1 Batter, 59 Home Runs; Needs 3 With 16 Games to Go
September 18, 2022 3:05 PM   Subscribe

 
Ball Wars: Episode 6 Return of the Steroids
posted by interogative mood at 3:49 PM on September 18 [4 favorites]


I didn't know Japanese baseballs are larger and heavier then American baseballs.
posted by clavdivs at 3:57 PM on September 18 [2 favorites]


That HR Digest link is… look, somebody at the MLB owes Jon Bois a few bucks on principle.
posted by mhoye at 3:58 PM on September 18 [8 favorites]


So, Maris's record is not the top, so why all the excitement over Judge breaking it?
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 4:10 PM on September 18 [1 favorite]


He’s an amazing hitter. Going to break it easily if pitchers keep trying to pitch to him.

American League record. And Maris is fairly beloved.
posted by Windopaene at 4:28 PM on September 18 [3 favorites]


'Roger Federer as Religious Experience'
David Foster Wallace, Aug. 20, 2006

I saw Barry Bonds play and it's not so much a religious experience rather one of comportment and expectations.

for example, Don Lunds baseball camp circa 1978. Mickey Stanley guides the pitchers and I decided to pitch too!
After a good effort and perfect aim for home base base, as if the batter had to step forward to hit my 20.6 mph drop ball.

"How are you at shortstop, son"

by the end of the week my arm was lighting, I could force 2nd to run on a pop fly, my slides were great and perfected the dreaded hook slide.
At Bat.
if I had record it would be like .119

"Son, can you bunt"

and I bunted winning two games on a bunt, two! Bunting is fearless and sacrificial.
It's a Viking feint. Weather is clear and the green fields are filled with children, mitt and hand reaching for the sky, sometimes running you have to go back and get your cap.
Ted Mahan said " Go, be left field"
only the watchers, the troubleshooters catch.
It's not like punting.

At the end of the day when shadows claim the green fields, the children line up to the POP machine for orange soda wrapped in steel and I forgot my quarter.

"Here kid"

Mickey Stanley Bought me a Fanta.
posted by clavdivs at 4:29 PM on September 18 [11 favorites]


And all those who did better were during the “Steroid Era”, and were all assumed to be on the juice. And lots of folk want to discount those, making Maris the “true” single season champion.

Baseball meets SovCits
posted by Windopaene at 4:37 PM on September 18 [3 favorites]


So, Maris's record is not the top, so why all the excitement over Judge breaking it?

You haven't met any Yankee fans, have you ?
posted by KingEdRa at 4:56 PM on September 18 [8 favorites]


You haven't met any Yankee fans, have you ?

Haha, no, some of us live in Seattle.
posted by lhauser at 5:20 PM on September 18 [4 favorites]


Thanks for the explanation, windopaene. I was also wondering why beating 7th place was a big deal. That makes sense, and is also pretty sad.
posted by snofoam at 5:22 PM on September 18 [1 favorite]


You haven't met any Yankee fans, have you ?

I didn't want to mention it but.

Look, baseball's been dirty my whole life ('ll be 50 soon ) and it's likely still dirty. Judge's got a way's to go to break the record.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 6:07 PM on September 18 [3 favorites]


And all those who did better were during the “Steroid Era”, and were all assumed to be on the juice. And lots of folk want to discount those, making Maris the “true” single season champion.
Roger Maris in 1961 began losing his hair due to the stress of chasing Babe Ruth's single season home run record.
In the 1950s longer-acting injectable testosterone enanthate became the preferred therapeutic modality.
Funny coincidence, that — and if you look at photos from 1961, Maris' hair loss was quite dramatic all over the top of his head. There are accounts claiming his personality became notably darker and meaner, as well.
posted by jamjam at 6:31 PM on September 18 [3 favorites]


