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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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   101. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: September 26, 2012 at 12:20 PM (#4246232)
It matters more when its impact is deeper, just as stealing a quarter isn't as bad as stealing $1 million.


They're both theft. Again, you've probably* created greater harm by stealing a million dollars than by stealing a quarter, but the distinction is really whether or not you're a thief.

I'll re-ask the question that both you and Morty ducked: Are you okay with HGH, where the consensus seems to be that it has no impact?

*You almost certainly harm a panhandler more by stealing a quarter from him than you do Bill Gates by stealing $1 million from him, both in terms of percentage of net worth and in far more tangible reduction of purchasing power.
   102. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 12:26 PM (#4246238)
They're both theft.

But they aren't the same, even though they're both theft -- just as amps and roids aren't the same even if both are "cheating" and "performance enhancing."

All number of crimes and civil offenses have different punishments determined by delving deeper into the nature and impact of the conduct. In the same way, delving deeper into the Steroid Era and the "amp era" leads one to the conclusion that the historical consensus on them is essentially true.
   103. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4246239)
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.


No it's not, the attitude is that both are performance enhancers beyond "normal" means and that there is a massive double standard in how the morons(oops, I mean baseball writers) treat the two. They were both cheating in the same sense, but because the writers are in their 40's and have a love connection with the past, they make it appear as if they are massively different things. They are not, using the quarter and million dollar analogy that Sugarbear put up, they are basically equivalent to stealing 1/2 a million to stealing a million. They are both so far over the imaginary line that it's ridiculous to parse them as separate types of cheating.

And we really don't know anything about roids with an exercise regimen, as the results among different confirmed users has been vast, to the point that it's very reasonable to argue that the exercise regimen was the real difference.
   104. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: September 26, 2012 at 12:40 PM (#4246259)
That's far too reductionist a principle for proper analysis. It leads to misimpressions and misunderstandings.


Got it. Proper analysis holds that it's sometimes okay to use illegal drugs to improve performance. Just not ones that build muscle.

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.


The arguments against steroids have always been moral to their core. The argument against them is that they're illegal, that they shift the competitive balance of the game in favor of the cheats, and that widespread use becomes coercive on those who would prefer not to use them. How is that not moral? All I'm saying is that it's logically inconsistent to be outraged by steroid use while giving amphetamine use a pass, particularly given that all three of the above statements are also true of amphetamines.
   105. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4246266)
Got it. Proper analysis holds that it's sometimes okay to use illegal drugs to improve performance. Just not ones that build muscle.

It's not necessarily even "okay." The gravity of the "offenses" of the "amp era" have simply been deemed insufficient to materially revise the historical impression of that era -- one formulated with essentially full knowledge of what went on. The era has been reconsidered in light of the Steroid Era, and the questions you and others have raised. The consensus has held -- correctly, in my opinion, for the reasons I've noted.

   106. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4246267)
All I'm saying is that it's logically inconsistent to be outraged by steroid use while giving amphetamine use a pass, particularly given that all three of the above statements are also true of amphetamines.


Bingo. I have no problem with people who are blasting roiders and want harsher punishments, it's the double standard between two very similar forms of cheating that I have issue with.
   107. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4246270)
I have no problem with people who are blasting roiders and want harsher punishments, it's the double standard between two very similar forms of cheating that I have issue with.

Indeed; as noted, all the talk of amps and the amp era is little more than concern trolling.

   108. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4246272)
one formulated with essentially full knowledge of what went on


Bs. The knowledge of what went on is limited and kept out of the press and not written with righteous indignation. It's ridiculous to say the knowledge of what went on is fully out there. Heck it's ridiculous to say that the masses have a clue what went on, they still think that in the roid era that pitchers didn't use and are surprised every time a pitcher name comes up.

The fact is that the indignation of the roid era is propped up by self righteous writers, who by demonstration of the past, have proven that beyond any reasonable doubt that they are one of the most uninformed segments of society on the planet. They are the creationist of the sports world. Too stupid to find a real job in sports so they write gossip columns hoping for page hits.

Amps have never been forced to be held by a higher standard, because the people who's job it is to bring the subject up, aren't that informed on anything in their field, beyond two minute sound bites.
   109. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4246273)
Indeed; as noted, all the talk of amps and the amp era is little more than concern trolling.


I honestly have no idea what that means.
   110. nick swisher hygiene Posted: September 26, 2012 at 12:53 PM (#4246275)

Folk-psychological understandings of the self are at the heart of the distinction, I think, at least for the great majority of people.

Taking a pill so we get through a tough period and function like we normally function is something basically every American can relate to; systematically transforming your body into something it couldn't be without a drug--not so much.

Even if studies were to establish that amps, over a season, helped ballplayers more than a careful steriod regime, I don't think this psychological distinction would get overturned.

Based on all the discussions and arguments I've had over the past several years, I'd say that "Being at your best when you don't feel great" vs "Being better than you could be otherwise" is a pretty fundamental intuitive difference that lots of people are unwilling to let go of.
   111. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4246280)
Bs. The knowledge of what went on is limited and kept out of the press and not written with righteous indignation. It's ridiculous to say the knowledge of what went on is fully out there. Heck it's ridiculous to say that the masses have a clue what went on, they still think that in the roid era that pitchers didn't use and are surprised every time a pitcher name comes up.

It wasn't limited and kept out of the press when it was going on. The press didn't write about it with "righteous indignation" at the time it was going on, because it wasn't a subject that warranted righteous indignation.

   112. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 01:00 PM (#4246283)
I honestly have no idea what that means.

Phony concern for a belief you don't have. As you said, you "have no problem with people who are blasting roiders and want harsher punishments." So what do you care what their belief is regarding amps? Your "concern" is a form of concern trolling.
   113. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 01:00 PM (#4246284)
It wasn't limited and kept out of the press when it was going on. The press didn't write about it with "righteous indignation" at the time it was going on, because it wasn't a subject that warranted righteous indignation.


Yes it does, it's Cheating with a capital C. It's making you play better than you normally can, it makes your hand eye coordination better. Just because in that era they didn't have the education to know better, doesn't mean we have to accept that eras interpretation of the severity of the crime.

It's akin to accepting that the mvp and cy young and gold gloves of those eras are correct and that no amount of additional information should change your mind on the matter. RBI and batting average was the standard for those awards then, and that means they are correct and we shouldn't try to reevaluate them.

Amps make you hit a baseball better than you normally could, Amps make your throws more accurate than they would be without them, how is that not cheating? Amps make you run harder than you would have, give you quicker reaction time etc.
   114. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: September 26, 2012 at 01:01 PM (#4246285)
Indeed; as noted, all the talk of amps and the amp era is little more than concern trolling.


Not to me. To me, it's pointing out that baseball has already answered the question of what to do vis-a-vis performance enhancing drugs and player reputations, the Hall of Fame, etc. The game has already seen a period during which PEDs were a part of the day-to-day fabric of the game, and the general consensus seems to be that it was no big deal. To me, steroid use pre-testing falls into exactly the same moral bucket. It's in a gray area between cheating and not cheating, given that both were illegal and neither were banned by the sport. I can't see any way to parse the two eras that doesn't feel like special pleading on behalf of the amphetamine era, as the principle is whether or not it was cheating, not how effective the cheating may have been. Especially since none of the amphetamine defenders are saying HGH is okay.

