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1 Start Spreading the News   ~  Feb 12, 2009 4:33 pm

Has anyone else seen this website?

It is by baseball statistical analyst who after extensive research concludes that steroids does NOT improve baseball ability.

His executive summary:
"Steroids have a markedly greater effect on upper-body strength than on lower-body strength.
Batting is almost exclusively powered by lower-body strength.
Beefcake doesn't drive long balls."

Very interesting stuff. He provides references and seems to know what he is talking about.

2 Shaun P.   ~  Feb 12, 2009 4:45 pm

[1] Yes, though I forgot about it. Eric Walker, IIRC, was the first statistical analysis hired by the A's Sandy Alderson so many years ago (early 80s). His credentials are very good, and I'm not surprised at the way he approaches the topic - heavy on the facts, no hype. Thanks for the link!

3 Start Spreading the News   ~  Feb 12, 2009 6:33 pm

Baseball Prospectus, Steve Goldman and others have been pushing this idea that steroids' affect on baseball is negligible. Since I was too cheap to buy the book, I just shrugged it off. Until I saw Walker's site.

The website has really caused me to rethink the Bonds and asterisk issue.

4 Raf   ~  Feb 12, 2009 6:57 pm


We the morally outraged, with our torches and pitchforks, refuse to be confronted with facts!

5 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Feb 12, 2009 8:00 pm

[4] tee-hee..I think Keith Law on espn cited that study as well..still waiting for those other 103 names though! (the thought that I agree with Curt Schi$$ing on any issue is very disturbing..)

6 RIYank   ~  Feb 12, 2009 8:02 pm

[5] I find myself unable to despise Curt now. It's very disappointing. I've explained why here on BB before, but briefly: the fact that he so badly pissed off the sportswriting establishment by blogging, and his completely common sensical reaction to the steroid hysteria.

Though I'd still love to stuff that bloody sock in his mouth.

7 Mattpat11   ~  Feb 12, 2009 8:13 pm

Like I've said here before, I don't think you can dismiss that regardless of the end res=ult, these people all made the decision to and were under the impression that they were cheating. I don't think you can just dismiss that. Alex Rodriguez weighed his options, decided he wanted t cheat, and did everything he could think of to do as much.

As far as Cashman, I just finished the Torre book, and honestly, Brian Cashman comes off far worse than Alex Rodriguez. I thought that was the far bigger story. No one other than Carl Pavano looked worse in that book, IMO.

8 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Feb 12, 2009 8:16 pm

[6] Agreed..hate his politics and self-importance but kind of respect him for giving the finger to the Boston media establishment..but he's still a windbag..

9 Shaun P.   ~  Feb 12, 2009 8:52 pm

[7] Yes, their intent was to get an edge - seemingly one that was against the rules, though perhaps it wasn't (I'm not going down the road of whether or not it was pre-2004). So its cheating or "cheating", YMMV. But I think Bill James hits the situation right; this is from Joe Posnanski's blog post which Alex quoted from the other day:

"I guess at the end of the day, my own views about some of the more heated reaction to A-Rod more or less mirrored that of Bill James, who sent me an email summing up. He wrote:

In 36 words:

1) Baseball allowed a situation to develop in which it was in the self-interest of players to use steroids.

2) Now we are very angry with people because they did what the system rewarded them for doing."

Seems right to me.

10 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Feb 12, 2009 9:06 pm

100% agree with Bill James.
btw, I wish the Yankees had offered him $5 million a year to be an advisor, wouldn't that have been enough to overcome his dislike of the Yanks? (and working for Boston is not exacly like helping the David KC Royals..)

11 Mattpat11   ~  Feb 12, 2009 9:15 pm

I just think at some point people need to take personal responsibility for themselves. Blaming society doesn't cut it for me.

12 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Feb 12, 2009 9:21 pm

[11] How far can you take that argument?? Look at the disgraceful situation on Wall St now..our whole society encouraged and embraced an environment where financial whiz-kids with MBAs could move money around electronically and become fanstastically rich..no one complained until it came crashing down..Is it really fair now to take a handful of people and make them scapegoats for what is a fundamental problem in economy and society?

Likewise in baseball..asking A-Rod or Bonds or Clemens to "take responsibility"..for what exactly? The entire culture of baseball led players to do this, I don't think making it a case of personal responsibility is appropriate..

