"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Aie, Papi!


Nothing shocking here.

Michael Schmidt has the story in the Times.

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1 PJ   ~  Jul 30, 2009 1:11 pm

Who knew?


2 knuckles   ~  Jul 30, 2009 1:16 pm

Hmm, I thought they just won with grit and looseness, and because they wanted it more.

I'm at the point where so long as Jeter, Jorgie, and Mo don't show up on that list, I don't care about any of it anymore.

3 RagingTartabull   ~  Jul 30, 2009 1:18 pm

mmmmmm, yeah this is nice...

4 Sliced Bread   ~  Jul 30, 2009 1:21 pm

yeah, we've suspected Ortiz all along, but it's still shocking to see it finally confirmed .

This takes a little pressure off our third baseman, and makes BoSox fans far less smug than they've been. So it's a win-win...

5 williamnyy23   ~  Jul 30, 2009 1:24 pm

Gammons must be devestated. Oh well, I guess the Fenway crowd will need to come up with something else witty to chant at Arod.

6 seamus   ~  Jul 30, 2009 1:27 pm

[5] awareness of their own hypocrisy? i doubt it. expect chants to continue.

7 Sliced Bread   ~  Jul 30, 2009 1:28 pm

Surely, Selena Roberts has just begun investigating her next two bestsellers, I mean, non-sellers.

8 Joel   ~  Jul 30, 2009 1:29 pm

Cowboy up!

9 williamnyy23   ~  Jul 30, 2009 1:30 pm

I just hope this news doesn't push Boston to make a trade for Halladay to overshadow the bad publicity.

10 Evil Empire   ~  Jul 30, 2009 1:32 pm

I am shocked that the news about manny and papi was not included 2 years ago in the mitchell report, which was in no way the product of a conflict of interest, since it was written by a Red Sock employee.

11 RIYank   ~  Jul 30, 2009 1:34 pm

[8] Midnight Cowboy up!

12 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jul 30, 2009 1:43 pm

[8] Joel wins silver. Alex wins gold for that cupcake.

13 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 30, 2009 1:44 pm

For the record, I couldn't care less what Big Papi used and when he used it and how often he used - but I can't wait to see how the sanctimonious Sox fans and Boston Media - especially that bedrock of hypocrisy, the Boston sports media - deal with this one. Where will the demands for Ortiz to go on national TV and apologize come from? How loud will they be? Who will make them?

Or will Ortiz be given what I like to call the "Rodney Harrison" treatment?

If I was a betting man, I'd bet on the Harrison treatment.

14 RagingTartabull   ~  Jul 30, 2009 1:47 pm

[10] A Red Sox employee?? Don't sell Mitchell short, he's a minority Red Sox owner...even better.

If anyone needs me I'll be staking out 38pitches.com

15 zack   ~  Jul 30, 2009 1:49 pm

Hardly surprising, though I can't say I can get any pleasure out of it. Seriously, I just think EVERYONE used at this point. And its not like that is so rare in baseball history. But, the hypocrisy from players, media, and fans alike is far more irksome.

16 51cq24   ~  Jul 30, 2009 1:49 pm

[2] and bernie

17 Sliced Bread   ~  Jul 30, 2009 1:49 pm

[13] i think we all know the drill by now, and it doesn't change regardless of the circumstances. When hammered with "breaking steroids news" half of the fans, and media blabbermouths will yawn. The other half will shoot the messenger, and blame ARod for everything.

18 jonnystrongleg   ~  Jul 30, 2009 1:49 pm

further outings

dream list: pujols, schilling, varitek, papelbon, any other red sox player ever, i-rod, luis gonzalez, thome, griffey jr (just cuz) , actually this list could just go on and on...

nightmare list: rivera and jeter.

19 williamnyy23   ~  Jul 30, 2009 1:50 pm

[13] I am with you...I don't care what they did, don't think it taints Boston's championships and feel no need to extract a pound of flesh. However, I too am eagerly looking forward to how the city of Boston, its fans and media alike, deal with the painful hypocrisy.

20 jonnystrongleg   ~  Jul 30, 2009 1:51 pm

[2] & [16] I would not bet on either posada or bernie being clean.

21 PJ   ~  Jul 30, 2009 1:52 pm

LOL @ "Big Fraudy"

Best one I've seen so far!

: )

22 Sliced Bread   ~  Jul 30, 2009 1:53 pm

[21] let the games begin then..

Big *
Big Juicy
Big Dopi

23 Simone   ~  Jul 30, 2009 1:59 pm

Ha. Not a surprise. Lots of liars and cheats in this sport. At this rate there will be only 2 or 3 people for the hypocritical sportswriters to put in the Hall.

I thought Murry Chass said that the NY Times does not use sources for stories. What a tool.

24 Joel   ~  Jul 30, 2009 1:59 pm

At least the Red Sox team doctor advised him how to take the properly...

25 williamnyy23   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:02 pm

Big Papi's problem is 2003 is right at the begin of his meteoric rise, while the revelation comes amid his seemingly rapid decline. So, while Arod and Manny were bonafide stars since high school who have the chance to keep racking up HRs, Ortiz' resume looks exactly like the prototypical PED user (to those who really believe they help alot).

26 RIYank   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:02 pm

[19] Yes, me too.
That seems to be the common sentiment.

Nothing like (a) winning and (b) Red Sox headaches, to unify opinion at BB.

27 Diane Firstman   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:03 pm

Hi from the SABR convention, where word of this hasn't hit yet.

28 jonnystrongleg   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:04 pm

[25] getting a lot stronger helps a lot. steroids help you get a lot stronger. so yeah, steroids help a lot.

29 williamnyy23   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:07 pm

[28] I wont rehash this argument, but it really depends on the subustance. Even then, the problem becomes determining how much strength is attributed to the substance and how much to the insane training regime that usually accompanies its intake. Finally, with strength also comes a loss of flexibility and strain on tendons and ligaments. In other words, there are so many factors to consider and few if any conclusive studies have been done.

30 dogsurfdog   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:08 pm

[22] Big Boli?

Never posted before, but I figure now's as good a time as any to start

31 Mattpat11   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:16 pm

Someone told me that Gammons is already embarrassing himself by spinning like a top?

32 ms october   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:16 pm

about fucking time.

the truth shall se you free.

one of my favorite cupcakes of all time is the cookie monster cupcake.

33 Rich   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:18 pm

As I said on the earlier thread, why have Paxton Crawford's words been ignored by the both media and George Mitchell?

34 jonnystrongleg   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:21 pm

[29] thanks for not rehashing the argument!

i'm sure there are those who didn't use steroids properly, or whose physiologies did not make them hyper-responders, and who saw no benefit from them. but it's pretty safe to assume that steroids have the POTENTIAL to help you get stronger and therfore the POTENTIAL to get better at baseball. and had that effect for a lot of the users.

and yeah, there are no conclusive studies done because it's not possible to do conclusive studies when all of the users of the substance(s) you are trying to isolate want to avoid detection at all costs. so if you're waiting for the bill james definitive steroid almanac to come out, don't hold your breath.

