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The asterisk wing of Cooperstown.
December 13, 2007 1:16 PM   Subscribe

So, who doesn't use steroids or HGH? So what do you do when MVP winners, Cy Young award winners and some World Series winners all have cheated? Any ideas?

From the Michell Report:

Denny Neagle
Denny Neagle pitched for six teams in Major League Baseball between 1991 and 2003, the Minnesota Twins (1 season), Pittsburgh Pirates (5 seasons), Atlanta Braves (3 seasons), Cincinnati Reds (2 seasons), New York Yankees (part of 1 season), and Colorado Rockies (3 seasons). He has played on two All-Star teams.

Radomski said he met Neagle at a club in New York City in 2000 when Neagle played for the Yankees. After they met, Neagle called Radomski “looking for HGH.” Neagle seemed familiar with human growth hormone. Radomski said that from 2000 to 2004 he engaged in five or six transactions with Neagle involving human growth hormone and anabolic steroids.
(6 Meg PDF). This is but one example of many.
posted by zerobyproxy (189 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Some supporting links:

Summary of the Mitchell Report

List of Players Named in Report
posted by bove at 1:19 PM on December 13, 2007


*
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:21 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Having skimmed the report, for many of the names listed, the evidence could charitably be called "hearsay." That's not true of all of them--there are a lot of check, money order, and postal images in there that tie players to one of the suppliers currently facing charges--but before damning them all with the same breath, check out the individual evidence yourselves.
posted by stevis23 at 1:22 PM on December 13, 2007


I guess we can now start calling it MLB*.
posted by wendell at 1:23 PM on December 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


zerobyproxy: So what do you do when MVP winners, Cy Young award winners and some World Series winners all have cheated?

You start following the National Scrabble Tournament.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 1:23 PM on December 13, 2007


I squirm for Roger Clemens. He is perhaps the greatest casualty of this report.
posted by xmutex at 1:25 PM on December 13, 2007


Jose Canseco should be respected for speaking out and how does Barry look now? Not too bad I'd say.
posted by thekorruptor at 1:25 PM on December 13, 2007


Stop snitchin', Mitchell!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:26 PM on December 13, 2007


I should add that, if you actually look at both this report and the players who have actually been caught by the testing program, it's overwhelming NOT the big stars, but rather the marginal players struggling to break in or stay at the big league level. Which makes sense; they have the most to gain, going from relatively little to turning several million for a few years on a big league roster.

It's not exclusively them, but way more Juan Rincons and Jason Christensens than Barry Bondses and Roger Clemenses. (Who? exactly.)
posted by stevis23 at 1:27 PM on December 13, 2007


"So what do you do when MVP winners, Cy Young award winners and some World Series winners all have cheated? Any ideas?"

...uh, stop paying attention to a useless, privileged waste of time like professional sports?

you could take up knitting. you could adopt a homeless dog. you could adopt an unwanted baby. you could make some mole sauce. you could glue sparkly doo-dads to your grandma's glasses to make them pretty. you could take out the trash. you could go on a walkabout. you could volunteer to build homes in NOLA. you could sleep.

just a thought.

quit complaining about all the cheating losers in your favorite sport. you're the one that put them there, by caring about a bunch of spoiled-rotten "athletes." sheesh.
posted by CitizenD at 1:27 PM on December 13, 2007 [16 favorites]


I can't wait to see how MLB blames all this on pete Rose.
posted by rocket88 at 1:29 PM on December 13, 2007


Neagle told Ron Villone about Radomski. Ryan Franklin then got Radomski's information from Villone, used, and got caught.

Of course, Neagle had his own legal problems.
posted by dw at 1:30 PM on December 13, 2007


So, can we just agree that professional sports is entertainment, and the entertainers do what they need to do to entertain the fans?

Frankly, grown adults using steroids etc. in order to enhance their market value seems perfectly capitalistic to me. 'Roid-on!
posted by Thorzdad at 1:33 PM on December 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


korruptor: I'm not sure "respected" is the right word for ol' Jose, but I get the point.
posted by absalom at 1:34 PM on December 13, 2007


@citizenD--I have done those things (except the sparkly-things-on-grandma's-glasses part)--and--baseball is a game that I enjoy watching and enjoyed playing as a kid. Caring for a sport is not enabling bad behavior. However, I think that if sports are unimportant to you, here is a better thread for you to participate in.
posted by zerobyproxy at 1:34 PM on December 13, 2007 [4 favorites]


Oh, yes, and also: FOR SHAME, FOR SHAME, for enjoying human competition and displays of athletic prowess! That's the dumbest and most selfish thing ever, and that's why sport has been around as long as human civilization. I mean, the Greeks LOVED sport and they FUCKED LITTLE BOYS. ALL THE TIME. Amirite?
posted by absalom at 1:35 PM on December 13, 2007


I still don't understand why using steroids is illegal in baseball. If I understand steroid use correctly, it can be done to minimize health effects. In fact, the type of physique required in baseball is not the same of those in professional wrestling or bodybuilding. That is, the dosage the vast majority of these players take are way below what we see in the short-to-medium negative health effects. Perhaps I am wrong, but we have been using steroids for close to 50 years now, right? There should be a good idea of the health effects.

This is especially true of Roger Clemens. I could see steroid use as prolonging careers and helping maintain athletic peak. Especially in positions such as pitching where experience matters much more than looking like a parody of a Greek statue. It is not like Clemens has paper thin skin that sticks to his ripped muscles and veins.
posted by geoff. at 1:35 PM on December 13, 2007


So what do you do when MVP winners, Cy Young award winners and some World Series winners all have cheated? Any ideas?

You could become one of those pompous sorts who rails on and on about the evils of professional sports. You can then tell off anyone who suggests that sports are just another form of entertainment, feel self-important AND self-righteous, and on top of that, hold some intellectual conceit over the billions of people who follow sports.

Of course, everyone would think you're an asshole and zero fun at parties, but who cares? YOU ARE BETTER THAN THEM. While they're hanging out drinking beer with their friends watching your local sports team, you can spend your quality time re-reading Chomsky. Alone.

I mean, after all, sports have no socioeconomic and political subtexts, right?
posted by dw at 1:37 PM on December 13, 2007 [6 favorites]


you could take up knitting. you could adopt a homeless dog. you could adopt an unwanted baby...quit complaining about all the cheating losers in your favorite sport.

The only person complaining here is you, dick.
posted by dhammond at 1:37 PM on December 13, 2007 [12 favorites]


Hey, Astros management? That feeling you're experiencing right now is, well, getting fucked in the ass.
posted by WolfDaddy at 1:38 PM on December 13, 2007


CitizenD - I don't want to start a fight so I am going to be as brief and civil as I can. Some of us really like baseball. You don't like it, I get it. You are thus welcome to not comment on this thread.
posted by PercussivePaul at 1:38 PM on December 13, 2007


Jose Canseco should be respected for speaking out

WTF? You could tell that guy was on the juice from the 500-level seats in the SkyDome. Please.
posted by GuyZero at 1:38 PM on December 13, 2007


Blargh blargh use of one part of the body is good and sophisticated! Use of another part of the body is brutish and dumb!
posted by shakespeherian at 1:39 PM on December 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


Hey, Astros management? That feeling you're experiencing right now is, well, getting fucked in the ass.

OTOH, they didn't really send anything back to the O's that has much value. It's not quite Tejada-for-a-bag-of-baseballs, but those minor leaguers aren't exactly the second coming of Felix Hernandez and Miguel Cabrera, either.
posted by dw at 1:41 PM on December 13, 2007


zerobyproxy: i hate shopping too. :) but thanks anyway.

i understand your point, and i don't begrudge people their harmless past times. but all this hand-wringing about abusive professional athletes just honks me off.

if you love baseball, go to the local college ballpark and watch some kids who don't take their talent and reputation for granted. one can "care" for a sport and not get all worked up about the players who fuck things up for everyone else. i think it's pathological when people take competition and GAME-playing too seriously.

(when i say "you" or "one," i'm using those pronouns in the 'royal' sense. i'm not speaking to you directly, per se.)
posted by CitizenD at 1:41 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


you could take up knitting. you could adopt a homeless dog. you could adopt an unwanted baby. you could make some mole sauce. you could glue sparkly doo-dads to your grandma's glasses to make them pretty. you could take out the trash. you could go on a walkabout. you could volunteer to build homes in NOLA. you could sleep.

Spoken like a Miami Dolphins fan. I feel for you, dude. Its been a rough season.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:42 PM on December 13, 2007 [4 favorites]


I hate that Eric Gagne and Rick Ankiel are on this list and Jeter and A-Rod are not. Because I hate the Yankees, and hope a comet hits Yankee Stadium. There, I said it.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:42 PM on December 13, 2007 [12 favorites]


OTOOH, the 'stros gave up a lot of potential--and their farm system is already thin--plus let their other shortstop go to free agency.

Consider Tejada the balls slapping the ass of the 'stros management.
posted by WolfDaddy at 1:43 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Free Barry Bonds.

Seriously, it's increasingly hard to believe that his persecution was unrelated to race when reading this. Clemens was an equally bad offender whose stats and body could not have possibly be justified without steroid abuse. You never saw people boo him in opposing stadiums or hold up signs calling him a cheater, or argue there should be an asterisk next to his name. It's not like people couldn't have known, they just wanted a better villian. And better, to most baseball fans, meant blacker.
posted by allen.spaulding at 1:45 PM on December 13, 2007 [4 favorites]


It's not quite Tejada-for-a-bag-of-baseballs, but those minor leaguers aren't exactly the second coming of Felix Hernandez and Miguel Cabrera, either.

You take that back about Dennis Sarfate.
posted by drezdn at 1:45 PM on December 13, 2007


I really enjoy how we can have conversations around here that don't immediately devolve in to "OMG WHY DO YOU WATCH SPORTS GO FEED AN ORPHAN INSTEAD" vs "IT IS AN ARTISTIC DISPLAY OF ATHLETIC TRIUMPH AND THE HUMAN SPIRIT".

Oh wait, no we can't.
posted by 0xFCAF at 1:46 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


"So what do you do when MVP winners, Cy Young award winners and some World Series winners all have cheated?"

If it wasn't cheating when they did whatever they may have done, I'd say you go back to worrying about changes to the ball, and developments in the bat, and what's wrong with the new parks. Unless you're whiney Bob Costas, who has ridden this "story" for a decade now, and brings it up by main force, until people just dread watching NFL discussions he's in, because, somehow, he's sure to interject something about The Horror of Steriods In Baseball. But if you're Bob Costas, today is a red letter day, 'cause you just got low grade material for 10 more years of whining handed to you.

