FanDuel - WFBC

July 30, 2009

Ortiz and Ramirez Said to Be on 2003 Doping List: Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, the sluggers who propelled the Boston Red Sox to end an 86-year World Series championship drought and to capture another title three years later, were among the roughly 100 Major League Baseball players to test positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003, according to lawyers with knowledge of the results.

posted by BornIcon to baseball at 01:11 PM - 113 comments

This doesn't come as a surprise.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 01:14 PM on July 30

So we're just going to get this in dribs and drabs? If they're going to just keep leaking this stuff, why not just leak everyone?

posted by opel70 at 01:24 PM on July 30

Probably not but it's still a story considering that Big Papi has always strongly denied using PED's.

posted by BornIcon at 01:25 PM on July 30

So we're just going to get this in dribs and drabs? If they're going to just keep leaking this stuff, why not just leak everyone?

The number of barely news stories they've been able to drag out of this one list is quite astounding. Once the list is published, they can't produce any "said to be on" stories anymore.

posted by dfleming at 01:29 PM on July 30

according to lawyers with knowledge of the results

More than likely government lawyers, trying to justify their existence somehow in this matter.

So, of about 100 on the list, we only have around 94 more stories to go? At the rate the government lawyers are going (say 6 disclosures per year), the last should be revealed about the time the government lawyers are ready to cash in their retirement.

posted by graymatters at 01:40 PM on July 30

Excellent reporting by the New York post...once again pulling illegally obtained information from criminal sources, none of which can be confirmed/refuted since the info is under a court order seal.

posted by bdaddy at 02:04 PM on July 30

These aren't "barely news stories." The list is part of an ongoing federal investigation of drug abuse in baseball. Every player on the list is a subject of interest that federal agents plan to question. Criminal indictments could be pursued. The list is also the subject of major litigation, and from the looks of things, there have been enough people with access to it that we can count on every name coming out -- either in drip drip drip fashion or in one big document drop.

If I'm the agent or lawyer for a client and I know he's on the list, I would encourage him today to get out in front of the story and admit his past transgressions. It's clearly all going to come out.

As for Ortiz and Ramirez, if this is true it's a crying shame. Boston's historic World Series victory is cheapened.

posted by rcade at 02:24 PM on July 30

Boston's historic World Series victory is cheapened.

Because they beat out three teams of choirboys.

posted by yerfatma at 02:39 PM on July 30

As for Ortiz and Ramirez, if this is true it's a crying shame. Boston's historic World Series victory is cheapened.

I bet if you ask a Red Sox fan if they really care whether or not Ortiz and Ramirez' PED usage during their 2 World Series victories in any way "cheapened" it, I believe that it wouldn't matter to them considering that Ortiz and Ramirez were probably hitting against pitchers that were juicing as well.

posted by BornIcon at 02:45 PM on July 30

This doesn't come as a surprise.

You are correct, sir !

posted by tommytrump at 02:54 PM on July 30

If I'm the agent or lawyer for a client and I know he's on the list, I would encourage him today to get out in front of the story and admit his past transgressions. It's clearly all going to come out.

Not me. First, these are still allegations. They are only confirmed anonymously, so we certainly can't be confident in the truth of these stories. So, refusing to discuss these allegations will confirm the story to some and let your fans continue to deny. Second, these are coming out so slowly, and athletes careers are so short, I would worry about it if and when it ever does come out.

posted by bperk at 03:05 PM on July 30

You know who I feel the worst for? Barry Bonds, who apparently did nothing that everyone else wasn't also doing (and from what I've understood, he only started using whatever PEDs he did after he saw the success and adulation of McGwire and Sosa), who stopped when the sport put them on the "do not use" list, has been blackballed from the game for two years, and for what? So that guys like Ramirez, A-Rod, and others could stay in because they weren't scapegoats?

Bonds could have had 800HR by now, had his 3,000th hit, and given that Ruth injected himself with sheep testosterone, and Aaron took greenies, you can't really dismiss Bonds as a product of PEDs. From wikipedia:

If he ever returns to Major League Baseball, Bonds would be within close range of several significant hitting milestones: he needs just 65 hits to reach 3,000, 4 runs batted in to reach 2,000, and 38 home runs to reach 800. He needs 69 more runs scored to move past Rickey Henderson as the all-time runs champion, and 37 extra base hits to move past Hank Aaron as the all-time extra base hits champion.
And when in-contention teams are out scouring for that needed bat for a playoff push, there is the greatest hitter who ever lived, effectively kicked out of the game for no reason.

posted by hincandenza at 03:23 PM on July 30

...there is the greatest hitter who ever lived, effectively kicked out of the game for no reason.

I'm a huge mark for Barry Bonds so that's not going to really help with me agreeing with you. I know what part of your argument people will take out of context and that's the part where you said, "..effectively kicked out of the game for no reason" when even though he was never found guilty of using PED's, people would look at him and his personality and get turned off. Bonds IMHO, is the greatest baseball player that I've ever seen, 'roids or no 'roids and even though it may be too late, he deserved a second chance to finish what he started in breaking those records.

posted by BornIcon at 03:58 PM on July 30

Because they beat out three teams of choirboys.

Have to agree. The Red Sox weren't the only bad apples in the bunch, if the allegations are correct.

effectively kicked out of the game for no reason.

I agree that Bonds has been made something of a scapegoat for the disgrace of PED's in baseball, but I am also of the opinion that baseball teams are under no obligation to hire him as a player either. Whether there is collusion on the part of MLB or it's teams has yet to be determined.

posted by THX-1138 at 04:23 PM on July 30

With these Sox players slowly being revealed, amazing George Mitchell didn't find anything on any of them... /tongue in cheek. A little.

posted by inigo2 at 04:44 PM on July 30

Whether there is collusion on the part of MLB or it's teams has yet to be determined.

Well it never will be determined, but it happened without a doubt. A guy who had an OPS of 1.045 in his last year, a year in which testing was being conducted and he didn't fail any tests, and nobody has a spot for him? NOBODY? Even when he offers himself at pretty much league minimum? Please. I don't care if he murdered his wife, someone would be willing to deal with that fallout for a guy who can still get on base and hit for power...they've shown it before. There's no doubt there's collusion there.

posted by bdaddy at 04:56 PM on July 30

Boston's historic World Series victory is cheapened.

PED's, and those that use them, have cheapened many aspects of MLB.

I don't care if he murdered his wife, someone would be willing to deal with that fallout for a guy who can still get on base and hit for power...they've shown it before.

