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Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Johnny Damon: 2009 World Series Diminished If A-Rod Was Using PEDs

Johnny Damon: An Idiot. Before, during and after.

Alex Rodriguez’s sole World Series championship came with the Yankees in 2009. But Johnny Damon, A-Rod’s Yankees teammate from 2006-09, exclaims that if A-Rod was using PEDs during the 2009 postseason, the significance of winning the World Series is certainly lessened, if not completely diminished.

“I really haven’t sat down and thought that far, but if that’s how he was able to hit in the postseason, then yeah, absolutely,” Damon told First Pitch on MLB Network Radio, which is broadcast on Sirus XM Radio. “Then you start going and saying, ‘Was anyone (else) on their team cheating?’”

In the 2009 postseason, A-Rod batted .365 and tallied five doubles, six home runs and 18 RBIs. Damon admits that Rodriguez was a major factor in the Yankees’ run to the World Series.

“There’s just so many different factors that determine if a team wins, and A-Rod was a huge determining factor,” Damon said on First Pitch. “He was the MVP of the ALCS. He played a pretty huge part. Unfortunately, through the years, guys winning awards have been linked to something.”

Repoz Posted: August 07, 2013 at 04:38 PM | 63 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox, yankees

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   1. asinwreck Posted: August 07, 2013 at 04:48 PM (#4515427)
How's he feel about the 2004 Series?
   2. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 07, 2013 at 04:51 PM (#4515430)
Wait, I thought A-Rod was a choker in the post-season?
   3. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: August 07, 2013 at 05:03 PM (#4515441)
I have this recollection, potential imagined but I don't think so, of Johnny Damon being shocked and outraged by the amp ban.

EDIT: That took about 2 seconds. Not quite shock and outrage. Thanks google! http://deadspin.com/128742/those-raving-chattery-jittery-ballplayers
   4. Ray K Posted: August 07, 2013 at 05:04 PM (#4515442)
Yeah, that is pretty silly. Most likely A-Rod was using in all of his other post-season appearances, so his exception 2009 post-season performance can be attributed to normal variation.
   5. dejarouehg Posted: August 07, 2013 at 05:18 PM (#4515457)
Any time Damon or Nomar talk about this, something about a pot and kettle comes to mind.
   6. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 07, 2013 at 05:42 PM (#4515479)
Every Yankees title in the last 35 years had already been tainted by Pettite.
   7. hee came hee seop'd he choi'd Posted: August 07, 2013 at 05:51 PM (#4515485)
Damon apparently has forgotten he was teammates with Manny Ramirez
   8. Flynn Posted: August 07, 2013 at 05:56 PM (#4515490)
Either Johnny's decided that his best post-baseball opportunities lie with the Red Sox family or he's not thinking this through.
   9. AJMcCringleberry Posted: August 07, 2013 at 06:02 PM (#4515496)
Yeah, Melky Cabrera and Andy Pettitte will never feel good about that 2009 WS again.
   10. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 07, 2013 at 06:06 PM (#4515500)
It's far more chilling that the last game of the 2009 WS was won by a guy with a warehouse of tentacle porn and an Etch-a-Sketch wife.
   11. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 07, 2013 at 06:14 PM (#4515504)
If this is bothering people so much, why is anyone watching these games now? Why are these Clean Players participating in them? Go do something that is more honorable and more authentic.

We're going to rid the sport of drugs? Really? As Joe Sheehan put it in a recent newsletter:

Even checking back to something seemingly simple -- athletes shouldn't use illegal drugs -- brings up questions of why these drugs are illegal, the politicization of science, the transitory nature of drug laws, the apparent lack of impact they have on play. Largely, you're arguing with people who can't see past "CHEETERZ!!", so why are you bothering?

Saying you want a drug-free game is an abstraction, buying in to an image of sports, of baseball, that has simply never reflected reality. In the same way that there was no such thing as loyalty before free agency, there's no such thing as clean before testing. If you could turn the Bud Squad loose in 1965 or 1982 or 1993, you'd find what reasonable people know to be true: many hypercompetitive athletes will do anything to be the best, ethics and laws be damned. With testing, with witch hunts, with 800-word screeds, we're trying to hold the present to the standards of the past -- standards that never, ever existed except in our sepia-toned fondest wishes.

   12. tfbg9 Posted: August 07, 2013 at 06:15 PM (#4515505)
"Damon apparently has forgotten he was teammates with Manny Ramirez"


C'mon. You obviously can't interpret stats very well, can you? Manny starting using in 2008 when he got to LA. Its obvious:

2008 BOS-.299/.398/.529/.926: 137

2008 LAD-.396/.489/.743/1.232: 221
   13. tfbg9 Posted: August 07, 2013 at 06:18 PM (#4515509)
I want the game to try to be as clean as reasonably possible. That being said,


FREE A-ROD!
   14. haven Posted: August 07, 2013 at 07:49 PM (#4515552)
FREE A-ROD!


####-AROD
   15. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 07, 2013 at 10:20 PM (#4515688)

Saying you want a drug-free game is an abstraction, buying in to an image of sports, of baseball, that has simply never reflected reality.

