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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Baseball Journals: Brown: Pitchers, Not Sluggers Surprise of Steroid Testing

The latest from Maury Brown on the steroid situation…

Let’s play some word association…

If I say Juiced baseball player, what comes to mind?… Hmmm, head looks like a potato… Bulging arms… sudden surge in hits for power… probably performing past his prime. Bonds… McGwire… Giambi… Sosa… Canseco… Caminiti.

Now, here’s some reality: There have been as many pitchers as there have been power hitters involved in the steroid controversy.

There have been 12 players found to be in violation of the Joint Drug Agreement in MLB and suspended for failing their drug tests. The number of pitchers to position players was split exactly down the middle in MLB last year: 6-6

Repoz Posted: June 07, 2006 at 08:54 PM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: steroids

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   1. cardsfanboy Posted: June 08, 2006 at 01:42 PM (#2056111)
wow, what a shocker(are writers really this stupid?)the people that get the most benefit from steroid use during the season are the ones actually getting caught using steroids, man I am totally flabbergasted.

I thought the only roid users were guys that were hitting 70 homeruns. Man I would be embarrassed if I wrote a column like this, I mean, here is a guy that supposedly follows baseball and seems to think that roid users were more likely to be hitters. It's hilarious heck the fact that it's 50/50 is shocking to me, my guess is it was going to be 60/40 or evenb 70/30 in favor of the pitchers.
   2. Mefisto Posted: June 08, 2006 at 03:32 PM (#2056180)
It's hilarious heck the fact that it's 50/50 is shocking to me, my guess is it was going to be 60/40 or evenb 70/30 in favor of the pitchers.

If you include previous years and minor leaguers, pitchers actually make up a majority. I don't have the exact percentage offhand.
   3. Maury Brown Posted: June 08, 2006 at 03:35 PM (#2056185)
Well, cardsfanboy, I'm sure you were thinking that pitchers were going to be more likely to use steroids back when all of this came to light. I'm sure you wrote about it, and told everyone that they were off the mark.

Of course, there's always the chance that this hasn't been covered much in the media (although, I'm sure you have a great deal of stories to point me to so I can be corrected).

I'm not embarrassed at all about this column. The fact that we focus power hitters and not pitching in the media and in water cooler discussions outlines that the perception is far different than the reality.

I have the MLB media advisories for this year on Minor league violations. I'll be going over those in the next few days.
   4. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 08, 2006 at 03:41 PM (#2056188)
Don't forget Termel Sledge and Derrick Turnbow.
   5. Steve Treder Posted: June 08, 2006 at 03:48 PM (#2056194)
Well, cardsfanboy, I'm sure you were thinking that pitchers were going to be more likely to use steroids back when all of this came to light. I'm sure you wrote about it, and told everyone that they were off the mark.

Actually, Maury, many people have been raising just exactly that suggestion in countless threads on this site for several years.
   6. DCA Posted: June 08, 2006 at 03:49 PM (#2056196)
Was Sledge steroids? I'm pretty sure Turnbow wasn't ... IIRC it was some kind of olympics-banned stimulant like OTC cough medicine.
   7. smileyy Posted: June 08, 2006 at 03:52 PM (#2056200)
This has never surprised me.

Steroids help muscles recover after they've been subject to heavy strain. Pitchers heavily strain themselves very frequently. Pitchers need their muscles to recover.
   8. Maury Brown Posted: June 08, 2006 at 04:03 PM (#2056207)
Actually, Maury, many people have been raising just exactly that suggestion in countless threads on this site for several years.
Hi Steve.

Well, in that sense, there has been conversation. Articles? Public perception? It's clearly been skewed heavily in favor of those who hit for power.

If someone had said that Ryan Franklin would be viewed as a steroid user, most fans would have thought otherwise.

