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Did It Help?

Alex and Diane have done such a great job covering the Alex Rodriguez fiasco that I’ve been loathe to chime in with my, largely identical, reactions, but in light of Rodriguez’s confession to Peter Gammons last week, I wanted to take a look at the seasons during which Rodriguez admitted he had experimented with banned substances to see what impact, if any, those substances had on his on-field performance. The result was an article published over at SI.com at the end of last week.

Spoiler alert:

. . . if he is indeed telling the truth about his drug use being limited to his three years in Texas, the only noticeable benefit that Rodriguez derived from his experimentations with banned substances was his ability to play 485 of the Rangers’ 486 games during his three years with the club. That’s no small thing. There are some who believe that the most undervalued statistic in baseball is games played. It’s irrefutable that Rodriguez’s ability to take the field every day as a Ranger enabled him to put up the remarkable counting stats he compiled in a Texas uniform, chief among them his 57 home runs in 2002. Still, there’s no evidence that the drugs made him any more powerful, and significant evidence that his rate of production actually declined during what he claims were his doping years.

Meanwhile, feel free to use this post as a disussion thread for Alex Rodriguez’s Tampa press conference set to begin at 1:30 pm today.

Why do I have this stuck in my head?

Tags:  Alex Rodriguez  PEDs

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1 hoppystone   ~  Feb 17, 2009 1:17 pm

Q: Why do I have this stuck in my head?

A: Why do you ever have any song stuck in your head? Because it's a great tune!
(And because A-Rod is such a sweet talkin' guy...)

2 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Feb 17, 2009 1:19 pm

You're right on both counts.

3 rbj   ~  Feb 17, 2009 1:26 pm

Good stuff Cliff, thanks.

The next step would be for someone to look at Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, et al., who're suspected of using to see their games played prePED and during use. Though without confirmation from them of when they used it may be harder.

4 MichiganYankee   ~  Feb 17, 2009 1:33 pm

Helping him get through the rigors of a 162-game season is an effect that he could have achieved with amphetemines as well. So if A-Rod is a "cheater" for artificially boosting his stamina, so are the hundreds (thousands?) of MLB amphetemine users since the sixties.

5 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Feb 17, 2009 1:38 pm

Cliff, thanks for a useful analysis, bearing out instincts that park factor was a likely (THE likely) element in the apparent power surge in Texas. I do have a query as to why you so flatly say that it WAS steroids that let him take the field every day in Texas.

"Rodriguez told Gammons on Monday that a large part of his motivation for experimenting with banned substances was his desire to be able to play every day through the hot Texas summers. In helping him achieve that goal, the drugs clearly worked."

Isn't this taking known data and assuming causality? (He took steroids, he played every day, therefore the steroids CAUSED him to be able to play every day.) Just as the park plays into power, so do other things come into assessing WHY he played every day (grimly determined to prove worth the money, lucky with no injuries) and we also need more, don't we, on what steroids DO in terms of endurance, beating the heat. As far as I always knew, it was greenies that helped players through the dog days of summer.

This is NOT to deny that the steroids might be an element in his endurance, only to suggest that in logic the certain connection you are offering doesn't seem to hold.


I want to shift ground a bit because I've been puzzling over that scientific analysis link offered here the other day on how steroids don't add power. (Four FEET of power was the number that jumped out at me.) I've been really dubious about it, and I have figured out why. Bonds and Clemens. What we saw.

The best take on what happened to BB that I have seen was that the best player in the game got pissed off seeing McGwire and Sosa get all the love, and decided, since he knew they were juicing, he'd do the same and show everyone what a real player could do. His body changed and his power numbers went insane. In his late thirties, into his forties.

Roger was DONE when he went to Toronto. Red Sox had let him go. He started using steroids (yes, I am accepting the allegations about him), won two Cy Youngs there, and had an astonishing late resurgence YEARS past normal effectiveness, and years past his own obvious decline.

When I think about these guys, look at the career arcs, it gets a lot harder to simply live in the abstract science world of 'they don't help'. I'm wide open to counter arguments, though.

6 MichiganYankee   ~  Feb 17, 2009 1:42 pm

What has angered me most about the A-Rod/Steroids circus is how mlb.com, espn.com and usatoday.com (and other media outlets as well, I am sure) posted graphics last week highlighting A-Rod's power surge during his Texas years. That's pure journalistic irresponsibility.

