Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

si.com: Verducci: To Cheat or Not to Cheat

An in-depth interview with Dan Naulty and his minor league teammates. Much of Naulty’s success was derived from steroids, and several players talk about what drove them to try steroids (or not) and how the choices affected their play and their chances.  It’s pretty gripping stuff, notwithstanding the minor amounts of moralizing, especially coming on the heels of the Bob Ojeda piece the other day.

Cris E Posted: May 30, 2012 at 11:42 AM | 44 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: steroids

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Guapo Posted: May 30, 2012 at 12:25 PM (#4143028)
Great article.
   2. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: May 30, 2012 at 12:31 PM (#4143030)
Cheat, definitely. Well, unless you are going to get caught. Then, don't cheat. Well, unless she's really hot. Wait, what were we talking about?
   3. morineko Posted: May 30, 2012 at 12:41 PM (#4143043)
20 years later...the majors are full (sort of) of tall, skinny pitchers.
   4. Bob Tufts Posted: May 30, 2012 at 01:05 PM (#4143059)
To Cheat Or Not To Cheat.

I assume that Bill Comlin asked himself that question every time he fondled another pre-pubescent.
   5. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: May 30, 2012 at 01:15 PM (#4143073)
Whoa, that came out of nowhere.
   6. Bob Evans Posted: May 30, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4143077)
I assume that Bill Comlin asked himself that question every time he fondled another pre-pubescent.

I never associated that behavior with reflectiveness, myself.
   7. The_Ex Posted: May 30, 2012 at 01:19 PM (#4143082)
It is a good story but it is the kind of story that should have been written ten years ago.
   8. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: May 30, 2012 at 01:29 PM (#4143096)
I've heard tell that if you aren't cheating, you aren't trying. This was quickly followed by an exuberant cry of "Woo!"

Make of that what you will.
   9. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: May 30, 2012 at 01:41 PM (#4143106)
While he says no one talked to him about steroids in those years, players talked openly about amphetamines -- so openly that Naulty estimated that "80 percent of guys used drugs, no question." Speed was socially acceptable in the clubhouse. Naulty would take greenies, little light- and dark-green pills, before games. Some guys took "black beauties," massive pills that were so potent they frightened even a drug abuser like Naulty. The greenies were powerful enough. "They were equally as powerful as any drug I took," he says. "You could run through a wall. You had stamina forever. I mean, you never got tired. That's why I had to start drinking because I couldn't get to sleep. It's three o'clock in the morning, and I'm ready to go run a marathon."
   10. Bug Selig Posted: May 30, 2012 at 01:47 PM (#4143114)
#9 - But amphetamines were also used in the 60's and 70's and are therefore NOT cheating. Because that's when the writers' generation of heroes played.
   11. zenbitz Posted: May 30, 2012 at 01:50 PM (#4143116)
#10 that's not why they're not cheating! They're not cheating because players talked openly about them! If you aren't ashamed, it's not cheating!
   12. Tripon Posted: May 30, 2012 at 01:54 PM (#4143118)
Speed wasn't cheating because the writers themselves were using it, duh.
   13. zenbitz Posted: May 30, 2012 at 02:06 PM (#4143130)
Lots of horsepucky in here:


Thirteen years later, Liddle and the others learned that Naulty used steroids to transform himself from a fringe minor leaguer into a massive big leaguer throwing 96 mph.


Alarm bells are ringing! Magic beans alert!

It was an outrageous number. Naulty weighed 180. Ten pounds gained would have been a colossal amount for him. Forty? The supplier didn't blink: "I've got whatever you want.
"

Oh what crap. I was the 6' tall equivalent of Naulty (went from 170 to 195) and put on _15_ pounds of muscle by doing pushups for 20 minutes 5 days a week and drinking the occasional protein shake from Costco. At age 35. There is no doubt in my mind that you could go from 180 to 230 in 4 years without steroids. Of course, obviously steroids are going to help.

And then Naulty's jacked-up body started breaking down. In August his arm suddenly went numb; he was shelled in two appearances before doctors figured out he was suffering from thoracic outlet syndrome, a condition in which his first rib was pressing upon an artery. Doctors went through his neck to cut out the rib. In 1997, Naulty tore his right triceps. The year after that his groin muscle ripped off his pelvis. By then he weighed 240 pounds, 60 more than he did when he was drafted six years before. His body wasn't built to handle such muscle mass.


