guys then worked out/trained under those conditions while taking those drugs. Add to that the point Morty made about different people responding to drugs in different ways, and it's a morass of unknowables.


Umm, that is exactly my point. That you don't go from "a morass of unknowables" to claiming to know something.

And if the line from A to B is so clear as people here claim it is, we would expect to be able to see it.

In sum, the fact that steroids don't appear to have helped Gary Bennett much doesn't mean that they didn't really help Barry Bonds.


The point is that you can't ignore the Garry Bennett's of the world. Or the Cansecos (no late 30s performance at all). Etc.
   256. robinred Posted: July 31, 2011 at 12:10 AM (#3889233)
That you don't go from "a morass of unknowables" to claiming to know something.


Sure. And that means snapper may be 100% right about Barry Bonds.

The point is that you can't ignore the Garry Bennett's of the world. Or the Cansecos (no late 30s performance at all). Etc.


I agree there.
   257. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 31, 2011 at 12:20 AM (#3889254)
Umm, that is exactly my point. That you don't go from "a morass of unknowables" to claiming to know something.

It's my best judgement. Sure, the evidence is purely circumstantial, but like the proverbial "smoking gun", I think it's enough circumstantial evidence to "convict".
   258. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 31, 2011 at 12:30 AM (#3889274)
It's my best judgement. Sure, the evidence is purely circumstantial, but like the proverbial "smoking gun", I think it's enough circumstantial evidence to "convict".


The problem with the evidence is not that it's "circumstantial," but that it's all over the map and points in all directions. Which means it points in no direction.

Logic requires that a claim be supported before it is believed.

If there are 5 inputs and one output, one can't reasonably conclude that one specific input "clearly" did anything. That was my point to Andy.
   259. BDC Posted: July 31, 2011 at 12:57 AM (#3889296)
No axe to grind here, but I did get interested in hitters who had better marks at age 36 and over than they did through age 35. Of guys with substantial (> 2000 PA) careers after age 35, these are the ones who did better at that age than they did before. The two numbers are OPS+ through age 35 and OPS+ from age 36 onward:

Barry Bonds 165, 227
Bob Johnson 137, 140
Cy Williams 119, 139
Zack Wheat 128, 133
Brian Downing 117, 131
Andres Galarraga 115, 125
Hal McRae 122, 124
Mickey Vernon 113, 124
Luke Appling 108, 123
Darrell Evans 117, 122
Raul Ibañez 111, 117
Tony Phillips 108, 110
Davey Lopes 106, 107
Joe Kuhel 103, 105
Patsy Donovan 95, 105
Johnny Cooney 78, 91
Doc Cramer 86, 90
Luis Aparicio 81, 86
Kid Gleason 75, 86

For some of these guys (Johnson, Appling, Cooney, Cramer) WW2 explains the leap; for others it isn't much of a leap; for Patsy Donovan, the leap is explained by the doubling of the size of MLB at just the right age. Williams and Wheat are oddballs because the lively ball seemed to make them a quantum leap greater hitters, as well as just inflating their face-value stats; they might have been even better hitters had they come up during the lively-ball era. Most of the rest of the cases fall under "not much improvement" or "who cares," though I do find Downing, Galarraga, Evans, and Vernon curious. Downing, Evans and Vernon were guys who were or may have been hurt some in their youth, and Galarraga had one of the strangest careers imaginable.

I still find remarkable that steroids-era guys are conspicuously absent. Even Rafael Palmeiro was a significantly better hitter younger (134, 126). Ibañez played through the era, of course, but turned 36 after testing came in, and anyway he currently is eroding his record of playing better in his old age pretty rapidly. If steroids per se resulted in late-career surges, I'm not seeing them. Bonds is just plain weird.
   260. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: July 31, 2011 at 01:16 AM (#3889305)
If there are 5 inputs and one output, one can't reasonably conclude that one specific input "clearly" did anything. That was my point to Andy.

A quick graphic summary of Ray's position

Okay, slide show over.

So, Ray....

Can we then also say that Bonds's "re-focuing his weight training and goals to build upper body strength" didn't "clearly" do anything?

Can we also say that Bonds's "nutrition" didn't "clearly" do anything?

Can we also say that Bonds's "change in approach to hit more fly balls" didn't "clearly" do anything?

Can we also say that Bonds's "change in approach to swing at higher pitches" didn't "clearly" do anything?

And if none of these factors---all of which you listed, including steroids---didn't "clearly" do anything to give Bonds that superfantabulous late career power boost, then I have to ask you: What in the hell did?

And if you can't quantify any of these factors, which of course you can't, then why are you singling out steroids as if that were the only one whose effects have to be quantified in order to be "clear"?
   261. Ron J Posted: July 31, 2011 at 01:24 AM (#3889312)
#219 He also changed equipment -- going to maple bats.

And one of the truly interesting things about Bonds is that while everybody else(inluding those using maple bats from Sam Holman -- the guy who was making the bats for Bonds) has had problems with the maple bats shattering Bonds didn't. I'm at a loss to explain this, but it's likely to be a pretty big deal. Nobody hits the ball hard when the bat shatters.

And I can't explain how steroids would allow Bonds -- and only Bonds -- to consistently put the good part of the bat on the ball.
   262. Ron J Posted: July 31, 2011 at 02:04 AM (#3889345)
#260

Yes, yes, yes, yes.

As with steroids plenty of people have tried each of these things. As well as the equipment changes Bonds made.

The combination of increased strength plus style change (while retaining the same excellent contact rate) are likely the key factors. Thing is that successful significant style changes in the late 30s are tremendously rare. I can't think of anybody else who made anything approaching a similar change (successfully at any rate -- a lot of players make significant changes in an attempt to stick around but they generally fail)

In one sense it reminds me of the adjustments Hal McRae made. He said he became a pure guess hitter -- guessing both pitch and location. Simply couldn't hit a quality pitch any longer unless he committed to that one particular pitch.

Who knows, maybe Bonds did something similar and was just really good at guessing with the opposition battery.

EDIT: As I've noted before plenty of older players have had bounce back seasons by doing something similar to what Bonds did style wise -- that is to say they gave up trying to be well rounded offensive players and focused on their core strengths. Bonds is the only great player I can think of who made that kind of change before a career crisis.

EDIT2: Currently reading "Black Swans". Can't honestly recommend the book (because the writing is kind of ... patchy?) but the overall thesis -- that most people underrate the probability and impact of rare events -- is worth noting. Bonds is in a sense a manifestation of what brought down Long Term Capital Management.
   263. Gonfalon B. Posted: July 31, 2011 at 03:44 AM (#3889414)
It's nice to inflate your claim by calling on 135 years of ML history but, in fact, you're talking about the distribution of late careers across a sample of 10-20 all-time great players. Bonds is the extreme case so far, no doubt, but we don't have a clue what that distribution looks like.

