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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Ostler: Colon and Cabrera: No shame in steroids

Ostlercization from the baseball community isn’t shame enough?!

Among the things that ain’t what they used to be: the shame and disgrace of being busted for steroids.

Exhibits C and C: Bartolo Colon and Melky Cabrera.

They’re both back in baseball - although Colon has five games left on his suspension - and will be earning nice paychecks, without having to go the Hester Prynne route (look it up, you lazy kids!) where you wear your sins forever.

When baseball had work stoppages, minor-league players who crossed picket lines were marked forever as “scabs.” But if you’re a convicted juicer, hey, play ball.

Colon and Cabrera are doing fine. Cabrera, now a Toronto Blue Jay, is tearing up the Grapefruit League, .361 with power. If he carries that bat into the regular season, how long before Moose-Melk Men appear?

...If any of Colon’s or Cabrera’s teammates have a problem with a teammate who just got sprung from the PED slammer, those complaints have not been heard.

And I wonder if Cabrera and Colon - and other juicers - might even earn a little quiet, dark respect from other players. Hey, he loves the game so much he’s willing to take risks. If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’, and I want teammates who are tryin’.

As for fans, there will be the odd catcall on the road, but it’s doubtful we’ll see anyone toss a giant syringe at Colon or Cabrera.

...The moral, I hope, is not that juicing is OK, even beneficial. Reputations and legacies are still tarnished, bodies are harmed in ways we don’t entirely know yet, team and individual triumphs are cheapened, character is compromised.

Juicing is not the way to go, kids. But punishment-wise, it beats robbing banks.

Repoz Posted: March 16, 2013 at 08:43 AM | 35 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: oakland, steroids

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   1. boteman Posted: March 16, 2013 at 11:30 AM (#4389416)
So the concept of "doing your time" ain't the way things used to be? Then why impose penalties at all? Just haul them out on the field, then watch them get drawn and quartered (look it up kids).
   2. GEB4000 Posted: March 16, 2013 at 12:10 PM (#4389430)
Melky lost a batting title. I believe he lost a third of salary ($2m), and I know he lost out on signing a big fat long-term contract, so I think he did receive some punishment.
   3. Greg K Posted: March 16, 2013 at 12:19 PM (#4389434)
When baseball had work stoppages, minor-league players who crossed picket lines were marked forever as “scabs.” But if you’re a convicted juicer, hey, play ball.

I can honestly say the only way I knew that Brian Daubach, Brendan Donnelly, Matt Herges, Cory Lidle, Kerry Lightenberg, Frank Menechino, Kevin Millar, and Damian Miller were replacement players was that the video games had to use made-up names for them because of the Union issue. I'm pretty sure Melky Cabrera is going to carry the stigma of being a PED user for longer and for a wider audience than Kevin Millar's stimga as a scab. He seems pretty chummy with players on his show on the MLB Network, and I seem to recall him being a popular guy on his teams; it doesn't appear like union members have disowned him.

Asking from ignorance, how exactly did the permenant stain of scabiness effect these guys?

EDIT: Chris Truby and Ron Mahay were replacement players too! Never knew that.
   4. Sunday silence Posted: March 16, 2013 at 12:51 PM (#4389446)
As long as titles and wins still count, why should fans be outraged? these guys are helping their teams win games.
   5. Willie Mayspedester Posted: March 16, 2013 at 01:19 PM (#4389450)
These guys also missed out on the playoff run and didn't get to play in the playoffs. How again are they bringing these rings home?
   6. John Northey Posted: March 16, 2013 at 01:35 PM (#4389458)
Meanwhile Jason Giambi is seen as a 'leader' in Cleveland, Andy Pettitte is a key member of the Yankees, Mark McGwire a top hitting coach, and Barry Bonds is still demonized.
   7. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 16, 2013 at 01:40 PM (#4389459)
Asking from ignorance, how exactly did the permenant stain of scabiness effect these guys?

It didn't. It affected them.
   8. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: March 16, 2013 at 01:59 PM (#4389474)
Melky lost a batting title. I believe he lost a third of salary ($2m), and I know he lost out on signing a big fat long-term contract, so I think he did receive some punishment.


Oh course, taking steroids may have helped his performance to the point where he was leading the batting race and putting up numbers for a big contract.

Chris Truby and Ron Mahay were replacement players too!


I'm sick and tired of guys like Chris Truby and Albert Belle crossing picket lines and such.
   9. tshipman Posted: March 16, 2013 at 02:02 PM (#4389479)
Scabs should be seen as worse than juicers. So no real issue there.
   10. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 16, 2013 at 02:19 PM (#4389487)
Scabs should be seen as worse than juicers. So no real issue there.

