Mark McGwire’s “George Costanza Day”

by BillChuck

I’m still suffering from ‘roid rage. I am so infuriated by baseball’s orchestrated Mark McGwire earlier this week and the fact that people fell for this coordinated PR concoction that I am beside myself. There are so many holes in the McGwire public “testimony” that the fact that he is getting support for coming clean and sympathy for this torment he has had to endure, I am amazed and appalled.

Let’s take a look at some of the statements made by McGwire:  

“I wish I had not played in the steroid era.” When I first heard this, I felt sympathy. I admit it, I fell for the line. My bad. The more I heard McGwire the more I realized that McGwire didn’t just play in the steroid era, Mark McGwire WAS the steroid era. He was the poster boy! He was the center of everyone’s attention, accolades and adoration. According to numerous accounts, it was the steroid-enhanced home run battle between McGwire and Sammy Sosa that prompted the jealous Barry Bonds to start using steroids in order to get the attention he felt he deserved. 

“I’ve always had bat speed. I just learned how to shorten my bat speed. I learned how to be a better hitter.” If you believe that statement then you will you believe that the Cardinals will have numerous hitters who, under McGwire’s tutelage, will have 40+ home run seasons. Does McGwire honestly think that what he said was true? I can’t help but think of the words uttered by that great philosopher George Costanza, ”It’s not a lie, if you believe it.”

“The steroids I did were on a very low dosage. I didn’t want to take a lot of it. I took very, very low dosages, just because I wanted my body to feel normal. The wear and tear of 162 ballgames and the status of where I was at, and the pressures that I had to perform, and what I had to go through to try and get through all these injuries, it’s a very, very regrettable thing.” According to FBI sources, McGwire was frequently mentioned during “Operation Equine,” an anabolic steroids investigation that led to 70 trafficking convictions in the early 1990s. Here’s the steroid cocktail FBI informants say Mark McGwire took in the ’90s: 1/2 cc of testosterone cypionate every three days, 1 cc of testosterone enanthate per week, 1/4 cc of equipoise and winstrol v every three days, injected into the buttocks, one shot for one cheek, one shot for the other. 

“I am pleased that Mark McGwire has confronted his use of performance-enhancing substances as a player,” Commissioner Bud Selig said. “Being truthful is always the correct course of action, which is why I had commissioned Sen. George Mitchell to conduct his investigation. This statement of contrition, I believe, will make Mark’s re-entry into the game much smoother and easier.” It is imperative to note that the McGwire Show yesterday was orchestrated by Ari Fleischer. Yes the same Ari Fleischer who manipulated the public’s opinion as the primary spokesperson for President George W. Bush. He served during the presidential recount, September 11th, two wars and the anthrax attack. Fleischer now oversees Ari Fleischer Sports Communications which he founded, according to his website, “to successfully handle the toughest situations with the most aggressive reporters.” Mark McGwire is an Ari Fleischer client

And Fleischer has numerous other clients including the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, the BCS, various NFL teams, and yes, Major League Baseball. In fact, the very first testimonial on his site is from none other than Bud Selig, his ownself, “Ari’s advice on how to handle the press and deal with difficult communications problems has been of great value to me. Ari has helped me get ready for many major media events. He understands how reporters operate, and he uses that knowledge well. It’s very helpful to have him as part of my team.”

It would be not a stretch to imagine that Fleischer worked with McGwire, coordinating the press interactions, training McGwire as to how to answer the various questions being asked, perhaps even suggesting when it might be a good time to tear up. Assuredly he worked with the Commissioner’s Office as to how to react to the McGwire announcement (it certainly wasn’t a revelation). He clearly was the person who arranged the Bob Costas MLB Network interview but hopefully not because Costas is represented by IMG, which owns half of Fleischer’s company. 

“I knew some way, somehow, some way, some day the time would come. When the opportunity of becoming a hitting coach of the Cardinals — which I am so excited about and I can’t wait to get started –  when that came about, and talking to ‘Mo’ (John Mozeliak) and Tony (LaRussa), I told them we need to do something. I need to come out, I need to do this. I don’t want any distractions with this ballclub about what happened to me in my past. And I bought into them by saying, ‘Listen, I want to come forward and I want to come clean. I want to get this behind me. I want to move on.’ I want to start my second career as a hitting coach and that’s all I want to concentrate on.”

McGwire repeatedly said, ”Today is the hardest day of my life ….” I don’t doubt it. McGwire had to talk about his indiscretions in a way that sounded sincere and believable. He had to rehearse, prepare and admit to the public and to his friends and family something that was obvious to everyone but himself. He actually had to convince the world that he used performance enhancement drugs that did not enhance his performance, but was justifiable in his mind because unlike other athletes, Mark McGwire was injured. I can only imagine McGwire’s reaction to Patriots QB postgame comment Sunday,”I just think injuries are a bunch of BS. I just think when you play, you play, and if you can’t play, you can’t play. But when you’re out there playing, you’ve got to play at the level that the team expects you to play.”

I must admit that there was a part of me that felt that steroid users, in regard to the Hall of Fame, “if you admit, we can admit.” I don’t believe that after McGwire’s performance. I tell you what I believe however: 

  • Mark McGwire should not be in the Hall of Fame and quite frankly should not be in uniform in the MLB.
  • Roger Maris’ record of 61 home runs in one season remains the record that should be respected.
  • Hank Aaron’s record of 755 home runs in a career remains the record that should be respected.

Baseball has indeed moved beyond the stain of the steroid era, and yes, that era for the most part is under control. The best proof is that this off-season the Red Sox and the Mariners focused on pitching and defense, not on home run hitters. We are returning to skills baseball and that will ultimately be for the betterment of the game and for the enjoyment of the fans. But yesterday’s misstep should only be regarded as more fiction, then fact and nothing more than that.

Bill Chuck

  • Creator of Billy-Ball.com (www.Billy-Ball.com)
  • Author of, “Walk-Offs, Last Licks, and Final Outs – Baseball’s Grand (and not so Grand) Finales,” published by ACTA Sports (2008)
  • Contributor to NESN and NESN.com
  • ; Twitter: Walkoffs; Skype: BillyBall; AIM: Walkoffs44
  • For media bookings contact: Josh Boyle, Sports Identity, 617.268.0001  

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73 Responses to “Mark McGwire’s “George Costanza Day””

  1. penaltykiller9 Says:

    Amen!!! Great piece

  2. Hossrex Says:

    As of around 2005, every single baseball fan’s mind was made up.

    Do I love the steroid baseball of the 90’s like I did while it was happening, or do I prefer to engage in the persecution of the players who I enjoyed watching at the time?

    If the answer is yes, you’re position is immutable.

    If the answer is no, your position is immutable.

    I’ve never seen an argument that makes me think “gosh, he’s right, regardless of how much fun I had watching baseball in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, we should condemn these players who made the game enjoyable to a quick demise.”

    I’ve also never seen a person who didn’t enjoy the offense of the late 90’s/early 2000’s.

    This whole thing, to me, smacks of enjoying a genre of movie, and then when the public cries out against that genre of movie, you pretend you never enjoyed that genre yourself, but instead decide that while you loved watching it at the time, you’d hate to be late on the bandwagon for anything, so you might as well enjoy judging people for crimes you can’t possibly understand, and which you couldn’t possibly have turned down yourself.

