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Monday, September 24, 2012

The Baldest Truth: Nadel: Baseball’s enduring steroid stain

And here I thought the R Radical Record years were the enduring Stains.

Lots of people claim to be “old school,” but they’re not. I am.

Need proof? I get the newspaper every day. Need more proof? I read it, front to back. Need still more proof? I even read the agate pages in Sports!

...Anyway, something in the bottom right corner of the baseball agate page in today’s Charlotte Observer caught my eye. It was a string of items in the This Date In Baseball feature that AP makes available daily. Here is the string:

1988 - Jose Canseco became the first major leaguer to hit 40 homers and steal 40 bases in one season.

2000 - Rafael Palmeiro became the 32nd player to hit 400 home runs.

2001 - Alex Rodriguez hit his 48th home run, breaking the major league record for shortstops.

2001 - Sammy Sosa became the first player to hit three home runs in a game three times in a season.

2006 - Barry Bonds hit his 734th career home run, an NL record.

Yep, in baseball’s last quarter century, Sept. 23 was a big day for juicers.

Going forward, it’s going to be interesting how the game deals with its history concerning this period.

It’s difficult for the game to be proud of its heritage when so many of its major milestones were established by guys who got where they were by jabbing themselves in their keisters with syringes.

I mean, how many records and notable achievements involving home runs from 1985-2005 weren’t influenced by steroids?

Repoz Posted: September 24, 2012 at 11:40 PM | 319 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, steroids

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   1. Buzzkill Posted: September 25, 2012 at 12:07 AM (#4244805)
Of all the oddities, Sosa and Canseco feel the most egregious. What a day.
   2. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: September 25, 2012 at 12:15 AM (#4244809)
someone stop Repoz before he links again!!!
   3. bjhanke Posted: September 25, 2012 at 05:13 AM (#4244882)
Huh. And here I thought that the "steroid stain" would be newspaper ink spread by sportswriter fingers. - Brock Hanke
   4. John Northey Posted: September 25, 2012 at 06:35 AM (#4244896)
Meanwhile every last NFL record probably has the same stain from the mid-80's to today and beyond but no one cares.
   5. Leroy Kincaid Posted: September 25, 2012 at 07:04 AM (#4244899)
Oh yeah? I'm so old-school I keep slaves and don't allow my barefoot, perpetually pregnant wife to leave the kitchen, much less vote.
   6. salvomania Posted: September 25, 2012 at 08:53 AM (#4244935)
I wonder how many records from 1960-1985 weren't influenced by players under the influence of amphetamines?

I'll bet there were fewer "clean" records set during that era than after it.
   7. SoSH U at work Posted: September 25, 2012 at 11:52 AM (#4245138)

I'll bet there were fewer "clean" records set during that era than after it.


So you think guys stopped using amphetamines after 1985?

   8. salvomania Posted: September 25, 2012 at 11:55 AM (#4245145)
No, I think that's around the time people think steroid use started to become a factor.
   9. Fat Al Posted: September 25, 2012 at 12:13 PM (#4245175)
Meanwhile every last NFL record probably has the same stain from the mid-80's to today and beyond but no one cares.


Correct.
   10. dejarouehg Posted: September 25, 2012 at 04:39 PM (#4245499)
Meanwhile every last NFL record probably has the same stain from the mid-80's to today and beyond but no one cares.
Is there any individual NFL record that anyone cares about? They've changed the number of games and the rules so often that even without the blatantly obvious impact steroids has had on football, who does care?


I used to remember Namath throwing 4007 yards in a season, OJ running for 2003 yards and Tom Dempsey's 63 yard field goal. The first two I'm sure were obliterated (not sure about the latter) but baseball is the only game where numbers matter. NBA -- Chamberlain 100 pts in a game - is there anything else?

NHL - IS there any iconic record?

I've heard Selig whine repeatedly that baseball is held to a higher standard. I think that's something he should be proud of.
   11. Randy Jones Posted: September 25, 2012 at 04:49 PM (#4245512)
Tom Dempsey's 63 yard field goal. The first two I'm sure were obliterated (not sure about the latter)

It's been tied 3 times, most recently a week ago.

NHL - IS there any iconic record?

There are many; they all belong to Gretzky.
   12. bunyon Posted: September 25, 2012 at 04:56 PM (#4245524)
Is the lack of a longer than 63 yard field goal a strategic one? Because it seems unbelievable to me that someone hasn't gone longer.
   13. AROM Posted: September 25, 2012 at 05:00 PM (#4245533)
NBA -- Chamberlain 100 pts in a game


There's a fundamental difference in the sports. Part of it is because baseball has no clock, and part is that in other sports scoring opportunities are chosen instead of having to wait your turn.

Chamberlain scored 100 points in a game because after a big start, he and his teammates decided to go for it. The got him the ball every opportunity, and fouled the opponents to get the ball back quickly. Normally, when a team has a big lead in basketball they slow down a bit instead of trying to run up the score. You never see a team up by 10+ points take a shot in the last 24 seconds of a game - they dribble it out.

There is no such situation in baseball. With a huge lead you might pinch hit and rest your stars, but if they are in the game the pitcher is trying to get them out and they are trying to hit the ball hard, whether it's a 1 run game or the score is 22-3.

Earlier this year Josh Hamilton hit 4 homers in a game and had a chance to be the first player to hit 5. If he had done that, it's hard to see anything illegitimate about it in the way that Chamberlain's game didn't set well with some opponents or observers.
   14. AROM Posted: September 25, 2012 at 05:03 PM (#4245539)
A comparable feat in baseball would be if someone wanted to break the strikeout record of 20. Towards the end of the game the pitcher is leading 15-1 so the outcome is safe. He's got 18 strikeouts in the 9th, batter hits a groundball to short. Shortstop boots it intentionally so the pitcher can try and strike someone out.

I don't think anything like that has ever happened in a baseball game, but it's pretty much the same as what happened in Wilt's 100 point game.
   15. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: September 25, 2012 at 05:05 PM (#4245544)
There are many; they all belong to Gretzky.


My favorite being that Gretzky has more assists (1,963) than any other player has points (Mark Messier is second behind Gretzky with 1,887). He had just shy of 1,000 more points than Messier (2,857). Ridiculous.
   16. Tom Nawrocki Posted: September 25, 2012 at 05:15 PM (#4245563)
I don't think anything like that has ever happened in a baseball game, but it's pretty much the same as what happened in Wilt's 100 point game.


This is apparently what happened in the famous Class-D game where Ron Necciai struck out 27 hitters. A batter had grounded out early on, but Necciai also had a guy reach on a dropped-third strike (not sure which inning). Then in the ninth, the shortstop committed an error, allowing a hitter to reach so that Necciai had a shot at his 27th strikeout.
   17. cardsfanboy Posted: September 25, 2012 at 05:25 PM (#4245577)
My favorite being that Gretzky has more assists (1,963) than any other player has points (Mark Messier is second behind Gretzky with 1,887). He had just shy of 1,000 more points than Messier (2,857). Ridiculous.