13 Mattpat11   ~  Feb 12, 2009 9:33 pm

If three dozen ponzi schemes were exposed around the time that Bernie Madoff got caught, should he be able to whine about how "everyone else was doing it!" and "I was so young and naive!"

These people did something wrong. They knew they were doing something wrong. They kept it a secret and lied about it because they knew they did something wrong.

Second grade ended a long time ago for these men. A 25 year old Alex Rodriguez or a 35 year old Barry Bonds or a 35 year old Roger Clemens were grown ass men that were more than capable of making their own decisions. Young and naive my ass.

14 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Feb 12, 2009 9:39 pm

[13] Madoff a different case to what I was referring to..

Yes, they were not second graders. They also were probably not the sharpest knives in the drawer (especially Clemens) and perhaps not fully aware that their actions would catch up to them..again, in an environment where everyone winked and looked the other way, why would they consider it to be so wrong?

Will you still cheer for A-Rod and Andy? Would you root for Jeter if he was outed as a PED user?

15 monkeypants   ~  Feb 12, 2009 9:50 pm

[11] Good heavens, I find myself in agreement with Mattpat!!!

That said, I find Selig's most recent grandstanding to be pretty irritating.

16 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 12, 2009 9:51 pm

[13] Stealing people's money and taking a steroid are nowhere near being on the same level. Attempts to liken steroid use to a series of heinous acts don’t lend credibility to the argument.

Furthermore, while one can do something wrong and take responsibility for it, that doesn’t mean there aren’t mitigating circumstances. Unless one thinks players who took steroids are inherently evil people who always choose to do wrong, the reasons they went down the path of steroid use is worthy of explanation. It’s easy to pontificate, but the world doesn’t exist in black and white.

17 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Feb 12, 2009 9:55 pm

[15][16] And I am agreeing with Williamnyy23 more and more, scary..this issue is SO not black and white..and Bud Selig just humiliates himself every time he speaks..what an A-Hole..

18 Mattpat11   ~  Feb 12, 2009 9:56 pm


They were too stupid to figure out that they were doing something wrong, why hide it and lie about it?

I root for the Yankees. I'll take Jack the Ripper on my team if I thought he would help me win. But I think Andy Pettitte's story is one of the biggest crocks of shit I've ever seen, and Alex Rodriguez's perpetual victim mentality is maddening. And people bending over backwards to excuse away what they've done baffles me. They were more than old enough to make a mature decision for themselves. They chose not to.

Christ, don't even get me started on Bud.

19 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Feb 12, 2009 10:00 pm

[18] Well, over here in Japan the person at the top of the ladder takes responsibility when someone under him errs..this is sometime taken to an Aburd level, as when the "stable master" (think Miyagi-sensei) of a Sumo wrestler resigned because his wrestler was caught smoking a joint!
But in Bud's case, him being "outraged" is just nauseating..if ANYONE should take responsibility it's him (and his $18mil salary!)

20 Mattpat11   ~  Feb 12, 2009 10:03 pm

History will view Bud as the worst thing to ever happen to the sport. I have very little doubt there.

21 monkeypants   ~  Feb 12, 2009 10:05 pm

[17] I just don't see how it is not black and white. A-Rod et al done wrong by juicing. It's clear as day. What is more complicated are other, related issues: the degree to which MLB was structurally complicit, and the severity of the punishment that individuals who "cheated" should suffer (none at all, public scorn, suspension, banning, etc.).

Despite my strong stance that individuals such as A-Rod were wrong, wrong, wrong, I am sympathetic to the mitigating circumstances that William, et al invoke. I am also pretty certain that justice is not served by suspending players like A-Rod years later.

That said, I have no problem with the players who are caught (or who confess) to be tried, convicted, and hung in the court of public opinion.

22 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 12, 2009 10:20 pm

[18] Extreme example alert:

Back in a different time, black and white lovers would hide their relationships, not because they thought they were doing wrong, but because an ignorant society thought they were.

I can easily see players looking at steroids as something that might be wrong, but then again, might not be. I mean, Jose Canseco, for example is a player who doesn't think taking steroids is wrong. Of course, he no longer has to maintain a reputation that hinges on popular sentiment. For players like Arod, however, they want their accomplishments to be favorably viewed by others. Their sense of doing wrong, therefore, is based on the feeling by MLB and fans that taking steroids is bad...a feeling that wasn't expressed for a very long time.

