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Monday, March 01, 2010

ESPN980: Loverro: No Hall of Fame for Tony La Russa

Home of the Redbird Skinned Alive!

Yet if we believe La Russa, he was ignorant of any performance-enhancing substance use in both Oakland and St. Louis. This man—George Will’s example of brilliance in the book, “Men at Work,” a baseball manager with a law degree, the subject of the book, “Three Nights in August,” by Buzz Bissinger, a book that, according to Publisher’s Weekly, “reveals La Russa’s history and personality, conveying the manager’s intensity and his compulsive need to be prepared for any situation that might arise during ” ‘the war’ of each at-bat”—didn’t know the stars of his teams were using steroids.

Of all the absurdities of the steroid era, this might be the most absurd.

La Russa’s claim of ignorance smacks of arrogance, the very arrogance that has motivated him to bring McGwire, who had been a hermit since his embarrassing appearance before Congress in 2005, back into the game as the Cardinals hitting coach. The last thing baseball needs is one of the biggest remainders of one of its most shameful eras back in the game and in uniform. It is not good for the game, and certainly not good for the Cardinals franchise, which has become divided over McGwire’s presence.

...It won’t. La Russa’s role in the steroid era is as large and loathsome as McGwire’s, Barry Bonds, or any of the high-profile cheaters. He is the management figure most associated with steroid use—in two leagues—and like those cheaters, should not honored for his contributions.

La Russa is third on the all-time wins list by managers, with 2,552. He has won two World Series, five pennants and four Manager of the Year honors. But in those categories that very much exist among the criteria for election of baseball’s Hall of Fame—“integrity, sportsmanship, character”—Tony La Russa belongs with Mark McGwire, on the outside looking in.

Repoz Posted: March 01, 2010 at 02:33 PM | 113 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: athletics, cardinals, hall of fame, history, steroids

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   1. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: March 01, 2010 at 03:19 PM (#3470137)
How about Joe Torre? Does he get in? I'll be a $100 this clown thinks Torre is a no-brainer.
   2. Dale Sams Posted: March 01, 2010 at 03:36 PM (#3470143)
You'd think by the evidence given to support the theme, that lying about steroids is more reprehensible then driving drunk.

Of course the drunk driving charge always brings up cries of "There are any number of miscreants in the HOF". So by default then,...lying about steroids is worse then drunk driving, racism, adultery, drug abuse, and attempted murder.
   3. JC in DC Posted: March 01, 2010 at 03:40 PM (#3470148)
Tom Loverro is not a clown, but a passionate fan of baseball, and SFAICT, smart and knowledgable.
   4. RJ in TO Posted: March 01, 2010 at 03:44 PM (#3470151)
If the writer is of the position that players who used PEDs shouldn't be allowed into the Hall, then it seems reasonable that he should also be of the position that managers who must have known about the PED use of their players should also not be allowed in the HOF.

As for whether or not LaRussa knew, like the author, I have a very hard time believing that he was unaware of at least some of the goings-on in his clubhouse.
   5. SoSH U at work Posted: March 01, 2010 at 03:46 PM (#3470153)
I don't agree with the conclusion (I'm of the every damn one of them, the players - the juiced and the clean - owners, management, fans and media share some of the guilt for PEDs school of thought), but at least he's casting a wider net than just Barry and Mac.
   6. Tricky Dick Posted: March 01, 2010 at 03:51 PM (#3470156)
This man—George Will’s example of brilliance in the book, “Men at Work,” a baseball manager with a law degree, the subject of the book, “Three Nights in August,” by Buzz Bissinger, a book that, according to Publisher’s Weekly, “reveals La Russa’s history and personality, conveying the manager’s intensity and his compulsive need to be prepared for any situation that might arise during “ ‘the war’ of each at-bat”—didn’t know the stars of his teams were using steroids.


I sometimes write sentences which I fear are too long--but this is a doozy.
   7. RJ in TO Posted: March 01, 2010 at 03:53 PM (#3470157)
I sometimes write sentences which I fear are too long--but this is a doozy.

You should probably avoid Faulker.
   8. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 01, 2010 at 03:57 PM (#3470159)
This guy is stealing my material.

Tony LaRussa is a great manager and has earned a spot in the baseball HOF. But don't play us for fools. The Don is a detail freak. It's his identifying feature as a manager. That he knew everything BUT this is absurd.
   9. GregQ Posted: March 01, 2010 at 04:13 PM (#3470170)
Tony LaRussa is a great manager and has earned a spot in the baseball HOF. But don't play us for fools. The Don is a detail freak. It's his identifying feature as a manager. That he knew everything BUT this is absurd.

I agree.
   10. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: March 01, 2010 at 04:13 PM (#3470171)
Every Manager in the last 20 years has had steroid users on his team. Singling out LaRussa is just dumb and stems more from LaRussa horse's assness than from any moral outrage. Not that feigning moral outrage isn't the bread and butter of your average sportswriter/sports talk personality. Their panties seem to exist in perpetutal bunchedness.
   11. GregQ Posted: March 01, 2010 at 04:18 PM (#3470175)
Yes the other managers did have steroid users but LaRussa does deserve to be highlighted because of his continual public proclamations of " I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!" The other managers have the brains to shut up.
   12. BDC Posted: March 01, 2010 at 04:19 PM (#3470176)
Every Manager in the last 20 years has had steroid users on his team. Singling out LaRussa is just dumb

Unless you take a hard-line position like the one Ryan mentions in #4 and you want to be consistent. Otherwise, I agree: LaRussa's success is relative to his era, which included his teams playing against a lot of juicers.

He's "singled out" under the hard line approach only because he's assembled a HOF resume. If you're Buck Showalter, it doesn't matter if your guys or the other guys were juicing; you didn't win anything anyway.
   13. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: March 01, 2010 at 04:24 PM (#3470180)
Yes the other managers did have steroid users but LaRussa does deserve to be highlighted

I'm not saying you shouldn't mock him. TLR's kind of smug superiority will always (I hope) be a target for parody, but his accomplishments are real and it's BS to label him a cheater. It's easy and cheap, IMHO.
   14. A Random 8-Year-Old Eskimo Posted: March 01, 2010 at 04:25 PM (#3470181)
Yes the other managers did have steroid users but LaRussa does deserve to be highlighted because of his continual public proclamations of " I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!"

Highlighted to demonstrate that his declarations are likely false, perhaps. Left out of the Hall of Fame? No. He knew, but so did hundreds of other people in baseball who refused to speak out or take whatever action was within their power to stop this.

If the writer is of the position that players who used PEDs shouldn't be allowed into the Hall, then it seems reasonable that he should also be of the position that managers who must have known about the PED use of their players should also not be allowed in the HOF.

Then would it be reasonable to be of the position that players who knew of the PED use of their teammates and peers should also not be allowed in the HOF?
   15. Ron Johnson Posted: March 01, 2010 at 04:30 PM (#3470182)
Personally I see this in pretty much the same way I see Stengel having managed guys he knew were cheating (Fordcomes immediately to mind, and he also managed some guys who threw spitters)

Assume for a moment LaRussa "knew". What exactly is he supposed to do about it?

He didn't even have the option Herzog had with Hernandez -- move him for pennies on the dollar. He couldn't suspend the players in question and some form of "constructive suspension" seems likely to have the dual bonus of creating turmoil while making the team worse.

He could get in touch with the league office I suppose. There was probable cause testing available in that time frame. Good luck on getting to that level though.
   16. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 01, 2010 at 04:30 PM (#3470183)
Yes the other managers did have steroid users but LaRussa does deserve to be highlighted because of his continual public proclamations of " I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!" The other managers have the brains to shut up.

Well, in LaRussa's defense, he was also the manager who was getting hit with the most questions about his players' steroid use. Of course that may have had something to do with his having managed Mark McGwire for most of McGwire's career.