7 MichiganYankee   ~  Feb 17, 2009 1:47 pm

[5] You're making a bit of a leap regarding Clemens. First of all, plenty of power pitchers of had late-thirties rennaissances. Secondly, he has been accused of taking steroids only in late 1998, late 2000 and late 2001. While he indeed experienced surges in these periods (especially the 2000 postseason), the accusations do not explain the 1997 Cy Young season or his remarkable 2004 and 2005 campaigns in Houston.

8 rbj   ~  Feb 17, 2009 1:51 pm

[6] But couldn't both Bonds and Clemens also both be grimly determined to show that they weren't done, and thus increased their workouts, nutritional intake, sleeping habits.

Steroids didn't turn mediocre Neifi Perez into a star. The talent has to be there first.

9 RagingTartabull   ~  Feb 17, 2009 1:52 pm

well this oughta be a bucket of laughs...

10 rbj   ~  Feb 17, 2009 1:52 pm

Erps, [8]'s [6] should be [5]. I blame a lack of PEDs.

11 rbj   ~  Feb 17, 2009 1:59 pm

long awkward pause there.

12 thelarmis   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:01 pm

cousin? can't even pronounce the street name for the drug? jeesh...

13 thelarmis   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:02 pm

[11] i'm sure there were interjections written into his script, like [look at crow] or [pause], etc...

14 rbj   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:03 pm

"There was more energy." Consistent with playing all those games in the Texas heat.

Injected. Very interesting.

15 Mattpat11   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:04 pm

Well, this wasn't so bad. He really needs to stop saying "Young and stupid" though.

And that crying or whatever it was was a little over the top.

16 thelarmis   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:04 pm

college? most baseball players don't go to college. esp when he was coming up. for the most part... i went to a HUGE athletic college and knew some of the big players. they were basically pro athletes on a college campus. none really "grew up" or were mature people, fwiw...

17 yankee23   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:04 pm

[13] Wow, anyone else read that as "injections written into his script"?

18 thelarmis   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:05 pm

[14] i thought so, too. when he mentioned it, i totally thought it was a pill...

19 rbj   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:05 pm

[17] Nope. I doubt Alex is that good of an actor.

20 thelarmis   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:06 pm

[17] injections are easier to swallow! ; )

21 thelarmis   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:08 pm

"perhaps? but, not wrong." huh?!

22 Mattpat11   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:09 pm

This is not so bad so far

23 Mattpat11   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:10 pm

"Hannah Storm?" That's a real news anchor name.

24 rbj   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:11 pm

[23] She should've been a meteorologist. Rip Fuel(?) wasn't illegal at the time.

25 Mattpat11   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:13 pm

rbj, if you read Torre's book, you'll know that Ripped Fuel almost never was actually Ripped Fuel

26 thelarmis   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:14 pm

doesn't need any translation??? uh...wha?! me no understand!!!

27 rbj   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:15 pm

Doesn't need translation? For some of us it does. [25] And whatever it was, wink wink, nod nod, it was commonly available to all. I wonder if Oswalt ever used it.

28 thelarmis   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:19 pm

24/25/26, really isn't THAT young. esp since he had been in the majors for quite awhile already...

29 Mattpat11   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:19 pm

I caught Juventud. I sort of figured the jist of it and ignored the rest of the question.

30 thelarmis   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:19 pm

oh, and no public apology to selena roberts before. it was put on a tee for him and i'm sure he knows she's there...

31 Mattpat11   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:21 pm

thelarmis, Its not young at all. He's a grown ass man at that point. He was older then than I am now.

32 thelarmis   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:23 pm

he tested positive for testostorone and premubilin (sp. on both?), what is the 'proper' name for "boli" (sp?)???

33 thelarmis   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:24 pm

[31] well, you ARE young, matt!!! ; ) enjoy, my friend!!!

34 Mattpat11   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:25 pm

"I laid my bed, I'm gonna have to sit on it."

35 thelarmis   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:27 pm

[34] i thought that was funny too! he needs a book on idioms. maybe "idioms for idiots"!!!

