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Friday, January 11, 2013

Mike Piazza’s co-author says catcher provides answers, believes “he’s clean”

THEY PARDONED CHARLES CHILTON MOORE FOR BLASPHEMY, MR. PRESIDENT.

Veteran scribe Lonnie Wheeler made it sound as if Piazza will continue to deny he ever used PEDs. That cloud of suspicion might have kept Piazza out of baseball’s Hall of Fame in voting announced Wednesday.

Wheeler said he didn’t want to upstage his publisher’s upcoming media tour by giving away too many details about “Long Shot,” which will be released Feb. 12. But asked if Piazza continues to deny PED use in the book, Wheeler said: “Anybody who’s looking for Mike’s answer to PED questions will find it there . . . I believe he’s clean.”

...Wheeler, in a telephone interview, said he spoke to Piazza Thursday and that the 44-year-old was “upbeat” despite the results.

“I was surprised,” Wheeler said. “He was fine. He was laughing about it. I think he understood that the whole situation was so murky and complicated, and with nobody getting elected, that it was just an unpredictable scenario that he got caught up in. Frankly, he knew it was coming.

“I think, like I did, that he felt that he deserved it and was optimistic that he would get in and saw no reason why he shouldn’t. But given the way the wind was blowing, he was prepared for that outcome.”

Media-watchers had wondered if the upcoming book will include any revelations from Piazza.

“Revelations, I guess, are in the eye of the beholder,” said Wheeler, a former sports columnist for the now-defunct Cincinnati Post and co-author of autobiographies of Hall of Famers Hank Aaron and Bob Gibson, among other works.

“I can’t get too specific about the nature of that discussion,” Wheeler said. “But he does tackle the question and discusses the PED scenario in length in three or four different sections of the book.”

Repoz Posted: January 11, 2013 at 06:44 AM | 54 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. bobm Posted: January 11, 2013 at 08:40 AM (#4344826)
“Long Shot,” which will be released Feb. 12. But asked if Piazza continues to deny PED use in the book


Is this title unintentionally ironic? Why not just call the book "Big Needle"?
   2. Johnny Tuttle Posted: January 11, 2013 at 09:01 AM (#4344827)
I thought he was making light of his HoF chances, only being a top 3 catcher of all time or whatnot.

Evidence? Defending one's self? These have no place in any Hall of Fame discussion!
   3. Rants Mulliniks Posted: January 11, 2013 at 09:06 AM (#4344829)
Anyone who gets drafted in the 62nd round is a long shot.
   4. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 11, 2013 at 09:13 AM (#4344831)
Subtitle: "The Godson Also Rises."
   5. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 11, 2013 at 09:13 AM (#4344832)
A bunch of writers were pretty clear that if Piazza admitted use, they wouldn't vote for him. The incentives are entirely set - admitting use has no benefit.

Not saying Piazza used, not saying I have any idea. But any player with a Hall of Fame case who admits use is effectively torpedoing his bid at this point.
   6. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: January 11, 2013 at 09:14 AM (#4344833)
Let's pretend for a second that steroids weren't involved in the HOF discussion. I assume that Bonds, Clemens, Piazza, Biggio, and Sosa would have been elected. Where would this class rank among HOF classes? It has to be one of the best. Sosa's probably the worst player on that list and we are talking about a guy with 600 homers, 3 60+ homers , and who was one of the biggest stars in baseball for 5 years or so.

Of course, with no steroid discussion, Bonds probably would not have retired after the 2007 season.

   7. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 11, 2013 at 09:31 AM (#4344842)
Where would this class rank among HOF classes?


From BBRef I got this list of WAR by year. The player listed is the top WAR for the year. If Bagwell and Schilling are added they get to 2nd all time but I think your list of 5 is probably a pretty accurate one.