Ray, I think you and Sheehan are arguing with a straw man here. Advocating for PED testing and harsh penalties isn't the same thing as saying you think a "drug-free game" is possible or that it ever really existed. Just because we can't fully wipe out a problem that doesn't mean we should simply throw up our hands and allow it to fester unchecked.
   16. VoodooR Posted: August 07, 2013 at 11:07 PM (#4515720)
Just because we can't fully wipe out a problem that doesn't mean we should simply throw up our hands and allow it to fester unchecked.


Who's arguing with a strawman?
   17. Sunday silence Posted: August 08, 2013 at 12:13 AM (#4515734)
Either Sheehan and Ray are OR they need to restate what it is they are arguing about. To say that athletics has never been clean is both elementary and beside the point.
   18. DFA Posted: August 08, 2013 at 02:00 AM (#4515756)
I remember this interview with Johnny Damon on ESPN, I think it was during the time that Peter Gammons interviewed Rodriguez when he stated that he only used while a Ranger. Anyway, they interviewed Damon and he said something to the effect of "he's always been nice to me, I can't imagine him ever using PEDs!" It had to be one of the funniest things I've ever seen, and now it's just all the more rich. I tried finding the interview in their archives but was not successful.
   19. Walt Davis Posted: August 08, 2013 at 02:59 AM (#4515763)
Either Sheehan and Ray are

I believe Mr. VoodooR's point is that "simply throw up our hands and allow it to fester unchecked" is a strawman.

To say that athletics has never been clean is both elementary ...

You'd think so but we see many sportswriters, many HoF voters and some posters on this site pretending just the opposite and writing/behaving as if PEDs are an unprecedented evil in baseball. To get one's moral panties in a bunch at this stage in the sport's history is a bit silly.

I'll add the caveat that I have some sympathy for anybody who argues that amps were every bit as evil as steroids and we never should have voted those cheaters into the HoF, etc. but it's too late now, let's think of the children. I recall seeing one poster once post such a statement.

... and beside the point.

It is apparently only beside the point for those of us taking the "legalistic" not "moralistic" view of things. Prior to testing, there were no violations and the game's history of "cheating" and illegal drug use was "beside the point" since it had never been a point earlier in the history (i.e. nobody has ever cared about it before, why care now). Post-testing that "cheating" and illegal drug use had been beside the point became beside the point because there were now (reasonably) clear, negotiated rules in place and the debate should simply be about the quality of evidence, the fair application of the rules and morality shouldn't really come into it much at all.

The only time morality should have had much role in the debate was during the debate as to whether a testing/dicipline regime should have been put in place. Its role these days is pretty much limited to arguing whether the system is too invasive/draconian or should be more invasive/draconian. The former is occasionally done from a "rights/liberty" standpoint but none of us push it very strongly (maybe Ray). The latter seems mainly driven by an emotional reaction to being "betrayed", disliking players and a belief that the game can be rid of drugs if we just punish them enough ... which we've all just agreed can obviously never be achieved.
   20. Sunday silence Posted: August 08, 2013 at 06:41 AM (#4515779)
I am not sure what you are trying to say in your last two paragraphs Walt. I dont see it as a moral or legal issue, at least not with respect to what Ray was saying. He seemed to be saying that there's never going to be a totally drug free, or totally cheater free sports world, so just eff it, just everyone do whatever.

That seems to me to be more like a pragmatic argument, while the other point of view is a more idealistic argument: we know it's not perfect but we can strive to make it as clean as possible. How you get this into moral/legal perspective I am not sure.

Also how do you know: "nobody has ever cared about it before." In the entire history of baseball? Not one single solitary person? How in hell would you know that? Does your argument have to stand or fall on this sort of all or nothing proposition? Again not sure what the pt is...
   21. Koot Posted: August 08, 2013 at 07:36 AM (#4515782)
I remember this interview with Johnny Damon on ESPN, I think it was during the time that Peter Gammons interviewed Rodriguez when he stated that he only used while a Ranger. Anyway, they interviewed Damon and he said something to the effect of "he's always been nice to me, I can't imagine him ever using PEDs!" It had to be one of the funniest things I've ever seen, and now it's just all the more rich. I tried finding the interview in their archives but was not successful.


Damon: "Yeah he did some bad things, he took a steroid. I definitely do not condone that at all, but there could be a lot worse things he could have been doing. He hasn't done a crime ... so, there's worse things he could have done, but I've known Alex since he was 15 and he's always been super-nice to me, so I'm going to support him and try to help him through this time."

Reporter: Johnny, what would have been worse?

Damon: "Murdering someone. There's plenty of things that could have been worse than what he did."

http://sportsblog.projo.com/2009/02/johnny-damon-de.html
   22. Arva Posted: August 08, 2013 at 07:53 AM (#4515788)
Uh, before 2001, not only did "no one" care, but mentioning it got you ostracized. See Andro, 1998.
   23. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: August 08, 2013 at 09:50 AM (#4515847)

Reporter: Johnny, what would have been worse?

