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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Murray Chass on Baseball: ALCOHOL OKAY; STEROIDS BAD

Chass…a regular O.P.S. Heggie.

In this warped society of ours, steroids are illegal and bad while alcohol is legal and ok or even good, in the view of those who consume it.Miguel Cabrera 225

But I am confused over recent events. Let me see if I have this right. Mark McGwire admitted to using steroids during his career and apologized for his wrongdoing. He has been vilified for his admission, though Cardinals’ fans cheered him lustily.

Miguel Cabrera admitted to being an alcoholic and apologized for his all-night binge on the final weekend of last season, but he is forgiven and eagerly welcomed back to his team, the Tigers.

Cabrera’s abuse of a legal substance – his blood alcohol level was triple Michigan’s legal limit – very likely cost the Tigers the American League Central championship. The Tigers had a one-game lead over the Twins with two games left when Cabrera went out drinking and wound up in a fight with his wife and in police custody. At the end of that weekend the Tigers were tied with the Twins and two days later lost a playoff for first.

...So even with Sam McDowell the alcoholic counselor, the difference is that alcohol is legal and steroids illegal.

“I see the downside of steroids,” he said, “how it destroys their brain, how they have heart attacks when they’re 45 and 50 years old. It’s a horrendous drug.”

Repoz Posted: January 28, 2010 at 03:33 PM | 62 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, steroids

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   1. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: January 28, 2010 at 03:56 PM (#3448575)
Just reading the excerpt, "Miguel Cabrera 225" made me think of John (or Austin) 3:16.

Cabrera 2:25 "I just hit a homer drunk, and that's the bottom line 'cause Miggy said so."
   2. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 28, 2010 at 03:57 PM (#3448577)
Steroids are legal, just not for that purpose.

Alcohol is legal, just not for that purpose.
   3. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: January 28, 2010 at 04:11 PM (#3448593)
Murray Chass on Baseball: ALCOHOL OKAY; STEROIDS BAD
Richard Barbieri on Life: ALCOHOL OKAY; STEROIDS CASE-BY-CASE BASIS
   4. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: January 28, 2010 at 04:21 PM (#3448607)
Alcohol is the worst drug that ever existed. But a majority of the country's hypocrites use it, so it gets a pass.
   5. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 28, 2010 at 04:32 PM (#3448617)
   6. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 28, 2010 at 04:33 PM (#3448618)
Cabrera’s abuse of a legal substance – his blood alcohol level was triple Michigan’s legal limit – very likely cost the Tigers the American League Central championship. The Tigers had a one-game lead over the Twins with two games left when Cabrera went out drinking and wound up in a fight with his wife and in police custody. At the end of that weekend the Tigers were tied with the Twins and two days later lost a playoff for first.


I view this issue similar to the hustle issue. I'll take Cabrera on my team any day of the week, even with his screw-up, or even, comparatively speaking, if his issue were that he didn't run hard all the time. He had a 142 OPS+ last year, so he provided a ton of value to the team. Yes, his absence hurt them the last two or three games, but without his play all season they're not that close to begin with.

McGwire’s use of steroids, on the other hand, resulted in only positive developments for his team and for baseball. His scintillating race with Sammy Sosa in pursuit of the home run record brought baseball back from what some critics say was a precipice of doom following the 1994-95 strike.


Or not. Attendance had already started back after the strike by the time 1998 hit.

Sosa has never acknowledged using steroids, but circumstantial evidence says overwhelmingly that he did. After never having hit more than 40 homers in a season, he slugged more than 60 three times in four seasons. Cubs’ fans were euphoric, not to mention ecstatic.


Substitute "circular" for "circumstantial" and I completely agree.
   7. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 28, 2010 at 04:34 PM (#3448620)
Chass...a regular O.P.S. Heggie.


Chass read more like a Una O'Connor screech normally, though.

Alcohol is the worst drug that ever existed. But a majority of the country's hypocrites use it, so it gets a pass.


It gets a pass because many people can consume it without experiencing any of the bad that comes with alcohol. Of course, this is not the case for some...
   8. Ron Johnson Posted: January 28, 2010 at 04:40 PM (#3448624)
#6 Ray, McGwire in his St. Louis days was one of the few players I've ever found that had a tangible impact on attendance beyond the on-field contribution.