36 rbj   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:27 pm

I do have to say that I was older than 24, 25 when I sat in the bleachers of Yankee Stadium with a friend and smoked a joint.

37 Diane Firstman   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:30 pm

By the way, Kirk Radomski tried to paint himself as someone who helped keep guys on the field, and he didn't seem the least bit remorseful about it.

(from his talk at the NYC chapter SABR meeting over the weekend)

38 thelarmis   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:31 pm

carl pavano liking a-rod as a teammate, does NOT shed a positive light on alex in the clubhouse, buster!!!

39 rbj   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:31 pm

Oh jeez, listening to Buster on ESPN. Trotting out Carl Pavano as someone who'll stick up for you is not helpful.

40 Diane Firstman   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:31 pm

I think Carl should have used some of A-Rods roids ...

41 thelarmis   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:32 pm

[37] how did the Todd Drew portion of the meeting go over? was there a moment of silence? did you alert his wife Marsha about the nice tribute you gave?

42 Diane Firstman   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:33 pm

Griffey to sign with Braves ....

43 rbj   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:33 pm

[40] Post of the day.

44 FreddySez   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:34 pm

Content aside, starting this press conference 20+ minutes late was unpardonable.

Alex isn't a PR or media professional, but the people handling him are. Whether it's Zillo, Boras, Rubenstein or "Outside Eyes" (gimme some of THAT money, BTW).

I'm in PR, and I've managed press conferences. When a county politician starts late, it's no big deal, because the only people who care are already in the room and have nothing better to do.

But when you line up the national media to carry your conference live in HD, f*cking start it when you say you're going to start it. What, did Alex miss a bus connection on the way to the field?

Totally unprofessional, and someone should answer for it.

45 Diane Firstman   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:36 pm


I think I knocked it out of the park ... I think I would have made Todd (and Marsha) proud.

I read his final Banter post aloud, and gave out copies of his YS memory.

People came up to me later and thanked me, and asked where they could read more of his stuff.

The moderator acknowledged that I would be a hard act to follow (he was doing a raffle).

I felt Todd in the room .... :-)

46 thelarmis   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:36 pm

[42] yes, and i, for one, will be VERY happy to go watch him swing the bat! my FAVORITE swing of all-time!!! : )

47 Diane Firstman   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:43 pm

Ya'know .... I wish 'Mystery Science Theater 3000' was still on the air .... they'd have a field day with this news conference.

48 MichiganYankee   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:44 pm

[14][18][20] Didn't we already know that steroids are something you shoot in your butt?

49 thelarmis   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:47 pm

[45] beautiful! thank you for that. wish i could've been there - for that and the memorial.

50 Raf   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:52 pm

Griffey to sign with Braves ….

Good for him, bad for the Braves

51 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Feb 17, 2009 2:54 pm

[48] Yup. No idea why injection = news. I'm curious about the over-the-counter aspect, myself. This ain't designer stuff.

52 MichiganYankee   ~  Feb 17, 2009 3:07 pm

What bothers me is that, if A-Rod were to have contrived the story, this would have been a great story to contrive. I mentioned to someone this morning that if A-Rod was going to name a source, it was going to be Ken Caminiti. The "Dominican cousin" will be almost as difficult to track down.

53 RagingTartabull   ~  Feb 17, 2009 3:11 pm

[51] The DR (as far as I know) doesn't have any sort of FDA-like body. So everything, for all intents and purposes, is over the counter.

54 Bama Yankee   ~  Feb 17, 2009 3:15 pm

[48] & [51] I was actually curious about whether or not he injected it since Primobolan can be taken orally. I thought he might have taken the pill form and possibly didn't consider it a "real" steriod since he did not inject it. But, after hearing that he injected it, I guess that theory goes out the window.

55 PJ   ~  Feb 17, 2009 3:35 pm

Note to self...

Stay out of places in the DR with or without counters! Where is a mango tree when you need one?

That was very nice of A-Rod to take the time out of his busy spring schedule between workouts, reporting to ST on time, and rounds of golf, in order to visit with us! Since Derek Jeter is relatively new at golf and all, I wonder how many "shots" he gets from Alex when they play?

Anyone else remember/long for the days when Ricky Henderson was merely late for ST? I always thought that was because he was never sure which camp to report to in any given year...


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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver