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Friday, August 17, 2012

Nightengale: Some in MLB say cheating tough to resist

The craving to achieve greatness and financial security in their sport is so powerful, several Major League Baseball executives said Thursday, they have difficulty faulting players for trying to gain an edge with the illegal use of performance-enhancing drugs.

...One American League manager, who spoke to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject, said it would not surprise him if he learned seven or eight of his players were using performance-enhancing drugs.

“The mentality to do whatever is possible to try to succeed exists throughout society,” Cleveland Indians President Mark Shapiro said. “In any free-market system, the greater the reward, the higher the propensity for violation. It happens on Wall Street, right?

...“Some of the people that are most understanding of the stuff that has gone on are the guys who played in the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s,” MLB vice president Tony La Russa said. “How many times do you hear, ‘If that stuff had been here, I would have used it, too’?

“When you compete, you want to be as good as you possibly can be, and that includes finding every edge that makes you better. You’ve had guys scuffing balls and corking bats, too. You have to balance all that with sportsmanship and fair play.’‘

Thanks to Barnald: Sterodial Tissue Czar.

Repoz Posted: August 17, 2012 at 01:45 AM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: steroids

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   1. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Posted: August 17, 2012 at 01:59 AM (#4210213)
...One American League manager, who spoke to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject, said it would not surprise him if he learned seven or eight of his players were using performance-enhancing drugs.

Gotta be Valentine.
   2. SoSH U at work Posted: August 17, 2012 at 02:21 AM (#4210217)
“How many times do you hear, ‘If that stuff had been here, I would have used it, too’?


Not as often as I hear old-timers rail against the juice, but I like the idea that TLR is trying to get the idea out there that the sentiment is commonplace.
   3. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: August 17, 2012 at 07:30 AM (#4210240)
Not as often as I hear old-timers rail against the juice
A lot of times you'll hear them do both.
   4. bfan Posted: August 17, 2012 at 07:42 AM (#4210243)
“The mentality to do whatever is possible to try to succeed exists throughout society,” Cleveland Indians President Mark Shapiro said. “In any free-market system, the greater the reward, the higher the propensity for violation. It happens on Wall Street, right?


Right, and many are now going to jail (ex Goldman CEO; McKinsey guy, and others on insider trading). Others have paid large civil penalties. By this logic, the baseball executives don't find fault with these guys either; they were just trying to get an edge in trading, among a very talented, hard-working pool.

I find this take really odd; they have difficulty finding fault for players for their illegal use of drugs? It is against the rules to do so; if they do it they are cheating-they cannot find fault with that?
   5. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: August 17, 2012 at 08:06 AM (#4210245)
Right, and many are now going to jail (ex Goldman CEO; McKinsey guy, and others on insider trading). Others have paid large civil penalties. By this logic, the baseball executives don't find fault with these guys either; they were just trying to get an edge in trading, among a very talented, hard-working pool.

I find this take really odd; they have difficulty finding fault for players for their illegal use of drugs? It is against the rules to do so; if they do it they are cheating-they cannot find fault with that?


Unfortunately, in pro sports the entire organization inherently has a vested interest in doing anything they can get away with in order to win, not in doing everything they reasonably can to try and ensure that the guys in their organization are clean.

While there are obviously still guys cheating (and there always will be some), I personally don't believe that the percentage of guys who are cheating now is anywhere close to what it was, say, 15 years ago. But if the guys like Victor Conte are right, what that means is that too many players still feel as though the potential rewards of cheating outweigh the risks and dangers of getting caught, and that the penalties for getting caught still aren't high enough.
   6. bfan Posted: August 17, 2012 at 08:18 AM (#4210247)
Unfortunately, in pro sports the entire organization inherently has a vested interest in doing anything they can get away with in order to win, not in doing everything they reasonably can to try and ensure that the guys in their organization are clean.


You raise an interesting point. I guess I would think the people on the management side have a difficult balance; they are indeed incented to do whatever it takes to win, but that is somewhat tempered by the concern that if the buying public buys less of the product (does not attend or watch games) because they feel the performers (players) are "cheating", then management has to make sure that such a taint does not impact their revenue stream. Now, if the buying public doesn't care about "tainted players" as long as there is good action, then all of the incentives go toward cheating, and I am not sure what you do.