    But… yeah… in the sense that everyone seems to think we’re just talking about cartoon characters, instead of real human beings… “KILL DA WABBIT! KILL DA WABBIT!…

  3. Cameron Says:

    Hm, interesting. Thought Bill would’ve published this article. I got the heads-up about this article from him personally. As such, I feel obligated to make public my response to him. …Censored of course, but I imagine the 4-letter vocabulary can be imagined fairly easily.

    “Well written article, but the main qualm I have with this is the thing I have with all steroid detractors. We can’t measure how much they were improved by steroids. If you look at McGwire, he was in and out of injuries for several years and he felt the need to get better and recover faster. His injuries were so bad around 95 he considered retirement. While I don’t advocate steroid use, I don’t think guys like McGwire should be demonized like they are. Not to mention that he’s always had good swings and power, dating back to little league. This is the guy who hit 49 home runs as a rookie, a record I’ve claimed won’t be broken unless baseball gets to the point where outfielders are no longer needed.

    Steroids aren’t some magic potion, they’re not a magic fix-all for bad players. They are enhancers, not player makers. Take a look at Barry Bonds. If you just take his numbers from before 2001, he’s still more worthy of the hall of fame than a lot of people in it. A lot of these guys get villainized for natural talent and numbers that were already high and added to them or continued them for longer than average. For another poster boy, look at Clemens. If you just take his years in Boston, he’s still one of the greatest of all time.

    While McGwire denied plenty and downplayed it, I genuinely feel sorry for a guy who was once so loved have to be subjected to the ******* media circus that’s been going on. I can’t even turn on MLB Network or look at baseball news anymore because that’s all they’re talking about. I don’t want to see who did steroids on the front page and taking away from the news of the game. That’s why I almost threw my TV out the window at the A-Rod revalation, I just want to watch the ******* game.

    So, all in all, what I think about steroids is who cares? Really, who cares? If you want to talk about enhancements, talk about how people aren’t getting killed because they invented batting helmets, how people can swing bats faster because of thinner handles and lighter bats, and how balls are easier to catch because mitts aren’t oven mitts with fingers anymore. Steroids may enhance players’ abilities, but there are a lot of things that help players that are legal. If you’re going to demonize one thing, demonize them all or drop it. And if you want to still honor Roger Maris’ record, do I need to retread the 162 vs. 154 game schedule it was achieved in? Not to mention a lot of old players have allegations of early steroid enhancers or amphetamine help. Mickey Mantle gets accused of steroids, but people shove that under the rug because he’s Mickey Mantle.

    So ultimately, would you people just get off your ******* high horse and just watch the game? If I wanted news, I’d watch the news. When I look at a sports page or site, I want to see stuff about the game, not the god damn news.”

  4. Hossrex Says:

    Cameron: “a lot of old players have allegations of early steroid enhancers or amphetamine help. Mickey Mantle gets accused of steroids, but people shove that under the rug because he’s Mickey Mantle.”

    Exactly.

    The evidence against Mickey Mantle would be strong enough to keep any modern player out of the hall of fame.

    However, since it’s Mickey Mantle… “it’s not that big of a deal”, “it clearly wasn’t what it seemed”, or worse yet “it might have been steroids, but it wasn’t the steroids players were using later.”

    In other words: “The players whom I grew up watching were gods, and I’m going to do everything I can to keep the players YOU grew up watching from usurping their greatness, because if they did, it would cheapen the game I watched, and I might as well commit suicide since I’ve long ago put my entire sense of self-worth upon these sport participants.”

    And the old timers wonder why people look at them funny.

  5. Hossrex Says:

    Penalty Killer 9: “Amen!!! Great piece”

    What the heck? Mine was the first reply until about two seconds ago.

  6. Cameron Says:

    Eh, the Mickey Mantle thing wasn’t meant so much as an attack on old players and their greatness, I love Mickey Mantle. I’m just saying that this steroid thing can be applied to just about anything.

    Seriously, I’m probably going to get killed for this, but what about including black people in baseball? Do you think that influx of talent and new playing styles changed the game at all? So did steroids. What about latino players and their influence, did that change the game? So did steroids. Asian pitchers and the occasional hitter and their philosophies counting for success against western baseball, did that change the game? So did steroids.

    Just because it’s legal (which steroids were at the time, mind you) doesn’t mean it doesn’t change the game and make things “unfair” for the players. Hell, Babe Ruth actually singing for power and other players taking after him made the best pitchers between Ruth appearing on the scene until about the 50s a joke. The best guys from the 30s and 40s were still regularly dominated by the best of hitters. The home run made things unfair for the pitchers. Did they make the home run illegal? You bet your ass they didn’t.

    I still stand by my argument of this issue is ultimately so trivial that the fact people are so vehement about it makes me laugh and die on the inside, but if you look at all the things that changed the game that ARE legal, compared to the steroids that are banned, the difference is just laughable by comparison.

  7. Cameron Says:

    Huh, and now the article is published by Bill. Didn’t it have a different author about an hour ago? The mindscrew that is rakns up there with Hoss’s disappearing first reply.

  8. Patrick Says:

    Steroids are powerful medicines. McGwire was done as a player without them. He needed them to heal. Denying a patient medicine because it makes him “too well” seems strange to me. The problem is, they make you feel and perform so well that it’s human nature for a percentage of people to continue using them after they’re healed.

    That said, I’m glad he came forward, but I don’t believe his remorse is anything more than self pity that history doesn’t respect him or his HR totals. I can see how he might believe that he would’ve hit all those bombs without roids because he had in the past but he’s deluding himself. He would’ve been plagued with injuries and topped out at about 35 HR after 1995 and maybe 300 total in an injury shortened career without steroids. Greg Luzinski-like.

    I never heard that Mantle was involved with steroids but I’m sure he wouldn’t have had a moral problem with doing them. He would’ve jumped at them. Personally, watching Mantle up close his last 3 seasons, he didn’t look like a man who had access to any meds beyond rum.

    Mac says he wishes he didn’t play in the steroid era but be careful what you wish for. He’d be pumping gas in his 40’s if he played in another era.

    The idea that now that Mac has admitted he will be admitted to the Hall, I now say bullshit. He used for 10 years, he had one or two HOF seasons without steroids. He ain’t going in. Plus, anyone who has to hire Ari Fleischer just to explain that he’s a liar, has already lost all credibility with me. What a country, doctors make under $40K for 5 or 6 years of residency and professional liar consultants make millions.

  9. Cameron Says:

    Hm, just got a comment from a friend of mine regarding this issue that I’ve heard before. A separate league for people who do take steroids. >_> To me, I might watch it every now and then. It’d be a nice change of pace from some of the ballgames I’ve had to endure lately.

    http://calamitiesofnature.com/archive/?c=205

    …Yeah, that pretty much sums things up on slow days.

  10. Paul Says:

    I can’t fathom how McGwire honestly could make the comments that the steroids didn’t help. Then why did he apologize? Why did he cry several times? Why did he feel the need to call Roger Maris’s widow? Why was it even a story if steroids didn’t even help him hit a home run?

