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Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Bill James Mailbag

The HOF ballot is going to be seriously clogged for years. I thought it was sad that Williams, Lofton, Julio Franco, and Dale Murphy all dropped off without a ripple.

Dale Murphy made ripples.  I think his son running such a stupid, negative campaign hurt Murph, didn’t it? 

On “Clubhouse Confidential”, you said that Barry Bonds “made a farce of the game” with his steroid use. How did Bonds’ use make a “farce” of the game any more than any other player who used steroids?

He was the most aggressive abuser, at least among players with some modicum of talent.  He was the guy who was on the cutting edge, the guy who was hooked into the “best” suppliers who could give him the latest, most powerful substances.

Look, when Sammy and Mac were having their home run race, people knew they were using steroids, and nobody cared.  Later on, after the fact, people decided that it was a terrible sin to have used them things.  I think that’s unfair, to impose after the fact a moral judgment about behavior that was accepted at the time—or, at the least, to impose a HARSH judgment now for what was accepted then.

But AFTER the public had turned against steroids, AFTER it had become a scandal, Bonds engaged in a sustained and complex pattern of deception in order to keep doing it.  To me, that’s a different thing.  It’s not the steroids, it’s the lying that’s the issue.

Thanks to Reg.

Repoz Posted: January 13, 2013 at 07:15 AM | 53 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, hof

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   1. Gonfalon B. Posted: January 13, 2013 at 09:08 AM (#4346049)
Who's writing all these alternate timelines for what happened in what order, Marvel Comics? Can we bring Ken Caminiti back to life and have him marry Mary Jane Watson?
   2. AJMcCringleberry Posted: January 13, 2013 at 10:04 AM (#4346065)
Nice to see Bill James no longer requires evidence when talking about baseball players.
   3. McCoy Posted: January 13, 2013 at 10:39 AM (#4346076)
It's like Bill James intentionally picks the opposite side in every single debate, ever. First he spent years defending a "clean" MLB and Barry Bonds but now that everyone has moved on and the sabes don't really care about drug use he becomes this huge anti-steroid anti-Bonds guy. It's almost getting to the point where I don't think Bill James has a stance on any issue until after he finds out what everyone else thinks and then once he finds out what others think he takes the opposite view.
   4. KronicFatigue Posted: January 13, 2013 at 11:09 AM (#4346084)
Are 8-man batting lineups a thing? I had never heard that proposition floated EVER, and yet it's brought up multiple times in that mailbag.
   5. SoSH U at work Posted: January 13, 2013 at 11:30 AM (#4346090)
Dale Murphy made ripples. I think his son running such a stupid, negative campaign hurt Murph, didn’t it?


Yeah, he probably would have made it otherwise.

Obviously Murphy's kid's campaign was pretty embarrassing. But he wasn't going in, and I don't think it's going to permanently stain our impression of Dale.
   6. AndrewJ Posted: January 13, 2013 at 11:33 AM (#4346092)
Are 8-man batting lineups a thing? I had never heard that proposition floated EVER, and yet it's brought up multiple times in that mailbag.

Craig Wright proposed this in The Diamond Appraised.
   7. Davo Dozier Posted: January 13, 2013 at 12:09 PM (#4346112)
I thought I knew what was meant by "8-man batting lineups", until I saw this Q&A later in the article:

Q: Regarding the DH debate: has a serious alternative ever been floated at any level of just doing away with the pitcher's spot in the lineup altogether and going with 8-man lineups?

A: God, I hope not.
So, that's what I thought it meant.

Can someone tell me what an 8-man batting lineup is?
   8. depletion Posted: January 13, 2013 at 12:35 PM (#4346132)
Can someone tell me what an 8-man batting lineup is?