Disconcur. MLBPA has at every opportunity thrown minor leaguers and prospects under the bus for the benefit of their vets. If those players cross the lines, the PA frankly deserves it. It did nothing to earn their loyalty.
   11. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 16, 2013 at 02:28 PM (#4389494)
Melky lost a batting title. I believe he lost a third of salary ($2m),


His faux pariah status also meant he was actively denied the chance to play in the postseason and win a world series.

   12. base ball chick Posted: March 16, 2013 at 02:49 PM (#4389507)
what exactly is it that ostler wants? the guys did the crime and served the time. is he opposed to parole?
   13. Dale Sams Posted: March 16, 2013 at 03:27 PM (#4389521)
As noted, Cabrera *more* than served the time since the Giants (foolishly IMO) left him off the roster.
   14. tshipman Posted: March 16, 2013 at 03:35 PM (#4389525)
As noted, Cabrera *more* than served the time since the Giants (foolishly IMO) left him off the roster.


I get what you're saying, but they did win the WS. I think that gives Bochy some leeway on not being second-guessed on the decision not to bring Melky back mid-playoffs.
   15. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 16, 2013 at 03:54 PM (#4389537)
I get what you're saying, but they did win the WS. I think that gives Bochy some leeway on not being second-guessed on the decision not to bring Melky back mid-playoffs.


Please. How could it have helped the team to be without a player who had hit to a 136 OPS+ over his last 1200 PA? Chemistry? Nobody knows that, and nobody includes Bruce Bochy.
   16. Walt Davis Posted: March 16, 2013 at 06:14 PM (#4389582)
Among the things that ain’t what they used to be: the shame and disgrace of being busted for steroids.

When did this used to be? The BALCO raid was Sept 2003, Bonds won the 2004 MVP.

without having to go the Hester Prynne route (look it up, you lazy kids!) where you wear your sins forever.

I think he may have missed the point of that book.

   17. bfan Posted: March 16, 2013 at 06:59 PM (#4389596)
"Meanwhile Jason Giambi is seen as a 'leader' in Cleveland, Andy Pettitte is a key member of the Yankees, Mark McGwire a top hitting coach, and Barry Bonds is still demonized."

Some guys wept and fessed up; some still are silent. That is the key to redemption in America. Go the Oprah route, and all is forgiven.
   18. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 16, 2013 at 07:05 PM (#4389598)
without having to go the Hester Prynne route (look it up, you lazy kids!) where you wear your sins forever.

I think he may have missed the point of that book.


Just what I was thinking. It's necessary to impose our societal revenge upon Colon and Cabrera, following the example of Captain Ahab.
   19. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 16, 2013 at 07:08 PM (#4389601)
Some guys wept and fessed up; some still are silent.


I don't see how anyone can view what Pettitte did as "fessing up."

The statement he released after the Mitchell Report in which he purported to be "fessing up" was a pack of lies. It was only after the Daily News uncovered further use by him that he amended his fessing to include the further use that they found. To this day he has only fessed up to what he has been caught doing.

As to Giambi, I recall that his fessing-up press conference consisted of a bunch of vague statements.
   20. Swedish Chef Posted: March 16, 2013 at 07:11 PM (#4389603)
Barry Bonds is still demonized

Yeah, but he has Clemens for company. And I bet none of them would swap with A-Rod, despite trials and all, it's probably more satisfying to have a heel image than A-Rod's rep.
   21. Bhaakon Posted: March 16, 2013 at 07:11 PM (#4389604)
In retrospect, it's clear that Cabrera should not have appealed his test. If he'd taken his punishment and started serving the 50 games immediately, he'd have been cleared to play before the end of the season and would have likely been on the postseason roster. Mota made the roster despite a 100 game suspension, in large part because the team took the clause of the testing program prohibiting the additional punishment or punitive release of players by their team very seriously. If Cabrera had been ready to play a week or two before the end of the regular season, the Giants would have been forced to play him.
   22. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 16, 2013 at 08:14 PM (#4389626)
Some guys wept and fessed up; some still are silent. That is the key to redemption in America. Go the Oprah route, and all is forgiven.

More than that, Bonds and Clemens are ########. Giambi, Pettitte, and McGwire aren't.
   23. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 16, 2013 at 08:30 PM (#4389633)
More than that, Bonds and Clemens are ########. Giambi, Pettitte, and McGwire aren't.

Well, your first sentence was correct.
   24. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 16, 2013 at 08:37 PM (#4389639)
Well, your first sentence was correct.

Obviously none of us know what these guys are like in private, but Bonds and Clemens have negative public personas that none of the other guys have.
   25. Walt Davis Posted: March 16, 2013 at 09:44 PM (#4389653)
McGwire doesn't have a negative public persona? Notably surly with the press, "I'm not here to talk about the past", besmirching Maris's name, the first "steroid cheat" to dare come onto the HoF ballot?