As to whether LaRussa had first hand knowledge of McGwire's juicing, or kept it to the "if I didn't see it, I couldn't have known about it" level, that's tough to say, and even tougher to prove. Harvey's logic is impeccable, but the question still remains, as it does for Torre, Dusty Baker, and other managers as well.

It also comes down to what the difference is between your own obligation not to juice, and the obligation to prevent anyone else from doing so. Which is an important question, but a separate (if related) one.
   17. SoSH U at work Posted: March 01, 2010 at 04:32 PM (#3470186)
Then would it be reasonable to be of the position that players who knew of the PED use of their teammates and peers should also not be allowed in the HOF?


That's my position, though the conclusion is the opposite. They're all guilty (except maybe Rick Helling) to some degree. So better to just hope the issue has been dealt with but don't make Hall of Fame eligibility part of the equation. It happened, we all share part of the blame, and let's move on.
   18. RJ in TO Posted: March 01, 2010 at 04:37 PM (#3470192)
Well, in LaRussa's defense, he was also the manager who was getting hit with the most questions about his players' steroid use. Of course that may have had something to do with his having managed Mark McGwire for most of McGwire's career.


And Canseco for the first half of his career. When you end up with two of the most famous users on your team, who also happen to allegedly be two of the early adapters, and you have a reputation as a complete control-freak, you're going to end up with a lot of questions to answer.
   19. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 01, 2010 at 04:46 PM (#3470199)
And Canseco for the first half of his career. When you end up with two of the most famous users on your team, who also happen to allegedly be two of the early adapters, and you have a reputation as a complete control-freak, you're going to end up with a lot of questions to answer.

Yeah, that too. I don't have any wonder that LaRussa is the focal points for questions like this. And in retrospect, he probably should have advised those Bash Brothers to keep their congratulatory home run rituals to an old fashioned manly handshake, followed by a heads down trot to the dugout.
   20. Walt Davis Posted: March 01, 2010 at 05:17 PM (#3470220)
The manager's dilemma: do I want to know the truth or do I want to watch Big Mac hit more dingers?

Of course the drunk driving charge always brings up cries of "There are any number of miscreants in the HOF". So by default then,...lying about steroids is worse then drunk driving, racism, adultery, drug abuse, and attempted murder.

Worst thing is that all this moral superiority is depriving us of the sight of Sandberg's face during Palmeiro's induction speech. :-)
   21. greenback used to say live and let live Posted: March 01, 2010 at 05:22 PM (#3470224)
you have a reputation as a complete control-freak

I don't think his bullpen management should be used to evaluate his clubhouse management. I've said this elsewhere, but if you've made the mistake of reading Three Nights in August, then you know TLR's as socially disconnected as a man can be without being diagnosed as a psychotic.

This article reaches the TLR discussion through McGwire. It's kinda weird, because for all the steroids talk, I don't think I've ever read as much discussion of a hitting coach's work as I have the last month. Whether McGwire will accomplish anything is still unknown, but he's taking his work as seriously as any hitting coach in the game.
   22. Ray (CTL) Posted: March 01, 2010 at 05:26 PM (#3470227)
Yes the other managers did have steroid users but LaRussa does deserve to be highlighted because of his continual public proclamations of " I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!" The other managers have the brains to shut up.


I fail to see what distinguishes LaRussa from, say, Torre.
   23. John Northey Posted: March 01, 2010 at 05:32 PM (#3470238)
No question that Canseco was suspected from the start (chants of 'steroids' were common during the early part of his career) and for LaRussa not to have taken him aside and told him 'no' or to have watched closely via whatever methods (from snitches to cameras) to ensure he didn't do it to others seems very odd. Odds are far, far stronger that LaRussa would've gone 'hmm...MVP, solid all-around, maybe more guys should use it' and either turned a blind eye or encouraged it.

Is it possible LaRussa didn't know? Yeah. It is also possible he is actually not very bright as you'd have had to be blind and deaf to not know that Canseco was a likely user and that a team that is known for its muscles couldn't be using the biggest drug for muscle growth around. Especially after the '88 Olympics and the massive scandal over Ben Johnson and suspicions over Flo-Jo.

In the end, if you feel McGwire, Clemens and Bonds should not be in the HOF (pre-McGwire confessing) then you should be against LaRussa as he has as much evidence of knowledge and encouragement as they had of taking.
   24. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 01, 2010 at 05:35 PM (#3470240)
Assume for a moment LaRussa "knew". What exactly is he supposed to do about it?


Fine them in kangaroo court.

If we're going to be applying arbitrary and disproportionate punishments to people from the steroid era, it'd be kind of nice to have some of them fall on people I loathe, such as TLR. Silver lining to every cloud, I guess.
   25. RJ in TO Posted: March 01, 2010 at 05:36 PM (#3470242)
I fail to see what distinguishes LaRussa from, say, Torre.

The general perception seems to be that LaRussa benefitted from several star players who started juicing under his watch, and to which he turned a blind eye. Torre, on the other hand, had several star players who juiced (or are widely suspected of juicing) but who started elsewhere. Given their differing reputations (and ignoring whether these reputations are correct) of one being a micro-managing control freak, and the other being a hands-off type, the perception is that LaRussa was both aware of what was happening, and had a chance to stop it from the beginning, whereas Torre was less aware, and the chance to stop it had vanished before the players got to him.

I'm not going to make any claims as to whether that this view is correct, but that's what the position seems to be. Feel free to tear it apart, but please recognize that this isn't my view, but only my interpretation of what I've seen espoused (or implied) by others.

EDIT: Given my choice, I would root for LaRussa to be torn apart by wolves, but that has nothing to do with whether he did or didn't encourage steroid use. I just can't stand LaRussa.
   26. greenback used to say live and let live Posted: March 01, 2010 at 05:42 PM (#3470249)
Nobody can stand La Russa. That probably makes him an easier target than Torre.
   27. Joey B. is counting the days to Trea Turner Posted: March 01, 2010 at 05:47 PM (#3470255)
Assume for a moment LaRussa "knew". What exactly is he supposed to do about it?

I would never expect him (or any other manager) to rat out his own guys or turn them in or anything like that.

But he certainly goes out of his way to enable these guys like McGwire to such an extent that it seems to me like he takes glee in doing it, and then compounds it even further by insulting our intelligence all the while. I can almost see him in his mind with his fingers in his ears and sticking his tongue out at the anti-drug people while thinking "nyaaah nyaaah, I can do whatever I want and there's nothing you all can do about it."
   28. Tom Nawrocki Posted: March 01, 2010 at 05:49 PM (#3470258)
The manager's dilemma: do I want to know the truth or do I want to watch Big Mac hit more dingers?


Or to put it more bluntly, do I want to rat out my best players, or do I want to win games?

One of the more bizarre positions steroid moralists take is to cast steroid users as "greedy" or "selfish," when one of the primary motivations for most of them was clearly to become better players so their team would win more games. It's like saying that Edgar Martinez was "greedy" when he was doing all his off-season eye exercises.

To that end, I think it's useful to bring LaRussa's motivations into this, or those of any other manager. It's clear all they wanted to do was win games.
   29. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: March 01, 2010 at 05:50 PM (#3470259)
I can almost see him in his mind with his fingers in his ears and sticking his tongue out at the anti-drug people while thinking "nyaaah nyaaah, I can do whatever I want and there's nothing you all can do about it."

If I thought this were the case I would like TLR much, much more.
   30. Steve Treder Posted: March 01, 2010 at 05:52 PM (#3470262)
To that end, I think it's useful to bring LaRussa's motivations into this, or those of any other manager. It's clear all they wanted to do was win games.