Found mostly in Japan. Unfortunately a policeman was shot as the motivation to go with 8-man 8man link
   9. phredbird Posted: January 13, 2013 at 02:25 PM (#4346191)
It's like Bill James intentionally picks the opposite side in every single debate, ever. First he spent years defending a "clean" MLB and Barry Bonds but now that everyone has moved on and the sabes don't really care about drug use he becomes this huge anti-steroid anti-Bonds guy.


my first inkling of this was his whole pete rose argument. never saw james quite the same way after that.
   10. The District Attorney Posted: January 13, 2013 at 02:51 PM (#4346207)
Can someone tell me what an 8-man batting lineup is?
It's a proposed rule change where the pitcher doesn't bat, and there's no DH either. The batting order would have eight players in it.
   11. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: January 13, 2013 at 03:03 PM (#4346216)
I have this feeling like this winter has had a distinct subplot wherein Bill James wandered off the ledge and fell into Crackpot Gorge.
   12. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: January 13, 2013 at 04:19 PM (#4346254)
[1] I was thinking more Crisis on Infinite Articles.

Actually not a bad idea to resolve the debate - if we retcon the Golden Age MLB heroes into an alternate universe they can keep all their records while the 'grittier' modern baseball heroes remain on the parallel (but completely separate) MLB-One. That way we never have to compare amps to steroids ever again - MLB-One never had amps, and MLB-Two never experienced modern PEDs.
   13. Zach Posted: January 13, 2013 at 04:52 PM (#4346265)
During the Great Steroid Debate, I always got the impression that James didn't really care. He'd compliment Bonds's ability to swing at the one good pitch he saw a game, as though that were the secret to his success. (Obviously, it was a component, but just as obviously, it wasn't the whole story.)

At the tail end of Bonds's career, I think it did become farcical. It gradually became clear that some players gained enough benefit from steroids that the old records weren't really relevant any more. Sosa broke 60 home runs three times and never led the league while doing it. Bonds hit 73, and it didn't feel like a miracle season, just a high water mark.

The end of the steroid era really devalued the idea of a miracle season. Instead of looking at every young star and wondering if maybe they might have a 50 homer season in them, you had a group of boorish players who dominated the leaderboards while being obvious cheaters.

The big difference between 1998 and 2001 was that The Great Home Run Chase was fun in '98. By 2001 it was overbearing, and by the time Bonds passed Aaron it seemed ugly and corrupt.

Just my opinion, of course.
   14. Walt Davis Posted: January 13, 2013 at 05:26 PM (#4346327)
I had never heard that proposition floated EVER, and yet it's brought up multiple times in that mailbag.

I've floated it here. I rather like the idea but I know we'll never see it. Probably nobody who's ever tossed the idea out there does so nobody really pushes it. It's just a way to do away with the evil DH while placating those Eurotrash wannabes whose precious aesthetic sensibilities are offended when watching a pitcher hit.
   15. Ulysses S. Fairsmith Posted: January 13, 2013 at 05:34 PM (#4346336)
Why is the DH the only rule change that people insist on bellyaching about all the time? Foul balls weren't strikes when the game was invented, but nobody ever complains about that.
   16. Rennie's Tenet Posted: January 13, 2013 at 05:44 PM (#4346349)
The batting order would have eight players in it.


I used to want All Star and World Series games to be 10 inning games where each team had both the pitcher and the DH in the (ten man) batting order. I think it would cause more trouble than it would solve in the regular season, though.
   17. McCoy Posted: January 13, 2013 at 05:48 PM (#4346351)
Why is the DH the only rule change that people insist on bellyaching about all the time? Foul balls weren't strikes when the game was invented, but nobody ever complains about that.

Because it applied evenly and it is the only rule change that anybody alive actually experienced. If they had both leagues implement the DH by this point in time almost nobody would care about the DH.
   18. ecwcat Posted: January 13, 2013 at 07:14 PM (#4346406)
"But AFTER the public had turned against steroids, AFTER it had become a scandal, Bonds engaged in a sustained and complex pattern of deception in order to keep doing it. To me, that’s a different thing. It’s not the steroids, it’s the lying that’s the issue."

The real time line, from our earth, not Bill James's fantasy world:

1998: Sosa and McGwire race.

2001: Bonds hits 73.

2003: BALCO, first mlb testing

2005: Canseco's book and Congressional hearings, where McGwire, Sosa, and Palmiero lost honor.

2006: Mitchell starts investigation, MLB drug testing, Sports Illustrated goes after Barry, Game of Shadows book

2007: Aaron's record falls. December: Mitchell Report published.