Damon: "Murdering someone. There's plenty of things that could have been worse than what he did."


That is fantastic.
   24. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 08, 2013 at 10:10 AM (#4515878)
You'd think so but we see many sportswriters, many HoF voters and some posters on this site pretending just the opposite and writing/behaving as if PEDs are an unprecedented evil in baseball.


Right. I love the innocent "Huh? What are you talking about?" response from people who have spent the last decade screeching about cheaters.
   25. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: August 08, 2013 at 10:22 AM (#4515892)
Right. I love the innocent "Huh? What are you talking about?" response from people who have spent the last decade screeching about cheaters.


Ray, I don't know if anybody asked you this directly before, but I'd love to get an answer: what would be your ideal solution to the PED issue in MLB, assuming government does not change the status of the majority of these substances (AAS, hGH, synthetic t, IGF, etc.) ? Do you favor any form of deterrence at all?
   26. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 08, 2013 at 10:28 AM (#4515902)
Do you favor any form of deterrence at all?


No. For privacy reasons, and because it's not clear that steroids increase baseball performance in the first place. (But if steroids do, then amps do.)

And now that we've seen how it has played out, we've seen where the silliness leads. It's a diseased mind that nods in approval at the current state of affairs with regard to this entire issue.
   27. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 08, 2013 at 10:42 AM (#4515927)

I believe Mr. VoodooR's point is that "simply throw up our hands and allow it to fester unchecked" is a strawman.

Ray has already said he favors no form of deterrence whatsoever. He doesn't think PEDs should be against the rules. Where's the strawman?
   28. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 08, 2013 at 10:43 AM (#4515928)
Wow a slight difference between Ray and I on steroids. Personally I have zero problem with anything negotiated between players and owners regarding PEDs. And I have a huge problem with anything beyond what is negotiated.

As an aside I think how the government categorizes it is irrelevant. They can negotiate banning coffee for all I care and put in a coffee testing regimen and also decide that steroids and such are fine in baseball players. After all MLB right now penalizes if the PEDs were administered only in places where it is legal. It does not matter from a penalty perspective regarding the legality of the drugs and where it happened, so why should how the government feels about the drugs matter (and of course the government should not care what MLB thinks, what is legal or not is their decision).
   29. Sean Forman Posted: August 08, 2013 at 10:49 AM (#4515937)
I'm with Johnny. Better take back the trophy as A-Rod carried them that year.
   30. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: August 08, 2013 at 10:52 AM (#4515941)
Thanks for answering. Please understand the following questions are sincere. I'd really like to know where you're coming from.

No. For privacy reasons, and because it's not clear that steroids increase baseball performance in the first place. (But if steroids do, then amps do.)


To start, agreed on amps as performance enhancers.

WRT baseball performance, we know that steroids improve strength and speed. Steroids don't improve hand-eye coordination, but if you already have that, they'll give you the tools necessary compete with better athletes. It's the line about how steroids can turn doubles into homers. Why do you think privacy trumps workplace safety on this issue, particularly if we know that without deterrence, players are apt to use dangerous anabolics?


And now that we've seen how it has played out, we've seen where the silliness leads. It's a diseased mind that nods in approval at the current state of affairs with regard to this entire issue.


I'm very curious about this statement. What is it about the "entire issue" that you find most galling? Again, not trolling.

MLB has obviously taken liberties over the course of the Biogenesis scandal, and particularly with Alex Rodriguez. However, there seems to be an emerging consensus between players and owners that PEDs, as a matter of workplace safety, need to be kept at bay as much as possible. Do you think there's any chance that the JDA could be reformed in a way that increases deterrence while improving due process for the accused?
   31. SoSH U at work Posted: August 08, 2013 at 10:58 AM (#4515951)
It does not matter from a penalty perspective regarding the legality of the drugs and where it happened, so why should how the government feels about the drugs matter (and of course the government should not care what MLB thinks, what is legal or not is their decision).


For clarity's sake, I think the legality should matter in terms of whether MLB has a policy. If you're forcing guys to choose between staying up with their peers or committing a crime (regardless how one feels about whether it SHOULD be a crime), you've got a problem. And I don't think, hopping a flight to the Dominican Republic is a reasonable work-around on the legality issue.

And I think Ray's wrong on the "how this played out" bit. I strongly suspect that it played out this way because baseball (both players and management) were seen by the media, Congress and public as dragging their feet on the issue (and, in fact, baseball did drag its feet, even if the media and fans had a certain amount of culpability in that regard). If the players/owners had attacked the issue much earlier, I don't think you see the wrinkled old commish going so crazy on this now. It wouldn't be football's nonchalance on the matter for a variety of reasons, but the entire process would be much more reasonable.



   32. Ron J2 Posted: August 08, 2013 at 11:06 AM (#4515957)
#26 Interesting to note that Charles Yesalis who's been part of the PED wars for a long time seems to now be leaning towards the notion that the cure is worse than the disease. His view is that you can't have a successful testing regime without requiring athletes to live under constant surveillance (something that's happened in professional cycling) and he's just not comfortable advocating that.