Good thing he didn't murder a dog...

posted by mjkredliner at 04:57 PM on July 30

With these Sox players slowly being revealed, amazing George Mitchell didn't find anything on any of them...

That's actually a very good point considering that George Mitchell is a part of the Red Sox, I believe. Remember, justice is blind.

posted by BornIcon at 04:59 PM on July 30

A guy who had an OPS of 1.045 in his last year, a year in which testing was being conducted and he didn't fail any tests, and nobody has a spot for him? NOBODY?

I understand that Jenna Jameson is pretty good in the sack too, but that doesn't mean I want to sleep with her.

posted by THX-1138 at 05:03 PM on July 30

We need to revisit why we're so offended by athletes who use PEDs. Enough said.

posted by Spitztengle at 05:18 PM on July 30

Because they beat out three teams of choirboys.

The Sox win is still historic, but it's just not as compelling a story if won by cheaters during an era of cheaters, in hindsight. History will not be kind to this era of baseball.

posted by rcade at 05:39 PM on July 30

I understand that Jenna Jameson is pretty good in the sack too, but that doesn't mean I want to sleep with her.

But somebody would.

posted by tron7 at 05:47 PM on July 30

NESN just read a statement from Ortiz that he has been told that he did indeed test positive in 2003. (I was not aware that the players had not been advised of their results at the time.) Ortiz also said that he is trying to find out exactly what he tested positive for, so he can try to figure out what he did. He's speaking as I type. More later.

posted by Howard_T at 05:49 PM on July 30

When Ortiz started running his mouth about how guys who test positive for PEDs should be banned for the entire season, it just struck me he must have used them in the past. It seems the only ones who bring up the subject are the same ones who have used them and/or have had a positive test in the past. Basically, what we have learned, in my opinion, is that every major league player who has ever put up huge numbers in recent seasons probably used performance enhancing drugs.

posted by dyams at 05:51 PM on July 30

Update: Ortiz said nothing more in answering questions. At one time in the past he had said something about using a dietary supplement in the Dominican Republic, but that he was not aware that it contained anything questionable. The gist of it is that once he finds out what he took, he'll share the news. At least he's trying to be up front with this.

posted by Howard_T at 05:53 PM on July 30

But somebody would.

To continue the thought, do you think that if offered, Bonds would sign with an independent league team to try and get back in? Or maybe play in Japan? Or would he rather not play at all if he isn't offered a spot in the bigs? Rickey did everything he could to keep playing and he is in the Hall. Maybe Bonds is above lowering himself to play at a so-called lower level of baseball. Maybe his induction in Cooperstown is guaranteed. But I reiterate that MLB is under no obligation to give him a roster spot.

posted by THX-1138 at 06:03 PM on July 30

They broke the curse with chemicals.

posted by Drood at 07:41 PM on July 30

The R-Sox win is most certainly cheapened in my view. I'm sure there are plenty of others out there that have such a distaste for the players that are found to have used PED's that any achievements they have are now tainted.

While I recognize that Bonds/McGwire/Sosa/etc. hit a shit-load of homers, now all of their homers have been cheapened.
Similarily, the Sox win is cheapened as well.

BTW, Jenna only does scenes with women anymore.

posted by dviking at 07:50 PM on July 30

BTW, Jenna only does scenes with women anymore.

AHA!!

Wait a second. What?

posted by THX-1138 at 08:07 PM on July 30

posted by tommytrump at 08:14 PM on July 30

Everything pre-1947 is cheapened when racist or racism-benefiting ballplayers like Ruth, Cobb, and Hornsby never faced for example a Dominican pitcher in his prime like Pedro Martinez. Not to mention how they were all hopped up on amphetamines, playing only leisurely day games against illiterate farmboy pitchers with 80mph fastballs and no concept of a "bullpen". I'd hit .344 lifetime too if 1-2 at bats a game came against a tired starter and not a 100mph fireballing relief specialist fresh from the pen. I'd win an ERA crown too if I never had to face the 9% of dark-skinner major leaguers who hail from the tiny nation of the Dominican Republic, when I never had Ichiro slapping bloop singles all over the fucking field.

Hey, that's fun! I can rewrite history however I feel! I personally don't think anything's cheapened, since it's the era that was played and from what I can tell the playing field was as level as at any time. Barry Bonds had to face pitchers like Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte among others, so... hey, it's still the same game.

Part of the reason for the 2003 "anonymous" testing was supposed to be a safe harbor for players is that it would help evaluate the state of the game without penalty. If we're going to leak the names and tar-and-feather the tested players, then really it wasn't without penalty. It's not unlike creating a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and then lynching those who come forward.

THX-1138: To continue the thought, do you think that if offered, Bonds would sign with an independent league team to try and get back in? Or maybe play in Japan? Or would he rather not play at all if he isn't offered a spot in the bigs? Rickey did everything he could to keep playing and he is in the Hall. Maybe Bonds is above lowering himself to play at a so-called lower level of baseball. Maybe his induction in Cooperstown is guaranteed. But I reiterate that MLB is under no obligation to give him a roster spot.
First, let me response to a sentence: "Maybe his induction in Cooperstown is guaranteed". The very fact you typed that sickens me. There should be no "maybe" about it, even though some dickless writers will no doubt vote to keep him out, possibly for some time. Barry Bonds should be in a room with maybe 5-10 other players like Ruth, Aaron, Mays, and Williams, because those guys are part of the inner sanctum of HoF players.

As for playing in Japan- why should he? He's not a dead-from-the-neck-down player trying to "prove" himself after he'd lost a step. Again, Bonds' last year was in 2007, when his OPS was 1.045. He was only 25 plate-appearances from being the official OPS leader in the NL over Chipper Jones. His OBP was .480, which led the majors even though he didn't have enough PA: they simply added the number of hitless appearances to make him qualify, and he *still* led the majors.

He goes unsigned in 2008, and offered his services at league minimum, with the salary donated to charity- which effectively means his pittance of a salary would be a tax write-off for the team that signed him.

So yes, when I read a post like this at the inestimable Mariners' fan site USSMariner.com, bemoaning how the +34 runs created by their top 3 bats being erased by their bottom 5 hitters including DH, when I look at how the Mariners were still in contention going into the All-Star break, and you read comments the Mariners fans wishing they had one more bat in the lineup... yeah, I do think the only explanation for Barry Bonds not being in a major league uniform is collusion. Hell, a recent poll on ESPN had a majority of fans saying they would like their team to consider pursuing Michael Vick, and that guy did something genuinely rotten and harmful.