2008: Clemens goes crazy trying to prove his innocent, and the media's not buying. Bonds is blacklisted from baseball.
   19. Lassus Posted: January 13, 2013 at 10:42 PM (#4346511)
I was thinking more Crisis on Infinite Articles.

Now that is damned awesome, Petunia, thank you.
   20. Walt Davis Posted: January 13, 2013 at 11:21 PM (#4346524)
Why is the DH the only rule change that people insist on bellyaching about all the time?

Not all the time, just from about November through May. Then we bellyache about the abomination that is interleague play (we get to start early this year!) then the concession to Mammon that is the 2nd wildcard (and don't get me started on the first wildcard). Hell, I'm annoyed that Cincinnati and Atlanta aren't in the NL West where they belong!

It's not my fault baseball reached perfection in the early 70s when I became a fan and that the AL is, always has been and always will be morally and baseballilly inferior to the NL.
   21. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: January 13, 2013 at 11:59 PM (#4346539)
Look, when Sammy and Mac were having their home run race, people knew they were using steroids, and nobody cared.


See, I don't remember this. I remember the chase. I remember that McGwire had Andro in his locker. There was an uproar over the Andro. Which I never understood because it was OTC, IIRC. So how can people say that the media and/or the public knew about steroids and didn't care when there was a media circus about something that was actually legal?

And, Brady Anderson was 2 years before. He claimed Creatine was the only thing he used, but there were certainly a lot of people who wrote articles mumbling about steroids. I just don't get where the "media knew but kept quiet" stuff comes from.
   22. SoSH U at work Posted: January 14, 2013 at 12:04 AM (#4346541)
See, I don't remember this. I remember the chase. I remember that McGwire had Andro in his locker. There was an uproar over the Andro. Which I never understood because it was OTC, IIRC.


From my vantagepoint, more ire was directed at Steve Wilstein, the snoop who spotted and reported the andro, then at Mac for having it.

ecwcat's timeline is missing an important event - the SI cover story on Caminiti.

   23. Walt Davis Posted: January 14, 2013 at 01:11 AM (#4346554)
Seriously, the public turned on steroids between 1998 and 2001? I didn't even notice that the first time I read the excerpt.

And Barry's "sustained and complex pattern of deception in order to keep doing it" amounted to being a client of a legally incorporated business with several famous athletes as clients and to allow a reporter to hang out and write about his amazing workout regimen and inviting Sheffield to join him. He then compounded this "lying" by testifying in front of the grand jury, without immunity. He was then investigated heavily and tried for perjury but convicted only of obstruction of justice for giving a vague answer to a question that he answered directly about 2 minutes later.

Seriously, Bonds' "pattern of deception" amounts to "I don't know what Anderson was giving me." That's less complex than RBI.

(Remember, unlike heavily-tested Olympic athletes, Bonds had no incentive to use undetectable steroids so the use of BALCO would not be a necessary part of any deception -- it seems happenstance to me, it was where Anderson had connections.)
   24. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 01:30 AM (#4346559)
The HOF ballot is going to be seriously clogged for years. I thought it was sad that Williams, Lofton, Julio Franco, and Dale Murphy all dropped off without a ripple.

Dale Murphy made ripples. I think his son running such a stupid, negative campaign hurt Murph, didn’t it?


James has an annoying penchant for taking an interesting question and sidestepping it by focusing on one bad part of it.

The interesting part was Williams/Lofton dropping off the ballot.
   25. Sunday silence Posted: January 14, 2013 at 01:31 AM (#4346561)
It's almost getting to the point where I don't think Bill James has a stance on any issue until after he finds out what everyone else thinks and then once he finds out what others think he takes the opposite view.


I think it's simply that he made his name as an iconoclast, of sorts. And now, he has to continue to take on long held assumptions in order to stay relevant. Or so it seems. On the other hand, its better to be on the right side of the argument, or at least to have a logical basis for what you are saying. He's gotten so odd these days. That whole thing about they dont have the facilities or whatever to develop knuckelballers in their organization, was one of the first red flags.