Now, positive steroid tests (or positive amphetamine tests) post-testing fall into a completely different bucket for me. I'm okay with the general principle in American sports that anything not specifically prohibited is tacitly permitted. But once it's specifically prohibited, it's absolutely cheating. My (entirely hypothetical) Hall of Fame ballots would see me voting for Clemens and Bonds (never failed a test), but not for Palmeiro and Manny (failed tests being an automatic disqualifier).
   115. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 01:05 PM (#4246292)
Yes it does, it's Cheating with a capital C. It's making you play better than you normally can, it makes your hand eye coordination better. Just because in that era they didn't have the education to know better, doesn't mean we have to accept that eras interpretation of the severity of the crime.

They did have the "education to know better." They also have it now, and they've reassessed the amp era in light of the Steroid Era, and the points made on these boards have been considered in depth. Nonetheless, the historical consensus has held.

To me, steroid use pre-testing falls into exactly the same moral bucket. It's in a gray area between cheating and not cheating, given that both were illegal and neither were banned by the sport. I can't see any way to parse the two eras that doesn't feel like special pleading on behalf of the amphetamine era, as the principle is whether or not it was cheating, not how effective the cheating may have been.

And, again, that's a niche opinion, not that that means it's wrong.

What is wrong is the notion that somehow no one's ever thought of these arguments and that opinions of the amp era are somehow the result of "poor education" or lack of awareness of what was going on. And, worse, that the historical consensus is merely a cover for protecting "yesterday's heroes." The press and other factions of the game didn't think amps were that bad when Hank Aaron, Pete Rose, et al. were contemporary heroes. Pete Rose "admitted" he was an amp user in 1979.
   116. Nasty Nate Posted: September 26, 2012 at 01:05 PM (#4246294)
Taking a pill so we get through a tough period and function like we normally function is something basically every American can relate to; systematically transforming your body into something it couldn't be without a drug--not so much.

....

Based on all the discussions and arguments I've had over the past several years, I'd say that "Being at your best when you don't feel great" vs "Being better than you could be otherwise" is a pretty fundamental intuitive difference that lots of people are unwilling to let go of.


Good post.
   117. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: September 26, 2012 at 01:09 PM (#4246299)
Taking a pill so we get through a tough period and function like we normally function is something basically every American can relate to; systematically transforming your body into something it couldn't be without a drug--not so much.

....

Based on all the discussions and arguments I've had over the past several years, I'd say that "Being at your best when you don't feel great" vs "Being better than you could be otherwise" is a pretty fundamental intuitive difference that lots of people are unwilling to let go of.


And yet we're okay with prosthetically (glasses) or surgically (Lasik) being better than you could be otherwise, even for athletes.
   118. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 26, 2012 at 01:12 PM (#4246302)
Taking a pill so we get through a tough period and function like we normally function is something basically every American can relate to; systematically transforming your body into something it couldn't be without a drug--not so much.

Even if studies were to establish that amps, over a season, helped ballplayers more than a careful steriod regime, I don't think this psychological distinction would get overturned.

Based on all the discussions and arguments I've had over the past several years, I'd say that "Being at your best when you don't feel great" vs "Being better than you could be otherwise" is a pretty fundamental intuitive difference that lots of people are unwilling to let go of.


This may be true, though if there were any real evidence that a well-rested Major League ballplayer's ability to hit a Major League pitch were actually "enhanced" by amphetamines, I'd be more than willing to reconsider my opinion. But until that time, the distinction you're making between "Being at your best when you don't feel great" vs "Being better than you could be otherwise" is the crucial one.

As for HGH, I wouldn't have any problem with that, any more than I have a problem with a cortisone shot, if HGH's use were similarly publicized in the media. And as I've said before, if steroids were prescribed by MLB-approved doctors for limited restoration use during in-season rehab periods, with similar publicity, I'd be a lot less opposed to steroids. But of course that's not been the case to date. Instead we've had secret sessions attended to by the sort of marginal characters who advertise their products on the margins of websites like this, with an eye towards enhancement, not restoration.
   119. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 26, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4246308)
And yet we're okay with prosthetically (glasses) or surgically (Lasik) being better than you could be otherwise, even for athletes.

This again. As if normal vision gives a ballplayer an advantage that's comparable to a set of steroid-enhanced muscles. And people wonder why these discussions never go anywhere.
   120. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 01:20 PM (#4246312)
They did have the "education to know better." They also have it now, and they've reassessed the amp era in light of the Steroid Era, and the points made on these boards have been considered in depth. Nonetheless, the historical consensus has held.


Who ####### cares about the historical consensus? It's about what is the correct interpretation, not what the ####### morons who write about it think is the right interpretation.

It's about whether or not amps and roids are the same type of cheating. Just because the rest of the world doesn't view it as that way, doesn't mean that the rest of the world is correct. Bowing to the masses is just a sign of stupidity or willful ignorance.
   121. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: September 26, 2012 at 01:25 PM (#4246318)
And, again, that's a niche opinion, not that that means it's wrong.

What is wrong is the notion that somehow no one's ever thought of these arguments and that opinions of the amp era are somehow the result of "poor education" or lack of awareness of what was going on. And, worse, that the historical consensus is merely a cover for protecting "yesterday's heroes." The press and other factions of the game didn't think amps were that bad when Hank Aaron, Pete Rose, et al. were contemporary heroes. Pete Rose "admitted" he was an amp user in 1979.


The thing is, it's an opinion driven by logical application of a principle. The principle in this case is that cheating is defined by intention and action to break the rules. If you want to argue that amphetamines are cool because there was no rule specifically prohibiting them, steroids pre-testing are cool for the same reason. If you want to argue that steroids pre-testing are verboten because they were illegal, then amphetamines pre-testing are verboten for the same reason. If you want to argue that amphetamines are okay while steroids aren't because amphetamines don't work as well as steroids, then you're left having to accept HGH as well. There is absolutely no parsing of the facts that makes amphetamines acceptable while steroids and HGH are unacceptable without special pleading.
   122. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4246322)
Who ####### cares about the historical consensus?

In this case, everyone should, since the consensus is the same as the contemporaneous opinion. Amp use was widely acknowledged, widely known, and widely understood. No one made a big deal about it.(*) That's indicative of its true nature and gravity. The fact that the consensus has held upon reassessment strengthens the contemporaneous understanding.

(*) Cf., steroids. If you walk into a room and one eight-year-old is all smiley as he reaches into the goodie jar on the living room coffee table, and you walk into the bathroom and another eight-year-old is furtively doing something hidden behind a stall, and lies to you when you ask what he's doing, which is more likely to be up to something he believes to be nefarious?
   123. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: September 26, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4246324)
This again. As if normal vision gives a ballplayer an advantage that's comparable to a set of steroid-enhanced muscles. And people wonder why these discussions never go anywhere.


God forbid that these discussions try to get at principles. This was posted in direct response to discussion of the principle being that steroids make an athlete better than he would be otherwise.

Lasik is also capable of producing better than 20/20 vision. Are you sure that's not a greater advantage than greater strength?
   124. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 01:30 PM (#4246328)
In this case, everyone should, since the consensus is the same as the contemporaneous opinion. Amp use was widely acknowledged, widely known, and widely understood. (*) No one made a big deal about it. That's indicative of its true nature and gravity. The fact that the consensus has held upon reassessment strengthens the contemporaneous understanding.