Shouldn't be a surprise to anybody. I mean his BP was an event.
   9. alilisd Posted: January 28, 2010 at 04:44 PM (#3448629)
OMFG! "I've seen how it destroys their brains..." McDowell has no effing clue what he's talking about in terms of AAS side effects. He doesn't even sound like he has much of a clue as an alcholism counselor. Sheesh!
   10. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 28, 2010 at 04:47 PM (#3448631)
#6 Ray, McGwire in his St. Louis days was one of the few players I've ever found that had a tangible impact on attendance beyond the on-field contribution.

Shouldn't be a surprise to anybody. I mean his BP was an event.


Yes, I can buy that. (Generally it's not true for players but I do think McGwire was a special case.) But it still doesn't mean that baseball was in danger without him. Agreed?
   11. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: January 28, 2010 at 04:47 PM (#3448632)
Who were the others, Ron? Through reading a whole summer of columns from 1951 by AB McGinley of the Hartford Times, I heard that Rabbit Maranville was a gate attraction. And McGinley was no dunce. He was a boyhood friend of Eugene O'Neill.
   12. Hack Wilson Posted: January 28, 2010 at 04:51 PM (#3448641)
I thought it was pretty clear that the reason Miguel Cabrera got falling-down drunk was to cover up his steroid use.

And the next time a player gets arrested for spousal abuse or taking cocaine or murder, question whether it was to avoid something potentially more serious, being tested for 'roids.
   13. Home Run Teal & Black Black Black Gone! Posted: January 28, 2010 at 05:10 PM (#3448662)
Alcohol is the worst drug that ever existed. But a majority of the country's hypocrites use it, so it gets a pass.


You, friend, have never had whisky.
   14. esseff Posted: January 28, 2010 at 05:12 PM (#3448663)
his blood alcohol level was triple Michigan’s legal limit


Well, no. Three times the legal limit for driving, which there's no evidence he was doing (at least according to what I read at the time).
   15. Ron Johnson Posted: January 28, 2010 at 05:22 PM (#3448671)
Most of the others I've found are pretty minor. Ryan (near the end of his career -- earlier the effect was just on the edge of maybe), Valenzuela (briefly). Koufax (can't find the results but I'm pretty sure that Valenzuela had a bigger impact). I'm pretty sure the Bird was drawing part way through the season (again, can't find the study so this is from memory)

And when I looked at the various record hunts I found clear evidence of attendance boosts when there was a reasonable chance of seeing the record. Zip for the chase.

I didn't go back far enough to have ever looked at Maranville, but I'm doubtful that it's true. I have no doubt he was unusually popular but popularity doesn't seem to manifest itself in attendance.
   16. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: January 28, 2010 at 05:25 PM (#3448672)
BTW, I don't know if that was true of Maranville, but that's what McGinley wrote.
   17. The District Attorney Posted: January 28, 2010 at 05:26 PM (#3448673)
Miguel Cabrera 225
It's surely been quite a while since he was only 225...

I do agree with Chass insofar as it's surprising to me that this incident wasn't a massive story. A big star gets so drunk that he can't perform in the most critical series of the year? Possibly costing his team the playoffs? And beats his wife to boot? And as soon as the season ends, no one seems to much care anymore? And the guy proceeds to get a first-place MVP vote? The whole thing was extremely weird to me.

(Whitey Herzog, for instance, would have traded the man as soon as the last pitch of the season was thrown; see Mayberry, Templeton, Keithie...)

So, yeah, I'm surprised it wasn't a bigger issue, but it's obviously not the same issue as steroids, since it wasn't performance-enhancing (and in fact, was performance-detrimental.) So, that's dippy.
   18. Morty Causa Posted: January 28, 2010 at 05:38 PM (#3448684)
Everything said in the article and here needs to be taken with a grain of salt--or a chasser.
   19. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: January 28, 2010 at 05:40 PM (#3448685)
I'm not sure how else popularity would manifest itself in the pre-broadcast days, other than attendance. It's not like you could buy a Babe Ruth jersey or anything. I do know that there were more in season exhibition games back in the day and some of these were in non-big league towns.
   20. sunnyday2 Posted: January 28, 2010 at 05:43 PM (#3448689)
no one seems to much care anymore


Shawn Merriman says hi.