Fine, check back in another 135 years and see if you can find some better examples by then.


Challenge accepted! I'm calling your bluff-- whaddaya say, a 643-yuan BBRef sponsorship?
   264. Brian C Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:05 AM (#3889422)
I don't notice that Brian directed his point only to snapper. I don't notice that he exempted me from holding that opinion.

I think what I wrote was fair. You have said explicitly that you think steroids "clearly" helped Bonds become a better hitter. Whether you think they helped a lot or a little or whatever is immaterial. Point is, you've argued that steroids are a "magic bullet" (my phrase) for improving baseball performance, even if you're not willing to say to what degree.

Can we also say that Bonds's "change in approach to hit more fly balls" didn't "clearly" do anything?

I'm willing to dismiss this on available evidence, at least in terms of it being a major factor. Bonds's GB/FB ratio didn't change all that much after 1999, with the exception of 2005. He hit slightly more fly balls, sure, and it's possible that this was a factor at the margins, but what really jumps out at me is that his HR% on fly balls skyrocketed.

The other thing that happened in 2000, remember, was that the Giants moved into a new ballpark. I'd say that that stands out as a possible factor more than a conscious decision to hit more fly balls.

But I think that it's more likely that there just wasn't necessarily a reason. Why did Babe Ruth start hitting homers at a rate no one else at the time imagined? How did Cy Young pitch 1300 more innings than anyone in history? Mariano Rivera's ridiculous career has already been brought up, but what's the explanation for it? For crying out loud, the man has an ERA+ 50 points higher than anyone in history. That's the difference between Pedro Martinez and Ismael Valdez.

I know "these things happen" is an extremely unsatisfying answer, but I don't really know what else to say. None of the other proposed answers stand up to scrutiny all that well, but if anyone wants to propose one that does, I'm all ears. Or eyes, whatever.
   265. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:26 AM (#3889437)
Way before Bonds and steroids were definitively linked in the minds of many, I remember discussions around here about who was taking them and what results they might see. Consensus back then was that no matter how strong you got, you still had to hit the ball, which meant that exceptional batters might see an actual boost in performance while scrubs likely wouldn't. Seemed rational to me then, and it still does today.

Which is not to say that steroids alone explain Barry Bonds in the early oughts.
   266. KT's Pot Arb Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:58 AM (#3889464)
I'll put it this way. Barry Bonds had a 165 OPS+ through age 35. With normal aging, we would have expected him to decline and end up with an OPS+ in the mid-150's for his career. Best case, he finishes at 160.

Now, if you wanted to argue that weight lifting/nutrition/changed approach might had let him stave off aging, and maintain his 165 through the end, I could buy it.

Improve him a lot, so that he ups his production to 180-185, and ends with a 170 OPS+? Possible, but doubtful.

Improve him most of the way from the 165 to the 227 he did put up? No freaking way.


This is the greatest straw horse argument there is. You assume that Bonds was making the most of his talents at ages 25-35, so that realistically represents his abilities.

But we have PROOF he was under-performing his ability during those ages. The proof is in his pictures! He was too skinny, he clearly did not believe in strength training, and did not benefit from it.

So when he starts strength training in earnest at age 35 he's finally starting to tap the limits of his real physical abilities. Did steroids help? No doubt, they helped him train harder and more often. But we also know on average HR rates dropped by less than 10% after full testing started. So the steroid effect is at most a minor component of his performance.

Bonds would have shattered his career highs and records without steroids, it was clearly his commitment to weight training that made the biggest difference.
   267. baudib Posted: July 31, 2011 at 06:23 AM (#3889472)

Back to Mantle. He was drinking himself to death and still putting up OPS+'s as high as 170 in old age. You don't think that had he done everything Barry did, sans roids, he could have put up a season or 2 well over 200 in the AL of the mid 60's?


This is probably the most ridiculous post in a thread full of ridiculous posts.
   268. Gonfalon B. Posted: July 31, 2011 at 07:17 AM (#3889482)
Challenge accepted! Oogum boogum zarkow wuggadoo, you otter kleenex!
   269. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 31, 2011 at 07:53 AM (#3889487)
Andy: Do you think Bonds would have had the late-career surge without steroids?

Yes, but not to the extent that he did.


That's an interesting way of saying no.

And you complain that _lawyers_ play word games?
   270. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 31, 2011 at 08:00 AM (#3889488)
So, Ray....

Can we then also say that Bonds's "re-focuing his weight training and goals to build upper body strength" didn't "clearly" do anything?

Can we also say that Bonds's "nutrition" didn't "clearly" do anything?

Can we also say that Bonds's "change in approach to hit more fly balls" didn't "clearly" do anything?

Can we also say that Bonds's "change in approach to swing at higher pitches" didn't "clearly" do anything?


Yes.
   271. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 31, 2011 at 08:07 AM (#3889489)
I think what I wrote was fair. You have said explicitly that you think steroids "clearly" helped Bonds become a better hitter. Whether you think they helped a lot or a little or whatever is immaterial. Point is, you've argued that steroids are a "magic bullet" (my phrase) for improving baseball performance, even if you're not willing to say to what degree.


I've used the phrase "magic pill" to describe Andy's views on steroids before. And he always complains that his position is being misrepresented. As usual with Andy, he writes 3+4, and then when you conclude his views add up to 7 he disputes it.

Like he did earlier by claiming that he doesn't think steroids are the key, when that's the only way to read his comments.
   272. Ron J Posted: July 31, 2011 at 08:41 AM (#3889490)
#267 What's ridiculous about the notion that Mantle would have aged better if

a) he'd hired a nutrionist (and followed the nutritionists guidlines)
b) he had spent several hours a day working out (rather than partying all night

Great players tend to age very well. Mantle didn't. Oh he was still a good player in 1968, but that's a pretty big drop-off from his peak.

Yes, he had some pretty serious injury problems and had to deal with them without the benefit of the advances in medical techniques. But I don't think his decline can be attributed merely to those injuries.

Still, if you want hypotheticals how about a Mantle that takes care of himself and gets his knee scoped. I think that Mantle would likely have had a very big 1969/1970. The chang
e in offensive conditions would have worked well for him and 1969 was an expansion year.
   273. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 31, 2011 at 10:25 AM (#3889497)
#206 Conte dealt with Anderson and Anderson dealt with Bonds.
Perhaps. We've never heard that from Anderson. But to the extent that's true, it's different than BALCO's relationship with every other athlete.
But as long as we're being technical, I don't think it's quite true that Bonds got nothing directly from Conte. Blanking on exactly what it was that he got in exchange for a testimonial. I do recall it wasn't much though.
Zima. Or whatever that stuff is. But that was all public.
   274. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: July 31, 2011 at 01:04 PM (#3889517)
I don't notice that Brian directed his point only to snapper. I don't notice that he exempted me from holding that opinion.

