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Fading Away
November 6, 2009 12:13 PM   Subscribe

Mark McGwire was one of the most feared sluggers in the game during his career. In 1998, the home run chase between McGwire and Sammy Sosa helped baseball recover from the 1994 strike. But, when a reporter found a bottle containing andro in McGwire's locker, some chinks in his armor began to emerge.

The andro story wasn't enough to overshadow McGwire and Sosa's record breaking seasons. McGwire received many accolades, from having a highway named after him to having cameos on TV shows.

After it became well known that baseball players had engaged in widespread steroid abuse from 1990 on, a public outcry began to overshadow the sport. McGwire was not immune to these allegations. The saga culminated with Senate hearings in 2005, where McGwire refused to discuss his alleged steroid use.

After his Senate testimony, McGwire retreated to his home in California and refused to speak to the media. Once thought to be a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame, McGwire received only 23 percent of the vote in his first year of eligibility in 2008.

With his recent hire as the Cardinals' hitting coach, McGwire will attempt to repair some of his tarnished legacy.
posted by reenum (61 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm confused, I thought McGwire hadn't said yet if he was even going to speak to the media once he's with the cards? Right now all indications are he's going to show up and not say a word.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 12:23 PM on November 6, 2009


I dunno how well this will go over here but I think this is a great post, thank you.
posted by dead cousin ted at 12:24 PM on November 6, 2009


Also, it is funny that McGwire wasn't even at the press conference announcing his hiring.
posted by dead cousin ted at 12:26 PM on November 6, 2009


Here in St. Louis, we had the Mark Twain Highway, AKA Interstate 70. When McGwire was roiding his way to stardom here, we re-named the highway the Mark McGwire highway.

Hopefully someone will change it back. Pretty please?
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 12:28 PM on November 6, 2009


If he throws you something offspeed, like a curveball, don't be fooled. Just hit it for a dinger.
posted by starman at 12:29 PM on November 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


This is the fundamental problem with the sport itself. People want to go to games and see big smash home runs. We won't see the last of the steroid problems until baseball enacts a strict zero tolerance policy, and that just won't happen with the player's union.
posted by graventy at 12:31 PM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mark McGwire: Do you want to know the terrifying truth, or do you want to see me sock a few dingers?
Crowd: Dingers! Dingers!
posted by SirOmega at 12:32 PM on November 6, 2009 [9 favorites]


The Mark McGuire highway should be the one that runs from St. Louis to Mexico.
posted by srboisvert at 12:33 PM on November 6, 2009


graventy: "We won't see the last of the steroid problems until baseball enacts a strict zero tolerance policy, and that just won't happen with the player's union."

"In November 2005, MLB owners and players approved even tougher penalties for positive tests than the ones in place during the 2005 season. Under the new rules, a first positive test would result in a 50-game suspension, a second positive test would result in a 100-game suspension, and a third positive test would result in a lifetime suspension from MLB." --Wikipedia. Manny Ramirez got a 50-game suspension just this last season for taking a banned substance. Maybe not zero-tolerance, but fairly strict.

The real problem is that there isn't random testing. They still need cause to test.
posted by Plutor at 12:40 PM on November 6, 2009


I wonder what Pete Rose thinks of all of this...
posted by Chuffy at 12:40 PM on November 6, 2009


This is the fundamental problem with the sport itself. People want to go to games and see big smash home runs. We won't see the last of the steroid problems until baseball enacts a strict zero tolerance policy, and that just won't happen with the player's union.
posted by graventy at 12:31 PM on November 6 [+] [!]


I'd argue that people just like to see runs scored period. A lot of teams have shifted toward run +gun and defensive minded focus and it's made the game a lot faster (in terms of time length) and a lot more exciting to watch. People forgot that's what baseball was like in the pre-sabremetrics era when a batter would have 2 minute at bat instead of a 20 minute one. Then again the two teams that just made it to the WS were the most powerful teams in their respective leagues, so who knows.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 12:41 PM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was a big baseball fan as a kid, but I'd argue that what people want to see, especially younger people, is the NBA and the NFL.