The only thing shocking in all of this is that for some reason "they" picked Mark McGwire out of a lineup and decided to crucify him while 1,000 more just like him get a hug.
   21. The District Attorney Posted: January 28, 2010 at 06:10 PM (#3448707)
Shawn Merriman says hi.
Huh. Weird. Please let him know that that sentence referred to Miguel Cabrera, so I think he's got the wrong guy. Thanks!
   22. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: January 28, 2010 at 06:20 PM (#3448712)
Substitute "circular" for "circumstantial" and I completely agree.


Yeah. No one hits 60 HRs...until they do.

As to Sosa. He was a legit power threat from the time he hit 33 HR as a 24 year old.

The next year he missed 50 games due to the strike. His 25 HR project to 36 in a full season.

The next year he missed 18 games due to the lockout. His 36 HR project to 41 for a full season.

The next year he missed 38 games due to a broken wrist. He was leading the league in HR with 40 at the time of the injury. He projects to 52 for a full season.

The next year he played the whole season, but probably still recovering from the broken wrist, he hit merely 36 HR. It's certainly plausible that without the injury he would have hit more in 1997.

1998, healthy and playing a full season for the first time since 1993, he hit 66.

His progression looks a lot different if it goes 33, 36, 41, 52, 45, 66, which it could easily have done without the missing playing time which was totally beyond his control. The fact that he never hit more than 40 before hitting 66, while true, is a bogus a claim of evidence of PED use as SBBs claim that Bagwell going from a big HR guy to not in a very short time.

What about a guy who never hit more than 29 HR before he hit 54 at age 25 and 59 at age 26? What kind of PEDs was he on?
   23. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 28, 2010 at 06:23 PM (#3448716)
What about a guy who never hit more than 29 HR before he hit 54 at age 25 and 59 at age 26? What kind of PEDs was he on?


Anabolic hot dogs.
   24. Cat Named Manny Posted: January 28, 2010 at 06:25 PM (#3448720)
There's an argument to be made for Pedro Martinez, just at first glance, in 1999:

Start 1: Attendance drops from home opener (31,874, Saberhagen starting) to Pedro's Thursday start (22,461), but Friday's attendance dips to 18,809.

Start 2 (Sunday): Attendance rises from 29,481 to 30,472.

Start 3 (Friday): Attendance jumps from 21,412 to 32,220. A weekend jump there, but note the increase over a non-Pedro Friday start mentioned earlier.

Start 4 (Wednesday): Attendance rises from 24,416 to 28,177.

Start 5 (Tuesday): First game of the homestand is also the first home game against the Yankees, but attendance of 33,620 is slightly larger than in either of the subsequent two games.

Start 6 (Sunday): Attendance drops to 28,559 from 32,038 the previous day.

Start 7 (Friday): After off day, attendance of 33,411 is largest of the weekend.

Start 8 (Tuesday): Attendance rises from 30,099 to 31,805.

At this point, it's mid June and the Red Sox are within two games of first place, so we see any effects begin to lessen as every game is well attended. And when I re-sort the list by highest-attended home games, a Pedro start doesn't appear until fifth on the list. Still, I remember the feeling at the time was that you didn't want to miss seeing Pedro in person because you never knew what might happen. Maybe the data don't support my memories. I don't have the time to calculate the average attendance for a Pedro start from, say, 1998-2000 versus the overall average, but I'd still be surprised if it wasn't higher.
   25. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 28, 2010 at 06:27 PM (#3448725)
WRT to Pedro's affect on attendance, since Fenway tickets are so hard to come by anyway, wouldn't it be better to compare the TV ratings instead?
   26. Cat Named Manny Posted: January 28, 2010 at 06:51 PM (#3448755)
Ok, I found some time:

Avg, home attendance, Pedro starts, 1998: 30,799
Avg. overall attendance, Fenway Park, 1998: 28,577 (2,222 diff.)

Avg, home attendance, Pedro starts, 1999: 31,146
Avg. overall attendance, Fenway Park, 1999: 30,200 (946 diff.)

Avg, home attendance, Pedro starts, 2000: 32,690
Avg. overall attendance, Fenway Park, 1998: 31,925 (765 diff.)