I never liked Bonds because he was suck a ######## on the Pirates, but even I have to admit he probably worked his butt off as hard as anyone to turn into what he did. At this pt. I am glad he did. He pushed the boundaries of what is possible with PEDs and determination. What would have happened if he ad Sosa had not also broken 60? How would we relate to McGuire today?

Basically, if Bonds made baseball records look silly, then I'm glad someone did
   26. bookbook Posted: January 14, 2013 at 02:28 AM (#4346569)
Walt, the golden age of baseball, much like science fiction is 13.

That Bill James has oppositional disorder is a perfectly rational reading of his career in totality.
   27. Walt Davis Posted: January 14, 2013 at 02:52 AM (#4346577)
It's also possible that, since being employed by the Sox, James has had a lot more exposure to baseball traditionalists, players, etc. Stockholm syndrome and all that. :-)

I'm increasingly surprised the Red Sox still let him do stuff like this after the Paterno misstep. It seem just a matter of time to me before James in his contrary nature says something that might be perfectly reasonable but sufficiently counter to widespread public opinion that it causes the team real embarrassment.
   28. Bhaakon Posted: January 14, 2013 at 06:20 AM (#4346598)
It's almost getting to the point where I don't think Bill James has a stance on any issue until after he finds out what everyone else thinks and then once he finds out what others think he takes the opposite view.


Maybe, but I don't think this is a good example of it. If you were to put a gun to my head and make me decide what the majority opinion among fans is on this issue, I'd go with the anti-Bonds/PED user stance.
   29. bjhanke Posted: January 14, 2013 at 02:46 PM (#4346829)
Walt (#23) has - And Barry's "sustained and complex pattern of deception in order to keep doing it" amounted to being a client of a legally incorporated business with several famous athletes as clients and to allow a reporter to hang out and write about his amazing workout regimen and inviting Sheffield to join him.

If you think about this, it not only makes sense, it's almost impossible to envision any other story, if you think Bonds used steroids at all. Barry would like to take steroids. He goes to his trainer (is he still in jail for refusal to testify?) and says, "Look. You know I'd like to try steroids. But in fact, you're my trainer, and I'm perfectly willing to take your word for what you're injecting in me. So, if you tell me it's flaxseed oil, than that's what I will think it is."

This is called "plausible deniability" and is one anchor of secret services and Bourne Trilogy films. The military calls it "Don't ask, don't tell." I have almost absolute conviction in my opinion that Barry Bonds never knowingly took steroids. But I also think that he and his trainer were bright enough to see that Bonds needed "plausible deniability." The amazing thing is that the trainer has managed to stay so loyal. He's gone to jail, for goodness sake. But if Bonds did use, I see no reason why anyone would think that Barry knew what he was getting. He wasn't dumb enough to put himself in that position. And if he didn't use, well, there are more than a few BBWAA voters who are going to owe him one spectacular apology.

- Brock Hanke
   30. TomH Posted: January 14, 2013 at 03:09 PM (#4346838)
people have been known to spend time in the slammer if their families wind up VERY well taken care of; a common thing in certain shady elements of society
   31. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 03:36 PM (#4346854)
Since comics mega-events have already been brought up, I'm surprised that AFAIK no one has floated the distinct possibility that James has been a Skrull for several years now.
   32. AROM Posted: January 14, 2013 at 03:44 PM (#4346862)
He was the most aggressive abuser, at least among players with some modicum of talent. He was the guy who was on the cutting edge, the guy who was hooked into the “best” suppliers who could give him the latest, most powerful substances.


You don't know that. The only thing we know is that Bonds put up the best statistics. He was also the best talent before steroids, so that should not come as a surprise. Balco was apparently cutting edge but we don't know that Bonds took any greater advantage than McGwire, Canseco, Alex Sanchez, Manny Alexander, or whoever.

Look, when Sammy and Mac were having their home run race, people knew they were using steroids, and nobody cared. Later on, after the fact, people decided that it was a terrible sin to have used them things. I think that’s unfair, to impose after the fact a moral judgment about behavior that was accepted at the time—or, at the least, to impose a HARSH judgment now for what was accepted then.