Cy Young's win total is in the same boat in my opinion. Along with the fact that nobody is ever going to come close to approaching it. (Note: I don't mean on the same scale of course, but that it's a large gap between number one 511, and number two 417 and three 317.... that is basically five GOOD years of wins difference between first and second)
   18. DCA Posted: September 25, 2012 at 05:25 PM (#4245580)
This game: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/HOU/HOU198909090.shtml

Going into the 9th inning, Astros up 4-0, Mike Scott had not allowed an assist -- all outs were fly outs or K's. This is apparently rarer than a perfect game, announcers said it had happened only 3 times before (or this would be the 3rd time).

Brett Butler led off the 9th with a walk.

(I have no memory of this:) Mike Laga pops up. I assume it was a bunt attempt.

Butler steals second (no throw).

Will Clark bunts to 2B, reluctantly they throw to first to record the out.
   19. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: September 25, 2012 at 05:32 PM (#4245592)
Going forward, it’s going to be interesting how the game deals with its history concerning this period.


I propose that we retire the number 25, and declare Sept 23rd to be Steroid Remembrance day. Every player wears a jersey with #25 on that day, and that day alone.

(in honor of Bonds, McGwire, Palmeiro, Giambi, Troy Glaus, Mike Cameron, Jay Gibbons, etc, all of whom wore #25)
   20. Walt Davis Posted: September 25, 2012 at 09:31 PM (#4245761)
If steroids leave a stain, they should be a lot easier to detect.
   21. Morty Causa Posted: September 25, 2012 at 10:21 PM (#4245796)
I have no doubt that players took amphetamines during the '60s and '70s, but exactly what accomplishments, hitting or pitching, leads people to believe that those greenies made a difference? In the steroid era we have all those guys hitting homeruns in the '40s, '50s, 60s (and two guys with 70 or better). We have an unprecedentated number of players hitting over 400 and 500 and 600 homers. We have pitchers doing fairly extraordinary things, too. What is the counterpart to this for the "greenie" era before steroids?
   22. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: September 25, 2012 at 11:33 PM (#4245846)
I have no doubt that players took amphetamines during the '60s and '70s, but exactly what accomplishments, hitting or pitching, leads people to believe that those greenies made a difference?

Nothing except a fervent wish to cast steroids users as innocent by association. There's no issue discussed on BTF where the opinions are so lopsided, as can be evidenced by the overwhelming HoF support for Mark McGwire. They'll look at Hank Aaron's raw late career stats, ignore the change from County Stadium to the Launching Pad, seriously try to compare the minuscule spike in his power stats to the Olympian late career leap by Barry Bonds, and then call you a "hypocrite" if you don't accept their comparison. But then I'm not telling you anything you haven't witnessed here a hundred times already. It's the deadest horse in the BTF stable.

   23. AJMcCringleberry Posted: September 26, 2012 at 01:55 AM (#4245912)
I have no doubt that players took amphetamines during the '60s and '70s, but exactly what accomplishments, hitting or pitching, leads people to believe that those greenies made a difference?

I don't know if it means anything, but look at the pitching leaderboards for IP, wins, and strikeouts. Guys from the 60's and 70's are highly represented near the top.
   24. Repoz Posted: September 26, 2012 at 05:58 AM (#4245930)
I have no doubt that players took amphetamines during the '60s and '70s, but exactly what accomplishments, hitting or pitching, leads people to believe that those greenies made a difference?

Pete Rose missing about 10 games in a 13-year run which helped him push past Cobb...
   25. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 06:54 AM (#4245934)
Pete Rose missing about 10 games in a 13-year run which helped him push past Cobb...

Staying healthy.

I don't know if it means anything, but look at the pitching leaderboards for IP, wins, and strikeouts. Guys from the 60's and 70's are highly represented near the top.

Usage patterns.

Nothing except a fervent wish to cast steroids users as innocent by association.

Yep.
   26. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 26, 2012 at 07:19 AM (#4245938)
I have no doubt that players took amphetamines during the '60s and '70s, but exactly what accomplishments, hitting or pitching, leads people to believe that those greenies made a difference?


Koufax 382
Ryan 383
Ryan 5714
1968
Wills 104
Brock 118
Aaron 755
Mays 660
Brock 938
Gibson 1.12
McLain 31
Rose 4256
Marshall 106
Maris 61
5 pitchers who started their careers in the 60s broke Walter Johnson's strikeout record (and one who started his career in 1970
Prior to 1993 the list of top ten HR hitters in baseball history featured 4 of the top 5 and 6 of the top 10 starting their careers in the 50s.
Top three players in games played all played the majority of their careers in the "amphetamine era".

That's all ######## of course but it seems like there was more than a little interesting stuff happening in the 60s and 70s. If you look at amps with the same critical eye as steroids you get pretty similar results.
   27. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: September 26, 2012 at 07:42 AM (#4245940)
How exactly did amphetamines help Bob Gibson get a 1.12 ERA? By including "1968" without explanation are you saying amphetamines helped pitchers more than hitters?
   28. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 26, 2012 at 08:26 AM (#4245956)
How exactly did amphetamines help Bob Gibson get a 1.12 ERA? By including "1968" without explanation are you saying amphetamines helped pitchers more than hitters?


If steroids magically helped hitters more than pitchers in the 90s why is it so unreasonable that pitchers were the beneficiaries in the 60s?

My position is I have no clue how much any of this stuff helps. However, I think it's erroneous to simply claim that lots of historic stuff happened in the steroid era thus proving that steroids are magic pills while not similarly acknowledging the amphetamine era as having its share of historic events.

There was a direct question asked and I think the same anecdotal evidence exists to answer it the same way that question is asked and answered regarding the steroid era.
   29. bunyon Posted: September 26, 2012 at 09:08 AM (#4245980)
I have no doubt that players took amphetamines during the '60s and '70s, but exactly what accomplishments, hitting or pitching, leads people to believe that those greenies made a difference?

I see that 28 got most of the points. I sympathize with those that think speed didn't do as much as steroids. Perhaps you're right. But they're both examples of using illegal substances to gain an advantage on the field. While I think you guys saying "Nothing except a fervent wish to cast steroids users as innocent by association," have a point, it isn't that the steroid users are innocent; it's that the speed users of the 60s and 70s weren't.

If we have to "deal with" the steroid era, we should "deal with" the amphetemine era. My opinion is we should simply note the context of the historical record, as we should with all historical records. Steroids, directly or indirectly, most likely boosted the HR count. So did bandbox ballparks and livelier bats/balls. Talking about 70+ HR without taking all of it into consideration is silly. Dismissing it as though it was a complete fraud is also silly.