Barry Bonds is not the devil, and in 2009 we can't even pretend he was a rarity of an offender, in so much as he actually "offended" by briefly taking legal (with a prescription) chemicals that weren't even banned by baseball at the time. Ortiz, Ramirez, and A-Rod are all cheered heartily by their fans, but we're supposed to believe not one team in the majors is willing to take a leap on Barry Bonds and the 100+ runs he'd create in their lineup? We're supposed to believe that those teams finishing just 2-3 wins out of the playoffs last year absolutely positively had zero interest in Barry Bonds, and weren't say instructed or agreed as a group- "colluded", so to speak- to refuse to pursue his services?

Bullshit. That is complete and utter bullshit.

posted by hincandenza at 08:21 PM on July 30

Why hasn't anyone signed Bonds? His chemical problems aside (just assume they don't exist), he has the reputation of not being a team player. Team chemistries (pardon the pun) are sometimes delicate, and maybe some of these teams don't want a prima donna prick in their clubhouse.

posted by jm_mosier at 08:31 PM on July 30

All these complaints about no team picking up Bonds but no mention of the perjury and obstruction of justice charges? Allegedly lying to a federal grand jury?

No team was/is going to touch a player facing at best a season of house arrest (worst case was 5 to 30, it'll never happen) either from a roster or public relations standpoint. They are going through another round of tedious appeals right now but the trial was scheduled to start in the middle of spring training. No sane team would touch Bonds with a pole given that he might be spending months tied up in a court case at short notice.

Bonds is about as employable as Jayson Blair.

posted by deflated at 10:09 PM on July 30

The R-Sox win is most certainly cheapened in my view. I'm sure there are plenty of others out there that have such a distaste for the players that are found to have used PED's that any achievements they have are now tainted.

See, I don't buy that. If it is true that there are 100 players who tested positive, that means on average there's 3-4 players per team who tested positive for PEDs. If Ortiz and Ramirez are the only to BoSox who tested positive (not saying they are the only two, but only two names that've come out from the BoSox), then they are actually ahead of the curve. I HIGHLY doubt that other teams, such as the Yankees or Cardinals, didn't have PED players if 100 players tested positive.

posted by jmd82 at 10:13 PM on July 30

And Bonds to the Mariners? Taking Griffey's DH role after all the hoopla over Junior's farewell season, #24 bobblehead nights every two weeks? Or maybe he could be the designated pylon in LF in the AL's best defensive outfield, offsetting a big chunk of the hitting he brings with the extra doubles that are no longer outs for that flyball staff pitching at Safeco. Makes no sense for the Mariners.

posted by deflated at 10:22 PM on July 30

Prior to the season it might have made sense, but then they went and got Griffey for the sentimental value. One year of Bonds instead of the mediocre Sweeney-Griffey platoon (seriously, who platoons the DH position?!?) and they might be 2-3 wins better and thus just one good Angels-Mariners series from leading their division.

The point is that teams all have a need for a potent bat, and Bonds is that in spades- even with the time off. It's inconceivable that not one of the 30 major league franchises who could use a good, super-cheap bat would all avoid Bonds in both 2008 and 2009. These same teams trade for mediocre hitters at the trade deadline just because they're the only option to improve over below-replacement level performance. And all the while, a fantastic- legendary, HoF quality- hitter is sitting on his couch.

As for Bonds employability: the federal case is on hold until next year, so the whole of 2009 he would have been free and clear from any possibility of being hauled off on anything related to the (trumped up, overblown, let's make our careers on this bullshit) federal case. And it's stupid, stupid, STUPID bullshit on your part to claim that "media" problems should prevent a team from hiring Bonds. If he hit 30HR, the fans won't care no matter how much the media bleats.

I think, deflated, you have let the parrots in the media do your thinking for you. Just like my own otherwise sensible father began parroting "Oh, that Al Gore talks like he's the smartest kid in class" just as he heard it on the radio and by the teevee pundits back in 2000- even though he'd be the first to suggest any President should be the smartest kid in class- and let that color his opinion of a man he'd never met. The same way, you've been told over and over that Barry Bonds is a bad man, an angry negro, not a team player (but probably more of a team player than surly Jeff Kent when he was on the Giants), etc, etc, etc.

Of course, you've never met Barry Bonds, but even if you had and everything you seem to believe is true... he's still the best hitter the game's ever seen, and his last season was statistical as good as anyone else in the majors had had. And winning has a way of making teammates get along, so a team that was in the thick of a playoff chase due in no small part to a DH with a 1.000+ OPS wouldn't be telling you what an asshole he is, they'd be telling you how great it is that he's on the team while they dream of how they'll spend their World Series bonus check.

Ted Williams was no prize, but they kept fucking employing him until he decided to retire because he was the best goddamn hitter anyone had ever seen. Lots of successful major leaguers are prima donnas or jerks or surly or even criminal. The worst you can say about Bonds is "The writers don't like him", which given the nature of sportswriters actually speaks volumes on behalf the quality of Bonds' character. :)

posted by hincandenza at 12:05 AM on July 31

hal,

While I won't pretend to know Bonds' character, I will pretend to think that most owners, GMs and other team personnel know what is and isn't right for their ball club.

There is no doubt that Barry Bonds could be (and probably would be) an asset to most clubs - especially those in the playoff hunt - when strictly basing it on stats and prior ability. On an AL club, the benefit may be higher because you have the chance to remove the possible defensive liability that he now is.

But...just as much as we can't personally confirm that he is a jerk in the locker room or that he is what the media describes, we also can't confirm what else he is - known or unknown.

Collusion is definitely a strong possibility in what has kept Bonds out of the game. But usually collusion is not without warrant. And for any of us to think we know completely the reasoning behind it, it all happens to be just as speculative as the "cancer in the locker room" angle.

All I'm saying is that I find it funny that one would argue a point claiming the other ignorant, all the while not having facts of their own. Which, by the way, none of us have.

As far as Ortiz and Manny are concerned, I agree with some of the posters above:

A) Please God, let all the names come out. I would love, love, love to just get this over with so we can enjoy the game for the game and not because since someone won, they must have cheated.

B) It does cheapen the BoSox's success, but not any more or any less than every other team with players that have been associated with steroids. (Which appears to be every one)

posted by BoKnows at 01:07 AM on July 31

See, I don't buy that. If it is true that there are 100 players who tested positive, that means on average there's 3-4 players per team who tested positive for PEDs. If Ortiz and Ramirez are the only to BoSox who tested positive (not saying they are the only two, but only two names that've come out from the BoSox), then they are actually ahead of the curve. I HIGHLY doubt that other teams, such as the Yankees or Cardinals, didn't have PED players if 100 players tested positive

So, because the other teams may have lost with "cheaters" that makes it okay?