The differences should actually be larger because the overall averages include the Pedro starts. It seems like there was a significant "Pedro effect" in his first year, then a diminishing effect as the luster wore off, and as the Red Sox became more successful, and as the capacity of the park limited the upside of the potential effect.

I'm sure I'm missing something obvious, and I can buy that over 13-17 starts per season, an randomly high number of weekend starts or Yankee starts could skew the averages. Still could be something though.
   27. Cat Named Manny Posted: January 28, 2010 at 06:54 PM (#3448756)
since Fenway tickets are so hard to come by anyway, wouldn't it be better to compare the TV ratings instead?


Fenway tickets weren't so hard to come by back then. I was a senior in high school in 2000, and convinced our homeroom teacher to take a field trip to Boston for some academic activity (went to the aquarium, walked part of the Freedom Trail), followed by a Red Sox game. Getting a block of 10-15 tickets in the RF bleachers over the phone was as easy as dialing the box office number. Granted, it was against the Devil Rays, but I can't imagine being able to do that nowadays. Pretty sure it was a Friday night game, too.
   28. tjm1 Posted: January 28, 2010 at 07:15 PM (#3448779)
Fenway tickets weren't so hard to come by back then. I was a senior in high school in 2000, and convinced our homeroom teacher to take a field trip to Boston for some academic activity (went to the aquarium, walked part of the Freedom Trail), followed by a Red Sox game. Getting a block of 10-15 tickets in the RF bleachers over the phone was as easy as dialing the box office number. Granted, it was against the Devil Rays, but I can't imagine being able to do that nowadays. Pretty sure it was a Friday night game, too.


Yeah, just seeing the remark in post #24 that the attendance for a Red Sox game was 18000 or so gave me a shocking reminder of how easy it was to get tickets back then.
   29. Spahn Insane Posted: January 28, 2010 at 07:37 PM (#3448806)
Cubs’ fans were euphoric, not to mention ecstatic.

Furthermore, we were happy.
   30. J. Michael Neal Posted: January 28, 2010 at 07:52 PM (#3448823)
Cubs’ fans were euphoric, not to mention ecstatic.

Furthermore, we were happy.


I refuse to believe that Cubs' fans were happy. Drunkenness is often mistaken for happiness.
   31. JRVJ (formerly Delta Socrates) Posted: January 28, 2010 at 08:01 PM (#3448835)

I view this issue similar to the hustle issue. I'll take Cabrera on my team any day of the week, even with his screw-up, or even, comparatively speaking, if his issue were that he didn't run hard all the time. He had a 142 OPS+ last year, so he provided a ton of value to the team. Yes, his absence hurt them the last two or three games, but without his play all season they're not that close to begin with.


Ray, with all due respect, I think that you are confusing the issue.

I don't think anybody doubts for a second that Cabrera got the team close to the finish line prior to his bender. That's great.

However, that does not in any way excuse his bender, precisely at the time that his team needed his production to get over the hump.

To bring it to the real world, this is like a star architect who has been doing a ton of work to get a project approved who then goes on a bender the night before a public hearing where it is crucial that he speaks eloquently to get the project approved and/or chosen for funding. Due to the bender, our star architect does a lousy, confused, slurry job, and the project just doesn't get approved or chosen.

NObody in their right mind would excuse the irresponsible actions of the star architect before his hearing just because he had been doing great work prior to that.
   32. tfbg9 Posted: January 28, 2010 at 08:30 PM (#3448877)
star architect


Someone like...Art Vandelay???
   33. villageidiom Posted: January 28, 2010 at 08:53 PM (#3448902)
Fenway tickets weren't so hard to come by back then. I was a senior in high school in 2000, and convinced our homeroom teacher to take a field trip to Boston for some academic activity (went to the aquarium, walked part of the Freedom Trail), followed by a Red Sox game. Getting a block of 10-15 tickets in the RF bleachers over the phone was as easy as dialing the box office number. Granted, it was against the Devil Rays, but I can't imagine being able to do that nowadays. Pretty sure it was a Friday night game, too.
I went to this game, after having bought the tickets the prior weekend. At that point it was pretty obvious that Pedro was going to start that game.
   34. scotto Posted: January 28, 2010 at 08:54 PM (#3448903)
NObody in their right mind would excuse the irresponsible actions of the star architect before his hearing just because he had been doing great work prior to that.