1936 704.3 Ruth
1939 646.1 Collins
1946 567.8 Plank
2013 513.8 Bonds
1945 480.5 Brouthers
1937 464 Young
1964 396.9 Keefe
1955 333.5 Dimaggio
1991 286.7 Perry
1973 285.6 Clemente

And for what it's worth the 5 worst years with a BBWAA inductee

2006 22.4 Sutter
1988 54.2 Stargell
2008 61.1 Gossage
2010 63 Dawson
1993 68.4 Jackson

For what it's worth 1999, a year I expected to have a pretty strong total, was 13th (277.7).
   8. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 11, 2013 at 09:51 AM (#4344865)
Playing around a bit with the numbers here is another top ten, by average player inducted. Trying to get a more representative look at a "great" class rather than a 1945 style class where number of inductees pushed the total up. Number of inductees in parenthesis;

1942 124.6 Hornsby (1)
1966 119.8 Williams (1)
1936 114.2 Ruth (5)
1938 112.8 Alexander (1)
1951 98.3 Ott (2)
1979 94.1 Mays (2)
1982 93.4 Aaron (3)
1937 92.2 Young (5)
2013 84.9 Bonds (5)
1990 80.2 Morgan (2)

And the bottom five again;

2006 23.6 Sutter (1)
2008 29.6 Gossage (2)
1967 35.3 Ruffing (2)
1948 36.3 Pennock (1)
1970 44.3 Boudreau (3)
   9. Eric Ferguson Posted: January 11, 2013 at 10:40 AM (#4344881)
Veteran scribe Lonnie Wheeler made it sound as if Piazza will continue to deny he ever used PEDs.


Maybe it's just me, but the "continue to deny" phrasing seems to imply guilt on Piazza's part. I don't know if this is intentional, and I can't think of a better way to phrase it off the top of my head. I just feel like, if someone wrote, "Eric Ferguson continues to deny stealing three goats and a pack of Marlboro 100s," Joe Reader would be all, "Why doesn't he just give it up already?"
   10. Fanshawe Posted: January 11, 2013 at 11:34 AM (#4344923)
You're going to have to do a lot better than that to overcome the complete lack of evidence against you, Mr. Piazza.
   11. calhounite Posted: January 11, 2013 at 11:44 AM (#4344933)
The guy cowrote the book? and "believes" he's clean? Is using peds to sell books a disqualifier?
   12. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: January 11, 2013 at 11:52 AM (#4344938)
Maybe it's just me, but the "continue to deny" phrasing seems to imply guilt on Piazza's part. I don't know if this is intentional, and I can't think of a better way to phrase it off the top of my head. I just feel like, if someone wrote, "Eric Ferguson continues to deny stealing three goats and a pack of Marlboro 100s," Joe Reader would be all, "Why doesn't he just give it up already?"


When I was in journalism school we were taught to use "says" or "said" whenever possible, as it's neutral and judgement-free.

Of course, that was in the context of a direct quote ("'I didn't use steroids,' Piazza claimed"), so this is a little different. You might phrase this, "Veteran scribe Lonnie Wheeler made it sound as if Piazza will continue to say he never used PEDs," or "Veteran scribe Lonnie Wheeler made it sound as if Piazza will continue to say he never used PEDs."
   13. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: January 11, 2013 at 12:08 PM (#4344949)
The guy cowrote the book? and "believes" he's clean? Is using peds to sell books a disqualifier?

My take on this is that Piazza says that he's clean and the author is saying that he believes Piazza. Not that he has weighed the evidence and come to that conclusion.
   14. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: January 11, 2013 at 12:10 PM (#4344958)
Also, as I posted in an earlier thread, I see two possibilities for the writers who are waiting for the book to evaluate Piazza.

1. Piazza admits steroids in the book. Guys who are "waiting for the book" use it as an excuse to not vote for him.

2. Piazza denies steroids in the book. Guys who are "waiting for the book" use the "Piazza lied in his book" or "Piazza didn't take the chance to come clean" as an excuse to not vote for him.
   15. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 11, 2013 at 12:20 PM (#4344969)
Greg -

Even if that's true - and I think you're being too cynical about the writers' motives and not cynical enough about their intelligence - there's the population of writers who voted for Piazza but not for McGwire or Palmeiro or Bonds. Most of them would drop their Piazza support if he admitted steroid use.
   16. JJ1986 Posted: January 11, 2013 at 12:23 PM (#4344973)
No one actually thought Mike was going to admit steroid use in his book. Even Murray Chass isn't that dumb. It's just a better soundbite for withholding a vote than 'bacne'.
   17. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: January 11, 2013 at 01:05 PM (#4345000)

A bunch of writers were pretty clear that if Piazza admitted use, they wouldn't vote for him. The incentives are entirely set - admitting use has no benefit.