Home runs or no home runs, 'roids or no 'roids, it's a painfully boring game, especially on TV. Someone needs to admit that if they want more people to watch.
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:47 PM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


If Sosa, or McGwire, or Bonds make it into the Hall, there will be absolutely no reason that Pete Rose shouldn't be in.
posted by mark242 at 12:47 PM on November 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


in re: to "zero tolerance." I'm sure it will work just as flawlessly as it has for recreational drugs in society at large.
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:49 PM on November 6, 2009


Home runs or no home runs, 'roids or no 'roids, it's a painfully boring game...Someone needs to admit that if they want more people to watch.

This game, baseball? It was not meant for you. Nobody needs to "admit" anything, the sport's been around for a long time and it ain't going anywhere.
posted by vito90 at 12:51 PM on November 6, 2009 [10 favorites]


The real problem is that there isn't random testing. They still need cause to test.

If there is cause, it is no longer random. Random testing means testing within a particular group without cause. Selection is made by random chance so that it is a fairly prosecuted policy.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 12:52 PM on November 6, 2009


People forgot that's what baseball was like in the pre-sabremetrics era when a batter would have 2 minute at bat instead of a 20 minute one.

Batters taking more pitches and fouling off more pitches is only one reason the game has slowed down. Incessant visits to the mound, defensive shifting and the unwritten agreement that the batter will only step in when the defense is ready, the switch to ever more middle relievers, and a lackadaisical attitude about the speed of the game from the head umpire are all contributory factors.

I think Bud Selig has really taken his job for granted in terms of keeping up with the times; baseball has not been a timeless sport, nor should it be. Add a pitch clock. Move to an automated ball/strike system. Allow pitching changes only between innings (or in the case of injury). There are any number of helpful solutions to the running time of a game, and Bud appears ready to entertain none of them.
posted by mark242 at 12:55 PM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


The Mark McGuire highway should be the one that runs from St. Louis to Mexico.

Nice thought, but that's I-55. The reason they renamed I-70 was that 70 was the number needed to break the single season record (at the time)

Home runs or no home runs, 'roids or no 'roids, it's a painfully boring game

To you. To those who learn about the game, it's fascinatingly complex and detailed.
posted by eriko at 12:55 PM on November 6, 2009


Well, at least basketball is on the level.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:01 PM on November 6, 2009


Apropos title for the post. When he showed up at the Senate hearing, he not only looked older, but visibly shrunken.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:03 PM on November 6, 2009


Random testing means testing within a particular group without cause. Selection is made by random chance so that it is a fairly prosecuted policy.

Which is exactly what the NFL does, including off-season random testing, and exactly why you don't see such obvious steroid-fueled spikes in performance like you saw in baseball (and I'm looking at you, Brady Anderson and Bret Boone).

I don't think anyone can safely claim that the NFL is lilly-white, but it's about as good as you're going to get when there's billions of dollars on the line and huge upsides to 'roiding out.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:03 PM on November 6, 2009


To those who learn about the game, it's fascinatingly complex and detailed.

Heh. Guy hits ball far. Guy is good. Guy throws ball fast. Guy is good.

There's a reason why a team can trade for a pitching ace or a homerun monster in the middle of the season and throw him into their lineup the next day - because baseball is the furthest thing from complex and detailed. Stuff like that doesn't happen in football, and when it does, it usually doesn't work out well, because there's like strategery and stuff in football. I like baseball as much as the next person but to call it fascinatingly complex and detailed is a bit silly, if you ask me.
posted by billysumday at 1:03 PM on November 6, 2009


I wonder what Pete Rose thinks of all of this...

He's too busy contemplating a human sushi platter with Bruno [NSFW].
posted by ericb at 1:04 PM on November 6, 2009


Add a pitch clock. Move to an automated ball/strike system. Allow pitching changes only between innings (or in the case of injury).

Well that's just fucking heresy right there.

I could write an entire diatribe out exposing my views on the subject, but if you're not a true baseball fan, a fan of the game within the game, then you probably just don't understand it and would prefer to have everything explained and working like a Swiss, fucking watch. But that's just not going to happen with baseball.
posted by jsavimbi at 1:09 PM on November 6, 2009 [6 favorites]


If Sosa, or McGwire, or Bonds make it into the Hall, there will be absolutely no reason that Pete Rose shouldn't be in.