And they shouldn't. It'll be interesting to see if he comes out and publicly accepts responsibility for screwing things up. It was initially reported that he'd spent three months in rehab, but subsequent reports say that he had daily individual counseling for three months.

I wonder if he'll publicly take responsibility for his actions and their effects, or if he'll stick with his statements that he's clean and will be a better man in the future.
   35. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: January 28, 2010 at 08:58 PM (#3448913)
I thought Bill James looked into Nolan Ryan as an attendance draw, and found that crowds did increase -- by about 500 people.

I know *I* used to make a point of going to see him, and I've certainly seen a temporary effect for other pitchers: years ago, I called in "sick" to catch a ballgame at the 'Stick, and wandered into Hideo Nomo's MLB debut, which was kind of a madhouse (for a mid-week day game, anyway).
   36. The District Attorney Posted: January 28, 2010 at 09:07 PM (#3448924)
Isn't an architect just an art school dropout with a tilty desk and a big ruler?
   37. RJ in TO Posted: January 28, 2010 at 09:12 PM (#3448930)
star architect

Someone like...Art Vandelay???


Since the comment was directed at Ray, it's probably more like Howard Roark.
   38. JRVJ (formerly Delta Socrates) Posted: January 28, 2010 at 09:22 PM (#3448941)

Someone like...Art Vandelay???


Don't try to screw me again, Pennypacker!!!
   39. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 28, 2010 at 09:34 PM (#3448958)
To bring it to the real world, this is like a star architect who has been doing a ton of work to get a project approved who then goes on a bender the night before a public hearing where it is crucial that he speaks eloquently to get the project approved and/or chosen for funding. Due to the bender, our star architect does a lousy, confused, slurry job, and the project just doesn't get approved or chosen.


It's not truly analogous, however, since Cabrera did have real value during the regular season, while this fictional architect has created nothing if he can't get the project approved.
   40. dejarouehg Posted: January 28, 2010 at 09:54 PM (#3448988)
I think the Mets used to get a little boost when Gooden pitched in his first few years.
   41. dejarouehg Posted: January 28, 2010 at 10:04 PM (#3449013)


Alcohol is the worst drug that ever existed. But a majority of the country's hypocrites use it, so it gets a pass.

ABsolutely!

It gets a pass because many people can consume it without experiencing any of the bad that comes with alcohol. Of course, this is not the case for some...


I went to college with tons of kids who used pot and cocaine without any consequences either.

I'm a lot more concerned about the people I care about being affected by drunk drivers than I am people who are stoned........(I know there are exceptions)
   42. Ron Johnson Posted: January 28, 2010 at 10:16 PM (#3449031)
#40 (and others) yeah, probably. Thing is that when you consider the standard deviation of attendance (plus other issues) you get a certain number of "maybe". You just can't be confident when the level of effect is in the hundreds per game.

And somebody else brought up merchandise. I just don't have any way to track this. Besides, an awful lot of the merchandise money is shared so I can't see a club making much from this side.

Oh yeah Ray, here's what I wrote in 1998.

I looked at the 14 AL teams in operation in 1984 (when Zimbalist started his revenue study) and found there was a more or less constant 3.7% growth in attendance.

After the strike, attendance for those 14 teams was almost exactly 80% what would have been expected. And the growth trend resumed - but from the new base. (And yes, I used per game attendance. I'm quite aware that there were some short seasons in the mix.)

I didn't include NL teams because of the change in the way attendance was calculated.

And I didn't include any expansion teams.

And later:

I don't think that baseball is in grave shape or in decline. But it seems to me quite clear that sever permanent damage was done by the strike. (As in a certain percentage of those who left because of the strike won't come back.)
   43. Spahn Insane Posted: January 28, 2010 at 10:17 PM (#3449033)
I refuse to believe that Cubs' fans were happy. Drunkenness is often <strike>mistaken for</strike> synonymous with happiness.

FTFY.
   44. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: January 28, 2010 at 10:17 PM (#3449034)
Beers don't kill people. Cars kill people.
   45. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 28, 2010 at 10:26 PM (#3449057)
I went to college with tons of kids who used pot and cocaine without any consequences either.