I think what I wrote was fair. You have said explicitly that you think steroids "clearly" helped Bonds become a better hitter. Whether you think they helped a lot or a little or whatever is immaterial. Point is, you've argued that steroids are a "magic bullet" (my phrase) for improving baseball performance, even if you're not willing to say to what degree.


Here's the problem for both you and Ray: Neither of you are so stupid as to claim that steroids had NO effect on Bonds's late career production, but if anyone says that steroids "clearly" had SOME effect, you jump all over it and try to claim that we're saying it's a "magic bullet"---even though you're both saying exactly the same thing with only an insignificant change in the wording.

What you're both doing repeatedly is eating your cake and having it, too. But both of you have essentially painted yourselves into the same corner.

Either the two of you don't really believe that steroids had ANY effect on Bonds's late career power surge, or you do. By listing steroids as one of the 5 factors, Ray's already indicated that he thinks that they do. So have I. We've also both agreed that MANY OTHER FACTORS were also involved. And neither of us has been so stupid as to try to quantify ANY of these factors, because to do so would be impossible. All we know is that their individual "effects" are each somewhere north of zero, along with other factors that we'd also both agree were in play. If you remove ANY ONE of these factors, you'd have seen a certain reduction in output, but nobody could possibly know how much.

Knowing this, you seize upon one word---"clearly"---and use it to construct some sort of paper wall of differentiation for steroids alone, between "some effect" and "no effect", when logically you can say the same thing about any of those other factors as well.

As for that "magic bullet" BS, you're using the same semantic sophistry there as Ray is with "clearly". If Bonds had taken steroids and had ignored the other four factors that led to his late career power surge, and his numbers had still surged, THAT would have been a "magic bullet".

The problem is that not only have I never agreed with that proposition, I've repeatedly ridiculed it for years. All that taking steroids will do for you, independent of an intelligent supplementary regimen, is to make your ####### nuts shrink. If taking steroids were a "magic bullet", the "steroid era" would have become the baseball equivalent of Arena Football.

And yet you and Ray still persist in pretending that I believe in "magic bullets". Ray's dug himself so deep in this hole after all these years that he obviously doesn't see any honorable way out of it, since he's constitutionally incapable of admitting that he's painted himself into a corner. So he just keeps repeating his silly misrepresentations of my position, sort of the BTF equivalent of The Big Lie, in the hope that at some point others will be either stupid enough, uninformed enough (that may explain you), or ideologically blinded enough to swallow it.

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

Andy: Do you think Bonds would have had the late-career surge without steroids?

Yes, but not to the extent that he did.

That's an interesting way of saying no.

And you complain that _lawyers_ play word games?


Hell, Ray, you can easily top me there:

Ray: Do you think that Bonds would have had the late-career surge without adjusting his swing?

Yes, but not to the extent that he did.

Ray: Do you think that Bonds would have had the late-career surge if his diet hadn't become more nutritional?

Yes, but not to the extent that he did.

Ray: Do you think that Bonds would have had the late-career surge without changing his approach to swinging at higher pitches?

Yes, but not to the extent that he did.

Ray: Do you think that Bonds would have had the late-career surge without all that weight training?

Yes, but not to the extent that he did.


Again, by your own words in #219, all five of those factors you listed took Bonds's power numbers from "level X" to "level Y". What makes steroids different from the rest, other than that you're afraid that they may keep him out of the Hall of Fame?
   275. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:36 PM (#3889663)
Conte, of course, being the man who dubbed his signature pharmaceuticals "the clear" and "the cream", both of which Bonds indulged in.
Says who?
For his part Bonds claimed with a straight face that he believed these expensive designer PEDs were flaxseed oil and Ben Gay.
For his part Bonds claimed that he never paid anything for these substances. He never mentioned Ben Gay; you made that up. And the cream was not an "expensive designer PED."

Well there's lawyerly weaseling. They couldn't prove OJ Simpson murdered his ex-wife either. Naturally Bonds himself was well-trained in the way of the weasel from his own team of shysters. "[W]hen asked about documents stating he had paid $450 for a bottle of Depo-Testosterone, Bonds said, "I have never seen this bottle or any bottle pertaining that says Depo-Testosterone."" Oh Barry, that's not just flaxseed oil making you so slippery!
First, I fail to see whats "slippery" about that response. Second, the exchange didn't happen; the reporter lied. Here's the actual question and answer:
Q: Okay. And this -- and we'll call this Exhibit 504. This is a bottle of depotestosterone. And let me ask, Mr. Bonds, if you recognize this item as something that you ever received? Or does that look like anything you ever got from Greg Anderson?

A: I have never, ever seen this bottle or any bottle pertaining that says depotestosterone.
In short, he was asked directly whether he had seen the bottle, and answered directly that he had not seen the bottle.

They couldn't prove it because they had no evidence, not because Mark Fuhrman perjured himself on the stand.
   276. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:42 PM (#3889670)
Plenty of guys have worked out and changed their approach as they age. At best they maintain or get a little better. If his regime was so successful w/o the drugs, everyone would be doing it.
Plenty of guys have taken steroids. At best they maintain or get a little better. If steroids were so successful, everyone would be doing it.

Edit: It's not like Bonds was in lousy shape in his 20's. He was a tremendously fit, athletic player. Weights don't do that much.
Steroids don't do that much.

To me, Barry Bonds is a 160 OPS+ career hitter. A great, great player. But not among the very, very best.
As others have pointed out, given normal aging patterns from 1998 on, he'd have been "among the very, very best."
   277. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: July 31, 2011 at 06:09 PM (#3889690)
How am I supposed to react to that?

I'd go with "legalistic." IOW, "asked and answered." YMMV.

Great players tend to age very well. Mantle didn't. Oh he was still a good player in 1968, but that's a pretty big drop-off from his peak.

Mantle aged pretty well compared to Foxx.

Yes, he had some pretty serious injury problems and had to deal with them without the benefit of the advances in medical techniques. But I don't think his decline can be attributed merely to those injuries.

I think a lot more of his decline can be attributed to those injuries (and the lack of modern treatments for them) than to the drinking. But even if we posit that he'd still have been done at 36, arthroscopic surgery could easily have saved him a full season worth of games by getting him back on the field faster after those injuries, even without a better work ethic.
   278. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: July 31, 2011 at 08:44 PM (#3889822)
Conte, of course, being the man who dubbed his signature pharmaceuticals "the clear" and "the cream", both of which Bonds indulged in.