Bullshit. Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. Gambling on baseball when you're an active player is an entirely different kind of rule violation than spitballs, bat-corking, or even roiding. Why?

Spitballers, bat-corkers, and roiders are all after the same thing: winning. They're violating the rules to win. Gamblers are violating the rules in a worse way -- they may be throwing games. Fans are more than willing to watch a game where the players are cheating in various and sundry ways to win. Hell, we do now.

They will not watch a game if they harbor suspicions, or worse, knowledge, that some of the players are actively trying to lose the game. Moreover, it would cast into doubt all games. How do you know if a game is for real or just a sham, if MLB takes a light line on baseball gamblers? If the penalties aren't harsh, then you'd expect the occasional jerkass to throw some games and make a little side cash.

Steroids are a danger to the players' health, and so MLB is concerned, to a degree. Gambling is a danger to the health of MLB itself, and so they crack down on it very, very hard.

They will let you into the HOF if you're a drunk, a cheat, or even a violent lunatic. Because those are personal failings. But a gambler is failing the entire league. It is the unforgivable sin of professional sports.

Pete Rose bet on baseball. Pete Rose bet on his own team. Even he no longer denies this. That the HOF doesn't let him in is hardly a surprise, nor is it unjust. He knew what he was doing, and he knew the consequences. His punishment is fair.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 1:11 PM on November 6, 2009 [14 favorites]


> I don't think anyone can safely claim that the NFL is lilly-white, but it's about as good as you're going to get when there's billions of dollars on the line and huge upsides to 'roiding out.

Arguably what the team owners had to gain by testing their players is to reduce the number of guys on DL for either making or taking bad hits. Any individual team can gain by having massive roid raging players, but only if their opposition doesn't. Random testing is a form of detente and cost control.

Baseball isn't a contact sport -- in the sense that tackling isn't a legal play. Anyway, baseball team owners don't have body contact as motivation to agree to control their players doping.
posted by ardgedee at 1:13 PM on November 6, 2009


"It annoys me when people complain about athletes taking steroids to improve athletic performance. It's a phony argument, because over the years every single piece of sports equipment used by athletes has been improved many times over. Golf balls and clubs; tennis balls, racquets; baseball gloves and bats; football pads and helmets and so on through every sport. Each time technology has found a way to improve equipment it has done so. So why shouldn't a person treat his body the same way? In the context of sports, the body is nothing more than one more piece of equipment, anyway. So why not improve it with new technology? Athletes use weights, why shouldn't they use chemicals?

Consider the Greek Phidippides, a professional runner who, in 490 B.C., ran from Athens to Sparta and back (280 miles) to ask the Spartans for help against the Persians in an upcoming battle that threatened Athens. Don't you think his generals would have been happy to give him amphetamines if they had been available? And a nice pair of New Balance high-performance running shoes while they were at it? Grow up, purists. The body is not a sacred vessel, it's a tool." - George Carlin
posted by Chuffy at 1:16 PM on November 6, 2009


when a reporter found a bottle containing andro in McGwire's locker, some chinks in his armor began to emerge.

There are some conspiracy theorists who believe that the andro in McGwire's locker was a deliberate red herring. The thinking is that he put it there in plain sight to encourage discussion about him taking that (legal) supplement and not anabolic steroids, which he just might have also been using.

I'm not suggest that this is fact because to the best of my knowledge nobody has any evidence to support it. It is purely an interesting theory.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:18 PM on November 6, 2009


There's a reason why a team can trade for a pitching ace or a homerun monster in the middle of the season and throw him into their lineup the next day - because baseball is the furthest thing from complex and detailed. Stuff like that doesn't happen in football, and when it does, it usually doesn't work out well, because there's like strategery and stuff in football. I like baseball as much as the next person but to call it fascinatingly complex and detailed is a bit silly, if you ask me.

Good thing no one asked you, because you're dead wrong. The synergy between a pitcher and a catcher is very important. Put an unprepared catcher in to catch for Tim Wakefield and you're practically throwing away the game.

