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Tuesday, March 10, 2020

I played clean in the steroid era—and PEDs hurt players more than sign stealing does

The inequities of PED use make it personal. With the proliferation of PEDs, there was always a chance you could be supporting a teammate who was using in order to replace you—even if that was not his original intent. It can be right under your nose. As players started to fully understand the impact of PEDs on their careers, clean players became unsure who was friend or foe when it came to their job security. If you are clean, PEDs immediately put you on the downhill side of your career, and if you are already declining like I was in 2002, PEDs push you off a cliff.

Sign stealing does none of that.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 10, 2020 at 08:19 AM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: doug glanville, peds

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   1. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 10, 2020 at 11:16 AM (#5929203)
Doug Glanville with his usual thoughtful take.
   2. SoSH U at work Posted: March 10, 2020 at 11:27 AM (#5929210)
He should have taken these concerns to his union, and urged the other clean guys to also voice their concerns. Things might have turned out differently if Rick Helling wasn't alone on an island.

   3. Scott Lange Posted: March 10, 2020 at 11:46 AM (#5929218)
I like Doug, but over the course of the article his argument shifts from "PEDs are inherently worse than sign stealing" to "PEDs are worse than sign stealing if lots of people use PEDs and only one team steals signs." The former claim is large but unsupported; the latter claim is so small that it's nearly a tautology.
   4. Cris E Posted: March 10, 2020 at 12:03 PM (#5929230)
Individual cheating (eg PEDs) raises one player, so the effect on a team is only as large as one player's contribution, and the effect on the league is only how much that team moved relative to others (plus any individual awards or records that cheater might have taken.)

Team cheating raises a bunch of players so the effect on the team is greater, and the effect on the league is more significant as well (plus the same chance that an individual cheater messes with awards or records.)

Glanville was mostly writing about how the cheating affected individual players at contract time, not what it did to the sport as a whole. To the extent that fans' trust in the integrity of the games is affected by cheating, the individual stuff makes you question Canseco or Bonds, but the Astros stuff makes you question a bunch of games and perhaps other teams. That's a lot different. (I am willing to consider arguments that PED use was sometimes team sponsored or at least willfully ignored and thus not always an individual effort.) Anyway his piece was kind of weird and I wasn't buying it on any level higher than the individual player contract marketplace.
   5. flournoy Posted: March 10, 2020 at 12:23 PM (#5929240)
Things might have turned out differently if Rick Helling wasn't alone on an island.

Chuck Klosterman says that island's population is one person too high.
   6. SoSH U at work Posted: March 10, 2020 at 12:32 PM (#5929242)
Chuck Klosterman says that island's population is one person too high.

I had no idea there was a Klosterman connection with Rick Helling. But I found this conversation between Chuck and two other guys, which suggests otherwise.

But then I find out, years later, reading an issue of "Time" magazine in a dentist's office, that Rick Helling, this guy who I've spent my whole life viewing as the antithesis of me, my arch-enemy, was the first player in Major League baseball to stand up and take a stand against anabolic steroids. No one listened to him, but he was the first guy to be on record going “look, this is a problem, it's screwing the game up, there's going to be consequences if we don't step in”. Then, of course, now in the wake of what has happened, everyone looks back and goes “Oh, Rick Helling was this truth pioneer”. So I had to come to the realization that the one person I am on record for hating is probably one of the most important baseball players of the last forty years despite the fact that his success on the field was very marginal. His import was that he refused to allow something that was wrong to continue happening without standing up and saying “we need to change this”. So, that's my life, the people I hate end up being the heroes.
   7. The Duke Posted: March 10, 2020 at 01:05 PM (#5929246)
That article could have benefited greatly from an editor with a sharp knife.

I am as anti-PED as they come ( I’m glad all these guys are being held out of the Hall), but I view convalescing with the use of PEDs fine if it helps you get on the field faster. Now, these types of things should be doctor supervised (which creates an inherent conflict ) but I see getting back on the field faster as a far different animal from using PEDs for a performance advantage. I see nothing wrong with what Vina did
   8. ReggieThomasLives Posted: March 10, 2020 at 01:16 PM (#5929249)
The other difference is in general PEDs help you improve more if you work hard. You get guys like Bonds who were workout nuts using PEDs to recover faster so they could work out more.

Sign-stealing is just blatant cheating.
   9. Baldrick Posted: March 10, 2020 at 01:18 PM (#5929251)
I'm not anything close to a PED moralist, but it seems obviously true that PED use is worse than sign-stealing. An arms race of PED use creates an expectation that you put your own health at risk in order to compete. An arms race of sign stealing is...fine.
   10. majorflaw Posted: March 10, 2020 at 02:10 PM (#5929279)
“An arms race of PED use creates an expectation that you put your own health at risk in order to compete.”

This kinda misses the point. The health risk is the sole reason that PEDs are proscribed. When a PED which delivers the desired results without undesirable health risks is developed not only will players be permitted to use, it’ll be expected of them.
   11. Padraic Posted: March 10, 2020 at 02:22 PM (#5929283)
Doug Glanville coming out as clean is about as surprising as Adam Rippon coming out as gay.
   12. Cooper Nielson Posted: March 11, 2020 at 11:27 PM (#5929781)
I had no idea there was a Klosterman connection with Rick Helling.

Some very weak name-dropping: I had a college economics class with Rick Helling. I remember him asking the professor for permission to miss some classes or take the exam remotely because he needed to report to spring training (this would've been around February 1993), but the professor, who was British, wasn't having it.
   13. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: March 11, 2020 at 11:30 PM (#5929783)
Things might have turned out differently if Rick Helling wasn't alone on an island.

Frank Thomas was on that island.

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