No it means that nobody wants to rock the boat of their own narrative.

Amps help you see better, and help hand eye coordination. How tough is this to understand. Players play beyond their ability due to amp usage. There is a reason that red bull and other sport drinks are being banned at the high school level nowadays.
   125. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 26, 2012 at 01:30 PM (#4246329)
Who ####### cares about the historical consensus? It's about what is the correct interpretation, not what the ####### morons who write about it think is the right interpretation.

Since you've made more claims about amps' magical powers than anyone I've seen here to date, perhaps you'd like to show some actual proof (or compelling evidence) that a well-rested Major League ballplayer's performance is actually enhanced by amphetamines. Or even a well-rested college or high school ballplayer. I'd like to see some proof (or compelling evidence) that a well-rested ballplayer's normal level of alertness is not his optimal level, and that trying to improve on that level with amphetamines has any positive effect.

And as a side note, I'd like for you to show me any testimony or other evidence that Hank Aaron ever used amphetamines beyond the one time he described in I Had a Hammer. It's possible that he did, but all you seem to be working on at this point is a combination of extrapolation and assumption.
   126. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4246339)
(*) Cf., steroids. If you walk into a room and one eight-year-old is all smiley as he reaches into the goodie jar on the living room coffee table, and you walk into the bathroom and another eight-year-old is furtively doing something hidden behind a stall, and lies to you when you ask what he's doing, which is more likely to be up to something nefarious?


Again that is due to the expectations placed on the situation. If in that scenario you have a parent who allows the kids to smoke, and the first kid is reaching for a pack of matches, meanwhile the household has a strict no reading comic book ban and the second kid is hiding a garfield book, which kid is actually doing more wrong?
   127. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4246341)
Since you've made more claims about amps' magical powers than anyone I've seen here to date, perhaps you'd like to show some actual proof (or compelling evidence) that a well-rested Major League ballplayer's performance is actually enhanced by amphetamines. Or even a well-rested college or high school ballplayer. I'd like to see some proof (or compelling evidence) that a well-rested ballplayer's normal level of alertness is not his optimal level, and that trying to improve on that level with amphetamines has any positive effect.


Show me a study that a ball player who dedicates his life to the gym without roids performs significantly worse than one who does roid usage?
   128. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 26, 2012 at 01:38 PM (#4246344)
This again. As if normal vision gives a ballplayer an advantage that's comparable to a set of steroid-enhanced muscles. And people wonder why these discussions never go anywhere.

God forbid that these discussions try to get at principles. This was posted in direct response to discussion of the principle being that steroids make an athlete better than he would be otherwise.

Lasik is also capable of producing better than 20/20 vision. Are you sure that's not a greater advantage than greater strength?


Possibly so, and so can glasses or contact lenses, but it's an advantage that anyone can openly take advantage of without any danger to one's health**, two distinctions which put all three of those "enhancements" in a decidedly different category than steroids.

**I've had lasik surgery myself, and its effects often gradually diminish over time. I began with 20/15 right after the operation, and now it's more like 20/25.
   129. Ron J2 Posted: September 26, 2012 at 01:46 PM (#4246349)
#121 In addition there's the health risk. For all the talk about the dangers of steroids, the experts in the field will tell you(at least I can't find any exceptions) that amphetamines are more dangerous.
   130. Bitter Mouse Posted: September 26, 2012 at 01:46 PM (#4246350)
Steroids thread ... I missed you so. How have I survived these long cold months without you?

I don't care about the relative PEDness of various drugs. Follow the rules. So when there were no rules* regarding amps, have at. When there were no rules* regarding steroids then go for it. Society at large may care (and it is welcome to do so) but Baseball should follow baseball's rules. So all the records are legit, and everything past that is sophistry. Especially since the actual real world impact of amps, steroids and such is largely unknowable.

Personally I am not offended by either Hank Aaron or Barry Bonds. Great players, both of them.

* Rules: It is not really a rule unless it is documented and enforced. For both amps and steroids we have that now. So we should follow the rules.

   131. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 26, 2012 at 01:47 PM (#4246351)
Since you've made more claims about amps' magical powers than anyone I've seen here to date, perhaps you'd like to show some actual proof (or compelling evidence) that a well-rested Major League ballplayer's performance is actually enhanced by amphetamines. Or even a well-rested college or high school ballplayer. I'd like to see some proof (or compelling evidence) that a well-rested ballplayer's normal level of alertness is not his optimal level, and that trying to improve on that level with amphetamines has any positive effect.

Show me a study that a ball player who dedicates his life to the gym without roids performs significantly worse than one who does roid usage?


That's a nice dodge, which is essentially an admission that your claims about amps can't be backed up.

As for your counter-question, you show me any weight-addicted and non-juiced player who's improved his late career performance relative to his own past prime years, to any degree comparable to Barry Bonds. We all know that Bonds is sui generis, a genius comparable to Einstein yada yada yada, but there's a reason he went from weights alone to weights + steroids, and I doubt if it was because he was just trying to qualify for cruising time at Muscle Beach.
   132. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: September 26, 2012 at 01:48 PM (#4246354)
Possibly so, and so can glasses or contact lenses, but it's an advantage that anyone can openly take advantage of without any danger to one's health**, two distinctions which put all three of those "enhancements" in a decidedly different category than steroids.


1. Openness vs. non-openness is kind of a non-response in my opinion. Steroids are "bad" because they're prohibited. Lift the prohibition, and they can be used openly. The fact that they were used in secret while amphetamines were used openly points more to the difference in how illegal and recreational drug use was perceived pre- and post- "War on Drugs" than anything else. Steroid use in bodybuilding and the strength sports was much more out in the open in the 1960s and 1970s than it was in the 1990s and 2000s as well.

2. There are a pretty good number of writers and researchers who believe it's possible to use steroids for physique and performance enhancement without any danger to your health as well. And as noted on the Eric Gagne thread, it's pretty clear that MLB players are/were using them in ways that minimize the health risks (Gagne's protocol from the team doctor, Manny popping for a post-cycle therapy drug as opposed to a steroid, etc.).
   133. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 26, 2012 at 01:49 PM (#4246355)
If you want to argue that amphetamines are okay while steroids aren't because amphetamines don't work as well as steroids, then you're left having to accept HGH as well. There is absolutely no parsing of the facts that makes amphetamines acceptable while steroids and HGH are unacceptable without special pleading.

See what I wrote in #118.
   134. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: September 26, 2012 at 01:52 PM (#4246362)
I don't care about the relative PEDness of various drugs. Follow the rules. So when there were no rules* regarding amps, have at. When there were no rules* regarding steroids then go for it. Society at large may care (and it is welcome to do so) but Baseball should follow baseball's rules. So all the records are legit, and everything past that is sophistry. Especially since the actual real world impact of amps, steroids and such is largely unknowable.

Personally I am not offended by either Hank Aaron or Barry Bonds. Great players, both of them.

* Rules: It is not really a rule unless it is documented and enforced. For both amps and steroids we have that now. So we should follow the rules.


Exactly.
   135. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 26, 2012 at 01:53 PM (#4246365)
Possibly so, and so can glasses or contact lenses, but it's an advantage that anyone can openly take advantage of without any danger to one's health**, two distinctions which put all three of those "enhancements" in a decidedly different category than steroids.