I fail to see how there can be the slightest doubt about this. Some things aren't simple; this is.
   31. John Northey Posted: March 01, 2010 at 05:54 PM (#3470267)
TLR = the Barry Bonds of managers. Hated by many, loved by few (unless he is on your team). A key figure in the steroid drama, and possibly a scapegoat in the end.

In truth I'd put all the steroid players and TLR in the HOF, but as I mentioned above - if you are against Bonds in the HOF you should be against TLR as well.
   32. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 01, 2010 at 05:55 PM (#3470268)
Singling out LaRussa is just dumb

Who was the manager of the team that had Patient Zero? LaRussa

Who was the manager of the team that had the next generation model now fully perfected? The T2 if you will. LaRussa.

Who threw the old model to the wolves when Patient Zero claimed that baseball had dirt under its fingernails? LaRussa.

Who attacked the media when it approached his faithful son about the topic of the day? LaRussa

And then, THEN, when presented with information where there was little defense threw up in his hands and claimed ignorance??? LaRussa.

Tony CHOSE to be a standup guy for Marky Mark and there is something to be said for loyalty. But is it loyalty or one of a pact where Mark keeps what he knows to himself if Tony has Mark's backside?

Tony LaRussa deserves his praise AND his arrows.

Any fan of the NL Central knows that LaRussa is a ridiculous hypocrite in that he demands his team plays hard which means hard slides on the basepaths and inside pitches and then b*tches like a 60 year old harpie when anyone does in kind to his precious charges. It is entirely in keeping with TLR's modus operandi that he would do the same in other situations.
   33. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 01, 2010 at 06:04 PM (#3470275)
I have followed his entire career and he has changed little since his days in Chicago. The ONLY difference is that where once he openly used computers and spoke of looking at the game through alternative perspective he now presents himself as the last bastion of 'old school' openly mocking those who discuss the game beyond a war of attrition.

It's all bullsh*t.

Tony LaRussa is scary smart and uses the media like the local high school tart gets the pimply freshmen to wash her car with a wink and a flash of her lower back tattoo.........
   34. JMPH Posted: March 01, 2010 at 06:05 PM (#3470276)
You should probably avoid Faulker.

Gaylord?
   35. StHendu Posted: March 01, 2010 at 06:08 PM (#3470278)
Who was the manager of the team that had Patient Zero? LaRussa


Steroids have been in baseball since LaRussa was a player, or longer. For all we know, Hank Aaron or Phil Niekro is 'patient zero'. We sure know that the first baseball steroid user did not play for LaRussa.
Didn't Pete Rose live with a steroid dealer when he played?
   36. StHendu Posted: March 01, 2010 at 06:09 PM (#3470279)
Who was the manager of the team that had Patient Zero? LaRussa


Steroids have been in baseball since LaRussa was a player, or longer. For all we know, Hank Aaron or Phil Niekro is 'patient zero'. We sure know that the first baseball steroid user did not play for LaRussa.
Didn't Pete Rose live with a steroid dealer when he played?
   37. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 01, 2010 at 06:11 PM (#3470282)
One of the more bizarre positions steroid moralists take is to cast steroid users as "greedy" or "selfish," when one of the primary motivations for most of them was clearly to become better players so their team would win more games. It's like saying that Edgar Martinez was "greedy" when he was doing all his off-season eye exercises.

That would make a lot more sense if the juicers you're talking about were thinking primarily of "winning" and not about the size of their contracts. Or is this one of those "what's good for General Motors is good for the country" things, where as long as juicing "helps your team win," all other considerations are ignored?

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

Tony LaRussa deserves his praise AND his arrows.

That's really all you need to say about it.
   38. rr Posted: March 01, 2010 at 06:12 PM (#3470284)
the local high school tart gets the pimply freshmen to wash her car with a wink and a flash of her lower back tattoo.........


I'm a college teacher, and this works on me, too.
   39. Ray (CTL) Posted: March 01, 2010 at 06:12 PM (#3470285)
Realizing that this isn't your view, Ryan, I find it utterly nonconvincing:

The general perception seems to be that LaRussa benefitted from several star players who started juicing under his watch, and to which he turned a blind eye. Torre, on the other hand, had several star players who juiced (or are widely suspected of juicing) but who started elsewhere.


I can't see how where they started would be relevant, even if we knew for sure where they started. McGwire's story is that he started in Oakland. Did Canseco start using before he came to the majors? Even so, Pettitte apparently started in 2002, while a Yankee.
   40. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 01, 2010 at 06:15 PM (#3470287)
That's really all you need to say about it.

Andy, you sound like Forrest Gump talking about Vietnam............
   41. Tom Nawrocki Posted: March 01, 2010 at 06:18 PM (#3470289)
That would make a lot more sense if the juicers you're talking about were thinking primarily of "winning" and not about the size of their contracts.


You can apply that dichotomy to every single player who ever tried to get better. Was Steve Carlton thinking primarily about the size of his contract when he stuck his arm in a barrel of rice?
   42. RJ in TO Posted: March 01, 2010 at 06:21 PM (#3470291)
Even so, Pettitte apparently started in 2002, while a Yankee.

But that was HGH, which doesn't do anything. And besides, he only did it once, I mean twice, okay three times, and only to get healthy.
   43. Steve Treder Posted: March 01, 2010 at 06:25 PM (#3470295)
That would make a lot more sense if the juicers you're talking about were thinking primarily of "winning" and not about the size of their contracts.

You can apply that dichotomy to every single player who ever tried to get better. Was Steve Carlton thinking primarily about the size of his contract when he stuck his arm in a barrel of rice?

I'd say that for every pro ballplayer and every pro manager, there is no dichotomy: winning and the size of their contracts are directly and positively correlated.
   44. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 01, 2010 at 06:57 PM (#3470331)
One of the more bizarre positions steroid moralists take is to cast steroid users as "greedy" or "selfish," when one of the primary motivations for most of them was clearly to become better players so their team would win more games. It's like saying that Edgar Martinez was "greedy" when he was doing all his off-season eye exercises.

That would make a lot more sense if the juicers you're talking about were thinking primarily of "winning" and not about the size of their contracts. Or is this one of those "what's good for General Motors is good for the country" things, where as long as juicing "helps your team win," all other considerations are ignored?


You can apply that dichotomy to every single player who ever tried to get better. Was Steve Carlton thinking primarily about the size of his contract when he stuck his arm in a barrel of rice?


You can indeed apply that dichotomy if you want, though even Ray hasn't (yet) generally gone around comparing steroids to a barrel of rice.

Beyond that, I've never heard "selfish" or "greedy" given as primary reasons for opposing steroid use. "Putting your thumb on the scales" or "surreptitious unfair competitive advantage" would be more appropriate objections.

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

That's really all you need to say about it.

Andy, you sound like Forrest Gump talking about Vietnam............


Got me there, Harv. But I never saw the movie. Isn't that the one where he opens a box of chocolates in Vietnam, sees that they'd melted, and then says something like "you never know what you're going to find"?
   45. Srul Itza Posted: March 01, 2010 at 07:42 PM (#3470381)
Tom Loverro is not a clown


Then why does he write like one?
   46. Srul Itza Posted: March 01, 2010 at 07:50 PM (#3470385)
Who was the manager of the team that had Patient Zero? LaRussa


You really think Canseco was the first guy? Or is Patient Zero somebody else?
   47. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 01, 2010 at 07:55 PM (#3470389)
Any fan of the NL Central knows that LaRussa is a ridiculous hypocrite in that he demands his team plays hard which means hard slides on the basepaths and inside pitches and then b*tches like a 60 year old harpie when anyone does in kind to his precious charges. It is entirely in keeping with TLR's modus operandi that he would do the same in other situations.