Says who?


Bonds told a U.S. grand jury that he used undetectable steroids known as "the cream" and "the clear," which he received from personal trainer Greg Anderson during the 2003 season. According to Bonds, the trainer told him the substances were the nutritional supplement flaxseed oil and a pain-relieving balm for the player's arthritis.

And further down we have a second source to confirm:

"According to the Chronicle, Gary Sheffield also testified that in 2002 Bonds arranged for him to receive "the clear," "the cream" and "red beans," steroid pills manufactured in Mexico. Sheffield further stated he was never told he was using steroids; that Bonds was using both "the cream" and "the clear"; and that he had no dealings with Anderson directly.

"Nothing was between me and Greg. Barry pretty much controlled everything," Sheffield testified. "... It was basically Barry (saying), 'Trust me, do what I do.'

"...I know I've seen Greg give Barry the same thing I was taking," Sheffield said. "I didn't see him taking those red beans, but I seen him taking this (clear) and this cream here.""

For his part Bonds claimed that he never paid anything for these substances.


Yeah, everyone else was paying through the nose for that stuff (please refer to #175) but Barry was getting it gratis. Plus the blood and urine testing he hired BALCO to perform, that was free too. "Bonds said he couldn't explain an invoice stating $450 for blood tests," and so on. Now Barry is just some hayseed gobbling down supplements by the bucketload and submitting blood and urine for testing but never thinking it odd that this was all being done for free. That's how you defend Barry Bonds from the accusation that he was using the best PED's his money could buy - he's too stupid.

He never mentioned Ben Gay; you made that up.


What did he say he was getting? Just in the interest of full and complete accuracy.

And the cream was not an "expensive designer PED."


Which descriptor do you argue with? That it was expensive, that it was designed, or that it was a PED?

First, I fail to see whats "slippery" about that response.


You've spent too much time in the company of lawyers. Ask an honest man to interpret it for you.

Second, the exchange didn't happen; the reporter lied.


Everyone is a liar. Presumably Victor Conte was lying when he said, "The program I created for Barry was a comprehensive nutritional supplementation regimen and had nothing to do with the clear or any other anabolic steroids," since you were very clear and emphatic that "Bonds didn't get anything from BALCO. Not according to Conte, anyway." Only poor Barry the naif, sending off his bodily fluids to complete strangers with whom he had no professional relationship can be trusted.

Q: Okay. And this -- and we'll call this Exhibit 504. This is a bottle of depotestosterone. And let me ask, Mr. Bonds, if you recognize this item as something that you ever received? Or does that look like anything you ever got from Greg Anderson?

A: I have never, ever seen this bottle or any bottle pertaining that says depotestosterone.


Well that's obviously quite different from my original excerpt: ""[W]hen asked about documents stating he had paid $450 for a bottle of Depo-Testosterone, Bonds said, "I have never seen this bottle or any bottle pertaining that says Depo-Testosterone.""

But let's be fair - let's see if that mean old anti-Barry reporter was mischaracterizing the questioning:

Q. Now next thing on — I’ll just read it. It says: “D-e-p-o, depo test, Cyp 3 bottle, off and reg season $450.”

Do you see where I’m reading from on the page?

A. I see it all.

Q. Okay. And this — and we’ll call this Exhibit 504. This is a bottle of depotestosterone.

And let me ask, Mr. Bonds, if you recognize this item as something that you ever received? Or does that look like anything you ever got from Greg Anderson?

A. I have never, ever seen this bottle or any bottle pertaining that says depotestosterone.


If this is the sort of hair-splitting Barry's defenders want to hang their hats on in order to characterize mere reporters as liars, those hats might be conical.

In short, he was asked directly whether he had seen the bottle, and answered directly that he had not seen the bottle.


Oh, I haven't seen THIS bottle. And if I did see a bottle full of depo-testosterone, it certainly DIDN'T say "depo-testosterone" on it (and hey, that clear stuff didn't say "THG" on it either, it said flaxseed oil)! Such well-rehearsed evasions warm the hearts of the lawyerly types everywhere.

They couldn't prove it because they had no evidence, not because Mark Fuhrman perjured himself on the stand.


Yes, there was no evidence that OJ Simpson murdered his ex-wife. If there was any evidence he'd have been convicted! But as we all know, the glove did not fit, so there was no choice but to acquit. QED! I don't know why everyone keeps lying about Barry and OJ, you said it yourself - "[T]he government couldn't prove anything!"
   279. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 31, 2011 at 10:51 PM (#3889912)
Conte, of course, being the man who dubbed his signature pharmaceuticals "the clear" and "the cream", both of which Bonds indulged in.

Says who?

Bonds told a U.S. grand jury that he used undetectable steroids known as "the cream" and "the clear," which he received from personal trainer Greg Anderson during the 2003 season. According to Bonds, the trainer told him the substances were the nutritional supplement flaxseed oil and a pain-relieving balm for the player's arthritis.


Can you read? Bonds did not say there that he used the cream and the clear; he said he used flaxseed oil and a pain-relieving balm.

The reporter slanted the piece, adopting the prosecutor's version; regardless, it's right there in the section you quoted: "According to Bonds..."
   280. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 12:00 AM (#3889934)
Bonds told a U.S. grand jury that he used undetectable steroids known as "the cream" and "the clear," which he received from personal trainer Greg Anderson during the 2003 season. According to Bonds, the trainer told him the substances were the nutritional supplement flaxseed oil and a pain-relieving balm for the player's arthritis.
I suppose that literally answers my question. I asked, "Who says?" And you said: ESPN says. The problem is, ESPN's report is a fabrication. (To be fair, ESPN doesn't purport to be doing original reporting; they're merely repeating what the SF Chronicle reported.) I've read all of the testimony, and Bonds never told the grand jury any such thing.

Yeah, everyone else was paying through the nose for that stuff (please refer to #175) but Barry was getting it gratis.
I reiterate: who says he was getting it at all? Now, given that you've cited the ESPN/Chronicle report, let me rephrase that question: who, of people with firsthand knowledge, says he was getting it at all? Both Bonds and Conte deny it. Given that Conte was very enthusiastic about ratting out his clients once the story broke, I would think the fact that Conte denies it with respect to Bonds would carry some weight.