35 ms october   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:22 pm

i distinctly remember one of simmons' coulmns that talked about the yankees being a team full of steroid users (mostly focusing on giambi) and saying that these two goofy (stupid) dominicas can't even mix theraflu much less take steroids - hmm, how you like it now

36 williamnyy23   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:22 pm

[33] What about Lou Merloni's more recent comments? You have two players on record talking about how steroid use was rampant in Boston, but yet no one bothers to investigate the claims.

37 thelarmis   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:23 pm

Fist Pump !!!

38 williamnyy23   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:23 pm

[34] That wasn't a rehash...trust me...it could go on and on...and has...so I'll give you the last word.

39 thelarmis   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:24 pm

[32] you won't be surprised to learn that i've NEVER tasted a cupcake before! : o

(true story.)

40 Mattpat11   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:24 pm

[29] My point has always been that all these people, regardless of the end result, were knowingly and willingly trying to cheat, and assumed that they were, or they wouldn't have kept it a secret.

41 a.O   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:25 pm

Roid Sox

42 williamnyy23   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:25 pm

Building off of Crawford and Merloni, it seems as if steroids were part of the culture in Boston. That would explain why someone like Ortiz would get mixed up with them after playing in Minnesota. Most of the Yankees steroid cases, however, are really guys picking up their "habit" with other organizations and bringing them to NY.

Who says there are no moral victories in the steroid game?

43 Sliced Bread   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:27 pm

[30] welcome. and Big Boli's not bad, but let's face it, nothing will be as on target as ARoid, and AFraud. Hate to say it, just keeping it real.

Now, this might be my Yankee bias talking, but when ARod got caught, it hurt him a lot more than it hurt the Yankees- while this news doesn't hurt the individuals Manny and Ortiz even a fraction of how much it hurts BoSox pride. In other words, the ARod news wasn't bigger than the Yankees, but this news is bigger than the players... it's about the Red Sox legacy. In that sense, this is a shocker. I don't understand why people keep saying this isnt shocking.

44 thelarmis   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:27 pm

[41] You WIN!!!

that rocks!!!

45 williamnyy23   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:27 pm

[40] I don't buy the knowingly trying to cheat line because by many accounts steroids were tacitly accepted.

46 williamnyy23   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:27 pm

[41] We have a winner!!!

47 Sliced Bread   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:29 pm

[41] yes, that's the perfect punchline to what I was trying to say in [43]

48 williamnyy23   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:29 pm

[43] I think many feel it isn't shocking because we all suspected Ortiz and Manny has already been suspended. Also, the only reason this news is bigger than the players is because it removes the purity from Red Sox vanity.

49 ms october   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:30 pm

[42] as much as i would like to think that too william - it seems that it is too early to make that statement - that is we still don't know (and i don't even really care to know) who the steroid users were.
also, can we really attribute it to an organization (well maybe texas) or more likely an individual or two who then shared his "habit" with others.

50 jonnystrongleg   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:31 pm

[38] many thanks.

i completely agree with you that there are way too many other factors (changing foreach individual no less, including the placebo effect) involved to come to any meaningful conclusion.

side note, but have you ever been around steroid users? in a baseball context? i've been around some. last year's fly outs turn into this years homeruns. it's not always that much more complicated.

51 RIYank   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:33 pm

[48] Right. That's why it isn't shocking.
Anyone who's been following steroid revelations and thought even a little tiny bit about Ortiz' body type and career trajectory must have thought of him as a "prime suspect".

52 ms october   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:34 pm

as glad as i am that the red sox are not the pure bastions of integrity that they made themsleves out to be (let's see what that asshole john henry has to say about this - not to mention the boston media) but i will repeat from when this came out about alex - it i absolutley ridiculous that this information was illiegally seized and the illegeally released

53 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:35 pm

First reaction is to take a larger view. I know the BoSox idiots took a lot of pleasure in Yankee grief, specifically A Rod (Giambi less so) but I mostly feel a renewed regret that the sport will now dive back into this (never got out, really) during an entertaining season. I do not feel that their two WS are now 'tainted' because I now believe every WS winner (and playoff team, and non-playoff team) is tainted since the 90s, and you can make a case for since the 60s with amphetamines. But the steroid thing ... as the header says, did anyone really believe no BoSox were involved? Papi's trajectory is, as noted, too compelling a picture. (And almost rebuts by itself the idea that steroids do no good.).

I agree that it'll be interesting to see how the media handle Papi (Manny's already had his free ride from the fans, it seems), as compared to an identical 'outing' of Alex Rodriguez. Do we expect a press conference any time soon? Do we expect BoSox fans to dump virulently on Ortiz the way people (even here) did on Rodriguez, even after his press conference, the first ever such event by a player?

Show of hands.

I do wonder ... if this goes wide enough, if, essentially EVERY star can be said to have been using, are we back to what some have said: the level playing field? Personally I don't; think so, thinking of all those who decliend to use the drugs, and suffered in performance and economics accordingly.

Question: someone above says they hope Pujols is on the list. Why? Shouldn't we all hope he's clean?

54 williamnyy23   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:35 pm

[49] If Crawford and Merloni are to be believed, we can indeed attribute it to the Red Sox organization. Still, I agree with you. I really don't care one way or the other. It was a part of the era's culture.

55 PJ   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:35 pm

Red Face Nation...

: )

56 williamnyy23   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:39 pm

[50] I play a lot of fast pitch softball and have had guys on my team with muscles that seemed unnaturally big. They have never been the best hitters on the team.

[52] Agree completely...the fact that people are making a name of themselves by breaking the law is pretty scummy. Like Roberts, Schmidt is equally reprehensible for going with this story.

57 jonnystrongleg   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:41 pm

[53] I don't like Pujols, have always suspected him to be a steroid user, find him to be offensive and sanctimonious and a d-bag.

58 Max   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:42 pm

[41] There's already a bostonroidsox.com site up. Should be good reading in the coming days.

My favorites so far:

"Artificially Big" Papi

and from the New York Post's twitter:

@nyp_joelsherman: If Ortiz used same fertility drugs as Manny does he become Big Mami?

59 ms october   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:42 pm

[53] papi has already hedged his bet by planting the idea that he drank some tainted protein shake in the dr.
no one is going to get the alex treatment - even bond's treatment was quite different than alex's

i think the idea with pujols is, IF he is dirty get him on the list. in as much as we have an everyone is guilty ideology, the more prevalent idea is this notion of he is clean, but he is not - and much of that assignment has been quite random and arbitrary. i really don't much care at this point - but i can see the desire to identify the guilty and exonnerate the innocent by correctly and completely assemblisng the two lists.

60 williamnyy23   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:44 pm

[57] Be careful. He'll probably deny your accusations, but then again, he might decide to terminate you.

61 PJ   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:45 pm

How many more years do the Red Sox have to pay Ortiz to HGH, I mean DH?

: )

62 Sliced Bread   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:45 pm

[51] yeah, but even though they've both been prime suspects for years, there's still something shocking about this "conviction."
"Reasonable doubt" has just been set ablaze, launched over the green monster, and exploded on Yawkey Way. That's shocking!

63 jonnystrongleg   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:46 pm

[60] nah, he's too inflexible now. he'd make a lousy fighter.

64 williamnyy23   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:47 pm

[63] Not sure if you've seen it, but that was a reference to an ESPN commercial with Albert.