    At the end of the apology, my 3 thoughts were: 1. McGwire thinks we’re all really stupid – did he think the public somehow slept through the amazing steroid-laced success of Marion Jones, Ben Johnson, Floyd Landis, A-Rod, Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, etc etc. 2. McGwire thinks he was Babe Ruth – with or without steroids, and 3. This wasn’t even really an apology.

    He waited years to get this off his chest and ultimately explained that based on his account, he had nothing to be sorry for since steroids don’t help athletes much apparently.

  11. AdamWhite Says:

    I forgot to select Bill as the author when I posted this, so that’s why it showed up as my article initially.

    PenaltyKiller9’s comment was actually first, but it was in queue for moderation since he’s a new user and therefore not publically viewable.

  12. Chuck Says:

    Mark McGwire used steriods.

    No s*it.

    Was anyone really surprised or disappointed?

    Let’s move on.

  13. steven Says:

    I think Tripp Cromer was clean.

  14. Adam Says:

    If Mark McGwire can’t go into the hall of fame, who will from this era? The ones who didn’t get caught. Should Jim Thome go to the hall because he never got busted(random example, I’m not accusing Jim Thome of using steroids), but Manny Ramirez shouldn’t because he did?

  15. Cameron Says:

    I remember an article The Onion ran once saying that Craig Counsell was the greatest baseball player of the past 50 years because he was the only one who was clean.

    …When asked to comment, he asked if they had money he could borrow so he could get lunch. …Or was it for bus fare, I forget which it was.

  16. Brian Says:

    I am so sick of people who sum up their stories with things like: Roger Maris’s record is the only one that should count; Henry Aaron’s record is the only one that should count.

    Your entire argument is made meaningless by these statements. Your entire argument has gone from an analysis of Mark McGwire, of the way his PR was handled, of the way MLB has dealt with it, etc. — to an article about upholding a record.

    Who. Cares. About. The. Records.

    Records are simply data that has been recorded. It is information that reports what happened. That’s all. It’s not “our favorite information” or “the most exciting information” — it’s just “information.” Mark McGwire hit 70 home runs. That’s a fact. Barry Bonds hit 73. That’s also a fact. Roger Maris hit 61. I hit zero. These are facts. These are records. The recorded data. Records.

    As soon as you say “such and such is the only record that should count,” you’re screwing with history. Things that happened happened. You can’t un-hit a home run.

    And what are steroids? They’re some chemicals you put into your body. At what point do the atoms and molecules from the injection end and the atoms and molecules in your own skin and muscles and blood begin? It’s not like these guys became the Six Million Dollar Man, and were suddenly transformed from human to half-human-half-robot. It’s just an injection of some chemicals, which resulted in a change in the way the men grew.

    You know what else changes the way people grow? Food. Air. Sleep. Exercise. Cigarettes. Alcohol. Cocaine. Parental guidance. Peer pressure. Natural disasters. Unnatural disasters.

    And how would you actually go about rewriting history? If you pretend McGwire didn’t hit the home runs, then you have to pretend that no one ever pitched to him either. Or that runners on base didn’t advance. Or that the games were ever officially completed, since you’re removing the existence of several plate appearances from every game.

    Or would you rather just say that nothing since Maris’s 61st home run has ever happened? Let’s just pretend that nothing in the last 49 years actually took place. Hey look — no baseball work stoppages in the 80s and 90s! Hey look — Pete Rose never bet on baseball! Hey look — the DH didn’t happen, expansion didn’t happen, the Brewers are still in the AL, there’s no interleague, Bud Selig isn’t the commissioner, the United States government didn’t get involved in baseball, and Mark McGwire never hit any home runs — so Roger Maris is still king of the world!

    Record books aren’t magical, they’re just data. The Hall of Fame isn’t magical, it’s just a museum. Your nostalgic memories are magical, and that’s great. So live in your memories. But writers, analysts, pundits, officials, etc. — you can’t change the records. You can’t undo history. You can only nod your head, say “Yes, that happened. Now what can we do tomorrow?”

  17. jimmy vac Says:

    People who know baseball will put their own asterik in their head when it comes to the steroid era.. just like 1968 when the mound was raised..
    I don’t like to see the guys who legitamently earned their numbers lumped in with the cheaters.. If MCGuire felt he needed to take them to recover, he should ahave appealed it legally with a prescription. I take a low dosage daily myself becuase of damage done to my immune system and my weight jumped big time.. I tried HGH but finally dropped the extra weight on my own..I have stuck up for MC GUIRE in terms of moving on but he and the others were wrong.Having said that, if someone offered me a pill that would have added 10 MPH to my fastball but knock off 5 years from my life , I would have said double the order.. but i it was illegal, I would have walked away.. I don’t know why the players assocaition is not demanding the release of the names.. If I were a player with good numbers, I would not want my records questioned. They are protecting the guilty while impuning the innocents..

  18. Raul Says:

    I thought the mound was lowered in 1968

  19. Raul Says:

    Or was it 1969?

  20. Ralph Says:

    “Mark McGwire should not be in the Hall of Fame and quite frankly should not be in uniform in the MLB.”

    If your going to make these statements about players who uses steriods, then the same standard should be applied to all players way back to the 30’s and 40’s who took “greenies”. Chipper Jones made a statement about amphetamines, “It’s more rampant than steroids.” I just don’t see a difference in using illegal drugs that help a player perform/stay on the field. Please research and find out who all the amphetamine users are/were so we can purge them from the hall of fame and ban them from baseball.

    Why did McGwire have to come clean? He to tell the world the details of his illegal activities just so he could be a hitting coach? Why the fascination with everybody else’s dirt? We’re a strange culture.

  21. Ralph Says:

    Raul it was between 68 and 69.

  22. Ralph Says:

    Jimmy vac

    “I don’t know why the players assocaition is not demanding the release of the names.”

    The testing was agreed upon with the condition of anonymity in 2003. Not sure of % but I believe if 20% tested positive it would = mandatory future testing with penalties. I’ve read that some Whitesox players refused the test because it would have automatically been considered a positive test and force future testing.

  23. Hossrex Says:

    Ralph: “I’ve read that some Whitesox players refused the test because it would have automatically been considered a positive test and force future testing.”

    If true, that’s interesting for two reasons.

    If the dreaded “list of 104″ is ever released, might the ENTIRE White Sox team be on it, and APPEAR (erroneously) to have used steroids?

    You’d think Arod would have said: “Of course my name was on that list. I have a huge problem with immorality in baseball, and I wanted to do my part to ensure baseball would have comprehensive testing. I knew we had to get the random and anonymous positive tests up to 20%, and since a declined test counts as a positive test, I simply declined. I didn’t think it would matter, since the tests were supposed to be anonymous, but maybe this question which has been cast over my character is what I deserve for what might have been well intended, but still certainly dishonest. I’m sorry, and I hope American can forgive me.”

    Considering the evidence was beyond circumstantial at the time, I wonder if people would have believed him.

  24. Jay Says:

    Three-point Information and Action Plan:

    INFORMATION:

    1. Fans knew the players were using steroids, and there was no outcry at the time, especially during the 1998 Sosa-McGwire lovefest. For anyone to say he was ignorant of steroid use in baseball marks him as extremely naive. (Being kind there.)

