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Friday, December 27, 2013

Rosenthal: Analyzing and justifying my Hall of Fame ballot

Interesting piece by Rosenthal that talks more about his voting strategy instead of his actual picks:

“In recent years, I have not voted for any first-timers, using my ballot as a form of protest, a way to distinguish players from the Steroid Era (however undefined it might be) from the greats of the past.

My method was unfair to certain, untainted candidates, but I reasoned that they, too, were part of a players’ union that had resisted testing for performance-enhancing drugs.

The flaw in my approach – well, one flaw – was that I could not reasonably apply it to a slam-dunk candidate such as Maddux without looking completely foolish and stubborn. I knew all along that I eventually would need to face that reality. So now I’m facing it.

If Maddux is not unanimous, it won’t be because of me.

Protest over.”

brutus Posted: December 27, 2013 at 05:38 PM | 150 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame

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   1. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: December 28, 2013 at 09:52 AM (#4625085)
This year, for the first time, I am voting for the maximum 10 players –

Now, about the 10-vote limit:

Tyler Kepner of the New York Times has argued eloquently that the rules of election should be changed to allow voters to select more than 10 candidates. Jonah Keri of Grantland has noted that the limit is particularly harmful considering that players fall off the ballot when they do not receive 5 percent of the vote.

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America decided at the winter meetings to form a committee to discuss the 10-vote limit and other possible changes. I’m not terribly bothered that I stopped voting for McGriff, Smith and Trammell this year. I would prefer it to be otherwise, but a natural weeding-out process took place. Not ideal, but not necessarily unjust.

Just as Robothal came around on voting for the maximum 10 players, I suspect that he will eventually endorse the motion of allowing a voter to exceed 10.
   2. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: December 28, 2013 at 11:12 AM (#4625095)
This year, for the first time, I am voting for the maximum 10 players – Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio and Tom Glavine; Greg Maddux, Edgar Martinez and Mike Mussina; Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Curt Schilling and Frank Thomas.


Heck of a ballot, and a number of encouraging signs:

1) I continue to be pleasantly surprised at how many people are voting for full (or virtually full) ballots. I think the reality of the backlog has hit more voters, and harder, than I expected.

2) Tom Glavine is going to get in with a much higher percentage than I thought. Even though there are good arguments that there are other pitchers on the ballot of similar quality to Glavine (like Mussina), the combination of 300 wins and the simultaneous candidacy of inner-circle teammate Maddux are helping Glavine...a lot.

3) Frank Thomas appears to be receiving no anti-PED penalty (not that I am suggesting he should be penalized), and is being correctly seen as one of the remarkable hitters of history.

4) As much as I love Alan Trammell, and would have him on my ballot...he is a victim of the loaded ballot, yes? He strikes me as somebody who almost certainly will be selected by the veteran's committee sometime in the early 2020s...and that's OK. That 1984 Tigers juggernaut team had an odd number of guys that are not going to Hall of Fame, but were damn good players. Trammell, Whitaker, Parrish, Morris, Gibson, Lemon, Darrell Evans - perhaps one of the best teams ever that have no Hall of Famers?

All in all, I am hopeful that this is going to be a productive year in the voting...
   3. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 28, 2013 at 11:17 AM (#4625098)
I continue to be pleasantly surprised at how many people are voting for full (or virtually full) ballots. I think the reality of the backlog has hit more voters, and harder, than I expected.


I think so too. I wonder if last year's empty class, in a stacked ballot, has woken up the writers more than any of us anticipated.

   4. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: December 28, 2013 at 11:33 AM (#4625104)
2) Tom Glavine is going to get in with a much higher percentage than I thought. Even though there are good arguments that there are other pitchers on the ballot of similar quality to Glavine (like Mussina), the combination of 300 wins and the simultaneous candidacy of inner-circle teammate Maddux are helping Glavine...a lot.

I honestly thought there was a chance Glavine wouldn't even get in this year. Clearly that was very wrong.
   5. Roberto Petagine Posted: December 28, 2013 at 11:37 AM (#4625108)
the rules for election instruct us to consider, among other things, “character, integrity and sportsmanship.” Are we simply supposed to ignore those instructions?


So he ignores the "ped users" and vote for the "cocaine users"? I don't understand the logic
   6. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: December 28, 2013 at 11:40 AM (#4625112)
I'm going to be very curious to see who doesn't vote for Maddux. Even Chass included him. I think it's going to be very hard for anyone to justify withholding a vote from him, and I highly doubt any published ballot will fail to include him.
   7. KT's Pot Arb Posted: December 28, 2013 at 11:45 AM (#4625114)
The HOF elections would be less of a farce if empty ballots weren't counted, and even better, if the writers who submit them forfeit any right in the future to vote.
   8. Der-K: Hipster doofus Posted: December 28, 2013 at 11:49 AM (#4625118)
6: Someone will want attention.
7: There's nothing wrong with a blank ballot. There is something very wrong if you think thaqt's warranted with a slate of candidates like we have now.
   9. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: December 28, 2013 at 11:51 AM (#4625119)
I'm going to be very curious to see who doesn't vote for Maddux. Even Chass included him. I think it's going to be very hard for anyone to justify withholding a vote from him, and I highly doubt any published ballot will fail to include him.


It's not unlikely that one of the non-published ballots (that are nonetheless returned and thus counted) will be blank.

People seem to be seriously underestimating Tom Glavine's candidacy for the Hall. He's clearly in regardless. If you're an small hall guy, Moose might not be. If you're a big Hall guy, Moose is. But Moose isn't Tom Glavine.
   10. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 28, 2013 at 11:52 AM (#4625120)
So he ignores the "ped users" and vote for the "cocaine users"? I don't understand the logic

Cocaine users, and alcoholics, were even better than their stats show. No one thinks Dwight Gooden would have been worse if he laid off the blow.
   11. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: December 28, 2013 at 11:55 AM (#4625122)
Cocaine users, and alcoholics, were even better than their stats show. No one thinks Dwight Gooden would have been worse if he laid off the blow.


Cocaine's an amp.
   12. Bob Tufts Posted: December 28, 2013 at 11:55 AM (#4625123)
So he ignores the "ped users" and vote for the "cocaine users"? I don't understand the logic


Perhaps because while in college (and after) many sportswriters also tried cocaine and other "recreational drugs". The may be loath to punish those that did, believing it's no big deal despite the federal drug law violation attached to use.
   13. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: December 28, 2013 at 12:06 PM (#4625128)
Perhaps because while in college (and after) many sportswriters also tried cocaine and other "recreational drugs". The may be loath to punish those that did, believing it's no big deal despite the federal drug law violation attached to use.


Also because it's possible to vote for coke heads from the 70s and 80s while still pissing on Barry Bonds, which I still maintain is the only real driver behind the entire PED hysteria. Clemens just happens to be collateral damage in the BBWAA's on-going war against Barry Bonds.
   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 28, 2013 at 12:10 PM (#4625129)
Cocaine's an amp.