1919: Babe Ruth sets the single-season home run record at 29.
1920–1921: Babe Ruth breaks the single-season home run record set the previous year by Babe Ruth, with 30 in 1920 and 55 in 1921.
1927: Babe Ruth breaks the single-season home run record set the previous year by Babe Ruth, with 60.
1961: Roger Maris breaks the single-season home run record set in 1927 by Babe Ruth, with 61.
1994–95: Major League Baseball strike
Before the strike, the 1994 season had set an attendance record of 31,256 fans per game. That plummeted by 20 percent in 1995, and though attendance increased by 6 percent in the 1996 season — and grew year-over-year in four of the five subsequent seasons — 1996’s numbers were still 15.2 percent below that 1994 high-water mark, which would not be eclipsed until 2006. But despite that, attendance had rebounded to levels from earlier in the decade, and 1997 — the year before Sosa and McGwire gave baseball their great home run chase — saw the third-highest average on record at that time.
1998: The Major League Baseball home run record chase between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa
1998: Mark McGwire breaks the single-season home run record set in 1961 by Roger Maris, with 70.
1998: Sammy Sosa breaks Roger Maris' single-season home run record, with 61.
1999: Nike's Chicks Dig the Long Ball commercial, featuring Atlanta Braves pitchers Tom Glavine Greg Maddux hitting dingers. Like pitchers do.
2001: Barry Bonds breaks the single-season home run record set in 1998 by Mark McGwire, with 73.
Claim to fame: I was at the game when Bonds tied and broke McGwire's record.


If you scroll through Wikipedia's List of Major League Baseball record breakers by season, there were no more than one single-season record broken per decade from the '40s through the '70s. Except the '50s, when none were broken. Then two were broken in the '80s. Then at least five were broken in the '90s. Then at least nine were broken in the '00s. Then at least seven were broken in the '10s.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:56 PM on September 18 [3 favorites]


When Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs MLB was white only.

When Maris hit 61 it was an expansion year (so quality of pitching may have been a bit down) and the schedule had expanded from 154 games to 162.

Every record comes with some kind of asterisk.

But Judge’s run at the single season American League home run record is still compelling even though he’s a goddam Yankee (at least for the rest of the season).

More importantly, the current longest playoff drought in major US professional sports may come to an end this year. Go Mariners!
posted by lumpy at 7:08 PM on September 18 [5 favorites]


I was at the game last night. Given that the mighty Brewers won comfortably, I was sort of sneakily hoping to see Judge hit one of his 60. I used to not be able to like any Yankee under any circumstances but a decade of them not winning anything softens the old feelings a bit. Judge didn't hit one out but he did show off the arm a bit in right.

Judge vs Ohtani is the first time in years the MVP question has been authentically interesting. (And Judge is great, but it's living in the Age of Ohtani I really feel grateful for.)
posted by escabeche at 7:42 PM on September 18 [9 favorites]


Sosa and McGuire and (especially) Bonds were all obvious cheats, it was ugly. Watching Bonds head get bigger year by year like some alien monster as he pumped more and more of that garbage into himself, I'd already gotten away from being a fan of most sports, or all sports, but the ugly that those jokes used sealed the deal.

This man is no fake. This man no cheater. This man is an amazing athlete who is not hung on himself. I'd not ever seen his name until opening this thread -- I'm really not into sports -- but reading about him, and watching his feats was a pleasure.
posted by dancestoblue at 7:52 PM on September 18 [2 favorites]


Judge vs Ohtani is the first time in years the MVP question has been authentically interesting.


I honestly don't understand how Judge could be considered more valuable than Ohtani. Sure, Judge has more home runs, but how many games has he won as a starting pitcher? Ohtani has 34 home runs and he's won 13 games. (He'd have quite a few more if the rest of the players were average quality.)