Pitcher's injuries demonstrably proven to be caused by roiding! Which of course cause injuries which is why they are prescribed for recovery!

[quote from #9 above]

Naulty slid into a cycle of addictions. Every morning he would wake up hungover, so he would take amphetamines when he got to the park for an instant boost. He'd then pitch with the benefits of steroids, HGH and speed, and after the game medicate himself with alcohol to come down from the amphetamine high.


Steroids cause Alchoholism! Does this prove Micky Mantle was a roider? No - maybe I a misinterpreting! Steroids are a Gateway Drug!




   14. valuearbitrageur Posted: May 30, 2012 at 02:35 PM (#4143163)
That's why I had to start drinking because I couldn't get to sleep. It's three o'clock in the morning, and I'm ready to go run a marathon."


More BS. Greenies wear off after about 4 hours, and after that you can sleep well, much better than if you have been using caffeine to stay up. The only side affect of amphetamines is that you tend to dehydrate, so you are thirsty a lot, so getting up to pee can break the sleep cycle. But again, caffeine is much worse in that regard.

From his description he'd have to be taking another green at midnight (probably to go out and chase girls), and used the dehydration as an excuse to drink beer.

The other parts of the story I didn't like is it implied that Naulty gained 60 pounds just shooting up steroids, when most steroids just help with the recovery process. So he would have had to be working out like a dog, but instead it implies he wasn't (telling a team-mate he worked out with a football coach as if it was a lie), that steroids are "magic beans" that suddenly make you muscular and stronger without effort.

The story goes to great effort to try to say Naulty was never a MLB caliber pitcher, that he never would have gained much weight or strength without steroids, and that seems ridiculous on it's face. But it also creates an interesting moral to the tale, yes, by all means cheat, because steroids turned a skinny 180 pounder into a well paid major league pitcher with a world series ring.

L
   15. DA Baracus Posted: May 30, 2012 at 02:44 PM (#4143172)
Steroids and religion. I'm stunned Repoz didn't post this yesterday.

I don't want to sound like I'm hand waving away steroids but when you write something like this:

In the nine seasons before steroid testing, players crashed the 50-home run threshold 18 times, the 60-home run barrier six times. In the nine seasons with testing, there have been only six 50-homer seasons. Nobody has hit 60.


you completely ignore other factors, such as new ballparks that aren't as homer friendly. Ryan Howard, Adrian Beltre and ARod have had 48 HR and Pujols had 49... potentially 7 balls that were caught in the outfield at a new park that would have been out in the parks they replaced. That would change that number from 18 vs 6 to a non-dramatic 18 vs 13.
   16. Randy Jones Posted: May 30, 2012 at 02:50 PM (#4143179)
More BS. Greenies wear off after about 4 hours, and after that you can sleep well, much better than if you have been using caffeine to stay up. The only side affect of amphetamines is that you tend to dehydrate, so you are thirsty a lot, so getting up to pee can break the sleep cycle. But again, caffeine is much worse in that regard.


As someone who has done his share of stimulants(adderall, ritalin, cocaine). This is absolutely untrue. Lots and lots of trouble sleeping, even after the drugs have worn off. This does vary person to person though.
   17. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: May 30, 2012 at 03:11 PM (#4143210)
Since 2005, there have been 527 violations of the drug testing agreement by minor league players and 35 by major leaguers -- about 70 confirmed cheats every year.


Those are much larger numbers than I would have guessed. Do most of these go unreported?
   18. Randy Jones Posted: May 30, 2012 at 03:15 PM (#4143214)
Since 2005, there have been 527 violations of the drug testing agreement by minor league players and 35 by major leaguers -- about 70 confirmed cheats every year.


Those are much larger numbers than I would have guessed. Do most of these go unreported?


Don't those numbers also include those who test positive for recreational drugs and not just PED's?
   19. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: May 30, 2012 at 03:28 PM (#4143235)
It's a good article that, regardless of one's stand on the subject, offers both confirmation and something tough to chew over.

To me, Verducci's weakest drop-in was yet another retroactive invocation of the legendary-in-every-sense Fay Vincent memo. Many of the memo's recipients don't ever remember seeing it. Its unilateral provisions were always toothless and unenforceable. Steroids were apparently a tack-on item to the "including..." list of substances. And, unless I'm mistaken, not even Bud Selig brought the memo up to Congress when he desperately needed any "concerned Timecop" counterexample he could find to sell his and MLB's past diligence.