No one cares about amps either.

   15. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 28, 2013 at 12:12 PM (#4625130)
Cocaine users, and alcoholics, were even better than their stats show. No one thinks Dwight Gooden would have been worse if he laid off the blow.


So shouldn't they be punished more harshly rather than less harshly? At the very least the PED users were attempting to help their teams win.
   16. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 28, 2013 at 12:13 PM (#4625131)
I think it's going to be very hard for anyone to justify withholding a vote from him, and I highly doubt any published ballot will fail to include him.


Could be strategic. He's a slamdunk to get in, and you'd rather use a precious spot on your ballot to a player who needs more support.
   17. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: December 28, 2013 at 12:16 PM (#4625134)
No one cares about amps either.


No one cares about anything but punishing Barry Bonds for being a mean interview.
   18. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: December 28, 2013 at 12:16 PM (#4625135)
Also because it's possible to vote for coke heads from the 70s and 80s while still pissing on Barry Bonds, which I still maintain is the only real driver behind the entire PED hysteria. Clemens just happens to be collateral damage in the BBWAA's on-going war against Barry Bonds.

I wouldn't go quite that far, Sam. Don't discount the embarrassment so many writers/columnists felt as a result of being in the hear-no-evil, see-no-evil community while PED use was at its zenith.

EDIT: It's also about the single-season and career home-run records. If Bonds had played some other sport and Sosa had hit 74, the eventual firestorm would have been just as or nearly as great.
   19. BDC Posted: December 28, 2013 at 12:20 PM (#4625138)
Mussina - Glavine is an interesting comparison. Glavine's peak is slightly higher, and he accomplished quite a bit more in the majors than Mussina. But one wonders: if Mussina, like Glavine, had been drafted out of high school and stayed around for the bitter end rather than retiring on a high note, would his career be all but identical to Glavine's? Maybe not; Glavine's got a couple of Cy Young Awards. But maybe Mussina should have a couple too. I think Glavine is ahead, but it's not perhaps a transcendent difference.
   20. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 28, 2013 at 12:20 PM (#4625139)
So shouldn't they be punished more harshly rather than less harshly? At the very least the PED users were attempting to help their teams win.

Well, if you're evaluating their playing record, the punishment is already there in the reduced performance.
   21. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: December 28, 2013 at 12:24 PM (#4625140)
Mussina - Glavine is an interesting comparison. Glavine's peak is slightly higher, and he accomplished quite a bit more in the majors than Mussina. But one wonders: if Mussina, like Glavine, had been drafted out of high school and stayed around for the bitter end rather than retiring on a high note, would his career be all but identical to Glavine's?


Maybe. But the answer that is relevant to HOF merit is "did he," and the answer is "no, he didn't."
   22. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: December 28, 2013 at 12:26 PM (#4625143)
Don't discount the embarrassment so many writers/columnists felt as a result of being in the hear-no-evil, see-no-evil community while PED use was at its zenith.

EDIT: It's also about the single-season and career home-run records. If Bonds had played some other sport and Sosa had hit 74, the eventual firestorm would have been just as or nearly as great.


You're not wrong, but I guarantee you that if Barry had had the exact same career while smiling and glad-handing the press like Curt Schilling he would be in the HOF already.
   23. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: December 28, 2013 at 12:26 PM (#4625144)
Cocaine users, and alcoholics, were even better than their stats show. No one thinks Dwight Gooden would have been worse if he laid off the blow.

My memory is a bit hazy but how did cocaine use hurt Gooden, other than missing the '86 ticker-tape parade and subsequent visit to rehab at the start of the following season? Did blow exacerbate his injuries?
   24. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 28, 2013 at 12:37 PM (#4625146)
My memory is a bit hazy but how did cocaine use hurt Gooden, other than missing the '86 ticker-tape parade and subsequent visit to rehab at the start of the '87 season? Did blow exacerbate his injuries?

It's hard to pinpoint exactly when Gooden began his cocaine habit, but in his telling of the background to that missed World Series parade, he makes numerous references to "my dealer", which means that it's likely that his habit began at some point during 1986. His ERA+ that year dropped 103 points, and while he was in and out of rehab after that, he never even came remotely close to the form he'd shown in 1985. It's hard not to believe that without cocaine, Gooden's career would've been a hell of a lot more productive than it was.

   25. Esoteric Posted: December 28, 2013 at 12:41 PM (#4625148)
Wow. Ken Rosenthal has turned in what is literally the perfect ballot IMHO. Every choice I would've made, every omission I would've made. Mussina, Raines and Schilling included. Edgar as the last vote. And no Morris. Well done Robothal.
   26. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: December 28, 2013 at 12:43 PM (#4625149)
His ERA+ that year dropped 103 points, and while he was in and out of rehab after that, he never even came remotely close to the form he'd shown in 1985. It's hard not to believe that without cocaine, Gooden's career would've been a hell of a lot more productive than it was.

Well, that's pretty important, no? Do we know if he was using during the '84 and '85 seasons?
   27. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 28, 2013 at 12:50 PM (#4625154)
Well, that's pretty important, no? Do we know if he was using during the '84 and '85 seasons?

Not in the sense that I know of any documented evidence one way or the other, but the contrast between 1985 and his subsequent years is such that it's hard not to infer that his habit began after the 1985 season. But then I haven't read his memoir, which may spell out the timeline with a bit more detail.
   28. McCoy Posted: December 28, 2013 at 12:52 PM (#4625157)
I would think it would be obvious that he was using something before he hit the wall. Addictions and the effects of drugs tend to be a gradual thing.

From what I've read he was smoking pot and drinking heavily in his youth and in his early playing days. It does appear that he started using cocaine after the 1985 season. I think in his memoirs he says he started using around December or early 1986.
   29. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: December 28, 2013 at 12:54 PM (#4625158)
The crowded ballot actually provided me with greater clarity as I reconsidered my decisions on the PED crowd. I’m entirely at ease giving priority to untainted players such as Maddux and Thomas in ‘14, then Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz in ‘15.


Seriously, Robothal? Randy Johnson's entire *face* was covered in bacne!
   30. Esoteric Posted: December 28, 2013 at 01:12 PM (#4625164)
Seriously, Robothal? Randy Johnson's entire *face* was covered in bacne!
Well then it wasn't bacne, now was it?
   31. McCoy Posted: December 28, 2013 at 01:12 PM (#4625165)
Have you seen his face?
   32. Morty Causa Posted: December 28, 2013 at 01:17 PM (#4625168)
I would think it would be obvious that he was using something before he hit the wall. Addictions and the effects of drugs tend to be a gradual thing.