True, true, a thousand times true.
   48. Srul Itza Posted: March 01, 2010 at 07:55 PM (#3470390)
Any fan of the NL Central knows that LaRussa is a ridiculous hypocrite in that he demands his team plays hard which means hard slides on the basepaths and inside pitches and then b*tches like a 60 year old harpie when anyone does in kind to his precious charges. It is entirely in keeping with TLR's modus operandi that he would do the same in other situations.


So? Isn't it a manager's job to get every possible edge for his team, even by tilting the playing field, so long as it isn't directly illegal? I have no problem with my manager having his team use tactics and then complaining about the other guy.

I do have a problem with YOUR manager doing it, of course, but that's different.

LaRussa is scary smart and uses the media like the local high school tart gets the pimply freshmen to wash her car with a wink and a flash of her lower back tattoo.........


Again, if it works, good for him. He's doing his job.
   49. Tom Nawrocki Posted: March 01, 2010 at 07:55 PM (#3470393)
Beyond that, I've never heard "selfish" or "greedy" given as primary reasons for opposing steroid use


At least not since your post No. 37, when you said steroid users were more interested in the size of their contracts than in winning.
   50. DanG Posted: March 01, 2010 at 07:55 PM (#3470394)
Tom Loverro is not a clown


Then why does he write like one?

Everybody loves a clown, so why don't you?
   51. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 01, 2010 at 07:57 PM (#3470397)
Srul:

Jose was the first to brand himself as the output of using. Certainly other players had experimented.
   52. Srul Itza Posted: March 01, 2010 at 08:00 PM (#3470399)
Harvey: True, but I thought he didn't come out of the steroids closet (bathroom stall?) until after his playing days were over.
   53. bjhanke Posted: March 01, 2010 at 08:09 PM (#3470410)
The first guy whom I KNOW was doing steroids is Tom House, a pitcher for the Texas Rangers during the early 1970s. He wrote a book in which he confessed all. So that provides a minimum starting date, and Tony La Russa was not managing that team. House also claimed that he had his fastball monitored on a radar gun, and its speed did not improve even one MPH as a result of the steroids. This is different from other claims in that it was corroborated by a machine, not just opinions. Anyone who starts a steroids history with Canseco is just not doing his research. House is the first one who confessed and as a consequence, represents the absolute latest possible "start date" for steroids in baseball. In print. About the early 1970s, with severe speculations about the 1960s. Steroids, not just greenies.

As for what Tony says, remember that he is a trained lawyer. That is, he has a much better grasp than other managers of what you can and cannot say without getting into legal trouble. He may get in trouble with the press and the fans, but he is able to say more things than other managers about this issue, which has severe legal complications (did Mark McGwire or Jose Canseco do anything that was illegal or banned at the time? If not, this is no different from greenies at all, except that, after 1965, greenies were a controlled substance). He is also smart enough to realize that it was to his advantage to NOT know what his players were doing in their workouts. You may accuse of him of being disingenuous, and you may well be right, but I don't think there is any problem with Tony not "knowing" about Canseco and McGwire. It would be part of his job NOT to know.

- Brock Hanke
   54. Steve Treder Posted: March 01, 2010 at 08:09 PM (#3470408)
Everybody loves a clown, so why don't you?

A clown has feelings too.
   55. bjhanke Posted: March 01, 2010 at 08:11 PM (#3470411)
The first guy whom I KNOW was doing steroids is Tom House, a pitcher for the Texas Rangers during the early 1970s. He wrote a book in which he confessed all. So that provides a minimum starting date, and Tony La Russa was not managing that team. House also claimed that he had his fastball monitored on a radar gun, and its speed did not improve even one MPH as a result of the steroids. This is different from other claims in that it was corroborated by a machine, not just opinions. Anyone who starts a steroids history with Canseco is just not doing his research. House is the first one who confessed and as a consequence, represents the absolute latest possible "start date" for steroids in baseball. In print. About the early 1970s, with severe speculations about the 1960s. Steroids, not just greenies.

As for what Tony says, remember that he is a trained lawyer. That is, he has a much better grasp than other managers of what you can and cannot say without getting into legal trouble. He may get in trouble with the press and the fans, but he is able to say more things than other managers about this issue, which has severe legal complications (did Mark McGwire or Jose Canseco do anything that was illegal or banned at the time? If not, this is no different from greenies at all, except that, after 1965, greenies were a controlled substance). He is also smart enough to realize that it was to his advantage to NOT know what his players were doing in their workouts. You may accuse of him of being disingenuous, and you may well be right, but I don't think there is any problem with Tony not "knowing" about Canseco and McGwire. It would be part of his job NOT to know.

- Brock Hanke
   56. bjhanke Posted: March 01, 2010 at 08:18 PM (#3470416)
The first guy whom I KNOW was doing steroids is Tom House, a pitcher for the Texas Rangers during the early 1970s. He wrote a book in which he confessed all. So that provides a minimum starting date, and Tony La Russa was not managing that team. House also claimed that he had his fastball monitored on a radar gun, and its speed did not improve even one MPH as a result of the steroids. This is different from other claims in that it was corroborated by a machine, not just opinions. Anyone who starts a steroids history with Canseco is just not doing his research. House is the first one who confessed and as a consequence, represents the absolute latest possible "start date" for steroids in baseball. In print. About the early 1970s, with severe speculations about the 1960s. Steroids, not just greenies.

As for what Tony says, remember that he is a trained lawyer. That is, he has a much better grasp than other managers of what you can and cannot say without getting into legal trouble. He may get in trouble with the press and the fans, but he is able to say more things than other managers about this issue, which has severe legal complications (did Mark McGwire or Jose Canseco do anything that was illegal or banned at the time? If not, this is no different from greenies at all, except that, after 1965, greenies were a controlled substance). He is also smart enough to realize that it was to his advantage to NOT know what his players were doing in their workouts. You may accuse of him of being disingenuous, and you may well be right, but I don't think there is any problem with Tony not "knowing" about Canseco and McGwire. It would be part of his job NOT to know.

- Brock Hanke
   57. Steve Treder Posted: March 01, 2010 at 08:25 PM (#3470422)
I'd sure like to know what Brock Hanke has to say about this.
   58. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 01, 2010 at 08:28 PM (#3470425)
Brock:

Sigh. I clarified for Srul.

By claiming that LaRussa knew it was in interests to 'not' know then he was aware of the dangers of having firsthand knowledge. Which means he suspected. And again, smart guy.

It pains me to read a BBTF member acting as an apologist.
   59. The Polish Sausage Racer Posted: March 01, 2010 at 08:49 PM (#3470455)
I agree with Harveys. Not only did LaRussa certainly know about the usage, I'd be damned surprised given his competitive drive if he wasn't hooking players up with dealers himself. TLR is a turd, and is properly treated as one.
   60. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: March 01, 2010 at 09:02 PM (#3470475)
Brock, Canseco et al might not have been the first, but rightly or wrongly, they are the ones who are perceived as showing that it can be done successfully, so they get the pioneet credit. It's like the light bulb. Sure, Edison didn't invent the first one, but his is the one that caught on, so he gets the cred...
   61. JC in DC Posted: March 01, 2010 at 09:16 PM (#3470481)
Tom Loverro: A columnist people pay to write.
Srul: Name-calling dart thrower posting on a blog.

Feel free to put me on ignore.
   62. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 01, 2010 at 09:21 PM (#3470484)
Andy, you sound like Forrest Gump talking about Vietnam............

I never saw the movie. Isn't that the one where he opens a box of chocolates in Vietnam, sees that they'd melted, and then says something like "you never know what you're going to find"?


It's the movie where the filmmakers retroactively tinkered with previous events to play with our perceptions of history in hopes of creating a new, emotionally compelling storyline.