1. Openness vs. non-openness is kind of a non-response in my opinion. Steroids are "bad" because they're prohibited.


No, they're "bad" because they have the ability to enhance performance in ways that other drugs can't. The lack of openness is simply an admission that unlike amps, which were openly displayed and distributed in communal jars in locker rooms, steroids users felt that they had something to hide.

2. There are a pretty good number of writers and researchers who believe it's possible to use steroids for physique and performance enhancement without any danger to your health as well. And as noted on the Eric Gagne thread, it's pretty clear that MLB players are/were using them in ways that minimize the health risks (Gagne's protocol from the team doctor, Manny popping for a post-cycle therapy drug as opposed to a steroid, etc.).

All this is well and good, and I've stated my position on it in #118.
   136. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: September 26, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4246388)
No, they're "bad" because they have the ability to enhance performance in ways that other drugs can't. The lack of openness is simply an admission that unlike amps, which were openly displayed and distributed in communal jars in locker rooms, steroids users felt that they had something to hide.


Amps were openly displayed and distributed in an era that was much more relaxed with regard to illegal and recreational drug use in general. And it's clear from a lot of the player revelations over the past decade or so that steroid use wasn't hidden within the locker room. Yes, it was hidden from the reporters, but there was a different dynamic between reporters and players during the steroid era than during the openly displayed amphetamine era. The differences between eras contribute at least as much to the different behavior as the differences between PEDs.
   137. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4246396)
Yes, it was hidden from the reporters, but there was a different dynamic between reporters and players during the steroid era than during the openly displayed amphetamine era.

I don't understand this "different dynamic." What does it mean?

The simplest explanation is that amps weren't hidden from reporters because there was ample reason to believe reporters wouldn't care and steroids were hidden from reporters because reporters would care. This "different dynamic" has a lot of heavy lifting to do to overcome this straightforward counterveiling explanation.

   138. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 26, 2012 at 02:46 PM (#4246410)
Amps were openly displayed and distributed in an era that was much more relaxed with regard to illegal and recreational drug use in general.

Yes and no. Let's put it this way: Drug use was then far more of a polarizing topic than it is today. On the one hand you had all sort of silly claims about how drugs were going to bring about world peace and human happiness, and certain types of celebrities could enhance their standing with open drug use and even an occasional arrest. But then you had a presidential candidate labeled as "amnesty, acid and abortion" by a rival who won 49 of the 50 states. Baseball was much closer in that respect to J. Edgar Hoover and Richard Nixon than it was to Timothy Leary and George McGovern.

And it's clear from a lot of the player revelations over the past decade or so that steroid use wasn't hidden within the locker room.

You're probably right, but I'd like to see some actual citation on that.

Yes, it was hidden from the reporters, but there was a different dynamic between reporters and players during the steroid era than during the openly displayed amphetamine era.

Not really as much as you might think. There have always been writers and other media reporters who had a good relationship with ballplayers, and others who were held at arm's length.

The differences between eras contribute at least as much to the different behavior as the differences between PEDs.

Leonard Schecter and Jim Bouton blew the lid on amps in 1970, and after a brief huff 'n' puff from Bowie Kuhn, things went right back to normal. And yet as soon as Canseco's book came out, you quickly had congressional hearings and a breakthrough testing regimen. Part of this may simply be the effects of greater general awareness of drug abuse, but it also had to do with a widespread feeling of distinction between "restoration" drugs and "enhancement" drugs, and what the latter were doing to the game on the field.

And just to get it out of the way: Yes, there was a lot of media laziness and complacency, and both the media and the owners (and Selig) have to share in the blame. But once the steroid use was actually confirmed and publicized, there was a media reaction, hypocritical or otherwise. There would have been no such reaction if Canseco had merely written a book about giving McGwire greenies out of a locker room jar.

And yes, amps were also covered under the new testing regime, but that was much more due to (legitimate) concerns about health than it was about performance enhancement. If PE had been the real reason for amps being subject to severe penalties, that would have been done long ago, since amp usage was never any secret.
   139. JJ1986 Posted: September 26, 2012 at 02:54 PM (#4246419)
And yet as soon as Canseco's book came out, you quickly had congressional hearings and a breakthrough testing regimen. Part of this may simply be the effects of greater general awareness of drug abuse, but it also had to do with a widespread feeling of distinction between "restoration" drugs and "enhancement" drugs, and what the latter were doing to the game on the field.


Caminiti blew the lid on steroids years earlier and no one cared about enhancement drugs. Then Barry Bonds broke the single season home run record and it became a huge deal.
   140. Nasty Nate Posted: September 26, 2012 at 02:58 PM (#4246425)
If I am not mistaken, many MLB players currently take amphetamines in a way that is legal and sanctioned by the league, but as far as I know no one is sanctioned to take anabolic steroids. I'm not sure what this indicates or proves, but it seems pertinent.
   141. Bitter Mouse Posted: September 26, 2012 at 03:00 PM (#4246431)
I don't understand this "different dynamic." What does it mean?


My father was a newspaper guy back in the day. Politicians engaged in philandering and such and reporters turned a blind eye. Now days reporters love to report on politicians and theie sexcapades. This is a different dynamic. A similar (not exact, but very similar) change in dynamic has taken place in the field of sports reporting. Sports figures were heroes and reporting on that other stuff was not done, today it is, this is a different dynamic.
   142. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 03:09 PM (#4246442)
I disagree that players in the 1970s were "heroes," when in fact the exact opposite was true. If amps were seen as something to worry about, their use would have been added to dope smoking, acid dropping, long hair, laziness, lack of hustle, divorce, womanizing, disrespect for the game, and all the rest in the bill of particulars frequently aimed at those guys. Post 1976 and free agency, you could add "greed" to the list.

   143. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 26, 2012 at 03:58 PM (#4246483)
Caminiti blew the lid on steroids years earlier and no one cared about enhancement drugs. Then Barry Bonds broke the single season home run record and it became a huge deal.

Barry Bonds broke the single season home run record in 2001.

Caminiti admitted using steroids in 2002.

BALCO and Greg Anderson were first linked to Bonds in September of 2003

Bonds was subpoenaed by the grand jury in December of 2003

The BALCO story was first published in December of 2004

Canseco's book came out in February of 2005,

The congressional hearings took place in March of 2005, a full three and a half years after Bonds broke the single season home run record. These hearings were the cumulative result of many factors, but if Bonds really had been the focus of that investigation, it's funny that he wasn't even asked to testify.

I realize that this "Bonds trashed Roger Maris" narrative was popular with a certain strain of sportswriter**, but to pretend that this was the determinant reason for baseball (and congress) finally getting around to trying to clean up the mess is oversimplification.

**Although in many cases that Maris narrative was really little more than a shorthand way of voicing disgust at the whole steroids mess and what it had done to the integrity of the game, and the reaction was hardly confined to blasting Barry Bonds alone.
   144. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: September 26, 2012 at 04:22 PM (#4246519)
If steroids leave a stain, they should be a lot easier to detect


That's what happened to Drew Brees.....
   145. McCoy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 04:30 PM (#4246527)
You're probably right, but I'd like to see some actual citation on that.

You mention Bouton in the very same post and still want citations? Is there a single book written by or with a baseball player from that era that doesn't mention drug use within baseball?