There is an odd culture in sports, though, when I think about it. Cheaters who do not get caught are clever rascals, not cheaters. Isn't Gaylord Perry kind of lauded (in a back-hand way) for getting away with loading up the ball for years?
   7. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 17, 2012 at 08:25 AM (#4210250)
Isn't Gaylord Perry kind of lauded (in a back-hand way) for getting away with loading up the ball for years?


I don't think there is anything backhanded about how Perry is viewed. People seem pretty upfront about giving him credit for being crafty.
   8. bfan Posted: August 17, 2012 at 09:07 AM (#4210260)
I don't think there is anything backhanded about how Perry is viewed. People seem pretty upfront about giving him credit for being crafty.


Which is kind of sad, really. No one would say "Wow, that lawyer is really crafty, the way he slips in pages to documents after they are signed, bettering the deal for his clients", or "I really admire that guy who got to the front of the long line by faking a medical emergancy; what a clever guy."
   9. SoSH U at work Posted: August 17, 2012 at 09:25 AM (#4210272)
Which is kind of sad, really. No one would say "Wow, that lawyer is really crafty, the way he slips in pages to documents after they are signed, bettering the deal for his clients", or "I really admire that guy who got to the front of the long line by faking a medical emergancy; what a clever guy."


First of all, whatever cheating Perry was doing was in plain sight. That he was able to get away with it, despite all eyes being on him, is kind of impresive in its own way. It's not like opposing managers/players and umpires were giving him a free pass, chuckling, "Oh, there goes that Gaylord, cheating us again." Baseballs he threw and Gaylord's person were routinely checked for evidence of his crimes. Only once was anything found. And this ability to detect and punish the cheating on the field of play makes it a different kind of cheating than PED use (roids or greenies, take your pick). Not necessarily better or worse, but different.

Of course, his ability to "get away with it" so frequently leads to the second point: Perry wanted the batter to think he was loading up the ball a hell of a lot more often than he actually did. The mound gyrations were primarily a tactic to get inside hitters' heads, in the same way Drysdale and Gibson (and later, Pedro) wanted batters to think they'd plant one in their rib cages on a moment's notice. And that is kind of crafty.

As you can probably tell, I think the Gaylord Perry legacy is anything but sad.
   10. Dale Sams Posted: August 17, 2012 at 09:29 AM (#4210278)
No one would say "Wow, that lawyer is really crafty, the way he slips in pages to documents after they are signed, bettering the deal for his clients"


In court, Lawyers will ALL THE TIME try and pull something off in a question, or offer something unconstitutional in closing. It's up to the other guy to catch it and object.* I think this analogy holds up better to Perry, while the one you mention is more analogous to steroids.

*But if your lawyer is too inept, you can point out in appeals all the mistakes made...so now we're getting into Cricket analogies.
   11. bfan Posted: August 17, 2012 at 09:38 AM (#4210285)
First of all, whatever cheating Perry was doing was in plain sight.


Both of the examples I gave above are also in plain site, but it makes neither of described the acts forgivable or laudable. A pick-pocket works in plain site too, but that doesn't make that form of cheating (taking others' property without their permission) forgivable or admirable.
   12. SoSH U at work Posted: August 17, 2012 at 09:47 AM (#4210295)


Both of the examples I gave above are also in plain site, but it makes neither of described the acts forgivable or laudable. A pick-pocket works in plain site too, but that doesn't make that form of cheating (taking others' property without their permission) forgivable or admirable.


No, the object of the pickpocket is to not be seen doing what he was doing.

Perry specifically wanted batters (and managers and umpires and media and fans) to see what he was doing.

They're not the same thing at all.
   13. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: August 17, 2012 at 10:27 AM (#4210326)
You raise an interesting point. I guess I would think the people on the management side have a difficult balance; they are indeed incented to do whatever it takes to win, but that is somewhat tempered by the concern that if the buying public buys less of the product (does not attend or watch games) because they feel the performers (players) are "cheating", then management has to make sure that such a taint does not impact their revenue stream. Now, if the buying public doesn't care about "tainted players" as long as there is good action, then all of the incentives go toward cheating, and I am not sure what you do.

Here's another interesting thing to think about: rumors of Cabrera's failed drug test were apparently floating around weeks ago. Did the Giants in fact know as far back as July that Cabrera had failed a drug test, and is that part of the reason why they traded for Hunter Pence right before the deadline?