This might sound far fetched, but this is why I think MLB needs a full-on Truth Commission about the Steroid Era. This idea is seriously still embryonic. Sketched out roughly,

- The commissioner announces the formation of a Blue Ribbon Truth Commission (not unlike the creation of the Mitchell Committee.)
- In conjunction with the MLBPA, Hall of Fame and the BBWAA, it is made known that in exchange for openly, honestly answering in full all questions asked by said Commission, the issue of PED use will henceforth be waived from Character clause considerations for Hall of Fame purposes.
- Players talk (and I'd really prefer they even get anonymity while speaking with the Commission, just that it be noted that they spoke fully, openly and honestly.) Be sure to extend this offer to as many purportedly clean players as possible.
- Names are not named in the final report. Just statistics, figures, and a second tracing of the expansion of PED use throughout the game.
- Bonds/Clemens/Sosa/McGwire are inducted.

This is probably full of problems, but it would lead to a sort of conclusion to the Steroid Era and a nice book end to the Mitchell Report. This is specifically NOT a name-names report. Just a "Mitchell from the Players' Perspective" official MLB coda (because nobody other than Frank Thomas spoke to Mitchell), if that makes any sense? The only way this would work is if a whole bunch of players took the leap all at once, and with even the 2003 survey testing names leaking out, I don't see why they would.
   18. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: January 11, 2013 at 01:23 PM (#4345017)
MCOA -

I guess I'm basing it on the writers like Chass who came out and said "I'm not voting for Piazza because I want to see whether he admits steroids in his book." I grant that there may not be very many of those.
   19. ColonelTom Posted: January 11, 2013 at 02:04 PM (#4345056)
Am I correct that the Hall does not have a provision for revoking induction once a guy's enshrined? I think many of the voters who refuse to vote for guys like Bagwell, Piazza, etc., are mainly petrified that they'll end up electing a guy who admits PED use after being enshrined. Having a revocation process might allow them to vote now on what they actually know, with the comfort that later revelations can be handled when they come to light.
   20. ColonelTom Posted: January 11, 2013 at 02:05 PM (#4345061)
Regarding the "Truth Commission" idea, MLB's track record of maintaining confidentiality is horrible. No player in his right mind would expect any promise of anonymity to be kept.
   21. depletion Posted: January 11, 2013 at 02:06 PM (#4345062)
I think MLB needs a full-on Truth Commission about the Steroid Era

and I'd really prefer they even get anonymity while speaking with the Commission, just that it be noted that they spoke fully, openly and honestly

As nice as it might be to "know everything" about this issue, I'm afraid the helium is out of the bag and has dissipated into the atmosphere. Where is the guarantee that "anonymous" equals "truthful? Most of the actors are out of the game now. I can't imagine there is a lot of motivation for them to rehash this. And without naming names, we're still stuck with "53% of ballplayers used steroids" - no further along.
   22. depletion Posted: January 11, 2013 at 02:11 PM (#4345068)
Am I correct that the Hall does not have a provision for revoking induction once a guy's enshrined?

Sounds like a good idea, particularly for "morals clause" type problems. It's just the HOF, they don't need to ask MLB or MLBPA to do this.
   23. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 11, 2013 at 02:20 PM (#4345076)
The problem with the Steroid Era isn't just the cheating (or "cheating" -- not important) itself, it's that the silly drug-aided numbers have distorted rational analysis of pre-Steroid Era players. In no particular order, Trammell, Murphy, Mattingly, Hernandez, and McGriff (*)have been gravely harmed by this unfortunate fact.

So even if you somehow legislated how to treat roiding for purposes of evaluating Steroid Era players, you still haven't fixed this related and very serious problem.