Ohtani is doing something nobody has ever come close to in the history of baseball. If he continues to do this another few seasons, it seems to me he will have established himself pretty firmly as the greatest baseball player in history.
posted by mikeand1 at 7:58 PM on September 18 [6 favorites]






Yeah if you think Judge or whomever isn't taking PED's I've a bridge to sell you.
posted by Carillon at 9:51 PM on September 18 [5 favorites]


Sosa and McGuire and (especially) Bonds were all obvious cheats, it was ugly. Watching Bonds head get bigger year by year like some alien monster as he pumped more and more of that garbage into himself, I'd already gotten away from being a fan of most sports, or all sports, but the ugly that those jokes used sealed the deal.


Come on now.
posted by Gadarene at 10:36 PM on September 18 [4 favorites]


A significant event in the history of PEDs in sports happened in 1961:
After the building of the Berlin wall, the East German dictatorship wanted to gain international recognition. Sports was targeted by the government as a possible tool for this. Manfred Ewald who became minister of sport in 1961 initiated the doping system.[1]
Note that this does not say that East Germany started using PEDs in 1961.

"Different performance-enhancing drugs already became available in 1966 for male athletes and 1968 for females.[6" though the idea was probably in the air well before that.

But I believe we’ve entered a completely new era of performing enhancing drugs, an era that dares not speak its name — at least not yet.

In the run up to a home game against the Patriots in last season's NFL playoffs, Buffalo Bills' quarterback Josh Allen mentioned to reporter Dianna Russini that his hands and feet often got numb in the kind of really cold weather which was forecast for the contest, and when she brought it up on her pregame show, panelist and ex-NFL linebacker Bart Scott publicly advised Allen to take Viagra before the game in order to improve circulation to his extremities.

What happened during that game?
Somebody call the Guinness Book of World Records.

On one of the coldest nights in franchise history, the Buffalo Bills and nearly 70,000 fans staged what might have been the grandest exorcism in human history.

Josh Allen led touchdown drives on each of Buffalo’s first seven possessions, shredding the New England Patriots’ second-ranked scoring defense and slaying a demon that haunted them for a generation.

The two-time reigning AFC East champion Bills obliterated the No. 6-seeded Patriots, 47-17, on Saturday night at Highmark Stadium, becoming the only team in NFL history to not attempt a field goal, punt or commit a turnover in a single game. The No. 3-seeded Bills are the first team in the Super Bowl era to score a touchdown on each of their first seven drives of a playoff game, according to ESPN Stats & Information. No team had scored a touchdown on more than four consecutive possessions to start a playoff game.
So far I haven’t found any reference to Viagra in post game interviews and commentary, though I haven’t looked very hard.

Back in 2006, I mentioned here that I thought Viagra should be on lists of banned substances because of this study:
Sildenafil (Viagra) significantly improved the cardiovascular and exercise performance measures of trained cyclists at high altitude, mostly because the drug helped some participants improve a lot while others showed little change. The responders improved 39% in the time trial performance at altitude compared to their performance at altitude with a placebo. Some in the responder group improved as much as 45%. Sildenafil provided no benefit to either responders or non-responders at sea level.
Then sometime around 2016 Rafael Palmeiro was outed as a steroid user and disgraced, but I remembered him as the first athlete I ever saw in a Viagra commercial, and I had naïvely expected him to be the first of many, but it didn’t happen. Whether the manufacturers were afraid that would make it more likely to be banned as a PED is an interesting question.

Viagra definitely improves circulation in the extremities, but also in the retinas, which is why it’s contraindicated for diabetics, in whose retinas the increased blood pressure produces hemorrhages.

I don’t know whether the enhanced perception of the color blue which is such a notorious side effect of Viagra is strictly due to greater blood flow in peoples retinas or whether there's more to it than that, but I suspect the blue enhancement is somehow integral to any improvement in vision it may offer hitters, because a standard part of old baseball lore is that blue-eyed baseball players don’t become batting champions.
posted by jamjam at 12:39 AM on September 19 [1 favorite]


Sosa and McGuire and (especially) Bonds were all obvious cheats, it was ugly.