Sure, you can throw any solid hitter into a batting line-up and it doesn't matter, because batting is a solitary exercise, and aside from plays like hit-and-run, there isn't much teamwork on the offensive side. Defense, however? There's tons of it, and you're just not seeing it because you're not paying attention.
posted by explosion at 1:19 PM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was in St. Louis during the summer of the 70 home runs and it was really something to see.

To me, McGwire's legacy is ruined more by what he did on Capitol Hill than the fact that he took steroids in the first place. Performance-enhancing drugs were a fact of life during those years in major league baseball, and I would be surprised if anything less than a full majority of players took them at some point during the late 90's/early 2000's. Owners, managers, and trainers plainly encouraged it. So why not just admit it and move on? A-Rod did, and everyone has already quit talking about it.

I grew up a baseball fan, but the Steroid Era did me in. The game is so far removed from what it should be that it's no longer recognizable. I do think MLB is - finally - taking steps to fix this problem, but they clearly are still not as committed to solving it as they pretend to be, and it's a long way from truly over.
posted by something something at 1:23 PM on November 6, 2009


C'mon. People are celebrating Alex Rodriguez winning the Series with the Yanks and if anything he's worse off than McGwire, having admitted to steroid usage for at least three years. McGwire's a black sheep and Rodriguez gets a ticker tape. If anything this shows baseball is incredibly confused about its beliefs.

I say welcome back Mark. Now, why LaRussa wanted a career .263 hitter as the hitting coach is another question, but best of luck.
posted by xmutex at 1:29 PM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


So everyone realizes that Mark McGwire has been hired to be a hitting coach, not a steroids coach, right?

Yes he was probably juicing when he played, and I do think it should keep him out of the Hall of Fame, but neither of those things has anything to do with the job he's just been hired to do.

Stories about McGwire working with Matt Holliday emerged last spring, so this has been in the works for a while. I have no idea if he'll be a good hitting coach or not, but if it brings a happy second act to his career then I'm all for it.
posted by thebergfather at 1:32 PM on November 6, 2009


The exception to the rule proves my point. One knuckleball pitcher is tough to catch. Shocker. How many pitchers are traded in the middle of a season? Happens all the time. Now, have you ever heard of a starting QB traded in the middle of a season? Never happens. Yes, yes, defense in baseball is soooo complex. If so and so is up to bat, let's all move to the right a little. Wow, that was effing hard as shit!
posted by billysumday at 1:36 PM on November 6, 2009


I hear pro cyclists take EPO, is that true? kthxbye
posted by fixedgear at 1:37 PM on November 6, 2009


Baseball isn't as overloaded with strategy as football, which has devolved from raw-brawn gruntfests to a chess-like match of overbrained analysts puppeteering the players on the field. There, I said it.

I like baseball precisely because it's not as sped up as basketball or football, or even as predictable. I can tune into a major league baseball game in the third, and even if it becomes a one-two-three inning, I like watching the battery decide where to locate the pitcher's next throw. Runners on the corners, one out: is the guy on first fast enough to automatically attempt a steal and remove the double-play risk? Is the cleanup-spot batter going to slap it to the opposite field and thwart the fielder shift? Perhaps some new trick I haven't seen before? The arcane details make the game, really. It ain't simple, it's the major leagues.

I think I will agree, however, that for total newcomers watching on TV, the pace of MLB can be tedious and the rules mystifying. Bring them to a baseball game, use 90% of the time there to explain the finer points, munch on peanuts, shoot the breeze, do the Wave, cheer and jeer. They might be interested for the long haul after that experience. Perhaps that introduction isn't needed for basketball or football.
posted by Jubal Kessler at 1:37 PM on November 6, 2009


There are any number of helpful solutions to the running time of a game, and Bud appears ready to entertain none of them.

While I don't really think baseball games need speeding up too badly, I think one suggestion (made, if I recall correctly, by Bill James) about how it might be done is not a bad one: the first relief pitcher from each team to come into a game mid-inning (i.e. with fewer than 3 outs) can be taken out of the game at any time, but any pitchers coming into the game mid-inning after that must stay on the mound until a run is scored or they finish the inning (or are injured, obviously). Actually, I don't recall positively whether Bill James even proposed the exception for the first mid-inning pitching change per side.