In other words, no connection to steroids in baseball. None.
   63. base ball chick Posted: March 01, 2010 at 09:26 PM (#3470488)
33. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 01, 2010 at 01:04 PM (#3470275)

Tony LaRussa deserves his praise AND his arrows.

Any fan of the NL Central knows that LaRussa is a ridiculous hypocrite in that he demands his team plays hard which means hard slides on the basepaths and inside pitches and then b*tches like a 60 year old harpie when anyone does in kind to his precious charges. It is entirely in keeping with TLR's modus operandi that he would do the same in other situations.

I have followed his entire career and he has changed little since his days in Chicago. The ONLY difference is that where once he openly used computers and spoke of looking at the game through alternative perspective he now presents himself as the last bastion of 'old school' openly mocking those who discuss the game beyond a war of attrition.

It's all bullsh*t.

Tony LaRussa is scary smart and uses the media like the local high school tart gets the pimply freshmen to wash her car with a wink and a flash of her lower back tattoo.........


- a freaking men
couldn't have said it better my own self

now -
let's just suppose, for fun, that TLR most certainly DID know for an absolute FACT - not just a
guess - that canseco, mac and the rest of his team were using steroids. suppose he holds a team meeting (or goes to each one personally) and tells them all that he wants the drug using to stop. suppose they defy him and keep using. and suppose they "compromise" by agreeing to not bring any illegal drugs into the clubhouse.
ok, he told them to stop
they didn't

now WHAT is it you expect him to do - turn his ballplayers over to the cops? turn them in to bud selig? call the media and tell THEM that his ballplayers are shooting up with illegal drugs?
you think he is going to have any sort of baseball life after he does ANY of those things?
exactly HOW has he helped his team or his players, ESPECIALLY as it was more than obvious that nobody cared about steroid use

and you expect him to say WHAT now? cmon, be serious.
   64. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 01, 2010 at 09:33 PM (#3470493)
The first guy whom I KNOW was doing steroids is Tom House, a pitcher for the Texas Rangers during the early 1970s. He wrote a book in which he confessed all.

What book is that, Brock? What did House say about steroids, and where did he say it? The Jock's Itch is a great read, and it's far more revealing about players' lifestyles and drug use than Ball Four, but it doesn't say anything much at all about steroids AFAICR.

On other occasions, House has talked about some unnamed pitchers' steroid use back when he was playing, but he never stated or implied that they were ever used in the way that they were used with in more recent years, with systematic weight training and diet. In fact, from what he has said since then about steroid use in his own day, they were less than useless, since the ones who took them would just pop them as if they were greenies, without the slightest clue as to how to make them actually work to their advantage. House himself says that their chief effect was that he gained 30 pounds without any added zip on his fastball, but how that's supposed to relate to somone who uses them as they're "supposed" to be used, with a trainer and a scientific regimen, he never says. It's a completely apples and oranges comparison.

The great part of House's confessional book doesn't deal with drugs to begin with, but rather with the double life players lead between their family and their Annies, and of the clubhouse code of keeping everything in the baseball family. The most interesting part about The Jock's Itch with regards to drugs, in fact, is what he wrote about the way that some players pretended to be into "born again Christianity" in order to avoid being pressured into drugs. It's far more likely to make a first time reader cynical about the Jesus phenomenon in baseball than it's likely to open anyone's eyes about steroid use in the 60's or 70's.

EDIT: Here's Tom House's Amazon page, which lists all 8 of his books. Maybe his detailed steroid confessions are in one of those instructional manuals.
   65. Joey B. is counting the days to Trea Turner Posted: March 01, 2010 at 09:39 PM (#3470497)
Canseco may not have been the first baseball player to ever use steroids, but he was unquestionably the guy who mainstreamed it in the game, to the point of "educating" and introducing it to his teammates, with McGwire obviously being his best and most important student of all.

He is the self-confessed "Godfather of Steroids" in baseball, and at least at one time in the past seemed rather proud and boastful of this title. If he hadn't gone public, he'd probably have a lifetime job as LaRussa's strength and conditioning coach.
   66. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 01, 2010 at 09:48 PM (#3470503)
Your sarcasm cup runneth over, Joey. But you're probably right....
   67. Srul Itza Posted: March 01, 2010 at 09:55 PM (#3470509)
Tom Loverro: A columnist people pay to write.


The same could be said of Mariotti and CHB and Lupica.

Srul: Name-calling dart thrower posting on a blog.

Feel free to put me on ignore.


You aren't even trollworthy enough to put on ignore.
   68. Ray (CTL) Posted: March 01, 2010 at 10:28 PM (#3470539)
Beyond that, I've never heard "selfish" or "greedy" given as primary reasons for opposing steroid use

At least not since your post No. 37, when you said steroid users were more interested in the size of their contracts than in winning.


Yeah, that was fairly surreal.
   69. bjhanke Posted: March 01, 2010 at 10:32 PM (#3470541)
Jolly, you've found the reference. House does make the point that the steroids of the early 1970s were not the exact same chemicals as now (but then, "now" has a LOT of different steroids involved). He also makes the point that the sophisticated "cycling" procedures of today were largely unknown then. I was responding to the people who see this as primarily a moral issue. They are the ones who want steroids users banned or whatever and all their records expunged, without actually checking to see what effects actually are/were there. As a moral issue, the fact that House was taking steroids in the 1970s is just as bad as anything Mark McGwire ever did. It doesn't matter that these were not the same steroids. For all I know, McGwire and Canseco weren't taking the exact same steroids or were on the exact same regimen. But as a moral issue, steroids do not appear in the 1980s or 90s. They appear in the 1960s or 70s at the latest. That's the point I was making. I don't make points about the exact benefits of steroids because there are no good studies of that as far as I know, I have no experience with them myself, and without studies to back me up, I'd be blowing smoke. I'm on much firmer ground with greenies. When it comes to steroids, I have to fall back on House and his radar gun. It's the only independent evidence there is.

As an example of the kind of thinking I am responding to, comment #65 above this one says, "If he (Canseco) hadn't gone public, he'd probably have a lifetime job as LaRussa's strength and conditioning coach." Well, Tony had several years after Jose retired, but before he went public, but didn't hire him in any such capacity. I don't know Joey B., and he may not be a "moralist" in general, but this is the type of thinking that I object to. What Tony DID do was hire Mark McGwire as a hitting coach. Since there is no way Mark can "coach" by getting his players on 'roids (he must be the most-watched hitting coach in the history of baseball in that regard), he has to succeed or fail on his knowledge of hitting. My speculation is that Tony and Mark are doing this to support the concept that Mark was a great hitter with or without steroids because he knew so much about what he was doing with a bat. To me, that's about the brightest thing McGwire can do. If he succeeds as a hitting coach, the accusation that all his hitting was fueled by steroids takes a huge hit.

You have to put things in context, not just moralize. For example, Mark's brother is out now with his own book saying that he introduced Mark to steroids in 1994 (which contradicts Canseco's contention that Mark started in 1988), and that Mark was doing them to improve performance, not to heal. Well, take a look at Mark's 1993 and 1994 seasons. He played 27 and 40 games. He says he took the steroids to get back into the lineup. His brother says it was to improve performance. Given that he played these pitiful numbers of games in the very years that would induce him to take steroids, I'm believing Mark. His brother's case makes no sense. If you're having troubles getting into more than 40 games, you're not taking steroids to "improve performance." You're taking them to just get back in the lineup - in other words, to heal up. Which is exactly what Mark says, not the brother. You may think that Mark should not have been allowed to do this, and that some of his career records should be reduced for steroids-fueled playing time, but it's not the same thing as saying that his 70 homers were performance enhanced.