What was McGwire using to cheat in 1998?

This man is no fake. This man no cheater. This man is an amazing athlete who is not hung on himself. I'd not ever seen his name until opening this thread -- I'm really not into sports -- but reading about him, and watching his feats was a pleasure.

You (and I) have no idea of Judge is using PEDs or not. A fun side effect of MLB casting doubts and aspersions all over their own talent for the last 25 years in a effort to break the union is that it's completely fair to say Judge isn't clean. MLB themselves have said that the in-season testing they do can't catch cheaters, so Judge passing tests doesn't mean anything.
posted by The Notorious SRD at 5:44 AM on September 19 [4 favorites]


don't understand how Judge could be considered more valuable than Ohtani

There's two arguments I've seen:

(1) In some statistical sense Judge is evaluated as more important, even tho Ohtani pitches: WAR (Wins above replacement)

(2) The yankees are going to the playoffs and winning their division by 5 games. While the Angels are 30 games out of contention. Granted, it's most valuable, not most winning player, but that's always been a factor for voters. It's not as bad as Balon 'd Or (which is an admittedly more emergent performance sport), but there are only a few outliers (see Andre Dawson) where losers get the MVP.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 6:54 AM on September 19 [1 favorite]


What was McGwire using to cheat in 1998?

According to McGwire himself during a 2010 redemption tour, steroids.
posted by box at 7:50 AM on September 19 [4 favorites]


Huge Yankees fan here. I have watched every inning of every game so far this year (and the three years preceding this one).

For the record, Aaron Judge is not my favorite Yankee. Having said that, he is an amazing baseball talent. He is 6'7'' and can run, play centerfield, has a gun for an arm, and of course can hit. He is in the Triple Crown (HRs, RBIs and BA) race legit. As of this writing he has the HR title locked, a pretty good lock on the RBIs and is one point away from the league lead in batting average. To hit 59 HRs or whatever number he ends up with and hit over .300 is really an impressive feat.

61 in '61 is the American League HR record. As Judge points out, 73 is the National League and the MLB record. Actually, Judge says he will talk about individual accomplishments AFTER the season. Right now it is about the team. He actually believes that. 61 HRs is also the Yankees record and involves the Babe himself as well as Roger Maris. HRs are down overall in the MLB this year and Judge's totals are up. Add to that that he turned down a $213 million contract offer this offseason to bet on himself and he will likely be offered a contract in the area of $350 million. One of the largest bets on yourself ever made.

As for the MVP, to me, the operable word is the "V". Valuable. Not best. Valuable. THe Angels can finish out of the playoffs with or without Ohtani. The Yankees would be nowhere near where they are without Judge. He is the most valuable player to his team.

Yankee haters gonna hate. Yankee Universe gets that. The numbers do not lie. He is 1st in the majors in over 10 statistical categories. Baseball has always been and likely always will be about the statistics.

(as an aside, yesterday was the first time in like 10 years when the Yankees and Mets, Giants and Jets all won on the same day. The Jets had a comeback for the ages that was overshadowed in the news by Judge's 58 and 59th HR.)
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:59 AM on September 19 [3 favorites]


According to McGwire himself during a 2010 redemption tour, steroids.

There was no rule against steroids at the time.
posted by Carillon at 8:17 AM on September 19 [1 favorite]




"In some statistical sense Judge is evaluated as more important, even tho Ohtani pitches: WAR"


"even though Ohtani pitches" is ignoring exactly what makes him a much more valuable player.

The WAR stats treat pitchers and offensive/positional players separately. You have a different WAR for each category. What's Judge's WAR as a pitcher? Zero.

As far as I'm aware, there's no statistic designed to measure what Ohtani is doing in BOTH categories -- that's how unusual it is.
posted by mikeand1 at 9:20 AM on September 19 [1 favorite]


"[Judge] is 1st in the majors in over 10 statistical categories. Baseball has always been and likely always will be about the statistics."


