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

Saturday, February 22, 2014

La Russa: Bagwell, Biggio belong in Hall of Fame

Maybe it’s because I have a swell ball of phlegm in my head or been listening to too much Exocomet, but I’m confuded… “La Russa said he doesn’t understand the criteria members of the BBWAA use to vote for the Hall of Fame.

“Otherwise, Jack Morris would be in the Hall of Fame,” La Russa said. “The new metrics have a real important place, just don’t exaggerate them, and I think they get exaggerated at times. Like with Jack Morris, and maybe Bagwell.”

La Russa has an immense amount of respect for the Killer B’s, and he said on Friday that both should get into the Hall of Fame. Biggio came up two votes shy of reaching Cooperstown, N.Y., this year in his second year on the ballot in voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

“There’s no doubt that Craig’s going to be a Hall of Famer. It’s going to happen,” said La Russa, who is a special assistant to Commissioner Bud Selig. “He almost got in the first time and didn’t get in the second time. I’m sure he gets a little impatient, but I’m sure it’s going to happen for him, and when he does, it will be well deserved.”

La Russa said he enjoyed battling yearly with the Minnesota Twins while he was manager of the A’s in the 1990s, and he said he had a similar rivalry with the Astros when both were in the NL Central.

“Houston, in our division, Bagwell, Biggio and [Lance Berkman], they had good surrounding characters the couple of years you had [Carlos] Beltran and [Jeff] Kent,” La Russa said. “So I saw Bagwell as a huge influence, not just on the field but off. One of the best players of our generation.”

...“La Russa said he doesn’t understand the criteria members of the BBWAA use to vote for the Hall of Fame.

“Otherwise, Jack Morris would be in the Hall of Fame,” La Russa said. “The new metrics have a real important place, just don’t exaggerate them, and I think they get exaggerated at times. Like with Jack Morris, and maybe Bagwell.”

Repoz Posted: February 22, 2014 at 09:31 AM | 59 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hof, sabermetrics

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.

   1. BDC Posted: February 22, 2014 at 10:40 AM (#4660684)
Ah, two out of three ain't bad.
   2. Moeball Posted: February 22, 2014 at 10:51 AM (#4660689)
The new metrics have a real important place, just don’t exaggerate them, and I think they get exaggerated at times. Like with Jack Morris, and maybe Bagwell.


Uh, Tony, if the new metrics were being emphasized more, not less, Bagwell and Biggio might already be in, although I suspect the main reason they aren't already has nothing to do at all with statistical analysis. I mean, they knew Ken Caminiti! And Roger Clemens! The shame! And Andy Pettitte! Oh, I forgot, he's ok, we like him so he gets a pass. After all, Derek Jeter knows Andy Pettitte so that shows it doesn't rub off.

Jack Morris isn't a HOFer. The BBWAA actually got one right. Accidents happen.

   3. jdennis Posted: February 22, 2014 at 10:53 AM (#4660692)
#2

Trust me, Pettitte will not get a pass when he comes up unless everyone else is. He has zero shot at the hall.
   4. Publius Publicola Posted: February 22, 2014 at 11:12 AM (#4660696)
Tony believes in Jeff.
   5. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 22, 2014 at 11:38 AM (#4660700)
Trust me, Pettitte will not get a pass when he comes up unless everyone else is. He has zero shot at the hall.

Lots of people around here like to pretend that he will, but I don't think any of them would be stupid enough to say it on the record. It's little more than a tired meme that bashes the writers, the Yankees, Pettitte himself, and steroids opponents in one fell swoop.
   6. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 22, 2014 at 11:53 AM (#4660702)
Pettite's not going to be much of a PED test case, since his HOF case is pretty marginal anyway. At least by the standards applied to pitchers by the current voters.
   7. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: February 22, 2014 at 12:25 PM (#4660712)
It's little more than a tired meme that bashes the writers, the Yankees, Pettitte himself, and steroids opponents in one fell swoop.


Righteous and efficient. What's not to love?
   8. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 22, 2014 at 12:43 PM (#4660716)
And what's not true about it? It's like giving snapper a chance to opine on a Godless public employees' union official who's been caught sodomizing a nun.
   9. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: February 22, 2014 at 12:44 PM (#4660717)
It's little more than a tired meme that bashes the writers, the Yankees, Pettitte himself, and steroids opponents in one fell swoop.

Agree totally. It's not just concern trolling, it's not even good concern trolling. But for sanctimonious enablers, it's like a quadruple patty with extra cheese that can't be resisted.
   10. The District Attorney Posted: February 22, 2014 at 01:13 PM (#4660724)
This discussion is meaningless in its current state. Obviously some writers will penalize Pettitte for PED use, and some writers will not.

Let's try to quantify it. Pettitte would be a borderline HOFer based on his statline. Sammy Sosa would not; if there were no PED questions about his candidacy, he would have been easily elected. I don't think that's a controversial statement, but if you need numbers to back it up (other than the fact that Sosa hit 609 homers...), I'll cite that Sosa's HOF Monitor score is 202, while Pettitte's is 128.

And unlike Pettitte, there is no confession, failed test, or even testimony connecting Sosa to steroids.

Despite these facts, I think Andy Pettitte will have a ballot where he gets more than the 12.5% mark that is Sosa's high mark so far.

Anyone disagree with that?
   11. Publius Publicola Posted: February 22, 2014 at 01:16 PM (#4660725)
Sosa was one of the 104 players who tested positive in 2003.
   12. Booey Posted: February 22, 2014 at 01:22 PM (#4660729)
Sosa was one of the 104 players who tested positive in 2003.