From where I sit, the Giants are one of the absolute dirtiest organizations in the league: total P.E.D. enablers through and through. A commissioner with more cojones would have found a way to really drop the hammer on these guys years ago.
   14. bfan Posted: August 17, 2012 at 10:32 AM (#4210327)
Did the Giants in fact know as far back as July that Cabrera had failed a drug test,


My guess is that after the Ryan Braun mess-up, everybody who fails an MLB drug test now looks at the required procedures and accepted practices for handling samples, and looks for one slip, major or minor, to hang an appeal on.
   15. Bob Tufts Posted: August 17, 2012 at 10:38 AM (#4210332)
In my conversations with former players of the 50's to 80's, I agree (gulp!) with TLR. I haven't found more than a handful that would definitively declare that they would not use an illegal or banned PED. Most of these people are moral in every other aspect of their lives. To top it off, if the drugs would shorten their lives by 3-5 years but allow them to play in the majors for an extra 3-5 years, they would take them.

When I injured my arm in 1979, my club decided to give me indocin and butazolidin for the inflammation and then added DMSO, which was never FDA approved supposed to be used medically on humans. I never questioned them and let them lather it on.

And always remember that there "approved" treatments being done to athletes by a licensed medical staff in order to get them back on the field which cause more long-term physical harm than any steroids regimen.
   16. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: August 17, 2012 at 11:06 AM (#4210364)
My guess is that after the Ryan Braun mess-up, everybody who fails an MLB drug test now looks at the required procedures and accepted practices for handling samples, and looks for one slip, major or minor, to hang an appeal on.

When someone put out an anonymous Twitter posting a few weeks ago that Cabrera had failed a drug test, a CSN Bay Area reporter named Andrew Baggarly asked Cabrera and team officials if there was any truth at all to the tweet. They all vehemently denied it, and Baggarly even ended up making a public apology to Cabrera.

Well, it now looks a lot as though Cabrera and the entire organization was in fact lying through their teeth to Baggarly and that Cabrera has been quietly going through the whole appeals process behind the scenes for the last few weeks. I guess they were probably hoping that if his appeal succeeded that they could just keep a lid on the whole thing. They're a bunch of dirty, dishonest mother******s through and through.
   17. Dale Sams Posted: August 17, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4210384)
They're a bunch of dirty, dishonest mother******s through and through.


We would have waded through a billion hand-wringing save the children articles between then and now. The Giants did the right thing by us. This way it's like pulling a band-aid off a scab. Can you imagine the SCREAMING as Cabrera approached his batting title qualifying AB?
   18. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 17, 2012 at 11:30 AM (#4210397)
Gotta be Valentine.


Beer and chicken are not PEDs.
   19. Bob Tufts Posted: August 17, 2012 at 11:43 AM (#4210409)

Beer and chicken are not PEDs.


It depends on the alcohol content of the beer and how many steroids were used on the chicken during processing.
   20. Random Transaction Generator Posted: August 17, 2012 at 01:45 PM (#4210598)
I guess they were probably hoping that if his appeal succeeded that they could just keep a lid on the whole thing.

And why shouldn't they keep a lid on the whole thing if his appeal was successful?
   21. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: August 17, 2012 at 02:33 PM (#4210665)
Gotta be Valentine.

This was my first thought as well.

Of course, my second thought was that it couldn't be Valentine at all; he'd have messed up the anonymity part, or the quote would have been reported "one AL exec/coach, speaking on condition of anonymity, says Bobby V pretty much figures half his team is on teh 'roids."
   22. Biscuit_pants Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:02 PM (#4210706)
Which is kind of sad, really. No one would say "Wow, that lawyer is really crafty, the way he slips in pages to documents after they are signed, bettering the deal for his clients", or "I really admire that guy who got to the front of the long line by faking a medical emergancy; what a clever guy."
I don’t think this is true, you always read stories of people who reveal later in life how they broke the rules in order to succeed and it is met with “that crafty sob” type comments. Not when it cost people lives or anything like that but you can read how Microsoft sold Altair as a finished product before they started working on it. They lied to their customer and got away with it because they delivered and didn’t get caught. They get labeled geniuses for doing that now, where really you can say they cheated/lied.
   23. Rob_Wood Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:11 PM (#4210719)

This just in, water is wet.
   24. Swedish Chef Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:21 PM (#4210732)
Not when it cost people lives or anything like that but you can read how Microsoft sold Altair as a finished product before they started working on it. They lied to their customer and got away with it because they delivered and didn’t get caught. They get labeled geniuses for doing that now, where really you can say they cheated/lied.

It was Ed Roberts and MITS that did the Altair, don't give too much credit to those spotty kids they hired to do their BASIC :-)

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