My point is that any achievement that involved steroids is tainted. Be it the World Series or the home run title. It's my opinion, and that of others, you're free to buy it or not.

posted by dviking at 01:48 AM on July 31

hincandenza, what did I ever say about Bonds character? My points on the Mariners were not about image (Bonds couldn't be more abrasive than Bedard and Silva), they were:

1) that no-one is replacing Griffey in the lineup in his return to Seattle, Griffey's presence is a tremendous marketing and PR boost to the team that Bonds could not hope to match as a DH. Griffey = pure profits to the Mariners this year (and after last season you can bet the ownership wants some of their losses back). We're talking tens of thousands of tickets for people wanting to relive 1995. 2) if you stick Bonds in the outfield you gut the teams biggest strength - outfield defence in a spacious home park - for the sake of getting his bat into the lineup. The Mariners continue to run out some pretty extreme flyball pitchers (Washburn, Rowland-Smith, Olsen, Vargas) with great success because that outfield gets to everything. Washburn is not having a career year because he eats right, its having three CFs behind him. He's got the lowest BABIP of all pitchers with 90 IP, its a great defence. You add Bonds to it, your defence is much, much worse.

Added to the unknown (at the start of the season) impact of the federal trial and I don't see why the Mariners would want to take the risk, particularly coming off a 100 loss season. Now that they are surprisingly close to the Angels and Rangers saying that they should have signed Bonds instead of Griffey/Sweeney is pretty damn revisionist. Who plans for the post-season when you're the first $100M payroll to lose 100 games and you've still got 3 more years of Carlos Silva on the books?

You make it sound like fantasy baseball, all that matters is adding that slash line. Mariners made a decent business decision there.

posted by deflated at 03:07 AM on July 31

Sorry, I may have been mixing some of your posts with others stating authoritatively about what a bad person Bonds was (to which I'd note that guys like Milton Bradley stay employed, among many others). :)

You're right about Griffey- it was a special case for PR only, during what was seen as a likely pure rebuilding year devoid of any excitement, and not a team that was improbably in the hunt at the AS break and still not technically out of it (on paper). But if it weren't Griffey, if it was just Sweeney as the DH and the M's had a chance to pick up a bat like Bonds before the AS break to replace their current DH that's stealing runs from the team... don't they make that move in a heartbeat? Don't the M's wish that their DH had Bondsian numbers?

And can we really say that all 30 teams had special case Griffey-in-his-retirement-year final lap positions for both 2008 and 2009?

We can't of course, which is why collusion- despite what BoKnows says about it being okay even if true- is very likely and illegal. Sure, by 2010 the "not picking up Bonds for a swan song dirt cheap bat" will make sense with him 2 years out of the game. But the man was robbed of the last couple of years of his career by collusion as surely as Curt Flood. And I would have liked to see Bonds get his 3,000 hit, to see him get his 2,000 RBI, maybe even an 800th HR. Because I love the sport of baseball, and not the hand-wringy morality play writers seem to think it is.

posted by hincandenza at 04:03 AM on July 31

At least he's trying to be up front with this.

I want to talk about this situation and I will as soon as I have more answers. In the meantime I want to let you know how I am approaching this situation. One, I have already contacted the Players Association to confirm if this report is true. I have just been told that the report is true. Based on the way I have lived my life, I am surprised to learn I tested positive. Two, I will find out what I tested positive for. And, three, based on whatever I learn, I will share this information with my club and the public. You know me - I will not hide and I will not make excuses.

I suppose it's conceivable that the test gave a false positive, but (barring that) I'm sick of hearing players say that there was something hidden in something they were taking that they thought was clean. Look, I'm not here to crucify players for using steroids or other drugs back when they weren't banned by baseball, and in fact, I'm disgusted that names keep leaking off of this list that was supposed to be confidential and to help baseball determine if they had a situation with PEDs that they needed to address. Just once, though, If this situation comes up, I would like to hear a player say, "Yes, I used [whatever drug] back then. It wasn't banned at the time, and I'm not on it now." Is that so hard? I'm not asking anyone to come forward whose name hasn't been leaked. Just quit denying once it happens. I'm not stupid. I understand what was going on. Don't treat me like an idiot.

posted by bender at 08:11 AM on July 31

On the Barry Bonds issue, I'm with Hal. He is too good not to be playing for anyone.

posted by bender at 08:12 AM on July 31

The list is part of an ongoing federal investigation of drug abuse in baseball. Every player on the list is a subject of interest that federal agents plan to question. Criminal indictments could be pursued. .

I think the question is why? The tests were in 2003. I think federal limitations is 5 years, which means indictments would have to have been made a year ago. So, why is there still a federal investigation?

As to Bonds, I'm now thinking there might need to be an asterisk next to his name in the record books. But that asterisk would be that he was run out of the game before his time was over and who knows what his records would have been otherwise. But baseball will get what it wanted. A-fRod will break the homerun record, so MLB will have a clean athlete holding the record. Oh, wait, never mind!

posted by graymatters at 09:46 AM on July 31

Hey, that's fun! I can rewrite history however I feel! I personally don't think anything's cheapened, since it's the era that was played and from what I can tell the playing field was as level as at any time.

The playing field only was level among the players who cheated. And if some teams had more cheaters than others did, they had an unfair advantage. My Texas Rangers were rotten with them. (Even better, they cheated and still lost.)

You can keep scrubbing that stain, Hal, but I don't think it's ever going to come out.

posted by rcade at 10:32 AM on July 31

But the man was robbed of the last couple of years of his career by collusion as surely as Curt Flood.

Bonds was not robbed of the last years of his career, it was artificially extended. Barry's minuses obviously outweigh his pluses, or surely he would have been signed by someone, or perhaps it is collusion. Now, why would all the MLB owners band together and agree to 'not sign ol' Barry'?
Lets look at the Giants first, don't all those SF fans want Barry back? Wouldn't he fill seats at their home park? They certainly are in the hunt, and could use another good stick in their lineup. Maybe, it's because Barry IS the dick, the clubhouse cancer, that he's been made out to be. The Giants would certainly know. But, if any team owes Barry a job, it is the Giants.

No one in the private sector is guaranteed a job, why should a past his prime ballplayer be entitled to a roster spot? I've known plenty of people who have been let go from jobs due to no fault of their own, who were still productive, and without being a prima donna, or bringing Federal heat or other such stuff to the office, so I have zero sympathy for Bonds.

posted by mjkredliner at 10:43 AM on July 31

No one in the private sector is guaranteed a job, why should a past his prime ballplayer be entitled to a roster spot?