Somebody, please, buy that kid a new glove, or a bike, or whatever it'll take to go away and shut up, already.
posted by paulsc at 1:46 PM on December 13, 2007


Clemens wasn't trying to break the home run record...

In other words, Chicks dig the long ball, or less people care about what pitchers do.
posted by drezdn at 1:48 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


They should have an all drug league similar to the all drug Olympics.
posted by Mr_Zero at 1:49 PM on December 13, 2007


>"So what do you do when MVP winners, Cy Young award winners and some World Series winners all have cheated? Any ideas?"

...uh, stop paying attention to a useless, privileged waste of time like professional sports?

you could take up knitting. you could adopt a homeless dog. you could adopt an unwanted baby. you could make some mole sauce. you could glue sparkly doo-dads to your grandma's glasses to make them pretty. you could take out the trash. you could go on a walkabout. you could volunteer to build homes in NOLA. you could sleep.


Or you could whack off to japanese cartoons, you could whack off to "Star Trek The Next Generation," you could whack off to violent fantasies about popular girls who didn't talk to you in high school, you could whack off to some girl you hope to meet in the future that will appreciate your pretentiousness and who looks like Jessica Alba...
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:50 PM on December 13, 2007 [4 favorites]


Does anyone recall the exact quote by a lawyer for one of the baseball leagues to the effect that the enterprise (of baseball) is the league (and not the teams individually)? Accepting this idea at face value implies that the enterprise was all hunky-dory with steroid use until the bitching got loud enough.

There isn't anything the matter with steroid use apart from the fact that that use is illegal, as long as the players knew or could have found out the side effects. It doesn't surprise me that people are doing illegal things to further their careers. It doesn't surprise me that an enterprise would give tacit approval to its raw material doing itself damage for an increase in revenue. What -does- surprise me is this investigation. Either you charge people for violation of the law or you don't. The whole idea of "cheating" being relevant in franchised sports makes no sense.
posted by jet_silver at 1:50 PM on December 13, 2007


Seriously, it's increasingly hard to believe that his persecution was unrelated to race when reading this.

You're forgetting the fact that Barry Bonds was a huge, well-hated dick from day one.
posted by xmutex at 1:50 PM on December 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


Seriously, it's increasingly hard to believe that his persecution was unrelated to race when reading this.

Persecution != Prosecution.
posted by inigo2 at 1:52 PM on December 13, 2007


geoff -- I suppose one argument against steroid use is that once it becomes accepted, it becomes de facto required to stay competitive. The stigma around drugs, deserved or not, makes it unlikely that we would accept such a sport. Given a choice between seeing drugged-up supermen smashing records and non-drugged athletes playing it 'naturally', I think I would prefer the latter. Achievements are more remarkable if the achiever is an ordinary man, after all. Not to mention it makes the fantasy of putting yourself in the ballplayer's place a little more realistic.
posted by PercussivePaul at 1:53 PM on December 13, 2007


Seriously, it's increasingly hard to believe that his persecution was unrelated to race when reading this.

I absolutely agree that his race made him more of a target, and that the heat wouldn't have been as bad if he were white, but I don't think it's close to being the leading cause. The guy seems to have made it his mission in life to turn every sportswriter and sports fan against him. His cushy, fame-soaked lifestyle and his ego gradually turned him into a grade-A dickhole. When you're a dickhole to the press, the press is going to feed you your lunch, and when the fans agree that you're a dickhole, they're going to encourage the press to keep feeding it to you.
posted by middleclasstool at 1:55 PM on December 13, 2007


Clemens was an equally bad offender whose stats and body could not have possibly be justified without steroid abuse.

How so? If you'll recall, his body was far from top-notch the last two years at least. He also undergoes a ridiculous training regimen during the off-season to keep his legs the size of my torso. Being in shape != steroids.
Also, as xmutex mentions, the media hates Bonds and s because Bonds hates the media. It works both ways.
posted by jmd82 at 1:55 PM on December 13, 2007


Varitek, say it ain't so!
posted by rollbiz at 1:57 PM on December 13, 2007


...uh, stop paying attention to a useless, privileged waste of time like professional sports?

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
posted by ORthey at 1:57 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


CitizenD - I don't want to start a fight so I am going to be as brief and civil as I can. Some of us really like baseball. You don't like it, I get it. You are thus welcome to not comment on this thread.

so, we only get to comment when we agree with the OP? oh, i see. thanks for filling me in on that one.
posted by CitizenD at 1:58 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


...uh, stop paying attention to a useless, privileged waste of time like professional sports?

or stop paying attention to the attention that is paid to useless, privileged wastes of time that you don't personally like to waste your time with.
posted by uaudio at 2:00 PM on December 13, 2007


and...

Jose Canseco should be respected for speaking out

Exactly. Deserving or not, I predict he will emerge as more whistleblower and less original offender when the dust settles on all of this.
posted by rollbiz at 2:00 PM on December 13, 2007


so, we only get to comment when we agree with the OP? oh, i see. thanks for filling me in on that one.

I think it could be more accurately phrased "...when we have something to contribute other than 'You all are stupid for wasting your time on this.'"
posted by middleclasstool at 2:01 PM on December 13, 2007


CitizenD, if you would like to be civil about it then you are welcome to comment. If you instead prefer to ridicule people about things they care about, I would rather you didn't.
posted by PercussivePaul at 2:02 PM on December 13, 2007


I disagree on the respect issue for Canseco. I was listening when he called in to Dan Patrick to announce he was writing the book. He wasn't guided by principle on this, he figured MLB didn't give him enough of what he felt he deserved, so he went for payback.

He's getting something out of this. He's getting revenge, and he's laughing his ass off about it.
posted by middleclasstool at 2:03 PM on December 13, 2007


No fucking wonder my White Sox have only won one world series in the last 90 years. They don't cheat enough.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:04 PM on December 13, 2007


it becomes de facto required to stay competitive.

This might not be completely true of baseball, but in sports where finesse plays a much smaller role, like cycling and track, performance enhancing drugs ARE a requirement to stay competitive. The competitive evolution of training methods has simply incorporated the ability to create / purchase performance enhancing drugs that aren't detectable by current generation drug testing technology with all the diet, exercise, practice, etc. methods that already existed. There is no way out of it.
posted by MillMan at 2:04 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


CitizenD: No, but we only should comment when we have something to contribute.
posted by absalom at 2:04 PM on December 13, 2007


There was one name that I was shocked to see in the Mitchell Report. But, now that I look at the 'after' picture, I guess I'm not surprised.

**this comment imported from MeTa for your convenience**
posted by found missing at 2:05 PM on December 13, 2007


Persecution != Prosecution.

I'm fully aware of the difference and it factored into my word choice. I was referring to the relentless hounding by fans, sportswriters, and the like. Yes, Barry Bonds is not a warm-and-cuddly and sure, Ken Griffey got the Nintendo deals because he was willing to grin it up for the cameras and sign autographs. Hell, I once sat across from Bonds at a Chevys in the early 90s. The waitress told us he didn't use a credit card (so that nobody would have his autograph) and that he never tipped well. I get it, the man is a jackass.

But he's the best player of a generation and there are plenty of other jackasses out there. You don't have to go as far as Albert Belle to find them cluttering the rosters of every team. And Clemens himself is a giant prick who has treated the media and his fan base horrifically. There is something irreducible about the way people have treated Bonds over the years and specifically recently. I did not say race drove this, but it seems to have played a factor in the construction of a boogyman.
posted by allen.spaulding at 2:05 PM on December 13, 2007


You start following the National Scrabble Tournament.

In the documentary Word Wars, tournament Scrabble player Matt Graham played while doped up on a cocktail of 'smart drugs', and Marlon Hill played while baked, even smoking up between games.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 2:07 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh, looky here: The Boston Red Sox front office directory....

No need to wonder why Curt Schilling and the other usual Red Sox suspects are not on Mitchell's list.
posted by wfc123 at 2:08 PM on December 13, 2007


CitizenD: if you love baseball, go to the local college ballpark and watch some kids who don't take their talent and reputation for granted.

Uh-huh.
posted by joseph_elmhurst at 2:08 PM on December 13, 2007


Varitek, say it ain't so!

It ain't so. He's not on the actual list, though he was on the rumored list that was floating around this afternoon. Which some tool posted here.

Apologies all around for that move.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 2:10 PM on December 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


so, we only get to comment when we agree with the OP? oh, i see. thanks for filling me in on that one.

Um, have you ever read another post on MeFi? We all agree to disagree 'round these parts. Just sometimes with a bit of pizazz and Everclear.
posted by jmd82 at 2:11 PM on December 13, 2007


Oh, looky here: The Boston Red Sox front office directory....

The list has a few huge flaws like this. Most of the information comes from a few sources. So, if you played for the Mets during a certain period or knew Jose Canseco you were more likely to be named.
posted by drezdn at 2:15 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Free Barry Bonds.

Bonds isn't facing prison because he did steroids, he's facing prison because he lied to the feds about it while under oath. Big difference.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:16 PM on December 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


zerobyproxy: am I mistaken, or are you using an implication of "you're a tall woman" as an insult?
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:17 PM on December 13, 2007


stevis23: Having skimmed the report, for many of the names listed, the evidence could charitably be called "hearsay." That's not true of all of them--there are a lot of check, money order, and postal images in there that tie players to one of the suppliers currently facing charges--but before damning them all with the same breath, check out the individual evidence yourselves.

Did you 'skim' the same report I did? Just about every damned one of them refused to say anything more about anything said in the report, refused to defend themselves, refused to discuss anything with the commission. The player's association comes off sounding a bit like the mafia. The report doesn't provide a big fancy list of people who used steroids; it lists names, lists the evidence against them, and lists what it is they're implicated in. It does a damned good job of it. The very fact that none of them were willing to defend themselves indicates a lot to me.

If this report taught me anything, it's that baseball players are assholes. I like the game as much as anybody, but they come off as complete putzes more and more.
posted by koeselitz at 2:21 PM on December 13, 2007


I'm not a fan of baseball or sports, but I'm a huge fan of observing corruption and human weakness, so I'm going to enjoy watching this unfold.

What are people expecting to come of this?
posted by Bookhouse at 2:22 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm with Citizen D, though not quite so flamulously.

However, I think that if sports are unimportant to you, here is a better thread for you to participate in.

While they're hanging out drinking beer with their friends watching your local sports team, you can spend your quality time re-reading Chomsky. Alone.

Or you could whack off...

Less of that. More of this:

Some of us really like baseball. You don't like it, I get it.

There are lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of us who don't give a flying flip about sports in the leastest itty bittiest bit. Not March Madness, not Super Bowl, not any of it. And we aren't just people who can't dress themselves and wack off alone to Chomsky. Alone.