(*) And whatever pitchers you want to add to the list -- Steib, Saberhagen, etc. -- who also suffered from the pre-Steroid Era's relatively Stone Age sports medicine capabilities. This, and the distorting Steroid Era data, are two massive headwinds the 80s guys face.
   24. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 11, 2013 at 02:21 PM (#4345078)
I'd be interested in a "truth commission" on a purely historical level - I love data! - but I don't see how it's in the interests of either the owners or the players. There is no way anonymity would be protected for the players, and the last thing MLB wants is more publicity linking baseball and steroids.

The Hall of Fame vote is annoying, and indeed it does dredge up steroids every year, but it does so in January and then basically disappears during the season.
   25. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 11, 2013 at 02:24 PM (#4345080)
I'd be interested in a "truth commission" on a purely historical level - I love data! - but I don't see how it's in the interests of either the owners or the players. There is no way anonymity would be protected for the players, and the last thing MLB wants is more publicity linking baseball and steroids.

That and the obvious PR problem of mandating the induction of players into the HOF that wide swaths of baseball factions -- including HOFers themselvex -- and the public don't want there.

There simply isn't anything "wrong" enough with what the current system's spitting out mandating any kind of material reaponse, and there's really no way to "fix" any "problem" that exists.
   26. jobu Posted: January 11, 2013 at 02:35 PM (#4345087)
1942 124.6 Hornsby (1)


I haven't found a great thread for this....but I ran across Hornsby's HOF voting results over the last few days, and it's really interesting.

Per BB-Ref
1936 BBWAA (46.5%)
1937 BBWAA (26.4%)
1938 BBWAA (17.6%)
1939 BBWAA (64.2%)
1942 BBWAA (78.1%)
Selected to HOF in 1942 by BBWAA

The first few years are murky, since Hornsby played through 1937 in the majors, and played in 16 MiLB games in 1938. But it would appear from the vote totals above that he got full consideration in 1939 and was found wanting. That is an exceptionally strong class (Gehrig, Eddie Collins, Sisler, Keeler), but one has to assume that Hornsby's personality/disposition (reputed to be worse than Ty Cobb's) hurt him.

Even in 1942, he didn't clear 75% by much. And as you all know, this is a second baseman with the 2nd best BA of all time, multiple years of leading the league in any hitting category you can think of (3rd all time on black ink test), etc.
   27. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 11, 2013 at 02:41 PM (#4345093)
it's that the silly drug-aided numbers have distorted rational analysis of pre-Steroid Era players.


Only if someone isn't willing to do the work. Frankly, with Baseball-Reference, FanGraphs and hell, our own personal computers and Excel the ability to evaluate numbers for different eras is about a thousand times easier than it used to be. We have the data and we have the tools. We can (and do) find the answers.
   28. alilisd Posted: January 11, 2013 at 03:00 PM (#4345110)
I assume that Bonds, Clemens, Piazza, Biggio, and Sosa would have been elected.


I assume your assumption includes Bagwell being elected two years ago. I think adding Schilling is a better class and, as long as we're assuming, a reasonable way to go.
   29. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: January 11, 2013 at 03:04 PM (#4345115)
I think adding Schilling is a better class and, as long as we're assuming, a reasonable way to go.

No way Schilling gets in under those circumstances. Fisk didn't get in when he debuted with Brett, Yount, and Ryan. The writers just wouldn't put in that many. You can see it in the voting where even though people don't fill out complete ballots, the holdovers get reduced votes when a strong class comes on.
   30. alilisd Posted: January 11, 2013 at 03:05 PM (#4345116)
In conjunction with the MLBPA, Hall of Fame and the BBWAA, it is made known that in exchange for openly, honestly answering in full all questions asked by said Commission, the issue of PED use will henceforth be waived from Character clause considerations for Hall of Fame purposes... This is probably full of problems...


Yes, like the idea anyone could enforce the quoted portion of the proposal. Good luck getting a huge chunk of the voters to agree to ignore PED's.
   31. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 11, 2013 at 03:07 PM (#4345118)
Only if someone isn't willing to do the work. Frankly, with Baseball-Reference, FanGraphs and hell, our own personal computers and Excel the ability to evaluate numbers for different eras is about a thousand times easier than it used to be. We have the data and we have the tools. We can (and do) find the answers.