65 RIYank   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:49 pm

[62] Right. I think I just meant something slightly different by "shocking" from what you mean. All I meant was, it's not very surprising. I totally agree that it has a largish "wow" factor.

66 jonnystrongleg   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:50 pm

[64' missed that commercial, but i got the jist.

ever hear about the red sox scout who passed on pujols? he wrote "bad baseball body" or something like that.

67 PJ   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:50 pm

Somewhere Paul Quantrill is smiling...

: )

68 NoamSane   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:50 pm

[56] Could those big muscle guys hit before they got big? If all it took was big muscles, then Bobby Estalella would've been the next Babe Ruth, not a back-up catcher for 5 or 8 years and then gone. My understanding is that people use steroids so that they can work out longer, recover quicker and thus work out more. How one works out is up to the individual. Workouts can be designed to build bulk, tone muscle or even slim you down. I don't think it is easily argued that being able to work out more wouldn't offer possible benefit (and thus possible advantage), if done intelligently.

69 Ben   ~  Jul 30, 2009 2:58 pm

[68] I'm not sure that's the point behind the steroids mess. I think, it has to do with the drugs being illegal and bad for you - especially bad for teens to take while developing. No one has shown convincing correlation with muscle mass and baseball ability, or workout recovery time and baseball ability.

I guess there's also a moral component. ITS CHEATING, say the senators. It's all a bunch of hooey if you ask me.

70 Yankee Fan in Boston   ~  Jul 30, 2009 3:04 pm

The only consolation this brings me is derived from the fact that when the Ramirez news broke a couple of months ago, people I spoke to here clung to the "Well at least he never used in Boston" delusion.

People were still chanting "A-Roid" when I saw the Yankees here in Boston in early June. (Unfortunately, I got no response as I responded by shouting, "Manny! Rodney Harrison! Paxton! The entire Patriots defensive line!") They'll still chant it the next time they roll into town.

I am sure that the moral gymnastic I will witness here over the next few days will be very entertaining.

71 jonnystrongleg   ~  Jul 30, 2009 3:04 pm

[69] the whole fun of the steroid mess is that there are countless reasons to be outraged.

you can be one of the guys that denies there's any competitive advantage to getting stronger, but STILL find numerous other reasons to find fault.

72 Sliced Bread   ~  Jul 30, 2009 3:05 pm

[67] smiling yes, but still waiting for the last home runs Manny and Ortiz hit off him to land.

73 Just Fair   ~  Jul 30, 2009 3:05 pm

And for all the Neil Diamon fans. :D
Sweet Boston's crying...........bah-bah-bah, Steroid news has never been so good. so good so good

74 Yankee Fan in Boston   ~  Jul 30, 2009 3:07 pm

[73] I have been trying to come up with something along those lines for the last half hour.

Well played.

75 Ben   ~  Jul 30, 2009 3:12 pm

[71] Yeah. There's plenty of outrage to go around, that's for sure.

And it's funny i say it's all hooey to me, but I still hold out hope that Jeter and Mo aren't implicated. Not sure why. Say it ain't so Mo, i guess.

76 Sliced Bread   ~  Jul 30, 2009 3:12 pm

Hollywood's all over this. Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon just agreeed to star in the long-awaited sequel to the 2005 Red Sox flavored romantic comedy "Fever Pitch." It's tentatively titled "Steroid Rash."

77 NoamSane   ~  Jul 30, 2009 3:13 pm

[69] What I'm saying is that if you already have baseball ability and then you get stronger (see Canseco, Jose; McGwire, Mark; Sosa, Sammy; Anderson, Brady; Gonzalez, Luis; Jones, Andruw; Beltre, Adrian; who can forget Papi, Big; etc., etc., etc.), your power numbers have a good chance of being enhanced. That to me is a convincing correlation. Circumstantial evidence, yes, but let me put it this way: who was surprised when a mediocre hitter named Ortiz that was released by the Twins after '02 became the most feared hitter in the game by '04? I know I was surprised. After the meteoric rise of Big Papi, who now is surprised that he's been implicated as PED user. Not too many outside of Red Sox Nation are surprised, I'm sure.

Let's put it another way. Why is it that so many baseball players have been willing to use these substances that are known to be potentially harmful to them, physically, professionally and legally if they hadn't seen any reason to think the substances would be a big help to them on the field?

78 PJ   ~  Jul 30, 2009 3:15 pm

Well I love that "dirty laundry!" Papi's right at home!

: )

79 Sliced Bread   ~  Jul 30, 2009 3:22 pm

Sing along with Big Papi, kiddies!

now what starts with the letter s?
steroids starts with s
let's think of other things
that starts with s
oh who cares about the other things

s is for steroids, that's good enough for me
s is for steroids, that's good enough for me
s is for steroids, that's good enough for me
oh steroids, steroids, steroids starts with s

Hey you know what?
a sharp syringe with my DNA on it starts with S
but it is not as good as a steroid
oh and the sssssound of Red ssssox fans ssssssobing starts with S
and you can't beat that, so ...

s is for steroids, that's good enough for me yeah
s is for steroids , that's good enough for me
s is for steroids, that's good enough for me
oh, steroids steroids steroids starts with s yeah

80 Just Fair   ~  Jul 30, 2009 3:25 pm

Meanwhile, the Roid Sox losing 4-1 to the surging A's in the 6th.

81 PJ   ~  Jul 30, 2009 3:28 pm

[79] LMAO!

82 Yankee Fan in Boston   ~  Jul 30, 2009 3:29 pm

[79] Brilliant.

83 RIYank   ~  Jul 30, 2009 3:30 pm

[80] Whoa. The A's have batted around against Lester in the sixth.

Did Rajai Davis even play against us last week? He's driving the Sox pitchers nuts, and frankly he's fun to watch. But I don't remember him having any impact in the Yankee series. (Probably an indictment of my memory.)

84 Bama Yankee   ~  Jul 30, 2009 3:31 pm

[76] & [79] Good stuff, Sliced. (It's nice to have you posting again, you crack me up).

85 ms october   ~  Jul 30, 2009 3:32 pm

tying this news in a bit with will's post from the morning about the nyt (which i still read for certain things - most media outlets are compromised thes days) and adding in that the nyt is planning to sell their share of the red sox - kinda makes you wonder about the machinations of all this stuff - though they probably should have waited to sell before dropping this story

86 RIYank   ~  Jul 30, 2009 3:34 pm

Providence Journal:

The Boston Red Sox are still talking about getting Roy Halladay, but as has been the case with everyone else, the price remains way too high.

As a result, the Red Sox are focusing on Indians All-Star Victor Martinez. Martinez would be a huge offensive help for the Red Sox.

The only issue is that the Red Sox will have to give up quite a bit to get Martinez. The Indians are insisting that they get Clay Buchholz in the trade. Buchholz you may remember threw a no-hitter for the Sox before getting knocked around a bit in the bigs and getting demoted. But he's still a very hot prospect.

The Sox initially balked at giving up Buchholz, but it's looking more and more like they'll give him up to get Martinez.

87 Start Spreading the News   ~  Jul 30, 2009 3:36 pm

[77] For the same reason why people take shark cartilage to "prevent cancer." There is a perceived effect, but not necessarily a real one.