When Canseco's book first came out, my response was, "Well, it doesn't matter whether they took steroids. Players have been taking performance drugs since the 1880s, when cocaine was touted for baseball players very publicly. What matters is whether the players were getting anything out of the steroids and whether whatever they were getting was more than the players who did cocaine on greenies got." I have seen no serious support of the idea that steroids work any better than greenies or coke. I know that greenies and coke work from personal experience. What I've been spending all this time posting up about is just that issue: Are steroids any worse than what was taken by players whose records are fully recognized and are already in the Hall of Fame without complaints? If the answer to that question is no, then this is a witch hunt. If it is yes, then there is a case, although a weak one, since greenies do more and different from coke, and came along later, so the players of the 19th century got "cheated" by not having access to amphetamines. But to just wail, "Ban them all!!! Steroids improve performance; just ask any bodybuilder (of whom none play in the major leagues)" is to simply chase a horse that has already fled the barn. PEDs in major league baseball go back over a century. Getting moral about them now is just witch hunting. If you want to make a case, go get some serious double-blind studies of baseball players with and without steroids. Good luck getting permission to do that....
   70. Biscuit_pants Posted: March 01, 2010 at 10:44 PM (#3470549)
when cocaine was touted for baseball players very publicly. What matters is whether the players were getting anything out of the steroids and whether whatever they were getting was more than the players who did cocaine on greenies got." I have seen no serious support of the idea that steroids work any better than greenies or coke. I know that greenies and coke work from personal experience.
I have played with some guys who were drafted quite high in the draft who were coke heads. They usually did not do the coke around the games but like any addict there were plenty of times they did. What I noticed from these couple of guys were they better at certain aspects of the game but horrible in others. Hitting fastballs, tracking down fly balls or the three hopper up the middle seemed to be a lot easier for them. Where as a good breaking ball pitcher or having to adjust AT ALL on the field and they looked lost add to that there were a lot of rushed and ill-advised throws. No I have no proof, nor do I claim this to be conclusive, just my observations.

After reading the description of the players I wrote about I thought it necessary to say, no none of them were Shawon Dunston.
   71. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 01, 2010 at 10:45 PM (#3470550)
Brock:

I am on record as stating that I am comfortable with the use of PEDs. The only argument against that I believe holds water on a consisent basis is the creation of a hostile work environment. I understand that contention, deem it very plausible and on that basis could understand declaring such things off limits.

I just believe that if the players are going to be tossed to the wolves then the same holds for the rest of baseball.
   72. Steve Treder Posted: March 01, 2010 at 10:59 PM (#3470559)
I am on record as stating that I am comfortable with the use of PEDs. The only argument against that I believe holds water on a consisent basis is the creation of a hostile work environment. I understand that contention, deem it very plausible and on that basis could understand declaring such things off limits.

I just believe that if the players are going to be tossed to the wolves then the same holds for the rest of baseball.


One couldn't possibly sum up my own perspective on the issue any more succinctly.
   73. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 01, 2010 at 11:08 PM (#3470563)
Tom Loverro: A columnist people pay to write.
Srul: Name-calling dart thrower posting on a blog.


What a strange comment. We should defer to Loverro because he's paid to write?
   74. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 01, 2010 at 11:26 PM (#3470574)
Steve:

My hourly rate is 850 dollars. Took me two minutes.

No checks....
   75. Srul Itza Posted: March 01, 2010 at 11:27 PM (#3470575)
No, we should defer to Loverro because JC agrees with what he says.
   76. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 01, 2010 at 11:27 PM (#3470576)
Beyond that, I've never heard "selfish" or "greedy" given as primary reasons for opposing steroid use

At least not since your post No. 37, when you said steroid users were more interested in the size of their contracts than in winning.


Yeah, that was fairly surreal.

Perhaps the two of you might re-read what I actually wrote, and tell me how I've used "greed" as a reason to oppose steroid use, let alone as a "primary" reason.

Did I write that this was why I oppose steroid use? No.

Have I ever written that this was why I oppose steroid use? No.

What's continually surreal is the way that some people take thrill in rebutting points that aren't being made. But that's par for the course around here.

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

Brock, that's an honest response, and I hope you'll excuse me for not replying to it, as this is a subject where opinions go around in an endless loop, with nobody's mind being changed. I will say that your point about LaRussa hiring (or not hiring) Canseco is a fair one, and although I had a visceral agreement with Joey's sarcastic remark, there's of course no serious evidence to back it up.
   77. sunnyday2 Posted: March 02, 2010 at 12:07 AM (#3470607)
La Russa’s role in the steroid era is as large and loathsome as McGwire’s,


But not half as loathsome as ESPN. Hitting home runs is bad enough, but all this pontificating, my God.
   78. PerroX Posted: March 02, 2010 at 12:31 AM (#3470613)
La Russa’s claim of ignorance smacks of arrogance, the very arrogance that has motivated him to bring McGwire, who had been a hermit since his embarrassing appearance before Congress in 2005, back into the game as the Cardinals hitting coach. The last thing baseball needs is one of the biggest remainders of one of its most shameful eras back in the game and in uniform. It is not good for the game, and certainly not good for the Cardinals franchise, which has become divided over McGwire’s presence.

The heart of my objection to Loverro and other baseball churchmen on this subject is that they want a return to the pretense of a pure church once a few sinners are excommunicated from the fold. It's not so much TLRs arrogance but that he's reminding them of the shame that they once accepted McGwire at face value, and would prefer to continue accepting all brethren both past and present at face value.

More simply, they prefer forgetting and sanitized memory. So next time they are fooled no shame on them.
   79. Tom Nawrocki Posted: March 02, 2010 at 01:02 AM (#3470628)
Perhaps the two of you might re-read what I actually wrote, and tell me how I've used "greed" as a reason to oppose steroid use, let alone as a "primary" reason.


You are correct, and I apologize.

In retrospect, I should have seen your post 44 for what it was: Not an attempt to castigate steroid users for being selfish and greedy, but a way for you to avoid having to defend your proposition that steroid users are selfish and greedy.
   80. Ray (CTL) Posted: March 02, 2010 at 01:04 AM (#3470631)
The heart of my objection to Loverro and other baseball churchmen on this subject is that they want a return to the pretense of a pure church once a few sinners are excommunicated from the fold. It's not so much TLRs arrogance but that he's reminding them of the shame that they once accepted McGwire at face value, and would prefer to continue accepting all brethren both past and present at face value.


The original silliness and naivete was in assuming that these players were "pure" to begin with. The more reasonable and mature assumption, to the extent anybody thought about this at the time, was to assume that we hadn't the foggiest clue what these players were doing behind closed doors, and therefore not worry about it for more than 5 seconds. Or to assume that maybe most players were clean because we don't know otherwise, but recognize that ultimately we don't know. That way, when the time came that the curtain was pulled back on the steroid culture that existed within the game, a reasonable person doesn't feel slighted or cheated or insulted. A child might feel those things. A reasonable adult really shouldn't.
   81. Ray (CTL) Posted: March 02, 2010 at 01:09 AM (#3470635)
Andy, I don't know why you play the game where you call steroid users greedy and then go running from that characterization when challenged.
   82. Deacon Blues Posted: March 02, 2010 at 01:33 AM (#3470649)
so odd that Ray chose to bring up torre in comparison to TLR as opposed to say, Francona....
   83. JC in DC Posted: March 02, 2010 at 01:38 AM (#3470651)
What a strange comment. We should defer to Loverro because he's paid to write?


No, my point was that I'm tired of the typical BTF reply where we call writers names and mock their views because we disagree with what they write. This is Srul's typical approach: disagree with him, and you're a clown or a troll. Loverro isn't a clown, he's a professional writer. Disagree with him all you want, but argue in defense of your point. Don't pull a Srul and call him a "clown."
   84. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: March 02, 2010 at 01:39 AM (#3470652)
so odd that Ray chose to bring up torre in comparison to TLR as opposed to say, Francona....