The Pirates got wrapped up in drug trials. The Philles got dragged into drug trials. Willie Mays was using amphetamines. Hank Aaron admitted using amphetamines. Pete Rose was poppings pills. The Cardinals were popping pills. So on and so on.
   146. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 26, 2012 at 04:33 PM (#4246531)
And it's clear from a lot of the player revelations over the past decade or so that steroid use wasn't hidden within the locker room.


You're probably right, but I'd like to see some actual citation on that.

You mention Bouton in the very same post and still want citations? Is there a single book written by or with a baseball player from that era that doesn't mention drug use within baseball?


I think you may have missed the operative word in the sentence that I was responding to. I'm well aware of all those other things you mention.
   147. dlf Posted: September 26, 2012 at 04:38 PM (#4246536)
...if Bonds really had been the focus of that investigation, it's funny that he wasn't even asked to testify.


He was, but he declined to voluntarily appear while publicly stating the reason for doing so was his on-going injury rehab.
   148. JJ1986 Posted: September 26, 2012 at 04:39 PM (#4246539)
Caminiti admitted using steroids in 2002.

BALCO and Greg Anderson were first linked to Bonds in September of 2003

Bonds was subpoenaed by the grand jury in December of 2003

Canseco's book came out in February of 2005,


I was wrong about the timing. But what else changed between 2002 and 2005 so that everyone suddenly cared about steroids?

(Bonds didn't do anything to Roger Maris of course. He broke McGwire's record)
   149. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 04:51 PM (#4246550)
I was wrong about the timing. But what else changed between 2002 and 2005 so that everyone suddenly cared about steroids?

Canseco's book came out, more players were exposed as users, and people just got more and more tired of 'roiders. It had been building for years.

Bonds broke records in 2001 and 2007 -- neither had much impact on what transpired. He hit 73 well before critical mass was hit, and hit 756 well after testing had been implemented.
   150. Morty Causa Posted: September 26, 2012 at 05:04 PM (#4246564)
Bouton is very clear in Ball Four that he doesn't think greenies help. In fact, he says they hurt. They give you a false sense of effectiveness.
   151. Morty Causa Posted: September 26, 2012 at 05:17 PM (#4246582)
No it's not, the attitude is that both are performance enhancers beyond "normal" means and that there is a massive double standard in how the morons(oops, I mean baseball writers) treat the two.


No. There is greater, a much greater, tendency on the part of steroid apologists to confuse the issue (intentionally?) with attempts to make amphs and steroids be the same. They are simply not the same. They don’t do the same thing, they don’t act on your body the same, and they don’t have the same physical result. People who insist on maintaining that they are the same are just ignorant, or are not engaging in good-faith argument.
   152. Morty Causa Posted: September 26, 2012 at 05:17 PM (#4246583)
Amps make you hit a baseball better than you normally could, Amps make your throws more accurate than they would be without them, how is that not cheating? Amps make you run harder than you would have, give you quicker reaction time etc.


I don’t believe this. Certainly don’t when you used as a regular every day enhancers over a long period of time. Ask any policeman or any other person with any experience (including physicians) dealing with people under the influence of drugs, especially uppers. They alter perception. They are addictive. You’ll have to increase the dosage to get an effect that will continually degrade. Also, training one way, with one set of natural responses, and then being under the influence on certain occasions is not a recipe for having your body respond consistently to situations and events that can occur with unpredictability. Having a mindset cultivated in one way is not good or safe when altered, especially temporarily. Your mind doesn’t adjust as readily as some here seem to think it does. The rest of your body won’t either. You don’t have this problem with steroids.
   153. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 26, 2012 at 05:18 PM (#4246586)
I was wrong about the timing. But what else changed between 2002 and 2005 so that everyone suddenly cared about steroids?

(Bonds didn't do anything to Roger Maris of course. He broke McGwire's record)


SBB's spoken to the first part, and the part about Maris reflects the simple fact that the whole "The media trashes Bonds because he trashed our boyhood heroes" theme of the Bonds supporters is laid upon the laps of the generation of Boomer sportswriters who supposedly worshiped that whole generation of sluggers. Never mind that most of those critical voices never even saw Roger Maris play---you'd have to be nearly 60 to really remember him from grade school---but it's an easy line to throw out even if the evidence to support it is slim and anecdotal.
   154. Morty Causa Posted: September 26, 2012 at 05:18 PM (#4246587)
Show me a study that a ball player who dedicates his life to the gym without roids performs significantly worse than one who does roid usage?


Do steroids create muscle tissue? If the answer is yes, what does that mean when someone uses them according to regimen prescribed by a professional trainer who is knowledgeable? What does more muscle tissue, and repairing muscle tissue, mean? Is that a qualitative difference when we're considering chemicals?
   155. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 05:20 PM (#4246590)
From Big Hair and Plastic Grass, the recently-published history of baseball in the 1970s:

"[Reggie] Jackson briefly ran afoul of the commissioner's office in July [1974], after the Oakland Tribune published a quote from a uncorrected galley proof of [Jackson's forthcoming autobiography]. The inflammatory passage revolved around Jackson's admission that he regularly took 'boosters, greenies, bennies, whatever,' and would 'continue to take them unless I get so much #### over this I am forced to stop.' Bowie Kuhn let Jackson know that he was not pleased with the revelation, but ultimately took no action against the A's outfielder."

If the press and other factions of the game really thought greenies were bad, they would have absolutely unloaded on Jackson, who they all rightly thought was an insufferable prima donna. Charlie Finley was pretty reactionary and really, really cheap and didn't press the matter at all. Neither did Bowie Kuhn, who interpreted his "best interest of baseball" power as essentially plenary.

Even when the meat was shoved in its nose and it was starving, the dog never barked.
   156. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 26, 2012 at 05:27 PM (#4246601)
Amps make you hit a baseball better than you normally could, Amps make your throws more accurate than they would be without them, how is that not cheating? Amps make you run harder than you would have, give you quicker reaction time etc.


I don’t believe this. Certainly don’t when you used as a regular every day enhancers over a long period of time. Ask any policeman or any other person with any experience (including physicians) dealing with people under the influence of drugs, especially uppers. They alter perception. They are addictive. You’ll have to increase the dosage to get an effect that will continually degrade. Also, training one way, with one set of natural responses, and then being under the influence on certain occasions is not a recipe for having your body respond consistently to situations and events that can occur with unpredictability. Having a mindset cultivated in one way is not good or safe when altered, especially temporarily. Your mind doesn’t adjust as readily as some here seem to think it does. The rest of your body won’t either. You don’t have this problem with steroids.

And compounding this is the fact that none of those tests that show that amps increase your concentration have ever tried to demonstrate how this affects motions as subtle as adjusting one's swing within a tiny fraction of a second in reaction to the changing direction of a Major League pitch. No question that amps can help focus your attention in wholly positive ways (as can cocaine) when all that's needed is for your mind to be clear. But when you add the necessity of taking a heavy bat and meeting a 95-MPH pitch on the sweet spot of your bat, the idea that amps are going to be able to add to a well-rested player's talent to do this is beyond being dubious, and it certainly can't be shown by any existing evidence.
   157. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 05:28 PM (#4246602)
If the press and other factions of the game really thought greenies were bad, they would have absolutely unloaded on Jackson, who they all rightly thought was an insufferable prima donna. Charlie Finley was pretty reactionary and really, really cheap and didn't press the matter at all. Neither did Bowie Kuhn.