Promise. "Get it"?

Flagged as sportist, all of you.
posted by Avenger50 at 2:22 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


I could care less about baseball or steroids but this whole idea of a list, which is more a media creation than the substance of the report, reeks of McCartheyism.
posted by 2sheets at 2:22 PM on December 13, 2007


PercussivePaul, drugged up supermen are far more entertaining and would most likely signal the demise of many professional non-drugged sports (whether that is a good or bad thing is unrelated).

Look to the WWE, runway modeling, many Olympic sports, or even professional sports (WNBA vs. NBA). Given the option, we seem to always prefer the extremes.
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 2:22 PM on December 13, 2007


absalom, percussivepaul, and others:

i did NOT criticize a single one of you. i criticized professional sports and professional athletes. i criticized the ACT of taking professional sports too seriously (IMO). i did not cast a single aspersion at a single person. i was civil. i used a couple of emotionally-charged words. to describe the sport, not its adherants. i even clarified my point, in my second comment, to be clear about the fact that i wasn't criticizing anyone personally.

what i did do was (again, IMO) make a contribution that represents a valid point in this discussion.

now, take a look at the responses i got:
-zerobyproxy: well, just go contribute to this shopping thread, then (dismissive)
-dw: pompous, self-important, intellectually conceited, lonely chomsky-reading loser
-dhammond: dick
-percussivepaul: don't comment if you disagree (at least this one was respectful)
-mayorcurley: go whack off (??????)
-uaudio: stop wasting your time on something you think is a waste of other peoples' time (points for being valid and respectful)
-absalom: i should only contribute when my contribution is deemed valid by others

i've never commented on a sports thread before. so, pardon me that i didn't know that apparently there is a longstanding feud about this topic. the post seemed ridiculously hand-wringing to me, and i think that making a note between loving a sport and worshipping its abusive, cheating superstars is a valid, on-topic point of discussion.

i think you guys might want to take a look at your own behavior. all i did was raise a valid point, in a manner which was not disrespectful to any person. if calling me a self-important dick IS a valid contribution, then i want my five bucks back.
posted by CitizenD at 2:26 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Much of the information on Clemens came from former New York Yankees major league strength and conditioning coach Brian McNamee."

Eponysterical!
posted by dirtdirt at 2:27 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


What are people expecting to come of this?

Million-dollar question. I expect that there will be at least some half-assed "change" to the way drug testing is handled in MLB (which is to say, they'll actually try to look like they're doing something).

Mitchell specifically recommends that MLB do nothing to punish players for past offenses named in this report, and look instead to rooting it out in the present and future. I have no difficulty believing Bud Selig will do at least the first part.

The fans' biggest concern is the record book, because that is sports hallowed ground, probably even more so in baseball than any other team sport -- baseball is, after all, all about math and physics. Fractions of an inch, hairs off a millisecond.

Will there be asterisks? Will records be taken away completely? I'd almost recommend we scrub out every record set after, say, 1995 and start over from there, but I imagine I'm in the minority.
posted by middleclasstool at 2:29 PM on December 13, 2007


[nevertheless, i do want to apologize for my derail. this thread isn't about me, or your responses to me. i just got really angry about the fact that i was being accused of things that i didn't do -- by people who had done the very things i DIDN'T do to me.]
posted by CitizenD at 2:36 PM on December 13, 2007


jet_silver writes "There isn't anything the matter with steroid use apart from the fact that that use is illegal, as long as the players knew or could have found out the side effects. It doesn't surprise me that people are doing illegal things to further their careers. It doesn't surprise me that an enterprise would give tacit approval to its raw material doing itself damage for an increase in revenue.

Except that it's not at all ethical. I guess you can sell the people the idea that the sport is worthwhile, but when you look at it that way, not many fans are going to get excited about the dilemmas faced by the managers and so forth. If people think the game is rigged, they won't buy it.

What -does- surprise me is this investigation. Either you charge people for violation of the law or you don't. The whole idea of 'cheating' being relevant in franchised sports makes no sense."

Except for the billions of dollars local taxpayers pay to build their stadiums. I don't think Congress has any jurisdiction, in a legal sense. However, George Mitchell is a director of the Red Sox, and this is an inside investigation prompted by Bud Selig. How it's relevant is how the fans perceive it. If they stop going to the games, what happens to the franchise?
posted by krinklyfig at 2:39 PM on December 13, 2007


Vince McMahon has it right. Bring on the MLBE and NHEL, NFEL, EDF.... Also doubles as a mnemonic for man-lube.
posted by anthill at 2:40 PM on December 13, 2007


pompous, self-important, intellectually conceited, lonely chomsky-reading loser

I never said loser. You're putting words in my mouth. Alone.
posted by dw at 2:41 PM on December 13, 2007


What are people expecting to come of this?

I don't know, but I do know that most fans don't give a shit about steroids.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:42 PM on December 13, 2007


They do, however, care about the pitcher-to-belly-itcher ratio.
posted by middleclasstool at 2:45 PM on December 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


Barry Bonds is being prosecuted for lying; yet fans hate him for what now? 'cause he's the only dick in baseball? give me a break. I think this report might actually give him a chance to get signed for '08. Since so many players were listed, picking him up won't look that bad.

Re: Canseco, I believe everything he said. He's bitter, yeah, but he helped blow the doors wide open and should be thanked for it.
posted by thekorruptor at 2:46 PM on December 13, 2007


koeselitz: Did you 'skim' the same report I did? Just about every damned one of them refused to say anything more about anything said in the report, refused to defend themselves, refused to discuss anything with the commission.

"Refusing to say anything more" turns out not to be damnable evidence, by our legal system. Granting this is not a legal proceeding, that's still a principle I intend to honor.

Now, consider that they had no immunity for anything. Anything they said could be dissected, picked at, rocks uncovered...and Mitchell, in a memo asking for interviews, even said that while he could promise not to publish names if asked, he couldn't promise not to turn anything over to the feds. Not "if subpoenaed" either--he wouldn't promise to to voluntarily pass on information. Is it any wonder no one, even if they merely had knowledge and didn't themselves use, would talk to him?

For that matter, is it any wonder that even the completely innocent weren't interested in a witch hunt against their co-workers?

The vast bulk of the evidence comes from three people--McNamee, Radonski, and Bigbie. There's more than enough smoke for there to be a real fire here, but you've got to look at each one. Look at the Brian Roberts entry, and tell me how damning you think that really is, when it flat out says he didn't use with Bigbie and Segui. IMHO, it's only in the report to smear as many names as possible.
posted by stevis23 at 2:46 PM on December 13, 2007


am I mistaken, or are you using an implication of "you're a tall woman" as an insult?

I don't think he was, but that would be a great new insult to use.

"Tyler said he wasn't going to go to the M's game with us because he wanted to sit at home and re-read Chomsky. Alone."

"Well, he's a tall woman."
posted by dw at 2:47 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


CitizenD, you protestations fall flat. You claim you criticized "acts" not "people" as if a person's acts were somehow separate from who they are. If I tell someone, "everyone in your family chews like a moose" and he responds 'fuck off," then I should respond "I merely criticized your family's act of chewing, not your family itself, the act of chewing is completely separate from you as a bearer of personhood, how could you possibly be offended?"
posted by Falconetti at 2:48 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


I actually a lot of players are breathing easier right now; the people listed in the report prolly is about 25% of the total 'roid users. Hopefully more names will come out.
posted by thekorruptor at 2:49 PM on December 13, 2007


I never said you criticized me, nor did I take it personally. I simply suggested that the overall discourse level of this community might be improved by a process of self-selection, where those who have no positive contributions to make simply pass the distasteful morsel by, instead of feeling the need to include a pointless snark. Honestly, I never said fig about the opinions of others. Rather, than your comment address nothing of the topic at hand and existed only to show your personal disapproval for the subject of discussion. I stand by the fact that such comments - even the fan favorite, ubiquitous, cheap-n-easy political snark - add nothing to the quality of the site or the quality of the discussion.

Part of the reason I believe this is because they lead to derails. Like this one.
posted by absalom at 2:50 PM on December 13, 2007


(Add "Is this something you would need a TV to know about . . . " to that list. )
posted by absalom at 2:51 PM on December 13, 2007


seriously, I haven't cared about baseball since that first strike of the 90's.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 2:55 PM on December 13, 2007


What the fuck is mole sauce?
posted by notmydesk at 2:56 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


at least there's still professional cycling, right?
posted by whahappen?! at 2:58 PM on December 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


I have a question - and I'm not trying to troll, I just cant find the answer anywhere else. Who paid for this investigation? Was it taxpayer funded, or paid for my the baseball commission?
posted by darsh at 3:02 PM on December 13, 2007


So what do you do when MVP winners, Cy Young award winners and some World Series winners all have cheated? Any ideas?

Yeah

a) change the rules and testing to prevent it from happening again

or

b) ignore it, and let the monster men hit 500-foot home runs that everyone wants to see.

I'd pick B. 'Roid on, indeed.

I also want to see a similar investigation in the NFL. Steroid abuse is much more rampant in football.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:03 PM on December 13, 2007


mole sauce.

FWIW, and then i'm done: absalom, when i made my first comment, i really didn't think it was snark. it wasn't intended as such. it was intended to be a counter-argument to the OP, who started the post with "So what do you do when MVP winners, Cy Young award winners and some World Series winners all have cheated? Any ideas?"

as i said, i've never commented on a sports thread before. i really didn't think i'd be the only person in here to go beyond the specific topic of doping and into the larger question of the role professional sports play in our society and our economy. but i was. my initial comment was meant to foster other comments which were along the same lines. i didn't realize that i'd be considered a flamer. or that i'd be the butt of some pretty mean comments.

you all have my apologies.
posted by CitizenD at 3:04 PM on December 13, 2007


I'd like to see some on-field tasing.
posted by found missing at 3:04 PM on December 13, 2007


citizenD, a quick followup because you missed my point.
When I asked you not to comment I didn't mean it was because you were disagreeing with the poster. What you said was inflammatory and is what's sometimes referred to around here as "shitting on the thread". It's like going into a thread discussing hip-hop and saying hip-hop is not really music. Or going into a thread about fine art and saying your kid could paint that. Or going into a thread talking about theology and saying religion is foolish and poisonous. These may be valid points, perhaps, but the original posters and all the interested people discussing the post are not interested in defending their interests against people who do not share them, they are interested in discussing them.

You said your post wasn't disrespectful to anyone but you're wrong. As a lifelong baseball fan, someone who grew up worshipping my favourite baseball players and who maintains an emotional attachment to the game and feels a lot of pain that it seems to have lost its way, what you said was disrespectful to me. You told me something I care about was a useless waste of time and implied that I was stupid for caring about it. Maybe not in those words, but your message was clear. Read your comment again.

