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Thursday, January 09, 2014

MORRISSEY: Blame dirty MLB players for creating distrust

Hatful of hollow shiit.

I’m unapologetic about withholding my Hall of Fame vote from former baseball players who might — might — have been dirty.

I voted for Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas and Tom Glavine. That’s it. They were the only players elected to the Hall on Wednesday. Why? Because they were great players and because, I suspect, most voters thought they didn’t use performance-enhancing drugs.

Everyone brings different criteria to the voting process. Mine happen to include whether I have even a sliver of suspicion a player might have used PEDs. The ones I’m not sure about don’t get a checkmark next to their names. It’s a subjective, severe and sometimes unfair method.

So I had a big, fat, chemically augmented “no’’ for Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro. And I had an agnostic “no,’’ if there is such a thing, for Steroid Era guys such as Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza, Luis Gonzalez and Jeff Kent.

I can’t emphasize this enough: I’m not sorry about any of it.

Repoz Posted: January 09, 2014 at 05:06 PM | 36 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hof

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   1. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 09, 2014 at 05:16 PM (#4635000)
Most voters didn't think Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza, or Jeff Bagwell did PEDs either, as evidenced by their vote total.
   2. Davo Dozier Posted: January 09, 2014 at 05:21 PM (#4635006)
It's a vicious feedback loop: Baseball writers generate the "sliver of suspicion" that guys like Jeff Bagwell/Mike Piazza/Craig Biggio used steroids, and then those same writers use that "suspicion" to deny them their place in the Hall of Fame.
   3. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 09, 2014 at 05:39 PM (#4635036)
I’m unapologetic about withholding my Hall of Fame vote from former baseball players who might — might — have been dirty.

I voted for Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas and Tom Glavine.


The only conclusion? These players couldn't possibly have been dirty.

And yet, how could Morrissey possibly know.
   4. Lars6788 Posted: January 09, 2014 at 05:44 PM (#4635047)
I suspect that some of the writers did know who was using but because of the Era continued to basically act as if every player at the peak was Lance Armstrong as he was winning his Tour De France titles - the writers had to step in line with a positive narrative or else they'd be like the guy who found McGwire's andro.

Now those writers [caught in-between what they should have reported and being swept up in the Era] are punishing players whom they feel couldn't speak out against when those same players were likely juicing up and popping big numbers.
   5. Lassus Posted: January 09, 2014 at 05:46 PM (#4635049)
Voter in a coma I know, I know, it's serious.
   6. Bob Tufts Posted: January 09, 2014 at 05:58 PM (#4635078)
Bob Tufts played in SF and KC.
Players on those teams went to jail or testified that they used cocaine.
Bob Tufts used cocaine?

Let's play the Morrissey "sliver of evidence" version:

Morrissey is a member of the BBWAA.
BBWAA member Bill Conlin fondled young girls and received a BBWAA award.
Morrissey is a child molester?
   7. kthejoker Posted: January 09, 2014 at 06:02 PM (#4635085)
#2: I literally never heard a single word that Craig Biggio ever used PEDs until Murray Chass this year. And now his name is right there in the ring. That is a hell of a feedback loop.
   8. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: January 09, 2014 at 06:03 PM (#4635087)
kthejoker:

Well ####, if a bona fide blogger like Murray Chass says so, it has to be true.
   9. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: January 09, 2014 at 06:05 PM (#4635091)
At least he went into sportswriting and not criminal law.
   10. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: January 09, 2014 at 06:05 PM (#4635092)
Let's just go back to that '91 memo from Vincent as the 1st time baseball people recognized there was a problem.* Surely, we know steroids were around before then, but it at least is a form of documentation that baseball people acknowledged.

This is still back in the time that union and owners hated each other. It was damn near guaranteed that any time the CBA expired that there would be a lockout/strike. Someone with a better sense of labor history could probably fill this in, but it seems like the major issues of the time were focused on revenues and contracts and that sort of stuff. Given the history of owners and the union, it seems darn near impossible that steroids were going to even be discusses when the CBA expired in '94. Owners wanted a cap and the union was still smarting over collusion.