Sure, but the fundamental cross-era tool is OPS+, right? So then the question becomes whether (1) the increased prevalence of roids; and (2) the increased quality of sports medicine caused a fundamental, secular break in the OPS+ time series such that before and after aren't really comparable.

I believe they did. Obviously that's only an opinion, but it should be noted that it's one entirely independent of the "morals" or "ethics" of roiding.
   32. depletion Posted: January 11, 2013 at 03:09 PM (#4345121)
Frankly, with Baseball-Reference, FanGraphs and hell, our own personal computers and Excel the ability to evaluate numbers for different eras is about a thousand times easier than it used to be. We have the data and we have the tools. We can (and do) find the answers.

I disagree. Say 56% of MLB players were taking PED's at any one moment, but we don't know which ones. We have no data that gives the dependence of any baseball performance (K's, HR's, SB, etc.) on PED use, other than "it improves it". Nor do we know how much of what drug a given player was taking. There really is not enough data to compare a given player from the Steroid Era to a player from another era in a reliable fashion.
   33. just plain joe Posted: January 11, 2013 at 03:31 PM (#4345140)
Even in 1942, he didn't clear 75% by much. And as you all know, this is a second baseman with the 2nd best BA of all time, multiple years of leading the league in any hitting category you can think of (3rd all time on black ink test), etc.


Well, nearly every thing written about Hornsby makes the point that he was a world class pain in the ass. It isn't hard to imagine some writers not voting for him for this reason. I have no idea whether this is true, but I do know enough to never underestimate the vindictiveness of sports writers.
   34. Ron J2 Posted: January 11, 2013 at 03:33 PM (#4345141)
Am I correct that the Hall does not have a provision for revoking induction once a guy's enshrined?


The Hockey Hall of Fame had no provision for removing members and had no problem with removing Alan Eagleson (Agent convicted of stealing from players. Brad Park made it clear it was "Him or me". More important, Bobby Orr was on the same page if not nearly as public about it) and Gil Stein (former league president who made electing him a condition of membership in the board of governors for the HHOF)
   35. JJ1986 Posted: January 11, 2013 at 03:35 PM (#4345144)
I disagree. Say 56% of MLB players were taking PED's at any one moment, but we don't know which ones. We have no data that gives the dependence of any baseball performance (K's, HR's, SB, etc.) on PED use, other than "it improves it". Nor do we know how much of what drug a given player was taking. There really is not enough data to compare a given player from the Steroid Era to a player from another era in a reliable fashion.


I think you misread the post which was about pre-steroid-era players.
   36. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 11, 2013 at 03:41 PM (#4345149)
I disagree. Say 56% of MLB players were taking PED's at any one moment, but we don't know which ones. We have no data that gives the dependence of any baseball performance (K's, HR's, SB, etc.) on PED use, other than "it improves it". Nor do we know how much of what drug a given player was taking. There really is not enough data to compare a given player from the Steroid Era to a player from another era in a reliable fashion.


Well it probably depends on your definition of "reliable" but I think those same issues exist across any number of areas of player evaluation. We don't know with certainty who was using a corked bat, who was throwing spitballs or who was stealing signs. To move away from "cheating" situations; weather conditions, equipment changes, umpiring and rule changes, these are also things that have great impact and we can't precisely measure those. I'm not saying we have perfect ability to evaluate and we likely never will. I think we can do it a LOT better than we ever could before. If nothing else we have much more data than we previously had and we have tools (computers, calculators) that allow us to manipulate that data easier than we ever did.

Sure, but the fundamental cross-era tool is OPS+, right? So then the question becomes whether (1) the increased prevalence of roids; and (2) the increased quality of sports medicine caused a fundamental, secular break in the OPS+ time series such that before and after aren't really comparable.


I'm not sure OPS+ is the "fundamental tool" but the questions are fair and remain fair if the tool is WAR or Win Shares or anything else. I think those questions can probably be answered in a somewhat measured capacity to at least allow us to draw some conclusions.



   37. depletion Posted: January 11, 2013 at 04:01 PM (#4345164)
I think you misread the post which was about pre-steroid-era players.