I think there's pretty clear evidence that general deterrence simply doesn't work. Nor does increasing the penalties seem to have any impact (beyond specific deterrence)
   33. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: August 08, 2013 at 11:09 AM (#4515961)
If the players/owners had attacked the issue much earlier, I don't think you see the wrinkled old commish going so crazy on this now.


It's always worth noting Selig did attempt to be proactive by proposing steroid testing in 1994 under the 1984 framework for drug testing. If MLB had just adopted window dressing testing then (per the Mitchell Report, it would have been during Spring Training and, as a low priority, probably easy to beat like the NFL's testing), the optics of this scandal would be very, very different.

EDIT: MLB did eventually expand the "reasonable cause" testing to include steroids in 1999.

   34. SoSH U at work Posted: August 08, 2013 at 11:13 AM (#4515965)
I think there's pretty clear evidence that general deterrence simply doesn't work. Nor does increasing the penalties seem to have any impact (beyond specific deterrence)


What does "doesn't work" mean (at least in terms of baseball)?

   35. SoSH U at work Posted: August 08, 2013 at 11:16 AM (#4515968)
It's always worth noting Selig did attempt to be proactive by proposing steroid testing in 1994 under the 1984 framework for drug testing.


It's also worth noting that in 2005, Bud Selig said he hadn't even heard of steroids until 1998-98. Bud's track record on the issue is, shall we say, not entirely consistent.

   36. catomi01 Posted: August 08, 2013 at 11:17 AM (#4515971)
It's the line about how steroids can turn doubles into homers.


Has anyone conducted a real investigation of this? Say that whatever barry bonds or mark mcgwire took during their surge added 20 feet on average to the flight of they ball, how many more homeruns does that add? How many did they lose by being too quick to the ball and pulling foul?

Couple the uncertaintly of the above with the fact that they were facing a ton of pitchers using he exact same things, and I have continually found it very hard to work up anger at batters using steroids, HGH or anything.

From some of the people caught (a ton of middle relievers and fringe guys like Francisco Cervelli to go along with the big names) its pretty clear that there are no magic pills to make you a baseball player.
   37. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: August 08, 2013 at 11:20 AM (#4515974)

It's also worth noting that in 2005, Bud Selig said he hadn't even heard of steroids until 1998-98. Bud's track record on the issue is, shall we say, not entirely consistent.


In 2005, Bud said he didn't hear of steroids until 1998-99 at approximately the same time he said that he first became aware of rising PED use around 1994. As a commissioner, he makes for a fine used car salesman.

Hindsight being 20/20, the easy solution would have been to expand the existing drug framework to include steroids starting in 1991. MLB and the PA would have gotten the good pub of "cracking down" on PED usage without really stepping on anyone's toes. Moreover, there would have been *some* better clarification and deterrent in place rather than the Wild West atmosphere that came to be, and maybe the most egregious aspects of the Steroid Era never come to pass.
   38. Kiko Sakata Posted: August 08, 2013 at 11:28 AM (#4515985)
Has anyone conducted a real investigation of this? Say that whatever barry bonds or mark mcgwire took during their surge added 20 feet on average to the flight of they ball, how many more homeruns does that add? How many did they lose by being too quick to the ball and pulling foul?


The issue of how strength translates into fly-ball distance has been looked at by a couple of physicists. Here's a PDF link to the latter of the two I'm aware of, by Alan Nathan (he footnotes the first one I'm aware of on the first page).

From some of the people caught (a ton of middle relievers and fringe guys like Francisco Cervelli to go along with the big names) its pretty clear that there are no magic pills to make you a baseball player.


I hate this argument. Francisco Cervelli is something like one million times better at playing baseball than I am. The fact that whatever he used didn't turn him into a Hall-of-Famer doesn't mean that whatever he used didn't work at all. As a 19-year-old in rookie ball, he batted .190/.300/.276. To go from there to >600 career plate appearances over which he batted .271/.343/.367 in the major leagues was a hell of a lot of improvement - probably a hell of a lot more improvement than going from 1993-MVP-level Barry Bonds to 2001-MVP-level Bonds. It could have all been natural and due to honest hard work, but it's disingenuous to point to Cervelli's career and conclude that he didn't improve as a ballplayer.
   39. catomi01 Posted: August 08, 2013 at 11:33 AM (#4515993)
Cervelli was just an example, and I will agree that your point is valid - but not conclusive in my mind. 2 things with cervelli's improvement, its a small sample size, and at times he has looked very, very bad...and secondly as you point out, there are roads to that improvement that don't include artificial means that others have taken.

My larger point is that I don't see any evidence that Barry Bonds or Arod, or Braun would have been 4th OF'ers or platoon players or anything like that without steroids...to be that good at the game of baseball requires a lot more than simply big muscles.
   40. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 08, 2013 at 11:40 AM (#4516003)
For clarity's sake, I think the legality should matter in terms of whether MLB has a policy. If you're forcing guys to choose between staying up with their peers or committing a crime (regardless how one feels about whether it SHOULD be a crime), you've got a problem. And I don't think, hopping a flight to the Dominican Republic is a reasonable work-around on the legality issue.