The earliest I could possibly see the issue being even discussed was when they renewed the CBA in '01-2. And even then, it was the first time that a work stoppage had been avoided when the CBA expired. It was a minor victory of sorts for both sides. Of course, in between we had chicks digging the long ball, home run chases (and man, that summer of 98 was fun), and the Yankees being kings of the world again. I think to the players and owners, everything was going pretty well.

This isn't to necessarily dismiss Morrissey's claims, but I think the issue was far more complex than 'players bad'. The owners, mlb admin, union, and fans gladly looked the other way. Plus, the past issues with union and owners killed any chance for the sport to be progressive crusaders.

   11. TJ Posted: January 09, 2014 at 06:07 PM (#4635095)
This isn't to necessarily dismiss Morrissey's claims, but I think the issue was far more complex than 'players bad'. The owners, mlb admin, union, and fans gladly looked the other way. Plus, the past issues with union and owners killed any chance for the sport to be progressive crusaders.


Let's not forget BBWAA writers and columnists who looked the other way as well...
   12. Astroenteritis (tom) Posted: January 09, 2014 at 06:29 PM (#4635115)
I know. Let's throw Bagwell, Piazza and Biggio and whoever else these clowns suspect of PED use in the water with cement blocks tied to their feet. If they drown they didn't use steroids and if they survive they did.
That's about the level of enlightenment and/or critical thinking with which we are dealing.
   13. GEB4000 Posted: January 09, 2014 at 07:12 PM (#4635155)
Remember when Biggio muscled up and went from 15 homers to a career-high 24 at 38. Then topped his career high the next season by hitting 26 homers. Obvious juicer.
   14. Bob Tufts Posted: January 09, 2014 at 07:33 PM (#4635173)
Nature:

In the wake of the cocaine scandal, MLB and the MLBPA negotiated a testing plan. Then Commissioner Ueberroth abrogated the agreement.

Ueberroth was within his rights to do so in 1985 - but the reasons seemed to be for PR for baseball (kind of a MLB "just say no") and to enhance Ueberroth's image for a future political run (Ubie was also advocating bombing drug fields in South America at the time). But the next seven or eight years were taken up with the collusion cases, in which MLB was found guilty and paid $ 280 million in damages, multiple commissioners and infighting at MLB. This cost baseball any chance to deal with the issue in a trusting way until it was too late. Soon they were fighting the 1994-95 strike battle - and remember if they got their way Ripken would not have set the consecutive game streak record, as they were going to use replacements.

Meanwhile Congress passed the 1994 DSHEA, which deregulated the supplement industry and tied the hands of the FDA. Ironically, Rep. Henry Waxman, a chief HGRC scold, helped get the legislation through the House. Substances reached the market with little warning to the 50% of Americans who buy them, and government action could only take place when there were enough reports of seriously sick or dead kids - you know, the ones that Congress tells us they are fighting for at all times.
   15. dlf Posted: January 09, 2014 at 07:59 PM (#4635196)
But the next seven or eight years were taken up with the collusion cases, in which MLB was found guilty and paid $ 280 million in damages ...


Plus another $12m in settlement of collusion cases that was negotiated into the 2006 CBA.
   16. Bug Selig Posted: January 09, 2014 at 08:28 PM (#4635228)
Not a sliver of suspicion? Do you know what Frank Thomas looks (looked) like?

Not saying he did - but "not a sliver"?
   17. Repoz Posted: January 09, 2014 at 08:38 PM (#4635243)
Remember when Biggio muscled up and went from 15 homers to a career-high 24 at 38. Then topped his career high the next season by hitting 26 homers. Obvious juicer.

One voter wrote that the reason he didn't select Biggio was because he played his career at Minute Maid Park.
   18. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 09, 2014 at 08:48 PM (#4635260)
Let's play the Morrissey "sliver of evidence" version:
Morrissey is a member of the BBWAA.
BBWAA member Bill Conlin fondled young girls and received a BBWAA award.
Morrissey is a child molester?