What is your fascination with contemporary opinions on this issue. It shouldn't matter what the people thought at the time, heck it doesn't matter what the people think right now.
   158. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 05:30 PM (#4246605)
What is your fascination with contemporary opinions on this issue.

In part, because it puts the lie to the "protecting heroes" meme. Reggie Jackson was not a hero in the eyes of 1974 (*), yet he was still "protected" in 1974. His amp use isn't being airbrushed away 40 years later -- that's horseshit.

There's also the obvious difference in openness of use.

(*) The concept of hero barely existed in 1974, other than ironically. Nobody wanted to be one, nobody believed anybody else was one, and anyone that aspired to be one was pretty much openly mocked.
   159. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 26, 2012 at 05:32 PM (#4246607)

Even when the meat was shoved in its nose and it was starving, the dog never barked.


In the '60's and '70's amps were no big deal. They were used for weight loss. Hell, I had a great Aunt who'd get a "B12" shot from her Dr. once a month that had amps. She was really, really energetic. Couldn't touch a good curveball though.
   160. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 26, 2012 at 05:34 PM (#4246609)
From Big Hair and Plastic Grass, the recently-published history of baseball in the 1970s:

"[Reggie] Jackson briefly ran afoul of the commissioner's office in July [1974], after the Oakland Tribune published a quote from a uncorrected galley proof of [Jackson's forthcoming autobiography]. The inflammatory passage revolved around Jackson's admission that he regularly took 'boosters, greenies, bennies, whatever,' and would 'continue to take them unless I get so much #### over this I am forced to stop.' Bowie Kuhn let Jackson know that he was not pleased with the revelation, but ultimately took no action against the A's outfielder."


I've got the first edition of that 1975 Jackson book (Reggie), but unfortunately it runs 272 pages with no index. Does that book you mention cite a page in the Jackson book where I could locate that quote?
   161. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 05:35 PM (#4246612)
I've got the first edition of that 1975 Jackson book (Reggie), but unfortunately it runs 272 pages with no index. Does that book you mention cite a page in the Jackson book where I could locate that quote?

My interpretation is that it didn't make the final proof, but I'm not sure. My book doesn't have a cite.
   162. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 05:38 PM (#4246616)
In part, because it puts the lie to the "protecting heroes" meme.


So you don't get the argument in the slightest, is what you are saying. The protecting heroes meme is based upon writers today, protecting their heroes retroactively. It has nothing to do with protecting the heroes at the time of the events in question.

The writers didn't care about greenies at the time because the drug culture at the time was part of the locker room and nobody cared at the time if you took drugs.
   163. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 26, 2012 at 05:41 PM (#4246619)
The writers didn't care about greenies at the time because the drug culture at the time was part of the locker room and nobody cared at the time if you took drugs.

Amphetamines were part of American culture. Lot's of people used them, or had used them in the military, and people knew what they could and couldn't do.
   164. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 05:43 PM (#4246621)
So you don't get the argument in the slightest, is what you are saying. The protecting heroes meme is based upon writers today, protecting their heroes retroactively. It has nothing to do with protecting the heroes at the time of the events in question.

I understand it perfectly, which is why I understand how badly it fails. Writers today are doing what writers have always done WRT amps. They've consistently not cared, whether the players in question were their contemporaries or "yesterday's heroes." No significant faction of the game has ever cared a whit about amps, whether the users were contemporaries or "yesterday's heroes." Even today, when amps are "banned," scores of players get exemptions for nothingburger reasons.

They didn't care when amps stood alone as the "PED" of choice, and they don't care when amps are juxtaposed against steroids and they reflect upon arguments drawing parallels between the two. They don't care. They never have.

They don't care about amps when amp use is openly flouted and bragged about. They do care, and always have cared, about steroid use, even when it's done in back alleys and bathroom stalls and players routinely and vociferously deny it.

You do understand that a lot of the writers and principals from 1974 are now ... you know ... dead?
   165. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 26, 2012 at 05:51 PM (#4246627)
I've got the first edition of that 1975 Jackson book (Reggie), but unfortunately it runs 272 pages with no index. Does that book you mention cite a page in the Jackson book where I could locate that quote?

My interpretation is that it didn't make the final proof, but I'm not sure. My book doesn't have a cite.


Too bad, but OTOH in skimming through those 272 pages I'd forgotten just how entertaining that book really was. Reggie's brawling and fussing with Finley and half of his teammates on just about every page. If that particular quote didn't make the final cut I'm sure that Reggie had nothing to do with the decision.

------------------------------------

The protecting heroes meme is based upon writers today, protecting their heroes retroactively. It has nothing to do with protecting the heroes at the time of the events in question.

No, what you see as "protecting" is nothing but an attempt to convey the reality of the 1970's drug and clubhouse cultures to the 21st century reader and listener. Your quarrel with this is simply that they should be reacting now in the same sort of way that they react to the steroids users of our times. But all that means is that you demand that they accept your equivalency arguments as proof that they're not "hypocritical", which is kind of silly for them to be doing if they don't agree with your premise. This is nothing but a repetition of Ray's tired old complaint that anyone who doesn't agree with his equivalency premise is being "dishonest". And that's exactly what I was talking about way back in post # 35. Once you get to that sort of rhetoric you've effectively terminated the conversation.
   166. JJ1986 Posted: September 26, 2012 at 05:58 PM (#4246633)
The point I meant to make originally was that even if we allow that restoration drugs were totally an accepted part of baseball culture in the 1960s and 1970s, "enhancement" drugs were also an accepted part of baseball culture in 1989 and in 1998 and in 2002. It's only since then that they are looked at differently.
   167. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 06:08 PM (#4246640)
New York Times, August 27, 1998:

"A dismaying little chill blew through the red-hot home-run race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa last weekend, when McGwire admitted that for about a year he had been ingesting a substance called androstenedione. The over-the-counter pill is classified by the Food and Drug Administration as a nutritional supplement, and is legal under Major League Baseball's drug rules. Even so, it is banned by the National Football League and by the International Olympic Committee, which recently suspended an American shot-putter, Randy Barnes, for using it.

For a lot of people, this has tainted McGwire's otherwise thrilling assault on Roger Maris's single-season record of 61 home runs, and some have even suggested, not entirely in jest, that if McGwire beats the record he should have an asterisk next to his name denoting that he did so under questionable circumstances. ..."

******************************************

Numerous media outlets commented on the andro being found in McGwire's locker, immediately after the finding. Most pointed out that it was technically legal in baseball, but banned in most other sports, including the NFL. At a bare minimum, wide swaths of people believed the andro in the locker was a topic worthy of discussion and further contemplation, and raised important issues for such discussion.

As the Times story notes, people were talking "asterisk" almost the second the news came out -- which also happened to be months before the common narrative has Barry Bonds ingesting his very first PED.
   168. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 06:13 PM (#4246645)
AmphetaminesCigarettes were part of American culture. Lot's of people used them, or had used them in the military, and people knew what they could and couldn't do.


Fixed that for you.
   169. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 26, 2012 at 06:19 PM (#4246652)
Fixed that for you.

Well, yes, but I don't get your point.
   170. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 06:23 PM (#4246655)
I understand it perfectly, which is why I understand how badly it fails. Writers today are doing what writers have always done WRT amps. They've consistently not cared, whether the players in question were their contemporaries or "yesterday's heroes." No significant faction of the game has ever cared a whit about amps, whether the users were contemporaries or "yesterday's heroes." Even today, when amps are "banned," scores of players get exemptions for nothingburger reasons.