If you really do wish to bring up the point, you could try engaging the community instead of dismissing it. For example, ask all of the baseball fans here why they still care about this sport in spite of all of this scandal. This is a better contributing then insulting all of us. Do you understand?

on preview: thanks for the apology.
posted by PercussivePaul at 3:05 PM on December 13, 2007 [7 favorites]


Ideas?

1) Revoke every record statistic by every user who cheated with 'roids or HGH - *strike* it from the record books, altogether. It doesn't exist. That includes Bonds, Clemens, and the rest. Otherwise, call it what it has become - "Major League Entertainment" and go suck up a Bud.

2) Impose a fine equivalent to one year's salary on all players who are still active.

3) Revoke all MLB benefits for one year, for all players who used, and are now retired.

4) Fire Selig immediately.

5) Start random testing immediately with a "no tolerance" policy. One failure and you're gone - without salary or benefits for one year. Two positive tests and you're gone for good.

6) Demand that all positive-testing players participate in a series of lectures at high schools, colleges, etc. on the evils of doping
posted by MetaMan at 3:08 PM on December 13, 2007


@corpseinthelibrary--No insult intended at all. It was the first link when I opened Ask Mefi. By the way--I always think of the boardgame Clue when I see your name. Just thought I'd take the opportunity to let you know that.
posted by zerobyproxy at 3:09 PM on December 13, 2007


percussivepaul: you're right. i'm sorry. thank *you* for maintaining a respectful and respectable tone with me.
posted by CitizenD at 3:09 PM on December 13, 2007


if you love baseball, go to the local college ballpark and watch some kids who don't take their talent and reputation for granted. one can "care" for a sport and not get all worked up about the players who fuck things up for everyone else. i think it's pathological when people take competition and GAME-playing too seriously.
posted by CitizenD


I love baseball. I do those things. I'll watch 5 year olds play baseball. I also enjoy seeing it played at the highest level. You know, because I love baseball.

Seriously, it's increasingly hard to believe that his persecution was unrelated to race when reading this. Clemens was an equally bad offender whose stats and body could not have possibly be justified without steroid abuse. You never saw people boo him in opposing stadiums or hold up signs calling him a cheater, or argue there should be an asterisk next to his name. It's not like people couldn't have known, they just wanted a better villian. And better, to most baseball fans, meant blacker.
posted by allen.spaulding


I'll assume you're not completely familiar with the barry bonds situation. There's a ton more evidence against bonds than clemens and it's been known for far longer. Your comparison doesn't hold water.

How so? If you'll recall, his body was far from top-notch the last two years at least. He also undergoes a ridiculous training regimen during the off-season to keep his legs the size of my torso.

The last two years he was in his mid 40s. Besides, are you sure bonds doesn't work out rigorously? You're falling for the clemens hype.
posted by justgary at 3:17 PM on December 13, 2007


"And we aren't just people who can't dress themselves and wack off alone to Chomsky. Alone. "

You're not just unable to dress yourself, and prone to masturbating to leftist screeds, but also so much more?

You're not really proving the "People who hate on sports here at Metafilter aren't tremendous dickbags" thesis, you know that, right?
posted by klangklangston at 3:29 PM on December 13, 2007


Won't somebody think of Lyle Alzedo?
posted by Cranberry at 3:30 PM on December 13, 2007


Considering that these folks won the MVP over other cheaters, won the Cy Young over other cheaters, hit record home runs off other cheaters, threw 99 MPH fastballs past other cheaters, and won various league, division, and World Series championships against other cheaters....

We do exactly what Mitchell suggested we do. Learn from our mistakes and move on.

Because come on, no ballplayer drank during prohibition. And I'm sure there's no one in the Hall of Fame who threw a spitball or took a greenie. Did we put an asterix next to the name of that guy who threw a no-hitter on acid?

The sanctity of baseball records is a joke anyway. As has already been noted, changes to the ball, the bat, the field (especially the height and distance of the mound) have all combined to make the game vastly different than it was a 100 years ago, yet we still think comparing Babe Ruth to Barry Bonds has some validity.
posted by davros42 at 3:30 PM on December 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'll assume you're not completely familiar with the barry bonds situation. There's a ton more evidence against bonds than clemens and it's been known for far longer. Your comparison doesn't hold water.

One of the reasons that there is more evidence is because of the laser-like focus that's been put on him. If he did indeed perjur himself, there's no excuse for that, regardless of the appropriateness of the investigation. The real question is whether or not there would be as much evidence against Clemens, if not more, had the media and feds been hounding him instead of Bonds. People suspected Clemens was doping in Toronto. Whether or not this was just angry Sox fans griping, it became increasingly obvious over time and I would argue far before the Bonds thing hit (which really didn't appear to start until after McGuire). McGuire and Bonds may be a better comparison in terms of popularity and fan support/derision, but Clemens/Bonds is a good one for the level of inquiry and focus.
posted by allen.spaulding at 3:30 PM on December 13, 2007


Todd Hundley owes the Cubs $8 million. Of all the rotten things to do... stop taking steriods when everyone else is getting into them big time? No wonder he hit .187.
posted by kyleg at 3:31 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


"I hold in my hand a list of 200 known communists..."
posted by puke & cry at 3:32 PM on December 13, 2007


You know, I was ready to tar and feather each of these assholes for what they did to my childhood dream, but then I saw Lenny Dykstra was on the list and I just can't believe anything he did was wrong for baseball.

Go steroids!
posted by scabrous at 3:33 PM on December 13, 2007


You're not really proving the "People who hate on sports here at Metafilter aren't tremendous dickbags" thesis, you know that, right?

Really? Did I offend you by reasonably replying to the outrage that someone doesn't love sports?
posted by Avenger50 at 3:36 PM on December 13, 2007


I wouldn't mind these assholes too much if they'd just own up to taking steroids instead of playing stupid about it. Like Sammy Sosa pretending he can't speak english and bullshit like that. I don't care if you took steroids or not, just admit it.
posted by puke & cry at 3:42 PM on December 13, 2007


I wish that this would stop people's bitching about Bonds, but I know it won't. This report backs up what I've said before: lots of players were using steroids, everyone turned a blind eye, and Bonds' performance was above everyone else's--including other steroid users--and can't be attributed to steroid use. He broke the records by playing the game the way it was played in his time.

His trial's another matter, and baseball's hypocrisy on steroids doesn't excuse perjury and obstruction of justice. If he lied under oath he should be convicted. Then President Bush can commute his sentence.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:03 PM on December 13, 2007


PercussivePaul, drugged up supermen are far more entertaining and would most likely signal the demise of many professional non-drugged sports (whether that is a good or bad thing is unrelated).

Look to the WWE, runway modeling, many Olympic sports, or even professional sports (WNBA vs. NBA). Given the option, we seem to always prefer the extremes.


I missed this earlier. Yes, you're right, it does seem that we prefer the extremes, though I don't think drug use in other sports would necessarily make drug-free baseball less entertaining. But I think most sports are primarily about the competition between human athletes, and would be equally entertaining whether the participants are drugged or not, as long as the playing field is level. We simply root for whoever's best.

The exception is the pursuit of historical records. It is nice to see home run records fall - God knows I was cheering on Sosa and McGuire. But by the time Bonds was smashing the record, I had lost interest somewhat. I remembered from my childhood when fifty home-run seasons were rare - you would get one or two players a year, maybe - and knew that something in the game had changed, so that the comparison with history is no longer fair. So seeing Bonds crush 73 home runs was less exciting than seeing McGuire hit 70.
posted by PercussivePaul at 4:03 PM on December 13, 2007


One of the reasons that there is more evidence is because of the laser-like focus that's been put on him.
posted by allen.spaulding


If you're saying baseball came after bonds while ignoring clemens, or that they had it in for bonds, I'll disagree with you, but I see your point. If you're talking about the fans, I'm certainly not saying race didn't play a part. But even though I thought clemens used steroids I had almost zero to back it up - until today. That's not the case with bonds.
posted by justgary at 4:05 PM on December 13, 2007


"... 6) Demand that all positive-testing players participate in a series of lectures at high schools, colleges, etc. on the evils of doping."
posted by MetaMan at 6:08 PM on December 13

'Xcuse me, but in a society where top baseball players are paid more than brain surgeons, all politicians and judges, 99.999 % of lawyers, kindergarten teachers, railroad engineers, astronauts, miners, human medical trial participants, police officers, meat inspectors, firemen, cancer nurses and 14% of CEOs, I submit that there are no "evils" of doping.

Or that risk/reward in the leading capitalistic economy on the planet is completely screwed, as a concept.
posted by paulsc at 4:11 PM on December 13, 2007


If you're saying baseball came after bonds while ignoring clemens, or that they had it in for bonds, I'll disagree with you, but I see your point.

It's not quite what I'm getting at. What I'm trying to say is that there's a reason why we have so much evidence against Bonds but had nothing other than suspicions about Clemens. Fan and sportwriter anger focused itself on Bonds, which then fueled the MLB and federal investigation. This focus, when compared to the treatment of other steroid users, such as Clemens, cannot be explained by the egregious actions of Bonds, the timing of the incidents, the fact that he was setting records, or anything moderately reasonable. Fans and sportswriters were right about Bonds, but they would have been right about Clemens too, had they gone after him. What's curious is that they didn't.
posted by allen.spaulding at 4:13 PM on December 13, 2007


Ah, it's just retrospective rationalization that we knew about Clemen's steroid use with certainty prior to this report. Show me the smoking needle that we ignored.
posted by found missing at 4:16 PM on December 13, 2007


krinklyfig, the sad fact that taxpayers get mulcted to advance enterprises like baseball or NASCAR doesn't change the fact that they're enterprises which vend entertainment. The fact that there are internal, or internally consistent, rules about the entertainment changes nothing; "cheating" in such an enterprise is what the enterprise says it is, and so are "ethics".

The only legal exposure players have for taking steroids is the fact that use of steroids without a doctor's prescription is prohibited. There is no law against playing baseball while drunk, or high, or on steroids. There are only league policies against those, and the policies of enterprises are designed to maximize revenue, not promote "ethics" or penalize "cheating".