Treating the Vincent memo as if it played any role in sounding an early alarm, let alone in the eventual D.C. showdown and the subsequent testing, is like giving pinball manufacturers pioneer credit for creating the internet.
   20. alilisd Posted: May 30, 2012 at 03:45 PM (#4143255)
Oh what crap. I was the 6' tall equivalent of Naulty (went from 170 to 195) and put on _15_ pounds of muscle by doing pushups for 20 minutes 5 days a week and drinking the occasional protein shake from Costco. At age 35.


Oh what crap.
   21. alilisd Posted: May 30, 2012 at 03:46 PM (#4143257)
when most steroids just help with the recovery process.


You really don't know what you're talking about.
   22. Tripon Posted: May 30, 2012 at 03:55 PM (#4143273)
If there's one thing, the use of steroids as help with rehab from injuries under medical supervision should be allowed by any sporting body.
   23. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 30, 2012 at 03:56 PM (#4143274)
In the nine seasons before steroid testing, players crashed the 50-home run threshold 18 times, the 60-home run barrier six times. In the nine seasons with testing, there have been only six 50-homer seasons. Nobody has hit 60.

you completely ignore other factors, such as new ballparks that aren't as homer friendly
The timeline of the drop in offense really does not fit the steroid explanation. Testing with real penalties was implemented in 2004, and the program was made notably stricter in 2005 and 2006. These are overall levels of offense in MLB (R/G) from 2000 to the present:

2000: 5.14 (peak of sillyball)
2001: 4.78
2002: 4.62
2003: 4.73
2004: 4.81 (implementation of new steroid policy)
2005: 4.59 (strengthening of steroid policy)
2006: 4.86 (another strengthening of steroid policy)
2007: 4.80
2008: 4.65
2009: 4.61
2010: 4.38 (real drop in offense)
2011: 4.28
2012: 4.25

This doesn't coincide with park-building, either. It's gotta be the baseballs, with possibly some level of strike zone effect.
   24. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 30, 2012 at 04:02 PM (#4143281)
I'll add that I liked this article a lot. Verducci is too credulous about the stories which his sources tell, but he records in good prose a really interesting set of oral-historical narratives, reflections, and moral reasoning.
   25. simon bedford Posted: May 30, 2012 at 04:02 PM (#4143284)
if you take amps regularly they dont wear off after 4 hours, and if you are taking them regularly then you need to take more to have the same effect, so throwing down a handful of amps before game time will not mean in 4 hours you will be ready for a nice relaxed sleep, quite the opposite.
   26. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: May 30, 2012 at 04:31 PM (#4143330)
Do most of these go unreported?

No, just uncared about. (Unless you follow the careers of guys like Jose Pasen.)

24: That's more or less my take, though I think I might be more annoyed at Verducci's moralizing and acceptance of claims than you.

Kind of wish Brett Roberts had stuck with basketball.
   27. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: May 30, 2012 at 04:33 PM (#4143331)
Greenies wear off after about 4 hours
Others have commented. It also means you didn't take any in the 7th inning for a boost (which would add another four hours. Pharmacokinetics are a big ####### average, not a bright line.
   28. depletion Posted: May 30, 2012 at 05:22 PM (#4143375)
Greenies wear off after about 4 hours, and after that you can sleep well

Not the ones they made in 1974.
   29. Bob Tufts Posted: May 30, 2012 at 06:03 PM (#4143406)
I threw a player a 2-0 changeup once in Albuquerque and he grounded out to shortstop. While going back to the dugout he went by the mound and screamed "I'll kill you!".

The next day he came out of the locker room and ran over towards me in the outfield. I dropped my glove expecting a fight but he put both hands in the air and waved them, indicating he was not about to throw puches. He apologized to me, saying that he had just taken a second upper and it had just kicked in when the at bat started.

   30. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: May 30, 2012 at 06:12 PM (#4143414)
I threw a player a 2-0 changeup once in Albuquerque and he grounded out to shortstop. While going back to the dugout he went by the mound and screamed "I'll kill you!".

The next day he came out of the locker room and ran over towards me in the outfield. I dropped my glove expecting a fight but he put both hands in the air and waved them, indicating he was not about to throw puches. He apologized to me, saying that he had just taken a second upper and it had just kicked in when the at bat started.