I used to think that the main difference between the evil ones and the "let's not talk about it" players was that the latter group got to keep playing after they were tainted, winning back fans favor by playing well (and not getting caught). But Cabrera is starting to look like a counter-example which does seem to bring it back to "how dare you break a record or lead the league in hitting while cheating."
   26. RollingWave Posted: March 16, 2013 at 09:52 PM (#4389658)
It's funny though, when Melky came up I argued that he would have a decent chance of being a very good player if only because most players that can play a full season in the bigs at around age 20-21 and not be completely embarrased usually turn out good. that kinda started a huge flame war especially back on the Taiwanese boards I was at (partly because I referenced more hall of famers than not, but that's kinda the truth though, most HOF player were guys that can establish themself in the league very early, not that Melky is one, but being able to establish yourself at an young age is usually a indicator of future success.)... and yet here we are. granted didn't see the HGH part coming. and wonder how much that effects it.
   27. Bhaakon Posted: March 17, 2013 at 12:59 AM (#4389717)
I used to think that the main difference between the evil ones and the "let's not talk about it" players was that the latter group got to keep playing after they were tainted, winning back fans favor by playing well (and not getting caught). But Cabrera is starting to look like a counter-example which does seem to bring it back to "how dare you break a record or lead the league in hitting while cheating."


I think a big part of the reaction to him was how perfectly he "fit the profile," if you will. He went from scrubby outfielder on the brink of washing out of the game to an all-star over the course of 18 months before getting caught. Anyone who wants to believe in the power of PEDs to ruin the game would be drawn to that data point, and anyone who wants to argue that they have a negligible impact on performance will have to debunk it. His case is a natural point of contention.
   28. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 17, 2013 at 02:14 AM (#4389733)
anyone who wants to argue that they have a negligible impact on performance will have to debunk it.


The argument that the steroids didn't impact Cabrera is an easy one: his performance boost was due not to an increase in power, but an increase in BABIP.

But part of the negative reaction to him is also that he tried to set up the fake website or whatever.
   29. Bhaakon Posted: March 17, 2013 at 02:30 AM (#4389735)
The argument that the steroids didn't impact Cabrera is an easy one: his performance boost was due not to an increase in power, but an increase in BABIP.


Yes, because Olympic sprinters keep taking steroids to hit more dingers.
   30. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 17, 2013 at 02:37 AM (#4389736)
Yes, because Olympic sprinters keep taking steroids to hit more dingers.


Is this responsive? Are you saying that he gained an increase of some 70 points of BABIP due to an increase in speed caused by the steroids?

Hell, his line drive % didn't even increase.
   31. Bhaakon Posted: March 17, 2013 at 07:01 AM (#4389749)
Is this responsive? Are you saying that he gained an increase of some 70 points of BABIP due to an increase in speed caused by the steroids?

Hell, his line drive % didn't even increase.


It was supposed to mean that PED use is ill studied and assuming it's benefits would only present in one way (like increasing power) is just as faulty as asumming that it's benefits don't exist.

Additionally, it's incorrect to state that his power didn't improve. His ISO and HR/FA were higher in 2011 and 2012 than his career rates.
   32. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 17, 2013 at 08:03 AM (#4389754)
Please. How could it have helped the team to be without a player who had hit to a 136 OPS+ over his last 1200 PA? Chemistry? Nobody knows that, and nobody includes Bruce Bochy.


The argument that the steroids didn't impact Cabrera is an easy one: his performance boost was due not to an increase in power, but an increase in BABIP.


Which one is it Ray, you can't have them both. Either he is the vastly improved 136 OPS+ guy, who got snubbed out of a WS. Or he is the same old Melky with some BABIP luck, in which case leaving him off the roster is no big deal.
   33. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 17, 2013 at 11:40 AM (#4389834)
Which one is it Ray, you can't have them both. Either he is the vastly improved 136 OPS+ guy, who got snubbed out of a WS. Or he is the same old Melky with some BABIP luck, in which case leaving him off the roster is no big deal.


No; it could be (3) the increase in BABIP is a new skill which has nothing to do with steroids.
   34. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 17, 2013 at 11:40 AM (#4389836)
.
   35. Walt Davis Posted: March 17, 2013 at 05:19 PM (#4390059)
Yeah, I gotta go "against" Ray on this one. All the evidence suggests Cabrera is hitting the ball harder, not differently or better. The ISO is up, the BABIP is way up ... yet the LD% and even the GB/FB are the same. And the K-rate and, if anything, walking less. Even the pop-up rate is about the same. Now, power spikes at 24, 26 and 27 are not unusual. If we drilled down maybe we'd see be he's pulling the ball more or spraying it around more or something. But mainly it just looks like his GB and FB are being hit harder. Which would also be consistent with going from a tubby tub of goo to a fairly buff guy (however he did it).

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