[21] Obviously, we have a different vantage point on this issue. Speaking only for myself, I think very few things are black and white. Taking an innocent human life is wrong, for example. Ingesting steroids is simply not that clear cut.

I also have no problem with the court of public opinion rendering any verdict that it sees fit. I just wish that court would be more informed on the topic before rendering its judgment.

23 edoubletrouble   ~  Feb 12, 2009 10:37 pm


I just got back from a ride through the transit system.
When I was waiting on the Times Square platform waiting for the 3 train - an average-Joe-looking guy walked slowly downtown. He said loudly, "GEORGE W. BUSH REQUIRED ALL PLAYERS ON THE TEXAS RANGERS TO TAKE STEROIDS! The whole team. George W. Bush ..." over and over again, calm and resolute to get the word of truth out to the people. It was as if he was saying, Jesus is coming! Jesus is coming! Well, I trailed him for a bit until I couldn't take his certainty any longer. So, I asked him gently, "How do you know?" He was taken aback and asked, "What?" "How do you know?", I repeated. He looked me in the eye and said, "God told me so." I was then taken aback and asked sincerely, "When? When did he tell you?" He mumbled that I wouldn't believe him. I told him I was a believer but he was gone. The man gave some money to a subway musician and went on down the platform dispensing the word of God.

24 Shaun P.   ~  Feb 12, 2009 10:50 pm

[20] The former Air Force general who served as commissioner, Spike (Eckhert?) was pretty bad. But he was clueless. Bud can't hide behind that one. He darn well knows what he's doing.

I will say this, though. Encouraging the starting of MLBAM, and the growth of MLB.com, and fostering them both was a freakin' coup. Now whether credit for this belongs with admitted technophobe Bud, or one or his lieutenants, is another story altogether.

I'd look a lot more favorably on Seligula if he'd just get rid of interleague play already. Its stupid and pointless and got old long ago.

25 The Hawk   ~  Feb 12, 2009 11:26 pm

THe idea of suspending A Rod for this is beyond idiotic. So now you're gonna punish people when they fess up to 5 year old misdeeds - that were on the record all the time, but were LEAKED?

If he does that, he needs to get the other 103 and suspend them, otherwise A Rod is getting whacked for his sort-of apology.

26 Raf   ~  Feb 13, 2009 8:30 am


Exactly. The stupidity surrounding this "scandal" knows no bounds.

27 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Feb 13, 2009 9:07 am

Jeez, I'm now joining OK Jazz big time in William's corner. I found the linked analysis of steroid effect really interesting. I especially like this quote:

Because "shame on you" stories virtually write themselves, the drug scourge is one of the best things that ever happened to baseball columnists. They wake up on the side of the angels, thwack the devil, and sleep like children. . . . among journalists, even if there's no proof, even if there's no evidence, even if there's only circumstantial evidence of evidence, there's an airtight justification for a column.
--Michael Miner, the Chicago Reader, September 28, 2007

It seesm to me we need to separate two issues here:

1. Records are tainted because of steroid use.
This one seems seriously assaulted if you read the linked article closely. And this is William's ongoing point (he's especially active on HGH, but has made the argument about steroids themselves).

2. Even if they don't do anything or much (four feet on a fly ball?) it is 'cheating' if you INTENDED to get an advantage by way of something illegal.
I think this needs to be seen separately, because it takes away a lot of the hysteria about the 'big stars' and records and shaming the game. It takes it more towards corked bats (apparently science says they do next to nothing).

I am thinking (no answers yet) about placebo effect, psychology, BELIEVING you are quicker and stronger and how that helps in sport (and life) but frankly, that's what sports psychologists and even meditation or hypnosis might be about, too.

Basically, if you 'buy' this long linked article (and thanks Spreading the News for spreading the news) a lot of the intensity of the records craziness starts to disappear. Then you are left with banning from the HoF players who 'knowingly sought an illicit advantage' even if they didn't GET it.

Players who commit perjury is a different issue, I think.

28 Diane Firstman   ~  Feb 13, 2009 1:51 pm

Is it just me, or does forlorn Cashman look a little bit like Woody Allen there?
(assuming Woody got a short haircut)

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