According to an anonymous source of impeccable credibility, I'm sure.
   13. The District Attorney Posted: February 22, 2014 at 01:30 PM (#4660735)
Sosa was one of the 104 players who tested positive in 2003.
Okay, so if Pettitte does better in the voting than Sosa, which of these choices would you select:

A) The writers are going easy on Pettitte on the PED issue
B) It makes sense, because Pettitte was the better player
C) It makes sense, because we're more confident Sosa did PED than we are Pettitte
   14. Publius Publicola Posted: February 22, 2014 at 01:38 PM (#4660738)
Was Pettitte the better player though? Sosa had 58.4 WAR and Pettitte 60.9. And Sosa's peak was higher. That's pretty much a wash.
   15. The District Attorney Posted: February 22, 2014 at 02:00 PM (#4660743)
Was Pettitte the better player though? Sosa had 58.4 WAR and Pettitte 60.9. And Sosa's peak was higher. That's pretty much a wash.
Hmm, so you think the writers now base their votes on sabermetric stats, rather than stats like "609 homeruns" and "3.85 ERA."

I don't think I agree, but, okay. Let's stipulate that the BBWAA thinks that, absent PED considerations, Pettitte and Sosa had about equal value as players. And Pettitte's PED connection is, if anything, stronger than Sosa's... but again, let's cede the point and say both guys are essentially equally culpable.

So, Pettitte should get about 12.5% of the vote then, right? Same value as a player, same PED issues, he should get about the same support. Surely Pettitte won't get 25% of the vote? I mean, that'd be double what Sosa got. If the writers' anti-PED stance is consistent, that wouldn't make any sense.

So... can I mark you down for that? Pettitte never gets 25%?
   16. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 22, 2014 at 03:58 PM (#4660775)
. . . Pettitte's PED connection is, if anything, stronger than Sosa's. . .

Well, Pettitte wasn't connected to steroids, which seems to be the major concern of the writers, and Pettitte didn't "look" like the typical PED stereotype, which also seems to be a focus of some writers & moralists. But it's probably a mistake to expect consistent, rational & proportional judgment from what has become a "mob mentality" exercise in elevating oneself by condemning others based on whatever one cares to use, no proof required.
   17. Kiko Sakata Posted: February 22, 2014 at 04:20 PM (#4660782)
Well, Pettitte wasn't connected to steroids, which seems to be the major concern of the writers


I think you're giving too much credit to most writers (and fans in general). PEDs are PEDs. I think the DA is right, here: Pettitte will probably do better than Sosa, which makes very little sense from either a PED or statistical point of view. I think the reason is that there are a large number of writers whose position on PED use is to mentally adjust a player's statistics to remove the PED stain and it's easier to subtract home runs than to subtract pitcher wins. That said, I can't see any way that Andy Pettitte becomes the first "known" PED user elected to the Hall of Fame. Right now, I can't see how more than a small handful of the 60+% of voters who are voting against Bonds and Clemens would then turn around and vote for Pettitte, and if the general view of the BBWAA softens enough for Pettitte to get meaningful HOF support, then Bonds and Clemens will almost certainly beat him to 75%.
   18. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: February 22, 2014 at 04:23 PM (#4660784)
I don't think you're really covering everything DA.

First, fair or not, it seems the sentiment is that Sammy Sosa never would have gotten close to a Hall of Fame career without steroids. Bonds has a stronger connection to steroids than Sammy, and he's seriously outpolling him (and I'm pretty sure that Clemens will outpoll Andy as long as they're on the ballot together). There's obviously more at work than simply playing record and steroids usage on this subject. If it were just that, than an obvious HOFer like Sammy should be getting similar support as Barry and Roger.

Second, Andy Pettitte will be facing, quite possibly, a much different electorate than Sammy. Guys will turn over, with new guys* taking their place. Attitudes may change regarding usage among some of the old guard, perhaps when it's discovered that an existing Hall of Famer used.

Finally, as we've seen time and again, Hall of Fame voting is a complex mechanism, with voters taking their cues (positively and negatively) from other voters. Sammy is likely spiraling off the ballot, due to a combination of steroid suspicion, a loaded ballot and negative momentum. Pettitte could easily start at 7 percent, a lower figure than Sammy's debut, maintain that through a few ballots based on the strong New York representation, then gain ground through the years. But too much go into these things to make a direct comparison from such different trajectories.

For instance, one key element of the successful campaign of Bert Blyleven and the near-miss of Jack Morris is the decade-long absence of a clear-cut Hall of Fame starting pitcher from joining the ballot. If the equivalent of Maddux, Glavine, Schilling, Mussina, Johnson and Martinez entered the ballot in 2003-05, Bert and Jack likely find themselves off the ballot entirely. There are too many other factors to draw too many hard conclusions about some of these cases.

Having said all that, any individual who votes for Pettitte but doesn't vote for Clemens or Roger (or some other superior pre-testing roider, real or imagined) would be every bit the hypocritical ass that many anticipate large swaths of the entire body will be. It's probably best to wait to see just how many fit that bill.

* Many of whom we know are softer on steroids than how existing body votes.
   19. Publius Publicola Posted: February 22, 2014 at 05:29 PM (#4660809)
So... can I mark you down for that? Pettitte never gets 25%?


I have no idea, DA. I don't like to predict how the voters are going to react to certain things. Just making the point Sosa's and Pettitte's value numbers are in the same ballpark.
   20. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 22, 2014 at 05:36 PM (#4660812)
Guys will turn over, with new guys* taking their place. * Many of whom we know are softer on steroids than how existing body votes.

I don't think we actually know that yet. Could happen, but is there any data showing that those casting their first ballot in the last few years are voting differently than the veteran BBWAA members? Appointing oneself the conscience of MLB generates any number of easily-written articles/columns, so I have some doubt that new voters will break with old patterns.
   21. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: February 22, 2014 at 05:44 PM (#4660815)
I don't think we actually know that yet. Could happen, but is there any data showing that those casting their first ballot in the last few years are voting differently than the veteran BBWAA members?


I don't know how the new guys (or who they are) are voting, though the younger guys tend to me more statheady in general, and the staheady types are generally less anti-steroid. I do know (and was talking about) the guys who haven't voted yet, such as Law, Forman, Kahrl, etc. The first wave of internet writers will be eligible at around the time Andy hits the ballot.