Plus the blood and urine testing he hired BALCO to perform, that was free too. "Bonds said he couldn't explain an invoice stating $450 for blood tests," and so on.
Another fabrication by the Chronicle. That testimony is not in there; Bonds was never asked to "explain an invoice stating $450 for blood tests." Bonds was asked if he recognized a document that had the name "Barry" on it and that had the words "'Blood test,' and there are dates listed and a price of $450." Bonds said that he did not recognize it and that it wasn't his handwriting on it. Those were the only questions asked about the document (which may or may not have been an "invoice").

Now Barry is just some hayseed gobbling down supplements by the bucketload and submitting blood and urine for testing but never thinking it odd that this was all being done for free. That's how you defend Barry Bonds from the accusation that he was using the best PED's his money could buy - he's too stupid.
I'm defending Bonds by saying that pretty much all of your alleged facts are false. There's no denying the fact that your claims are false; your claims do not pertain to what happened back from 1998-2003, which could be disputed. Your claims are about what Bonds testified, which was taken down by a court reporter and which is not disputed. Bonds didn't say what the Chronicle reported that he said. Whether the people leaking to the Chronicle lied to them, or whether the reporters are incompetent or dishonest, I'll leave others to decide. But Bonds didn't say these things.
   281. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 12:23 AM (#3889945)
He never mentioned Ben Gay; you made that up.

What did he say he was getting? Just in the interest of full and complete accuracy.
In the interest of full and complete accuracy, he said, "lotion, cream stuff." And he explained how it was used: "This one he brought in like a flatter tube with a top, like more of a rounded top thing. And then he had like a little -- just like a little spoon. And he'd just go like this (indicating) and just rub it on your arm." (And Bonds said that he assumed that Anderson got it from BALCO, but didn't know.)

And the cream was not an "expensive designer PED."

Which descriptor do you argue with? That it was expensive, that it was designed, or that it was a PED?
All of the above. (Well, I guess it was "designed" as opposed to being found on the side of the road, but that's not what "designer" usually means in this context, is it?) The Cream (which may or may not have been what Bonds was given) is a masking agent.

Everyone is a liar. Presumably Victor Conte was lying when he said, "The program I created for Barry was a comprehensive nutritional supplementation regimen and had nothing to do with the clear or any other anabolic steroids," since you were very clear and emphatic that "Bonds didn't get anything from BALCO. Not according to Conte, anyway." Only poor Barry the naif, sending off his bodily fluids to complete strangers with whom he had no professional relationship can be trusted.
Oh, please. I meant that Bonds didn't get anything illicit from BALCO. He got supplements from them; that's a matter of public record -- so much so that Bonds did a magazine spread for them as a promotion. Conte and Bonds tell exactly the same story; again, there's a reason Bonds wasn't convicted.

If this is the sort of hair-splitting Barry's defenders want to hang their hats on in order to characterize mere reporters as liars, those hats might be conical.
Not hair-splitting. Calling the reporter a flat-out liar. Big difference. Bonds was asked a question completely different than the one the reporter claimed -- he was asked about a bottle, not documents -- and gave a straight answer. You claimed the answer was "slippery" because it wasn't responsive to the question the reporter claimed was asked. But it was responsive to the question that was actually asked.

Oh, I haven't seen THIS bottle. And if I did see a bottle full of depo-testosterone, it certainly DIDN'T say "depo-testosterone" on it (and hey, that clear stuff didn't say "THG" on it either, it said flaxseed oil)! Such well-rehearsed evasions warm the hearts of the lawyerly types everywhere.
I don't think you understand what the word "evasion" means. Bonds didn't evade the question at all. He answered it.

When you're testifying, you're supposed to answer the question asked, not to assume what the questioner might want to know and talk about that. The prosecutor didn't ask if Bonds had ever used depotestosterone. (Note: there's a good reason for that. It would have been irrelevant to the grand jury proceedings, which were about Anderson and BALCO, not about Bonds.) The prosecutor asked if Bonds had seen such a bottle. Bonds said no. No evasion.
   282. Brian C Posted: August 01, 2011 at 01:23 AM (#3889970)
Either the two of you don't really believe that steroids had ANY effect on Bonds's late career power surge, or you do.

Not so; I don't have any idea if steroids had any effect on Bonds's late career surge. I just don't know. I reject your premise that I must say either yes or no. They might have made all the difference, which is certainly a widely held belief, but I think arguments along these lines are laughably weak. They may have had no effect, which I think is plausible. But the bottom line is that I don't have the facts to make that judgment one way or the other, and furthermore, I'm not sure why you think you do.

As for Ray ... if he will allow me to speak for him, I think I can sum up his disagreement with you quite succinctly:

'CLEAR' ? 'NOT CLEAR'

Hope that helps to clarify.
   283. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 01, 2011 at 01:55 AM (#3889989)
Either the two of you don't really believe that steroids had ANY effect on Bonds's late career power surge, or you do.

Not so; I don't have any idea if steroids had any effect on Bonds's late career surge. I just don't know. I reject your premise that I must say either yes or no. They might have made all the difference, which is certainly a widely held belief, but I think arguments along these lines are laughably weak. They may have had no effect, which I think is plausible. But the bottom line is that I don't have the facts to make that judgment one way or the other, and furthermore, I'm not sure why you think you do.


Fine, but then you can also say that you don't have the facts to know one way or the other whether or not any of those other four factors that Ray listed may or may not have helped Bonds create that power surge. After all, plenty of other players have lifted weights, improved their diets, and changed their swings, some to beneficial effect and some to no effect. We both know that are no magic pills in baseball, not even a legitimate version of Greg Anderson and his flaxseed oil farm.

When you say that steroids couldn't possibly have made all the difference, I couldn't agree with you more, and by now even you might realize that I've never said that they do.

But when you say that it's "plausible" that they may have had "no effect", I'll ask you again: Why is this radical skepticism applied only to that one factor?

As for Ray ... if he will allow me to speak for him, I think I can sum up his disagreement with you quite succinctly:

'CLEAR' ? 'NOT CLEAR'

Hope that helps to clarify.


It clarifies it only if either of you might explain what WAS clear about Bonds's amazing and completely unprecedented late career power surge. Ray's listed five factors that would explain it, but then both of you beat a hasty retreat about only one of them. So are all the others "CLEAR" in their effects?

If all four of those other factors are "CLEAR", then why did Ray include steroids among the five factors to begin with? That's still the corner that he's stuck in, in spite of your noble effort with the helicopter.

But I guess perhaps he was just fooling and pretending when he wrote that, and didn't really mean it. With Ray it's so often just about contrarianism for its own sake that you can't automatically rule out any possibility.
   284. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 02:16 AM (#3890001)
As for Ray ... if he will allow me to speak for him, I think I can sum up his disagreement with you quite succinctly:

'CLEAR' ? 'NOT CLEAR'


Also (re Andy's 250):

'YES, BUT NO' = 'NO'
   285. Brian C Posted: August 01, 2011 at 02:31 AM (#3890016)
Why is this radical skepticism applied only to that one factor?