If you don't like the steroid era, fine - I personally prefer a more sophisticated sort of game myself than the TTO game of the late 90s, early 00s. But if it was a fraud, as many of you claim, why did you watch? Why do you care about the game now when there are still users about? Why not go watch sports "better regulated"? Every era has it's villains and cheats, if you don't like those folks in the story, you need to put down the book.
   30. Ron J2 Posted: September 26, 2012 at 09:37 AM (#4245994)
With Koufax (and probably others) you've got Butazolidin (a very powerful, very dangerous anti-inflammatory. Intended for use in horses and banned for use there in the 1970s). According to his biographer Jane Leavy, "His elbow was as big as his knee. The only difference was his knee bent."

The huge number of innings that a front line starter was expected to pull back then was very hard on the arm. Between starts, Koufax could barely lift his left arm, so he often had to comb his hair and shave with his right hand. (Not a new story. By the end of his 59 win season Hoss Radbourn couldn't comb raise his right arm high enough to touch his ear. Took him two hours to get loose enough to pitch)
   31. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 09:43 AM (#4245997)
If we have to "deal with" the steroid era, we should "deal with" the amphetemine era.

It's been dealt with. People knew at the time that amps were rampant -- since all sorts of still-active players said so (*)-- and people know now that amps were rampant. The anti-anti-roiders just don't like the way it's been dealt with.

(*) There was far more contemporaneous and near-contemporaneous honesty and acknowledgment of amps during the "amp era" than steroids during the Steroid Era.

   32. bunyon Posted: September 26, 2012 at 09:46 AM (#4246000)
(*) There was far more contemporaneous and near-contemporaneous honesty and acknowledgment of amps during the "amp era" than steroids during the Steroid Era.

So, you guys back then held your heroes to lower standards than you want us to hold ours to? Not sure I get it. Sorry our guys mashed your home run records to smithereens.
   33. McCoy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 09:54 AM (#4246009)
Before the steroid era came along the greenie era (which wasn't just the 60's and 70's) was the greatest home run era of all time. 500 Club was created and populated during the greenie era.
   34. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 09:55 AM (#4246011)
So, you guys back then held your heroes to lower standards than you want us to hold ours to? Not sure I get it. Sorry our guys mashed your home run records to smithereens

This is kind of weird and indesipherable.

It is incorrect to say that the "amphetemine era" was not "dealt with." It was.

This might be a good time to reiterate that many arguments in this vein are not posed in good faith -- as their proponents aren't really interested in a discussion of amps, and don't really care about amp use, other than as it is juxtaposed against steroid use. It remains a subspecies of concern trolling.
   35. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: September 26, 2012 at 09:55 AM (#4246012)
I see that 28 got most of the points. I sympathize with those that think speed didn't do as much as steroids. Perhaps you're right. But they're both examples of using illegal substances to gain an advantage on the field. While I think you guys saying "Nothing except a fervent wish to cast steroids users as innocent by association," have a point, it isn't that the steroid users are innocent; it's that the speed users of the 60s and 70s weren't.

IMO part of the problem in trying to have an intelligent discussion comes from the hardliners who completely obfuscate the issue by pretending that steroids are "magic pills", as opposed to the less melodramatic reality that steroids were one of several factors in the "steroid era" that helped to increase those home run totals. This is then compounded by those on the "other" side who seize upon every pinata post as proof of "hysteria" and ignore the fact that many hardliners have no affection for or connection to the sort of morons who go around conflating the evidence against Barry Bonds with the "evidence" against Jeff Bagwell. Between these two mentally challenged groups of individuals, you feel like you've walked into competing conventions of the Tea Party and the Socialist Workers Party that accidentally got scheduled in the same arena on the same day. They've both got their rigid agendas and they both consider anything less than 100% agreement to be some sort of crime against humanity.
   36. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 26, 2012 at 09:58 AM (#4246017)
Before the steroid era came along the greenie era (which wasn't just the 60's and 70's) was the greatest home run era of all time. 500 Club was created and populated during the greenie era.

Ummm, you think that might have something to do with the mass interruption of careers due to WW2? There's a very good reason the great players of the '30's and '40's didn't reach 500.

You also have the expansion of the schedule to 162 games in 1961, which was a big help for counting stats.

With a 162 G schedule and no war, a bunch of guys like Greenberg, Mize, DiMaggio, etc. probably break 500. Bot to mention Gehrig randomly dying 7 HRs short.
   37. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:01 AM (#4246020)
This might be a good time to reiterate that many arguments in this vein are not posed in good faith -- as their proponents aren't really interested in a discussion of amps, and don't really care about amp use, other than as it is juxtaposed against steroid use. It remains a subspecies of concern trolling.


It's not about "good faith" it's about the double standard that people who want to penalize steroid users while ignoring amp use.

The point is that neither drug usage was legal, that both enhanced performances, but one is acceptable and one is not. They are both cheating and both led to records being broken and led to tainted games. The difference is that the Hank Aarons and Willie Mays of the world are given a pass because the people that worshiped them aren't intelligent enough(or informed enough) to recognize that it's cheating in a similar vein.

People that defend amp users while attacking roid users are doing it out of either piss poor education, or a misguided sense of loyalty to their heroes. No other reasoning behind it.


   38. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:05 AM (#4246024)
How exactly did amphetamines help Bob Gibson get a 1.12 ERA? By including "1968" without explanation are you saying amphetamines helped pitchers more than hitters?


Amps helped keep you alert, Gibson was famous for completing his game with the same intensity that he started them with, isn't it probable that he had some help maintaining that edge?
   39. McCoy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:05 AM (#4246025)
It isn't just on a career level but on a seasonal level as well.
   40. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:08 AM (#4246027)
If we have to "deal with" the steroid era, we should "deal with" the amphetemine era. My opinion is we should simply note the context of the historical record, as we should with all historical records. Steroids, directly or indirectly, most likely boosted the HR count. So did bandbox ballparks and livelier bats/balls. Talking about 70+ HR without taking all of it into consideration is silly. Dismissing it as though it was a complete fraud is also silly.

Completely agree with that. I don't want known juicers in the Hall of Fame, but contextualizing their records isn't really much different from contextualizing the records of the dead ball era or other eras with distinct rules, ballpark dimensions, etc.

If you don't like the steroid era, fine - I personally prefer a more sophisticated sort of game myself than the TTO game of the late 90s, early 00s. But if it was a fraud, as many of you claim, why did you watch? Why do you care about the game now when there are still users about? Why not go watch sports "better regulated"? Every era has it's villains and cheats, if you don't like those folks in the story, you need to put down the book.

Having followed the game for 60 years, I've learned to adjust my appreciation for many styles of play, and though I personally prefer a game where power / speed and offense / defense are more in balance than they were in either the late 60's or the late 90's, at the end it's still essentially the same game. And besides, whatever the style of play, today's overall talent level alone makes it a far better game to watch than I ever witnessed when I was growing up.
   41. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:09 AM (#4246028)
as their proponents aren't really interested in a discussion of amps, and don't really care about amp use


This is true. However, the proponents of this argument generally seem to have a similar viewpoint regarding steroids (I know this is where I fall).