Yes, I misread it. This has been a test of the emergency broadcasting system. We now return you to rational posters.
   38. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 11, 2013 at 04:16 PM (#4345181)
No one actually thought Mike was going to admit steroid use in his book. Even Murray Chass isn't that dumb. It's just a better soundbite for withholding a vote than 'bacne'.


Bill Madden said yesterday that he wants to see whether Piazza admits to steroids use in his book, and that was a consideration in withholding Piazza's vote.

How silly this whole thing is. People know, they just know, dontchaknow, do you really not know, that players like Maddux and Griffey are clean. And they Know that Piazza and Sosa and Bagwell just might be dirty. It is such idiocy, and after Pettitte this nonsense really should have been put to bed. Hell, most people thought Manny was too Mannyish to have taken steroids.
   39. JL Posted: January 11, 2013 at 04:57 PM (#4345216)
This might sound far fetched, but this is why I think MLB needs a full-on Truth Commission about the Steroid Era. This idea is seriously still embryonic. Sketched out roughly,



I see the writers throwing a holy fit and sending in tons of blank ballots, or just applying a character clause on their own. If a writer thinks PEDs are about cheating, I don't see how something like this will change their ballot.
   40. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 11, 2013 at 05:01 PM (#4345219)
I have kidnapped everyone who played in MLB between 1986 and 2007, given them truth serum, and interviewed them. Clearly, the HOF suspend voting until I get around to publishing these interviews.

once we heard that Pettite took steriods


When did we hear that?
   41. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 11, 2013 at 05:17 PM (#4345236)
Which gives some validity to Schilling's remarks that everyone including players who were clean were at fault for not speaking up.


But his remarks don't really make sense. Players _did_ speak up, some of them - apparently Helling and Thomas and maybe some others. But "speaking up" does not set new membership goals in and of itself. The membership as a whole sets the goals, counseled by their leader. So even had more clean players spoken up, it's not likely to have accomplished much. There was a huge distrust between the union and MLB given the drug wars that had already taken place with cocaine and such in the 80s and the behavior by the commissioner in the process of that. And they were coming off of collusion, which, while a different substantive issue, certainly didn't help matters with respect to the trust issue. Going down this path was always going to be a tricky road that was going to hurt some of the members and subject ALL of them to testing, and despite what the general public and the media who typically don't have to pee in a cup themselves think -- this IS a huge invasion of privacy. And players who rightly or wrongly tested positive were going to be hurt, as was basically the membership as a whole who nobody was going to believe was clean anyway. Except for the pet players like Jeter and Mariano, I guess.

And look at what DID happen. Players agreed to anonymous survey testing in good faith -- and their privacy was trampled on, as the promise to keep those results confidential was not honored, and the media thinks they are entitled to the results. Players careers have been hurt by positive testing, even if the positive test in some cases wasn't warranted. And nobody thinks the players as a whole are clean, save for, again, the special pet players.

The issue has not died down, as was predicted after the Clemens and Bonds trials. The writers are still in an uproar over it, now slamming the door to the HOF. Players have been targeted by the feds, have been the subject of investigations that cost in the several tens of millions of dollars. Players have been hauled before Congress, and then investigated for perjury thereafter. I'm at a loss to see how agreeing to this was a positive overall for the union.
   42. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 11, 2013 at 05:18 PM (#4345238)
once we heard that Pettite took steriods

When did we hear that?


Well, Clemens would have testified to that, but he wasn't allowed to.

</off Mike Francesa>
   43. SoSH U at work Posted: January 11, 2013 at 06:05 PM (#4345277)
There was a huge distrust between the union and MLB given the drug wars that had already taken place with cocaine and such in the 80s and the behavior by the commissioner in the process of that. And they were coming off of collusion, which, while a different substantive issue, certainly didn't help matters with respect to the trust issue. Going down this path was always going to be a tricky road that was going to hurt some of the members and subject ALL of them to testing, and despite what the general public and the media who typically don't have to pee in a cup themselves think -- this IS a huge invasion of privacy. And players who rightly or wrongly tested positive were going to be hurt, as was basically the membership as a whole who nobody was going to believe was clean anyway. Except for the pet players like Jeter and Mariano, I guess.