Except that I can drink a beer solely for liquid replenishment during my meal, while that's not the case regarding recreational drugs.

BTW, I'm not condemning recreational drug users. :-)
   46. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 28, 2010 at 10:33 PM (#3449063)
Substitute "circular" for "circumstantial" and I completely agree.

Yeah. No one hits 60 HRs...until they do.


Yes. Also, Sosa's name is on the list... because the list has Sosa's name on it.
   47. scotto Posted: January 28, 2010 at 10:34 PM (#3449065)
It's not truly analogous, however, since Cabrera did have real value during the regular season, while this fictional architect has created nothing if he can't get the project approved.


So it's like an Indy car driver who has led his team to the pole position of the Indy 500, and then goes out and gets Thor-quality hammered with some of the other drivers, goes home and gets in a fight with his wife that brings the police to visit. Without sleep, he makes it to the Brickyard in time to puke on the shoes of his pit crew. Despite having the pole position he ends up out of the money because he kept dozing at the wheel.

I don't know why an analogy is needed. The Tigers were in a tight spot. Cabrera got tighter than tight and performed horribly. They lost. It speaks for itself.
   48. bobm Posted: January 28, 2010 at 10:35 PM (#3449069)
Alcohol takes hold and doesn’t let go. ... In earlier times players were big drinkers and made no secret of it. They drank in the clubhouse after games and continued drinking at area establishments at night in the era of day games. ... I recall an owner who was drinking in the press room after a night game and was still there when I arrived for the day game the next day. ... So players who drank were just more of the good old boys.


Let's see. Chass witnessed players and owners drinking in the clubhouse and pressroom. Chass has implied that it's the time spent at the game and in the clubhouse that separates baseball writers from mere bloggers in their mothers' basements.

Is this Chass' way of saying that he writes these (non-blog) postings while intoxicated?
   49. scotto Posted: January 28, 2010 at 10:37 PM (#3449072)
recall an owner who was drinking in the press room after a night game and was still there when I arrived for the day game the next day

Dollars to donuts he's talking about Tom Yawkey.
   50. Paul M Hates Krispy Kreme Posted: January 28, 2010 at 10:39 PM (#3449075)
Isn't an architect just an art school dropout with a tilty desk and a big ruler?


I misread that 'l' in tilty as a 't' and began wondering how exactly that works.
   51. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: January 28, 2010 at 10:44 PM (#3449089)
Dollars to donuts he's talking about Tom Yawkey.


I thought of Veeck, but it could have been Stoneham as well. I think Murray the Ch has been around that long,
   52. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 28, 2010 at 10:47 PM (#3449094)
Ray, with all due respect, I think that you are confusing the issue.

I don't think anybody doubts for a second that Cabrera got the team close to the finish line prior to his bender. That's great.

However, that does not in any way excuse his bender, precisely at the time that his team needed his production to get over the hump.


I didn't say his good performance to that point in the season "excused" his bender. I'm not getting into fault or blame at all. I quite frankly don't care about that. I'm looking at it purely from a practical point of view: Do I want him on my team or not, given that he may be prone to these types of issues?

And if the choice is between him or a lesser player (Daniel Murphy; Aubrey Huff; whoever), I want him on my team.

Do I want a 140 OPS+ guy who might go on a three day bender at the wrong time, or do I want a 120 OPS+ guy or a 110 OPS+ guy? I want the 140 OPS+ guy.

Others may get outraged at him, and may scream and yell and boo him and throw a tantrum. I look at it purely as part of the complete package of the player, just like lack of hustle is or bad baserunning or bad defense or injury proneness.

If I'm his manager I sit him down and calmly say to him, um, yeah, try not to do that again. Maybe I try to get him professional help if he seems willing. But I don't scream and yell at him and howl at the moon. Sometimes in life, things are the way they are and you have to decide whether you want to deal with it or not. If you don't want to deal with it, trade him for Lyle Overbay. I don't see how you're any better off, but if that's what you want to do, more power to you.

Yes, all else being equal you'd rather have the guy who shows up to work every day. But all else is not equal. This is the real world.
   53. Nasty Nate Posted: January 28, 2010 at 11:03 PM (#3449121)
man, I wouldn't have been avoiding this thread all day if I knew there was so much Pedro in it!

the link in #33 reminds me how he used to absolutely destroy Seattle,
   54. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 28, 2010 at 11:16 PM (#3449142)
I don't know why an analogy is needed. The Tigers were in a tight spot. Cabrera got tighter than tight and performed horribly. They lost. It speaks for itself.