What I find puzzling is how one can be vehemently anti-steroids but not similarly opposed to amphetamines. The idea that the "amphetamine era was dealt with" makes no sense unless by "dealt with" means "allowed to stand unquestioned." If that's your position then I'd like to understand the differences between steroids and amphetamines. As cfb noted there is an acceptability to amps that is not there for steroids and I can't comprehend that.
   42. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:10 AM (#4246033)
People that defend amp users while attacking roid users are doing it out of either piss poor education, or a misguided sense of loyalty to their heroes. No other reasoning behind it.

The reasons are that amps weren't as effective as steroids in accomplishing their aims, and didn't impact as many games due primarily to the nature of their application. Secondary reasons are the different acceptance rates of their usage among the game's factions, and the openness of their usage.

The point is that neither drug usage was legal, that both enhanced performances, but one is acceptable and one is not.

That's too broad a brush, but yes -- generally correct. The game's factions almost unanimously don't believe amp use impacted the game for the worse as much as steriod use. The primary reason is that amps did not "enhance performance" as much or as frequently as steroids.

You've latched onto superficial similarities in a (failed) attempt to revise the history of the Steroid Era. It simply isn't persuasive and it really hasn't persuaded many people. It's a rump, niche interpretation.

   43. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:10 AM (#4246034)
It isn't just on a career level but on a seasonal level as well.

162 vs. 154 games.
   44. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:13 AM (#4246038)
The amphetamine era of the 50s through the 80s (though it didn't actually decrease until the last decade) featured a ton of players making runs at longevity records, records which can only be set by a guy who plays hard every day of the season. That's precisely what amphetamines enable a body to do.

The 3000 hit club by decade of debut:

1870s: 1
1880s: 0
1890s: 1
1900s: 3
1910s: 0
1920s: 1
1930s: 0
1940s: 1
1950s: 4
1960s: 4
1970s: 6
1980s: 5
1990s: 1

The 500 HR club

1870s: 0
1880s: 0
1890s: 0
1900s: 0
1910s: 1
1920s: 2
1930s: 1
1940s: 0
1950s: 8
1960s: 1
1970s: 2
1980s: 6
1990s: 4

The 300 Win club

1870s: 1
1880s: 4
1890s: 2
1900s: 3
1910s: 1
1920s: 1
1930s: 1
1940s: 1
1950s: 0
1960s: 6
1970s: 0
1980s: 4
1990s: 0

I think there's good prima facie evidence that players career totals were boosted by the usage of amphetamines to enable everyday play at a high level.
   45. McCoy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:14 AM (#4246039)
re 43. They didn't play 162 games in the 50's.
   46. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:14 AM (#4246040)
The idea that the "amphetamine era was dealt with" makes no sense unless by "dealt with" means "allowed to stand unquestioned."

That's exactly what it means. The era was contemplated with eyes wide open and the mainstream historical interpretation is that it should, not entirely but for the most part, be allowed to stand unquestioned.

   47. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:15 AM (#4246043)
The point is that neither drug usage was legal, that both enhanced performances, but one is acceptable and one is not. They are both cheating and both led to records being broken and led to tainted games. The difference is that the Hank Aarons and Willie Mays of the world are given a pass because the people that worshiped them aren't intelligent enough(or informed enough) to recognize that it's cheating in a similar vein.

People that defend amp users while attacking roid users are doing it out of either piss poor education, or a misguided sense of loyalty to their heroes. No other reasoning behind it.


This is exactly the sort of mentality I was referring to in #35. There's no way to respond to an argument that frames the issue in terms of generational hero worship and / or lack of intelligence. Too bad we can't resurrect Firing Line and arrange for nightly shouting matches between Primates like this and their counterparts Chass and Gumbel.
   48. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:20 AM (#4246048)
The 60s and 70s featured a ton of players making runs at longevity records, records which can only be set by a guy who plays hard every day of the season.

Those records are no such thing. Paul Molitor was hurt all the time, used cocaine, and still made it to 3,000 hits. Three-hundred wins isn't even an everyday player record.

There are other historical changes that account for the numbers you see, two straightforward ones are (1) increased salaries incentivizing longevity; and (2) vast increases in quality of training and nutrition, and understanding of physiology. Add (3) the advent of year-round dedication and training; and (4) dramatic improvements in surgery and sports medicine.

The idea that amps explain the numbers in the charts barely passes the laugh test.

EDIT: And guys born in the 1940s came of baseball age during the "amp era," and played their entire careers in it. What explains their very low membership in the clubs?
   49. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:24 AM (#4246053)
The era was contemplated with eyes wide open and the mainstream historical interpretation is that it should, not entirely but for the most part, be allowed to stand unquestioned.


So the mainstream historical interpretation is the correct one? Why are amps banned today? It does not seem to make a lot of sense to say that amps were fine, then ban them anyway. If amps are OK then they shouldn't be banned, if they should be banned then why should we not look back at that era with an appropriate level of skepticism toward the accomplishments?
   50. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:27 AM (#4246057)
So the mainstream historical interpretation is the correct one?

I believe so, yes. Like any other matter of history, you will find holdout revisionists.

Why are amps banned today?

They aren't particularly healthy, for one thing. It isn't a good thing to have guys grabbing pills out of jars on their own.

They're banned in most other sports as well.
   51. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:28 AM (#4246061)
The reasons are that amps weren't as effective as steroids in accomplishing their aims, and didn't impact as many games due primarily to the nature of their application. Secondary reasons are the different acceptance rates of their usage among the game's factions, and the openness of their usage.


And that is an absurdly moronic comment. I mean that is like someone who makes $20,000 a year who is voting for a republican because they will pay less in taxes, level of stupidity.

Amps help, period. You are able to play in back to back games so the counting numbers go up. You have better hand eye coordination so it's easier to hit the ball or throw it to where you want to throw it with accuracy. To say any different is ####### absurd.

That's too broad a brush, but yes -- generally correct. The game's factions almost unanimously don't believe amp use impacted the game for the worse as much as steriod use. The primary reason is that amps did not "enhance performance" as much or as frequently as steroids.


And that in itself is silly. People talk about roid usage as if the popularity of the usage of roids happened in a vacuum, it didn't, it happened at a time that baseball players were changing their workout regiments. Where the myth of weight lifting is detrimental to a players ability to hit a baseball has gone the way of the dodo. Add in the combination of other factors(parks getting smaller, salaries getting larger allowing players to workout full time in the off season, and even an acceptance of the three true outcomes....the fact is that even with the increase of offense supposedly by the roid usage, it never approached the level of offense we saw in the 30's.)