    2. MLB Management and the players association were well aware while this was happening, and did nothing at the time.

    INSTEAD OF SITTING BACK IN JUDGMENT OF WHAT YOU LOVED TEN YEARS AGO, DO SOMETHING ABOUT:

    3. Steriod use, alive and well in NFL & NBA

  25. Jim Says:

    “If Mark McGwire can’t go into the hall of fame, who will from this era?”

    @Adam. When the steroids scandal broke into the open, I thought about this and came to the conclusion that I’d make my judgment regarding HoF suitability based on how the player performed in the period where there was a consensus that he was clean. I.E. Bonds pre 1999 is worthy, Clemens based on his performance with the Red Sox would go also, though not on the first ballot and maybe barely after 8-10 years. McGwire is an easy no go. In Oakland he was a decent player who suffered from lots of injuries, but there is no way that if McGwire’s career numbers were a continuation of what they were in Oakland would we consider him for the Hall. Any consideration of Mark as Hall eligible is based on his Cardinal years, which we know are fraudulent.

    The problem with this approach is how do you judge guys like Manny and ARod? ARod is young enough that if he has another 5 years of high level production then he goes to the HoF, even if you discount his earlier stats. But Manny was caught cheating last year, which makes his entire career suspicious and now he’s too old to make up for lost ground.

    The hard reality is that many players of this era, who would have made the Hall in earlier ones, won’t. And for some it will be a real injustice.

  26. Cameron Says:

    The only guys I can think of that’s been regarded as clean and hasn’t been disproven that are hall-worthy are Frank Thomas and Jeff Kent. That’s just off the top of my head, but they’re both hall-type guys with numbers to back it up, history of being clean, and vocal anti-steroid activists.

  27. Cameron Says:

    Oh, and Derek Jeter, Mo, and Trevor Hoffman.

  28. Hossrex Says:

    Jim: “In Oakland he was a decent player who suffered from lots of injuries, but there is no way that if McGwire’s career numbers were a continuation of what they were in Oakland would we consider him for the Hall.

    Let’s take a look at two hypothetical players. Player “A”, and player “B”.

    Player “A” had a remarkable early career. Clearly on the way to the hall of fame. However he sadly started breaking down physically. He went on to have a 15-ish year career that was impressive, but not legendary.

    I ask the public: “Is it fair that player ‘A’ doesn’t get into the hall of fame just because he suffered from an overabundance of injuries?”

    The inevitable answer: “TOUGH NOOGIES! It don’t matter if it’s fair, if he didn’t post the numbers, he doesn’t have a spot in cooperstown.”

    Now…

    Player “B” had a decent early career, but really turned it up in about 1997. He went on to post positively stellar numbers, but it turns out that he took steroids for some indeterminate period of time.

    I ask the public: “Is it fair that player ‘B’ doesn’t get into the hall of fame just because he used steroids?”

    The inevitable answer: “TOUGH NOOGIES! It don’t matter if he posted the numbers, IT WASN’T FAIR! He doesn’t have a spot in cooperstown.”

    So…

    Sometimes fair matters, and sometimes it doesn’t?

    How do we know when?

    If we’re not going to put players like Bonds, Clemens, Rodriguez, or Ramirez in the hall… shouldn’t we be looking for the lesser players? You know… the guys for whom it “wasn’t fair” that the big guys did ‘roids? Maybe try to figure out where the Bernie Williams’, Paul O’Neil’s, or Nomar Garciaparra’s of the world would have fit in without steroid riddled competition?

    Otherwise… who are we really helping by persecuting steroid guys?

    Sports writers.

    That’s who.

  29. Hossrex Says:

    Also… about the idea that Frank Thomas wasn’t using steroids…

    http://images.starcraftmazter.net/4chan/for_forums/lulz.jpg

    I think you meant to say Ken Griffey Jr.

  30. Cameron Says:

    Hey, I stand by the defense that Thomas is clean. If you want proof, he got injured and didn’t make a comeback until someone gave him a chance in 2006. …Because no one else wanted him and he got regular playing time. Then vanished a year or two later because his numbers dropped off right afterwards. One last flash in the pan to go out on. Just from his White Sox numbers though, he pretty much crushes a lot of guys from that era.

    …But I do feel like an ass for forgetting Griffey. And Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz.

  31. Chuck Says:

    Rex,

    Player A is Don Mattingly?

    Player B is Jeff Bagwell?

    And Nomar used steriods.

  32. Hossrex Says:

    I didn’t actually have players in mind for “A”, or “B”… but you could really plunk a dozen players into either slot.

    And yeah… I actually have little problem accepting Nomar did steroids. As I was writing his name, I almost deleted it… but I couldn’t think of any GOOD reason I thought Nomar had done steroids, except for “duh, of course he did.”

  33. Jim Says:

    Hossrex: I don’t think we view this much differently. If we rejecting the juicers or impose a juicer discount on their career stats, I have no problem with considering players like Williams and O’Neil, who in light of what we know now, had careers that now appear more impressive.

    I’ll throw out another thought, lets look a players from the 70’s & 80’s who washed out of the HoF voting early due to lack of support, whose career numbers look better today than say 10 years ago. In the Boston area, Dwight Evans has been mentioned in this regard as his career stats are similar to Andre Dawson’s and I’m sure there are others.

    But I also think you missed my primary point, which is, that because of fact and suspicion about steroids in this era, there will be some players will be treated unfairly with regard to HoF consideration.

    And yes Nomar was a juicer.

  34. Jacob Says:

    Paul O’Neil probably did steroids too. Hell, even Knoblauch did steroids & he didn’t look that big.

  35. JD Says:

    I’m in the camp of agreeing with the article, but also will consider players who played in the steroid era, and who had PED allegations, for the HOF. McGwire wouldn’t make it; I don’t think he would have made it if not for taking steroids. Bonds would make it; I think he would if he hadn’t. I know that’s not a perfect system and in some ways, to many, won’t make sense. But that’s how I’d approach it. Clemens would be in; Palmeiro would be out. Griffey, Thomas, Bagwell would be in. Sosa would be out. Only my opinion, folks.

  36. Big Daddy Says:

    One thing I think people miss on the whole steroid debate is this: I think people figure they took them so they could get bigger, and work less.

    Fact is, steroids don’t make you stronger. They simply allow you to work out more often, because your muscles recover faster.

    The Big Mac’s, Sosa’s, and Bonds of the world worked harder than most. The guys who used but were never much bigger are guys who most likely either did it for injury sake, or because they thought it was a magic pill, and all they had to do was keep working out the same way they always did (or maybe even less). Roids allow you to work out more often, and thus get bigger faster. The big guys were probably in the gym twice as much as everyone else. It wont make you a better hitter, that is a fact. And if you are working twice as hard as the other guys, I guess I don’t get the outcry.

    I am not saying the other guys are lazy either, they are just limited in how much they work out, because their recovery time is longer.

    Even if the roids helped add a few feet to your fly balls, it wasn’t adding much for the big guys. Say it added 10 feet, and some warning track balls went out. How many times did you see Bonds, Sosa, or Big Mac slip one over the fence? Most of their home runs weren’t exactly of the wind blown variety. It may have added a few to their totals, but it wasn’t the difference between 40 and 70.