Promise me that when they make the movie of your life you insist that Bill Paxton plays the role of this player. He or the guy who played Tuco on Breaking Bad would be great for this.
   31. Repoz Posted: May 30, 2012 at 06:16 PM (#4143418)
but he put both hands in the air

You faced Alex Liddi?

(ducks)
   32. puck Posted: May 30, 2012 at 06:59 PM (#4143453)
Either him or Five Ives.
   33. Bob Tufts Posted: May 30, 2012 at 08:40 PM (#4143544)
If it were Moises Alou I would also be concerned.
   34. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: May 30, 2012 at 08:51 PM (#4143561)
but he put both hands in the air

You faced Alex Liddi?
Saying "hey yo!"
   35. zenbitz Posted: May 30, 2012 at 09:02 PM (#4143587)
@23 or weather?
   36. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: May 30, 2012 at 09:17 PM (#4143611)
It's baseballs. Just like it was in 1993-94
   37. susan mullen Posted: May 30, 2012 at 10:03 PM (#4143724)
According to Baseball Reference Dan Naulty was not on the 1999 Yankee post season roster for ALDS, ALCS or World Series.
   38. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 30, 2012 at 10:22 PM (#4143763)
Oh what crap. I was the 6' tall equivalent of Naulty (went from 170 to 195) and put on _15_ pounds of muscle by doing pushups for 20 minutes 5 days a week and drinking the occasional protein shake from Costco. At age 35. There is no doubt in my mind that you could go from 180 to 230 in 4 years without steroids.

1) This really varies from person to person.
2) If you were 6' 170 you were not the equivalent of Naulty -- Naulty was 6'6 180, which is really skinny. Kevin Martin is listed at 6'7 185 for comparison purposes. That's a skinny guy.
3) Some people just have trouble gaining weight. I've lifted weights pretty consistently for the last decade, I consume a ton of calories, and I've never been able to put on more than 10-15 lbs above my current weight (which is the same as what I weighed at 21).
   39. Downtown Bookie Posted: May 30, 2012 at 10:32 PM (#4143771)
I consume a ton of calories, and I've never been able to put on more than 10-15 lbs above my current weight (which is the same as what I weighed at 21).


Why in the world would anyone consider this a bad thing?

8-)

DB

Added the smiley on the EDIT. Just in case. Never know when I might be taken too seriously.
   40. Lars6788 Posted: May 30, 2012 at 11:30 PM (#4143814)
Naulty did pitch with the Yankees in 1999 if you are referring to whether or not Naulty would be considered part of the team /or would get a ring, regardless of whether or not he was on a postseason roster.

According to Baseball Reference Dan Naulty was not on the 1999 Yankee post season roster for ALDS, ALCS or World Series.
   41. valuearbitrageur Posted: May 31, 2012 at 01:04 AM (#4143885)
if you take amps regularly they dont wear off after 4 hours, and if you are taking them regularly then you need to take more to have the same effect, so throwing down a handful of amps before game time will not mean in 4 hours you will be ready for a nice relaxed sleep, quite the opposite.


I take them three times a day, is that enough? Never felt the need or desire to up my dosage ever, over two years plus. And sleep like a baby, even less than 4 hours after the last one (unless I also drink caffeine).

As someone who has done his share of stimulants(adderall, ritalin, cocaine). This is absolutely untrue. Lots and lots of trouble sleeping, even after the drugs have worn off. This does vary person to person though.


We aren't talking about Adderal, Ritalin, or cocaine, we are talking about amphetamines. Standard amphetamines clear the system quickly. Adderal & Ritalin are specially formulated amphetamines meant to be substantially longer lasting, about twice as long IIRC. It would have been pretty dumb to take a ADD medicine meant to last 8 hours for a 3 hour baseball game, again I think if the boy was taking regular greenies, he was using them for party enhancement after the games.
   42. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: May 31, 2012 at 01:39 AM (#4143896)
1) This really varies from person to person.
2) If you were 6' 170 you were not the equivalent of Naulty -- Naulty was 6'6 180, which is really skinny. Kevin Martin is listed at 6'7 185 for comparison purposes. That's a skinny guy.
3) Some people just have trouble gaining weight. I've lifted weights pretty consistently for the last decade, I consume a ton of calories, and I've never been able to put on more than 10-15 lbs above my current weight (which is the same as what I weighed at 21).


