"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
Tag: Pudge Rodriguez

Your 100% Accurate Steroids Witch-Hunt Guide

After yesterday’s post I realized it was time to stop evading the steroids/P.E.D “witch-hunt” issue and address it head-on in a helpful way. What follows is a case-by-case look at the evidence and facts in the cases of prominent players who have been suspected or accused of using performance-enhancing drugs, and a careful evaluation of their guilt or innocence.


Evidence: Named in the Mitchell Report and accused by former trainer Brian McNamee, currently under  federal indictment for lying to Congress about his P.E.D. use. Head the size of a zeppelin. None of that is definitive, however: we need to look deeper.

Roger Clemens’ win-loss record is 354–184. 3+5+4+1+8+4 = 25. As we should all know from our studies of numerology, 25 symbolizes the Law according to Saint Augustin and the Universal Word of God according to Abellio*. In addition, “According to visions of Ann-Catherine Emmerich, the duration of the trip of the Three Magi was 25 days,” and “Mahomet was 25 years old when he married a widow, named Khadidja.”

Furthermore, one of Roger Clemens’ attorneys is Rusty Hardin. Hardin earned his law degree at Southern Methodist University in 1975. 1+9+7+5 is 22 – that’s right, Roger Clemens’ old uniform number. There are 22 letters of the alphabet in the Pentateuch, and Jeroboam reigned for 22 years. Taking it one step farther, 2+2 is 4, and “number 4 people” tend to be “hard workers” and “dependable” with “a higher purpose in life.”

Verdict: Innocent.

(*Yeah, I don’t know either. Cursory research indicates that Abellio is either an ancient god worshipped in the Garonne Valley in Gallia Aquitania (now southwest France), or a British bus company. Either way I think that’s pretty conclusive.)


Evidence: Palmiero was born on September 24th, 1964, making him a Libra. Libras are “desperate for the approval of others,” “crave new knowledge” and “set out to accomplish their chosen goals and will find ways to succeed one way or the other.” Ruh-roh. On top of that, Libra is the only inanimate sign of the zodiac.

Verdict: Guilty, and possibly inanimate.


Evidence: He turned me into a newt!*

Verdict: Burn him!

(*I got better.)


Evidence: Back acne, per veteran blogger Murray Chass. In Salem back in the day, midwives used to check suspected witches for “black marks” on the body which might indicate their guilt. So, what we really need to know here is, did this “bacne” consist of whiteheads or blackheads? I have emailed Mr. Chass and eagerly await his response. Until then, we can reach no certain conclusions. (Disclaimer: Chass is not currently a licensed midwife. As far as I know).

Verdict: TBA.


Evidence: With Bagwell, we are lucky in that we can apply the immutable laws of tasseography, or tea-leaf reading, to his facial hair over the years. I can clearly see an icicle in many photos of Bagwell’s beard, signifying his being frozen out of the Hall of Fame. In addition I can make out an upside-down Christmas tree, symbolizing Bagwell’s pact with Satan, and wavy lines, which symbolize an uncertain path. According to tasseography experts, owls symbolize gossip, scandal, and aliens, while an ostrich represents travel and “not seeking a truth.” I don’t actually see an owl or an ostrich in Bagwell’s beard but I’m just saying.

Also, while I hate to use guilt by association as an incriminating factor, the following picture is too revealing to ignore:

Clearly, we have a pattern here.

Verdict: Sorry Jeff.

Yankee Panky: VORP for MVP

The word “value” has numerous definitions and interpretations. The noun form, per dictionary.com, has 15 listed meanings. The first several apply to some kind of monetary distinction.

But if we’re looking at value in terms of a baseball player and a certain annual regular season award that’s handed out in November, we need to looking at the adjective, or maybe even the verb. The best definition of the three verb lines that apply here: “to consider with respect to worth, excellence, usefulness, or importance.”

Because of the way the MVP vote is constructed, the discussion surrounding the debate comes down to a subjective analysis of who should be considered the most worthy, excellent, useful, and/or important player in the league. The miracle of modern technology has made taken the level of debate to new heights. Please to enjoy, for example, Tyler Kepner’s tweet on August 14, moments after Mark Teixeira’s tiebreaking home run at Safeco Field:

“By the way, this is probably obvious by now, but Teixeira’s the AL MVP. ‘No question,’ as Joe Torre would say.”