Players remember Jason Giambi but forget Jeremy Giambi. They remember Jose Canseco but forget his twin brother Ozzie who also juiced but still sucked.

Yes there are a ton of guys who juiced and got better but there are quite a few that juiced and didn't. But players (like most people) focus on the successes and think "maybe it will help me as well."

Plus for sports reporters who are looking for a good story, articles like these provide cognitive dissonance:
"An analysis of existing literature on human growth hormone found that while lean body mass increased, exercise capacity did not."

Why let facts ruin a good story? Especially if it sells papers, page views, etc...

88 PJ   ~  Jul 30, 2009 3:36 pm

Captain Tek will get your shots tonight!
And take ya to that special toilet stall!
On Captain Tek you can rely tonight!
Just a little push and you'll be kronkin'!

: )

89 Start Spreading the News   ~  Jul 30, 2009 3:42 pm

"Newspapers, including this one, examined the batting average, home run totals, total victories, E.R.A., among other statistics, of players before and after they allegedly cheated. The journalists were left scratching their heads.

For every Gary Matthews Jr., whose statistics went up, there was a Jay Gibbons, who went down. "

"When The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel examined more refined statistics — like on-base and slugging percentages compared to the league average — only slightly more than half of players in the Mitchell report, 46 of the 89, saw their numbers rise even to the slightest degree. A vast majority evidenced nothing beyond the common fluctuations that remain one of baseball’s great mysteries, and allures."

90 jonnystrongleg   ~  Jul 30, 2009 3:43 pm

[87] I tink you're confusing HGH w/ Steroids. And both of them with magic.

91 Sliced Bread   ~  Jul 30, 2009 3:44 pm

Thanks for the "s is for steroids" appreciation, all.

[88] excellent

[85] I had the same thought about the NY Times-BoSox connection. The Times dropping this story before selling is like a real estate agent boiling cabbage before an open house.

Further, I think this whole thing could make Halladay want to stay away from Boston.

92 Start Spreading the News   ~  Jul 30, 2009 3:50 pm

No don't get me wrong. I will still be razzing all my Red Sox friends about Papi/Ramirez. There will a lot of schadenfreude on my part. But I present these facts to suggest that the players don't know what's best to stick in their body. So just because they use a product doesn't mean that it helps them play ball better though they believe it does.

But it looks like guys like Palmeiro were getting a double boost from Viagra:

93 RIYank   ~  Jul 30, 2009 3:52 pm

Sox rallying in the bottom of the sixth.

94 jonnystrongleg   ~  Jul 30, 2009 3:53 pm

[89] So steroids help some players and not other? Or they help no one?

The argument, that when done properly, steroids help you work out more, which helps you get stronger, which helps you hit the ball further, is so staggeringly simple that i'm shocked there is such opposition in the SABR community.

95 Start Spreading the News   ~  Jul 30, 2009 3:53 pm

[90] No, I "tink" not. But "tanks" for the response.

96 jonnystrongleg   ~  Jul 30, 2009 3:56 pm

[95] I made a typo. You wrote a long paragraph explaining to us that there is no link between HGH and workout capacity. No one thinks that HGH helps you work more. Steroids and testosterone help you work out more.

97 RIYank   ~  Jul 30, 2009 3:57 pm

[94] No, the evidence is that they help no one. Some guys get better after taking steroids, some guys get worse. Just like some guys who don't take steroids get better, some get worse.

The thing is, the SABR community has seen so many factoids that seem obvious get debunked, that they tend to withhold judgment until they see the empirical evidence. And so far, there isn't any empirical evidence that steroid use aids performance.

98 jonnystrongleg   ~  Jul 30, 2009 3:58 pm

[95] You also cited a statistical analysis of the mitchell report. Bravo, you've folded the irrelevant into the absurd.

99 jonnystrongleg   ~  Jul 30, 2009 3:59 pm

[97] ok man, enjoy the bubble. there will NEVER be any proof because you will never know all the users.

100 RIYank   ~  Jul 30, 2009 4:00 pm

[99] Why would you have to know all the users? I don't get it.

What is "the bubble"?

Show/Hide Comments 101-162
101 PJ   ~  Jul 30, 2009 4:00 pm

Well we saw him comin' with a squinty eye.
He had a bat that boomed baseballs into the sky!
The Fens commenced to shakin' and they said "Pa-pi!"
He looked like a steroid cheater to me...

He was a big fat, gap-toothed, lyin', Red Sox steroid user!
(Big fat, gap-toothed, lyin', Red Sox steroid user)
A big fat, gap-toothed, lyin', Red Sox steroid user!
Their titles are tainted, you see!

Apologies to Sheb Wooley...

: )

102 Sliced Bread   ~  Jul 30, 2009 4:08 pm

Bon Papi's greatest hit:

Shot in the ass
And I'm to blame
I give Sox a bad name
Manny played his part and we stole those games
We give Sox a bad name

103 jonnystrongleg   ~  Jul 30, 2009 4:14 pm

[100] the bubble of denial that steroids did not play a part in making some of these recent guys into better ball players than they would have been if they had not used steroids.

do we have any idea how much better? of course not. i think we'll never know becuase the data is too mixed up with natural ups and downs, hyperresponders vs wally joyners, placebo effect, and secret users spoiling the non-user data base.

anyway, this is supposed to be a happy occasion, no need to bicker and argue amongst ourselves.

you guys need a big study that's never going to happen to make the call, that's fine. i don't.

104 Yankee Fan in Boston   ~  Jul 30, 2009 4:22 pm

Ortiz just juiced a 3 run HR to give the Sox the lead against Oakland.

105 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 30, 2009 4:22 pm

[103] I agree completely on the "no reason to argue this one", but let me just be sure I understand you. Your argument is: "I don't need any data to know that steroids help guys be better baseball players, and besides we'll never have the data - I just know that they help." Please let me know if I'm wrong, because that's what I've gotten out of all your comments on the subject.

I don't know what's made me crack up more, Sliced's "s is for steroids, that's good enough for me", his Bon Papi refrain in [102], or a.O.'s "Roid Sox".

The Sox are coming to the Bronx next Thursday, right? Wowie-zowie. That ought to be something to see.

106 RIYank   ~  Jul 30, 2009 4:23 pm

[103] Huh.
So you think going with the empirical evidence is living in a bubble?? That's a weird view.

Sadly, Big Roidy just ripped a 3-run homer to put the Roid Sox on top. The occasion just got a little less happy.

107 PJ   ~  Jul 30, 2009 4:23 pm

From the laboratory in the AL East
To the Fenway Clubhouse where the cheaters feast
David Ortiz came from his humble abode
To catch a jolt from the secret commode

He did the mash
He did the baseball mash
The baseball mash
It was a Selig smash
He did the mash
It caught on in a flash
He did the mash
He did the baseball mash...

Man, this stuff writes itself!

: )

108 jonnystrongleg   ~  Jul 30, 2009 4:30 pm

[105] & [106] My stance, stated now for the 3rd time, is that it is entirely logical to me, both as an intellectual and an amatuer baseball player and major league baseball fan, that if you take the same player and make him stronger, he will hit the ball further.