The problem was always the union considering this a private pee issue and not a workplace safety issue. They should have led the way in forging a drug policy because it was in their best interests. And if they had taken the lead, instead of seemingly getting dragged there, they likely would have fended off much of the witchhunt that followed. After all, the policy had nothing to do with the problems faced by mssrs. Bonds and Clemens.

Look at it from a different angle: Suppose ownership came to the union and offered this sweetheart deal:

Hey, Don, we'd really like to see the players start taking steroids so they can become more productive employees. We don't think they're giving us all they can right now.

Oh, no, they'll have to pay for these PEDs. We're not going to supply them.

And our medical staff can't be involved in the distribution or proper administration. You understand. They'll have to chance it on the street.

And they are technically illegal in a lot of places, so if a guy gets caught having them sent by courier to his place, he's got to face Mr. Novitzky and his big Broom o' Justice.

Sure, some guys may not want to inject crap into their ass, but I guess they don't want to be big leaguers enough.

And no, we're not going to create extra jobs as a result. Same number as now will do just fine.

I'm thinking the union would have fought this little plan. But somehow, this choice being made voluntarily (or, with just a dollop of coercion) by some percentage of the membership (but not others) was a state of affairs the union was doggedly trying to protect.

Until Juiced and Balco and Congressional whispers resulted in too much bad PR, ownership never had any reason to want a drug testing plan. The status quo was GREAT for the owners. A drug testing system, on the other hand, costs them money.
   44. bond1 Posted: January 11, 2013 at 06:29 PM (#4345305)
I'm really lost on this subject. Both Bagwell and Piazza publicly admitted to using androstenedione. That's what made Bagwell muscular; Piazza said he tried it in the early 90s but it didn't do anything for him. So why is there any question whether they used or not? They both admitted to juicing.
   45. Walt Davis Posted: January 11, 2013 at 07:30 PM (#4345347)
I assume that Bonds, Clemens, Piazza, Biggio, and Sosa would have been elected.

No way. 5 players in one year is just not going to happen. There's really no historical precedent and you would have had to see votes per ballot jump from the low 5s to the 9s to still reasonably accommodate the backlog. Wasn't going to happen.

You'd have seen something like 1999 with B/C nearly unanimous and a 3-way (probably 2-way) race for a third slot. Some possibility that Biggio and Sosa both make it over 75% (Fisk came close in 99) but also some possibility that no third candidate does. And Bagwell, Raines, Edgar and Trammell would have lost a lot. (See Perez, Carter, Garvey and Rice from 1998 to 1999).

I don't know why anybody expected Piazza to go in first ballot.* Possibly in a weak ballot year but certainly no way in this one. Again, Johnny Bench is the only 1st ballot HoF C. Piazza's 56% is much better than Carter's debut and essentially the same as Campy's. (Also better than Dickey & Hartnett and obviously better than Munson, Torre, Freehan, Simmons, etc.) By debut %age the list goes:

Bench
Berra
Fisk
Piazza
Campy

We can quibble but that's not a terrible ordering of post-war Cs. And there's little reason to think Piazza won't be inducted eventually.

Again, the logjam was going to happen whether there were roids or not. To avoid the logjam, the voters would have had to induct something like 15 guys over 7 years, quite unlikely. And, even if they had, some of Piazza, Sosa, Biggio, Schilling, Mussina, Glavine, Thomas, Bagwell, Raines were going to have to wait a few more years at least. And guys like Edgar, McGriff, Walker, Lofton were likely screwed anyway.

And again, as long as B/C are in the mid-30s (and Mac, Sosa and Palmeiro all below 20), the "roiders" are not a significant cause of the logjam. B/C are only an obstruction if they rise to 50-60% but can't move.

*Sure, he's a "slam dunk" HoFer but to expect him to be voted in 1st ballot was to ignore HoF voting history and the crowded ballot.
   46. puck Posted: January 11, 2013 at 09:49 PM (#4345396)
Again, Johnny Bench is the only 1st ballot HoF C.

Wow, just wow.
   47. valuearbitrageur Posted: January 12, 2013 at 05:30 AM (#4345509)
I'm really lost on this subject. Both Bagwell and Piazza publicly admitted to using androstenedione. That's what made Bagwell muscular; Piazza said he tried it in the early 90s but it didn't do anything for him. So why is there any question whether they used or not? They both admitted to juicing.