Why stop there? Any teacher who ever taught at a school that had faculty/staff engage in child abuse must be disqualified from any Teacher of the Year award. Any newspaper writer who worked with a plagiarist or fabricator must be disqualified from the Pulitzer Prize or other journalistic awards. Morrissey's McCarthyism surely shouldn't be limited to the HoF when there are so many other areas that have more impact on people who need to be protected from appearances.
   19. dejarouehg Posted: January 09, 2014 at 09:16 PM (#4635292)
Not a sliver of suspicion? Do you know what Frank Thomas looks (looked) like? Not saying he did - but "not a sliver"?


Maybe he juiced up at Auburn........wait, that doesn't happen in college. I hope Thomas is clean but who knows who is clean and who isn't?

I've heard people talk about how big McGwire wasn't as a rookie. They are delusional. He was huge as a rookie, just not nearly as huge as he became.

Pete Incaviglia was huge as a rookie. Does it mean anything? Probably not but who knows.

I just don't understand the comfort people have in declaring players such as Piazza and Bagwell as clean. You want to argue that it was still essentially an even playing field, fine; that players should be innocent until proven guilty, this isn't the criminal phase of a trial but it's certainly a reasonable point of view. We don't always have the luxury of seeing the crime on video.
   20. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: January 09, 2014 at 11:11 PM (#4635367)
Voter in a coma I know, I know, it's serious.

Bigmouth strikes again.
   21. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: January 10, 2014 at 12:45 AM (#4635421)
Ueberroth was within his rights to do so in 1985 - but the reasons seemed to be for PR for baseball (kind of a MLB "just say no") and to enhance Ueberroth's image for a future political run (Ubie was also advocating bombing drug fields in South America at the time). But the next seven or eight years were taken up with the collusion cases, in which MLB was found guilty and paid $ 280 million in damages, multiple commissioners and infighting at MLB. This cost baseball any chance to deal with the issue in a trusting way until it was too late. Soon they were fighting the 1994-95 strike battle - and remember if they got their way Ripken would not have set the consecutive game streak record, as they were going to use replacements.


Thanks Bob. I suppose then someone could really make an argument that collusion sort of scuttled any chance for baseball to have a drug plan during the late 80s and early 90s.

A Lords of the Realm sequel of sorts during the PED era would be fascinating, I think.
   22. SoSH U at work Posted: January 10, 2014 at 02:18 AM (#4635449)
Steroids on the streets of Houston
Steroids on the streets of NYC
I wonder to myself could life ever be pure again?
The silly ball era that you sat through
I wonder to myself

Hopes may rise on the Big Hurt
But Jeff Kent, you're not welcome here
So you run to the safety of the Braves Pair
But there's steroids on the streets of Boston
San Fran, Phoenix, Baltimore, I wonder to myself

Burn down the ballot, hang the blessed roider
Because the juicing that they probably did
It says nothing to me about my life
Hang the blessed roider
Because the juicing they probably did

The silly ball era you overlooked
Logical twists you must take

Hang the roider
Hang the roider
Hang the roider
Hang the roider
   23. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 10, 2014 at 09:05 AM (#4635484)
Sportswriter on fire!
   24. Captain Supporter Posted: January 10, 2014 at 01:20 PM (#4635781)
This is a fight you steroid lovers are not going to win.
   25. vortex of dissipation Posted: January 10, 2014 at 01:36 PM (#4635795)
Kudos on #22.
   26. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: January 10, 2014 at 01:39 PM (#4635801)
Captain,

I think the point is that it is overly simplistic to blame any one group for the PED era. Do the players probably shoulder the largest share of the blame? Probably, because they were the folks that were actually using then. But to give anyone else a pass is foolish. The owners stupid little collusion plan shattered any trust or goodwill that would have been needed to put together a collaborative drug plan when the CBA expired prior to the '94 strike.