So if there are substances known to increase the recovery period between work outs, and increase the energy level during work outs, and that are known to produce bigger, stronger versions of the same athletes, that's enough for me to conclude that some baseball players of the recent era used steroids to increase their strength and that strength manifested itself in superior performance on the field than was otherwise attainable.

109 jonnystrongleg   ~  Jul 30, 2009 4:33 pm

[105] & [106] And I respect your restraint from rushing to judgment. I don't think it's necessary here, but it's admirable nonetheless.

110 RIYank   ~  Jul 30, 2009 4:34 pm

[108] Lots of things that are entirely logical, in that sense, are not true.
Sure, steroids increase muscle mass. But they will generally have other effects. It's not a matter of logic whether these other effects are negative or positive. That's why it's a good idea to look at empirical evidence.
The idea that looking at empirical evidence is living in a bubble is what seems so peculiar to me.

111 jonnystrongleg   ~  Jul 30, 2009 4:39 pm

[110] i see it as living in a bubble of denial, protecting oneself from the hurtful truth that baseball's #'s are f-ed because of this stuff, but if the word's a problem, cheerfully withdrawn.

i think logic is the best we're going to get in this case. i don't see how it's possible to get any empirical evidence. of course it's prudent to wait for the data to emerge, but how exactly do you see that happening?

112 Just Fair   ~  Jul 30, 2009 4:41 pm

On the bright side, we may get to see Papelbon implode again.

113 jonnystrongleg   ~  Jul 30, 2009 4:43 pm

[110] of course it's presumptive of me to assume you have protective reasons for not wanting to conclude that steroids have had a real, if ultimately immeasurable, impact on the game. so sorry if that rubbed you the wrong way.

114 a.O   ~  Jul 30, 2009 4:44 pm

Just one more time, I can't resist:

Roid Sox

115 RIYank   ~  Jul 30, 2009 4:46 pm

[112] Always worth watching...

[111] There's already evidence -- the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel study, cited above, for example. It's far from conclusive evidence, of course. I agree there's no point in waiting for conclusive evidence -- it's not coming any time soon.

116 RIYank   ~  Jul 30, 2009 4:46 pm

[113] No worries!

117 RIYank   ~  Jul 30, 2009 4:47 pm

[116] No Worries Big Papi!

GM say your power is down
and you may have to wear a frown
No worries! Big Papi!

In this life everybody has trouble
When you juice it can cost you double
What happened, Big Papi?

118 jonnystrongleg   ~  Jul 30, 2009 4:53 pm

[115] How do you isolate the "steroid effect" from any of the other multitude of factors that impact performance in that study? I just think we're left to our own best judgment here.

119 Just Fair   ~  Jul 30, 2009 4:53 pm

Rats. After game celebration at Big *'s locker. BYOHGH.

120 NoamSane   ~  Jul 30, 2009 4:55 pm

So, let me get this straight. . . The evidence that steroids may not help you play baseball is that some players' numbers didn't improve when on the juice? No-one here is saying that they are a magic pill that allows you to center more balls on the bat.

Are we in agreement that there are PEDs that exist that give you a workout/musculature edge? (I think that's not debatable)

Now, if you're thinking from a probability standpoint, ,some percentage (20%? 50%? 80%?) of those using PEDs will use them to effectively enhance their bodies for baseball use. Some percentage of that first group of players will actually have enough talent to actually have the enhancement make a difference. An even smaller percentage of the second group will actually have such a pronounced uptick in their stats as to arouse suspicion and make people tend to think their is a correlation to PED use. (this is a simplification--there are many more variables)

for example: prove that Jeremy Giambi and Ozzie Canseco didn't improve or hit long-balls further because of PEDs. Maybe Giambi would never had made the majors without steroids. It's not really possible to know.

In short, just because it doesn't help everyone, doesn't mean it doesn't help anyone.

121 Start Spreading the News   ~  Jul 30, 2009 4:56 pm

[111] There are many statistical ways of analyzing the existing data without having to rely on what seems logical.

For example, one can look at the people on the Mitchell report and compare their performance to the average player in MLB. But one needs to adjust for park factor, age, etc... Then after all the adjustments, the PED players should perform better than the ones not on PED. Or one can compare before and after PED and look for performance increase. These studies have been done (see my links above).

Additionally, it is NOT true that increased muscle mass leads to better baseball performance. Not according to doctors, physicists and baseball people. For example, most of home run power comes from your lower torso. So you can bulk up your biceps all you want and you won't hit a ton more homers. Steroids increase muscles in your upper body more than your lower body. There is a lot of scientific literature that talks about that.

For pitchers it is even less helpful to bulk up.
Medical experts say that the muscle growth promoted by steroids does not include a corresponding growth in the tendons, ligaments and other connective tissue that effectively hold the arm together when it is catapulted violently during a pitch. A side effect of steroids, in fact, is a weakening of that connective tissue, which can lead to a variety of injuries when artificially strengthened muscles apply too much force.

""It's a question in everybody's head: Has it helped anybody in terms of performance?" said Robert Donatelli, a physical therapist who has consulted for the Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies and tennis player Andy Roddick. "With pitchers, I don't really see how that would help them in terms of improving velocity. The velocity is mostly dependent upon how far the arm goes back . . . [and] how much time the hand has to develop speed to throw the ball.

"I don't care how strong you are; you can't have a short arc of rotation."

Donatelli said reaching peak velocity in the pitching motion could be compared to a race car's acceleration. If a car can climb from zero to 60 mph in four seconds, it might reach 75 mph in five. The theory is similar for pitching: The farther back a pitcher can take his arm, the more time he has to accelerate the ball before releasing it. Brute strength has little to do with it, Donatelli said, which is why skinny pitchers such as New York Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera and New York Mets ace Pedro Martinez are able to throw hard."

122 PJ   ~  Jul 30, 2009 5:00 pm

[119] The Unabridged RSN Dictionary defines "BYOHGH" as "Brown-bagged 'Guava Juice'!"

: )

123 NoamSane   ~  Jul 30, 2009 5:01 pm

[121] I'm definitely not discounting that PED use could be neutral or detrimental to any given player, but at the same time how can we look at the career arcs of Clemens, Sosa, Bonds, Brady Anderson, etc. and think anything other than that they figured out an artificial advantage that worked. I don't see another explanation.

124 RIYank   ~  Jul 30, 2009 5:08 pm

How do you isolate the “steroid effect” from any of the other multitude of factors that impact performance in that study?

You don't. Unless there is some bias in the sample, you just figure those other factors cancel out. So, for instance, some guys who took steroids also started to wear out mentally, let's suppose, while others improved because they learned something from a hitting coach. But overall, if steroids really helped, you'd expect to see more improvement than deterioration. And that doesn't show up.

So, let me get this straight. . . The evidence that steroids may not help you play baseball is that some players’ numbers didn’t improve when on the juice?

No. That is not the evidence. The evidence is that in the sample, there was no gain on average from steroid use.
Do you see the difference? That really is evidence, whereas what you said would not be evidence.

125 Just Fair   ~  Jul 30, 2009 5:09 pm

Hmmmmmmm.........Guava Juice.........

126 a.O   ~  Jul 30, 2009 5:10 pm

@ #121: Clearly, you do not understand why players took/take PEDs. Strength is part of it, but the biggest thing is artificially faster healing so that you can simply play more games with less fatigue (i.e., at closer to "full strength"). ARod said as much when he discussed what advantage he thought the PEDs gave him.