To analogize to biological evolution, addictions (including alcohol addiction) are gradual but subject to punk eek. That is, the rate isn't uniform as a matter of our nature, and it varies with individuals some.
   33. Morty Causa Posted: December 28, 2013 at 01:18 PM (#4625169)
Having said that, Gooden was probably nurturing a addiction mentality since he was a minor loving his Skittlebrau.
   34. gehrig97 Posted: December 28, 2013 at 01:21 PM (#4625175)
The "drugs ruined Gooden's career" narrative is a little overblown. Gooden suffered arm problems in his age-22 season; by age 23 he was a markedly different pitcher than the otherworldly phenom he was in his age 19-20 seasons. His curve had lost it's bite, and that 97 MPH heater was a more pedestrian 92 (and these issues manifested themselves in 1986, when Doc's "tired arm" made headlines over the summer).

The drugs certainly contributed to Doc "not fulfilling his potential" (i.e., not becoming Walter Johnson), but I suspect throwing close to 800 major league innings (inc. playoffs) over his age 19-21 seasons (not to mention 191 minor league innings as an 18 yr old) had more to do with his sudden and sustained drop in production.
   35. Morty Causa Posted: December 28, 2013 at 01:29 PM (#4625179)
And it isn't as if that's unprecedented--hey, #### happens. Same thing, but more cataclysmic, happened to Fidyrch. One moment it seemed as if he was the best, or one of the best, and the next moment he was a has-been.
   36. McCoy Posted: December 28, 2013 at 01:30 PM (#4625180)
Dwight did say that in 1986 he felt tired and worn out and by the time the World Series came around he had almost nothing left in the tank and his arm didn't feel right. I'm sure binging on cocaine certainly didn't help him keep in shape.
   37. zonk Posted: December 28, 2013 at 01:34 PM (#4625181)
The "drugs ruined Gooden's career" narrative is a little overblown. Gooden suffered arm problems in his age-22 season; by age 23 he was a markedly different pitcher than the otherworldly phenom he was in his age 19-20 seasons. His curve had lost it's bite, and that 97 MPH heater was a more pedestrian 92 (and these issues manifested themselves in 1986, when Doc's "tired arm" made headlines over the summer).

The drugs certainly contributed to Doc "not fulfilling his potential" (i.e., not becoming Walter Johnson), but I suspect throwing close to 800 major league innings (inc. playoffs) over his age 19-21 seasons (not to mention 191 minor league innings as an 18 yr old) had more to do with his sudden and sustained drop in production.


Put me down for this theory, too --

And don't forget that he also struck out 750 and walked 250, too, over those innings... so we're not talking about Tewskbury-esque low pitch count outings either.

Maybe the coke hurt too -- or maybe it helped pitch the way he did from 19 to 21 -- but he put an absolute ton of mileage on that arm and shoulder.
   38. gehrig97 Posted: December 28, 2013 at 01:37 PM (#4625183)
Gooden himself--in his book and in the many interviews he's done to promote his book--puts a lot of the blame on his drug use. So we can't discount the fact that he did throw a way a certain percentage of his career on coke and booze. But overuse had a huge impact.
   39. Buck Coats Posted: December 28, 2013 at 01:49 PM (#4625186)
And it isn't as if that's unprecedented--hey, #### happens. Same thing, but more cataclysmic, happened to Fidyrch. One moment it seemed as if he was the best, or one of the best, and the next moment he was a has-been.


Indeed. Also Lincecum, Fernando, Prior...
   40. McCoy Posted: December 28, 2013 at 01:57 PM (#4625188)
I don't think you can blame overuse for Gooden's 1986 to 1989 seasons. The guy did throw almost 1000 innings over that time without suffering anything catastrophic. He was remarkably durable over that time and did pitch rather well albeit not as spectacular as he had done in the beginning.

As far as I can tell Lincecum is about the only comp to Gooden in terms of being great at the beginning but then somehow losing the magic while still throwing lots of innings without any major injuries. And of course Lincecum is a rather famous drug user himself.
   41. Lars6788 Posted: December 28, 2013 at 02:04 PM (#4625193)
Not that any door is closed, but Mussina would be closer to being a HOFer if he'd stuck with the Orioles - doing more with one team rather than 'toiling' with a fairly successful but really go nowhere in the playoffs Yankees teams he was on.
   42. Lars6788 Posted: December 28, 2013 at 02:13 PM (#4625196)
If Mark McGwire had cracked 73 home runs and at least gotten close to Babe Ruth's home run mark, no one would care and there would still be an ignorance about PED use, whether or not it really had some massive effect on a generation of professional baseball players.

Players would still be doing PEDs, some looking like Popeyes and we'd be quoting their rookie measurements on Baseball Reference as evidence they were not using.
   43. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: December 28, 2013 at 02:14 PM (#4625198)
Gooden himself--in his book and in the many interviews he's done to promote his book--puts a lot of the blame on his drug use. So we can't discount the fact that he did throw a way a certain percentage of his career on coke and booze.


You have to account for it, sure. But drug addicts often attribute to their addictions all bad results, even those that are not direct results of their addictions. I don't think we can say with any degree of certainty what impact Gooden's drug use had on his career. All we can do is look at what he did and analyze those actual results for what they are. In that way his drug use is exactly the same as PED use by more recent stars.
   44. BDC Posted: December 28, 2013 at 02:16 PM (#4625199)
Lincecum is about the only comp to Gooden in terms of being great at the beginning but then somehow losing the magic while still throwing lots of innings without any major injuries

Gooden's career seems to me to have a lot of parallels with Vida Blue's. The cocaine problem in both cases might be coincidental in terms of how their pitching careers were going to pan out, of course. It's overdetermined; a lot of factors could shape that kind of rise and fall.
   45. Bob Tufts Posted: December 28, 2013 at 02:37 PM (#4625209)
and to a quote in the article:

My method was unfair to certain, untainted candidates, but I reasoned that they, too, were part of a players’ union that had resisted testing for performance-enhancing drugs.


As with any management/labor issue, it has to be negotiated through federally mandated collective bargaining - fourth amendment issues, medical privacy issues, what kind of tests, the science behind it must be evaluated, how you add certain substances, punishments, appeals, how it is codified within the CBA or an appendix....

If the BBWAA decided to investigate all sportswriters for child molestation tendencies as a result of Bill Conlin's escapades (in order to make sure no person is given a HOF award), what would Bowtie's reaction be?

   46. Morty Causa Posted: December 28, 2013 at 02:47 PM (#4625214)
Didn't the powers that be mess with Gooden's pitching mechanics? If for only a short while?
   47. KT's Pot Arb Posted: December 28, 2013 at 02:50 PM (#4625218)
If the BBWAA decided to investigate all sportswriters for child molestation tendencies as a result of Bill Conlin's escapades (in order to make sure no person is given a HOF award), what would Bowtie's reaction be?


Even more to the point.

How many BBWAA members are under intrusive drug testing regimes that regulate where they can be and what they can do 365 days a year, and punishes them severely for simply not being available to test?