Many professional sports genuflect to "ethics" and "fair play" because those are popular, not because they're good in and of themselves; and popularity increases revenue. Public indignation about steroid use in sports is ultimately cynical - the public paid for (or was mulcted for) the good show and now they complain because there was an unpleasant reality beneath it although they really knew it all along. It's like being indignant about a super cool magic show in which rabbits periodically suffocate because they spend too much time stuck in hats.
posted by jet_silver at 4:27 PM on December 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


mr.spaulding: Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I thought the original suspicions about Mr. Bonds appeared when he went from relative bean pole to enormous hulk over the course of one off season.
posted by absalom at 4:31 PM on December 13, 2007


Similar suspicions and accusations also followed McGwire, with similar levels of scrutiny, for the same reason, right?
posted by absalom at 4:34 PM on December 13, 2007


'Xcuse me, but in a society where top baseball players are paid more than brain surgeons, all politicians and judges, 99.999 % of lawyers, kindergarten teachers, railroad engineers, astronauts, miners, human medical trial participants, police officers, meat inspectors, firemen, cancer nurses and 14% of CEOs, I submit that there are no "evils" of doping.

I must disagree. In a society where a large percentage of the young males dream of becoming a professional athlete, the normalization of cheating and the lures of dangerous doping are **actually** evil, in the same way as that barrier to a different dream whereby young girls who are aspirant models starve themselves.

I am heartbroken to see Andy Petitte's name in this report. I always thought he was one of the great ones.
posted by edverb at 4:38 PM on December 13, 2007


"Really? Did I offend you by reasonably replying to the outrage that someone doesn't love sports?"

Offend me? No. Reasonably reply? No.

Admit to being unable to dress yourself, and to jerking off to Chomsky? Yes.
posted by klangklangston at 4:38 PM on December 13, 2007


...uh, stop paying attention to a useless, privileged waste of time like professional sports?

you're right - i'll spend my time listening to rock and roll, where the drugs are better and more popular among mefites
posted by pyramid termite at 4:44 PM on December 13, 2007


This report is bullshit. It doesn't close the door on a damn thing, and it lumps people together in a completely unfair manner.

It's based largely on media reports, and the products of two or three prosecutions.

As a result, it's extremely haphazard, in its scope and in its process.

Some players are named because they told George Mitchell they used steroids; others are named because somebody told somebody that they knew about how to use steroids. Being named in this report doesn't necessarily mean much; not being named in this report doesn't really mean much either.

As to Clemens vs. Bonds, Bonds was chasing one of the two or three most famous records in all of sports, Hank Aaron's 754. Seriously, how many other numbers like that can you come up with? 511, 100, 56, 4191... and that's about it. And, as pointed out above, Bonds is a colossal asshole. Plus, unlike Giambi and Sheffield, he opted to lie to a federal grand jury. If you think that is a good idea, ask Scooter Libby.

Not that it's a surprise to me that Clemens, with his notorious prickliness and Bondsian career trajectory, might have used steroids. Everyone who's actually surprised about it, please throw a broken bat at Mike Piazza.

*No broken bats are thrown at Mike Piazza*

See?

If you want to read funny anti-Pettite propaganda, go here.
posted by ibmcginty at 4:46 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Show me the smoking needle that we ignored.

Wasn't Clemens attempt to impale Mike Piazza with a shard of his broken bat proof enough?
posted by lovejones at 4:48 PM on December 13, 2007


Nah, he's from Texas.
posted by found missing at 4:52 PM on December 13, 2007


Steroids and HGH are part of a mosaic that changed baseball. I know that every era has issues but this is one where everyone in authority turned a blind eye just so that everyone could turn a buck.

I am not well versed on the anti-trust exemption that baseball enjoys currently but it seems to me that if it were not in place that there would be a whole lotta hell to pay here.

Anybody here think that the anti-trust exemption is imperiled by this? Hard to believe that it couldn't be.

--and--on review--I hope I was not too snarky to you, CitizenD, sorry about that. Ha! Seriously, baseball can make me crazy.
posted by zerobyproxy at 4:54 PM on December 13, 2007


Hank Aaron's 754. Seriously, how many other numbers like that can you come up with? 511

755?
posted by xmutex at 4:56 PM on December 13, 2007


"Did we put an asterix next to the name of that guy who threw a no-hitter on acid?"

CAN WE LEAVE THE FRENCH OUT OF THIS DISCUSSION, PLEASE?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:03 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Um, 755. I am dumb.
posted by ibmcginty at 5:12 PM on December 13, 2007


Admit to being unable to dress yourself, and to jerking off to Chomsky? Yes.

That was clearly a reference to my quoted comments, but I get it, you sly devil! Your comment is so much snarkier without that subtext. I'll start the mass favoriting sure to ensue. Good stuff. Argue much, klangy?
posted by Avenger50 at 5:15 PM on December 13, 2007


It's just the steroids making me rage. I was told that if I took them, I could put up a record number of comments.

But I'm still not sure why you're here, since you don't care about sports at all, and this is about the biggest sports story of the day/week/month.
posted by klangklangston at 5:27 PM on December 13, 2007


You can paint me with the too-cool-for-sports-douchebag brush if you want, but I wish that public officials could be brought to account as easily as a bunch of grown men paid millions to play a child's game.

Then again, who is the government to interfere with the bread and circus?
posted by dr_dank at 5:27 PM on December 13, 2007


could be brought to account as easily as a bunch of grown men paid millions to play a child's game.

See, this shows you're not paying attention. No one has been brought to account for anything. No one in the report faces any repercussions.
posted by puke & cry at 5:33 PM on December 13, 2007


Additionally, everything in the report is hearsay.
posted by puke & cry at 5:36 PM on December 13, 2007


Varitek, say it ain't so!

It ain't so.


Thank you for the clarification stupidsexyflanders, and I apologize for making assumptions about the veracity of the stupid leaked list.

Now that I've read the real list...

I know it's a totally typical Sox fan response, but is anyone surprised that the Yankees topped the list of dopers on roster...?

It's also very interesting that six teams have had on staff virtually all of the released names...The Red Sox had almost none, but I'm sure this will be chalked up to conspiracy theory due to the Mitchell connection everyone is so eager to make.

Vote Ron Paul, or something...
posted by rollbiz at 5:37 PM on December 13, 2007


Additionally, everything in the report is hearsay.

Which is perfectly admissable in the court of public opinion.
posted by dr_dank at 5:46 PM on December 13, 2007


It's not quite what I'm getting at. What I'm trying to say is that there's a reason why we have so much evidence against Bonds but had nothing other than suspicions about Clemens. Fan and sportwriter anger focused itself on Bonds, which then fueled the MLB and federal investigation. This focus, when compared to the treatment of other steroid users, such as Clemens, cannot be explained by the egregious actions of Bonds, the timing of the incidents, the fact that he was setting records, or anything moderately reasonable. Fans and sportswriters were right about Bonds, but they would have been right about Clemens too, had they gone after him. What's curious is that they didn't.
posted by allen.spaulding


O.k. Not sure I agree, but I get your point now.
posted by justgary at 5:47 PM on December 13, 2007


Which is perfectly admissable in the court of public opinion.

True. Unfortunately I really don't think most fans give a shit either way about it.
posted by puke & cry at 5:49 PM on December 13, 2007


"In a society where a large percentage of the young males dream of becoming a professional athlete, the normalization of cheating and the lures of dangerous doping are **actually** evil, in the same way as that barrier to a different dream whereby young girls who are aspirant models starve themselves."
posted by edverb at 7:38 PM on December 13

Pay baseball players and aspirant models $30,000 / year, pre-tax, and I bet the "lure" of those professions goes away. Pay meat inspectors and cancer nurses 7 figures, and I bet you couldn't find an extra white coat for sale in any uniform store.

But as long as 7, 8 and 9 figure contracts are out there to be had by baseball players, for people who win the genetic lottery, or least place in the top 1,500 every year, then sure, you're going to have people doing the risk/reward math on their own terms, and looking for technological improvements. Nothing "evil" about it. It's another means for #1501 to #2999 to make a contest out of spring training, every year. It's a means by which guys with the heart and mind to play another year, can do so, in good shape, instead of bad. The only "evil" I see is in people picking out some kinds of augmentation/treatment as morally "wrong," on arbitrary grounds.

Should baseball players not be eligible for eyeglasses, or lasik surgery? If a modern surgeon intervenes to perform Tommy John surgery on a pitcher's arm, does that mean Cy Young was any less of a baseball player? If a kid's mom takes pre-natal vitamins, and that kid turns out later to have a propensity for crushing baseballs with wooden bats, should he be banned on account of his mother's in utero supplementation?

I wish like hell arthroscopic surgery had been invented in time to save Mickey Mantle's knees. If modern chemotherapy drugs had been around in the 40s, Babe Ruth might have lived long enough to sign a baseball for me. If steriods could have helped Bill Buckner's knees, it would have been a better Series.

"Evil" is as synthetic a construct, as the practices you're calling out.
posted by paulsc at 6:08 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


jet_silver writes "Many professional sports genuflect to 'ethics' and 'fair play' because those are popular, not because they're good in and of themselves; and popularity increases revenue. Public indignation about steroid use in sports is ultimately cynical - the public paid for (or was mulcted for) the good show and now they complain because there was an unpleasant reality beneath it although they really knew it all along. It's like being indignant about a super cool magic show in which rabbits periodically suffocate because they spend too much time stuck in hats."

It's entirely possible that many of the fans were not aware or preferred not to think about it. But when it comes to light, it's not the same as another pro-wrestler dying. They're both forms of entertainment involving athletes. Presumably, one of them is not fixed.

The problem with allowing steroids in professional sports from an ethical standpoint is that it can ruin someone physically and mentally, and you therefore set a bar to compete at a level that requires people to risk their lives and destroy their bodies in order to play, and most assuredly face serious physical problems after retirement, more than what sports can do to a body on its own. It's no longer enough to train and be talented. You have to destroy yourself in order to win.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:17 PM on December 13, 2007


I know it's a totally typical Sox fan response, but is anyone surprised that the Yankees topped the list of dopers on roster...?

Not me.
/typical Mets fan
posted by languagehat at 6:22 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


"The problem with allowing steroids in professional sports from an ethical standpoint is that it can ruin someone physically and mentally, and you therefore set a bar to compete at a level that requires people to risk their lives and destroy their bodies in order to play, and most assuredly face serious physical problems after retirement, more than what sports can do to a body on its own. It's no longer enough to train and be talented. You have to destroy yourself in order to win."
posted by krinklyfig at 9:17 PM on December 13

That's a canard, plain and simple.

Steroids can be detrimental, but used well, they can, apparently, be pretty helpful. Nobody is mad that Barry Bonds destroyed himself prematurely, they're mad that he destroyed the record book. Clearly, you don't have to destroy yourself to win.

And you know what else? 756, and every single one Bonds hit before, and after, was hit by a guy showing up at the ballpark. Not a monster. And not Superman.
posted by paulsc at 6:28 PM on December 13, 2007


paulsc writes "Steroids can be detrimental, but used well, they can, apparently, be pretty helpful. Nobody is mad that Barry Bonds destroyed himself prematurely, they're mad that he destroyed the record book. Clearly, you don't have to destroy yourself to win."