I'd guess it has more to do with the fact Torre is almost certainly going to get elected to the HoF as a manager while Tito is not there yet than his particular rooting interests.
   85. Deacon Blues Posted: March 02, 2010 at 01:46 AM (#3470658)
your point is well-taken SoSH. Certainly you can understand my thoughts though...
   86. bobm Posted: March 02, 2010 at 02:13 AM (#3470668)
[80]

The original silliness and naivete was in assuming that these players were "pure" to begin with.


Most areas of life are polluted, but IMHO most people would like sports to be (somewhat) pure and fair competition. Sports are an escape for most spectators. If I want to read about public figures who are cheaters and liars, I can read the news and business sections of the paper instead.

The more reasonable and mature assumption, to the extent anybody thought about this at the time, was to assume that we hadn't the foggiest clue what these players were doing behind closed doors, and therefore not worry about it for more than 5 seconds.


"What you don't know, can't hurt you!" is certainly a catchier slogan than "Ya Gotta Believe", "The Magic is Back!" or "Baseball Like It Oughta Be"

Or to assume that maybe most players were clean because we don't know otherwise, but recognize that ultimately we don't know. That way, when the time came that the curtain was pulled back on the steroid culture that existed within the game, a reasonable person doesn't feel slighted or cheated or insulted. A child might feel those things. A reasonable adult really shouldn't.


So, is it the fans' fault that they feel betrayed by athletes who cheat? Is it the fault of the "consumers" of the "product" of baseball that they "bought" was tainted?

Keep your expectations low; that way, you'll never be disappointed.
   87. base ball chick Posted: March 02, 2010 at 02:47 AM (#3470687)
bobm

it is the fans' fault for insisting that suing steroids when it wasn't against any rules is "cheating"

and it is even MORE the fans' fault for insisting that the only "cheaters" are the ones who hit a lot of home runs when they ignore/don't care about the same activity in those who did NOT hit many home runs

- and back on TLR

one more time
WHAT did you expect him to do if he knew for a fact that guys on his team were using steroids in 1988??? please remember that they were NOT illegal at that time

one more time
WHAT did you expect him to do if he knew his ballplayers were using illegal drugs AFTER 1991?
   88. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 02, 2010 at 02:49 AM (#3470689)
Perhaps the two of you might re-read what I actually wrote, and tell me how I've used "greed" as a reason to oppose steroid use, let alone as a "primary" reason.

Did I write that this was why I oppose steroid use? No.

Have I ever written that this was why I oppose steroid use? No.


You are correct, and I apologize.

In retrospect, I should have seen your post 44 for what it was: Not an attempt to castigate steroid users for being selfish and greedy, but a way for you to avoid having to defend your proposition that steroid users are selfish and greedy.


Look back at my original comment on that, which was in response to this:

One of the more bizarre positions steroid moralists take is to cast steroid users as "greedy" or "selfish," when one of the primary motivations for most of them was clearly to become better players so their team would win more games. It's like saying that Edgar Martinez was "greedy" when he was doing all his off-season eye exercises.


That would make a lot more sense if the juicers you're talking about were thinking primarily of "winning" and not about the size of their contracts. Or is this one of those "what's good for General Motors is good for the country" things, where as long as juicing "helps your team win," all other considerations are ignored?

If you think about this for two seconds, you'll realize that I wasn't particularly singling out steroid users as "greedy," so much as I was dismissing the idea that what they're doing is equivalent to Edgar Martinez doing eye exercises, or (later in the thread) Steve Carlton squeezing rice in a barrel.

I fully agree that the primary motivation for juicing isn't that different from any other form of "self-improvement;" it's to get an edge over the competition.

But you could say the same thing if Joba Chamberlain killed Phil Hughes in an attempt to win the final spot in the Yankees' rotation. You can't equate murder with steroids, but you also can't compare steroids to rice squeezing. And yet in all three cases the "motivation" can be identical: "Gaining an edge," either over the competition in the other dugout, or the competition within your own. Or is that latter factor never to be taken into account?

I also invite you to find one other post that I've ever written on the subject of steroids where I've used either "greedy" or "selfish" to describe the motivation for a player's juicing. What I wrote in #37 was purely in reaction to yet another silly equation of steroids with a benign form of exercise.

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

Andy, I don't know why you play the game where you call steroid users greedy and then go running from that characterization when challenged.

Ray, you were nabbed with your pants down in that misrepresentation of what I wrote. It won't kill you to just admit it (as Tom did) and leave it at that (as Tom didn't, but at least he wrote something concrete to respond to).

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

So, is it the fans' fault that they feel betrayed by athletes who cheat? Is it the fault of the "consumers" of the "product" of baseball that they "bought" was tainted?

With all the lawyers working the BTF beat, bob, it shouldn't be too surprising that the reigning philosophy here seems to be caveat emptor, and the eighth sin is "naivety." That's their story and they're sticking to it.
   89. bobm Posted: March 02, 2010 at 03:07 AM (#3470704)
[87] I'm not saying that fans should be entitled to refunds of all tickets purchased between 1997 and 2003. However, even if steroids use was open and notorious among players, the players (and others in MLB) didn't exactly flaunt their use, seek out steroids endorsements, etc. etc. Even then, IMO steroids use had the distinct whiff of the dishonorable. (Exhibit A: Lenny Dykstra.)

I wouldn't say that TLR should have been expected to do anything differently. However, as others have observed, he and Torre were associated with a lot of steroids users, Torre more with veterans and TLR more with a mix tending towards younger players.

[88]
With all the lawyers working the BTF beat, bob, it shouldn't be too surprising that the reigning philosophy here seems to be caveat emptor, and the eighth sin is "naivety." That's their story and they're sticking to it.


Ok, but, c'mon, is every lawyer here a product liability defense attorney?
   90. Biscuit_pants Posted: March 02, 2010 at 03:13 AM (#3470706)
it is the fans' fault for insisting that suing steroids when it wasn't against any rules is "cheating"
It was against the law though, I would count that as cheating (the regimental steroid programs could not be medically explained away by anyone but Dr. Nick). Are there any rules that prohibit flatten the tires on the opposing teams bus?

I am one of those people that hates the legality of something or absences of a specific rule to be sole determinant of right and wrong. I hated dealing with it at my last job and I hate seeing it in everyday life. My kids are like 1/20000000000 Native American or something, enough that it would qualify them for a college scholarship. At first I just told people who were encouraging me to apply that I would be fine without it or it would do the kid some good to have some loans. But a family member started the paperwork for them and I told them that yes legally he can apply for this but really, we didn't know about it 3 years ago and the program was not set up for people like us to exploit. It wasn't against any rule except for the rule of it-just-ain't-right. But I guess it is my child like expectations of life.
   91. bjhanke Posted: March 02, 2010 at 03:38 AM (#3470714)
Harvey's said, "I am on record as stating that I am comfortable with the use of PEDs. The only argument against that I believe holds water on a consisent basis is the creation of a hostile work environment. I understand that contention, deem it very plausible and on that basis could understand declaring such things off limits.

I just believe that if the players are going to be tossed to the wolves then the same holds for the rest of baseball."

You know, I'd never thought of that, but I can see the logic. I think the reason it never occurred to me is that reading Ball Four basically convinced me that there was no hostile work environment problem about PEDs. I could be wrong about that. My own personal opinion is that it would probably be a good idea to ban steroids if we ever got hold of a test that would pick up not only all the steroids that are out there but all the varieties that keep on getting invented. The reason I think this is that I followed bodybuilding for years when I was doing stickfighting. The backlash against steroids occurred when long-term use started to seriously mess up the bodies of even champions. Steroids do not appear to be good for you in the long run (similar to cocaine, which ran its course and seems to be no longer fashionable in MLB). Now, a professional baseball player is going to do the PEDs anyway, if he thinks they will work (you've all seen the studies where even average people were asked if they would take five years of fame in return for dying at the end of the five years and even young people said they'd make that trade). But while I would support a ban if it could actually be accurately enforced, I don't support witch hunts, which brings me to:

Jolly said, "Brock, that's an honest response, and I hope you'll excuse me for not replying to it, as this is a subject where opinions go around in an endless loop, with nobody's mind being changed."