   22. Srul Itza Posted: February 22, 2014 at 06:35 PM (#4660826)
To the extent the new voters are more statheady and less anti-steroid, that would seem to be a wash for Pettitte, who probably has less support among statheads for the HOF than he would among more traditional (wins and rings) voters.
   23. Walt Davis Posted: February 22, 2014 at 06:46 PM (#4660831)
Ahh, but you're forgetting to adjust for the writers who will punish Pettitte for not nailing Clemens when he had the chance and "changing his story" at the trial.

What we know is that Pettitte has gotten much kinder treatment from the press so far. There were no Peralta-like concerns when the Yanks brought Pettitte back. The media gave him a pass on changing his story regarding his own use. I don't think I've ever read anybody speculate that the reason Pettitte tested clean in the testing era was just evidence that he was getting better drugs. And, following his retirement, I don't recall any articles proclaiming a writer would never vote for that cheater.

Melky Cabrera got worse treatment. Around here you're more likely to see Brady Anderson or Bret Boone brought up as examples of juicers than Pettitte.

He has been treated much more kindly by the press than any known juicer. He has been treated much more kindly by the press than most/all suspected juicers. It hardly seems crazy to think that he won't be treated more kindly when he hits the ballot.

An issue of course is that it's hard to say what vote total he might get anyway plus the ballot will probably still be crowded, plus he'll debut in the same year as Mo -- which could help but will most likely hurt. So I won't speculate about percentages this far out although I don't think he's got a good shot at 25% in his first year unless maybe the ballot has cleared substantially.
   24. Shoebo Posted: February 22, 2014 at 07:09 PM (#4660837)
I dont understand why people refer to "the voters" as if its one person with one set of criteria. The composition of voters that decide the HOF results has shifted over time, that much is clear. There are younger voters that are engaged and aware of modern analysis and metrics, and include them in their considerations. There are the Murray Chase of the worlds too. And there are the disengaged from the sport that still have a ballot for some reason. In addition there are probably 5 other groups I'm not thinking of. Generalizations about what "the voters" are thinking and doing should be avoided. Especially since everyone is confused and all over the map on PED
   25. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 22, 2014 at 07:39 PM (#4660847)
I dont understand why people refer to "the voters" as if its one person with one set of criteria. The composition of voters that decide the HOF results has shifted over time, that much is clear. There are younger voters that are engaged and aware of modern analysis and metrics, and include them in their considerations. There are the Murray Chase of the worlds too. And there are the disengaged from the sport that still have a ballot for some reason. In addition there are probably 5 other groups I'm not thinking of. Generalizations about what "the voters" are thinking and doing should be avoided. Especially since everyone is confused and all over the map on PED.

But it's so much fun to make blanket statements about "the media".
   26. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: February 22, 2014 at 08:18 PM (#4660855)
I think Sosa is a terrible player to use as a barometer. He basically gets it coming and going. The voters who would likely view him as a slam-dunk are not going to look past the roids issue. The voters who would look past the roids, likely don't think he is a slam-dunk. Either think he is short completely, or that there are 10 more deserving guys on the ballot right now.
   27. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 22, 2014 at 09:33 PM (#4660874)
And the voters who think he dissed Congress by not speaking English aren't likely to vote for him, either.
   28. cardsfanboy Posted: February 22, 2014 at 09:59 PM (#4660882)
And the voters who think he dissed Congress by not speaking English aren't likely to vote for him, either.


True...but people that stupid probably don't have the ability to fill out a ballot anyway.
   29. Booey Posted: February 22, 2014 at 10:26 PM (#4660893)
Guys will turn over, with new guys* taking their place. * Many of whom we know are softer on steroids than how existing body votes.


I hope this is true, but I'm not as confident about it as some seem to be. Have you ever asked a really young (child or teen) baseball fan if steroid users should make the HOF? They have just as definitive of a "Of course not. They cheated. Duh," attitude as many of the older purists that make up the current BBWAA. It's been 10 years now since the league crackdown on PED's, so roids and their users have been demonized by the media for as long as these kids have been following the sport. They don't seem to fully understand the context of what things were like when the Bonds and McGwire types were doing their thing in an era where everyone looked the other way and the roid fueled homerun races were filling stadiums and were credited by many as "saving" baseball.

The only way I can see Bonds/Clemens/etc get elected is if the BBWAA ever gets to the point where it's made up almost entirely of people born in the 70's and 80's, those that were in their peak fan years when the sillyball era was in full force.
   30. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: February 22, 2014 at 10:51 PM (#4660900)
I hope this is true, but I'm not as confident about it as some seem to be.


As I said earlier, the online guys, your Laws and Formans and Kahrls, will be getting votes. The online baseball writing community, based on what we see here, what we see at BP and other places, is more steroid friendly. I don't think that's really arguable. These guys will start getting votes, and they will become a greater presence within the BBWAA each year after.

Will it be enough to get Barry and Roger elected? By itself, no. Then again, I didn't say it would. But it, combined with all the other things that make tracking support more difficult than simply looking at a guy's vote total, may be enough to push Andy Pettitte's peak support level beyond Sammy Sosa's 12.5 percent (which was the original point I brought this up in response to).

Now, as it relates to Roger and Barry, if a wave of these voters are in fact more steroid-friendly, then the dynamics of how the voting process works may in fact lead to others softening their stances and supporting these obviously statistically worthy players. Now the PED issue is admittedly different than Jack Morris yay or nay, but I don't think the historical tendencies of ballot momentum should be completely ruled out either.
   31. Kiko Sakata Posted: February 22, 2014 at 11:34 PM (#4660911)
As I said earlier, the online guys, your Laws and Formans and Kahrls, will be getting votes. The online baseball writing community, based on what we see here, what we see at BP and other places, is more steroid friendly. I don't think that's really arguable. These guys will start getting votes, and they will become a greater presence within the BBWAA each year after.