    Where it DID help them was the fact it allowed them to stay on the field more, and get more ABs

    I personally have no issue with them using. I loved the shows they put on then, and therefor, I will not condemn them for it now. The only issue I have ever had with roids, is that if it made some young high school kid take them because he thought he had to to have a chance to make it.

    And one final point I heard a guy make on ESPN:

    We always seem to focus on the guys that were stars, or proven power hitters BEFORE they started taking (McGwire hit 49 as a rookie. Sosa hit 40, and missed 5 weeks due to a broken hand back in ‘96, and Bonds was a HOFer before he started taking in ‘99), and spend less time worrying about the guys who sucked before, AND after they used. Why is that? The guys that were stars were stars, they just made themselves bigger stars (no pun intended). In other words, you had to be a slugger before roids, to really be one of the elite ones after roids.

  37. Mike Felber Says:

    JD, Paul & Jim you make much sense. But my 2 cents about some misguided ideals, & factual mistakes above:

    It is hugely cynical, & illogical, to assume that all who are critical of users are bandwagon jumping hypocrites. Nor that they cannot understand the crimes, or would all commit them. Whaaa? Many Pros did not cheat.

    We are not demonizing players or arrogant just due to decrying warping of the game, hurting innocent players, changing its texture, standings, & records. Cameron, those changes you compare ‘roid use to are poor examples. Because those were all legal things that all abided by. The changes were not just stolen/advantaged gained by the cheaters. An enhancement that protects men is wholly distinct from cheating. That some coverage is overheated, or Big Mac was good anyway, does not invalidate the critiques. Nor is it at all likely that he could have not only stayed healthy (correct Patrick, though it is implausible he used these illegal drugs as merely medicines ever), nor reached those HR, thus BB heights…He was able to have a more compact & efficient swing due to power added through chemistry largely.

    There is much negative conditioning where some are furious about the whole deal-but it is misplaced to rage against the messengers.

    Where is the evidence that Mantle used? Who never lifted a weight. Maybe he would have-even that would be less bad since it was wholly legal in baseball & society then. But even if he took “pep pills”, they were not banned then (were in ‘73), nor do they have near the effect of ‘roids & HgH. So any review of what players did retroactively must rationally weigh 1) was it illegal, 2) how much did it alter performance? Even though the latter is ambiguous, we know ‘roids not only give endurance, unlike uppers, they transform the potential for strength & power, which translates into power hitting & pitching at minimum.

    Brian, it is senseless to try to take away what occurred, as most agree. But it is extremely blind to not only sentiment, but the basic nature of a game of hard won stats & records, to say “who cares about records? The mental * will have to suffice, but it is comical to say “just some chemicals that helped him grow…” No, it is cheating to seize an advantage that honest men do not take. It is basically unfair, & hurts those who play by the rules, sometimes seriously. For those who think that it is actually GOOD ’cause they will “do anything to succeed/win”: that is insanely solipsistic & amoral.

    It was 5-7% testing + that was the trigger to make testing mandatory.

    No, it is absolutely untrue that most knew about steroid use during the ‘98 HR race. Now, some close to the players either knew, or suspected. But it really is extraordinarily out of touch, or revisionist history, to not realize that the legions of “say it ain’t so” fans, & some closer to the players, were sincere in their shock, disgust, & dismay.

    Hoss, there is a problem w/your little dialectic. It is only “unfair’ in the broader sense that life is unfair that an injured player does not make the Hall. It would be unfair to invent performance to get him in. And it is fair that there are consequences to massive cheating that hurts the good guys. That is totally not “persecuting” players to see what they did clean, & wether they cared about what they did.

    Oh, & there is some demonizing, broad generalizations about sports writers. So they are all bad, sensationalistic, & hypocritical? Where is that evidence? And if some can be venal, shrill, or opportunistic, this excuses the crimes? Now please do not tell me it is not murder…duh yes. But it is really being cynical to dismiss the minimal idealism of those fans & baseball men who want the game not to be a farce. That other men & sports are corrupt does not let us off the hook from weighing what the dramatic impact & import of these illegal drugs were.

    The only point that the extreme apologists for the dopers have right: any objection to anonymous testing being made public. If we hold players to the rules, then the confidences promised, agreements which permitted the current structure, should be inviolate.

  38. Hossrex Says:

    Mike Felber: “It would be unfair to invent performance to get him in. And it is fair that there are consequences to massive cheating that hurts the good guys.”

    And regardless of how I feel morally about that statement… that logic will ensure that in a handful of years, there will be several consecutive years with no one elected to the hall of fame (or at most token previous “misses” like Blyleven).

    Regardless of how much fun this era was to watch?

    That’s sort of strange, no?

  39. Hossrex Says:

    Mike: “No, it is absolutely untrue that most knew about steroid use during the ‘98 HR race.

    http://alanisgood.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/1236664538680-300×273.jpg

  40. Jim Says:

    Mike: “No, it is absolutely untrue that most knew about steroid use during the ‘98 HR race.”

    I’d rethink that statement. While casual fans may not have been aware of steroids, serious sports fans were. The Olympics by that time were deep into doping scandals, numerous weightlifters and bodybuilders had come forward to speak about steroid abuse in those sports. In 98, anyone who regularly read the sports pages or sports radio/TV heard accusations that McGwire and Sosa were doping, whether they believed the accusers is a different question, but serious sports fans were aware of the issue.

  41. Mike Felber Says:

    Yes Hoss, if there are no or few folks elected to the Hall for several years, that would be appropriate. That something was “fun” does not mean that it is irrelevant how it was produced, whether it violated the rules, fair play, & how it hurt others & the game. It would actually be a bracing corrective to the do anything to get ahead/anything selfish morality that has hurt our country on a far larger scale. Making a stand on something like this has big symbolic impact, & could model what we should mirror in our political & personal lives.

    But I DO correct my statement above. It was ambiguous: though as you might glean from the context, I meant that most did not know about 1) Big Mac & Sammy being guilty, & 2) Most did not know that the usage was so widespread in baseball. “knew about steroid use” was meant to mean not about it existing in the world of sports, but about the use IN the ‘98 HR race. Many hearing accusations is a different matter.

    Jim, I am hugely aware of what was occurring in other sports. But the speculations on talk shows about baseball did not equal most thinking they were guilty, NOR did most serious fans conclude they were: we did not have any real evidence there. In fact, the accusations were clearly less then than after testing, & we started to prove how some cheated. And no, being big does not count as indicting you, as I have shown at length a bunch of times: some w/excellent genes (more common at the top levels) & the best trainers & nutrition can get there. And Sosa was “only” 200 lbs. during ‘98 season-he got bigger starting the next off season.

  42. Mike Felber Says:

    Big Daddy (is that a Big Ego name, or are you a large father?), you are mistaken about the nature of ‘roids, & what their usage means. You have oversimplifications & erroneous assumptions.

    1) ONE thing steroids do is let you work out more often. The major effect is that male hormone is the major impetus for muscle mass, so w/the same program, but a bunch of times more of it coursing through your system, you will synthesize more muscle.

    2) Muscular hypertrophy & strength are closely correlated. ‘Roids do make you stronger, all other things being equal. Even woman who are trying to become male, taking a normal male dosage of testosterone (not what the juicers take),gain muscle, strength, change their fat distribution pattern, grow more hair, it deepens voices, all absent exercising. For the best effects of course, you have to work out both hard & effectively.