So you believe there should be no MLB policies around legal substances and would be against those policies? Similarly should there be MLB policies around all illegal substances?
   41. villageidiom Posted: August 08, 2013 at 11:41 AM (#4516004)
Saying you want a drug-free game is an abstraction, buying in to an image of sports, of baseball, that has simply never reflected reality.
I don't care if we have a drug-free game. I want a system in which people aren't compelled to break the law in order to get (or keep) a job they want. If the way MLB and MLBPA agree to enforce that is to strive for a drug-free game, so be it.

It has nothing to do with an image of sports that doesn't reflect reality, or to hearken back to a time that never existed, or holding the present to the standards of the past. Compliance with current federal regulations, at Congress' demand, is holding the present to the standards of the present. Wishing Congress hadn't made these drugs illegal, or wishing MLB and MLBPA could ignore that, is holding the present to the standards of the past.

...which means Joe Sheehan is arguing against himself. Finally he has found an adversary worthy of his infinite disdain.
   42. catomi01 Posted: August 08, 2013 at 11:44 AM (#4516007)
The issue of how strength translates into fly-ball distance has been looked at by a couple of physicists. Here's a PDF link to the latter of the two I'm aware of, by Alan Nathan (he footnotes the first one I'm aware of on the first page).


And this is a good read as well...I would still be interested in the "negative effects" of increase bat speed as well...how many pitches are "missed" - not squared up - or pulled foul that otherwise might have been homeruns? I don't know that either of those could ever really be quantified, but it would have an impact as well. Coupled with the fact that pitchers were as likely to be using as batters and its less clear just how much of an advantage guys like bonds really had at the time (not saying conclusively that they did not - just that it is not certain.)
   43. SoSH U at work Posted: August 08, 2013 at 11:49 AM (#4516016)
So you believe there should be no MLB policies around legal substances and would be against those policies?


No, I didn't say that at all. What baseball does with legal substances is a separate matter, unrelated to the other.

Similarly should there be MLB policies around all illegal substances?


Nah. I only think it's important to have policies against those perceived to be performance-enhancing by the baseball playing community. Whether MLB wants to have a specific penalty against heroin use isn't as significant (though it would if someday down the road large swaths of ballplayers decided smack use was really making them better).

I just think it's crazy that baseball (and, more specifically, the union) allowed its players to take legal risks simply to perform better on the field.
   44. villageidiom Posted: August 08, 2013 at 12:03 PM (#4516030)
As an aside I think how the government categorizes it is irrelevant.

How the government categorizes it* is the original basis for the ban, and the banned list. It's immensely relevant.

Actions speak louder than words. MLB did jack about PEDs until Congress stepped in. Congress stepped in with MLB because (a) since they hold the keys to the antitrust exemption, they can; and (b) disregard for federal regulation appeared** flagrant among MLB's high-profile employees. I posit that if there were no federal ban of anabolic steroids there would be no ban of PEDs in MLB.

* That, and whatever legal stuff messes up tests for the illegal stuff.

** The federal ban, the widespread knowledge of use of PEDs in MLB, and a lot of high-profile records falling to freakishly muscular players, all happened around the same time. Whether they are causal or correlative is another matter, but they had the appearance of causality. That is, it appeared that players were being celebrated for performance they could not have achieved without violating federal regulations.
   45. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: August 08, 2013 at 12:34 PM (#4516055)
I don't care if we have a drug-free game. I want a system in which people aren't compelled to break the law in order to get (or keep) a job they want. If the way MLB and MLBPA agree to enforce that is to strive for a drug-free game, so be it.


I get what you are saying, but even if MLB instituted a one strike and your out policy regarding PEDs I guarantee players will still feel compelled to take the risk. Even if every player in MLB is completely clean there will be some minor league player taking a PED just to break in, and if it works it will be worth it. I don't see any possible way of eliminating that.

As long as MLB sticks to their agreed upon punishment rules I think the system as is is fine - take PEDs get suspended. But clearly MLB is not willing to just rely on positive tests or the agreed upon punishments. My main beef is with the media and their rabid lust for ratings. Unfortunately trashing people leads to ratings, so any excuse and they are there waiting to judge and moralize.
   46. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 08, 2013 at 02:03 PM (#4516168)
#26 Interesting to note that Charles Yesalis who's been part of the PED wars for a long time seems to now be leaning towards the notion that the cure is worse than the disease. His view is that you can't have a successful testing regime without requiring athletes to live under constant surveillance (something that's happened in professional cycling) and he's just not comfortable advocating that.


And as we know, it's more than just testing per se. These players are investigated to the best of MLB's abilities, with MLB throwing the full weight of their resources and influence behind the investigations. Here, MLB bribed witnesses; it paid for evidence; it filed a frivolous lawsuit; it seems to have issued leaks to poison the players' names in the eyes of the public; it destroyed players' reputations.

All with a lynch mob cheering it on.