My contention is still the same... In 2002, '03, '04... the topic of pitchers and steroid use was not on the radar. It's still not getting play in the media, as it should. Not till the advent of testing and making those results public has there been any conversation.
   9. Dan Turkenkopf Posted: June 08, 2006 at 04:07 PM (#2056213)
My contention is still the same... In 2002, '03, '04... the topic of pitchers and steroid use was not on the radar. It's still not getting play in the media, as it should. Not till the advent of testing and making those results public has there been any conversation.


Jason Stark made the same point here.

Yet the use of these substances by pitchers remains the most under-discussed aspect of the most over-discussed sports story of modern times.

So isn't it time we all woke up?

The everybody-used-steroids-to-cheat-and-hit-home-runs conspiracy theory has been oversimplified to the point of hysteria.

The lots-of-guys-used-steroids-to-heal-and-recover-and-possibly-throw-harder part of this story -- particularly by pitchers just like Grimsley -- has been just about ignored to the point of absurdity.

Jason Grimsley represents the most powerful evidence yet that way too many people have spent way too many hours and words focusing on the most convenient, but not the most prevalent, part of the story.
   10. Cowboy Popup Posted: June 08, 2006 at 04:23 PM (#2056219)
"My contention is still the same... In 2002, '03, '04... the topic of pitchers and steroid use was not on the radar."

I'll agree with this, there have been threads on this site complaining about the fact that mainstream writers are ignoring the pitchers as users. A lot of fans, especially casual fans think that only the hitters, HR hitters in particular, are the majority of major leaguers using. I'd imagine part of it is that there have been no big name pitchers nailed or seriously suspected yet, but I also think a lack of coverage over the potential impact the drugs may have on pitchers is a part of that too.
   11. cardsfanboy Posted: June 08, 2006 at 04:30 PM (#2056220)
The thing is Maury, the lack of mentioning it in the media is part of the reason that I'm somewhat upset. Any article from a member of the media that points out a 'surprising' aspect of the steroid situation really irks me. The fact that the media conveniently likes to ignore it's own culpability in the story also irks me. And the fact that most of the time they use the following phrase as evidence "...looks like he did steroids" really gets under my skin.


this site and many other sites that weren't beholden to mlb for a job have tackled the issue in a much better, logical and honest method than the members of "real" press. The fact is that the current(maybe not you Maury) sports writers are now looking at anyone and everyone to shoot at just to hide their own dark legacy in the entire story, which means I pretty much laugh at these type of articles.

Not thinking pitchers doing roids, is the typical head buried in the sand type of reaction I would expect from a major league owner, or the uniformed(because the writers haven't been doing their job for the past 20 years) fans, not something I would expect from a member of the press. I can understand fans saying "he does roids, just look at him" I can understand congress actually thinking that football doesn't have a roid problem, because neither of those groups are actually paid to think(sorry political dig) a member of the press on the other hand is paid to think, and the fact that this seems to be a 'surprise' occurance really bothers me.
   12. Steve Treder Posted: June 08, 2006 at 04:41 PM (#2056224)
Well, in that sense, there has been conversation. Articles? Public perception? It's clearly been skewed heavily in favor of those who hit for power.

Well, John Brattain's extensive article in the 2006 Hardball Times Annual discussed that question in depth. But, alas, the THT Annual is a long way (yet?!?) from mainstream. Where has BP been on this?

Your general point is certainly valid. As cardsfanboy says, the mainstream sports media (and straight news media) has been brain-dead on this issue for years. The fact that they continue to be brain-dead should hardly come as a surprise.
   13. Maury Brown Posted: June 08, 2006 at 04:51 PM (#2056233)
Well, John Brattain's extensive article in the 2006 Hardball Times Annual discussed that question in depth. But, alas, the THT Annual is a long way (yet?!?) from mainstream. Where has BP been on this?
And, I was just about to get to Best Regards John's great article in the THT Annual. If those reading have not picked it up, do so, and read John's piece.

As for BP... Good question. I have not gone back through the archives to see if this has been covered. I have mentioned that this is the story that needed to be told in media outlets that have visibility. While I will contend that there has been conversation and some articles, in the larger context, it is the big untold story. Grimsley's escapades will certainly change that.

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