Anyway, this would tend to cut down on some of the more egregious bullpen overmanagement that sometimes happens in games (bringing in a lefty pitcher just to pitch to one lefty slugger and then be replaced, etc.). Each mid-inning pitching change (plus the eight warmup pitches from the mound allotted to each new pitcher) eats a pretty decent amount of time, so it could trim total game time by a fair amount.

The other rule change which seems reasonable and which could speed up the pace of games by quite a bit would be to require a batter to stay in the batter's box throughout his at-bat (rather than stepping out after every pitch to fiddle with his batting gloves and various accessories). Actually, the batter does currently have to ask for and be granted a time-out by the ump to step out of the box, so it might be sufficient for the umps just to be a little more stingy about granting these time-outs than they currently are in practice, and it wouldn't even require a change to the official rules.

Again, I don't think baseball games really need shortening, but if it has to be done, these seem like some of the more reasonable suggestions as to how.
posted by letourneau at 1:39 PM on November 6, 2009


Pete Rose bet on baseball. Pete Rose bet on his own team.

Pete Rose bet on his own team to win. That's not throwing games, that's what you might call a performance-based salary adjustment.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:42 PM on November 6, 2009 [8 favorites]


I think I will agree, however, that for total newcomers watching on TV, the pace of MLB can be tedious and the rules mystifying. Bring them to a baseball game, use 90% of the time there to explain the finer points, munch on peanuts, shoot the breeze, do the Wave, cheer and jeer. They might be interested for the long haul after that experience.

I've said for a long time that the beauty of baseball is being able to watch it live, during the day, on a lazy summer day. Nothing beats it. But then they moved all the games to the night and priced out average fans. It's a spectacle that should be enjoyed live. It really is shit on TV. The opposite of course is football - pretty crappy live but great on TV.
posted by billysumday at 1:42 PM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Chuffy, there's no older sports-related cliche than "nobody bats a thousand", and it was true even for George Carlin. In the example he cites, Phidippides wasn't running in the Olympics, he was acting as a messenger in wartime in order to save lives. Not the same thing at all.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:48 PM on November 6, 2009


Spitballers, bat-corkers, and roiders are all after the same thing: winning. They're violating the rules to win.

Gamblers are violating the rules to win (bets).
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:48 PM on November 6, 2009


Now, have you ever heard of a starting QB traded in the middle of a season? Never happens.

How long is football season? How many games do they play? Let's see. Sixteen games.

Yes, this is an excellent way to compare sports - one played in a 16-game season, and one played in a 162-game season. So of course it would be exactly the same if there were mid-season trades in the one where only 16 games are played as in the one where 162 games are played.

Batting's a solitary exercise, but a good batter will be able to put the ball where it will serve his team best. You like football-type strategy better; that's cool. I think football is boring, myself - buncha guys running around, can't even tell who has the ball - but whatever. You enjoy it; good for you.

And contrary to your claim, baseball players traded in mid-season - or hell, even in the off-season - are not interchangeable widgets. A pitcher who does well with one team may completely fail with his next team, but not because he suddenly forgot how to pitch. The dynamics are different, the coaching is different, etc. It's great when it works, but it's not a sure thing, not by a long stretch.
posted by rtha at 1:48 PM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


When they named a local highway after that carpetbagger instead of Brock or Gibson that was just one more mile marker in my departure from Cardinal fandom in particular and MLB in general.

Why does a base runner get to call time and step off the base to dust his uniform off? God that's annoying.
posted by wrapper at 2:34 PM on November 6, 2009


Baseball and football also have very different cultures of trading that make comparisons difficult. Other than draft picks, there's just not that much trading in football, not even in the offseason. Football coaches may not often trade for quarterback in midseason, but they do sign new ones fairly often, because the NFL has a culture of free agency with its nonguaranteed contracts and capologists. Baseball still has a culture of trading players, but I don't think it has much to do with whether players are interchangeable and more to do with cultural conservatism within the sport mixed with restrictive free agency rules for the cheap young players that everyone wants and a group of younger GMs who are trolling for Moneyball values.
posted by Copronymus at 2:52 PM on November 6, 2009


reenum: The andro story wasn't enough to overshadow McGwire and Sosa's record breaking seasons.