How many would agree to such regimes?

How many should be punished if the majority "resists" such a regime?

How many of the anti-steroid crusaders on this site are under similar testing regimes year round?

It's as if bow-tie and his ilk haven't given a moments thought to whether the players union should have had a wee bit of concern about it's members rights, and how onerous and fair the program would be for them.
   48. Srul Itza Posted: December 28, 2013 at 03:03 PM (#4625221)
Not that any door is closed, but Mussina would be closer to being a HOFer if he'd stuck with the Orioles


I think he'd also be closer if he had decided to come back for one more year. He clearly looked to have something left in the tank after a 200 IP 131 ERA+ performance, and I think the 2009 Yankees would have found some starts for him that went for Sergio Mitre and the like that would not have hurt their WS chances. A ring and another 10-15 victories would look good on a HOF resume.
   49. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 28, 2013 at 03:18 PM (#4625226)

Indeed. Also Lincecum, Fernando, Prior...


We don't know that they didn't use coke as well!
   50. Buck Coats Posted: December 28, 2013 at 03:25 PM (#4625228)
Yeah, Vida Blue's an excellent comp. I like Dean Chance, too - ERA+ of 130 at age 21, then wins the Cy Young at age 23 with an ERA+ of 200
   51. tfbg9 Posted: December 28, 2013 at 03:38 PM (#4625234)
@46-yes. Mel Stottlemeyer thought it was too easy to run on Gooden, and shortened-up his delivery.
If memory serves.

At the time, it struck me as hugely foolish.
   52. bachslunch Posted: December 28, 2013 at 03:39 PM (#4625235)
I think it's going to be very hard for anyone to justify withholding a vote from him [Greg Maddux]

I can see a justification if one is sufficiently strict on "cheaters." When Bill James appeared on "Clubhouse Confidential," he said that Maddux threw a spitball and further that everyone knows he did. Spitballs are illegal, and one might argue that Maddux would not have been as good a pitcher without it. I can easily see someone wanting not to see Maddux join Gaylord Perry, Whitey Ford, Don Sutton, and Don Drysdale as Hall of Fame members, further glorifying this type of "cheating."

In fact, I'm surprised no one has made this point at all thus far.
   53. Morty Causa Posted: December 28, 2013 at 03:57 PM (#4625240)
I take all that "he throw spitballs" with a grain of salt, be they the accusers or those that boast about it Perry. As Ted Williams says in his book, you got to really load it up to throw a spitball, and I say you can't do that often without getting caught.
   54. McCoy Posted: December 28, 2013 at 04:02 PM (#4625244)
As Ted Williams says in his book, you got to really load it up to throw a spitball, and I say you can't do that often without getting caught.

Except it has been noticed. It's just that nobody cares. Just like Whitey Ford cheated for a long time and never got "caught".

The Braves were famous/infamous for their love of pinetar.
   55. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 28, 2013 at 04:16 PM (#4625248)
If Mark McGwire had cracked 73 home runs and at least gotten close to Babe Ruth's home run mark, no one would care and there would still be an ignorance about PED use,

That's just crazy. Canseco's book was one of the two major factors along with the BALCO revelations that turned the heat up and in great part led to the congressional hearings. It seems to be a comforting thought to some people that only hatred of Bonds was the driving force behind the crackdown on steroids, but there's little evidence that this was ever the case. What difference would it have made if McGwire had hit 70 or 73? Do you really think that breaking Maris's record by 12 instead of 9 would have stopped either Canseco's book or the BALCO investigators?
   56. BDC Posted: December 28, 2013 at 04:34 PM (#4625252)
Andy's right; for one thing it was the andro in McGwire's locker that was the chink in the armor (foot in the door, fly in the soup, canary in the mine, pick your metaphor :)
   57. McCoy Posted: December 28, 2013 at 04:35 PM (#4625253)
Do you really think that breaking Maris's record by 12 instead of 9 would have stopped either Canseco's book or the BALCO investigators?

Um, the BALCO investigation was created by a guy who started it up with the express purpose of getting Barry Bonds. Canseco published Juice in the middle of all the hoopla surrounding the steroid/Barry scandal. If Barry doesn't come along and do what he does no one is going to sit down in a room and write a book with Jose Canseco. Jose saw the opportunity to make some cash by selling a tell all and he went for it.

Mark McGwire retired after the 2001 season and if nobody had come along and broken his record and if Bonds never uses steroids to break McGwire's and Aaron's records then it probably moves the whole steroid scandal back by about a decade.
   58. bachslunch Posted: December 28, 2013 at 04:37 PM (#4625254)
Except it has been noticed. It's just that nobody cares. Just like Whitey Ford cheated for a long time and never got "caught".

Exactly. Which makes those whining about steroid users being "cheats" while also voting for Maddux hypocrites.
   59. BDC Posted: December 28, 2013 at 04:43 PM (#4625256)
The cloud on the horizon.
   60. Esoteric Posted: December 28, 2013 at 04:44 PM (#4625257)
Exactly. Which makes those whining about steroid users being "cheats" while also voting for Maddux hypocrites.
Actually, no.

But are we really going to rehearse all this BS again in this thread?
   61. tfbg9 Posted: December 28, 2013 at 04:48 PM (#4625259)
When Bill James appeared on "Clubhouse Confidential," he said that Maddux threw a spitball and further that everyone knows he did. Spitballs are illegal, and one might argue that Maddux would not have been as good a pitcher without it.


As Ted Williams says in his book, you got to really load it up to throw a spitball, and I say you can't do that often without getting caught.


Did BJ claim Maddux threw spitballs, or that he "doctored" the ball?
   62. Lars6788 Posted: December 28, 2013 at 04:56 PM (#4625262)

That's just crazy. Canseco's book was one of the two major factors along with the BALCO revelations that turned the heat up and in great part led to the congressional hearings. It seems to be a comforting thought to some people that only hatred of Bonds was the driving force behind the crackdown on steroids, but there's little evidence that this was ever the case. What difference would it have made if McGwire had hit 70 or 73? Do you really think that breaking Maris's record by 12 instead of 9 would have stopped either Canseco's book or the BALCO investigators?


It's been established that Canseco is a crackpot, attention whore and a scumbag among a number of things - BBTF would probably use the argument that he is a borderline criminal whose motives cannot be trusted for a number of reasons.

I'm guessing that out of 100 columnists, there might be 95 writing that Canseco is spitting on the game's legacy with his foolish and made up allegations and saying, while YOU used and screwed up your legacy, WHERE IS THE PROOF all these guys you are slamming with unfounded innuendos used these PEDS.