I think the problem is that "your Laws and Formans and Kahrls" doesn't really extrapolate: you're talking about three people - Keith Law, Sean Forman, and Christina Kahrl. There's no evidence that the BBWAA electorate has softened its anti-PED stance as a body so far (look at McGwire's votes by year). And, speaking as the father of a 12-year-old baseball fanatic, Booey is exactly right in #29. My 12-year-old's response to my asking him if he thought Barry Bonds should be in the Hall of Fame was to laugh hysterically for two minutes. He softened a little bit when I pointed out that they weren't testing for steroids when Bonds hit his 73 home runs (the year my son was born), but he's hugely anti-steroids, because that's been the media message for as long as he's been paying attention. Even if the Law-Forman-Kahrl generation is more inclined to vote for PED users, that may not be a permanent new wave, so much as a temporary break between hard-line old-timers and hard-line youngsters who came of age with the "steroids are evil" message being pounded into their heads.
   32. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: February 23, 2014 at 12:52 AM (#4660923)
I think the problem is that "your Laws and Formans and Kahrls" doesn't really extrapolate: you're talking about three people - Keith Law, Sean Forman, and Christina Kahrl.


No, I'm talking about the general opinion of steroids among the people who cover baseball online, as represented by those three guys. As far as I can tell, the online baseball community, a community that's gaining in prominence while traditional print sheds jobs, is becoming a bigger part of the BBWAA and will continue to do so.

Even if the Law-Forman-Kahrl generation is more inclined to vote for PED users, that may not be a permanent new wave, so much as a temporary break between hard-line old-timers and hard-line youngsters who came of age with the "steroids are evil" message being pounded into their heads.


I don't see why we would think that. I really don't think the opinions of 12-year-olds, and I've got one of my own, are terribly relevant here. Nor should we expect those attitudes to not undergo their own revision at all over the next dozen years.

Regardless whether it's happened to this point, things can change. And I tend to think that, in general, things they tend to evolve toward the more reasonable (regardless how one feels about PEDs in sports, the position that hangs all the blame on the athletes in what was widespread fault for their presence in the game is inherently illogical.

Is it a prediction? No. There are too many variables, and, as Shoe notes, the voters really are less monolithic than we often state.

But whether it's spurred by an event (such as an existing Hall of Famer being outed/or outing himself as a steroid user), the make-up of the electorate shifting and converting existing attitudes in the process (outside sports, best exemplified by what we've seen with gay marriage), or something else entirely, I think a significant shift in attitude toward PED usage is quite possible, even in the relatively short period of time of a decade.
   33. bjhanke Posted: February 23, 2014 at 07:06 AM (#4660942)
In Walt's defense, isn't trying to predict what "the media" or "the voters" will do based on what "it" or "they" have done in the past exactly the same thing as we do every day in sabermetrics? Walt's just looking at the percentages that people like Mark McGwire have received in the past and making a prediction about the future based on those numbers. None of us has a crystal ball, so we do statistics. And sociology has as many statistics as sabermetrics. Just ask the Seldon Foundation. - Brock Hanke
   34. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 23, 2014 at 08:28 AM (#4660950)
Predictions about what the HoF voters are likely to do with steroids users in the next 5 to 20 years are mostly a mix of wishful thinking (on both sides) and stab-in-the-dark extrapolations based on what we know now but not what we might know tomorrow or next year or in 2024. It's not that hard to figure out approximately how many voters are congregating around certain POV's**, and how big those various opinion blocs are today, but what if a current HoF member got outed as a user next November? What if Barry Bonds not only confessed, but did it with a forthrightness and humility that would alter the entire grounds of the debate in ways that would be impossible to predict?

**steroids disqualifiers; steroids discounters; steroids don't matter voters; rumors = facts voters; "nice guys get a break but jerks don't" voters; etc.
   35. bjhanke Posted: February 23, 2014 at 10:54 AM (#4660984)
Jolly - One reason that I have grave doubts about sincere, honest confessions doing anything to help the player comes from watching what happened to Mark McGwire when he did that. His vote totals dropped, and he got pilloried in the press for it. I doubt that the widely-hated Barry Bonds would fare better. Mark should have listened to the lawyers who told him to refuse to say anything about the past and only focus on the future. Confessing not only didn't help him; it hurt him. - Brock
   36. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 23, 2014 at 11:32 AM (#4660995)
The most relevant comparison for Pettitte in HOF voting is going to be Kevin Brown. They were exact contemporaries, and Brown was a significantly better player.

Anyone want to bet that Pettitte will draw fewer votes than Brown did? Didn't think so...
   37. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 23, 2014 at 11:50 AM (#4661001)
Jolly - One reason that I have grave doubts about sincere, honest confessions doing anything to help the player comes from watching what happened to Mark McGwire when he did that. His vote totals dropped, and he got pilloried in the press for it. I doubt that the widely-hated Barry Bonds would fare better. Mark should have listened to the lawyers who told him to refuse to say anything about the past and only focus on the future. Confessing not only didn't help him; it hurt him. - Brock

Except that what I'm hypothesizing about goes well beyond McGwire's semi-confession, which was blunted by his pretense that his use of steroids wasn't meant to be enhancing. That confession may have been sincere in his own mind, but to many people it sounded more like something that was scripted by a team of lawyers and PR spinmeisters.**

I'm talking about Bonds simply admitting that he used steroids in order to enhance his power, without blaming anyone but himself---not McGwire's media attention, not Selig, not those "Chicks dig the long ball" ads. Accompanying this would be a statement to the effect that he's lived a lie long enough, along with an apology to the non-juicers he played against.

That sort of statement might well break the ice, but of course it's about as likely to happen as Murray Chass's admitting the value of advanced sabermetrics.