What exactly is "radical" about calling something plausible, when I then decline to adopt it anyway? And when have I showed any inclination to accept those other factors as explanations? And why do I have any obligation to address Ray's five factors in the first place? I never endorsed them or otherwise associated myself with them, except to dispute them. Who's putting words in whose mouth, again?

Ray's listed five factors that would explain it, but then both of you beat a hasty retreat about only one of them.

Actually, I did dispute the change-in-approach thing (#264). I also called chalking it all up to exercise "silly" (#240), in part of my response to snapper, although I wouldn't rule it out as a possible contributing factor. Who knows what effect his exercise regimen had, if any.

If all four of those other factors are "CLEAR", then why did Ray include steroids among the five factors to begin with? That's still the corner that he's stuck in, in spite of your noble effort with the helicopter.

Ray can speak for himself about why he did what he did, but I'll note that he didn't paint himself into a corner at all. He listed five possible factors, which I did not take to be an exhaustive list by any means, and said that you can't know which ones contributed more than others. He later (#270) clarified that we can't be "clear" about any of those factors either, in response to your questions.

He never said, "here are factors that explain Bonds better than steroids." He said, "here are five things, including steroids, that may have been factors." That's why he included steroids in the list - he was acknowledging that they could have been a factor, while pointing out that there was no way to be certain (or "clear", if you prefer). That's not inconsistent, and it's not painting oneself into a corner.

So again, it's your certainty that is the source of the disagreement. And to pretend that the difference between something being certain and being ambiguous is just "semantic sophistry" is highly disingenuous.
   286. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 02:40 AM (#3890023)
It clarifies it only if either of you might explain what WAS clear about Bonds's amazing and completely unprecedented late career power surge. Ray's listed five factors that would explain it, but then both of you beat a hasty retreat about only one of them. So are all the others "CLEAR" in their effects?

If all four of those other factors are "CLEAR", then why did Ray include steroids among the five factors to begin with? That's still the corner that he's stuck in, in spite of your noble effort with the helicopter.


What "corner"? You said steroids are a clear factor in explaining Bonds's late career surge, and I said "here are some other things that were going on also, so how can you isolate steroids as being a clear factor?"

I also noted that Bonds is hardly the only player with steroids issues. And I confirmed that none of the other factors I listed were "clearly" factors in my view.
   287. Ron J Posted: August 01, 2011 at 02:41 AM (#3890024)
#283 Andy, he didn't beat a hasty retreat. Like me he's saying that it's perfectly plausible that any of the potential explanations had nothing to do with it. I mean how many players successfully add a devastating new skill (destroying high fastballs) in response to a changed condition? How many players use maple bats and don't have issues with shattered bats?

Everything about Bonds in that period is an outlier and the whole point about outliers is that they don't lend themselves to convenient explanations.
   288. Ron J Posted: August 01, 2011 at 03:06 AM (#3890042)
#273 We have however heard it from Conte. Mind you, in the same interview Conte said he had no idea what Anderson provided to any given baseball player.

Which is why he was of no value as a witness against Bonds.
   289. Ron J Posted: August 01, 2011 at 03:10 AM (#3890045)
Also, the reason flaxseed oil comes into the picture is that the clear has a really nasty taste. It's fairly common to mix the clear with flaxseed oil in an effort to mask the the taste.
   290. CrosbyBird Posted: August 01, 2011 at 03:36 AM (#3890060)
So again, it's your certainty that is the source of the disagreement.

As it has always been since the first steroid thread.

We're not certain that Bonds used steroids, or that steroids are performance-enhancing for baseball players, or how enhancing they are, or how enhancing other performance-enhancing drugs might be.

We are certain about one thing: the baseball changed in a way that made it travel further when we entered the era of enhanced offense. That's not speculation, or guesswork. That's been experimentally shown, and applies without any sort of assumptions other than the idea that the laws of physics have not changed. The distance that a ball travels when struck by a baseball bat is all but completely dependent on a fairly simple physics equation.
   291. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 03:37 AM (#3890061)
#273 We have however heard it from Conte. Mind you, in the same interview Conte said he had no idea what Anderson provided to any given baseball player.
Right; what we heard from Conte is that he gave stuff to Anderson. What we did not hear is

(a) Conte gave stuff to Bonds.
(b) Conte gave stuff to Anderson and he knows firsthand that Anderson passed it on to Bonds.
(c) Conte gave stuff to Anderson with the intention that Anderson would pass it on to Bonds.

With every other BALCO athlete, Conte dealt directly with the athlete, and Conte admitted it. With Bonds, he denied it.
   292. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 01, 2011 at 03:40 AM (#3890063)
What "corner"? You said steroids are a clear factor in explaining Bonds's late career surge, and I said "here are some other things that were going on also, so how can you isolate steroids as being a clear factor?"

I also noted that Bonds is hardly the only player with steroids issues. And I confirmed that none of the other factors I listed were "clearly" factors in my view.


You know, Ray, sometimes I honestly can't tell whether you're trolling or whether you're just thick as a brick. When have I ever "isolated" steroids as being a clear factor? I've said a zillion times that they're ONE "clear" factor OUT OF MANY. When you add a couple of other factors (smaller parks, etc.), there's no way on Earth to quantify any of them or assign percentages, but I think it's reasonable to say that each of them had a "clear" effect that was greater than zero. Take ANY of those factors away and his production would have suffered by some indeterminate amount that would have been "clearly" greater than zero.

In #219 you listed five factors that came between "level X" and "level Z", and now you backtrack on all of them. If none of them were "clearly" a factor, then why did you even bother listing them? Or why didn't you just include "a newly discovered belief in Jesus" while you were at it?

Of course maybe Bonds was wasting all his time and money on that juice. Maybe they did have absolutely no effect on his historic late career power surge. Or maybe Greg Anderson was just feeding him orange juice pills. Anything to keep the faith.

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

#283 Andy, he didn't beat a hasty retreat. Like me he's saying that it's perfectly plausible that any of the potential explanations had nothing to do with it. I mean how many players successfully add a devastating new skill (destroying high fastballs) in response to a changed condition? How many players use maple bats and don't have issues with shattered bats?

Everything about Bonds in that period is an outlier and the whole point about outliers is that they don't lend themselves to convenient explanations.