Again, why does it matter what writers say about it to begin with? We don't go by what the writers say about rbi, or gold gloves etc. We don't put stock into their opinion on other matters, why does it matter what they say? Just because the perception of speed is that it's harmless, or not cheating, doesn't mean it's not cheating.
   171. zenbitz Posted: September 26, 2012 at 06:26 PM (#4246660)
Was Melky Cabrera using roids in 2009? Because I cannot tell from his stat line.

If Amphetamines don't enhance performance, why are they essentially universally banned by sport now? UNLESS YOU HAVE A PRESCRIPTION. It's not like they were all of a sudden reclassified by the DEA.

Caffeine enhances performance, too - not banned, why? Lots of drugs and treatments help you recover from injury, not banned, why?




   172. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 06:28 PM (#4246661)
Well, yes, but I don't get your point.


The point is that people at the time thought they knew what they could do and couldn't do.
   173. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 06:33 PM (#4246668)
Again, why does it matter what writers say about it to begin with?

Not just writers. No significant faction of the game has ever cared about amp use. Not players, not middle management, not front offices, not owners, not the commissioners office, not beat writers, not leisurely commentators, not HOF voters. Nobody.

Nobody cared in 1955, when the locker rooms were populated with crew cuts and war heroes; nobody cared in 1970, when the locker rooms were populated with acid droppers and war protesters; no one cared in 1974 or 1979, when people like Reggie and Pete Rose were telling the world they popped amps, go #### yourself; nobody cared in 1985, when attempting to buy a few lines of coke could get you a year suspension from the commissioner; no one cared in 1998, when the 'roid muscles started really popping; and no one cares in 2012, when a note from your mom can get you an exemption and all the amps you need.

No one has ever cared about amps.
   174. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2012 at 06:35 PM (#4246670)
Not just writers. No significant faction of the game has ever cared about amp use. Not players, not middle management, not front offices, not owners, not the commissioners office, not beat writers, not leisurely commentators, not HOF voters. Nobody.


And?????


It doesn't mean that they aren't the same type of cheating as roids. It means that the masses don't have the education to understand that they are the same type of cheating (and we are back full circle)

Appeals to the mass authority will never sway an argument, and it never should.

No one has ever cared about amps.

And we are trying to change that. It's the exact same type of cheating as roids, but people are just to set in their ways to understand that.
   175. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 06:37 PM (#4246673)
Appeals to the mass authority will never sway an argument, and it never should.

Where are you seeing an appeal to the masses? I'm talking about baseball factions. No one in baseball has ever cared about amps.
   176. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 26, 2012 at 06:48 PM (#4246682)
Was Melky Cabrera using roids in 2009? Because I cannot tell from his stat line.


I can't tell from his 2011 or 2012 stat line whether he was using. As I wrote in the other thread, the biggest change has been that he found an extra 60 points of BABIP over the past two years, and I don't see how that's attributable to steroids.

The argument for so long has been that steroids lead to an increase in home runs. (Even though the studies can't demonstrate that.) But then when a player adds 60 points of BABIP, the people saying steroids explain Melky don't even stop to realize that he wasn't hitting more home runs. Mainly, his batting average shot up.
   177. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 26, 2012 at 06:50 PM (#4246683)
Side note: It's useless arguing with Andy about amps vs. steroids. Because he makes ludicrous arguments and then when he runs out of those he disengages and loudly announces that he's not going to discuss the issue anymore.

It's only a matter of time before he bows out of this thread, proclaiming that he's done discussing the issue and if you want to discuss it more feel free to do it without him.
   178. Morty Causa Posted: September 26, 2012 at 06:52 PM (#4246685)
Just because the perception of speed is that it's harmless, or not cheating, doesn't mean it's not cheating.


That assumes to be true that which is to be proved.

The way we see drugs in general, and many drugs (and alcohol is one) in particular, has greatly changed since the '50's and '60's. Doctors back then were much looser about prescribing drugs, especially uppers and downers. This was because many of the risks and effects were not largely known--or were minnimized. The tobacco industry wasn't the only business minnimizing and covering up the effects of their product. We now know more about the effects and the side effects of drugs. Moreover, again, that players may have thought amphs (or whatever) did such a such doesn't mean that they in fact did do that. They used to believe that "rubbing dirt on it" was a cure-all, too.

If Amphetamines don't enhance performance, why are they essentially universally banned by sport now?


No one says they don't have any kind of effect. Maybe they, or their progeny, are great for horse races. Short burst of speed in events that take place every few weeks or months. Hell, speed probably could turn Clint Eastwood into Barney Fife.
   179. zenbitz Posted: September 26, 2012 at 08:23 PM (#4246736)
So ballplayers were taking amps recreationally? That's why they are banned?
   180. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 26, 2012 at 10:40 PM (#4246819)
Side note: It's useless arguing with Andy about amps vs. steroids. Because he makes ludicrous arguments and then when he runs out of those he disengages and loudly announces that he's not going to discuss the issue anymore.

It's only a matter of time before he bows out of this thread, proclaiming that he's done discussing the issue and if you want to discuss it more feel free to do it without him.


Considering that all CFB has done so far in this thread is proclaim himself the only valid judge of the "correct" view about amphetamines ("the masses don't have the education to understand that they are the same type of cheating"), I'm not sure what there is to discuss. Perhaps prior to the upcoming HoF vote, he and you can set up a booth or something where the masses can come to be informed about how hypocritical and dishonest they are.

----------------------------------------------

So ballplayers were taking amps recreationally? That's why they are banned?

They were banned for one very good reason (long range health effects) and one ancillary reason (PR). Not that there's anything wrong with the outcome, for as Morty notes, our knowledge and understanding about the dangers of amphetamines is far greater now than it was BITD.
   181. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 27, 2012 at 01:53 AM (#4246895)
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.


There's no other way to reasonably frame the issue.
   182. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 27, 2012 at 02:03 AM (#4246901)
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.


Yes, this is the part where Andy demands laboratory studies replicated under major league playing conditions for amps (see his bold portion above which alludes to this), but has never required a fraction of that kind of evidence to conclude that steroids are performance enhancing.


   183. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 27, 2012 at 02:15 AM (#4246904)
Show me a study that a ball player who dedicates his life to the gym without roids performs significantly worse than one who does roid usage?

That's a nice dodge, which is essentially an admission that your claims about amps can't be backed up.


This is the part where Andy's demands for lab tests of baseball players w/r/t amps are met with similar requests for lab tests of baseball players w/r/t steroids, and Andy's response is to call it a "nice dodge."

He is simply not arguing in good faith. It is dishonest.

As for your counter-question, you show me any weight-addicted and non-juiced player who's improved his late career performance relative to his own past prime years, to any degree comparable to Barry Bonds. We all know that Bonds is sui generis, a genius comparable to Einstein yada yada yada, but there's a reason he went from weights alone to weights + steroids, and I doubt if it was because he was just trying to qualify for cruising time at Muscle Beach.


And that was the part where Andy uses a sample size of one - Bonds - to "prove" steroids are performance enhancing.