I guess it wasn't, to some people. I don't think any of them deserve a spot in the Hall of Fame, and even though my whole family for at least 3 generations is huge baseball fans, I can't watch an inning any more, after seeing how people willingly chose to ignore such blatant bullshiting around.
posted by paisley henosis at 2:52 PM on November 6, 2009


Pete Rose bet on his own team to win. That's not throwing games, that's what you might call a performance-based salary adjustment.

That's what he claims. (Given that he's been a consistent liar on the subject for decades and only admitting the truth when cornered like a rat, he's clearly untrustworthy. Then again, he was the fiercest competitor around, and it's hard to believe that he, personally, would throw a baseball game to win a bet.) Evidence on that hasn't been found, to my knowledge.

Regardless, gambling on baseball is the single unforgivable sin, because if you open the door to allowing players to bet on their teams to win, then it's a very simple, quick, untraceable slide into them betting on their teams to lose. Again, you could never be sure. And that doubt would be a cancer on the sport.

You can't make exceptions to this rule. It'd undercut the credibility of every single game played until a zero-tolerance policy was re-established. Throw in that there's zero to be gained by allowing the players to gamble on baseball, and it's a no-brainer.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 2:56 PM on November 6, 2009


Apparently the NY Times thinks that the Steroids Issues has Faded into the Past, but reader comments say otherwise.
posted by Frank Grimes at 2:58 PM on November 6, 2009


Why does a base runner get to call time and step off the base to dust his uniform off? God that's annoying.

I can't tell if you're being sarcastic, but any player can call time at any point during the game. But here's the thing -- the umpire gets to determine if he wants to allow it. In other words, you don't really "call time" so much as ask for it, and the umpire can say yes or no.

For example, in the NBA, you can call time as you're falling out of bounds, and expect the call to be honored if a ref saw you do it before you hit the ground.

In baseball, let's say you're about to fall off a base and expose yourself to a tag. You can call time, but the umpire can say, "Hmm ... no. If you fall, you fall. Bummer for you."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:11 PM on November 6, 2009


Regardless, gambling on baseball is the single unforgivable sin, because if you open the door to allowing players to bet on their teams to win, then it's a very simple, quick, untraceable slide into them betting on their teams to lose. Again, you could never be sure. And that doubt would be a cancer on the sport.

Also, it makes you way, way, way more likely to find yourself in debt to bookies, at which point they're likely to start suggesting things you can do to get yourself out of debt. MLB doesn't want players anywhere near gambling at all for any reason. They banned Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays for a while just for working at a casino after they retired. Yes, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays were banned from baseball in the 80s, which should tell you all you need to know about just how seriously they take gambling.
posted by Copronymus at 3:39 PM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


I like football and baseball, and it bugs me when fans of one sport feel like they have to run down the other sport. They both have more going on than is immediately apparent. On a baseball play, say, a groundout to first base--and it's easier to see this in person than on TV--the players who aren't directly involved in the play move to backup the players who are. NFL.com's Anatomy of a Play series has good explanations of the complexity of NFL plays.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:14 PM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Your favorite pastime, populated by petulant overpaid doper athletes and greedy owners...sux.
posted by OHenryPacey at 4:31 PM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


With his recent hire as the Cardinals' hitting coach, McGwire will attempt to repair some of his tarnished legacy.

If I was in the St. Louis Cardinal's front office, I would keep Mark McGwire as far away from Albert Pujols as possible. Pujols played with in St. Louis in 2001 as McGwire's career was tailing off. How Pujols (a professional make-up artist couldn't hide the acne) was not implicated in the steroid controversy is beyond me.

Also, I would add at least two Tejada years to Pujol's age when negotiating a contract.
posted by clearly at 4:47 PM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Baseball is supposed to be slow and contemplative, even languid. It's a game for lazy afternoons.

To "speed up" or "add excitement" to the game is like improving Vivaldi with guitar solos or spicing up Casablanca with car chases and explosions.
posted by rokusan at 4:58 PM on November 6, 2009 [6 favorites]


McGwire's a black sheep and Rodriguez gets a ticker tape. If anything this shows baseball is incredibly confused about its beliefs.