Speaking as someone who has played ~80 games in a season, I can tell you that the hardest part of the game is the drain on your energy, without necessarily any identifiable injury (or perhaps only minor aches) that occurs over the course of the season. This is why players previously took amphetamines. Except amphetamines do not help you heal faster, as the modern PEDs do.

127 RIYank   ~  Jul 30, 2009 5:15 pm

[126] That seems very plausible -- and it does seem to me that that's the reason most users had in mind. For HGG it's the overwhelming reason.

I suspect the reason the popular conception hasn't caught up with this news is that it's much harder to get outraged about a guy who cheated by taking something to help him get back on the field faster than it if the way it helps is to make your biceps huge and home-run-inducing.

128 monkeypants   ~  Jul 30, 2009 5:16 pm

[123] et al.

Those who do not seem to care much about the PED issue will never be convinced, because there will NEVER be enough data to meet their threshold for evidence on the effects of PEDs on the game. Even if it were proven conclusively that PEDs had a definite measurable impact, their response would then be:

a. but everyone was using so everyone had an advantage (ie, no advantage); or
b. we'll never know how much individual players took, when, for how long, etc., so even if we know that X amount of steroid Y yields Z effect, we will never know impact of steroid Y had on the game.

I think this is completely the wrong way to approach the issue, as most anyone who reads these threads knows already. I think the very fact that we will never, because so many players (and owners, etc) systematically lied, obfuscated, turned a blind eye, acted naively, etc, means that an entire generation of MLB is under suspicion. The entire era is tainted (or whatever) because an entire generation of baseball people have ruptured the trust and credibility it had with its fans.

For me, personally, every record, achievement, number, total, etc from this generation is rendered meaningless. Further, the cynicism of both players and fans really turns me off. This era has, frankly, stolen a part of my enjoyment for the game.

It doesn't mean that I will stop being a fan, but I have a hard time getting excited about great performances anymore. they are no longer historical achievements to me..they are just nintendo game scores.

129 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 30, 2009 5:19 pm

[109] Much obliged. I am happy to agree to disagree on this one. Its a tough issue to deal with, no doubt. One night I got into a two-hour long, very loud argument - on the phone, no less! - with my dad over steroids and PEDs. End result: neither of us convinced the other of anything, my wife was so mad at how stupid I was (arguing on the phone for 2 hours) that she didn't talk to me for a day, and for the same reason, my mom was ticked at my dad for at least two days. The moral of the story - you can never win. ;)

130 jonnystrongleg   ~  Jul 30, 2009 5:20 pm

[121] i don't think anything you said in that post is at all meaningful to the question we are posing. but looking at what you offer, it's clear we're just not even talking about the same things and really not going to meet anywhere.

plus the red sox won, papi was the big hero, and karmically, i feel responsible since i was so happy he got busted. the red sox are like rats, they're most dangerous when backed into corner.

131 NoamSane   ~  Jul 30, 2009 5:22 pm

[124] "if steroids really helped, you’d expect to see more improvement than deterioration."

I don't see why that's true. It's very possible that only a small percentage understand or are effective at using them to great advantage. The big assumption at the heart of your assertion seems to be that steroids are either like a medicine that cures Baseball Skills Deficiency or there's no evidence that they work at all.

You still haven't addressed the question of how Clemens and Bonds got markedly better at an age that no-one else in the previous 125 years had gotten markedly better. And how Sosa & Ortiz went form mediocre to Babe Ruth overnight at ages when they should have already peaked.

I admit I'm going on circumstantial evidence. But then again, how did I know five years ago that Papi was on something? I was just waiting for the inevitable news.

[126] good point on PEDs from a different (and probably more significant) angle

132 Start Spreading the News   ~  Jul 30, 2009 5:22 pm

[123] Given what I said before about muscle mass not helping pitchers before, I would be curious to see how you explain how steroids helped Clemens.

BTW, Nolan Ryan struck out 301 batters at the age of 42 after switching TO the AL. His career arc is very similar to Clemens numbers. Was he on roids also? (assuming roids help)

Superstars are different animals from normal players who in turn are different from us. What is the normal career arc for a superstar?

So I don't see how your compare Superstars declining arcs from normal players. To use a different sport as an analogy, Michael Jordan scored 20 points per game in his last year at age 39. That was still better than many players average in their peak! Ruth's OPS+ at 39? 161.

133 RIYank   ~  Jul 30, 2009 5:26 pm


Those who do not seem to care much about the PED issue will never be convinced, because there will NEVER be enough data to meet their threshold for evidence on the effects of PEDs on the game.

Do you have any grounds at all for saying that?

If there were good evidence for the effects of PEDs on the game, I would certainly listen to it and adjust my beliefs accordingly. I'm actually paying attention to the evidence and my beliefs are guided by it, and I'll definitely continue to do so.

I don't think you're on good grounds here at all. If you write off the empirical evidence we have so far, you're in an extremely bad position to assert that your opponents are the ones who will "never be convinced" by evidence.

(I don't mean to be tacitly admitting that I "do not care much" about PED use. I care in some ways.)

134 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 30, 2009 5:27 pm

[128] I see your point, but monkeypants, the problem is that every "era" of baseball records are tainted in some way.

Pre-1900 records are tainted because the game was so different - balls and strikes and whatnot.

1901-1947 - African-Americans (and many others) excluded. Shoot, to be fair, we probably should say 1959, since that's the first year in which every team in MLB finally had at least one African-American player.

1960-1968 - artificial mucking with the pitchers' mound and strike zone

1969-2005 - drug use: amphetamines, recreational drugs, and then steroids/PEDs - and its entirely possible that greenies were around from well into the 50s, but '69 was the season covered by "Ball Four", so I picked that

[127] I'm pretty sure that JC Bradbury, over at the Sabernomics blog has done an admirable job collected plenty of stuides, including IIRC peer-reviewed, journal-published studies, that show hGH has zero effect on healing time.

135 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jul 30, 2009 5:30 pm

I'm chiming in late here without having read much of the preceding. I just want to say that, while the "Roid Sox" parody songs etc. are quite clever, there's a serious glass-house effect going on here. I suppose Red Sox fans can get some because they dealt some, but the main take-away from this for me is that no one's hands were clean, which we thought we know, but which it seems we're still surprised when we find out for sure. I don't mean there weren't clean players, but I don't think there were any clean teams. Not one. So to say the Sox's titles are devalued because of Manny and Ortiz or the Yankees' titles were devalued because of Clemens, Pettitte, Knoblauch, Justice, etc., it's really something of a Mexican standoff. And don't try to split hairs about how many players did what or how much it helped them or how important they were to the team's success. Integrity isn't saying "you cheated more so we're better," it's saying "we all screwed up, let's forgive, repent, and move on."

136 NoamSane   ~  Jul 30, 2009 5:31 pm


I wouldn't bet Ryan wasn't taking steroids. I would bet he was taking greenies. But let's just assume he wasn't doing PEDs

- Ryan had no apparent decline in his 30s like Clemens obviously did for multiple years, followed by an unprecedented and sustained rebound to greatness.