As is, Bonds blew the whole thing up by taking his game onto a new level and the columnists couldn't let him get away without scrutinizing his muscles, his head or his jockstrap.
   63. McCoy Posted: December 28, 2013 at 04:58 PM (#4625263)
I doubt he claimed that Maddux threw a spitball. More likely he claimed that Maddux scuffed and or doctored the ball.
   64. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 28, 2013 at 05:04 PM (#4625264)
Do you really think that breaking Maris's record by 12 instead of 9 would have stopped either Canseco's book or the BALCO investigators?

Um, the BALCO investigation was created by a guy who started it up with the express purpose of getting Barry Bonds. Canseco published Juice in the middle of all the hoopla surrounding the steroid/Barry scandal. If Barry doesn't come along and do what he does no one is going to sit down in a room and write a book with Jose Canseco. Jose saw the opportunity to make some cash by selling a tell all and he went for it.


I don't think that Jose Canseco needed any help from Barry Bonds to publish an expose memoir where he was the central figure, and where the teammate he outed was the breaker of a 37-year old home run record that had been mythologized for nearly that long. There's not a trace of reticence in Jose Canseco's character, and I seriously doubt if it would have sprouted and suppressed his book merely due to the absence of a complementary Barry Bonds story.

Mark McGwire retired after the 2001 season and if nobody had come along and broken his record and if Bonds never uses steroids to break McGwire's and Aaron's records then it probably moves the whole steroid scandal back by about a decade.

That's an assertion that can't be proven one way or the other. I don't buy it for a minute, though I'm sure it comforts those like Sam & Dave**, who think the whole case against steroids doesn't amount to anything more than "Let's get Barry Bonds."

**as in Hutchinson and Zirin, not Moore and Prater (smile)
   65. bachslunch Posted: December 28, 2013 at 05:09 PM (#4625266)
#61 Did BJ claim Maddux threw spitballs, or that he "doctored" the ball?

I remembered it being the former -- would be happy to view the clip again to see, of course. Though "doctoring" isn't considered legal, either.

#60 Actually, no.

Disagree. I think one can validly make this point. And I don't see where there has been much discussion of the issue in relation to Maddux.
   66. McCoy Posted: December 28, 2013 at 05:19 PM (#4625270)
I don't think that Jose Canseco needed any help from Barry Bonds to publish an expose memoir where he was the central figure, and where the teammate he outed was the breaker of a 37-year old home run record that had been mythologized for nearly that long. There's not a trace of reticence in Jose Canseco's character, and I seriously doubt if it would have sprouted and suppressed his book merely due to the absence of a complementary Barry Bonds story.

I seriously doubt Canseco is capable of writing 300+ pages of coherent anything and I doubt he would self publish which means he would need help to bring his story to the masses. Canseco didn't create the demand for his story. The demand for a steroid tell all existed in the mid 2000's in large part because of Barry Bonds. If Barry Bonds blows out his tricep in 1999 and has to retire Canseco in all probability doesn't find a publisher to tell his tale in the mid 2000's.

That's an assertion that can't be proven one way or the other. I don't buy it for a minute, though I'm sure it comforts those like Sam & Dave**, who think the whole case against steroids doesn't amount to anything more than "Let's get Barry Bonds."

Steroids in regards to McGwire were a non issue. You had some andro fluff in the summer of 1998 that quickly died down and then when McGwire retired he quickly became a non issue. After Barry hit 73 homers steroids in baseball quickly became a huge topic and grew and grew as Bonds got closer and closer to the all time record. It should be pretty clear to all that Bonds was the driving force in making the steroid issue THE issue in baseball and sports for years.

So what about BALCO? No come back on my reply to your assertion about the BALCO investigation?
   67. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 28, 2013 at 05:19 PM (#4625271)
Um, the BALCO investigation was created by a guy who started it up with the express purpose of getting Barry Bonds. Canseco published Juice in the middle of all the hoopla surrounding the steroid/Barry scandal. If Barry doesn't come along and do what he does no one is going to sit down in a room and write a book with Jose Canseco. Jose saw the opportunity to make some cash by selling a tell all and he went for it.


Mark McGwire retired after the 2001 season and if nobody had come along and broken his record and if Bonds never uses steroids to break McGwire's and Aaron's records then it probably moves the whole steroid scandal back by about a decade.

Caminiti in SI was the first big story, which had nothing to do with Bonds. Juiced also was a big part of it. As was BALCO, though Giabmi took center stage initially, what with his confession and vague apology in the immediate aftermath.

The next big event was the Congressional Hearings, which again Bonds was not part of.

The idea that Bonds was the sole reason for the steroids story has no foundation in fact (Kiko laid out the whole thing pretty clearly a few years back).

He undeniably became the face of steroids, because he was the best player, his case kept going and he was not well liked by the press and fans. And yes, it was a huge backdrop to the career home run chase (but not the single-season, as a run through the archives of this site prove pretty clearly).

But this silly little narrative that it's all about Bonds simply isn't, and never has been, true.
   68. McCoy Posted: December 28, 2013 at 05:27 PM (#4625273)
Caminiti in SI was the first big story, which had nothing to do with Bonds. Juiced also was a big part of it. As was BALCO, though Giabmi took center stage initially, what with his confession and vague apology in the immediate aftermath.

The next big event was the Congressional Hearings, which again Bonds was not part of.

The idea that Bonds was the sole reason for the steroids story has no foundation in fact (Kiko laid out the whole thing pretty clearly a few years back).

He undeniably became the face of steroids, because he was the best player, his case kept going and he was not well liked by the press and fans. But this silly little narrative that it's all about Bonds simply isn't, and never has been, true.


So something creates a demand for something but because that something isn't involved in everything else going on ever therefore it means that something wasn't responsible for creating it all?

The Caminiti story came out in the spring/summer after Barry broke the single season record and after people were grumbling about Barry Bonds and steroids. BALCO was investigated because a government agent went after Barry Bonds. Canseco's Juiced was published in 2005 long after Barry Bonds had become the face of steroids. The hearings happened in 2005 as well. Furthermore Congress announced they would hold the hearings a day after Bonds was indicted and several of the Congressmen used Bonds indictment as a reason for holding the hearings. Also the fact that Bonds wasn't at the hearings isn't prove of anything since Congress wasn't going to call Bonds to testify as there was an indictment hanging over him.

If the argument is that Barry Bonds is the sole reason for the steroid story then how is it relevant to bring up things 4 or 5 years after the steroid story was created to prove that he wasn't? Furthermore I don't think anyone thinks Barry Bonds is the sole reason we had a steroid story. He is a major reason why we had it when we had it though.
   69. Rough Carrigan Posted: December 28, 2013 at 05:35 PM (#4625274)
The first big story was Tom Boswell (in the WaPo?) in 1988 quoting Tony LaRussa to the effect that Canseco did steroids but claiming that he wasn't using them any more. And in the ALCS that year, Red Sox fans loudly serenaded Canseco with chants of Ste-roids! Ste-roids!