Well, you conveniently ignore a few things. First, the use of steroids was not allowed, legally or by the league. So, the very use was violating the rules. I guess you can say that the rules are just a synthetic construct, but without rules, what is baseball? It's not really fair for Bonds to claim a record on a history of flagrant violations of the law and the league's rules.

Second, the argument about the problems associated with steroid use isn't so much about the image to the fans, but about the very ethics of allowing such a thing to happen and tacitly condone it, to allow someone to put themselves at such risk for the sake of the entertainment value. Whether you think ethics is a contrivance, it's abhorrent, and why should we allow our basest instincts to rule everything?
posted by krinklyfig at 6:35 PM on December 13, 2007


I've a nephew that plays minor league ball, a good kid who bounced around from single-A to triple-A last year. Excellent center-fielder, good legs, contact hitter. Doesn't hit the long ball.

So this off-season he's trying to add bulk and muscle-up for more power to attract the attention of his major league club. He's working with a nutritionist and hitting the weights. I'm getting a couple of emails a week from him, and he's discouraged-- he's only added three pounds over the last ten weeks, despite rigorous weight training and his new diet.

There are thousands just like him-- good outfielders that are lacking in power.

Our family has been steadfast in telling him to avoid "the juice." We all know if he started on the needle he'd gain 20-30 pounds of muscle quick, and maybe have a better chance of breaking into the majors. But I'm sure he'll stay clean. And I'm fairly sure he'll top-out at triple-A.

I think of the hundreds of outfielders he's played with and against who will view the Mitchell Report and the subsequent comments by the Players Association and the public at-large and say, "what the heck.... I'm juicing."

I'm not sure why I'm relaying this story here. Perhaps it's to say that there are plenty of clean players out there. Perhaps it's out of frustration that a clean player is under a disadvantage which the Mitchell Report does little to remove.

I know this: I would rather watch my nephew play minor league ball than watch Pettitte face Tejada.
posted by F Mackenzie at 6:44 PM on December 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


"... Second, the argument about the problems associated with steroid use isn't so much about the image to the fans, but about the very ethics of allowing such a thing to happen and tacitly condone it, to allow someone to put themselves at such risk for the sake of the entertainment value. ..."

Holy bajoly, then! Get the jockeys off the thoroughbreds! Stop NASCAR! There'll be no more prizefighting, because it's risky! And no footraces, because healthy people drop dead doing that.

The acceptance of risk, and its management, are the very essence of many types of sporting endeavor. People making informed choices, throughout a greater and greater range of options, and doing better as a result, is sort of the very definition of progress.
posted by paulsc at 6:46 PM on December 13, 2007


"We all know if he started on the needle he'd gain 20-30 pounds of muscle quick, and maybe have a better chance of breaking into the majors."
posted by F Mackenzie at 9:44 PM on December 13

It's not a "given" that a person taking steroids will experience improved athletic performance. A lot depends on related factors, such as ratios of fast twitch to slow twitch muscle fibers, physiology, and aerobic capacity, too, not to mention the demands of the particular sport.

I think there are many people whose athletic performance wouldn't be helped, and probably, some whose performance would be hurt, by inappropriate steroid use. It's not the right choice for many. But for a professional athlete, with the right physiology and genetics, getting good medical advice, training, and monitoring, I think the choices may be entirely different. And if a willing star's playing career can be extended, so that more fans get to see him play, and more records can be set, how is the application of hormonal supplements different than surgical interventions, ethically?
posted by paulsc at 6:57 PM on December 13, 2007


If this report taught me anything, it's that baseball players are assholes. I like the game as much as anybody, but they come off as complete putzes more and more.

Why? I mean, what are they supposed to say? If they deny it, they're liars. If they admit it, they're "cheats."

Personally I find the witch hunt tiresome. Even if they were taking steroids (side note: HGH != steroids), how does that make them cheaters? It all betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of physiology and pharmacology. Just taking steroids won't turn you into a muscle-bound beast. You still have to work out for there to be any benefit. You still have to hit the ball, run the bases, throw the strike-outs. Was Sandy Koufax a "cheat" because he got cortisone shots? Shit, all of today's professional athletes are cheats compared to the players at the turn of the century: those guys didn't have personal trainers and custom-tailored fitness regiments and exorbitant salaries that allowed them to basically do nothing all year except play and train and relax in lavish comfort.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:57 PM on December 13, 2007


It's not the right choice for many. But for a professional athlete, with the right physiology and genetics, getting good medical advice, training, and monitoring, I think the choices may be entirely different.

paulsc: if my nephew==your nephew (assuming he had the "right physiology and genetics"), would you encourage him to look into steroid / HGH treatments to enhance his MLB chances?
posted by F Mackenzie at 7:15 PM on December 13, 2007


"paulsc: if my nephew==your nephew (assuming he had the "right physiology and genetics"), would you encourage him to look into steroid / HGH treatments to enhance his MLB chances?"
posted by F Mackenzie at 10:15 PM on December 13

F Mackenzie, your nephew sounds like he's, maybe, #4500 in the genetic lottery, or around that. Experienced minor league player, struggling to stay on a minor league roster, against all the new kids coming up and old guys headed down, and get a look by a major league club. But how realistic is that goal? You don't seem to think it's realistic. Yet he's working hard to do it naturally. His head and heart exceed his natural abilities, maybe by more than he recognizes.

If he's going down to "A" ball again because of performance, after a good shot in Triple-A, it's not very likely he'll be making it to the big leagues. Getting bigger might not help that situation, at all. On the other hand, if he started last year in "A," got to Triple-A, learned some things, and got sent back down at the end of the season by a team that was moving up pitchers or skill positions, for potential activation by their major league parent, that's a different kettle o' fish.

Risk/reward ought to govern, and it need not mean he should take steroids at all, or that, if he could choose to take them, legally, that he'd necessarily take them at the maximum dose. 20 to 30 pounds of muscle in a single off-season might be entirely counter productive, whereas 8 or 10 pounds, in the right places, might help a lot.

But, in the changing climate of the Mitchell Report, many alternatives that might have been open to him, won't be. For a kid with the commitment, the heart, and the big league dream, but not the last 8 pounds of muscle it would take to get him to the Show, that seems a shame.

What if, in the next 8 weeks, he "found" 7 more pounds, on top of his hard won 3, and went back to spring training, in Triple-A, and blossomed, and got called to the Show in July, and was happy? How closely would you want to look in his suitcase? What would it be worth to him, to hit just once, in a major league uniform?

'Cause only about 1200 guys are going to get to do that next year.
posted by paulsc at 7:58 PM on December 13, 2007


paulsc writes "The acceptance of risk, and its management, are the very essence of many types of sporting endeavor. People making informed choices, throughout a greater and greater range of options, and doing better as a result, is sort of the very definition of progress."

But the risk in the cases you cited is inherent in the sport, not in some augmentation. It's risky driving a car around a track really quickly along with a lot of others. It's risky taunting an angry bull into charging at you. That's the very essence behind those sports. Taking steroids is risky, but it's a different risk.

I don't like anabolic steroids in baseball, and I never will. But if the players are going to use them and claim legitimacy, they have to come clean about what they're doing and play with that understanding, and they certainly can't do that now. The way it is now, if you use steroids to enhance your performance, you're violating the sport's rules and the law. If baseball is going to go the way you want, it should all be on the table, or people should deal with the way it is, play without roids, and work to change it so they can use them legitimately. It's not very sporting to ignore the rules when it gets in the way of your career goals.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:13 PM on December 13, 2007


paulsc writes "What if, in the next 8 weeks, he 'found' 7 more pounds, on top of his hard won 3, and went back to spring training, in Triple-A, and blossomed, and got called to the Show in July, and was happy? How closely would you want to look in his suitcase? What would it be worth to him, to hit just once, in a major league uniform?"

That's just sleazy. Appealing to the worst sort of instinct.

What would it mean to him to live an honest life?
posted by krinklyfig at 8:16 PM on December 13, 2007


I wish NASCAR was so strenuous in their steroids investigations. Now that everyone is juicing, the magic is gone. At the last Daytona 500, Kevin Harvick drove 756 laps.
posted by stavrogin at 8:18 PM on December 13, 2007


They're still allowed to have homo-erotic undertones like playing grab-ass, right?
posted by Balisong at 8:27 PM on December 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


"... If baseball is going to go the way you want, it should all be on the table, or people should deal with the way it is, play without roids, and work to change it so they can use them legitimately. It's not very sporting to ignore the rules when it gets in the way of your career goals."
posted by krinklyfig at 11:13 PM on December 13

I don't disagree with you at all that it would be better, if the choice of using hormonal supplements was made like any other medical choice, and without any additional stigma. But, because of the way baseball management handled this, and because of the strident, opinionated voices like Bob Costas, that pound away on this topic for gain, I think there's little chance to have a reasoned system in which players can make those choices, as it is appropriate, with good medical advice, and supervision.

And I think that's fundamentally unfair to players, some of whom, it looks like, could be penalized for seeking to correct physiological deficiencies via injection, but who would be applauded for getting their vision corrected surgically, or their bone spurs removed arthroscopically. Sports management, and fans who care about sports, should be seeking to have athletes get the best medical care and options available. A career not fully realized, is every bit as much a tragedy, as one cut short by injury.
posted by paulsc at 8:29 PM on December 13, 2007


I really do wonder what's happening behind the scenes in the NFL right now.

And paulsc, I commend your bravery for taking an unpopular position. I don't agree with you, in that I think there's a difference between augmenting an existing ability and correcting a deficit, in terms of "fairness", but you've made me think about the issue in a way I hadn't before.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:31 PM on December 13, 2007


"... What would it mean to him to live an honest life?"
posted by krinklyfig at 11:16 PM on December 13

You see the answer to that, in the eyes of old men, who topped out long ago in Triple-A ball, and had no other choice, and still gather around spring training fields in Florida and Arizona.

Maybe those 8 pounds would have come to F Mackenzie's nephew, naturally, but 3 years from now. That's how some guys develop.

Wouldn't do him a lick of good, to get his power, after his ticket's been punched. And it ought to be his choice, if means exist to let him make it.
posted by paulsc at 8:37 PM on December 13, 2007


What if, in the next 8 weeks, he "found" 7 more pounds, on top of his hard won 3, and went back to spring training, in Triple-A, and blossomed, and got called to the Show in July, and was happy? How closely would you want to look in his suitcase? What would it be worth to him, to hit just once, in a major league uniform

Based upon your comments in this thread, if it was your nephew I would guess you'd be elated if he started juicing. And perhaps your offspring would feel the same way.