Except that none of those other "outliers" ever did what Bonds did, at the point in their careers when Bonds did it, and while having taken steroids. None of them are comparisons in terms of Bonds's unique combination of skyrocketing power surges relative to his "normal" prime years. Not Hank Aaron, not Babe Ruth, not Darrell Evans, not Cap Anson, none of them. All we've had is a bunch of random players thrown up against a wall with the hope that one of them would stick. Nice try, poor results.
   293. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 01, 2011 at 03:53 AM (#3890066)
So again, it's your certainty that is the source of the disagreement.


As it has always been since the first steroid thread.

We're not certain that Bonds used steroids, or that steroids are performance-enhancing for baseball players, or how enhancing they are, or how enhancing other performance-enhancing drugs might be.


It's true that a handful of people aren't certain that Bonds used steroids, and that a handful of people refuse to acknowledge even that steroids can be performance-enhancing for baseball players. But I think the difference can be expressed more as the difference between those whose rely on the great preponderance of facts that point in one direction, and those who demand what amounts to a legal standard of "proof".

In that San Francisco court room, I'd demand the same thing myself, and as I said over and over, that trial never should have taken place to begin with. But outside the courtroom, at some point you have to weigh the total evidence and base your conclusion on "much more likely" vs. "theoretically not impossible that he didn't". And while I can respect the underlying principle behind choosing to base your position on "theoretically not impossible that he didn't", I don't think that this is the way the real world of baseball operates, nor should it. Or to put it in concrete terms, it's the difference between a courtroom and Cooperstown.
   294. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:04 AM (#3890070)
Everything about Bonds in that period is an outlier and the whole point about outliers is that they don't lend themselves to convenient explanations.

Except that none of those other "outliers" ever did what Bonds did, at the point in their careers when Bonds did it, and while having taken steroids. None of them are comparisons in terms of Bonds's unique combination of skyrocketing power surges relative to his "normal" prime years. Not Hank Aaron, not Babe Ruth, not Darrell Evans, not Cap Anson, none of them. All we've had is a bunch of random players thrown up against a wall with the hope that one of them would stick. Nice try, poor results.


You're misreading Ron. He said that _Bonds_ is the outlier in this context (late career surges), not the other players.
   295. Gonfalon B. Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:07 AM (#3890072)
Except that none of those other "outliers" ever did what Bonds did

There is a kind of genius in this.
   296. Brian C Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:51 AM (#3890078)
When have I ever "isolated" steroids as being a clear factor?

I just want to congratulate you on seizing on the one word that allows you to turn this into a semantic debate instead of a substantial one.

It's not like you can blame anyone for questioning your "one of many factors" schtick. The de-emphasis you claim to be putting on steroids is not consistent with your evident passion for casting doubt on Bonds's career (UNPRECEDENTED!) based on his steroid usage. And if the last sentence of your #293 means what it seems to mean, you're essentially saying, "Hey guys, I know there are any number of things that may have affected Bonds's numbers as much as or even more than steroids. But even though they're all perfectly innocent, I say that we keep him out of the Hall of Fame on the basis of this one factor that I admittedly do not know the effect of and without which he may have full well put up similar numbers to what he actually did."

I mean, that's just hard to square with your dogged insistence that you're not singling out steroids. Clearly (ahem), this one factor is doing a lot of heavy lifting in the way you're approaching the topic. If you really do believe the subject to be as ambiguous as you claim, I must say that you're strenuously ignoring the clear implications of that.

... a handful of people refuse to acknowledge even that steroids can be performance-enhancing for baseball players.

Who? Who is saying this? Is anyone denying that steroids may have performance-enhancing capabilities? That's not the argument at all. The argument is that a) the effect of steroids have not been satisfactorily demonstrated, and b) we have no way of knowing how they might have affected Bonds.
   297. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 01, 2011 at 05:17 AM (#3890086)
Improve him most of the way from the 165 to the 227 he did put up? No freaking way.

What if I came to you in 1998 and told you that I was a close personal friend of Barry's, and he is pissed. He doesn't like the Sosa/McGwire attention, and he is going to do whatever it takes to become the best player ever. He is going to redo his nutritional intake, his workout routine, his batting approach, his physical philosophy, and take every steroid he can get his hands on. He is gonna eat sheep testicles, horse cum, and unicorn blood. He is going to sacrifice a newborn baby. He made a deal with the devil, then ###### the devil up the ass.

Then I asked you if you wanted to know the future. Do you want to know how great he was gonna be? Yes, you say. I tell you he is gonna OPS 227. He is gonna break the HR record. He is gonna walk 200 times a year, with 100 intentional. His OBP is gonna be over .500.

You refuse to believe it. "Impossible. Can't happen. Won't happen. No one else has ever done that at their peak, how are some steroids going to let him do it in his late 30s?"

You were right to disbelieve me. But now you think you can explain what happened?
   298. Gonfalon B. Posted: August 01, 2011 at 07:32 AM (#3890107)
What if I came to you in 1998 and told you... [Bonds] is going to sacrifice a newborn baby.

If it had been Jaden Smith, Bonds would be a hero now.
   299. CrosbyBird Posted: August 01, 2011 at 08:20 AM (#3890110)
It's true that a handful of people aren't certain that Bonds used steroids, and that a handful of people refuse to acknowledge even that steroids can be performance-enhancing for baseball players. But I think the difference can be expressed more as the difference between those whose rely on the great preponderance of facts that point in one direction, and those who demand what amounts to a legal standard of "proof".

This is only a reasonable position if those who rely on this "great preponderance" are also relying on some sort of alternate definition of the word "certain." The entire point is not that people cannot suspect that Bonds has used steroids or that steroids are performance-enhancing. After all, I suspect both of those things. It is instead that suspicion (even very reasonable suspicion) is not certainty, and is in fact so far removed from certainty that it becomes grossly irresponsible to behave otherwise.

I might disagree with someone that would never give a HOF vote to any player who failed a steroid test in the post-testing era, but it's a reasonable position. Similarly, I would disagree with someone who withheld a HOF vote for anyone convicted of a serious crime, but I can completely respect the position. What I can't respect is someone who says "it's all about character to me" and then would vote for a rapist but not a murderer, as if there is any sort of bright line that separates the two. Similarly, it is unreasonable to withhold a vote for a steroid user but not an amphetamine user for either moral reasons (as if it is somehow a sign of worse character to use one performance-enhancing drug than another) or "tainted numbers" (as if there is anything approaching solid evidence that one is more performance-enhancing than the other, or anything approaching a good approximation of how enhancing they are).

But outside the courtroom, at some point you have to weigh the total evidence and base your conclusion on "much more likely" vs. "theoretically not impossible that he didn't". And while I can respect the underlying principle behind choosing to base your position on "theoretically not impossible that he didn't", I don't think that this is the way the real world of baseball operates, nor should it. Or to put it in concrete terms, it's the difference between a courtroom and Cooperstown.