Collusion is illegal in the private sector as well.

posted by bperk at 11:16 AM on July 31

I'm so tired of hearing about steroids. Release the damn list, let the sports guys talk about them for a couple weeks, and lets put an end to this.

posted by dbt302 at 12:43 PM on July 31

First, let me response to a sentence: "Maybe his induction in Cooperstown is guaranteed". The very fact you typed that sickens me.

That sickens you? With all in the world that you could spend your valuable sense of disgust and outrage? Given to much hyperbole, hal?

Collusion is illegal in the private sector as well.

Just like the argument that Barry and company are not guilty of taking steroids until there is actual proof, I would like to see actual proof that this is a case of collusion. Do you mean to tell me that all of MLB decided to get together and not let Barry bonds back into baseball? Really? Do you realize how paranoid that sounds? And I'm just using your sentence as the example here, bperk. I'm not singleing you out. But if the argument works one way, then it works the other way.

posted by THX-1138 at 01:33 PM on July 31

And can we really say that all 30 teams had special case Griffey-in-his-retirement-year final lap positions for both 2008 and 2009?

We can say that he would be a liability in the field. This eliminates the 16 NL teams. He's not a good fit for the Red Sox, Yankees or Mariners (as discussed above). So now you're down to 11 teams.

Whether or not you believe he's a scapegoat, he's in his mid-40's., there would be a media circus following him, every game on the road would be filled with angry fans and your own fans may not like him either. So even if an owner thinks Bonds has been railroaded, Bonds would still be an enormous distraction to the team and who knows how long his body holds up?

Throw in the federal charges, the claims that he is an alleged cancer in the clubhouse and the alleged steriod use and it becomes a slam dunk not to sign him. Who needs the headache?

posted by cjets at 02:37 PM on July 31

Just like the argument that Barry and company are not guilty of taking steroids until there is actual proof, I would like to see actual proof that this is a case of collusion

So do YOU need actual proof to know that Barry took steroids? If not, why do you need the actual proof for evidence of collusion?

Do you mean to tell me that all of MLB decided to get together and not let Barry bonds back into baseball? Really?

Absolutely.

Do you realize how paranoid that sounds?

About as paranoid as it must have sounded in the 80's when those same groups of people got together and colluded on player's salaries.

You know there IS precedent of this...it's not coming out of the blue here.

posted by bdaddy at 02:43 PM on July 31

despite what BoKnows says about it being okay even if true- is very likely and illegal.

Whooo nelly. I didn't mean to imply collusion is right or acceptable, I'm just pointing out that there may be some underlying issues that we don't know about that warrant their decision.

posted by BoKnows at 02:44 PM on July 31

We can say that he would be a liability in the field. This eliminates the 16 NL teams.

Yea...I don't know of any defensive liabilities who can hit who are playing in the NL.

posted by bdaddy at 02:44 PM on July 31

Release the damn list,

Yes, let's just go ahead and forgo the rest of the 100+ guys rights all because of some crooked lawyers.

posted by bdaddy at 02:49 PM on July 31

So do YOU need actual proof to know that Barry took steroids? If not, why do you need the actual proof for evidence of collusion?

Yes, I do. Because that is how things work (or are supposed to). The burden of proof lay upon the accuser, not the accused.

You know there IS precedent of this...it's not coming out of the blue here.

Now we presume that MLB is so arrogant as to continue with these patterns of behavior. OK, I'll grant you that. So if the MLB is so corrupt and seemingly beyond repair, why does it continue? And why should anybody care about it?

You do know that your arguments are leading you into a corner, right?

posted by THX-1138 at 02:57 PM on July 31

I'm sick of hearing players say that there was something hidden in something they were taking that they thought was clean.

But it's probably pretty valid. Here's a quote from Bronson Arroyo on the topic "Before 2004, none of us paid any attention to anything we took, Now they don't want us to take anything unless it's approved. But back then, who knows what was in stuff? The FDA wasn't regulating stuff"

posted by bdaddy at 03:08 PM on July 31

jmd82: See, I don't buy that. If it is true that there are 100 players who tested positive, that means on average there's 3-4 players per team who tested positive for PEDs. If Ortiz and Ramirez are the only to BoSox who tested positive (not saying they are the only two, but only two names that've come out from the BoSox), then they are actually ahead of the curve.

dviking: My point is that any achievement that involved steroids is tainted. Be it the World Series or the home run title. It's my opinion, and that of others, you're free to buy it or not.

I'm not even sure what tainted means in this instance, and I don't think most who are using the word do either. I don't think there's a whole lot of thinking going on. We have a set of fans that are very happy this has happened, led by a certain fan base. We have the media that for the most part, though they turned a blind eye while it happened, will now rise up on their moral high horse because doing the opposite doesn't sell. After writing that everyone was doing it and it's time to move on where does a sports journalist (and I'm using that phrase lightly) go? No, claiming the Red Sox, and baseball, are tainted is much more fun and much easier to write about than coming up with new topics. And we have fans that hear steroids, cry tainted, and put their heads in the sand. OMG STEROIDS!

If someone wants to ignore history, that greenies and other drugs were not everywhere, that baseball was pure before steroids, go ahead. But you have to include everything and everyone involved, not just the team that won the world series in 2004. From the mid 90s on. It's funny that everyone seemed to understand at this point that it was the steroid era, with rampant use, so obviously the Red Sox were involved, yet only now is the Championship called tainted.

Does this mean the Red Sox's world championships are tainted? No more than the titles of the Yankees, Marlins, Diamondbacks, Angels and every other team from the most distrustful era in the history of the game. There was no such thing as a "clean team." There were only teams in which the dirty had yet to be uncovered.

jmd82: I HIGHLY doubt that other teams, such as the Yankees or Cardinals, didn't have PED players if 100 players tested positive.

The yankees had at least one admitted steroid user on every team in their recent dynasty, multiple on several, yet we haven't heard much about a tainted dynasty. I'm guessing because calling 4 of 342 World Series victories tainted isn't as sexy as one that supposedly broke a curse.

"The playing field only was level among the players who cheated. And if some teams had more cheaters than others did, they had an unfair advantage. My Texas Rangers were rotten with them. (Even better, they cheated and still lost.)"