    3) Other reasons exist why a user will not get as big. Genetics, including the peculiarities of how certain regimens are metabolized by the body. How smart is your training program, how adequate is your nutrition program.

    4) As someone who has lifted for years: you do not need to even recover faster to make dramatic progress, though that helps. Fact is, their is natural ceiling/diminishing returns for everything. Mainly, ‘roids increases that ceiling, sometimes dramatically. And you can keep trying different “stack” formulas, add enablers like insulin, etc…

    5) You hypotheses of only 10 feet added is a poor one. In all likliehood it is much more than that. Also 5a) It lets players have more power with a shorter, more controlled swing. Meaning: if you do not have to tee off, move your whole body as much, but can still get even the SAME power (& they are getting something more): you are more likely to see the ball longer, better, & connect more effectively.

    6) It likely adds a lot more than you think. Where is the evidence that Sosa was clean in ‘96? Either way, he utterly transformed his power & total game. Added to the extra AB, he gained the better part of 50% of body weight, most of it muscle! He almost certainly, as many dramatically increased his power due mostly to illegal PEDs.

    7)The fact that you enjoyed the show does not make a rational argument that thus you can & should never condemn the illegal actions that deprived many honest men of an equal shot & result, & made a mockery of hallowed records.

    8) Many players were made much better. Some just effectively stole jobs from others. Others were elite, at least briefly (Canseco, Camanetti,Giambi, others) who would NOT have been, playing clean. Sure, some were already great absent them: all the more reason to decry them taking things to become like immortal quality players, thus distorting our legacy & records.

  43. Michael Crowe Says:

    “I’ve always had bat speed, I’ve just learned to shorten my bat speed. I’ve learned how to be a better hitter.”

    I happen to believe this statement as the truth of it should be rather obvious to anyone who knows about hitting.

    “If you believe that statement then you will believe that the Cardinals will have numerous hitters who, under McQuire’s tutelage, will have 40 plus homerun seasons …”

    This statement, however, is ignorance gone to seed.

  44. Michael Crowe Says:

    Hossrex: “I’ve also never seen a person who didn’t enjoy the offense of the late 90s/early 2000s.”

    Well, you’ve never seen me, but I didn’t enjoy the offense of the late 90s/early 2000s. Being a Braves fan I rather enjoyed the 2 to 1 games so common during the Maddux/Glavine era. I like pitching. AL arena style baseball doesn’t thrill me the way it does those under thirty-five who grew up on it.

  45. Mike Felber Says:

    Shortening was enabled by having the physical strength to produce such force with a limited motion-which helps you keep your eyes level & see the ball better. This was maximized by the things that caused great strength, drugs chief amongst them.

    Ruth, Mantle, Williams did not have such compact swings. If you have great talent & minimal “holes” in a swing, you can generate additional torque w/longer, sweeping movement. Would Ruth have been able to hit many blasts that were Epci by any standard, (& using very heavy bats), in short, quick movements?

  46. Hossrex Says:

    Mike Felber: “if there are no or few folks elected to the Hall for several years, that would be appropriate. That something was “fun” does not mean that it is irrelevant how it was produced

    It’s. An. Entertainment. Sport.

    I defy you to name something more important about it than that it’s entertaining.

    Integrity? Nope. My accountant has integrity, and that dude is boring as hell to watch. Honor? I have a cousin in Iraq right now just bursting full of honor, and while he’s an awesome dude, I wouldn’t want to watch him do his job 3 hours per day. Truth? Nothing much happening there.

    Nope.

    Entertainment. That’s what baseball is.

    Just like you don’t care that it isn’t fair that Albert Belle isn’t in the hall of fame because of injuries, I don’t care that steroids were unfair to a handful of clean 4A players who never broke out.

    Entertainment.

    Michael Crowe: “I didn’t enjoy the offense of the late 90s/early 2000s. Being a Braves fan I rather enjoyed the 2 to 1 games so common during the Maddux/Glavine era.

    lol… the Bravos won a hundred and six games that year. I CAN IMAGINE YOU WERE HAVING FUN! Though I imagine you were having fun… not because you were watching 2 to 1 games… but because you were watching the Braves WIN 2 to 1.

    I wonder what your opinion would have been if the Braves were winning with offense instead of pitching, yet still consistently winning 6 to 5.

  47. Michael Crowe Says:

    Mike Felber: “Would Ruth have been able to hit many blast that were epic by any standard in short, quitck movements?”

    Who knows, if so he’d probably sans the heavy lumber. McQuire could before roids and so could Bonds – depends on the individual. The no stride, compact style of hitting we see a lot of today wasn’t common to the Mantle, Willians era. Players on average are bigger and stronger today with and without steroids.

  48. Michael Crowe Says:

    Hossrex: “I wonder what your opinion would have been if the Braves were winning with offense instead of pitching, yet still consistently winning 6 to 5.”

    Irritated. That was the case at times during the early 2000s. I really haven’t fully enjoyed Braves baseball since Maddux left in 2004, I think it was. I’m a Braves fan and will take a 9 to 8 win over the Mets, but a timely homerun behind a well pitched game is more fun to me than homerun derby.

    P.S. I have this guy I worked with called Larry McQuire who I used to have to send memos to on a regular basis. My apologies to Mark McGwire, whose name I can’t seem to get right today.

  49. Hossrex Says:

    Michael Crowe: “Being a Braves fan I rather enjoyed the 2 to 1 games so common during the Maddux/Glavine era.”

    When the Braves were good you enjoyed yourself.

    Michael Crowe: “Irritated. That was the case at times during the early 2000s. I really haven’t fully enjoyed Braves baseball since Maddux left in 2004″

    When the Braves were bad you didn’t enjoy yourself.

  50. Mike Felber Says:

    Hoss, you are such a card. Least-wise I wish you were only joking, re: the reductive way you attempt to emasculate meaning & fair play. Look, it would be suitable to say it was “only a game” if I was taking it to seriously, making it mean something beyond sport…But the impact, example & intrinsic interest of the game rests on it being fair & at least meaningful, non-fraudulent, non-joke of a competition. Ask Chuck, who after you butted heads w/him for a while, you have a respectful & productive online relationship with. Respect his opinion, &* the vast majority of folks who love the game, as a wise elder statement in this regard. Like would he agree with this:

    What is Arguably that it is entertaining is most important. But that value is sabotaged if it is not real. And hugely important, supporting this, is that it be an example of some standards of decency & reality. If it is all a farce, who cares? Might as well have it be Professional wrestling, or not care if many dog it, or throw games even, or use rockets or anti-gravity devices-as long as it is entertaining?! No, that cuts the heart & soul out of the game.

    It is not quite right that I do not “care” that Belle was restricted by injuries: it is just the way life is, I feel bad for anyone like that, even if truculent., but it IS fair that someone who cannot put up enough quality & time does not make the Hall. He is still very fortunate, in fame & money. Your next statement assumes that only a few inferior players did not use drugs, which is extreme & implausible. If we take amongst the most extreme estimates, that 80% used, that is still TONS who did not over a long period, & many more who were denied the Majors, or their measure of success, since they would not cheat. Though the #s may be much lower than that.