   47. AROM Posted: August 08, 2013 at 03:16 PM (#4516222)
Cervelli was just an example, and I will agree that your point is valid - but not conclusive in my mind. 2 things with cervelli's improvement, its a small sample size, and at times he has looked very, very bad...and secondly as you point out, there are roads to that improvement that don't include artificial means that others have taken.

My larger point is that I don't see any evidence that Barry Bonds or Arod, or Braun would have been 4th OF'ers or platoon players or anything like that without steroids...to be that good at the game of baseball requires a lot more than simply big muscles.


I think it's pretty clear that steroids cannot take you from 4th outfielder to superstar. Because there are a lot of guys who have 4th outfielder ability, many more than just the ones in MLB, you also have good AAA players fitting that role. And we know from the Mitchell report and other sources that many, many of these types did use steroids.

From another thread I proposed looking at baseball talent from 0 to 10. 5 is replacement level, 7 is average MLB starter, 10 is Mike Trout, 1-4 are minor leaguers. 0 is people not good enough to play. There are better players than me on my softball team, and worse, but for this exercise we are all zeros.

Cervelli can go from a 4 to 5 - and now he has a career.
Braun can go from 8 to 9.
Bonds goes from 10 to 11.

But if you could go from say, 3 to 8, then baseball would be so chaotic to be beyond belief. That would suggest you could also go from 7 to 10. You've got maybe 100 players who are average MLBers, and if 50% are juicing, then you've got 50 ordinary guys plus the real stars all putting up HOF numbers. Even in the craziest years from 1996-2000, that didn't happen.
   48. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: August 08, 2013 at 07:31 PM (#4516382)
MLB did jack about PEDs until Congress stepped in.


As I get older, I find this line of thinking naiive. Congress is for sale and does nothing until someone waves a few thousand dollars at them. Until we get a contemporary owner willing to expose like Bill Veeck, we'll never get the truth to what set the whole thing off. Instead we'll get speculation (I'm fine with that) or bad platitudes about the brave morality of Congress (the biggest cheaters in history). There's a reason they've tried to keep Mark Cuban out of their club.
   49. dlf Posted: August 08, 2013 at 08:40 PM (#4516397)
It's always worth noting Selig did attempt to be proactive by proposing steroid testing in 1994 under the 1984 framework for drug testing.


As someone who would prefer that players (and owners -- the failure to have a team based penalty is a serious blight on the current PED policy) have a significant disincentive against using illegal and potentially physically harmful drugs, I wish that the MLB negotiators hadn't treated this as a throw-away issue. The negotiation by the league was directed solely at coming up with a way to impose a hard cap. That is the sole issue that caused the strike and subsequent lockout and PEDs were, at best, an afterthought.
   50. Sunday silence Posted: August 09, 2013 at 03:26 AM (#4516465)
No. For privacy reasons, and because it's not clear that steroids increase baseball performance in the first place


HOly sheit! What are you talking about? Do you not believe that steroids or whatever PEDs people starting taking in the 1980s created stronger/bigger sportsmen? Did you not notice how big everyone in the NFL got about 1980? First the Steelers were bigger than everyone, then the college kids like Rimington, Steinkuhler, Madarich, everyone just got loads bigger. ANd obviously stronger as well.

So OK, any reasonable person would have noticed the increase in size and strength among athletes. Do you not think that getting stronger helps you hit a baseball?

Does it not take strength to move a bat in the first place? Does it not take strength to give it velocity?

Did you ever recall getting stronger when you were a teenager and suddenly that wooden bat was so much easier to swing? I gained a lot of wt/strength when I started lifting and suddenly I got from a 125 lb skinny kid to a power hitter. You dont think strength helps you hit a baseball?

Jeezus what is wrong with you? You sit here and pontificate about how you know so much and then you just come with these mind numbing flights of fancy.

Why do you think taking PEDs is such an epidemic in basically every sport? Everyone is being mass hoodwinked? Is that it?

Jeezus. Why stop there? WHy not got full bore loon?

"Hey there's no proof speed helps you run the bases." There's no proof using gloves helps you field. "There's never been a study done on that.

"You know I'd really like to see a study that shows that having better eyesight helps you hit a baseball. They keep saying this but I dont buy it.

"You know, where's the proof that being bigger helps you throw a ball faster, I remember small guys in the 60s who could really throw it.

"Hey being stronger won't get you to the major leagues, therefore it doesnt help you."

Whatever, go back to asleep america. Here, have some American Gladiators....

   51. Tony S Posted: August 09, 2013 at 08:00 AM (#4516481)
As I get older, I find this line of thinking naiive. Congress is for sale and does nothing until someone waves a few thousand dollars at them. Until we get a contemporary owner willing to expose like Bill Veeck, we'll never get the truth to what set the whole thing off. Instead we'll get speculation (I'm fine with that) or bad platitudes about the brave morality of Congress (the biggest cheaters in history). There's a reason they've tried to keep Mark Cuban out of their club.


I've never failed to be amused by this, either. Oooooo, Congress got involved! Never mind that lying to Congress is like insulting Don Rickles...