- Ryan didn't get markedly better. Neither did Jordan (20 ppg? that's a huge decline from 35) or Ruth.

137 Start Spreading the News   ~  Jul 30, 2009 5:32 pm

[131] Hank Aaron had is best season at the age of 37. That's just off the top of my head. I think that with research, you can find others that had good seasons at an old age.

Plus Clemens did not get markedly better at an old age. There are many ways of explaining his results as he got older.
1. He didn't improve until he switched to the NL -- weaker league and weaker division plus pitchers hit.
2. His strikeouts still diminished as he aged. ERA is based on team defense as much as the pitcher.

138 RIYank   ~  Jul 30, 2009 5:32 pm

“if steroids really helped, you’d expect to see more improvement than deterioration.”
I don’t see why that’s true. It’s very possible that only a small percentage understand or are effective at using them to great advantage.

If so, then why doesn't the evidence show that the guys who took steroids on average improved? Of the ones who didn't use them to great advantage, you'd expect no net change. Add in the ones who used them effectively and the net change among all users should be positive.

You still haven’t addressed the question of how Clemens and Bonds got markedly better at an age that no-one else in the previous 125 years had gotten markedly better. And how Sosa & Ortiz went form mediocre to Babe Ruth overnight at ages when they should have already peaked.

I'd like to see the evidence that nobody in the previous 125 years got markedly better at those ages. (And Clemens' best years didn't come after his steroid use, for that matter.) The Ortiz example isn't very good, either, since we have no idea when he started using.
Look, lots of players in ML history have gotten strikingly better mid-career. Nolan Ryan did, for instance. [I see Start Spreading also points to this example.] I don't know why this happens, maybe it varies from case to case.

139 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jul 30, 2009 5:35 pm

[134] Excellent point Shaun. If you start dismissing achievements for one reason or another you'll eventually find a reason to discount every achievement the game ever had (curious scoring decisions during DiMaggio's streak? Jeffrey Maier? etc.).

What happened happened, both the cheating and the achieving, you can't change it. It just makes historical context all that more important, which isn't necessarily a bad thing for those of us who love to read, talk, and think about the game.

140 RIYank   ~  Jul 30, 2009 5:35 pm

[136] Nolan Ryan didn't get markedly better? He was much better from 30 to 44 than he was before age 30. Much.

141 Start Spreading the News   ~  Jul 30, 2009 5:39 pm

[131] http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/22/opinion/22cole.html?

"What should not be overlooked is that Bonds’s profile is strikingly like Babe Ruth’s high performance level until near the end of his career, with one standout home run year — a year in which other players on other teams also exceeded their previous levels.

During the last six years of Ruth’s 22-year career he hit 198 — or 28 percent — of his 714 home runs; Bonds, in the last six years of his 22-year career, hit 195 — 26 percent — of his 762. There is no convincing way to demonstrate that Bonds’s performance owed more to drugs than Ruth’s did to his prodigious use of alcohol and tobacco."

142 NoamSane   ~  Jul 30, 2009 5:54 pm

[138] "Of the ones who didn’t use them to great advantage, you’d expect no net change. "

- What if they could be detrimental if used improperly? Then you'd expect many players numbers to go down as well.

- Clemens won two Cy Youngs (and at least one pitching Triple Crown) in Toronto immediately after leaving Boston and following 3 or 4 decidedly down seasons. McNamee was his trainer there.

- A quick check of Ryan B-R page shows that his greatest years were, as expected 25-32 after which he sustained very good for another 10 or 11 years.
(a better example for a unexpected late career excellence tis Randy Johnson, but again there is no severe, sustained drop-off followed by huge, sustained rebound).

Hank Aaron (Mays, Ruth, Musial, Rose etc.) - sustained brilliance followed by slightly late, but expected drop-off

- Look, we'll never know for sure why anything happens, I'm just looking at the available evidence (and I'm no Nate Silver) and then deciding what I think is likely to be the reason. I am a huge Barry Bonds fan. He was my absolute favorite player for the ENTIRE time he was in the league. I'm not one of those crying about the sanctity of the record book and all of that. I fully believe Bonds did PEDs. I fully believe he wouldn't have hit 73 homers in any season without them, let alone at an advanced baseball age. I still think he was great. I'm not trying to cast aspersions, I just can't understand how some insist there's no potential advantage in PEDs--not for every user, but for some.

143 monkeypants   ~  Jul 30, 2009 5:56 pm

[134] The reference to the segregated era is a red herring that gets trotted out all the time. The reality is that blacks made up a relatively small percentage of the population, so unless you feel that they are inherently superior from an athletic standpoint, the amount that the league was "weakened" because they were excluded is likely exaggerated.

But even if we accept that the league was significantly weaker, at least all lily white players were competing against the same competition more or less. This is far different from the PED era when some subset of players--we don't know who or how many--took some amount of PEDs which had some effect (how much we don't know).

And this era seems to correspond to a period when offensive records were blown out of the water.

144 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 30, 2009 5:58 pm

[139] And who appreciate the history of it all. Thanks, Cliff.

In a nutshell, that's why I don't care about PED use: no number is pure, everything is subject to context.

145 monkeypants   ~  Jul 30, 2009 5:59 pm

[133] RIYank,

My position is an extrapolation from what I read on these threads in other sports forums. Perhaps I overstate the case, but by and large I stand by what I said. The beauty of the PED era is that for those who are scandalized (like me), the impossibility of proving who did what when casts a shadow on everyone, while for those who refuse to be scandalized, the ambiguities and gaps in the evidence provide infinite cover.

146 monkeypants   ~  Jul 30, 2009 6:02 pm


Integrity isn’t saying “you cheated more so we’re better,” it’s saying “we all screwed up, let’s forgive, repent, and move on.”

I disagree with your formulation of integrity, which requires forgiveness. But in any case, I have yet to see repenting on anyone's part--at least not plausible repentance. Finally, from what I have been reading over the last year or two, the prevailing attitude of most fans is that no one "screwed up."

147 monkeypants   ~  Jul 30, 2009 6:06 pm

[144] I agree that all numbers are subject to context. But several of baseball's great, all-time records appeared to be applicable across generations. 60 HRs seemed like the maximum, more or less, for 60 or 70 years, for example. Then suddenly these records are blown out of the water.

I have no problem accepting numbers in context, so long as we also choose to ignore all-time records (whose relevance matters only if we compare achievements across eras rather than only within a given era). Fine. Then let us not celebrate, say, A-Rod's pursuit of the all-time HR record--he may merely end up as the 1990s-2000s HR leader. Let us not marvel at Ichiro's all-time single season hit record, and so on.

148 NoamSane   ~  Jul 30, 2009 6:07 pm

[141] last 6 years of career is arbitrary (coincidentally Bonds hit 73 in his 7th to last year).

What's significant is age and arc:
Ruth peaked at 32, (60 HR) then sustained slightly lower in the first half of his 30s (46 to 54 HR) then moved steadily downward from age 37 on.

Bonds had hit more than 45 HR only once until age 35 when he went 49, 73, 46, 45, 45 to get to age 39, was injured for a year, then hit 26 & 28 in his early 40s at age that Ruth was retired. He was still among the most feared hitters in baseball, but was most likely blackballed/driven from the game.

markedly different arcs.