No argument there, scotto.
   55. Cat Named Manny Posted: January 28, 2010 at 11:20 PM (#3449147)
the link in #33 reminds me how he used to absolutely destroy Seattle,


Seattle? Everybody. His gamelogs from 1999/2000 are insane. In. Sane.*

*particularly given the context of the league.
   56. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: January 28, 2010 at 11:21 PM (#3449149)
Except that I can drink a beer solely for liquid replenishment during my meal

Just keep telling yourself that, John M.
   57. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 28, 2010 at 11:21 PM (#3449150)
Do I want a 140 OPS+ guy who might go on a three day bender at the wrong time, or do I want a 120 OPS+ guy or a 110 OPS+ guy? I want the 140 OPS+ guy.


I agree. If the 140 OPS+ player gets you at least to the postseason but plays terribly due to the bender that he's on, he is still more valuable than the 120 OPS+ player who can't get you even to the postseason. It might not be fair, but it's accurate.
   58. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 28, 2010 at 11:22 PM (#3449151)
Just keep telling yourself that, John M.


Heh.
   59. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: January 28, 2010 at 11:32 PM (#3449165)
Let's not forget. The Tigers lost 2 of three games from the White Sox by scores of 8-0 and 5-1. Miggy being drunk for the series is not an honorable act, but even a stonecold sober Miggy isn't worth 4-8 runs a game.
   60. scotto Posted: January 29, 2010 at 12:42 AM (#3449249)
I didn't say his good performance to that point in the season "excused" his bender. I'm not getting into fault or blame at all. I quite frankly don't care about that. I'm looking at it purely from a practical point of view: Do I want him on my team or not, given that he may be prone to these types of issues?

And if the choice is between him or a lesser player (Daniel Murphy; Aubrey Huff; whoever), I want him on my team.


Put it this way, in splendid isolation, sure. Put it in the real world, where this sort of behavior has repercussions on others in the short, medium and long term, it's not nearly as facile a choice as you make it out to be.
   61. JRVJ (formerly Delta Socrates) Posted: January 29, 2010 at 12:44 AM (#3449253)
Others may get outraged at him, and may scream and yell and boo him and throw a tantrum. I look at it purely as part of the complete package of the player, just like lack of hustle is or bad baserunning or bad defense or injury proneness.

If I'm his manager I sit him down and calmly say to him, um, yeah, try not to do that again. Maybe I try to get him professional help if he seems willing. But I don't scream and yell at him and howl at the moon.


Actually, I think you do have to scream, yell and discipline this player, because otherwise you (the manager, GM, organization) run the risk of losing control of the totality of players under you, AND you are certainly setting yourself up for a media driven thing for the whole of the off-season and the next season (which will be distracting if nothing else).

This last week there was an article here at BTF about how chemistry in baseball is different from chemistry in the real world because in MLB baseball, it's all about performance. However, this case is very much a case about performance, because Cabrera failed to perform because of his irresponsibility.

Yes, the guy is very good and put you in the position to suceed in the first place, but other players are human, the organization is made up of humans and the market within which a team plays is made up by humans (unless the robots finally took over), and some sort of disciplinary action is needed in a case such as this.
   62. larkin4HoF Posted: January 29, 2010 at 10:54 AM (#3449527)
Alcohol takes hold and doesn’t let go. ... In earlier times players were big drinkers and made no secret of it. They drank in the clubhouse after games and continued drinking at area establishments at night in the era of day games. ... I recall an owner who was drinking in the press room after a night game and was still there when I arrived for the day game the next day. ... So players who drank were just more of the good old boys.



Let's see. Chass witnessed players and owners drinking in the clubhouse and pressroom. Chass has implied that it's the time spent at the game and in the clubhouse that separates baseball writers from mere bloggers in their mothers' basements.


i love repororters who tell us behind the scenes stories like this. Of course, it might even have some value if they reported these things when they happened. i have no idea whether or not Chass did rell his readers what he witnessed, but I kind of doubt that he did.

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