Whatever the less intelligent people believe shouldn't affect a reasonable discourse on the subject. 40% of the U.S. population believe in a young earth. That doesn't mean we humor them by pretending there is actually a debate about evolution vs creationism. You pat them on the head, tell them the adults are talking, make sure they have no sharp objects and check to see if their velcro shoes are on properly as you send them on a scavenger hunt for a snipe.
   52. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:30 AM (#4246064)
So the mainstream historical interpretation is the correct one? Why are amps banned today? It does not seem to make a lot of sense to say that amps were fine, then ban them anyway.

Amps are banned today for the same set of reasons that 32 ounce sodas are banned in New York City: A combination of health and PR concerns that didn't exist until very recently.
   53. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:31 AM (#4246066)
You are able to play in back to back games so the counting numbers go up

How many games do you think Pete Rose played in that he literally could not have played in without amps? I'm not talking about the illusory "he played better," I'm talking about literally played in.
   54. bunyon Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:32 AM (#4246069)
You've latched onto superficial similarities in a (failed) attempt to revise the history of the Steroid Era. It simply isn't persuasive and it really hasn't persuaded many people. It's a rump, niche interpretation.

I'm not defending anyone. Steroid users were using illegal (and, though indirect, banned) substances with the idea that it would improve their performance. Which is exactly what amp users did. That the steroid users had better drugs doesn't make them worse people. They're all a bunch of guys doing whatever they can to win, because, in both eras, they are hyper-competitive, driven and hard-nosed SOBs.

If the general public didn't care about steroids, MLB and the players would still be happily shooting up. If the public had cared about amps, they'd have knocked it off.

You think I'm defending steroid users - I'm not. They were cheating.

Again I ask, though: if you aren't satisfied with how MLB has handled PEDs, why are you still watching? Why do you still care what happened in MLB in the 80s, 90s and 00s?
   55. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:33 AM (#4246071)
This is exactly the sort of mentality I was referring to in #35. There's no way to respond to an argument that frames the issue in terms of generational hero worship and / or lack of intelligence. Too bad we can't resurrect Firing Line and arrange for nightly shouting matches between Primates like this and their counterparts Chass and Gumbel.


Because the amp crowd hasn't bothered to bring in a discussion.

Your arguments is along the lines of
1. Nobody but bbtf cares about amps, so bbtf is wrong and I'm right because I side with the masses.
.....

I'm not sure if you have another argument. Honestly we don't care what the masses say about this argument. They are wrong. Simple as that. The BBTF crowd generally sees it as if you are going to bash roid users you are being hypocritical to not bash amp users. They are both cheating in the performance enhancing way.


I don't think anyone has a problem with putting in testing and trying to stop roid usage, it's about the retroactive viewing of their accomplishments that is the debate. And there is no difference between roid usage and amp usage in that point of view. I mean sure, technically amp usage is a magic pill that makes you instantly a better ball player, while roid usage is a supplement that requires you dedicate dozens or hundreds of hours of your off time to get any sort of improvement, but they are basically the same thing from the point of view that they might possibly enhance your performance.
   56. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:35 AM (#4246078)
Amps help, period. You are able to play in back to back games so the counting numbers go up. You have better hand eye coordination so it's easier to hit the ball or throw it to where you want to throw it with accuracy. To say any different is ####### absurd.

At best all that effect does is to restore a player's natural talent during times when he's fatigued. There is zero evidence on the playing field that it has ever done anything more than that. If you want to consider that effect in itself a form of "enhancement", that's your druthers, but it's of a nature that's distinctive from the sort of enhancement effect of added muscles.
   57. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:36 AM (#4246081)
Which is exactly what amp users did.

So did coffee drinkers, so the concept needs to be better-refined for it to have any weight. Coffee drinkers drink coffee to improve their performance.

Again I ask, though: if you aren't satisfied with how MLB has handled PEDs, why are you still watching? Why do you still care what happened in MLB in the 80s, 90s and 00s?


I didn't watch as much from about 1997-2007, and I don't care as much about what happened in those years as the years before and after. I said so on these boards during that era. The late Barry Bonds years were a carnival freak show, which I said then and still believe.
   58. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:39 AM (#4246085)
How many games do you think Pete Rose played in that he literally could not have played in without amps? I'm not talking about the illusory "he played better," I'm talking about literally played in.


Don't know. How many homeruns could Mark McGwire have hit without steroids, since it's commonly known he didn't take until after his lost year, and he hit 49 in his rookie year....

The point is nobody knows how much this crap helped out. Not sure why you remove the illusory he played better from the argument, without amps he plays worse, if he plays worse, he may get benched more frequently to rest from the manager. You can't separate the performance from the enhancer.
   59. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:40 AM (#4246087)
Don't know

Is it more than zero? Did Pete Rose play a single major league game that he would not have been able to play in without popping a greenie?
   60. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:47 AM (#4246096)
There are other historical changes that account for the numbers you see, two straightforward ones are (1) increased salaries incentivizing longevity; and (2) vast increases in quality of training and nutrition, and understanding of physiology. Add (3) the advent of year-round dedication and training; and (4) dramatic improvements in surgery and sports medicine.

The idea that amps explain the numbers in the charts barely passes the laugh test.
I could change maybe four words in this post, and it would be Steve Treder or Chris Dial explaining how steroids don't help you hit home runs, and pointing at the HR totals of McGwire and Bonds isn't good analysis.

Heck, I could cross out "amps" and write "steroids" and it'd be pretty much that same argument.

We'll never have the precision tools to tease out the different factors, and there's no doubt that improved training techniques helped a ton for both Pete Rose and Mark McGwire. I'm pretty confident that steroids are a better PED, and had larger effects on player performance than amps. But both had significant effects (and bear significant health risks) and it's good that baseball banned them.
   61. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:48 AM (#4246098)
I mean sure, technically amp usage is a magic pill that makes you instantly a better ball player,

Compared to what? Are you seriously saying that a well rested player's natural talent level would be improved by amphetamines? If (for instance) Hank Aaron had started amping up as a 20 year old, are you claiming that his career stats would be greater than they were? If not, then how does that square with what you're saying?

while roid usage is a supplement that requires you dedicate dozens or hundreds of hours of your off time to get any sort of improvement,

No question about that, and I've always mocked and derided anyone who's pretended that they were some sort of a magic pill.

but they are basically the same thing from the point of view that they might possibly enhance your performance.

Again, one "enhances" by restoration, while the other helps to enhance, period. And that's a distinction that speaks to the central point that the latter makes for a true competitive advantage in a way that the former doesn't. But since this is pretty much a matter of philosophical outlook, it's unlikely to ever be resolved in any substantive way. At best you can say that "my" side of this is more represented in the current views of the baseball media, but that in itself doesn't really prove much of anything, not when you've got so many yahoos out there talking about bacne and such.
   62. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:50 AM (#4246101)
At best all that effect does is to restore a player's natural talent during times when he's fatigued. There is zero evidence on the playing field that it has ever done anything more than that. If you want to consider that effect in itself a form of "enhancement", that's your druthers, but it's of a nature that's distinctive from the sort of enhancement effect of added muscles.