And Mays & Mantle & Aaron & Rose juiced too, taking amphetamines before every game. Plus all the players with juicers in their house, indiscriminantly drinking fresh OJ and other fruit juices daily during the season.

Oh, is your super wide definition of "juicing" not quite that wide?

Andro was legal and able to be purchased over the counter, and, as a consequence, it was in common use in Major League Baseball throughout the 1990s....

On March 12, 2004, the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004 was introduced into the United States Senate. It amended the Controlled Substance Act to place both anabolic steroids and prohormones on a list of controlled substances, making possession of the banned substances a federal crime. The law took effect on January 20, 2005. However, androstenedione was legally defined as an anabolic steroid, even though there is scant evidence that androstenedione itself is anabolic in nature.

The "Andro-Project", conducted by medical researchers at East Tennessee State University, showed that the supplement "Andro"(androstenedione/androstenediol) does not increase muscle mass or strength...

A 2006 review paper summarized several studies that examined the effect of androstenedione on strength training. At dosages of 50 mg or 100 mg per day, andro had no effect on muscle strength or size, or on body fat levels. One study used a daily dosage of 300 mg of androstenedione combined with several other supplements, and also found no increase in strength when compared to a control group that did not take the supplements.
   48. valuearbitrageur Posted: January 12, 2013 at 05:40 AM (#4345513)
I agree in that once we heard that Pettite took steriods, the whole era could be easily classified as unclean.


Don't you mean that once we heard Pettite took nothing but placebos?

Pettitte verified McNamee's claim, admitting to using the HGH on two occasions in 2002, as it was meant to help heal an injury, and not to enhance his performance. Pettitte said he felt an obligation to return to the team as quickly as possible. He denied any further usage of HGH during his career; he also denied use of steroids or any other performance-enhancing drug.

some scientific articles have demonstrated that HGH supplementation does not significantly increase muscle strength or aerobic exercise capacity in healthy individuals.
...
Some say that human growth hormone will build muscle mass through raised insulin-like growth factors levels leading to heightened protein synthesis without any side effects[8] while other researchers argue that there have been no such findings on young healthy adults.[6] The second argument is more supported by research discoveries that HGH affects muscle protein synthesis no differently than a placebo does
   49. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 12, 2013 at 12:31 PM (#4345587)
Yeah, hGH is a great PED in theory. That is, it affects cellular biochemistry in ways that strongly suggest that it should be potently anabolic with few if any side effects. But that's all based on in vitro studies and hGH has never been demonstrated to do jack in vivo. My somewhat educated guess guess is that cellular in vivo responsiveness to hGH is regulated even more tightly than in vivo production of hGH.
   50. Karl from NY Posted: January 12, 2013 at 01:01 PM (#4345600)
The incentives are entirely set - admitting use has no benefit.

The one case it does is for a player that actually did fail a test. Pettitte and A-rod get their positives completely overlooked. Manny Ramirez owned up to his first one and took comedy but not heat for it. If you fail and admit, there's nothing left for the writers to get sanctimonious about and punish, so they go find other meat.

Admitting wouldn't help Piazza or anyone else who's got nothing but bacne though, of course.
   51. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 12, 2013 at 01:43 PM (#4345624)
When did Pettitte test positive?
   52. Sunday silence Posted: January 12, 2013 at 02:55 PM (#4345661)

The problem was always the union considering this a private pee issue and not a workplace safety issue. They should have led the way in forging a drug policy because it was in their best interests. And if they had taken the lead, instead of seemingly getting dragged there, they likely would have fended off much of the witchhunt that followed. After all, the policy had nothing to do with the problems faced by mssrs. Bonds and Clemens.


Much of this speculation, because no one knows what would have really happened in the end. And another issue is how do you expect 20 and 30 year olds whose livelihood depends on watching video, grooving a swing, maintaining muscle memory, etc to suddenly immerse themselves in legal and sociological issues? It's not realistic, even though what you're saying does make sense to us looking in.
****

In the case of Piazza a better word would be "maintains." As in "Piazza maintains that he did not do..."

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