But AFTER the public had turned against steroids, AFTER it had become a scandal, Bonds engaged in a sustained and complex pattern of deception in order to keep doing it. To me, that’s a different thing. It’s not the steroids, it’s the lying that’s the issue.


Coke to #18 for the timeline.

1998: I think the simplest explanation is that people did not want to believe. When they found Andro in McGwire's locker, the vast majority seemed to be satisfied that was all he was using (a legal, over the counter product at the time) and the reporter invading his privacy was as big a story as anything.

When was the first major battle of the BTF steroid war? I'd put that around 2003, but my memory could be off. There were definitely grumblings during 2001. Just the mood around Bonds' record pursuit was different than the love fest Mark and Sammy got just 3 years earlier. But at that point it was not a full fledged scandal.

I'm a little disgusted by the idea that Mark and Sammy doing it is OK, but Bonds is evil for doing the same thing. Lying is the issue? If that's the case then McGwire was certainly lying in 1998.
   33. AROM Posted: January 14, 2013 at 03:48 PM (#4346865)
Though McGwire did smash 42 home runs in that comeback year, it was also the first of five consecutive seasons in which he could not stay off the disabled list. He missed 40% of his team's games during that stretch; his enormously muscled body seemed to be too big for the rigors of playing baseball. A rib-cage strain, a torn left heel muscle, a sore lower back, a left heel stress fracture, a torn right heel muscle...hose seemed to many observers to be the natural consequences of a body made unnaturally large. Many, including opposing players, believe he uses steroids. He denies the charge. Vehemently.

"Never," says McGwire, though he admits he'll "take anything that's legal," meaning dietary supplements. "It sort of boggles my mind when you hear people trying to discredit someone who's had success. Because a guy enjoys lifting weights and taking care of himself, why do they think that guy is doing something illegal? Why not say, 'This guy works really, really hard at what he does, and he's dedicated to being the best he can be.' I sure hope that's the way people look at me."


Tom Verducci interviewing McGwire, March 1998.

So Bill, how is it that "lying is the issue" makes Bonds worse than McGwire?
   34. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: January 14, 2013 at 03:57 PM (#4346875)
It seem just a matter of time to me before James in his contrary nature says something that might be perfectly reasonable but sufficiently counter to widespread public opinion that it causes the team real embarrassment.


I think a bigger risk is him saying something that's both completely unreasonable and counter to widespread public opinion- contrary to public opinion means you need to be able to explain/defend yourself, stuff that's reasonable can always be defended more or less, but some of James' recent stuff simply cannot be coherently explained/defended- and if the MSM sees fit to cal him out on the carpet one of those he's in trouble.
   35. zonk Posted: January 14, 2013 at 04:20 PM (#4346903)
Bill James has really gone downhill since he started dating Murray Chass...

   36. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 14, 2013 at 04:31 PM (#4346916)
ecwcat's timeline is missing an important event - the SI cover story on Caminiti.


That was summer, 2002. It was what triggered MLB & MLBPA to hurriedly throw testing into the CBA they negotiated that summer, which led to the anonymous 2003 testing which then triggered testing with penalties in 2004.
   37. AROM Posted: January 14, 2013 at 04:53 PM (#4346934)
Testing with penalties started in 2005 - that was the year Alex Sanchez became the first guy busted.

At least I think. Unless there were penalties in 2004 and nobody was caught for the whole season.
   38. Don Malcolm Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:06 PM (#4346947)
I'm a little disgusted by the idea that Mark and Sammy doing it is OK, but Bonds is evil for doing the same thing. Lying is the issue? If that's the case then McGwire was certainly lying in 1998.

That is an extremely silly stance, but the voting results don't indicate that it's having much play amongst the eligible electors in the HOF voting.

These folks have all clearly painted themselves into a corner over this issue, and (as Harvey keeps saying) it will take time for the paint to dry and allow them to extricate themselves. It was always going to be f'ed up, it didn't need to be quite this f'ed up, but it's not going to be as f'ed up as many people think (or want) it to be.
   39. andrewberg Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:26 PM (#4346964)
That was summer, 2002. It was what triggered MLB & MLBPA to hurriedly throw testing into the CBA they negotiated that summer, which led to the anonymous 2003 testing which then triggered testing with penalties in 2004.