Amps help hand eye coordination, yes it brings it up to the peak levels for that person, but for the most part people don't perform at their peak levels for any length of time naturally. The number one skill in baseball is hand eye coordination. Amps help there more than roids do. (note the reason I think a corked bat helps so much is not that it helps you hit the ball farther, it's that the negligible weight difference helps you control the bat more and hit the sweet spot more frequently, which is why those studies that say you don't hit the ball farther with a corked bat are missing the point)


The argument is what is the real difference between these types of cheating? You are saying that it boils down to the fact that the players are able to get stronger and faster than they can naturally. I'm saying that amps are allowing them to maintain a higher level of peak performance than they can do naturally. I don't see the difference.

   63. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:51 AM (#4246103)
I'm pretty confident that steroids are a better PED, and had larger effects on player performance than amps.

So you essentially agree with the historical consensus.
   64. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:52 AM (#4246105)
Compared to what? Are you seriously saying that a well rested player's natural talent level would be improved by amphetamines? If (for instance) Hank Aaron had started amping up as a 20 year old, are you claiming that his career stats would be greater than they were? If not, then how does that square with what you're saying?


I'm saying that if you take an amp, even if you are well rested, you are a better player. They don't just wake you up. They allow you to have peak reaction time, peak hand eye coordination(provided you haven't over dosed yourself to the point of being jittery) peak reflexes. You can be perfectly rested and still improve by taking amps.
   65. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:54 AM (#4246110)
re 43. They didn't play 162 games in the 50's.

But the big HR hitter that debuted in the '50's played into the '60's (Mantle, Mays, Aaron, Robinson, etc.)
   66. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:54 AM (#4246112)
Is it more than zero? Did Pete Rose play a single major league game that he would not have been able to play in without popping a greenie?


Probably. Managers bench players all the time if they aren't performing well enough to be worth keeping in the lineup. Rumors abounded for years that Cal Ripken was hurting the team by not taking a day off. Without greenies, Roses numbers wouldn't have been as good and would have been benched to rest him.
   67. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:56 AM (#4246114)
They allow you to have peak reaction time, peak hand eye coordination(provided you haven't over dosed yourself to the point of being jittery) peak reflexes.

What reason do you have to believe that amp users regularly calibrated their use so as not to be "jittery"? The typical image of guys reaching into the greenie jar set out in the middle of the clubhouse would seem to be entirely at odds with proper dosage/calibration. For that matter, so would the frequent stories we hear today of guys just taking a bunch of supplements without paying attention.
   68. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 11:01 AM (#4246121)
Probably. Managers bench players all the time if they aren't performing well enough to be worth keeping in the lineup. Rumors abounded for years that Cal Ripken was hurting the team by not taking a day off. Without greenies, Roses numbers wouldn't have been as good and would have been benched to rest him.

So then, even in your mind, it's possible that Rose didn't play a single extra game as a direct result of using greenies. Why, then, should anyone take seriously the "longevity records" claim?

And what makes you think his performance without greenies would have (1) been so bad that his manager would have demanded that he be benched; and (2) that Rose would have went along with the request? Those are pure speculation ... invention, really.
   69. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: September 26, 2012 at 11:01 AM (#4246122)
Compared to what? Are you seriously saying that a well rested player's natural talent level would be improved by amphetamines? If (for instance) Hank Aaron had started amping up as a 20 year old, are you claiming that his career stats would be greater than they were? If not, then how does that square with what you're saying?


I think that a well rested player's performance level could potentially be improved by carefully titrated amphetamine use, yes. Quick reaction tasks like swinging a bat at a moving ball are best performed within a relatively narrow window of central nervous system and psychological arousal. I can certainly see the potential for performance improvement, not just by using amphetamines to raise your arousal levels into that window, but also for using carefully titrated barbiturates to lower your arousal level into that same window.

As for a 20 year old Aaron, I can definitely see a case for early amphetamine usage improving his numbers. All you have to posit is that the grind of playing 154 games in an era before team planes and when teams still played double-headers caused him to be less than well-rested (and thus at suboptimal levels of arousal) for some games. Had he taken amphetamines for those games from the beginning of his career, it's not too far-fetched to believe that he's still the all-time home run king today.
   70. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 11:04 AM (#4246125)
Had he taken amphetamines for those games from the beginning of his career, it's not too far-fetched to believe that he's still the all-time home run king today.

I thought Aaron's age 20 season was during the "amp era."
   71. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: September 26, 2012 at 11:05 AM (#4246127)
I thought Aaron's age 20 season was during the "amp era."


Don't pullquote me there; I was responding to Andy's hypothetical.
   72. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 11:07 AM (#4246128)
So then, even in your mind, it's possible that Rose didn't play a single extra game as a direct result of using greenies. Why, then, should anyone take seriously the "longevity records" claim?


Huh, I just said he probably would have missed games by managers decree, because his performance wouldn't have been worthy of keeping him in the lineup.

And what makes you think his performance without greenies would have (1) been so bad that his manager would have demanded that he be benched; and (2) that Rose would have went along with the request? Those are pure speculation ... invention, really.

30+ years of watching baseball. Managers bench players all the time who seemed to be tired and need a rest. As to Rose going along with it? He wasn't the manager, he doesn't get to make that decision.


Pure speculation and invention. What makes you think that Mark McGwire wouldn't have hit 70 homeruns without roids? Silly argument. And I don't see the need to focus on just one player. It's about the whole era of greenie users.
   73. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 11:07 AM (#4246129)
Don't pullquote me there; I was responding to Andy's hypothetical.

OK, but the "amp era" has been customarily defined around here as starting a few years after WWII and extending to about 1985. Aaron's whole career was during that time, so presumably he was amping up even at 20 -- meaning there's nothing to imagine.
   74. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 26, 2012 at 11:09 AM (#4246130)
I'm pretty confident that steroids are a better PED, and had larger effects on player performance than amps.

So you essentially agree with the historical consensus.
What you call the "historical consensus" holds that the use of amphetamines has essentially zero impact on baseball's record book. I dispute that claim. I think steroids had a larger effect, but the effect of widespread amphetamine usage can be seen easily in the longevity records of the amphetamine generation.
   75. JJ1986 Posted: September 26, 2012 at 11:12 AM (#4246134)
Are you seriously saying that a well rested player's natural talent level would be improved by amphetamines?


No player is "well rested" during the season, so why does this matter?
   76. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 11:12 AM (#4246135)
Had he taken amphetamines for those games from the beginning of his career, it's not too far-fetched to believe that he's still the all-time home run king today.


Had he worked out without roids he probably is still the all time homerun king. What is getting lost in the argument is the number of players who have started working out and improved healthy habits.
   77. Danny Posted: September 26, 2012 at 11:16 AM (#4246141)
At best all that effect does is to restore a player's natural talent during times when he's fatigued. There is zero evidence on the playing field that it has ever done anything more than that. If you want to consider that effect in itself a form of "enhancement", that's your druthers, but it's of a nature that's distinctive from the sort of enhancement effect of added muscles.