And how are his pitching stats?
posted by mikeand1 at 9:21 AM on September 19 [3 favorites]


"As for the MVP, to me, the operable word is the "V". Valuable. Not best. Valuable. THe Angels can finish out of the playoffs with or without Ohtani. The Yankees would be nowhere near where they are without Judge. He is the most valuable player to his team."

If the MVP is supposed to reference a player's individual value to the team, this conflates things, because you're failing to separate out the contributions of the player's teammates.

Would the Angels be in the playoffs if they had Judge instead of Ohtani? Nope.

Would the Yankees be in the playoffs with Ohtani instead of Judge? In all likelihood yes, and they would probably be doing even better. Because having Ohtani is like having two players in one; you can take the money you would have spent on a starting pitcher and spend it on a positional player who can hit another 34 HR's (or vice versa).
posted by mikeand1 at 9:31 AM on September 19 [2 favorites]


I am pretty sure that Judges WAR is higher than Ohtani's combined WAR. Look at it another way. There are 9 positions on the field. Judge is a DH and a Centerfielder. Ohtani is a DH and a pitcher. Both hit and play the field. What is their combined WAR at their respective positions?

I guess we should just concede the MVP race to Ohtani as long as he plays? He pitches AND DHs so the rest of you are vying for 2nd place in the MVP race?
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:46 AM on September 19 [1 favorite]


61 in '61 is the American League HR record. As Judge points out, 73 is the National League and the MLB record.

I'm a Minnesota Vikings fan. The Vikings won the NFL Championship Game in 1969. Sadly, they then lost the AFL–NFL World Championship Game (AKA Super Bowl IV). I don't brag about the NFL Championship Game that much.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:01 AM on September 19 [1 favorite]


The Yankees don't hang division championship banners. Only the 27 World Championship ones. We are talking about individual achievements not team ones.

(I would argue that just getting to the Super Bowl is a hell of an achievement. Losing to the Chiefs did not lessen the achievements of the Vikings. Just as Judge's season does not lessen the achievement of Ohtani or any other player.)
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:07 AM on September 19 [1 favorite]


Josh Gibson was credited with hitting between 75 and 84 home runs in a season.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:17 AM on September 19 [1 favorite]


Judge is a DH and a Centerfielder. Ohtani is a DH and a pitcher.


The starting pitcher plays a much, much more important role in the game than the center fielder does.

Ohtani is a starting pitcher who also hits every day. Trying to say this is no different than a center field who hits every day is completely ignoring the outsized importance of the pitcher's role in the game.
posted by mikeand1 at 10:33 AM on September 19 [2 favorites]


There was no rule against steroids at the time.

This is a perfectly good criminal defense against Mark McGwire being sent to prison. It's also an acceptable financial defense against his being forced to return the money he earned during this time. But MLB changed the rules largely because of the damage he did to the public image of baseball, so it's really not much of a moral defense against someone on the Internet calling him a big cheating doodyhead.
posted by Etrigan at 10:39 AM on September 19 [3 favorites]


If you're not trying to cheat can you even be said to playing baseball?
posted by axiom at 10:48 AM on September 19 [3 favorites]


But MLB changed the rules largely because of the damage he did to the public image of baseball, so it's really not much of a moral defense against someone on the Internet calling him a big cheating doodyhead.

MLB changed the rules because they had finally found an issue that was causing a rift in the union (and because politicians in Washington forced their hand). MLB knew that PEDs were running through the league and had known that since... 1950? Maybe earlier? And didn't care because the money kept coming in? And they still don't care, given how willing they've been to cast aspersions on their own policy on behalf of David Ortiz.