**That said, I never objected to McGwire's hiring by the Cardinals or the Dodgers, or Bonds's hiring by the Giants. As I've written here a million times, a Hall of Fame blackball is sufficient post-career retribution for what these guys did.
   38. BDC Posted: February 23, 2014 at 12:04 PM (#4661003)
Pettitte was a somewhat better pitcher than Jack Morris, but a lot of the same factors will apply in HOF voting: lots of Wins, postseason impact, general well-known-ness (despite contemporary observers never really thinking either one was especially dominating). Morris was ultimately rejected by the writers, but did very well on the ballot and might be recuperated by whatever form some future Veterans group takes. Pettitte, if he goes the same way in the BBWAA vote, ditto.
   39. Walt Davis Posted: February 23, 2014 at 06:49 PM (#4661147)
Thanks Brock but I don't need defending.

Aggregates are in fact very stable, especially over short periods of time. Anybody who's ever worked with social statistics (or environmental or ecological) data knows this.

Now, if you only have aggregate data from 20-30 years ago and try to predict next year, you are making big assumptions. But if you have data on the aggregate over the last 20 years, you are making far fewer assumptions (or assumptions of lower magnitude) and you can estimate a trend if you really want to.

This says nearly nothing about how variable things are within the aggregate. They could be very stable, they could be highly volatile. You're just making the assumption that the distribution within the aggregate is stable.

Of course, over long periods of time, aggregates change. Occasionally but rarely, some major shift takes place and they change rapidly. The BBWAA under current rules and HoF voting rules is not an aggregate that is very susceptible to such shocks. Yes, over time, we'll see a shift towards more saber awareness -- this may be happening relatively quickly. This could bode well for Scott Rolen but was way too late to help Lofton (maybe the VC). It's not going to have any impact on anti-steroid feelings though.

The point about internet writers is correct but likely wrong. Internet writers will become a larger portion of BBWAA membership but that's because newspapers are dying and there are fewer people breaking in as official beat reporters. So the BBWAA will survive only by expanding beyond newspapers. They'll likely include broadcasters at some point but there aren't very many of them.

But, to use your own logic against you, why would you think internet writers of the future will be similar to the ones we have today? The internet writers of today are saber-aware and generally contrarian because the internet is the only (affordable) avenue through which they can write. With the demise of papers, that is now also true of Murray Chass. It will be true for the 12-year-old kids of today. We are moving from a society where the internet was the fringe to the one where it (or something similar) is the dominant medium. That is the sort large-scale and fairly rapid change that makes aggregate predictions less reliable.

The broad social trend that might impact on the anti-roid backlash is, as Bill James and many folks here often point out, that society as a whole is trending towards social acceptance of artificial enhancement. Roids are still not widely socially acceptable but there is a large group using them under the aegis of "anti-aging" clinics. In 20 years, roid use of the 90s may seem quaint.

That would be too late to help Bonds et al. Also, the anti-roiders mostly see this as a moral issue -- they cheated. That position may require gargantuan amounts of cognitive dissonance regarding amp use and what the rules of baseball actually were at the time, but it's not necessarily a position that goes away even if we reach a point where roid use is considered socially acceptable.
   40. greenback likes millwall Posted: February 23, 2014 at 07:21 PM (#4661157)
We are moving from a society where the internet was the fringe to the one where it (or something similar) is the dominant medium. That is the sort large-scale and fairly rapid change that makes aggregate predictions less reliable.

The Internet really isn't a significant variable here. The primary qualification for future BBWAA membership will be the same as it has always been, the ability to maintain an audience. For quality control reasons, it seems kinda dumb for the Hall of Fame to rely on that characteristic, but I suppose that's ultimately a marketing decision.
   41. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 23, 2014 at 07:26 PM (#4661160)
What might ease the way to partial roid acceptance would be if "enhancement" roids were okayed strictly for closely supervised rehab periods, the way that cortisone has been forever. BTF is full of lawyerlike arguments that try to gloss over the moral distinction between restoration and enhancement, but most people, including the majority of players who've spoken out on the subject, still aren't buying that facile equation. Maybe when Rand Paul takes over the White House.
   42. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: February 23, 2014 at 07:39 PM (#4661165)
The point about internet writers is correct but likely wrong. Internet writers will become a larger portion of BBWAA membership but that's because newspapers are dying and there are fewer people breaking in as official beat reporters. So the BBWAA will survive only by expanding beyond newspapers. They'll likely include broadcasters at some point but there aren't very many of them.

But, to use your own logic against you, why would you think internet writers of the future will be similar to the ones we have today?


T'wasn't Brock making that case, so I'll answer. From what I can tell, the internet baseball community has largely taken the opposite tack of the mainstream baseball writing community when it comes to steroids. If that opinion is part of a trend, and I have no reason to think that it is, but also no reason to think that it isn't, then that will result in something of a change in the overall BBWAA position as those writers begin to get their 10 years (and the Murrays die). That alone wouldn't be enough to swing things for Bonds and Clemens. But combine that with other developments (and voting habits), and a significant change in the attitude toward steroids is very possible, much more possible than you are giving credence to. Then again, you also didn't give much credence to the idea that Biggio could struggle to get into the Hall, and you were wrong about that.
   43. Booey Posted: February 23, 2014 at 08:21 PM (#4661178)
BTF is full of lawyerlike arguments that try to gloss over the moral distinction between restoration and enhancement, but most people, including the majority of players who've spoken out on the subject, still aren't buying that facile equation.


Of course the players are all publically stating how awful steroids are. In an era when big muscles or back acne are enough to keep players out of the HOF, it's the only socially acceptable opinion. Any player who says otherwise runs the risk of falling under suspicion himself.

I don't doubt that clean players really do harbor some disdain towards PED's, but I doubt they'd really stick with their "Ban 'em for life!" attitude if some of their own teammates got busted.
   44. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 23, 2014 at 08:56 PM (#4661183)
Of course the players are all publically stating how awful steroids are. In an era when big muscles or back acne are enough to keep players out of the HOF, it's the only socially acceptable opinion. Any player who says otherwise runs the risk of falling under suspicion himself.