Any media member not sleepwalking or lying to himself knew that steroids were part of the culture of MLB long before the Caminiti article.
   70. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 28, 2013 at 05:47 PM (#4625276)

So something creates a demand for something but because that something isn't involved in everything else going on ever therefore it means that something wasn't responsible for creating it all?


A former MVP was coming clean about an extensive steroid regimen, and offering estimates on how many players were using. Barry didn't create that demand (and Barry was barely mentioned in that story, for what it's worth).

The Caminiti story came out in the spring/summer after Barry broke the single season record and after people were grumbling about Barry Bonds and steroids. BALCO was investigated because a government agent went after Barry Bonds. Canseco's Juiced was published in 2005 long after Barry Bonds had become the face of steroids. The hearings happened in 2005 as well. Furthermore Congress announced they would hold the hearings a day after Bonds was indicted and several of the Congressmen used Bonds indictment as a reason for holding the hearings. Also the fact that Bonds wasn't at the hearings isn't prove of anything since Congress wasn't going to call Bonds to testify as there was an indictment hanging over him.


If there was a grumble, it was a low one. As noted above, if you look at the archives from BTF from 2001, you'll see that there really wasn't a lot of steroid talk surrounding his HR chase. He also went on to win three more MVPs from the same BBWAA guys who apparently created the entire steroids story just to get him. Strange birds, them.

Following BALCO, it was Giambi who was forced to publicly sort-of apologize. Barry was secondary (for a while). The public and press didn't make BALCO all about Bonds, even if that was Novitzky's agenda.*

At the hearings, McGwire was a villain for not talking about the past. Sammy was a villain for not speaking English. Raffy for finger pointing then getting busted. All independent of Barry and the HR record past or future.

By the time of the chase for Hank, Barry had undoubtedly taken center stage, for a variety of reasons. But this was a slow-building story that had a lot of driving forces. There were a lot of reasons the steroids became a story. Barry and the home run record is pretty damn far down the list.

* By the way, I've read many times that the whole BALCO thing was done to get Bonds. Why did that happen? What possible reason did a federal agent have for targeting a single ballplayer? Was Novitsky's maiden name Kittle?

   71. McCoy Posted: December 28, 2013 at 05:58 PM (#4625280)
What possible reason did a federal agent have for targeting a single ballplayer? Was Novitsky's maiden name Kittle?

Are you serious? You take down the biggest whale because it's the biggest baddy.

I never claimed that people in 2001 were talking about steroids and Barry. In fact I said after he hit 73 homers the grumbling started and that is true. In April and June of 2002 Barry went on record as saying he did not need steroids and he did so because all throughout 2002 people were talking about Bonds and his possible steroid use. Skip Bayless was accusing Bonds of steroid use in May of 2002.
   72. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 28, 2013 at 06:06 PM (#4625284)
It's hard to pinpoint exactly when Gooden began his cocaine habit, but in his telling of the background to that missed World Series parade, he makes numerous references to "my dealer", which means that it's likely that his habit began at some point during 1986. His ERA+ that year dropped 103 points, and while he was in and out of rehab after that, he never even came remotely close to the form he'd shown in 1985. It's hard not to believe that without cocaine, Gooden's career would've been a hell of a lot more productive than it was.


Come on. His ERA+ "drop of 103 points" was from a historic level of 229, which he simply was not going to sustain. Cocaine had little or nothing to do with Gooden failing to fulfill his promise throughout his career. The Mets made him pitch a gazillion innings starting from age 19 and then he blew out his shoulder at 24 and was never the same again. This isn't that difficult.

276 innings as a 20 year old. Averaged 248 innings from ages 19-21. Do we _know_ for certain that workload was responsible? No. But we sure as hell know that a shoulder injury is tied to workload a hell of a lot more than cocaine is.

I would argue, in fact, that cocaine use was the only chance he had to have a great career, because it ended up doing one thing, via the rehab, that the Mets would not: it reduced his workload.
   73. McCoy Posted: December 28, 2013 at 06:10 PM (#4625287)
Gooden didn't blow out his shoulder right after his age 20 season. Gooden would pitch almost 800 more innings after his age 20 season before he suffered that injury in 1989. Are you trying to tell us that he injured himself in 1985 or 1986 and played through it for over three seasons?
   74. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 28, 2013 at 06:11 PM (#4625288)
Wow. Ken Rosenthal has turned in what is literally the perfect ballot IMHO. Every choice I would've made, every omission I would've made. Mussina, Raines and Schilling included. Edgar as the last vote. And no Morris. Well done Robothal.


It's a retarded ballot, which is no surprise. No Clemens or Bonds, but he has Edgar and everyone he threw a vote to was a worse player than the two all-time greats staring him in the face.
   75. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 28, 2013 at 06:11 PM (#4625289)
#73, no, as I said, "he blew out his shoulder at 24."
   76. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 28, 2013 at 06:13 PM (#4625290)
Are you serious? You take down the biggest whale because it's the biggest baddy.


Typically in drug cases, the manufacturer or distributor is the biggest baddie, not the client.

Moreover, if Bonds simply does what Giambi and others did, he's not going to be facing any serious legal consequences. So, yes, I still don't know why Novitski would target a drug operation simply to nail a customer.

In June of 2002 Barry went on record as saying he did not need steroids and he did so because all throughout 2002 people were talking about Bonds and his possible steroid use. Skip Bayless was accusing Bonds of steroid use in May of 2002.


After Caminiti. So yes, after Caminiti said x percent of people in baseball were using steroids, a bunch of people started wondering about Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, etc.

Oh, and the comment above about the calls for congressional hearings following Bonds' indictment, it's worth noting that's not the 2005 hearings, but hearings about PEDs in sport two years later. Juiced was probably the biggest factor in the 2005 hearings (well, that and the desire to grandstand).
   77. Publius Publicola Posted: December 28, 2013 at 06:18 PM (#4625292)
As much as I love Alan Trammell, and would have him on my ballot...he is a victim of the loaded ballot, yes?


No. He's been on forever and hasn't been elected yet. They weren't all loaded-ballot years.

Cocaine's an amp.


...that wrecks your game (see Parker, Dave)
   78. Srul Itza Posted: December 28, 2013 at 06:25 PM (#4625294)
Dave Parker -- the only guy who did tons of coke and gained weight.
   79. McCoy Posted: December 28, 2013 at 06:25 PM (#4625295)
#73, no, as I said, "he blew out his shoulder at 24."

I still don't understand how overuse is the culprit and no way it can be cocaine if Gooden managed to pitch well (though not great) for almost 800 innings until suffering a major injury.
   80. McCoy Posted: December 28, 2013 at 06:27 PM (#4625296)
Typically in drug cases, the manufacturer or distributor is the biggest baddie, not the client.

Moreover, if Bonds simply does what Giambi and others did, he's not going to be facing any serious legal consequences. So, yes, I still don't know why Novitski would target a drug operation simply to nail a customer.