Most so called experts put steroid use at minimal 60 percent. Canseco, who gets a lot of credit around here, said 80 and now says it was higher. Is anyone really naive enough to believe some team from 2004 together, as a group, turned their back from steroids? The Red Sox weren't a better team than the Rangers because they outnumbered them 4-2 in steroid users. They were a better team because they had better players.

If we want to talk about a level playing field, the fact that the Yankees spent 130 million more than the Rangers in 2004 might be a more realistic place to start.

posted by justgary at 03:10 PM on July 31

The burden of proof lay upon the accuser, not the accused.

In a court of law...not the court of public opinion.

Now we presume that MLB is so arrogant as to continue with these patterns of behavior.

Why not? They did it in the 20's. They did it in the 80's (3 different years.) They did it in 2002/3. And they've suddenly learned their lesson?

You do know that your arguments are leading you into a corner, right?

If so, I'm not sure what it is.

posted by bdaddy at 03:15 PM on July 31

Most so called experts put steroid use at minimal 60 percent. Canseco, who gets a lot of credit around here, said 80 and now says it was higher. Is anyone really naive enough to believe some team from 2004 together, as a group, turned their back from steroids?

MLB tested anonymously in 2003 and there were somewhere between 5-7% positive tests. What evidence is there of 60% or 80%?

posted by bperk at 03:34 PM on July 31

MLB tested anonymously in 2003 and there were somewhere between 5-7% positive tests. What evidence is there of 60% or 80%?

Tests in 2003 were not as sophisticated as the tests now. Note in article that began this line that it says Bonds did not test positive in 2003 and so was not on the list. But feds apparently were able to re-test his sample and, miraculously, several years later it came back positive. If they re-tested all, who knows what the number would be? Of course, with the feds doing the test, the number would probably be 100%.

posted by graymatters at 03:47 PM on July 31

If so, I'm not sure what it is.

How about this:

So do YOU need actual proof to know that Barry took steroids? If not, why do you need the actual proof for evidence of collusion?

If Barry Bonds is guilty of taking steroids and indeed possibly facing a drawn out congressional legal process of some sort because of it, why would any team want to deal with that? You argue one side of the point and decry the result to the other. No major league team should be so compelled to have a steroid user in their clubhouse. It may be more of a case of bad team management than collusion.

As far as the burden of proof ...In a court of law...not the court of public opinion. ...

You know that the court of public opinion isn't going to get you anywhere as far as legal precedent is concerned. Try telling a judge or court that it must be so because everyone says so and it just seems that way and see how far you get.

posted by THX-1138 at 03:49 PM on July 31

THX-1138, I'm not arguing one and decrying the result of the other...I was just trying to gauge if you were doing the same thing, which is why I put the question back to you :-)

In my mind, I believe Bonds took something. I don't believe it was against the rules when he did it, but I also don't need any ACTUAL proof that he did it..I believe the circumstantial evidence is enough to convince *me* that he did (not that I matter).

On the same token I feel the same about collusion. I see the circumstantial evidence as well and don't need the ACTUAL evidence that they colluded. The fact that Bonds is sitting, unsigned, is enough to convince *me* that they colluded (not that I matter).

So I think I'm pretty consistent on both things. I was just gauging if you were the same (as it would be hypocritical to ask for proof of collusion, if you had your mind made up on Bonds without that same proof.

We have dozens of cases of sports teams willing to put up with people with legal problems (bengals, cowboys), signing players who were under a cloud of suspicion of PEDs (Dodgers, Yankees, Sox, Giants), players who would give major negative publicity to whoever signs them (TO, anyone who signs Vick right now)...yet time and time again teams show they will put up with any headache/cancer/legal troubles if the guy can play. Bonds showed he could still play. So why is he, of all those other guys..not signable? Guys like TO who *destroyed* clubhouses. Guys like Vick who will cause Peta to rain down on the organization. Yet these guys are and will be signed, while Bonds sits on the side. What reason is there?

posted by bdaddy at 04:23 PM on July 31

Yea...I don't know of any defensive liabilities who can hit who are playing in the NL.

You might want to consider the other issues I mentioned such as his age, being a huge distraction to the team, the federal charges, the claim that he is a clubhouse cancer and an alleged steroid user.

Given everything swirling around Bonds, why would an owner want to hire him?

ON PREVIEW

We have dozens of cases of sports teams willing to put up with people with legal problems (bengals, cowboys), signing players who were under a cloud of suspicion of PEDs (Dodgers, Yankees, Sox, Giants), players who would give major negative publicity to whoever signs them (TO, anyone who signs Vick right now)...yet time and time again teams show they will put up with any headache/cancer/legal troubles if the guy can play. Bonds showed he could still play. So why is he, of all those other guys..not signable?

Because Bonds combines all of those elements in one neat big headed package. And, by the way, Vick is not yet signed and, as of earlier this week, only one team has shown an interest in him.

One also might look at how the Bengals and Cowboys have fared hiring guys who have broken the law. It's not a pretty picture, especially for the Bengals.

posted by cjets at 04:35 PM on July 31

Can we just go back to talking about Jenna Jameson sleeping with women?

posted by THX-1138 at 04:45 PM on July 31

Now let's be accurate. Jenna only does porn scenes with women.

When married to her porn star husband she would do him, so to speak, but no other guys...here's probably way more than any of us need to know about Jenna's life

On a less serious note, I think cjets is correct in that Bonds is not seeing any action due to the multiple issues one takes on with him. Also, back before this season started a lot of the legal issues he is facing were not pushed back into next year. Just too much unknown at the time, and too much negativity to deal with. The owners seem to be with Jenna in wanting him to take his bat elsewhere. (sorry)

posted by dviking at 07:29 PM on July 31

Finally, dviking. Someone who knows how to put all the real info together. What can you tell us about Cytheria?

posted by THX-1138 at 10:47 PM on July 31

It's not a pretty picture, especially for the Bengals.

Mike Brown's take on Vick.

I would argue that Michael Vick made a bad error, but what a price he's paid. He's paid millions of dollars. Millions. He's lost his reputation. He's gone to prison. I don't know what more you could do to a guy that's been done to him. I don't think he should forever be denied a chance to get back as a productive citizen. I wish him well. I hope a team picks him up and gives him the chance to play. Give him the chance to redeem himself. I think it would be nice if it ends up a good story."

I think if Brown owned the Reds, Barry would be in Cincy. I'm not sure if Mike has a little brain or a big heart. Alas, he doesn't own the Reds, so no help for Barry. The Bengals don't need another backup Qb, 'cause they now have JT O'Sullivan. ;) So, no help for Vick either.