  51. Mike Felber Says:

    Mr. Crowe, he might shorten up the stroke if he had the advantage of modern bats, & knew how to use them. Maybe. When he borrowed a teammates “toothpick” 32 ouncer 1 game, he hit 2, & 1 HR went 535 feet. And of course players are still on average bigger & stronger absent drugs: but the drugs enabled the guys you mention to shorten their strokes more, & produce even more power & frequency of HRs. It is enough they had training advantages & knowledge the old timers never did. A Frankenstein-like physique infusion is too much to accept as kosher.

  52. KMCole Says:

    I have retroactively un-enjoyed the 90s.

    OK, that’s not possible. I enjoyed it, and still see it for what it was…

    I haven’t tied any important parts of my life to the game. Just enjoyment.

    My favorite songwriters, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, wrote many songs under the influence of marijuana, LSD, and (in John’s case) heroin.

    I have performed MANY feats of everyday normalcy while under the influence of caffeine.

    Those guys can put whatever they’d like into their bodies. The goal is to perform well enough to keep us watching and, therefore, themselves getting paid. Baseball knew it, America knew it. And we still watched.

  53. Chuck Says:

    Using a lighter bat actually lengthens the swing, not shortens it.

  54. Mike Felber Says:

    Some did not want to know, but it was not tested for, investigated…where is the evidence that most KNEW that so many were violating the law (& baseballs)? That is a convenient, or lazily cynical, assumption. So, all those folks who were so hurt by revelations, are lying that they, we, I, did not know? That is a crazy conclusion. Many things are unknown until proven. Revisionist hindsight makes some feel that we had any real awareness of what was done, by whom, & on what scale generally. We STILL do not know what % used.

    I respect your knowledge about such things Chuck. I felt that you need a bigger sweep to move a heavier bat at a comparable speed: but you are saying that it was just the conscious effort to shorten swings that make many do so, even while bats have tended to become lighter?

  55. Chuck Says:

    Lighter bat brings the hands more into the swing, which increases the circle they make during the swing, hence increasing it’s arc, or length.

    Since the swing in itself is a body movement, the heavier the bat, the more the big, core muscles control the swing, and the less the hands and arms play a part, thus shortening the arc.

  56. Michael Crowe Says:

    Hossrex: “When the Braves were good you enjoyed yourself .. When the Braves were bad you didn’t enjoy yourself.”

    You are correct sir. Might you say the same regarding the Dodgers? But more to the point, I enjoyed the close games behind good pitching in the 90s more than the slugfest – speaking both as a Braves fan and across the board, taking MLB as a whole.

  57. Michael Crowe Says:

    What I find interesting Mike is that no one that I’m aware of has eclipsed Ruth or Mantle as far as tape measure home runs go, and McGwire,Cecil Fielder, Conseco and others were bigger. Also take into consideration that the baseballs themselves are hotter today than sixty, eighty years ago. And I’m not sure Ruth got many those shots off 95mph plus fastballs either. Which leads me to speculate that being in “baseball shape” in more important than being able to bench pressing Prince Fielder after dinner.

  58. Raul Says:

    I’m a little confused by these heavy bat/light bat and long swing comments.

    What I consider the “swing” is the distance of the bat from where you keep it still before the pitch, to the point of contact. Once you make contact, to me, it’s irrelevant whether you loop the bat around or just drop it on the ground.

    Heavy bat or light bat, my bat is always in the same place before the pitch, and ideally, in the same place at the point of contact (well, depending on location of the pitch).

    A heavier bat to me just means I have to put more effort into getting the bat into the contact zone. A lighter bat just means I can probably afford to wait a bit more to recognize the pitch. But the slope/arc of my swing is going to be the same, regardless.

    At least, it should be.

  59. Mike Felber Says:

    I know after the swing is important, counter-intuitively, since what you do before contact effects what happens subsequently, so the former is a sign of the latter. Also, one can start w/their hands further back, swing more from the heels like Ruth, & step further into the pitch like he did…So Chuck, if you use more core muscles, I would figure that the hands could more jus’ flick out, & avoid the big, core movements you are talking about.

    Mr. Crowe, the trouble is that it is difficult to conclude something from one case. Ruth, like great athletes do often, an exception, both in his skills & the nature of his swing (which he did by defying the conventional wisdom). The question is whether he could have hit it even FURTHER w/lighter, better bats. A heavier bat will propel a ball further all other things being equal, but usually one cannot produce enough speed to swing a 40 ouncer (the lightest Ruth routinely ever used, I understand) quick enough to propel a ball as far as a bat ~ 32 Oz.

    But generally being stronger helps someone move the bat quicker. It is not like strength directly measures this: but whatever level you are at is GENERALLY enhanced. But it is not universal: there is range & ease of motion, & a point of diminishing return or worse. Otherwise the top powerlifters would be able to hit 700″ HRs, or throw 110 + MPH.

  60. Michael Crowe Says:

    I agree Mike. Ted Williams had a perfect stroke, as did Ruth plus strength, and it was said that Mantle’s legs and high torque follow through was the secrete to his power. Mantle got more onto the ball than McGwire, or perhaps anyone. I remember seeing that catwalk shot Cansaco hit in Tampa a few years ago and noticing it was all arm strength. Things have changed. I had this physics teacher tell me once that a baseball hit by a human being with a wood bat is only going to go so far at the end of the day. That the difference between a 480 foot shot and a 500 footer was emence.

  61. Raul Says:

    The longest home runs that I can remember were the one Andres Galarraga hit in Florida, and I remember once that Vladimir Guerrero crushed one in Montreal against the Braves, I think.

    I remember a home run that Mark McGwire once hit off Randy Johnson that was a bomb.

    Uh…I heard about Adam Dunn’s homer in Cinci a few years ago but I didn’t actually see it.

    There were rumors that Mickey Mantle nearly hit one out of Yankee Stadium, which I find hard to believe — only because I’ve sat in those right-field bleachers many times and I can’t imagine in my wildest dreams someone even reaching that point. But who knows?

    *I just did a Google search and apparently the Mick hit 660-foot bombs. Unbelievable.

  62. Chuck Says:

    While this isn’t the time or forum for a hitting clinic, (nor is it usually a free service)..

    Raul,

    You’re right. A guy with solid mechanics and who is in the “zone” should swing the same pretty much all the time, all the hands do is make the slight adjustment to where the ball is in the zone. However, let’s say you’re up, 2-0 count, you KNOW the pitcher’s has to throw a strike. You’re all geared up, ready to go New Jack City on his weakass shit, and all of a sudden the SOB throws you a changeup. Here’s this big 6′4″ power hitter swinging like Ichiro..all hands.

    Because your body’s already committed, you have to compensate with your hands, and because they’ve laid back and are now further from your body, they have to travel further to the contact point, making the swing arc longer.

    Mike,

    You WANT core movement. Throwing a ball is just as much a core movement as hitting one. That’s why the hardest pitch to master and throw consistently is a changeup. Unless, as I explained to Raul above, you’re a hands hitter like Ichiro or have been fooled on a pitch, the only responsibility your hands have is not dropping the bat.

  63. Raul Says:

    True @ Chuck. No doubt about it.