It seems really weird to have that year of baseline testing. They look really bad for having the secret testing. Much worse, it would seem, than if they had just agreed to it earlier and found out that very few ever tested positive.
   40. smileyy Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:26 PM (#4346966)

The big difference between 1998 and 2001 was that The Great Home Run Chase was fun in '98. By 2001 it was overbearing, and by the time Bonds passed Aaron it seemed ugly and corrupt.


The difference, for me at least, is that while it may have been ugly and corrupt, I don't blame a player for participating in it until effective enforcement was in place.
   41. Walt Davis Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:38 PM (#4346975)
Brock ... I'll admit I'm not quite sure what your argument is but, absolutely, Bonds may have gone for plausible deniability. (Wasn't it Watergate that brought that phrase into public parlance?) But this is about the simplest form of deception possible.

Bonds may be telling the truth when he says he didn't know what Anderson was giving. But even if he's lying, this is not a "complex pattern of deception."

Now, BALCO was certainly engaged in a pattern of deception (complex or not). Cooking up an undetectable formula, presumably using masking agents too. They were labeling things flaxseed oil and I don't think anybody had thought an anabolic steroid cream would actually be effective. Also Bonds' testimony is consistent with many (not all) of the other BALCO athletes saying they were never told what they were taking. There's no evidence I'm aware of that any of this was explained to Bonds and I'm pretty sure Conte testified that he never told Bonds any of this.

James phrases it as if Bonds was the "mastermind" behind all of this "complex" deception. If James had just said "c'mon, Bonds had to know this wasn't legit" he'd be on more solid ground. But his timeline is still off. Even if you think Bonds knowingly used, I can't see any reason to treat McGwire's usage any differently than Bonds' usage. (Note, we simply have no reliable evidence that Sosa used.)

It's amazing yeah? BALCO was 10 years ago now, the HR chase 15 years ago.
   42. The District Attorney Posted: January 14, 2013 at 08:50 PM (#4347095)
Bill today:
The controversy really began when a reporter saw an anabolic steroid in Mark McGwire's locker, open and uncovered. McGwire comment was not that it was "natural", but that it was LEGAL. And the press and public overwhelmingly supported him, and attacked the reporter for trying to make an issue out of something that was a private matter.
   43. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: January 14, 2013 at 10:05 PM (#4347131)
I admit my memory may be fuzzy on this. But I thought that there was enough uproar that McGwire publicly announced that even though Andro was legal that he was going to stop taking it. Did that happen?
   44. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: January 14, 2013 at 11:24 PM (#4347174)
James has an annoying penchant for taking an interesting question and sidestepping it by focusing on one bad part of it.


I've noticed this too - and agree it's annoying.
   45. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 15, 2013 at 01:36 AM (#4347273)
SI, August 1998, Jack McCallum:

In the relentless search for an asterisk, sportswriters have come upon a bottle of pills that your Uncle Barney can buy without a prescription, pills that Mark McGwire keeps in plain view of America, which these days means on a shelf in his locker stall. Get this straight: McGwire's use of androstenedione, which he may not have advertised but didn't try to hide, should not taint his achievement if he breaks Roger Maris's single-season home run record (page 28). For one thing, androstenedione, classified by the FDA as a nutritional dietary supplement, is legal, not just in the real world, where McGwire lives for five months of the year, but also in the baseball world, where he lives for the other seven...

...Finally, it's not as if McGwire is alone. He says at least nine or ten St. Louis Cardinals teammates use andro (as it's known to muscleheads), and Houston Astros star Jeff Bagwell told The Houston Chronicle, two weeks before the McGwire storm erupted, that he had taken it. Logic says that at least a few other major leaguers have it in their lockers.

A caveat: Andro is banned by, among others, the NFL, the NCAA and the International Olympic Committee. Its classification as a supplement rather than an anabolic steroid is largely semantics. The body metabolizes androstenedione into testosterone, so it's often referred to as a "precursor to an anabolic steroid." Experts say that androstenedione may, like many hormones, have deleterious side effects, among them disruptions in heart and liver function. That's a big reason that some organizations have banned it—and that Big Mac-mad youngsters should not try to buy a baseball career in a bottle.