149 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 30, 2009 6:07 pm

[143] I can appreciate your point.

However, my point wasn't that the league was weaker without Afrcian-American participation, but rather different due to a choice made by many within the game, which created an impact on the numbers we can't ever know. If Satchel Paige was allowed to play in the majors in the 1930s, its entirely possible he may have faced Babe Ruth, instead of a white-skinned pitcher who actually did. Ruth might have hit 705 career home runs as a result - or he might have hit 720. Maybe the leagues would have expanded earlier, with more players to choose from - we know expansion tends to muck numbers up. Etc.

Context matters, and context is ever-present when it comes to the numbers.

150 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Jul 30, 2009 6:08 pm

[135] Cliff, more or less what I said (or tried to say) somewhere in the 50s on this thread. I'm not as happy as some people seem to be, nor did I ever think Ortiz was a bad person, an evil man, a doofus. He does seem to be an exhibit A sort for the benefits of the drugs, and this does NOT discount the argument made here (at length!) that steroids may not help every player (or every position).

Glass houses are indeed, an issue here, with some 90+ names left on that one list.

151 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 30, 2009 6:15 pm

[147] Decades seems like a pretty arbitrary way of splitting up records, no?

As for things applying across generations, it entirely depends on one's generation. Sure, for 34 years (1927 to 1961), 60 was the all-time single-season home run record. And then for 37 years (1961 to 1998), it was 61. But note that those alive in the teens and 20s saw it go from 29 to 59 - more than double! - in just two years.

And that's just home runs. The longevity of a record is a nice thing, but not the only thing.

152 monkeypants   ~  Jul 30, 2009 6:27 pm

[151] Yes, and everyone recognizes that the "live ball" ear represented a quantum leap in the game play on the field, such that often (but not always) those records are kept separate from the numbers achieved before c. 1920.

I only picked decades because they line up more or less with A-Rod's career. You are correct--it is arbitrary, and points out just how meaningless records really are unless you can reasonably compare across a wider time frame.

153 RIYank   ~  Jul 30, 2009 6:38 pm

[142] NoamSane,

- What if they could be detrimental if used improperly? Then you’d expect many players numbers to go down as well.

Fair enough, that's entirely consistent with the evidence.
I don't say the evidence can rule out all possible scenarios in which PEDs are actually effective. If someone has some evidence that there's a particularly good way to use them and other ways are detrimental, I'll buy that.

154 NoamSane   ~  Jul 30, 2009 6:50 pm


McGwire is an interesting example. He hit like 49 HRs his rookie year, skinny as a rail, but soon after bulked up big time. I was living in San Francisco, and everyone baseball fan in the Bay Area suspected the Bash Bros. were on the juice. McGwire missed a LOT of time in the early & mid 90s with ankle and foot injuries. I always theorized that his bulked up body was too big for his lower extremities to support. Who knows he might have been a better player without PEDs, y' never know.

155 Start Spreading the News   ~  Jul 30, 2009 6:52 pm

[142] "I’m not trying to cast aspersions, I just can’t understand how some insist there’s no potential advantage in PEDs–not for every user, but for some."

First, of course Bonds did PEDs. That is documented in gov't files that eventually became "Book of Shadows" so there is no doubting it.

Or maybe Barry is just a freak of nature? Maybe Barry's renewed devotion to physical fitness (while in SF) contributed to his improved performance? Maybe he is an anomaly? Ruth was more of an outlier when he hit more homers than any TEAM.

Or maybe, as you say, PEDs affected Barry differently than others. If you want to say that on the average there is no advantage to PEDs but for some people it really packs a wallop. Then I need a reason why Barry benefits from PED and training when Ozzie Canseco doesn't benefit from PED and training. The anomaly explanation is more believable to me than "PEDs helped Barry more than other people" theory.

BTW, Nate Silver did look for an effect of PEDs on baseball performance in Baseball Prospectus and found nothing.

156 NoamSane   ~  Jul 30, 2009 7:01 pm

[142] There is no evidence that PEDs didn't help (or hurt) Ozzie Canseco--maybe he wouldn't have even been in Single A without them. Maybe he didn't take good advice from Jose on how to use them and they actually hurt his chances: we can't know (I believe anyway).

Statistical analysis is not the end answer for every question. It's merely a tool. I believe that N. Silver is a brilliant statistician, but he has no records of who was using, what substances were used, how much, for how long, etc. so his findings don't really prove much on this question.

157 NoamSane   ~  Jul 30, 2009 7:04 pm

Nate Silver may not have been looking for evidence that in the Selig/Steroid era actually there was actually a divergence from the mean--a wider statistical spread. Stephen J. Gould did an analysis that showed that the extremes of baseball achievement were being muted, moving toward the center throughout the history of the game (up to the early 90s I believe). No more .400 hitters, but also no more .150 hitting position players either. I don't know this, but perhaps Nate wasn't looking for that type of statistical change.

158 NoamSane   ~  Jul 30, 2009 7:06 pm

[155] Besides the obvious:

Barry Bonds could already hit.
Ozzie Canseco could not.
PEDs weren't going to magically change O. Canseco into someone who could consistently put fat part of bat on ball.

159 Start Spreading the News   ~  Jul 30, 2009 7:25 pm

[156] True. I will eventually getting around to reading the book "Baseball between the Numbers" where his analysis is shown. So I don't know how he looked for a PED effect.

But I guess my gripe is that every time some player does something extraordinary, we assume that it is steroids. You probably have seen all the articles talking about bulging biceps and head sizes when neither contribute to home run production. And all of it is mostly some uneducated hack sports writer taking a break from his "send Joba to the bullpen" analysis to write about something he thinks he sees.

We live in a steroid era. True. But we also live in a small baseball park era. And in a year-round conditioning era. And in the juiced ball era. Maybe those explain things better?

160 NoamSane   ~  Jul 30, 2009 7:35 pm

[159] I don't subscribe to the idea that we can tell by looking at their bodies who's using and who's not. And I agree about ballpark size and many other things being big factors, so I'd say we're mainly in agreement.

161 Start Spreading the News   ~  Jul 30, 2009 7:35 pm

[158] But presumbably the guys who make it to the Bigs can hit, like Jay Gibbons. Gibbons went from hitting 23 homers to 10. Gibbons admitted to PEDs. So why did Bonds improve and Gibbons not?

Goes to show that there is more to this thing called life than just DNA and Environment. Ozzie and Jose Canseco are identical twins. Both look alike and have the same build. Presumably they both had the same upbringing -- both were groomed for baseball. Yet, Ozzie never hit a MLB homer. He has the same DNA as the guy who hit 462 homers and stole 200 bases in 17 seasons.

162 NoamSane   ~  Jul 30, 2009 9:49 pm

[161] You don't know that PEDs didn't get Gibbons to the majors. His quick descent was after the testing regime was instituted IIRC.

We don't know that Ozzie & Jose took the same doses, worked out the same hours in the same style, ate the same, treated their eyes the same. Since when do identical twins have identical skill sets anyway? I went to music school with identical twins. They were both good musicians, but one couldn't play bass and the other couldn't play sax. Maybe Ozzie C. would have been a great boxer. ;-)

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