That's the problem with this whole issue. There are no facts. No one really knows what effects which steroids have on what sorts of baseball player skills. There are no studies. And, if you think about it, there can't be any. If you go to MLB and say, "I need about 2 dozen good to great players, matched in a dozen pairs of very similar skills and ages. I'm going to spend the next ten years of their careers giving one of the pair this steroid and one a placebo and then put them through my own personally designed training workout. You have to play each member of the pair the exact same playing time as the other one. At the end of the ten years, I'll tell you if there's evidence that this particular steroid is a PED. Then we'll move on to the next steroid." you're going to get laughed out of Bud Selig's office, as indeed you should. But how else to get the info?

So, given that there is no way to get any serious info, the gap gets filled in, by inertia, with opinions, unsupported because there's no way to get bulletproof support. This leaves a huge open arena for steroid puritans, safe from facts. The best arguments that I can put up amount to, "There are no definitive facts here." and then try to look at minor, side facts like Tom House's radar gun results. That's all there is. What I VERY STRONGLY object to is rewriting the record books and keeping players out of the Hall of Fame based on unsupported opinion. And, since there is no way to get hard facts, I therefore object to the whole hoopla, calling it the witch hunt it is, and shooting down unsupported accusations for being what they are. But yes, I fully acknowledge that we will NEVER actually KNOW what, if any, effects which, if any, steroids have had on MLB performance. All we can do is argue and look at what little side information there is, like ballpark effects on Mark McGwire's homer totals in St. Louis as opposed to Oakland. Stuff like that, where hard numbers are impossible for individual players.

Or, as I learned back in college getting my math degree, statistics is the branch of mathematics that deals with things that are not (at least yet) subject to proof. If you can actually prove something, you don't need stats. In this arena, you can't prove anything. All you can do is look at the stats and try to put them in context, and then admit that what you've done doesn't PROVE anything. My problem with the puritans is that they act, as puritans always do, as though their personal beliefs constitute proofs. - Brock
   92. My Grate Friend, Peason Posted: March 02, 2010 at 03:43 AM (#3470716)
What's the deal with these "steroids?" Are they some kind of hot-button topic?
   93. Tom Nawrocki Posted: March 02, 2010 at 03:54 AM (#3470717)
If you think about this for two seconds, you'll realize that I wasn't particularly singling out steroid users as "greedy," so much as I was dismissing the idea that what they're doing is equivalent to Edgar Martinez doing eye exercises, or (later in the thread) Steve Carlton squeezing rice in a barrel.


Come on, Andy. This little clarification has nothing to do with what you initially wrote, which was exactly singling out steroid users as greedy.

Let me ask you this directly: Do you really believe steroid users are thinking more about the size of their contracts more than they are about winning, to a greater extent than players who work out naturally? If so, why?
   94. Ray (CTL) Posted: March 02, 2010 at 04:35 AM (#3470726)
so odd that Ray chose to bring up torre in comparison to TLR as opposed to say, Francona....

I'd guess it has more to do with the fact Torre is almost certainly going to get elected to the HoF as a manager while Tito is not there yet than his particular rooting interests.


Right; Torre is a better comp to LaRussa than Francona is. But if it makes Deacon Blues happy: yes, if LaRussa is guilty of willful blindness or more, then Torre *and Francona* are also.
   95. Ray (CTL) Posted: March 02, 2010 at 04:42 AM (#3470729)
it is the fans' fault for insisting that suing steroids when it wasn't against any rules is "cheating"

It was against the law though, I would count that as cheating (the regimental steroid programs could not be medically explained away by anyone but Dr. Nick).


No. Use of certain substances in certain jurisdictions at certain times was illegal.
   96. Biscuit_pants Posted: March 02, 2010 at 04:49 AM (#3470731)
No. Use of certain substances in certain jurisdictions at certain times was illegal.
In the US Steroids, the way the players were using them was illegal. Once you start going down the outside of the US road or that a Dr. COULD have done such and such you get to my second paragraph of not believing everything needs a rule/law to cover everything all the time.
   97. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 02, 2010 at 04:59 AM (#3470735)
With all the lawyers working the BTF beat, bob, it shouldn't be too surprising that the reigning philosophy here seems to be caveat emptor, and the eighth sin is "naivety." That's their story and they're sticking to it.

Ok, but, c'mon, is every lawyer here a product liability defense attorney?


Of course not, but during some of the political threads you'd be making an honest mistake if you thought so. You've got people here who defend tobacco companies' advertising campaigns, for crissakes.

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

If you think about this for two seconds, you'll realize that I wasn't particularly singling out steroid users as "greedy," so much as I was dismissing the idea that what they're doing is equivalent to Edgar Martinez doing eye exercises, or (later in the thread) Steve Carlton squeezing rice in a barrel.

Come on, Andy. This little clarification has nothing to do with what you initially wrote, which was exactly singling out steroid users as greedy.

Let me ask you this directly: Do you really believe steroid users are thinking more about the size of their contracts more than they are about winning, to a greater extent than players who work out naturally?


In a word, no. N-O. NO. Non. Nyet. ?. Nein. ????. ???. Nix. Uh-uh. Not hardly.

And regardless of your interpretation of what I wrote---which I explained in my last post---I've never once written the opposite of that opinion at any point before---which considering the number of steroids threads I've participated in, you'd think I would have, were this my actual belief.

But again:

---Juicers are motivated in their juicing by pretty much the same thing as non-juicing weight lifters, rice squeezers, and eye exercisers. They all want to get an edge over their peers, stay in the game, get fatter contracts and help their teams win, in no particular order. These motivations in and of themselves are perfectly benign.

---That said, juicing is not the same thing as rice squeezing or eye exercises. The motivation doesn't even enter into it. The point is unfair and surreptitious competitive advantage, at least as I see it. And yes, I realize that most people here on BTF don't see it that way, but that's of no more consequence to me than the fact that most of the BBWAA sees it my way enters into your opinion.

Two separate statements and two different subjects, completely independent of one another. As is the topic of which PEDs are more effective than others, which is perhaps the most beaten into the ground topic in the entire history of BTF.
   98. Tom Nawrocki Posted: March 02, 2010 at 05:06 AM (#3470738)
In a word, no. N-O. NO. Non. Nyet. ?. Nein. ????. ???. Nix. Uh-uh. Not hardly.


Thanks.
   99. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 02, 2010 at 05:10 AM (#3470740)
I figured by the third time around the point would get across, and now even the Greeks and the Japanese know where I stand.

Next target: Ray, to whom at times every language seems to be Greek.
   100. PerroX Posted: March 02, 2010 at 05:20 AM (#3470743)
Most areas of life are polluted, but IMHO most people would like sports to be (somewhat) pure and fair competition. Sports are an escape for most spectators. If I want to read about public figures who are cheaters and liars, I can read the news and business sections of the paper instead.

I may be xing threads. but this reasoning is exactly why I don't love sports anymore - I don't want to escape from reality by believing something that isn't true. I can still watch a ballgame and enjoy it, but there is no escape. And that's also my primary objection to moralizing - there's no cost involved. Lisa made
excellent
points - you can object to TLR for any number of faults, but I don't think you can fault him over peds and standing up for his players. Ultimately you respect the guys doing the work for you when they get the job done for your benefit. If you act like a rear echelon mf, you get fragged. You can't lose the clubhouse and still manage.
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