But McGwire is an adult who, as far as we know, is playing within the rules. If baseball were to ban androstenedione, then he could be faulted if he kept on using it. To hold McGwire to a higher standard than his sport does is unfair.


   46. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 15, 2013 at 01:39 AM (#4347276)
Si, February 1999, Gerry Callahan:

The players have always lined up against drug testing, but Gene Orza, associate general counsel for the players' union, says this case is different. "If the players were to be convinced that androstenedione provides an unfair advantage to one player over another," says Orza, "the union would not philosophically oppose a ban enforced through random testing."
   47. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 15, 2013 at 01:44 AM (#4347279)
SI, July 1999:

Always an avid weightlifter, Bagwell hired a bodybuilder to train him after that '95 season. The trainer, Herschel Johnson, suggested a program to make Bagwell stronger for baseball without adding too much bulk, which might cause a loss in flexibility. "I don't care about that," Bagwell retorted. "I need to get as big as I can and be as strong as I can."

He added 20 pounds that winter through intense weightlifting and a high-protein, low-fat that (heavy on egg whites, tuna, turkey and steak). Bagwell hit 108 dingers over the next three seasons, including a career-high 43 in 1997. His off-season regimen now includes not only Johnson's training but also creatine, the nutritional supplement, and the controversial testosterone-boosting androstenedione. "It may help your workout, but it doesn't help you hit home runs," he says.

Given where Bagwell plays his home games, the extra muscle comes in handy. "He'd probably have 350 home runs by now if he didn't play in the Astrodome," Biggio says of the team's domed stadium, where the fences are far back and the ball carries poorly.
   48. Zach Posted: January 15, 2013 at 03:42 AM (#4347298)
What I get from the 1998-99 articles is that people didn't know enough about PEDs to draw any distinctions. Andro is absolutely a PED -- it's a steroid precursor. And creatine absolutely isn't -- it's got nothing in it that you don't get from eating a hamburger. But if you've never heard the names before and you suddenly read them in the same sentence, how are you supposed to draw distinctions?

It's not that people weren't outraged about the possibility of PEDs. They just mistakenly concluded that andro wasn't one. And, having concluded that, they turned on the reporter who claimed that it was.
   49. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: January 15, 2013 at 10:23 AM (#4347349)
It's not that people weren't outraged about the possibility of PEDs. They just mistakenly concluded that andro wasn't one. And, having concluded that, they turned on the reporter who claimed that it was.

Well, sort of. Some people may have "turned on the reporter", true. But there was clearly some sort of uproar over McGwire taking them. If it died down, it was because people figured that andro wasn't a PED. Not because they didn't care about steroids. This seems to be proof that people did care about steroids in the game.
   50. Gonfalon B. Posted: January 15, 2013 at 10:54 AM (#4347360)
But there was clearly some sort of uproar over McGwire taking them. If it died down, it was because people figured that andro wasn't a PED.

If only there were a group of people who could have sought out further information about the matter from outside sources and experts, applied their professional skill to properly organize and contextualize that information, and having done so, explain it to the public. I wonder if there's even a name for a person like that?
   51. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 15, 2013 at 11:24 AM (#4347389)
If only there were a group of people who could have sought out further information about the matter from outside sources and experts, applied their professional skill to properly organize and contextualize that information, and having done so, explain it to the public. I wonder if there's even a name for a person like that?


Blogger.

Sadly, trained journalists, columnists, or beat writers weren't up to the task.
   52. AROM Posted: January 15, 2013 at 11:36 AM (#4347402)
Ray, interesting post #47 - Bagwell's bulking up came after his .750 SLG season of 1994.
   53. Ron J2 Posted: January 15, 2013 at 11:53 AM (#4347421)
Andro is absolutely a PED


Actually there's about zero evidence that Andro is performance enhancing. It's banned primarily because there's no way to test for nandrolone if you allow Andro. (both synthetic nandrolone and Andro leave the same chemical traces in the body)

There's a slight ambiguity here in that athletes took much heavier doses than were used in any of the studies on Andro.

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