MLB doesn't care about "the public image of baseball". If they did, Bug Selig would have been run out of town on a rail for losing the 1994 World Series instead of having an undeserved place in Cooperstown. It's a travesty that he's in there and Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, A-Rod, etc. are not. As always, the bosses take the glory and the workers take the hit.
posted by The Notorious SRD at 10:57 AM on September 19 [4 favorites]


MLB changed the rules because they had finally found an issue that was causing a rift in the union

I feel like admitting that a significant number of other players didn't like McGwire et al using steroids is not the defense of the workers that you think it is.
posted by Etrigan at 11:16 AM on September 19 [2 favorites]


I don't understand why today's players get a pass on suspicion of steroid use - I'm guessing technology has made more undetectable PED's possible. And if that is true, and players' careers and paychecks are at stake, it would be crazy if none of them were using.
posted by Furnace of Doubt at 11:49 AM on September 19 [1 favorite]


Yes using the rules as an argument is very much a moral defense against cheating. There are a lot of reasons why that cycle of performance enhancers were particularly villainized, but it's disingenuous to act like this was something so beyond the pale that had never been done before or on that scale. There's a lot of evidence of chemical enhancement by players to improve their performance, and we still know it's being done today when it's explicitly against the rules and could actually be described as cheating.
posted by Carillon at 12:50 PM on September 19 [1 favorite]


Something to remember here is that Judge is an enormous human being, and as far as I can tell from reading, always has been. There's been no obvious PED-driven bodily transformation. For those who aren't familiar with him and who can stand some baseball history pedantry:

Judge is 6-foot-7 and almost 290 pounds.

Like another Yankee right fielder and Hall of Famer, Dave Winfield (who was 6-foot-6 but a relatively willowy 220), Judge was a three-sport star in high school and was recruited to play college football -- Notre Dame wanted Judge to play tight end. (thanks to baseball-reference.com and wikipedia for the details).

And he's not just Lurch out there. He's one of the best defensive right fielders in the game, and doesn't embarrass himself when the Yankees need him in center field.

I'm primarily a Rays fan these days but I remember a game a couple of years ago where an opposing player hit a drive to right field, looking like a home run. Normally outfielders will run and try to time a leap to catch it, maybe even plant a foot on the wall and push themselves off to get more altitude.

Judge ran back to the wall, parked himself, and calmly reached up and caught the ball above the eight-foot-high fence. I couldn't believe it. That's how big he is.

All this is to say he's an enormous human being, probably the all-around biggest baseball player I've ever seen, he's a hell of an athlete, and I'm comfortable saying that if anyone can chase this record un-juiced, it's him. I hope he not only gets 62, but turns it on for two weeks and makes it to 70.
posted by martin q blank at 7:24 AM on September 20 [2 favorites]


As far as I'm aware, there's no statistic designed to measure what Ohtani is doing in BOTH categories -- that's how unusual it is.

No, but you can add up both categories, and even when you do, there's still an argument for Judge. The roster flexibility that Ohtani provides in theory is also not as clear cut in practice:

https://www.mlb.com/news/shohei-ohtani-mvp-race-value-by-war
posted by AndrewInDC at 8:19 AM on September 20 [1 favorite]


it's disingenuous to act like this was something so beyond the pale that had never been done before or on that scale

No one is making this out to be the Worst Thing Anyone Has Ever Done. I said right there that this wasn't a crime, or even fraud. It was just... cheating. I'm just saying that Mark McGwire (and, yes, this also applies to plenty of other people, which is why it's called The Steroid Era and not The Steroid Incident That Mark McGwire Did All By Himself) was doing something that he has apologized for, that other players felt was out of bounds, and which the public didn't think much of either. He cheated. Did he break the black-and-white rules? No. Did he commit a crime? No. Did he cheat? Yep. Did he do a foolish thing? He thinks so. Was it a mistake? He says it was.