People tend to be more forgiving when a lie is admitted to rather than when it's avoided, shushed or blustered away. Thats what seperates Bonds, Clemens and McGwire from Rodriguez and Pettitte. 'Baseball' is reflecting that. Baseball hasn't made McGwire a black sheep, he has a job with the Cardinals (considered one of the 'gold standard' organizations in the league). The State and City of New York threw the ticker tape for the Yankees.

Pete Rose bet on his own team to win. That's not throwing games, that's what you might call a performance-based salary adjustment.

No, when you are the manager its called cooking your bullpen to give you the best possible chance to win the game you bet on. Screw tomorrow's game, you'll just bet on something else, like maybe the over in runs scored.
posted by D_I at 5:11 PM on November 6, 2009


Truth about Steroids
posted by P.o.B. at 5:18 PM on November 6, 2009


I like football and baseball, and it bugs me when fans of one sport feel like they have to run down the other sport.

i agree. i also love basketball. so if this had turned into a 'baseball is better than basketball' debate, that would equally bum me out. all three of these sports are great in their own respects and i hold them all in high regards and have each had a special place in my life. the sport we should all be ripping to shreds as it is pathetically inferior is soccer. let's stop our bickering and rather take an attitude like "hey, i prefer baseball, but you prefer football, i disagree, but we can both agree soccer fucking sucks."
posted by rainperimeter at 8:53 PM on November 6, 2009



Baseball is supposed to be slow and contemplative, even languid. It's a game for lazy afternoons.

To "speed up" or "add excitement" to the game is like improving Vivaldi with guitar solos or spicing up Casablanca with car chases and explosions.


This is true. You just can't assign shot clocks to baseball. It doesn't work.

However, I think one concession should be made to modern audiences, and that is the instant replay. With all the blown calls in the various playoff games this year, the "purist" argument that instant replay would somehow tarnish the quality of the game just isn't as strong as it used to be. What's the big deal if you take another thirty seconds to review a base tag? The game is already slow-paced as it is, we might as well make sure the umpires are making the right call.

They already have the technology in the broadcast booth to watch close calls over and over again, why not use it?
posted by HostBryan at 9:57 AM on November 7, 2009


When I first saw this post, I really wanted to write a well put together response about my experience as a wee 12 year old girl and how much McGwire meant to me 'cause that was also the year my beloved grandpa died and Big Mac was kinda like my escape from the sadness so I idolized him and I was going to try to convey what it was to my childhood to be at so many of those magical games in the summer of 98 including 61 and 62 and how I could give two shits about the roids, how it hurt me more that he lied about it.

But .... I am hungover and horny and after reading the comments of SOME of you, I just don't care about trying to find common ground with you god damned idiots (those of you who apply) who don't understand baseball to save your "I'm the smartest person alive I know everything" lives.

If you don't "get" baseball, don't fucking watch and don't dilly dally in making judgments about Mark McGwire or anyone else for that fucking matter.

:: wow she's really sensitive on this subject ::

shut up and go watch something more complex, like for instance, your mom.
posted by diablo37 at 1:15 PM on November 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


The average MLB game lasts no longer than the average NFL game. What's to speed up, exactly?
posted by grubi at 8:11 AM on November 9, 2009


grubi, the NFL game has a Half Time Show. Just saying.

Then again, my kids (10,7,5) have played baseball & softball and it makes sense to them, but when we watch the Patriots play, they are often bewildered.

And the difference between honest contrition and taking the fifth is that some guys then go on to perform (putatively) drug-free and thereby show the measure of their skills. True, retired players can never have that chance -- and I don't know how to give it to them.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:51 AM on November 9, 2009


grubi, the NFL game has a Half Time Show. Just saying.

And? That's a part of the game. As much as the seventh-inning stretch or a pitcher's warm-ups.

Simply put: you don't like the game, fine. Don't tell me it's slow and boring when you flat-out don't care to learn why it's paced the way it is.
posted by grubi at 5:32 AM on November 10, 2009


grubi: "the NFL game has a Half Time Show"

To clarify: The Super Bowl has a half-time show. All other NFL games have 2-minute breaks after the first and third quarters and a 12-minute break between halves.
posted by Plutor at 7:53 AM on November 10, 2009


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