Aside from the dog and pony show put on by congress, isn't it safe to say that labor peace helped to bring about the current agreement? And just for fun, there were guys that were still playing in '91 that were subject to the reserve clause. There weren't many of them, but they had reason to distrust the owners with anything related to privacy issues. And given the leaks from the 2003 'trial' tests, we're they exactly wrong?
   27. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: January 10, 2014 at 02:34 PM (#4635833)
On the day that your chemistry
Catches up with your biology

Oh, these are the riches of the poor.
   28. Ray K Posted: January 10, 2014 at 02:40 PM (#4635840)
The owners stupid little collusion plan shattered any trust or goodwill that would have been needed to put together a collaborative drug plan when the CBA expired prior to the '94 strike.


I'd say that the players refused because they didn't think there was a problem. After all, they were only benefitting from the use of steroids... bigger numbers, larger contracts, and public ignorance of the practice. Only when steroid use became publicly known and players started getting shamed as cheaters by the general public did they suddenly find the desire to start self-policing themselves. Of course, that was only with a blanket immunity from the league for all past abuses.

That immunity elevated the HOF as the last resort for people to express their outrage at the level of cheating that occurred during this era.
   29. Bob Tufts Posted: January 10, 2014 at 02:49 PM (#4635849)

I'd say that the players refused because they didn't think there was a problem


The players had been part of a negotiation regarding probable cause testing and punishment after the cocaine scandal. MLB then just threw that difficult process out the door for PR purposes. What purpose would re-starting negotiations serve if management has already shown that the agreement was something that they chose not to continue? The problem was trust - in the development of a sound scientific based program with punishments and appeals processes that could be honored by both parties. And as we saw with the 2003 tests, privacy issues of what was effectively an employee assistance plan emerged.

A union by law must represent the legal issues related to employment such as workplace testing and EAP programs - not roll over and basically shred Fourth Amendment procedures.

That immunity elevated the HOF as the last resort...


Immunity from federal drug laws? MLB rules and regulations as part of the CBA did not go into effect until after the post-2003 sampling testing.
   30. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 10, 2014 at 03:00 PM (#4635861)
A union by law must represent the legal issues related to employment such as workplace testing and EAP programs - not roll over and basically shred Fourth Amendment procedures.


There you go again, Bob. Treating baseball players like human beings with rights, both moral and legal.
   31. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 10, 2014 at 03:02 PM (#4635863)
(Ubie was also advocating bombing drug fields in South America at the time).


While I admire his zeal, that would seem like something that should be outside the purview of a professional sports league.
   32. Bob Tufts Posted: January 10, 2014 at 03:11 PM (#4635872)
For what it is worth, a Salon link on the topic with Barra and Miller in 2002.

http://www.salon.com/2002/06/20/miller_18/

   33. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 10, 2014 at 03:26 PM (#4635885)

With the roids on, it's less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
We feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us

A Sam Sosa
A Palmeiro
Bonds bonito
Our libido
YAY!




   34. Ron J2 Posted: January 10, 2014 at 04:45 PM (#4635933)
#10 If MLB had broken the union I have very little doubt that they'd have imposed strict drug testing. Focus would have been on recreational drugs, but as long as you're testing for those drugs, why not test for PEDs at the same time?
   35. Ron J2 Posted: January 10, 2014 at 04:51 PM (#4635940)
#19 I can quote from McGwire's scouting report while he was still at USC:

Starts out: BIG, STRONG (both underlined), POWERFUL BUILD. WELL PROP. MUSCULAR LEGS.

In the section on abilities, talking about his hitting there's another STRONG underlined.

And in the Summation and Signability section there: (again underlined) SHOULD DEV INTO BIG HR MAN [...] RAISED OFF. 5 PTS DUE TO POWER POT.

That said, I've looked for his listed weights. Yeah not perfect, but STATS in particular made a serious effort to stay current with the weights. He's listed at 210 at USC, at 215 when he hit the majors, 225 before the 1988 and stays at that listed weight until the start of the 1995 season when he's listed at 250.
   36. Ray K Posted: January 10, 2014 at 08:38 PM (#4636050)
Immunity from federal drug laws? MLB rules and regulations as part of the CBA did not go into effect until after the post-2003 sampling testing.


Immunity from public exposure as cheats.

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