I had forgotten how stupid this argument was. Andy believes amphetamines are just like coffee because he once read a book by someone saying that amphetamines don't always help. The dozens of studies showing the ways in which amphetamines boost athletic and mental performance are dismissed as insufficient, but we just know that steroids boost performance.

I don't know whether it's childhood hero worship or HR record worship, but it's certainly a double standard.
   78. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 11:17 AM (#4246143)
I think steroids had a larger effect, but the effect of widespread amphetamine usage can be seen easily in the longevity records of the amphetamine generation.

It can't be seen easily. In fact, it really can't be seen at all. There's really no case that the charts show the "effect of widespread amphetamine usage."

And the premise was faulty -- those records cannot be set "only by players who play hard every day of the season."(*) One isn't even an everyday player record.

(*) See, e.g., Paul Molitor.
   79. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 11:25 AM (#4246150)
It can't be seen easily. In fact, it really can't be seen at all. There's really no case that the charts show the "effect of widespread amphetamine usage."


Really? I guess you see what you want to see, but the large number of pitchers who won 300 during that era, the Cal Ripken games played record, the hits record, the homerun career record, the number of 500 homerun hitters who joined the club prior to weight lifting becoming commonplace etc. Indicates that players were playing at a higher level over the course of a full season and able to stay in there season after season.


Of course the health benefits of HGH and amps are pretty much the same, they allow players who shouldn't be playing the ability to play. HGH doesn't actually help you get stronger or faster, it helps you heal.
   80. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 11:29 AM (#4246154)
Really? I guess you see what you want to see, but the large number of pitchers who won 300 during that era, the Cal Ripken games played record, the hits record, the homerun career record, the number of 500 homerun hitters who joined the club prior to weight lifting becoming commonplace etc. Indicates that players were playing at a higher level over the course of a full season and able to stay in there season after season.

Records get broken over time; it happens in every sport. And naturally, as time goes on, more and more people get added to things like the 300 win and 3000 hit clubs. What else would you expect?

I see the numbers in the chart; what's inaccurate and sloppy is attributing them to "widespread amphetimine use." Based on what?

I don't get the last sentence. All the best seasons and best careers were during the "amp era"?
   81. Morty Causa Posted: September 26, 2012 at 11:31 AM (#4246156)
Do amphs synthesize with protein to create muscle tissue?

What would an amph regimen for training and for everyday performing look like?

(We do know that amphs are highly addictive and that you build a dosage tolerance. How does that factor in?)

This includes the you gotta pay the piper rule. Your body keeps a tab running on the rest you need. You just can't keep from paying that tab with a debt crisis.

   82. Morty Causa Posted: September 26, 2012 at 11:36 AM (#4246162)
Of course the health benefits of HGH and amps are pretty much the same, they allow players who shouldn't be playing the ability to play.


That's not a health benefit.

Furthermore, anyone who thinks HGH and amps are the same. . . .

HGH doesn't actually help you get stronger or faster, it helps you heal.


That's a health benefit. So is penicillin and other antibiotics--things that, say, Ty Cobb couldn't take advantage of.


   83. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: September 26, 2012 at 11:38 AM (#4246164)
Do amphs synthesize with protein to create muscle tissue?


How is this anything but a non sequitur. Suddenly, it's not whether the drug is illegal or performance enhancing that matters; it's the physiological mechanism by which it enhances performance? Just how many angels CAN dance on the head of a pin?

What would an amph regimen for training and for everyday performing look like?


None during training, amphetamines before at least some games (almost certainly day game after a night game, any time the player is feeling less than tip-top).

(We do know that amphs are highly addictive and that you build a dosage tolerance. How does that factor in?)


Higher dosages (e.g., the reports of grabbing a handful) or rotating one's uppers.

This includes the you gotta pay the piper rule. Your body keeps a tab running on the rest you need. You just can't keep from paying that tab with a debt crisis.


I have a feeling that's what the offseason was for.
   84. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4246171)
Suddenly, it's not whether the drug is illegal or performance enhancing that matters; it's the physiological mechanism by which it enhances performance?

Yes, of course it's the mechanics by which performance is enhanced and by how much and there's nothing "sudden" about it. It's the muddlers who have always insisted on the unrefined equivalence of everything "performance enhancing" and delving no deeper.

None during training, amphetamines before at least some games

And this is another critical difference between amps and steroids -- the number of games impacted. Amps last a game, tops.

Higher dosages (e.g., the reports of grabbing a handful) or rotating one's uppers.


Which runs the very real risk, attested to by Bouton and other players, of taking too much and being too wired or jittery.
   85. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4246172)
Records get broken over time; it happens in every sport. And naturally, as time goes on, more and more people get added to things like the 300 win and 3000 hit clubs. What else would you expect?


Ok.... so the single season record got broken over time, the career homerun record got broken over time, what do you expect, it happens in every sport..... I'm not seeing a different argument here.
   86. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 11:48 AM (#4246176)
Ok.... so the single season record got broken over time, the career homerun record got broken over time, what do you expect, it happens in every sport..... I'm not seeing a different argument here.

What are you expecting to see? No one's saying, "Barry Bonds broke the HR career record, therefore he used amps." Nor are they saying, "Barry Bonds broke the HR career record, therefore he used roids."

Of course the "chart" argument is stronger than these; it's "these longevity records were set because their holders used amps."
   87. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 11:49 AM (#4246177)
And this is another critical difference between amps and steroids -- the number of games impacted. Amps last a game, tops.


Nobody is saying they work the same, they are saying that they both enhance performance more than you can get if you didn't take them. There are different degrees of enhancement, and different methods of taking full advantage of the different forms, but they are both cheating in the same basic way.

They are allowing players to perform better than they would have performed in comparison to a normal "diet or regimen".

   88. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: September 26, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4246179)
Suddenly, it's not whether the drug is illegal or performance enhancing that matters; it's the physiological mechanism by which it enhances performance?

Yes, of course it's the mechanics by which performance is enhanced and by how much and there's nothing "sudden" about it.


So you're okay with HGH use, then? The consensus is that it almost certainly does nothing to enhance performance. Or is this simply another moving goalpost?

And this is another critical difference between amps and steroids -- the number of games impacted. Amps last a game, tops.


This distinction matters because....
   89. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 11:52 AM (#4246182)
What are you expecting to see? No one's saying, "Barry Bonds broke the HR career record, therefore he used amps."


No we are saying Hank Aaron broke the homerun record because he used amps.... wtf are you arguing for?

Have you lost the sight of your argument? We are saying that amps helped players reach goals and milestones that they wouldn't have been able to reach without the use of that particular enhancer. That there is no real difference between amp users and roid users in comparison to how they broke the rules. But that roid users are being taken out to the barn and whipped for their flagrant corruption of the game, while the amp users are being held up as paragons of virtue.
   90. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 11:54 AM (#4246186)
Nobody is saying they work the same, they are saying that they both enhance performance more than you can get if you didn't take them. There are different degrees of enhancement, and different methods of taking full advantage of the different forms, but they are both cheating in the same basic way.