If steroids enhance performance to that degree than Bonds was the only user.
   184. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 27, 2012 at 02:16 AM (#4246905)
The congressional hearings took place in March of 2005, a full three and a half years after Bonds broke the single season home run record. These hearings were the cumulative result of many factors, but if Bonds really had been the focus of that investigation, it's funny that he wasn't even asked to testify.


Not at all. He was under investigation for perjury at the time.
   185. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: September 27, 2012 at 05:18 AM (#4246922)
As for your counter-question, you show me any weight-addicted and non-juiced player who's improved his late career performance relative to his own past prime years, to any degree comparable to Barry Bonds.
That's easy: Barry Bonds.
   186. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: September 27, 2012 at 05:26 AM (#4246923)
Bouton is very clear in Ball Four that he doesn't think greenies help. In fact, he says they hurt. They give you a false sense of effectiveness.
This is a definition of "very clear" that is almost unique to Morty Causa. In fact, Bouton doesn't say that at all. What he said is that this is a drawback to greenie use. That's not the same thing as saying that they don't help. if I wrote, "The trouble with steroids is that they make it so you can work out too much, and you think you're getting to be a better player, but you're really getting musclebound and so you lose flexibility and hit worse," that does not mean steroids hurt you. It means they can.
   187. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: September 27, 2012 at 05:33 AM (#4246924)
No. There is greater, a much greater, tendency on the part of steroid apologists to confuse the issue (intentionally?) with attempts to make amphs and steroids be the same. They are simply not the same. They don’t do the same thing, they don’t act on your body the same, and they don’t have the same physical result. People who insist on maintaining that they are the same are just ignorant, or are not engaging in good-faith argument.
Your argument is either bad faith or stupid or both. The issue is not whether they "do the same thing, they don’t act on your body the same, and they don’t have the same physical result." The issue is whether they both enhance performance, not the mechanics of how. Poisoning an opposing player is not the same as kidnapping his mother and holding her at ransom to force him to play badly. It's a different crime, acting in different ways, with a different mechanism. But they both have the same effect of getting him to play badly.
   188. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: September 27, 2012 at 05:44 AM (#4246925)
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?
Actually, he should be seriously saying that your conception of "natural talent level" is a poorly-thought out construct that doesn't make any sense and has no applicability to the situation. And yet, even so, yes. Amphetamines improve performance. They do not simply allow a player who is hung over to play as if he were not hung over. You've been told this repeatedly. You've even been given studies proving it.
   189. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 27, 2012 at 07:40 AM (#4246936)
And yet, even so, yes. Amphetamines improve performance.

So does coffee.
   190. simon bedford Posted: September 27, 2012 at 08:11 AM (#4246943)
I can remeber Tony Gwynn giving an angry interview where he stated that amphetamines were the real problem and were being ignored during the steroid witch hunt, so SBB somebody cared.
   191. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 27, 2012 at 08:14 AM (#4246945)
Amphetamines improve performance. They do not simply allow a player who is hung over to play as if he were not hung over. You've been told this repeatedly. You've even been given studies proving it.

Again, show me a study that tested the effects of amphetamines on the ability of a well-rested athlete to hit a Major League level pitch. Or show me a study that tested the effects of amphetamines on the ability of any well-rested person to enhance his performance in any activity that requires the sort of high level reactive skills that you need to play Major League baseball. You say I've be "given studies proving it", but that's BS and you know it is.

Another question: How many well-rested players ever took amphetamines in the first place? How many people who can get 8 hours of unaided sleep ever start using sleeping pills?

The distinction is simple: Amphetamines can keep a ballplayer awake and alert when he otherwise should just be taking a nap. But amphetamines can't turn a well-rested .240 hitter into a .250 hitter, or turn Robinson Cano into Wade Boggs.** It's not like studying for an exam where nobody's trying to distract you during the test, and the exam room is perfectly silent and allows those pills you took to work their magic unimpeded. When you show me a "study" or a "test" that replicates conditions even remotely analogous to those facing a Major League hitter, please pass it along.

**And steroids can't turn Bobby Bonilla into Barry Bonds. But they can help Barry Bonds develop the level of muscle strength that can complement his inborn talent and take it to new levels of performance, as was demonstrated in his wholly unprecedented late career power spikes. Obviously that does not mean that steroids are any kind of a "magic pill", but I've never once said that they were.
   192. simon bedford Posted: September 27, 2012 at 08:18 AM (#4246949)
amphetamines can help Mickey Mantle forget the gallons of booze he drank the night before and see the ball
   193. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 27, 2012 at 08:20 AM (#4246951)
amphetamines can help Mickey Mantle forget the gallons of booze he drank the night before and see the ball

Absolutely true, but if Mickey Mantle hadn't consumed those gallons of booze the night before, he'd be far less likely to have needed the pills in the first place.
   194. simon bedford Posted: September 27, 2012 at 08:27 AM (#4246952)
and if a frog had wings,,, so your argument is that mantle didnt cheat because he didnt need to be drunk? sorry dont follow
   195. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 27, 2012 at 08:35 AM (#4246958)
and if a frog had wings,,, so your argument is that mantle didnt cheat because he didnt need to be drunk? sorry dont follow

If you want to equate what greenie users did to get themselves on the field after a hangover with what a healthy juicer does to gain a competitive advantage over non-juicers, that's your privilege. If you don't see the distinction between those two scenarios, I doubt if any argument will ever convince you.
   196. simon bedford Posted: September 27, 2012 at 08:39 AM (#4246960)
i thought the argument was that greenies arent cheating but roids are, if you are saying that roids and amps are different, is there anyone here saying they arent different? they are both still cheating

   197. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 27, 2012 at 09:18 AM (#4246982)
i thought the argument was that greenies arent cheating but roids are, if you are saying that roids and amps are different, is there anyone here saying they arent different? they are both still cheating

No, that's the argument of the radical revisionists who believe that if they can only show that roids and amps are either or both "cheating" and "performance enhancing," then they've "won."

Caffeine is "performance enhancing." It has been conclusively proven to have postive effects on both aerobic and anaerobic exercise and exertion. Like amps, caffeine acts as a nervous system stimulant, increasing focus and concentration. Unless the radicals are suggesting a purge of all coffee sippers from the ranks of the honest, they're going to have to remand themselves back to the drawing board for work on their principles and definitions -- which are in desperate need of adult supervision.
   198. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 27, 2012 at 09:29 AM (#4246992)
For the life of me, I don't get the desire to defend steroid users.

If nothing else, the whole sordid affair was a stain on baseball, even if what they did wasn't technically "cheating" at the time.

What is the downside of purging steroids from baseball?

It seems to me the steroid defender are defending their "childhood heroes" ever bit as much (and probably more) than the amp defenders.
   199. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 27, 2012 at 09:42 AM (#4247007)
For the life of me, I don't get the desire to defend steroid users.

Mostly fanboyism. Also, (misplaced) notions of privacy, loyalty to the saber cause (*), and the frisson of excitement from mocking the establishment and conventional wisdom.

(*) Most of the dedicated saber community are radical revisionists on this question, a position which has become both a core tenet of the catechism and an article of faith.
   200. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 27, 2012 at 09:51 AM (#4247012)
... another core tenet of the saber philosophy is that the numbers generated in baseball games are inviolate, and integrated -- which is to say, all there is to know about player performance is found -- and to be found -- therein. Even proven violations of baseball rules regarding drug use is deemed inherently inadmissable for consideration -- see, e.g., the Melky Cabrera situation.
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