I'm beginning to think you know very little about the BALCO case and about Jeff Novitzky.

After Caminiti. So yes, after Caminiti said x percent of people in baseball were using steroids, a bunch of people started wondering about Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, etc.

Oh, and the comment above about the calls for congressional hearings following Bonds' indictment, it's worth noting that's not the 2005 hearings, but hearings about PEDs in sport two years later. Juiced was probably the biggest factor in the 2005 hearings (well, that and the desire to grandstand).


Bonds also issued denials in April of 2002 months before the Verducci article came out and those denials were even brought up in the Verducci article. Secondly Bonds was still indicted so again he wasn't going to get called up to any congressional hearing as long as he had charges over his head.
   81. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: December 28, 2013 at 06:28 PM (#4625297)
Are you trying to tell us that he injured himself in 1985 or 1986 and played through it for over three seasons?


This is actually not super duper uncommon, is it? Granted, I don't recall Gooden's exact injury, but if it was something like a labrum, Pedro pitched with a torn one for what? 4 years? 01-05?
   82. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 28, 2013 at 06:29 PM (#4625298)
The next big event was the Congressional Hearings, which again Bonds was not part of.


This is utterly misleading, SoSH. He was only not part of it because he was under federal investigation for perjury and obstruction stemming from his 2003 grand jury testimony. And multiple people involved in BALCO (Conte, Anderson, etc.) were in serious legal hot water over it at the time of the Congressional hearings.

Bonds was excused from the hearings for that reason, not because nobody was thinking about him.
   83. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 28, 2013 at 06:32 PM (#4625300)
* By the way, I've read many times that the whole BALCO thing was done to get Bonds. Why did that happen? What possible reason did a federal agent have for targeting a single ballplayer? Was Novitsky's maiden name Kittle?


Are you joking? They spent some $50 million investigating/prosecuting Bonds for perjury and obstruction.

Do they typically lay out $50 million to investigate/prosecute such crimes?

You're not a serious person on this subject, SoSH.


   84. BDC Posted: December 28, 2013 at 06:33 PM (#4625302)
Cocaine's an amp.

...that wrecks your game (see Parker, Dave)


I tend to agree. Several guys associated with cocaine in the 1980s also had long and good careers, and were going strong in (relative to baseball) old age: Parker, Hernandez, Raines, Molitor, Willie Wilson. And yet each of those players has a trough in his late 20s or thereabouts where his early trajectory just stops for a few seasons, before he sort of gets back on the track for a great player's decline. Of course there were other factors; Molitor, the best of them, was also hurt, and also had the greatest career in his 30s. But the pattern is there. Who knows how this works? Cocaine may exhaust a player physically. Pursuit of it may make him apathetic mentally. Alternatively, it may help a player play over his head briefly. Lenny Dykstra had two phenomenal seasons, playing ball like a madman (1990 and 1993). He was later associated with cocaine, too, though who knows what combination of things he might have been using in his playing days.

That's the trouble (as with steroids and greenies): it's extremely difficult to correlate public performance with a private drug habit. Most of the patterns we see are fuzzy and involve a huge proportion of WAG.

   85. Esoteric Posted: December 28, 2013 at 06:34 PM (#4625304)
It's a retarded ballot, which is no surprise. No Clemens or Bonds, but he has Edgar and everyone he threw a vote to was a worse player than the two all-time greats staring him in the face.
Whatever. Obviously he looks at Bonds and Clemens (and McGwire and Palmeiro for that matter) differently than you do. No surprise that you think anyone with a different opinion on PEDs is "retarded." It's really not worth getting into again at this point, in this thread (see #60).
   86. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 28, 2013 at 06:36 PM (#4625305)
It's hard to pinpoint exactly when Gooden began his cocaine habit, but in his telling of the background to that missed World Series parade, he makes numerous references to "my dealer", which means that it's likely that his habit began at some point during 1986. His ERA+ that year dropped 103 points, and while he was in and out of rehab after that, he never even came remotely close to the form he'd shown in 1985. It's hard not to believe that without cocaine, Gooden's career would've been a hell of a lot more productive than it was.

Come on. His ERA+ "drop of 103 points" was from a historic level of 229, which he simply was not going to sustain. Cocaine had little or nothing to do with Gooden failing to fulfill his promise throughout his career. The Mets made him pitch a gazillion innings starting from age 19 and then he blew out his shoulder at 24 and was never the same again. This isn't that difficult.

276 innings as a 20 year old. Averaged 248 innings from ages 19-21. Do we _know_ for certain that workload was responsible? No. But we sure as hell know that a shoulder injury is tied to workload a hell of a lot more than cocaine is.


Ray, for once in your life try to acknowledge that there can often be more than one factor for either a rise or decline in productivity. Nobody's denying that Gooden's arm troubles weren't the biggest factor in shortening his productivity during what should have been an historic career. And nobody doubts that overwork was a contributor to his subsequent arm problems.

But regardless of the fact that 1985 was an unsustainable base year, it remains that Gooden's 1986 still represented a big drop from the previous year, transforming him from an historically great pitcher to a very good but nowhere near great pitcher at the age of 21. Since it's not hard to infer that his cocaine use began at some point during that season, I'd find it hard not to attribute at least some of his productivity decline to not just the drug itself, but too the lifestyle that went along with it. You can think if you wish that a cocaine habit doesn't have a negative effect upon a player's performance, but I doubt if you'll find many backers for that POV among either athletes or doctors.
   87. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 28, 2013 at 06:37 PM (#4625306)
After Caminiti. So yes, after Caminiti said x percent of people in baseball were using steroids, a bunch of people started wondering about Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, etc.


Well, yes. That's the point. The Caminiti story helped launch the witch hunting of the others, because nobody cared about Caminiti per se.
   88. Esoteric Posted: December 28, 2013 at 06:39 PM (#4625308)
By the way, I've read many times that the whole BALCO thing was done to get Bonds. Why did that happen? What possible reason did a federal agent have for targeting a single ballplayer? Was Novitsky's maiden name Kittle?
Um, because that's how federal prosecutors make a name for themselves? Through high-profile cases with a populist moralizing angle to them?

The prosecution of Barry Bonds by the Feds was an absolute travesty, a waste of money and a miscarriage of justice. (I have no doubt Bonds was 'guilty' of using PEDs, but make no mistake: Novitsky's witch-hunt was every bit as ignoble an example of beating up on an unpopular figure as the cases against Martha Stewart and Scooter Libby, and it's no coincidence that all of their convictions came not on the underlying offenses, but on similar "lying to and/or giving incomplete answers" BS charges.) You can believe that Bonds doesn't deserve the Hall of Fame and also believe that he was a genuine victim of government persecution.
   89. McCoy Posted: December 28, 2013 at 06:41 PM (#4625311)
Well, yes. That's the point. The Caminiti story helped launch the witch hunting of the others, because nobody cared about Caminiti per se.