Well, with many members of the media it doesn't even take that for them to start spreading innuendo. And on BTF it seems that vocal opposition to juicing by a player produces a kneejerk reaction in the opposite direction: Witness the reaction to Frank Thomas around here, which is almost always more negative than the reaction to Bonds himself.

I don't doubt that clean players really do harbor some disdain towards PED's, but I doubt they'd really stick with their "Ban 'em for life!" attitude if some of their own teammates got busted.

I'm not sure how many clean players would say "Ban 'em for life!" if any other player got busted, not just a teammate. But that doesn't mean that they don't see a distinction between restorative and enhancing drugs, and it's not just because they're afraid of the media.
   45. bjhanke Posted: February 24, 2014 at 03:26 AM (#4661315)
Walt - I am aware that, in general, you need "in your defense" about as much as a hole in the head. However, 1) I think your work is remarkable, and 2) sometimes, I think you suffer from that. You make very good cases. They are so good that almost nobody who agrees with you will feel like they have anything to add, while those who do not agree with you feel obligated to lay out their positions in detail. I just figure that every once in a while, it's good to know that there are people out there who agree with you - you're not alone or isolated. I have NO idea whether your personality needs, or even likes this. It's just something I feel compelled to do, because, in other fields, I have been the "resident expert", and have gone through what that entails. If this sort of comment makes you uneasy, and you'd rather I stop making them, I, of course, will stop making them. But they are not really designed to shore up your arguments, which don't need it. They are designed to make you feel that it's not true that, every time you make a comment, everyone wants to argue with you. - Brock
   46. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 24, 2014 at 08:43 AM (#4661332)
BTF is full of lawyerlike arguments that try to gloss over the moral distinction between restoration and enhancement, but most people, including the majority of players who've spoken out on the subject, still aren't buying that facile equation.


That's all well and good,of course, but it doesn't really explain or justify ignoring the mountains of evidence that amphetamines are performance enhancing drugs. That isn't BTF lawyers talking, it's scads of real experts who know tons more about all of these drugs, how they work, and how and why they are used. Amphetamines provide a very different sort of enhancement than anabolic steroids, but improved reaction time, for example, is a demonstrably real effect of amphetamines and is clearly enhancing rather than merely restorative. Now, IMHO, there is nothing at all wrong with a POV that would allow some kinds of enhancers and not others, based on any number of rationales -- such as relative safety, relative impact on the nature of the competition, etc. But, please, enough already with the intellectual dishonesty about what amphetamines actually do for athletes.
   47. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 24, 2014 at 09:26 AM (#4661345)
That's all well and good,of course, but it doesn't really explain or justify ignoring the mountains of evidence that amphetamines are performance enhancing drugs.

We've been through this a hundred times before, and when you can produce even a molehill of controlled experiments with amphetamines that involve hitting a random series of Major League level pitches, and that show improvement of pre-existing talent, I'll listen. Amping up mice to get them to charge a chunk of cheese a bit more quickly isn't getting it done, nor is amping up humans sitting at a desk to see if they can push a button a bit more quickly in response to a command. Show us experiments that involve weighted objects and speeding small objects where the point is to make solid contact more efficiently than that well rested person was able to do before getting amped up.

And with that "intellectual dishonesty" line, you've officially entered Rayland. Good day, and good luck convincing anyone beyond the already convinced by citing "mountains of evidence" that are slim on relevant details.
   48. dlf Posted: February 24, 2014 at 10:20 AM (#4661367)
BTF is full of lawyerlike arguments that try to gloss over the moral distinction between restoration and enhancement, but most people, including the majority of players who've spoken out on the subject, still aren't buying that facile equation.


I'm curious if any of the people who distinguish between restorative and enhancing read the Horowitz decision or listened to Bosch's subsequent interviews where the effects of the substances that he was providing to Rodriguez where discussed. Bosch stated that the lozenges and other things he provided were designed for an immediate energy boost specifically to combat the wear and tear of the long season and a general feeling of being tired and worn out. This seems, on its face, to be the same effect (excluding the mental accuity from amphetimines) that is supposedly the benefit of the greenies. Assuming this to be true, does this make the substances The Centaur took the same from an ethical standpoint as those of the Bouton generation?

We've been through this a hundred times before, and when you can produce even a molehill of controlled experiments with amphetamines that involve hitting a random series of Major League level pitches, and that show improvement of pre-existing talent, I'll listen.


I'm genuinely curious why you require a controlled experiment for amps but not 'roids. (And I assume the studies that RonJ often cites to other sports are not sufficient.) What are the factors which warrant such detailed study for one but not the other? Alternatively, if there have been such studies of steroids, hGH, etc. that involve hitting a random series of MLB pitches, please let me know as I would love to read them.
   49. DL from MN Posted: February 24, 2014 at 11:07 AM (#4661385)
I'm more interested that we have a list of writers who DIDN'T vote for Bagwell and Biggio (and Piazza) last time that would probably support them. If we systematically pick writers off that list to lobby (let Roger and Barry go for a year and stick Bagwell/Biggio on) we can help get them elected.
   50. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: February 24, 2014 at 11:13 AM (#4661386)
Biggio doesn't need the help. He'll go in next year. Stick with Bags and Piazza. Both of whom would eventually get elected even without the help, but any expediting of the timeline for them helps everyone.

   51. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: February 24, 2014 at 11:38 AM (#4661391)
Well, Pettitte wasn't connected to steroids, which seems to be the major concern of the writers

I think you're giving too much credit to most writers (and fans in general). PEDs are PEDs.


There are some in the MSM who are quite adamant that Amphetamines are not PEDs, of course Pettite was linked with HGH- which is less likely than any substance banned by MLB to be actually performance enhancing- I have no idea if any significant # of BBWAA voters will distinguish HGH from steroids.