My family, however, is made of different stuff. I won't argue you on moral grounds. But I will say that we wouldn't approve, he wouldn't feel worthy to hit just once in a MLB uniform if it meant relying on illegal synthetics. The entire family would be quite unhappy, and I'm sure Kevin would be ashamed.

His father is a noted amateur umpire. His cousin was a backup goalie to the Olympic soccer team. His uncle was an All-American soccer player who played in a national championship game. He's got two relatives in the regional Hall-of-Fames.

The bloodline is good. Perhaps your kin need artificial substances to make your family feel better. Is that what you're suggesting? That violating federal law is worth the cost, just because we'd all "feel better?"

Not here. Not in this family. Maybe your kin need a synthetic boost to justify your worth.

Good luck with that.
posted by F Mackenzie at 8:59 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't do him a lick of good, to get his power, after his ticket's been punched. And it ought to be his choice, if means exist to let him make it.

I hope my rightful place in Cooperstown is ready and waiting, before my ticket gets punched. Pneumatic robotic full-body suits are not only just around the corner: they are part of my God-given right as an American to get into the Hall of Fame.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:09 PM on December 13, 2007


"Based upon your comments in this thread, if it was your nephew I would guess you'd be elated if he started juicing. ..."

Not necessarily. I'd be elated if he could make a choice that he felt was right for him, considering his body and his life, with the best medical advice, as he would with any surgical intervention. If that meant hormonal supplements, I'd want him to have good pharmaceuticals, and good medical supervision, without stigmatizing his choice. If that meant that turning away, happy to have come close, without using hormonal supplements, or lasik surgery, was the choice he wanted, I'd be elated for him, too.

Based on the pejoratives ("juice") in your comment, I doubt that your the best person to be debating value systems. I'm kind of bemused that you speak of "blood lines" in human sport, as if selective breeding for athletic prowess was a big qualification in your family. But, that's neither here nor there.
posted by paulsc at 9:47 PM on December 13, 2007


"Pneumatic robotic full-body suits are not only just around the corner: they are part of my God-given right as an American to get into the Hall of Fame."
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:09 AM on December 14

I don't see why, if such things come to pass, you shouldn't aspire to be the first DR (Designated Robot) in Cooperstown, BP. It'll surely be an American League position, long before the NL considers it. But the competition may be fierce!
posted by paulsc at 9:55 PM on December 13, 2007


When do we get the list of amazing contemporary players who didn't take steroids? Also, I'm not sure that I care so much about those who took them to speed recovery times. Isn't that what they're for?
posted by mecran01 at 11:16 PM on December 13, 2007


I'm not here to talk about the past...
posted by rfbjames at 11:28 PM on December 13, 2007


So Paulsc, if I understand your argument, you're simultaneously arguing that ballplayers should be paid less and "enhanced" as much as possible. And that "evil" is a "synthetic construct" defined by where you draw the line.

It's a dizzying rhetoric. In any case, your argument depends on a lot of "ifs" that are simply not the case in the real world. Ballplayers get paid more because they generate more revenue than nurses. Unlike lasik surgery, steroids are harmful and illegal and banned from sports. Baseball wouldn't discourage Babe Ruth for chemo any more than they did Jon Lester, and unlike steroid use -- no cancer-stricken athlete would hide the fact that they had received such treatments. There is a difference between fighting for one's job and fighting for one's life. Unlike steroid usage, no one has died from complications of Dr. Frank Jobe's miracle Tommy John procedure. And like it or not, kids emulate their sports heroes, and will compete on the basis of the ground rules you set.

By your standards -- there could be no sensible rules. You're advocating "win at all costs, the ends justify the means" and it is an abhorrent position. The pursuit of so-called excellence in sport without high standards of sportsmanlike conduct is not worthy of the title "excellence".

But setting all the specious comparisons aside...here's my question to you. What would it be worth, just once, for the Senators to have beaten the Yankees in the World Series?
posted by edverb at 12:20 AM on December 14, 2007


If this could be treated as 'just a game' then this would be a balancing issue. Current rules give unintended advantage in high levels for strength++ barbarians and it is up to rules (or game mechanics) to balance out that advantage.

Example: pesäpallo. 90% same game, but (in my opinion) scales better to high level game. The field has back line, you don't just hope to hit and hit hard, you try to aim at empty spots on the field. Players end up having very different build, game is more tactical and faster. Clip of how it goes. Or if you want to modify more, cricket. But if baseball has balancing issues that make ideal player to need steroids, the core problem is in the rules.
posted by Free word order! at 2:44 AM on December 14, 2007


You see the answer to that, in the eyes of old men, who topped out long ago in Triple-A ball, and had no other choice, and still gather around spring training fields in Florida and Arizona.

they had the choice to find something fulfilling to do with their lives - in the late 40's my dad turned down a contract with the phillies to go to college and become an educator and school counselor - he loved baseball - he coached it for a few years at high school - still, he never regretted turning down his chance at major league fame for helping hundreds of schoolkids deal with their problems and turn their lives around

and when he was retired and an old man, he wasn't hanging around spring training camps mooning about what could have been

it's ridiculous to treat not being able to play baseball in the major leagues as a terrible, life blighting tragedy - people move on, and find other things to do - that's life

and your argument doesn't hold water, anyway - you're arguing that ballplayer X - if he gets just a little more power from steroids will make the cut over all the other players - but what you ignore is that if X is allowed to do it, then everyone else can be doing it and he's no longer got his edge over them - and he remains in triple A - because even top players like roger clemons and barry bonds aren't going to stay steroid free if its legal, are they?

it's only an edge if it's regarded as cheating - once everyone does it, he'll be right back where he started - and, you know, tooling around lakeland in a walker 50 years from now boring everyone with his "i coulda been a contenda" talk

or telling his grandchildren how he found something else good to do with his life - his choice

------

But if baseball has balancing issues that make ideal player to need steroids, the core problem is in the rules.

or the ball, or the mound - traditionally, a liver or deader ball has had an enormous effect on the game - it's perfectly possible to tweak things so that pitching and defense would dominate and hitters would have to place hit instead of attempting to blast it - it's happened before
posted by pyramid termite at 3:06 AM on December 14, 2007


Maybe instead of getting into the minutiae of who did what, blah, blah, blah, we should think about how these players are role models to our children. The message to them seems to be whatever it takes to excel is OK, including drug use, to become a sucessful professional athlete....discuss?
posted by GreyFoxVT at 3:18 AM on December 14, 2007


I'm an Astros fan and I don't care. Clemens was a great pitcher and he's a dick. I hope Tejada wins us some games. They had a picture of Tejada in mid air diving into a base on the front of the Chronicle yesterday morning. He looked awesome. If I was 13 I would probably think Tejada was god.

13 year olds are stupid. I wish the New York Times and the United States Congress were a little more interested in ending the military expedition to Mesopotamia and that they were oblivious to what kind of drugs we were taking.

The last time I read one of those personality bullshit pieces on Roger Clemens they made a point of saying his house is twenty thousand square feet and he owns three humvees. His contract for millions millions stipulates he doesn't even have to show up at the ballpark on the days he isn't scheduled to start. When I read or hear that his reputation is being sullied I question the intelligence of the writer or the speaker. His reputation is complete trash no matter what. Maybe if there was a messy divorce and front page testimony of him beating his wife it could sink a small amount lower, but that is about how much lower that piece of scum could go. A felony child molestation prosecution. There really isn't a whole lot further for him to sink in the universe of shame.

Somebody ought to post a youtube of that creep throwing Piazza's broken bat at him in the *World Series*.

I hope Miguel Tejada is a decent citizen, sort of. For the most part I do not care.
posted by bukvich at 3:52 AM on December 14, 2007


Given a choice between seeing drugged-up supermen smashing records and non-drugged athletes playing it 'naturally', I think I would prefer the latter. Achievements are more remarkable if the achiever is an ordinary man, after all.

This exact same argument has been made regarding professional vs. amateur sports. After all, training for thousands of hours to do one very specific thing very well is completely unnatural. Going pro takes over your life and can already cause long term health problems, even without drugs. Once upon a time there were people who said of the Olympics: "pfft, of course he's a better athlete - he doesn't have a day job to worry about!"

Drugs are the current phase of an era that professionalism started, and the next will be genetic modification.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 4:37 AM on December 14, 2007


We're stuck in this ridiculous war, we incarcerate potheads, we execute innocent people, and my kid's school sucks. And we're using government resources to hold Congressional hearings about BASEBALL?! I feel like I'm taking crazy pills here.
posted by AceRock at 5:39 AM on December 14, 2007


it's ridiculous to treat not being able to play baseball in the major leagues as a terrible, life blighting tragedy

For some people it is. Your dad does not equal all of humanity.

... if it was your nephew I would guess you'd be elated if he started juicing. And perhaps your offspring would feel the same way.
My family, however, is made of different stuff.
The bloodline is good. Perhaps your kin need artificial substances to make your family feel better.... Not here. Not in this family. Maybe your kin need a synthetic boost to justify your worth.
Good luck with that.


F Mackenzie, while I tend to side with you on the merits of the issue, I agree with BOP that paulsc is making me think about the issue differently; furthermore, he's arguing in a civil and rational way. You, on the other hand, are increasingly acting like a dick, which doesn't make your position any more attractive. You might want to rethink your debating strategy. Nobody's insulting you or your family.
posted by languagehat at 5:56 AM on December 14, 2007


For some people it is.

that's their choice

Your dad does not equal all of humanity.

over a billion chinese won't even get the opportunity and don't care
posted by pyramid termite at 6:03 AM on December 14, 2007


It's also very interesting that six teams have had on staff virtually all of the released names...The Red Sox had almost none, but I'm sure this will be chalked up to conspiracy theory due to the Mitchell connection everyone is so eager to make.

Well, no, it really isn't that interesting that most of the names came from a few places, based on how the information was gathered. All the data came from Balco, and from the Mets clubhouse guy, and from Grimsley's connections, and...maybe 1 or 2 other places? So obviously the resulting names will have been in the same place around the same times.

As for the Sox, (a) I definitely think there was a conflict of interest for Mitchell, (b) the quotes from Epstein are pretty ugly regarding Gagne, and (c) regarding all teams, don't for a second think that just because a name wasn't in this report means he didn't use steroids/HGH.
posted by inigo2 at 6:57 AM on December 14, 2007


And we're using government resources to hold Congressional hearings about BASEBALL?!