They are allowing players to perform better than they would have performed in comparison to a normal "diet or regimen".


You can concede that this "enhancement" happened a handful of times a year (*), and still believe roids are in an entirely different category that should be viewed entirely differently. (IOW, what was already said in 42.)

(*) Not that it's necessarily true, particularly net-net of jitters.
   91. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 11:56 AM (#4246190)
You can concede that this "enhancement" happened a handful of times a year (*), and still believe roids are in an entirely different category that should be viewed entirely differently. (IOW, what was already said in 42.)


What difference does it make it if happened once a year or over a course of a season? It's cheating. Nobody has ever argued that cheating penalties should be mitigated because it's a one time thing.

But no, I'm not conceeding it happening a handful times a year. My assumption is that people took a greenie a game. Doesn't seem unreasonable at all to me.
   92. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 11:56 AM (#4246191)
This distinction matters because....

Degree of impact. See 42, above.

   93. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: September 26, 2012 at 11:59 AM (#4246193)
Degree of impact. See 42, above.


So cheating only matters if its impact is above a certain threshhold?
   94. Morty Causa Posted: September 26, 2012 at 11:59 AM (#4246195)
How is this anything but a non sequitur. Suddenly, it's not whether the drug is illegal or performance enhancing that matters; it's the physiological mechanism by which it enhances performance? Just how many angels CAN dance on the head of a pin?


It has to do with the assertions made that they are the same. Are they? It's not just about illegal--it's about why they are prohibited. That has to do with what they do.

None during training, amphetamines before at least some games (almost certainly day game after a night game, any time the player is feeling less than tip-top).


Is that how steroids work?

How do you think transferring from one natural set of reflex protocol to another artificially created one would work? Do you thing the mind easily adapts to that? Have you ever seen tests administered to those under the influence as compared to those not?

I have a feeling that's what the offseason was for.


:>)

The statements made wrt to amphs leaves me wondering about the depth (or dearth) of knowledge. Do you people know people who use amphs at high dosages over long periods of time?


Again, I ask: do amphs create muscle tissue? Is that a difference in degree or kind?

The fatigue deficit that would accrue is a lot faster than six months. Yeah, I'm taking deficit, but don't worry I don't have to come down until around Xmas. Do you actually know people who take amphs like this, high-dosage regularly, who put off coming down for months? Hell, maybe it's a few days.
   95. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 12:00 PM (#4246197)
Personally I find amps to be a much worse version of cheating than roids, because Amps are a magic pill. They make you instantly a better ball player. Roids you have to do something to take advantage of. And technically all roids does is help you recover from your workout faster so that you can get the benefits of workouts in a shorter time frame. Without all the working out, there is zero advantages from roids or roid supplements.

But that is my opinion on the two forms of cheating, I fully understand others seeing that roids are worse, but what I don't understand is the willful ignorance it takes to ignore the clear advantages provided by amps and pretending it didn't help.
   96. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 12:01 PM (#4246199)
What difference does it make it if happened once a year or over a course of a season? It's cheating.

So what?

You're again reverting to superficial similarities (*) in fundamentally different things. The historical consensus on steroid use is based on many more refined factors, considered far more deeply, than banaliies like "cheating" and "performance enhancing."

(*)Assuming your conclusion that amp use BITD was "cheating," which I don't concede.
   97. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 12:04 PM (#4246206)
So cheating only matters if its impact is above a certain threshhold?

It matters more when its impact is deeper, just as stealing a quarter isn't as bad as stealing $1 million.

I have no idea where you guys came up with the concept that "cheating" and "performance enhancing" are some kind of irrefutable "gotchas."
   98. Morty Causa Posted: September 26, 2012 at 12:04 PM (#4246207)
Nobody is saying they work the same, they are saying that they both enhance performance more than you can get if you didn't take them.


Yes, they are. Explicitly and implicitly. The attitude is that they are equivalent when it comes to increasing performance. We know what a exercise regimen utilizing steroids can do. We don't know the same thing about amphs--not by a long shot.

The conflation is egregious and amounts to a glorification of Know-nothingism.
   99. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: September 26, 2012 at 12:12 PM (#4246213)
It has to do with the assertions made that they are the same. Are they? It's not just about illegal--it's about why they are prohibited. That has to do with what they do.


Nobody has argued that they're physiologically identical or even physiologically similar. The argument is that they're both illegal drugs, taken by athletes to improve performance. The similarity is moral, not physiological. Either taking illegal drugs to improve performance is wrong, or it isn't. It doesn't really matter what pathway the drugs work through.

Is that how steroids work?

How do you think transferring from one natural set of reflex protocol to another artificially created one would work? Do you thing the mind easily adapts to that? Have you ever seen tests administered to those under the influence as compared to those not?


Of course it's not how steroids work, but I don't see how that matters.

In terms of using amphetamines to boost performance, I don't think the payoff comes in boosting to an artificial level of arousal; I think it comes in artificially boosting to optimal levels of arousal--a state that the athlete is capable of achieving naturally but not consistently without help. And the tests I've seen weren't dosed at this kind of level. I'm aware that performance falls apart if you boost arousal too high; it's the best scientific explanation we've got for the phenomenon of underperformance in pressure-packed situations. You'll also note that I referred to barbiturates as potentially performance enhancing earlier in this discussion for this very rason.

Do you people know people who use amphs at high dosages over long periods of time?


I'll admit that I don't.

do amphs create muscle tissue? Is that a difference in degree or kind?


Physiologically? Kind. Morally? No difference.

The fatigue deficit that would accrue is a lot faster than six months. Yeah, I'm taking deficit, but don't worry I don't have to come down until around Xmas. Do you actually know people who take amphs like this, high-dosage regularly, who put off coming down for months?


I'm extrapolating from the physical training practices of competitive athletes. Almost all of them run at a deficit of just about everything through the season. Most lose muscle. Most lose speed. Training and diet become a matter of doing just enough to keep them going. And then the first two months or so of the offseason are taken off exercise completely, before going into restorative training, then general hypertrophy work to rebuild what was lost, before ramping up into strength, power, flexability, and agility work as the preseason nears.
   100. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 12:17 PM (#4246222)
Either taking illegal drugs to improve performance is wrong, or it isn't.

That's far too reductionist a principle for proper analysis. It leads to misimpressions and misunderstandings.

The similarity is moral, not physiological.

The physiological differences are an indispensible factor to arriving at the right answer.

Nor have the arguments against roids ever been more than superficially, "moral." It's bizarre that anti-anti-roiders have routinely hurled the allegation of "moralizer" at anti-roiders and yet here we are with someone arguing that amps are equally bad as roids based solely on the morality of use.
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