#47 is a perfect formulation of a common intellectual fallacy- Andy doesn't believe that Amps are PEDs, he doesn't believe that AMPs are PEDs in remotely the same way as steroids- he has no evidence for his view, but that doesn't matter to him because he demands "proof" that Amps enhance ability to the same extent he BELIEVES that Steroids enhance ability- of course he demands regarding whether steroids enhance ability and if they do, how much.

IOW Andy believes that Steroids enhance ability to the "X" degree and he demands proof "of controlled experiments with amphetamines that involve hitting a random series of Major League level pitches, and that show improvement of pre-existing talent" before he will concede that Amps reach or approach that "X" degree. Of course "X" is a wholly illusory benchmark, it's never been measured for steroids, so for Andy and people like him it can be whatever they want it to be.

   52. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: February 24, 2014 at 11:40 AM (#4661394)
And with that "intellectual dishonesty" line, you've officially entered Rayland.


Ray is far more intellectually honest on this topic than you are Andy, not even close.
   53. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 24, 2014 at 12:10 PM (#4661410)
BTF is full of lawyerlike arguments that try to gloss over the moral distinction between restoration and enhancement, but most people, including the majority of players who've spoken out on the subject, still aren't buying that facile equation.

I'm curious if any of the people who distinguish between restorative and enhancing read the Horowitz decision or listened to Bosch's subsequent interviews where the effects of the substances that he was providing to Rodriguez where discussed. Bosch stated that the lozenges and other things he provided were designed for an immediate energy boost specifically to combat the wear and tear of the long season and a general feeling of being tired and worn out. This seems, on its face, to be the same effect (excluding the mental acuity from amphetamines) that is supposedly the benefit of the greenies. Assuming this to be true, does this make the substances The Centaur took the same from an ethical standpoint as those of the Bouton generation?


I haven't read the decision or the interviews, but I've often stated that I'd be more than willing to allow steroid use for rehab purposes, and if those Bosch products were independently tested, shown to be purely restorative, and approved for rehab purposes only, I might agree with your conclusion. But I don't think that an assertion by the person who would benefit from the benign description amounts to much beyond that.

We've been through this a hundred times before, and when you can produce even a molehill of controlled experiments with amphetamines that involve hitting a random series of Major League level pitches, and that show improvement of pre-existing talent, I'll listen.

I'm genuinely curious why you require a controlled experiment for amps but not 'roids. (And I assume the studies that RonJ often cites to other sports are not sufficient.) What are the factors which warrant such detailed study for one but not the other? Alternatively, if there have been such studies of steroids, hGH, etc. that involve hitting a random series of MLB pitches, please let me know as I would love to read them.


I've probably answered this at some point(s) before, but here goes, first with three prefaces:

First, I'm not claiming, and have never once claimed, that steroids are any kind of a "magic pill". If you or I bought one of those "supplements" and expected them to do much besides shrink our nuts, we'd be in for a big disappointment. IOW the only way that steroids could "enhance" any ballplayer's existing talent would be if he were to supplement those "supplements" with an intelligent weights and training program.

Second, an intelligent player would focus on building the muscles that are used to swing a bat**, not muscles that look great but are of marginal use in hitting. Biceps may impress the chicks, but they don't drive baseballs.

Third, we all have to acknowledge the fact that home runs are a function of many season long factors other than "steroids": The composition of the ball; the configuration of the ballparks in relation to a hitter's tendencies***; a swing arc adjustment by an individual player (Bonds being a good example of this); rule changes that favored hitters or pitchers; generational pitching strategies****; the overall quality of the pitchers; etc.

All that said, steroids when used as described above, can and do add to the muscles that are vital to a player's power. How much muscle is added depends on the individual player's dedication and DNA, and if the weights are overdone it can cause a breakdown. But the overall impact is going to be a net positive, in terms of the critical component of bat speed.

And when you put all that together, you've got a fair number of steroid users who are able to utilize that extra muscle to hit a baseball a bit further than they'd been able to before. Theoretically it's also possible that this added muscle could enable a player to wait a split second longer before committing to a pitch, but since that would also involve a complete re-orientation of a player's reflex system, I wouldn't try to make much of that added claim. And anyway, if such a claim were true, it would seem we'd be seeing fewer strikeouts in addition to more home runs, which certainly wasn't the case during the so-called "steroid era."

Note that this "experiment" was carried out on a regular basis by Major League players, with "results" that showed up in the aggregate power numbers, and also in the numbers of several prominently known steroid users. Even discounting for all those other factors I listed above, I can't see how you can completely eliminate steroids as a contributor to those power spikes.

Amphetamines also were part of a long series of "experiments" by ballplayers, dating from the late 40's and continuing up to the not-so-recent-past. Where is there a shred of evidence that this form of "PED" did anything more than enable players to play on days that they otherwise might not have?

And for "restoration" vs "enhancement", ask yourself these two questions: How many greenies users began using them before the effects of travel and late night partying had set in? And how many steroid users waited to begin using steroids until they were actually injured?

Now all this said, I recognize and acknowledge the position that fatigue is a normal part of a ballplayer's job description, and to the extent that greenies help him stay on the field and add to his counting stats, I'll agree that this is a form of "enhancement". And yes, without greenies, Pete Rose may not have broken Ty Cobb's hit record, and Mickey Mantle might not have hit 500 home runs. So if anyone wants to use this as a "gotcha", feel free, but I acknowledged this point many years ago and have repeated it on more than one occasion since.

But while the amp-enhanced Pete Rose and Mickey Mantle were adding to their counting stats, the opposing pitchers weren't seeing anything more than what they would have seen if Pete and Mickey had simply stayed in their own beds and gone on fewer benders. Whatever "advantage" they obtained from greenies wasn't anything that added to their original talent, other than the talent required to get out of the dugout and onto the field in a non-wasted state of mind.

**Here I'm talking about hitters, but the point about focusing could also be applied to pitchers.

***A righthanded flyball-oriented pull hitter in the original "Death Valley" Yankee Stadium wouldn't see the advantage that he would in Fenway Park, just to take two obvious historical examples.