I know I'm in the middle of two threads.

posted by tselson at 11:03 PM on July 31

bender: If this situation comes up, I would like to hear a player say, "Yes, I used [whatever drug] back then. It wasn't banned at the time, and I'm not on it now." Is that so hard? I'm not asking anyone to come forward whose name hasn't been leaked. Just quit denying once it happens. I'm not stupid. I understand what was going on. Don't treat me like an idiot.
To be fair, isn't that exactly what A-Rod said? He was outed, then not only copped to doing it, admitted that he'd been using this stuff for X period of time. So... maybe coming out like that with all the info doesn't really matter over staunch denials, since you didn't remember it as a special case deserving mention. :)

If SpoFi had "favorites" like MeFi does, I'd love to favorite this comment from justgary, for massive truth:

We have a set of fans that are very happy this has happened, led by a certain fan base. We have the media that for the most part, though they turned a blind eye while it happened, will now rise up on their moral high horse because doing the opposite doesn't sell. After writing that everyone was doing it and it's time to move on where does a sports journalist (and I'm using that phrase lightly) go? No, claiming the Red Sox, and baseball, are tainted is much more fun and much easier to write about than coming up with new topics. And we have fans that hear steroids, cry tainted, and put their heads in the sand. OMG STEROIDS!
Too, too true. The whiny assholes like Dan Shaugnessy are loving that they can rip the hometown team and the great awful evil that was done by Manny and Ortiz... but it's all paper-selling bullshit.

The press are insects, and they are feasting on a morality tale they themselves have generated, not unlike the false outrage of the Lewinsky Affair- when the press wanted this to be their generation's Watergate but the nation unhelpfully said "we don't care, focus on the important shit".

Me, I don't care. This isn't an ABC afterschool special, this isn't the Lyle Alzado era of steroids yanked right from the gonad of a horse. These are sophisticated designer drugs, and if it's safe to eat genetically modified Monsanto soy in our food, why can't elite athletes use similar, safe drugs that help their bodies repair quicker? No one bats an eye when desk jockeys get an afternoon latte to push them through the day, or moms pop their "little yellow helper" or for that matter shove god-knows-what down their whiny brats' throats so their natural childlike curiosity is dulled to a complacent quiet schoolkid... but how is that any less problematic a PED than what these athletes use?

I'd like to also point out my favorite steroid fun-fact: Sandy Koufax, hall of famer and beloved 60's baseball icon, was a steroid user. He wouldn't have had those star years without steroids to keep his arm from distintegrating, much less had the minimal longevity to even qualify for the Hall of Fame. So... how are steroids bad again?

It doesn't "taint" the game any more than the advent of athletes using Nautilus equipment and weight-training, or doing yoga, or having macrobiotic diets and blood samples, or kinesthetic biomechanical analysis using computers and high speed video to determine hiccups in their swing or delivery. These advances in science can offer athletes the ability to keep their bodies healthy after a pounding that not one poster at SpoFi or elsewhere can imagine undergoing... yet we happily ask our doctors about Gleemonex when our moods darken, or our knees ache in our late 30's, or viagra when we can't get it up.

Quite frankly, I'm kind of sad that Ken Griffey Jr didn't at least take HGH; maybe then he wouldn't have lost all those at-bats and would have the HR record. At the least, how cool would it have been if both Griffey and Bonds were still playing in the game, Griffey not having missed that time, and the all-time homerun crown changing heads with each passing week? It'd make the drama of '98's homerun chase pale by comparison.

posted by hincandenza at 03:12 AM on August 01

No one in the private sector is guaranteed a job, why should a past his prime ballplayer be entitled to a roster spot?

Because this "past his prime ballplayer" was still a better ballplayer than player's half his age. It sure wasn't his age that was the reason as to why he wasn't in the league the last few years. Nn one in MLB wants to admit it but I'm pretty sure that there was some sort of collusion involved in keeping Bonds out of baseball.

posted by BornIcon at 08:39 AM on August 01

I'd like to also point out my favorite steroid fun-fact: Sandy Koufax, hall of famer and beloved 60's baseball icon, was a steroid user. He wouldn't have had those star years without steroids to keep his arm from distintegrating, much less had the minimal longevity to even qualify for the Hall of Fame. So... how are steroids bad again?

It doesn't "taint" the game any more than the advent of athletes using Nautilus equipment and weight-training, or doing yoga, or having macrobiotic diets and blood samples, or kinesthetic biomechanical analysis using computers and high speed video to determine hiccups in their swing or delivery. These advances in science can offer athletes the ability to keep their bodies healthy after a pounding that not one poster at SpoFi or elsewhere can imagine undergoing... yet we happily ask our doctors about Gleemonex when our moods darken, or our knees ache in our late 30's, or viagra when we can't get it up.

"Steroids" aren't "bad". Neither are "performance-enhancing drugs", a category that overlaps with, but is neither a subset nor a superset of, "steroids". What's "bad" are substances or practices that:

a)are known or perceived to enhance athletic performance, recovery, or some other aspect of an athlete's ability to achieve and maintain a competitive status within their sport, and

b)are believed, based on evidence to be harmful to the health of the athlete who indulges in them.

The rationale for banning certain substances and practices is not, and never has been, based on some abstract notions of fairness and purity -- yet ever since the popular American sports began to engage in the PED debate, that'st he language that the popular discourse has been couched in. Phrases like "level playing field" and "asterisk" and "tainted" abound, and it all muddies the waters and lessens the understanding of the crucial point. Nor is this an abstract concern or a matter of purely intellectual interest, because failure to understand the rationale behind banning certain practices and substances leads to several problems, the most serious of which are:

1) It draws the attention away from the central concern that motivated the bans in the first place, that being the health and well-being of the athletes.

2) It gives regulatory authorities a mandate (or an excuse to claim a mandate) for over-reaching regulation, including banning of substances and practices that satisfy criterion a) but not criterion b).

Arsenic isn't a banned substance in any sport that I know of. There's no need to ban it, because no one thinks there's any advantage in taking it. Ginseng isn't (yet) a banned substance in any sport that I know of. There's no need to ban it, because it is a helpful and harmless adaptogenic herb. There is a rationale for banning a substance that makes athletes run like rockets -- or that is believed to do so -- and that increases the chances of a heart attack two decades down the road by 4000%: because there will always be those who risk the heart attack for the chance at the big contract, and enough of those will have enough innate talent that the addition of the drug will have the effect, real or perceived, at shutting out the competition unless they do likewise.