If a player dragged into a congressional hearing by this All-Important Steroids Scandal had taken the opportunity to lambaste these so-called public servants for their (far more impactful) corruption, he would have turned himself into a folk hero. Of course, he better not have had so much as a parking ticket in his life...
   52. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 09, 2013 at 08:11 AM (#4516484)
So OK, any reasonable person would have noticed the increase in size and strength among athletes. Do you not think that getting stronger helps you hit a baseball?


One can get bigger naturally, without using steroids. The issue is whether what steroids brings you significantly impacts baseball performance over natural workouts.

Is there a study you can point to that shows a significant impact of steroids use on major league baseball players? Something more convincing than "Barry Bonds. 'Nuff said"? Because I haven't seen one. And I've looked. The performances of steroids players range from bad to good. Some are durable; some are injury prone. Some are consistent throughout their career; some improve or decline. Some are good late in their career; some burn out. Etc etc.
   53. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 09, 2013 at 08:44 AM (#4516495)
Is there a study you can point to that shows a significant impact of steroids use on major league baseball players? Something more convincing than "Barry Bonds. 'Nuff said"?


But Barry said he never took steroids. Shame on you for perpetuating such baseless smears.
   54. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: August 09, 2013 at 11:34 AM (#4516663)
Ray, look at Kiko Sakata's post in this very thread.
   55. villageidiom Posted: August 09, 2013 at 12:02 PM (#4516691)
As I get older, I find this line of thinking naiive. Congress is for sale and does nothing until someone waves a few thousand dollars at them. Until we get a contemporary owner willing to expose like Bill Veeck, we'll never get the truth to what set the whole thing off. Instead we'll get speculation (I'm fine with that) or bad platitudes about the brave morality of Congress (the biggest cheaters in history). There's a reason they've tried to keep Mark Cuban out of their club.
Your response to my comment seems to presume I'm granting Congress the moral high ground. In no way am I doing that. Congress very well might have pulled MLB in front of them simply to get their names in the papers and pick up a few autographs along the way. Regardless of Congress' real motive, they could justify doing it for the reasons I gave. If the elements of (a) and (b) were not present, they would have done nothing.

Again, I'm working with actions, not talk, not naive reading of intentions.
   56. villageidiom Posted: August 09, 2013 at 12:33 PM (#4516717)
As long as MLB sticks to their agreed upon punishment rules I think the system as is is fine - take PEDs get suspended. But clearly MLB is not willing to just rely on positive tests or the agreed upon punishments.
Evidence of purchases of PEDs - which is the primary evidence against Rodriguez and others - is not explicitly covered in the JDA. The agreed-upon rules allow for the Commissioner to determine if events not covered explicitly in the JDA constitute violations; and if so determined, the agreed-upon rules allow for the Commissioner to determine the punishment. The JDA provides neither minimum nor maximum punishments in this case. So far MLB has followed this, and are in the clear.

The agreed-upon rules also allow for arbitration if appealed, which is the process being followed. Note that there is nothing in the JDA that says the Commissioner must set a punishment that is not worthy of appeal.

MLB is relying on the agreed-upon rules.

My main beef is with the media and their rabid lust for ratings. Unfortunately trashing people leads to ratings, so any excuse and they are there waiting to judge and moralize.
Agreed. But in their "defense", we've been through a lot of posts, in a lot of threads on this non-media (possibly anti-media) site, that are even less informed and more moralistic than the media has been. Trashing people based on counter-factual or ignorant thoughts is not something exclusive to the media.

Still, as I said, I agree with you. I agree because I'd like to think journalists should be held to a much higher standard than a cherry-picked subset of the contributors to the comment section of a website.

Then again, sports journalism has struck me less of a bastion of journalism as much as a bunch of people who want to watch sports and write opinions but sometimes have to endure beat writing jobs until someone will let them. They are the most threatened by bloggers, who watch sports and write opinion for free. As such, I'm not sure holding sports journalists to the standard we want for journalists in general is going to get us anywhere.
   57. Ron J2 Posted: August 09, 2013 at 12:43 PM (#4516725)
#34 Sorry for not responding sooner. I just missed the question.

I'd suggest a look at the world of track and field as an example. Progressively better testing methods. Penalties increasing in severity.

And yet as best anybody can tell PEDs are every bit as pervasive as they ever were.

In MLB you've got a couple of key factors in play. First, athletes as a group are both tremendously competitive and not very risk adverse.

Second, there's a huge financial gain (with no real downside financially) in moving from the minors to the majors. And to moving from irregular to regular. Now I'll grant you that damned few players do formal risk/reward analysis but it's pretty obvious that:

a) it'd be worth taking PEDs if they actually helped move you up a category (IE minor leaguer to fringe major leaguer) even if there was a high probability of detection

b) Biogenesis demonstrates that the risk of detection by the tests is not in fact all that high -- that the real risks come in the supply chain.
   58. Ron J2 Posted: August 09, 2013 at 12:47 PM (#4516726)
#38 I've looked at any number of these things. Every one I've looked at has been utterly wrong because they start from the premise of full power being imparted to the ball. In reality major league hitters rarely do so (it being hard to cleanly hit major league pitching), and when they do the ball is gone. Any additional power is strictly diminishing returns.
   59. Ron J2 Posted: August 09, 2013 at 12:59 PM (#4516734)
#25 I'm not Ray, but I'm fine with MLB and the PA negotiating a drug policy on marketing/aesthetic grounds. In precisely the same way I'm fine with them outlawing bats made from two pieces of wood laminated together or bottle bats.