Sure, lots of other baseball players, athletes, celebrities, regular people cheat, in many ways, large and small, both against the actual letter of the rules and otherwise. And regular people on an Internet message board are allowed to roll their eyes when people do stuff like that.
posted by Etrigan at 8:35 AM on September 20 [2 favorites]


Everybody in and around baseball--the players, the coaches, the owners, the announcers, the reporters, and the fans--knew people were taking steroids, and they didn't care because dingers.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:06 AM on September 20 [1 favorite]


Sorry it's not cheating, and really not sure why you continue to insist it was. I don't think PED's are generally a great thing and am onboard with trying to curtail their use. If you have to over specify that he didn't break the black-and-white rules, but he totally cheated though, I think you're already given the game away. It seems like you didn't like the Steroid Era and I hear you. As you say, you can eye roll as much as you want! But when there's a culture of using substances to achieve performance and those substances aren't against the rules, it's not cheating no matter how much you wish it were.
posted by Carillon at 9:59 AM on September 20 [1 favorite]


If you have to over specify that he didn't break the black-and-white rules, but he totally cheated though, I think you're already given the game away.

Did you ever watch professional dodgeball? I caught some once, many years ago. They used two balls at once, and there was a rule that if the balls were both on one team's side of the court, then that team had to throw them within a certain amount of time or they were disqualified. Because delaying the game forever just to wait for someone on the other team to make a mistake, that's kinda bullshit, right?

Well, in one of the games I watched, a player (we'll call him Mark) figured out that if his team had both balls, then he could just walk up to the center line and place the balls a few inches over the line on the other team's side. If someone from the other team ran up to get the balls, then Mark would snatch them up and throw one, getting that person out. And if they didn't fall for it, then Mark would just wait until the other team was disqualified.

Now, it quickly became apparent that this made the game unwatchable, but the referees couldn't do anything. And so Mark's team won the game. And the refs immediately huddled with the tournament organizers, and a rule was added that the referees could, essentially, call "Bullshit" on a tactic that they judged to be bullshit. It was probably called the Mark Rule (or whatever his name was). Mark never did that thing again, but his team got the win for that game.

So, was Mark "cheating"? I suppose you would say that he wasn't. I would say that he was. I guess we'll have to leave it at that.
posted by Etrigan at 10:43 AM on September 20 [1 favorite]


I mean there's all sorts of cases where the rules get updated once the impacts are made clear, or society changes in what its desired outcome is. Look at auto racing where some car modification is made illegal after some team has a lot of success. Were the team that used the rules to figure out edge cases cheating if their chassis is banned next year? It would seem you think they are which I would say is a non-standard definition process. Even your example seems like perfectly fine gamesmanship, it worked for a game and was clever, and then the rules are updated to deal with the edge case.

The goal of players is generally to win and perform their best, irrespective of how much fun it is to watch, within the rules of the game. The organization generally is concerned with watchability, and designs the rules as a structure or framework to emphasize what they want emphasized. I mean we can quibble a bit here and there, but I think it to me indicates that the sillyness of enforcing on the players some requirement to uphold watchability or purity and let the league slide. They create the conditions that the players compete in. At any point they could have banned the substances and enforced their prohibition! They didn't, so why are the players cheating but Bug Selig in the hall? In general, I'm uncomfortable holding labor to a high account while turning a huge blind eye to management. The MLB could have made this cheating at any point and didn't, the fault lies with them.
posted by Carillon at 12:38 PM on September 20 [2 favorites]


They didn't, so why are the players cheating but Bug Selig in the hall? In general, I'm uncomfortable holding labor to a high account while turning a huge blind eye to management.

Well, I didn’t vote for him.

It’s possible that I think the owners and other management figures are assholes generally speaking and in many specifics while also believing that what McGwire (and Sosa, and Bonds, and Rose, etc.) did was cheating and that it deserves to be called that. Just because baseball games always have a winner and a loser doesn’t mean that every situation within baseball has a good guy and a bad guy.
posted by Etrigan at 2:01 PM on September 20 [1 favorite]


60
posted by chavenet at 11:15 PM on September 20 [1 favorite]




699 & 700
posted by saeva indignatio at 10:18 PM on September 23


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