****An abundance (or absence) of flame throwing relief specialists who were available to replace tired starting pitchers in the middle and late innings.

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

And with that "intellectual dishonesty" line, you've officially entered Rayland.

Ray is far more intellectually honest on this topic than you are Andy, not even close.


I've never said that Ray's position (or anyone else's)on this topic was intellectually dishonest. Ray's problem on this and many other topics (the NFL; Ichiro; etc.) is his refusal to acknowledge the legitimacy of any premise other than his own. I'm not exactly the only person who's noticed this, and I note with amusement that even you qualify your statement about Ray by saying "on this topic".
   54. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: February 24, 2014 at 12:18 PM (#4661416)
My 12-year-old's response to my asking him if he thought Barry Bonds should be in the Hall of Fame was to laugh hysterically for two minutes. He softened a little bit when I pointed out that they weren't testing for steroids when Bonds hit his 73 home runs (the year my son was born), but he's hugely anti-steroids, because that's been the media message for as long as he's been paying attention.

What does your 12-year-old think about Ray Lewis's Hall of Fame chances or any other NFL behemoth?

I'd ask my own 12-year-old boy, but he doesn't follow sports that much and had to be prompted to know which teams were playing in the Super Bowl.
   55. bigglou115 Posted: February 24, 2014 at 12:25 PM (#4661424)
You know, I'm just floating this out there, but if we pooled our money we could probably answer these questions. We'd need a baseball field, a weight room, steroids, and a statistically significant sample size of hobos. How much would all that cost?
   56. Dr. Vaux Posted: February 24, 2014 at 02:49 PM (#4661549)
Well, I volunteer to be one of the hobos.
   57. Greg K Posted: February 24, 2014 at 02:56 PM (#4661555)
We'd need a baseball field, a weight room, steroids, and a statistically significant sample size of hobos.

Isn't that the plot of that Brad Pitt baseball movie?
   58. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 24, 2014 at 07:01 PM (#4661705)
Ray's problem on this and many other topics (the NFL; Ichiro; etc.) is his refusal to acknowledge the legitimacy of any premise other than his own.


And despite the fact that I explicitly acknowledged the validity of a variety of premises, you nonetheless responded by comparing me to him while clearly intending the comment as an insult.

Amphetamines are well-established as athletic performance-enhancing drugs (they are also well-established as performance-degrading drugs if not used in appropriate doses, but that's sort of beside the point unless we also give A-Rod a pass for not taking enough testosterone to get any apparent benefit). So if your premise is that they are not, then you are clearly and demonstrably wrong. Not because some lab rats ran mazes quicker, but because humans demonstrated increased strength and improved reaction times in controlled studies. If your premise is that amphetamines are less enhancing than other types of drugs, or that they confer a kind of enhancement that we should not be as concerned about for whatever reason, or that they are so difficult to actually benefit from because of dosing difficulties, then by all means go ahead and articulate and defend that premise or premises. But saying that "we've been through this a hundred times" is bullsh!t, because all you've done, in point of fact, is refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of the premise.
   59. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 24, 2014 at 07:13 PM (#4661716)
Ray's problem on this and many other topics (the NFL; Ichiro; etc.) is his refusal to acknowledge the legitimacy of any premise other than his own.

And despite the fact that I explicitly acknowledged the validity of a variety of premises, you nonetheless responded by comparing me to him while clearly intending the comment as an insult.


Here's what you wrote in #46 that caused me to compare you to Ray:

But, please, enough already with the intellectual dishonesty about what amphetamines actually do for athletes.


Apologize for employing Ray's signature flame phrase and I'll drop the Ray comparison, and will address the substantive part of your latest comment. But otherwise I'm not interested in any further exchange.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
danielj
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOT: NBA Monthly Thread - April 2014
(241 - 3:26am, Apr 17)
Last: sardonic

NewsblogOMNICHATTER: Wednesday April 16, 2014
(106 - 2:46am, Apr 17)
Last: Rob_Wood

NewsblogDoug Glanville: I Was Racially Profiled in My Own Driveway
(181 - 2:16am, Apr 17)
Last: Mess with the Meat, you get the Wad!

NewsblogNightengale: Pujols nears 500 home runs...and no one seems to care
(67 - 2:15am, Apr 17)
Last: Rob_Wood

NewsblogVerducci: Overuse of young pitchers fueling MLB's Tommy John surgery problem
(43 - 12:51am, Apr 17)
Last: KT's Pot Arb

NewsblogPaine: Advanced Stats Love Jackie Robinson
(8 - 12:50am, Apr 17)
Last: JE (Jason Epstein)

NewsblogGleeman: Mets minor league team is hosting “Seinfeld night”
(38 - 12:46am, Apr 17)
Last: The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott)

Jim's Lab NotesWe're Moved! (And Burst.net can bite me!)
(95 - 11:42pm, Apr 16)
Last: base ball chick

NewsblogOT: The NHL is finally back thread, part 2
(132 - 10:55pm, Apr 16)
Last: zack

NewsblogExposition:The Jonah Keri Mega Q&A
(6 - 10:50pm, Apr 16)
Last: God

NewsblogDaniel Bryan's 'YES!' chant has spread to the Pirates' dugout
(52 - 10:46pm, Apr 16)
Last: Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016

NewsblogMinuteman News Center: Giandurco: This means WAR
(60 - 10:30pm, Apr 16)
Last: I Helped Patrick McGoohan Escape

NewsblogOTP April 2014: BurstNET Sued for Not Making Equipment Lease Payments
(1393 - 10:15pm, Apr 16)
Last: Publius Publicola

NewsblogAstros To Promote George Springer
(40 - 9:20pm, Apr 16)
Last: base ball chick

NewsblogGothamist: Yankee Stadium Is Selling Nachos In A Helmet For $20
(72 - 9:04pm, Apr 16)
Last: puck

Demarini, Easton and TPX Baseball Bats

 

 

 

 

Page rendered in 0.7438 seconds
53 querie(s) executed