All true. I'm 5'9" and 10 years ago wasn't that skinny, but I went from 150 to 180 in about a year after hitting the weights like crazy. That was probably at least 10-20 pounds of muscle. Of course, I promptly hurt my shoulder and now every time I pick up a weight something pops in my back.
   43. drdr Posted: May 31, 2012 at 02:35 AM (#4143908)
if you take amps regularly they dont wear off after 4 hours, and if you are taking them regularly then you need to take more to have the same effect, so throwing down a handful of amps before game time will not mean in 4 hours you will be ready for a nice relaxed sleep, quite the opposite.



I take them three times a day, is that enough? Never felt the need or desire to up my dosage ever, over two years plus. And sleep like a baby, even less than 4 hours after the last one (unless I also drink caffeine).

As someone who has done his share of stimulants(adderall, ritalin, cocaine). This is absolutely untrue. Lots and lots of trouble sleeping, even after the drugs have worn off. This does vary person to person though.



We aren't talking about Adderal, Ritalin, or cocaine, we are talking about amphetamines. Standard amphetamines clear the system quickly. Adderal & Ritalin are specially formulated amphetamines meant to be substantially longer lasting, about twice as long IIRC. It would have been pretty dumb to take a ADD medicine meant to last 8 hours for a 3 hour baseball game, again I think if the boy was taking regular greenies, he was using them for party enhancement after the games.


It really depends on the person. I've never taken anything stronger than coffee/Coca Cola, but I can drink half a bottle of Cola in the evening and sleep normally all night. And I know some people who stay awake all night if they drink coffee in the afternoon.
   44. zenbitz Posted: May 31, 2012 at 10:45 AM (#4144066)
@38 - right it depends on the person. So it's not evidence of steroid use. I know big guys who fluctuate 40-50 lbs (call it 17-25% of their body weight).
In fact, it's NORMAL for a 20-something (I forget how old Naulty was when he juiced) to put on a bunch of muscle. When I was 20 I didn't even weigh 170.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Backlasher
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogHow Wall Street Strangled the Life out of Sabermetrics | VICE Sports
(12 - 1:54am, Oct 23)
Last: boteman

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - October 2014
(346 - 1:52am, Oct 23)
Last: Norcan

NewsblogOT: Politics, October 2014: Sunshine, Baseball, and Etch A Sketch: How Politicians Use Analogies
(3205 - 1:46am, Oct 23)
Last: Ray (RDP)

NewsblogMcSweeneys: NEW BASEBALL STATISTICS.
(14 - 1:39am, Oct 23)
Last: PreservedFish

NewsblogAd Week: What Is Madeleine Albright Doing on the Wheaties Box?
(8 - 1:13am, Oct 23)
Last: Howie Menckel

NewsblogSielski: A friend fights for ex-Phillie Dick Allen's Hall of Fame induction
(182 - 12:31am, Oct 23)
Last: Sunday silence

Newsblog2014 WORLD SERIES GAME 2 OMNICHATTER
(534 - 12:25am, Oct 23)
Last: The Yankee Clapper

NewsblogOT: NBC.news: Valve isn’t making one gaming console, but multiple ‘Steam machines’
(854 - 12:25am, Oct 23)
Last: DJS and the Infinite Sadness

NewsblogRoyals are not the future of baseball | FOX Sports
(30 - 12:08am, Oct 23)
Last: rlc

NewsblogStatcast: Posey out at the plate
(14 - 11:25pm, Oct 22)
Last: cardsfanboy

NewsblogCardinals proud of fourth straight NLCS appearance | cardinals.com
(65 - 10:38pm, Oct 22)
Last: cardsfanboy

NewsblogJerome Williams re-signs with Phils
(9 - 10:21pm, Oct 22)
Last: stevegamer

NewsblogJay set for surgery — and for CF in 2015 : Sports
(5 - 9:58pm, Oct 22)
Last: cardsfanboy

NewsblogHunter Pence responds to Royals fan signs with monster Game 1 | MLB.com
(54 - 7:50pm, Oct 22)
Last: JE (Jason)

NewsblogMike Scioscia, Matt Williams voted top managers
(43 - 7:45pm, Oct 22)
Last: catomi01

Page rendered in 0.5494 seconds
53 querie(s) executed