The weird thing is that the "Caminiti Story" wasn't really the Caminiti story. It was really the Verducci investigative piece that happened to use Caminiti as one of its sources and anecdotes about steroid use.
   90. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 28, 2013 at 06:47 PM (#4625312)
But regardless of the fact that 1985 was an unsustainable base year, it remains that Gooden's 1986 still represented a big drop from the previous year, transforming him from an historically great pitcher to a very good but nowhere near great pitcher at the age of 21.


Actually, the "transformation" arguably happened a year earlier, when he went from striking out 31% of hitters in his rookie year (11.4 K/9) to 25% of hitters (8.7 K/9).

Although I grant it's not quite that simple because he also reduced his walk rate, leaving him with roughly the same K/BB ratio.

Since it's not hard to infer that his cocaine use began at some point during that season, I'd find it hard not to attribute at least some of his productivity decline to not just the drug itself, but too the lifestyle that went along with it. You can think if you wish that a cocaine habit doesn't have a negative effect upon a player's performance, but I doubt if you'll find many backers for that POV among either athletes or doctors.


Seriously, what is the argument that cocaine use hurt his career? Especially when lined up next to overuse?

   91. Publius Publicola Posted: December 28, 2013 at 06:48 PM (#4625313)
witch-hunt also witch hunt (wchhnt)
n.
An investigation carried out ostensibly to uncover subversive activities but actually used to harass and undermine those with differing views.


So can we stop using the term witchhunt? There's nothing "ostensible" about testing for PEDs. Players ARE using them, and the testing IS detecting their use.
   92. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: December 28, 2013 at 06:50 PM (#4625315)
When Bill James appeared on "Clubhouse Confidential," he said that Maddux threw a spitball and further that everyone knows he did.


I read somewhere that Bill James liked to go over, have a few drinks with Bill Conlin and bugger small boys. I have seen just as much evidence for that as I have for Greg Maddux throwing a spitter.
   93. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 28, 2013 at 06:52 PM (#4625316)
Seriously, what is the argument that cocaine use hurt his career?

Seriously? You think a massive cocaine addiction didn't hurt his career? That's mind boggling.
   94. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 28, 2013 at 06:55 PM (#4625318)
The weird thing is that the "Caminiti Story" wasn't really the Caminiti story. It was really the Verducci investigative piece that happened to use Caminiti as one of its sources and anecdotes about steroid use.


And the story specifically mentioned Bonds and McGwire and their home runs and the innuendo that they were on steroids:

The changes in the game are also evident in the increasingly hulking physiques of the players. The average weight of an All-Star in 1991 was 199 pounds. Last year it was 211. "We're kidding ourselves if we say this problem is not happening," says Towers. "Look at the before and after shots, at the size of some of these players from the '90s to now. It's a joke."

Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants is often cited as a player who dramatically altered his size and his game, growing from a lithe, 185-pound leadoff hitter into a 230-pound force who is one of the greatest home run hitters of all time. Bonds's most dramatic size gains have come in the past four years, over which he has doubled his home run rate. Bonds, who insists he added muscle through diet and intense training, has issued several denials of rumors that he uses steroids, including one to a group of reporters in April in which he said, "You can test me and solve that problem [of rumors] real quick."

But there is no testing in baseball, and everyone continues to speculate. What's a little speculation and innuendo these days anyway? Mark McGwire was cheered in every park on his march to 70 home runs in 1998 by fans hardly concerned about his reluctant admission that he'd used androstendione, an over-the-counter supplement that reputedly has the muscle-building effects of steroids.

   95. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 28, 2013 at 06:59 PM (#4625319)

I'm beginning to think you know very little about the BALCO case and about Jeff Novitzky.


I don't claim to know an awful lot about either. But going after a drug operation in hopes of Something happening that doesn't result in any jail time for the target is rather mystifying. If there's an explanation beyond, "He's Jeff Novitzky," I'm interesting in hearing it.

This is utterly misleading, SoSH. He was only not part of it because he was under federal investigation for perjury and obstruction stemming from his 2003 grand jury testimony. And multiple people involved in BALCO (Conte, Anderson, etc.) were in serious legal hot water over it at the time of the Congressional hearings.

Bonds was excused from the hearings for that reason, not because nobody was thinking about him.


I know why he was excused from the hearings, and I never claimed otherwise. The point is, the hearings were a huge deal despite the fact that Bonds wasn't a part of them, which runs counter to the "it's all about Barry" storyline that so many cling to.

Well, yes. That's the point. The Caminiti story helped launch the witch hunting of the others, because nobody cared about Caminiti per se.


OK. But then it wasn't all about Bonds, which is the comfortable narrative.
   96. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 28, 2013 at 07:03 PM (#4625320)
So can we stop using the term witchhunt? There's nothing "ostensible" about testing for PEDs. Players ARE using them, and the testing IS detecting their use.

Concur.
   97. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 28, 2013 at 07:17 PM (#4625326)
I don't claim to know an awful lot about either. But going after a drug operation in hopes of Something happening that doesn't result in any jail time for the target is rather mystifying.


? They tried to put him in jail. He was only convicted on the one BS count. And even after that conviction, prosecutors argued to the judge that he should serve 15 months anyway.

You're right about one thing: law enforcement rarely targets _users_ as opposed to dealers. But somehow that correct observation has led you to the incorrect conclusion. That fact - and that they spent $50+ million investigating Bonds - means that there was something very _unusual_ about his investigation/prosecution.

Maybe you prosecute someone for perjury when it's easy to prove that he lied, but you don't spend tens of millions of dollars trying to prove it.

OK. But then it wasn't all about Bonds, which is the comfortable narrative.


I don't think it was "all about Bonds." It was about Maris.

People were ok when they thought Maris's record was broken legitimately (first of course by McGwire and Sosa), and then they freaked out when they thought it wasn't. Then it became a wider witch hunt against other all-time greats like Clemens because to them it signified cheating generally.
   98. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 28, 2013 at 07:20 PM (#4625329)
So can we stop using the term witchhunt? There's nothing "ostensible" about testing for PEDs. Players ARE using them, and the testing IS detecting their use.

Concur.


No. The term is appropriate, because the witch hunt brands PED users as "cheaters" (the witches) when they are not.
   99. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 28, 2013 at 07:21 PM (#4625330)
Seriously? You think a massive cocaine addiction didn't hurt his career? That's mind boggling.


Yes, I do. I mean, anything under the sun is possible, so I could be wrong, but I do virtually disregard cocaine use as a factor.

Mainly I think it's absurd that people would obsess over cocaine use rather than workload or just the general randomness of "pitchers get hurt."
   100. Morty Causa Posted: December 28, 2013 at 07:27 PM (#4625333)
Do you have any idea how addiction to a hard-core drug affects one in mind and body?
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