For what it's worth, this specific dog and pony show/ investigation was all paid for by baseball, and has nothing to do with Congress. (Though yes, I agree, Congress has wasted their time in the past with baseball.)
posted by inigo2 at 6:59 AM on December 14, 2007


I don't see why, if such things come to pass, you shouldn't aspire to be the first DR (Designated Robot) in Cooperstown, BP. It'll surely be an American League position, long before the NL considers it. But the competition may be fierce!

No offense, but your position boils down to ends justifying the means, and is therefore ridiculous. There are rules and expectations of conduct, and many or all of these people have knowingly violated them, which is wrong, regardless of whatever polite, ad hoc rationalizations are made.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:26 AM on December 14, 2007


You boys are so cute when you're talking about each other's bodies!
posted by agregoli at 7:39 AM on December 14, 2007


We're stuck in this ridiculous war, we incarcerate potheads, we execute innocent people, and my kid's school sucks. And we're using government resources to hold Congressional hearings about BASEBALL?! I feel like I'm taking crazy pills here.
posted by AceRock at 7:39 AM on December 14 [+] [!]


The gov't can do more than one thing at a time.
posted by ozomatli at 7:52 AM on December 14, 2007


It'll surely be an American League position, long before the NL considers it.

Plus, the national league will still suck, so they'll still be able to get by with regular (albeit roided) humans.
posted by inigo2 at 8:11 AM on December 14, 2007


So we test for steroids in athletes, but not police officers. Gotcha.
posted by LordSludge at 8:35 AM on December 14, 2007


Gee, sure sounds like Paul'd argue that if F Mackenzie's nephew could get a few more points of OPS, he should cork his bat.
posted by klangklangston at 8:37 AM on December 14, 2007


new york and boston have been talking about police being tested - interesting point
posted by pyramid termite at 8:38 AM on December 14, 2007


I don't want to derail too far into police drug abuse, but I do think this relates to the topic at hand in terms of misplaced priorities:

Why test Texas high school athletes for steroids but not police officers?
posted by LordSludge at 8:51 AM on December 14, 2007




Because high school athletes are children (most of them are under 18) and while steroids aren't nice and pretty to adults either, they can create serious development problems in adolescents.

Plus, adult police officers can make their own informed decision. High schoolers can easily be pressured into doing thing a coach wants. Let's face it, high school kids are kinda dumb and still need to monitored to keep them safe.

posted by ozomatli at 10:19 AM on December 14, 2007


goddamn it! sorry about the italics
posted by ozomatli at 10:20 AM on December 14, 2007


There are rules and expectations of conduct, and many or all of these people have knowingly violated them, which is wrong, regardless of whatever polite, ad hoc rationalizations are made.

Some people (like myself) think there's a difference between "breaking the rules" and "cheating".

For example, it's against the rules for a pitcher to switch arms in the middle of an at-bat. For god's sake, why? Because it's the rules. That's why. Because it offers too great an advantage. But is it cheating? Fuck no. If someone is gifted enough to be able to pitch equally well from either side, then they should be allowed to use their talents.

There's a different intent with cheating. And honestly, I wish people would just look more critically at the rules and the reasons behind them before blindly screaming "CHEAT!". Steroids increase your body's ability to work to failure, thus allowing you to exercise longer and harder. That's it. They don't magically build muscles. And even then, with bigger muscles, if you're a shitty pitcher or a shitty hitter, you're still going to suck after taking steroids. You still have to put work in, and even then, without the talent you're just going to end up with shrunken testicles. How in God's sake is that cheating?

Hell, I suppose we should ban creatine from baseball. Might as well throw vitamins in there, too. And what about red meat! Some players are getting an unfair amount of protein in their meals--the building block for all muscle tissue. It constitutes an unfair advantage!

The reasoning behind the ban is faulty. The fact that the players who disregarded it span every level of technical ability and performance should make it blindingly obvious that the "cheating" argument is moot. It's not cheating. It's just "against the rules." The baseball equivalent of "Because I said so."

I hate baserunners that slam into catchers with the hope that they'll knock the ball out of their mitt. I hate fielders that stand in the middle of the baseline. I really fucking despise bad pitchers that throw at good hitters' heads because they can't pitch around them. Those are cheaters. Steroid users aren't trying to circumvent the process. They're trying to make themselves better, stronger players by working harder. How is that cheating?

And if that's cheating, how is taking vitamins not cheating? How is taking time off to rest your sore arm not cheating? How is it that a team with multi-million dollar facilities, personal trainers, huge paychecks, first-class tickets... how is it that they aren't cheating every time they play a second-rate ball club in a third-rate city with fourth-rate players? Why is it A-OK to use all the unfair advantages that money provides a team based in a giant television market like New York or Boston? What kind of message does that send to the children?

Oh, right. That's just capitalism at its best. But heaven help the poor bastard that thinks they're going to beat you through effort and drive and failed kidneys and shrunken testicles. No, no, fuck that. That's cheating.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:17 AM on December 16, 2007


It's not cheating. It's just "against the rules." The baseball equivalent of "Because I said so."

it's cheating because the people doing it aren't open about breaking the rules, therefore putting people who do follow the rules at a disadvantage

it's the element of deception that counts

I hate baserunners that slam into catchers with the hope that they'll knock the ball out of their mitt. I hate fielders that stand in the middle of the baseline. (...) Those are cheaters.

if the catcher's standing in the way of home plate, he's fair game - period

if the fielder's trying to field the ball or tag the runner, that's fair play, too

I really fucking despise bad pitchers that throw at good hitters' heads because they can't pitch around them.

that is despicable, but everyone in the ballpark sees them do it - including the umps, who can throw the pitcher out of the game if it goes on

Steroid users aren't trying to circumvent the process.

they signed a contract that said they wouldn't use steroids and they are trying to circumvent that
posted by pyramid termite at 7:30 AM on December 16, 2007


it's the element of deception that counts

Baseball's all about deception.

hey signed a contract that said they wouldn't use steroids and they are trying to circumvent that

Right, that's the real issue. And I agree with you: technically-speaking, everyone agrees to certain restrictions and you have to play your best within the confines of those restrictions. My issue is with the restriction itslef--I don't agree that steroid use constitutes cheating in and of itself. The only reason their use is banned by organized sports is because of bad publicity. Which is a terrible reason, from a sporting vantage point.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:32 AM on December 16, 2007


Baseball's all about deception.

I wouldn't put taking a performance-enhancing substance and then lying about it to gain an advantage over the players who honor the terms of their contracts in the same category as a good pick-off move or suicide squeeze. Your basic argument that there's no difference between steroids and, say, anti-inflammatories to help with training is a good one, but a lie is a lie is a lie. Players who honor their agreements shouldn't have to play against those who don't. That's why it's called "cheating" -- when you break the rules of a game (and like it or not, no anabolic steroids is a rule here) to gain advantage over those who don't, that is the textbook definition of cheating.

My issue is with the restriction itslef--I don't agree that steroid use constitutes cheating in and of itself.

I think there's some quibbling over the definition of the term "cheating" here, but probably most of us are in agreement that players should follow all the rules, and MLB should change the rules that we think need changing.

I'm open to the suggestion that we take away the steroid ban, but if I'm to be honest, I'd probably stop watching if they did. I don't think they're necessary to the game -- the biggest thing they really accomplish is more thumpers knocking long balls over the outfield wall, and I know this is probably heresy to some of you, but every hardcore baseball fan I know IRL agrees with me on this: After a point, home runs are just fucking boring.

This is what distinguishes baseball from most other sports -- baseball is much more about suspense than it is about action. There's little action in the course of a three-hour ball game, maybe only about a half an hour, if you added it all up. The rest is suspense. I would much rather watch a well-pitched two-hit shutout in which the sole run of the game is squeaked across the plate in the eighth inning than watch Albert Pujols shoot four dingers into the stratosphere. The one-run ballgame isn't going to satisfy you if you're looking for the sports equivalent of "Die Hard," and if you are, let me direct you to the NFL. If you want Hitchcock, let's play some fucking ball.
posted by middleclasstool at 2:28 PM on December 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


You know, when I was growing up, in the 1980s, NL purists would go into high dudgeon over the DH, but all their ballparks always had astroturf. Which, unlike the DH, affects just about every ball put in play.

I've always hated the NL purist pose.
posted by ibmcginty at 3:03 PM on December 16, 2007


In fact, all the Astroturf clubs are in the American League now.

But the AL still has the DH. Lose-lose, sucker!
posted by languagehat at 3:36 PM on December 16, 2007


Did you read the article you linked to, lh? In case not, here's its thesis:
Now, the league offices have been dissolved and the ballparks are mostly so much alike that the distinction between leagues is almost gone, anyway.
NL purism is and, for at least the last 30 years, has always been at least 75% bullshit.
posted by ibmcginty at 3:53 PM on December 16, 2007


Is it okay if I think pitchers should have to hit and also hate astroturf?
posted by middleclasstool at 4:01 PM on December 16, 2007


I'm open to the suggestion that we take away the steroid ban, but if I'm to be honest, I'd probably stop watching if they did. I don't think they're necessary to the game -- the biggest thing they really accomplish is more thumpers knocking long balls over the outfield wall...

If everyone were free to do it, you'd get a shitload more strikeouts, too. I would contend that there's practically no benefit from steroid use in MLB. Which is precisely why I don't think they should be banned... :)

Now, the league offices have been dissolved and the ballparks are mostly so much alike that the distinction between leagues is almost gone, anyway.

The distinction for me was never AL vs. NL... it was always pre-expansion vs. post-expansion. The teams they added in the 60s got it all wrong: stadiums instead of parks, located outside the cities instead of being tied directly to them.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:06 PM on December 16, 2007


NL purism is and, for at least the last 30 years, has always been at least 75% bullshit.

But most things in life are at least 90% bullshit (see: Sturgeon's Law), which means NL purism is way better than most things!

The distinction for me was never AL vs. NL... it was always pre-expansion vs. post-expansion.

Yeah, no kidding. I barely got accustomed to the East-West divisions and playoffs when they added another layer. And don't get me started on interleague play and all the fraternizing. Each league should have eight teams, so fans can know all the players, and the players should hate the players on the other team, and they should get rid of the damn loud rock music at the ballpark.

*drifts off into dream of a better world*
posted by languagehat at 5:11 PM on December 16, 2007


And they should stop changing to a new ball every other pitch. It's no wonder everyone's hitting home runs. Might as well be playing with a SuperBall.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:34 PM on December 17, 2007


In fact, all the Astroturf clubs are in the American League now.

There are NO Astroturf clubs in baseball. The Twins, Rays, and Jays all play on Fieldturf.

And they should stop changing to a new ball every other pitch. It's no wonder everyone's hitting home runs. Might as well be playing with a SuperBall.

How quickly we forget Ray Chapman.
posted by dw at 11:25 PM on December 17, 2007


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