    The only thing I’d say is that if I’m up 2-0 as the batter, I’m looking off-speed, because I don’t think many pitchers have the cojones to groove in a fastball to get back in the count. Although I think Curt Schilling might.

    But now we’re getting into the mind games of baseball.

  64. Chuck Says:

    “But now we’re getting into the mind games of baseball”

    Which probably pisses the stat guys off, because without the ability to put a number on something, they’re like a deer in headlights.

  65. Mike Felber Says:

    Yes, I know about rotating & engaging your hips & such. Yet the strength that often ‘roided guys have seems to allow them less body movement, a shorter stroke, thus a bit longer to react. It is true that someone like Mantle put more into his swing than a Big Mac, though the distances around so many HRs are very much in dispute. Some physics guys do not think people can reach 500 feet (under normal conditions). Why 20′ (4% in this case) is an “immense” difference is beyond me though.

    Raul, the shot you are speaking of is Mantle in ‘63, 11th inning walk off. It is well established, no rumor at all. Yogi jumped up & exclaimed “there it is”, thinking it was going out of the park. It hit 2′ off the top, at an edifice that was installed not so long before. This was the old Yankee Stadium, a bit bigger, though the exact distance compared to now in where the right field roof was in height & distance I do not know. But the big question to determine how far it would have gone-Mantle said it was his hardest shot ever-was whether the ball was still rising when it hit the thing. Now, most all witnesses said it was, but I have also read that this is a common optical illusion. The ball did bounce all the way back to the infield.

    Ruth had one in ‘26, after the World Series, that was likely his best ever. Wilkes Barre PA exhibition game. A researcher in the last few years claimed it was well over 600, at the time measured (only time Ruth asked for this) at 650′.

  66. Chuck Says:

    “Round bat, round ball, hit it square.”

    Mantle hit longer homers than McGwire because he was a better hitter, not because of the size of his biceps or forearms.

    Steriods make players stronger, but not better hitters. When a player is stronger, those down the barrel, off the end of the bat hits that would have been warning track fly balls now leave the park.

    Mark McGwire is full of s*it if he truly believes steriods didn’t help him. He said he would have retired after the ‘96 season because of his knee and back problems. After the ‘96 seasons, McGwire had 329 homers.

    Steriods helped him hit 254 homers.

  67. KMCole Says:

    Joe Posnanski (SI) has a BRILLIANT piece on this topic.

    I’m too lazy to link it, but you all know how to find it. It will be worth your time.

  68. Raul Says:

    I doubt Posnanski is going to write something I haven’t already read or thought myself.

  69. Patrick Says:

    I’m glad McGwire admitted that he juiced for 10 years. He single handedly changed my opinion on the entire era. I used to say “if Mac isn’t a HOFer, who is?”

    I’ve never tried steroids but hitting sure got a lot easier when I was at my strongest. You can remain controlled and still swing for power. Line outs to left become HR’s. The ball jumps off of your bat. I can only imagine what it does for a guy like McGwire…..wait, I don’t have to imagine. He hit 70 freakin’ homers.

    If you already know how to swing a bat, increased strength helps immensely.

    I was making a case for McGriff on one of the other threads and someone mentioned that maybe he juiced too. Good point. I have no idea. Maybe Edgar Martinez did too.

    Maybe guys from the roid years are going to have to pass a polygraph to gain entrance to the Hall. That would be in perfect tune with the rest of our invasive society

    I’ll say this. The silence from players not yet accused speaks volumes. That makes me think that he who is without sin can throw the first stone, yet few stones have been thrown.

  70. Mike Felber Says:

    I agree with all that Patrick. We should not require a lie detector, but some reasonable assurances that a guy did not get much better due to illegal PEDs is only right. Though silence is not near proof, I am sure many who are quiet have at least something to hide.

    Mantle was a better hitter, though bombs in themselves do not show how good you are. If that was so, Kingman would be amongst the elite. But he could ’swing big” & still hit very well. I imagine Big mac might have hit even further if he did, but he would have connected much less often.

  71. Mike Felber Says:

    I read the Posnanski piece, & others. While I agree that we should forgive-the definition of which is not to gold anger & resentment-that is wholly distinct from accepting his explanation as true, or deciding that he is sincere or acting with integrity. I would like to give him the benefit of the doubt about his honesty. But while he may be saying what he believes, at best he is wholly deluded re: the effect of steroids & HgH. Here is a very good article on,& interview of, a recognized expert on the subject.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/david_epstein/01/12/yesalis.mcgwire/index.html

    There are also indications that it seems likely he was doing it for what he almost certainly got from it: enhanced power. If so, the best we can say is that the retroactive potential to believe a twisted, implausible truth is as monstrously strong as his arms were. Consider these facts:

    Big Mac’s “Special Sauce” I see listed here. He did NOT take a recovery dose of 4 drugs, or akin to what a medical dose/patient would take. If you have low testosterone, say are aging, have a hormonal problem, are an AID patient, or even taking a preemptive anti aging course: the dosage would be what a healthy man gets, not a few times what he could naturally produce!

    Here are some very pertinent questions for him, posed by Mike Lupica:

    1) If you cannot recall what you were taking, how do you know it was a low dosage? (it was not, by the way).

    2) Who supplied you?

    3) We are supposed to believe you took steroids for a decade 9& I would add carefully managed your workout regimen, & likely nutrition), but cannot recall the names of the drugs you took?

    Other experts said that the substances,, regardless of dosages, were inappropriate for the kind of “healing” he was seeking. Winstrol V is particularly known to increase joint pain, not alleviate it. “Winstrol would be literally your last choice steroid wise if you were trying to rehab or prehab an injury”. ANthony Roberts, Blogger, Trainer, & steroid expert.

    The FBI informant said that “the needles were thick, the anabolic steroids were potent & the injections were frequent & furtive”. Daily News. He took vetinary drugs that were oil based-stayed in the system a long time, “dirty” by today’s standards. The drugs were cheap.

    Canseco said that LaRussa told a blatant lie about his ignorance of McGuire’s usage. The Manager WAS quoted as saying Canseco used back then, & I do not doubt him that he talked about it openly in the clubhouse. McGuire said none of Canseco’s allegations re: injections & the details of same. Canseco said it is very strange, & again, I believe him. My only question is how much is McGuire lying to us, & how much is he lying to himself.

    but even believing the latter is giving him a large, unusual benefit of the doubt.

  72. Mike Felber Says:

    Typo, “hold” anger. And I meant at the end that Big Mac denied all of Canseco’s allegations. big Mac is sympathetic & kind in many ways: yet he is not honest with, & true to himself, at best. I do not see him as a healthy & integrated personality. He talks a lot about his great discipline at the plate, his mental strength to execute form properly, & not let past performance bother him.

    But he does not seem to have the mental strength to even admit his motivations for taking PEDs, all the more tragically if even in denial himself. That seems a greater weakness than just denying the additive help the drugs gave him. I truly feel badly for him, but it is not mostly petty & unforgiving people after him.

    He has seemingly done barely enough to even attempt a public rehabilitation. Maybe not even enough to be conscious of his own past & mind.

    Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

  73. Gary Says:

    I wanted to say that the Barry Code baseball website has a new feature called the Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED) filter on his site. With it you can eliminate players from the lists by using this filter. Check it out when you get a chance. It is pretty cool.

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