Actually, there is a third option. You can admit that there's not enough evidence to make a decision in either direction, and refrain from judgment until such evidence exists. This is, in my opinion, the only responsible position to take.

You'll never hear me insist that Bonds didn't use steroids, or that steroids didn't enhance his performance. You will hear me insist that treating someone differently than you would otherwise on the basis of flimsy evidence is a moral wrong. (If you have similar flimsy evidence that a babysitter is a child molester and you choose not to hire her to watch your child, then you might be willing to commit that moral wrong for the purpose of safety, but you should acknowledge that you're passing an unreasonable judgment on that person and that you simply don't care about that.)
   300. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 01, 2011 at 01:55 PM (#3890179)
Brian,

I'm "singling out steroids" only because nobody else seems willing to take the step from "possible" to "probable", and because nobody's demanding that I (or anyone else) show any "evidence" for any non-steroid factor. I'm saying that steroids are one clear factor out of many clear factors, and you're saying that there are many possible factors but no "clear" ones.** You're welcome to imagine that steroids (or weight lifting, or diet) may have had nothing to do with Bonds's majestic late career power spikes, and therefore treat him like Dale Murphy, but AFAIC that's little more than a combination of wishful thinking and the use of irrelevant legal standards of proof.

**Other than Bonds's "outlier" skills, of course, which is the "OOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMM" of last resort when all other explanations for his late career power surge have come up short.

It's not like you can blame anyone for questioning your "one of many factors" schtick. The de-emphasis you claim to be putting on steroids is not consistent with your evident passion for casting doubt on Bonds's career (UNPRECEDENTED!) based on his steroid usage. And if the last sentence of your #293 means what it seems to mean, you're essentially saying, "Hey guys, I know there are any number of things that may have affected Bonds's numbers as much as or even more than steroids. But even though they're all perfectly innocent, I say that we keep him out of the Hall of Fame on the basis of this one factor that I admittedly do not know the effect of and without which he may have full well put up similar numbers to what he actually did."

I've emphasized steroids for the sole reason that none of those other factors violated the spirit of the game.** I'd vote against Manny Alexander or Jason Grimsley for the Hall of Fame for exactly the same reason, and I'm perfectly willing to vote for Bonds for the Hall of Merit.

**A subjective point whose definition, like "sportsmanship", is one that reasonable people may differ on, and one that's been dealt with in so many previous threads that it doesn't need to be gone over for the 1000th time. One unresolvable topic is enough. (smile)

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

It's true that a handful of people aren't certain that Bonds used steroids, and that a handful of people refuse to acknowledge even that steroids can be performance-enhancing for baseball players. But I think the difference can be expressed more as the difference between those whose rely on the great preponderance of facts that point in one direction, and those who demand what amounts to a legal standard of "proof".

This is only a reasonable position if those who rely on this "great preponderance" are also relying on some sort of alternate definition of the word "certain." The entire point is not that people cannot suspect that Bonds has used steroids or that steroids are performance-enhancing. After all, I suspect both of those things. It is instead that suspicion (even very reasonable suspicion) is not certainty, and is in fact so far removed from certainty that it becomes grossly irresponsible to behave otherwise....

Actually, there is a third option. You can admit that there's not enough evidence to make a decision in either direction, and refrain from judgment until such evidence exists. This is, in my opinion, the only responsible position to take.


All you're doing here is taking your personal level of skepticism about Bonds steroids and demanding that everyone else agree with it. It doesn't work that way. As you may remember, my point of reasonable certainty about Bonds wasn't reached by muscle size, cap size, bacne, or even those power spikes alone. I never said a word about any of those things before the BALCO revelations, and I've never jumped in against Bagwell, Thome, Sosa, or any of the other players whose "evidence" consists of nothing but speculation and innuendo. I don't say what I've said about Bonds lightly, or on the basis of any personal feelings against him.

I simply don't think that steroid users belong in the Hall of Fame. Period. It's purely a case of subjective opinion, and no matter how many ways you try to obfuscate the issue by bringing up irrelevant comparisons or analogies, it will always come down to that. Feel free to call me irrational, dishonest, a Roger Maris fanboy, or anything else you want, but all you're doing is preaching to a self-selected choir that's steamed that the outside world doesn't see things their way.
Page 3 of 6 pages  < 1 2 3 4 5 6 > 

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14!
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOTP - July 2014: Republicans Lose To Democrats For Sixth Straight Year In Congressional Baseball Game
(3112 - 1:09pm, Jul 25)
Last: JL

Newsblog5 for Friday: Leo Mazzone, pitching coach to the HOFers
(11 - 1:06pm, Jul 25)
Last: Moeball

NewsblogCSN: Enough is enough — time to move on from Ryan Howard
(100 - 1:05pm, Jul 25)
Last: Lassus

NewsblogNoble: Tom Seaver expects Derek Jeter to become first unanimous Hall of Fame inductee
(74 - 12:50pm, Jul 25)
Last: Ray (RDP)

NewsblogOT: The Soccer Thread July, 2014
(398 - 12:47pm, Jul 25)
Last: Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee)

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread- July 2014
(919 - 12:45pm, Jul 25)
Last: RollingWave

SABR - BBTF ChapterWho's going to SABR??
(92 - 12:37pm, Jul 25)
Last: Fred Garvin is dead to Mug

NewsblogGoldman: Eliminating the shift a bandage for a phantom wound
(38 - 12:23pm, Jul 25)
Last: Ron J2

NewsblogThe Inventor of the High Five
(25 - 12:20pm, Jul 25)
Last: Batman

NewsblogLa Russa: Asterisk for tainted stars
(13 - 12:03pm, Jul 25)
Last: Gonfalon B.

NewsblogBuck Showalter, Tommy Hunter bemoan shrinking strike zone in Orioles loss
(12 - 11:34am, Jul 25)
Last: Bug Selig

NewsblogTwitter / Ken_Rosenthal: Mariners announce acquisition of Kendrys Morales for RHP Stephen Pryor.
(18 - 11:14am, Jul 25)
Last: Davo Dozier

NewsblogRick Cerone: “Robinson Cano . . . what a fool!”
(257 - 11:12am, Jul 25)
Last: Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc

NewsblogSurprising Sports Stars – Guided by Voices’ Robert Pollard
(13 - 11:06am, Jul 25)
Last: KT's Pot Arb

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-25-2014
(5 - 10:57am, Jul 25)
Last: Batman

Page rendered in 0.9088 seconds
54 querie(s) executed