The statements themselves seemed innocuous. They were an impulse reaction to a great moment among many that Tex, ye of the 8-year, $180 million contract, has provided in Year 1 of the megadeal. That was until you followed the thread to catch the jibes about Tex’s negative Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) and the running joke it’s become, and scoured the Net to read criticisms from Rob Neyer, Joe Posnanski, and my esteemed former colleague Steven Goldman – although Goldman’s retort wasn’t immediately directed at Kepner.

The criticisms of Kepner, save for broader strokes from Goldman and JoePos in SI, read like they traded in the horses that were driving the Joe Mauer Bandwagon for rocket fuel.

Put bluntly, it was an all-out Internet war with Neyer wielding a sabermetric sword (yes, pun intended), Pos casting spells with his wizarding words, and Kepner responding with a gun that instead of bullets, fired the stick with the flag that reads, “BANG!”

From Neyer:

What inspired this particular post? An essentially meaningless home run, hit well after midnight (back in New York). I mean, I’m sorry, but the Yankees aren’t exactly in the middle of a pennant race anymore. They’ve got a huge lead over the second-place Red Sox. And if the Red Sox should somehow mount a late charge, the Yankees have a huger lead over the Rangers for that other postseason berth. … Joe Mauer currently leads the American League in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. I don’t suppose anyone’s forgotten this yet, but he’s a catcher. Teixeira’s a first baseman. Are we really supposed to go for a power-hitting first baseman again, even when there’s a better-hitting catcher playing for a competitive team?” Neyer went on to say that he’s worried the writers are conspiring to rob Mauer of what should be a third MVP award for him.

He continued his fact-based rant 48 hours later, saying, “You know what? Let’s just be honest. The argument for Teixeira is an argument for doing it the way it’s always been done. Teixeira is just another big RBI guy on a team with a great record. If he were a Twin and Mauer were a Yankee, Teixeira would hardly be an afterthought. Some of you are OK with that. I’m not.”

Six days later, Neyer felt compelled to write about convincing Pete Abe on Super Joe. The goal, apparently, is to not only campaign for Mauer for MVP, but to have him win unanimously.

OK … now to Mr. Pos:

Look, could you make a case for Mark Teixeira over Joe Mauer? Well, you could make a case for anything. You could say that Mauer missed the first month of the season — so Teixeira has about 120 more plate appearances. You could say that the Yankees are going to the playoffs and the Twins are not unless they make a late season rush that looks more and more unlikely. But it sure seems to me that we need to start jabbing holes in this Teixeira MVP thing before it becomes a fait accompli.

Joe Mauer is having a much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much better season than Mark Teixeira. I’m not sure I put enough muches in there. Mauer is on pace to win his THIRD batting title as a catcher — and no other American League catcher has ever won even one. He leads the league in on-base percentage AND slugging percentage, the two most important stats going, and the only catcher to ever do that in baseball history was … oh, wait, nobody. He throws out base runners and hits .395 with runners in scoring position (hits .457 with runners in scoring position and two outs) and even runs the bases well.

And three days later, JoePos had this to offer: “Not to slam this MVP thing again, but we do realize that even forgetting all those kooky ‘advanced stats’ that seem to annoy people, even with Mauer missing a month of the season with injury — Mauer has now scored as many runs at Teixeira and he’s only 13 RBIs behind, and his batting average is 95 points higher. We do realize that the last seven days, while the Twins have been in desperate need of victories (and not getting many), Mauer is hitting .552 with three home runs and a .931 slugging percentage. And he’s probably the Gold Glove catcher.”

And finally, Goldman:

Unless Teixeira leads the league in home runs by a significant margin, or Mauer cools dramatically, it’s hard to see him emerging from the pack when his season is unremarkable by the standards of his position. Of the last 60 awards (both leagues), first basemen won only 11 times. No first baseman won without hitting .300 (I am treating the 1979 Keith Hernandez/Willie Stargell split like an honorary Academy Award for Pops). All but one, Mo Vaughn in 1995, were well over the .300 mark. An average of those 11 seasons comes to roughly .333/.428/.624, and many of them, like Don Mattingly and Keith Hernandez, both included in the 11, were fine defenders as well. Teixeira’s not having that kind of season.

Some harsh words in there. Kepner, following Posnanski’s initial commentary, issued a rebuttal at Bats, noting that “obvious” was a poor choice of words in his Tweet. In a way, he invited the storm and I thought he handled himself admirably among some respected, admired and talented industry heavyweights. I thought the degree to which he was made to be the piñata for “traditional baseball opinions” was a bit extreme. He’s entitled to his opinion, and opinions are subjective, just like the MVP vote.


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