But the fact that it's basically an aesthetic choice to my mind informs me of how far I'd go in pursuit of keeping PEDs out of the game. So no surveillance state (as in cycling for instance)

I'm honestly not sure how I'd have responded to l'affair Biogenesis. I wouldn't advocate the nuisance lawsuit, but honestly I don't see anything wrong with MLB buying Bosch's records. I certainly don't approve of all of the leaks on the way but I honestly don't see anything wrong with how it all turned out for everybody but ARod.

   60. Ron J2 Posted: August 09, 2013 at 01:05 PM (#4516740)
But Barry said he never took steroids.


More like he said he never knowingly took steroids.

And realistically Greg Anderson is the only person who can refute this. And Anderson spent a lot of time in prison rather than answer this one way or the other.
   61. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 09, 2013 at 01:16 PM (#4516747)
And realistically Greg Anderson is the only person who can refute this. And Anderson spent a lot of time in prison rather than answer this one way or the other.

As Jimmy Piersall once said, sometimes the truth hurts.
   62. SoSH U at work Posted: August 09, 2013 at 01:19 PM (#4516749)
#34 Sorry for not responding sooner. I just missed the question.

I'd suggest a look at the world of track and field as an example. Progressively better testing methods. Penalties increasing in severity.

And yet as best anybody can tell PEDs are every bit as pervasive as they ever were.

In MLB you've got a couple of key factors in play. First, athletes as a group are both tremendously competitive and not very risk adverse.

Second, there's a huge financial gain (with no real downside financially) in moving from the minors to the majors. And to moving from irregular to regular. Now I'll grant you that damned few players do formal risk/reward analysis but it's pretty obvious that:

a) it'd be worth taking PEDs if they actually helped move you up a category (IE minor leaguer to fringe major leaguer) even if there was a high probability of detection

b) Biogenesis demonstrates that the risk of detection by the tests is not in fact all that high -- that the real risks come in the supply chain.


Thanks Ron. While there may be some value to be gained from this, I think there are very real limitations on the comparison between track and field and baseball.

First, biogenesis is merely one data point, nothing more. And if I'm not mistaken, several of the biogenesis clients did in fact fail drug tests, so it's not as if its methods were foolproof. Moreover, they did get busted, and MLB showed its willing to sleep with these cretins to bring down its own (which may have been the real reason behind all of this - to send a message to the players that if you think these shady pill-dispensers will protect your identity when they get popped, think again).

Additionally, the fallout from biogenesis is instructive. The players themselves don't seem bothered by the league's actions, based on their comments and the union's actions during this saga. Such a response indicates that whatever level of pervasiveness PEDs have in the game, it's not what it was just 10 years earlier, when the union had a much different response.

Most important, it's crucial to recognize the fundamental differences between baseball and other sports. I'm no expert on T&F, but it would seem that there is a very clear and undeniable link between PED usage and performance gains. Its events are, by and large, very simple tests of speed/strength/endurance, so any physiological change is going to have direct results on performance. PEDS increase my speed, therefore I finish better in races.

Baseball involves these things, but their importance is lessened because of the extraordinary importance skill plays in the game. Being stronger or faster helps, but it's a much smaller part of the baseball-playing package (as your own 58 sort of acknowledges). This is going to influence the risk-reward calculus on usage.

T&F stars may determine it may be worth the 10 percent chance of getting caught to get a 45 percent improvement in performance. Baseball players, on the other hand, may not risk the 10 percent chance of getting caught to risk a 2 percent improvement in performance, even if the penalties were the same.

They may not run these specific calculations in their heads*, but I suspect a great many do so informally.

* And I hope not for their sakes, since I just made those numbers up for illustrative purposes.
   63. Ron J2 Posted: August 09, 2013 at 01:22 PM (#4516754)
#50 Dead easy to document that at least as late as 1991 most people in baseball did not believe upper body strength helped in baseball. I've re-posted the Russ Nixon quote in one of these threads and you can find plenty of other quotes on the matter.

The belief was that adding upper body strength slowed the swing down. And to an extent they're right -- or to be more precise, simply adding upper body strength may or may not do anything for bat speed.

Bat speed is primarily a function of fast twitch muscles. The exercise regimes that build fast twitch muscles are very different from those used by body builders. But it's not as simple as piling on more muscle equals more bats speed (or club-head speed for golfers. Most long hitters in golf are fairly big and strong as well, but there does seem to be a point of diminishing returns in terms of added strength translating to club head speed)

(I'll stipulate that there are over-simplifications but I don't think there's anything outright wrong).

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