It's true that many of us take prescription meds that are banned for use by competitive athletes. We take them because we and our doctors believe that the upside outweighs the downside. Sometimes we're wrong. Prescription abuse happens and people self-medicate: they don't want to make a lifestyle change, so they take a pill. But we don't, as a rule, have the pressure of a multimillion dollar contract (vs. poverty and obscurity) weighing on us. As long as there's a governing body that regulates who can and can't play the sport in the first place, there's some justification for regulating what those people can and can't put into their bodies. it's just not justified by the pursuit of an "untainted" sport.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:19 AM on August 01

Now we presume that MLB is so arrogant as to continue with these patterns of behavior.

I'm with you on this one. MLB did it once, got nailed, and is going to do it again? I don't buy that one bit. Just because Bonds dosen't have job dosen't mean all the MLB GM's and owners got together and decided to keep him out of the game. Is it possible that every team knows of his downsides (which have been written about ad nauseum) and the fact that he is 45 and hasn't played since 2007. Perhaps he wasn't signed at the start of the '08 season because he would have been in his mid 40's and was brought up on on perjury charges. I don't know how much of his salary would have to be paid by whatever MLB signed him if he was going to miss an extended period of time due to these charges. I am not so naive as to believe collusion doesn't happen but I like to examine all possibilities before jumping to the "worst case" one.

As far as the topic of this post:

I am as far from a Red Sox fan as you can be, but before I go and begin damning the two best players on a team that was able to pull off one of the greatest comebacks in MLB history I think I need more than just "allegedly these two chaps were on a list of guys who tested positive for steroids" of course all this info is from un-named lawyers working on the case who shouldn't be releasing this information anyway. They just failed the test because steroids were present in there system but is it possible that a few of these 100+ players had a prescription at the time of the test? How high were the levels, were they at a therapeutic level? Again several people are just rushing to assume the worst case scenario.

I admit I was turned off to baseball when al this nonsense came out. Part of it was my own bleak out look on MLB as a whole (oh how I yearn for the days when the Yankees payroll and luxury tax were the hot button items of the day) the other part was what was being spun the media. Let's face the people who have the most to gain from steroid abuse are the people who write and report on MLB. Narcing out possible steroid users makes for much more entertaining news than just rattling off some scores and stats. While several reporters may feign disgust at the actions of these players I am sure some part of them does a happy dance.

posted by HATER 187 at 12:10 AM on August 02

But you have to include everything and everyone involved, not just the team that won the world series in 2004.

We don't have to do anything of the kind. We can narrow our focus to the stuff in this era that mattered most, like the single-season home run title and the Red Sox historic win, and judge whether cheaters fucked up things that were originally considered milestone events in the game.

I'm sorry to the Sox fans, but I don't see how we can look at their first win the same if two of the cornerstone players cheated.

Folks can hang all of this on the media, but the reality is that there's a lot of disillusionment out there among baseball fans about the roiding up that took place in this era. I think it's as deflating as the Black Sox scandal, and fans are likely to devalue every aspect of this era.

posted by rcade at 01:10 AM on August 02

I don't know how much of his salary would have to be paid by whatever MLB signed him if he was going to miss an extended period of time due to these charges. I am not so naive as to believe collusion doesn't happen but I like to examine all possibilities before jumping to the "worst case" one.
The key element is that he offered to play for the league minimum- and only because the union rules would prevent him playing for free- and then freely give up his entire salary to a local charity of the team's choosing. So basically... Barry Bonds offered to play for free, since I'm sure that team could find a way to juggle the books and make the salary payment directly to the charity, simultaneously "paying" Bonds salary and having it be a tax deductible charitable donation.

And still no team took him?!? Not one?! Bullshit- there's no way the GMs, behind closed doors, didn't have or weren't encouraged by Selig to basically "avoid Barry". It's happened before, and most of the GMs would probably not put up a huge fuss. That's why those of us who watched this play out call "collusion". Yes, he's 45 *now*, and has been out for two years. But that wasn't the case last year, or at the start of this season. It'll be self-justifying soon enough, when he's too old and been out too long, but it can't wipe away that even when he said "I will play for free for the first team that wants me" no one took the greatest hitter that ever lived, one year removed from a season when he had the highest OPS and on-base % of any hitter in the league.


Regarding the rest: I agree with you, I actually think Ortiz might have been blindsided by something he didn't think was anything bad, or even questionable (allegedly there was some Dominican Republic character who made the rounds back then pitching some energy drink to a number of players that might have had some unlabeled supplements in it). But in any case, as you and justgary have said, this is all media theater. They love the story, love getting on their high horse and castigating the players, but they don't actually care about the steroids or the health of the players. They just want something to write about, stir up controversy, and sell papers.

posted by hincandenza at 01:16 AM on August 02

Hal: If you were the general manager of a team in baseball with any hope at all of the playoffs, would you want Barry Bonds at age 43 on your team?

I wouldn't want the aggravation, I wouldn't want his influence on the team's young prospects, and I wouldn't want a player who had the potential to be the center of controversy and attention all year long.

Even if there was some attempt at collusion, I don't believe it would have stopped a team that strongly wanted Bonds from signing Bonds.

posted by rcade at 09:54 AM on August 02

...since I'm sure that team could find a way to juggle the books and make the salary payment directly to the charity, simultaneously "paying" Bonds salary and having it be a tax deductible charitable donation.

Without withholding and/or matching/paying Social Security, Medicare, Union Dues, Federal, State, City, Income Taxes etc.?? You can't pretend not to pay someone, Hal. The Union and the Government don't just say, "Oh, you paid a charity instead of wages. Cool."

So while that's an admirable yet desperate statement from Bonds, it doesn't really translate into a "but he really would have been just a tax write off!" argument. That's just not reality.

If he was still so good and not a complete mess in the locker room, why would he offer his services so cheaply?

posted by tselson at 11:18 PM on August 02

If he was still so good and not a complete mess in the locker room, why would he offer his services so cheaply?

This is circular. He offered his services so cheaply because he wanted to play baseball, but collusion was preventing him from playing.

posted by bperk at 02:23 PM on August 03

We don't have to do anything of the kind.

I should have been clearer. Individual fans can nitpick as they wish. You can cherry pick the Red Sox WS victorys out of the 10 or so of that era to call tainted and ignore the rest, or conclude the Red Sox won because they had more steroid users than the rest of MLB. That's certainly a fans perogative. And I can understand it in a way. If all 100 or so names were released, the topic would stretch far beyond the Red Sox. We can only discuss what we know.

But history needs to do a better job. And I believe those without bias, who are knowledgeable about the past and who are respected enough to have an influence on history, will. Eventually I think a better perspective of the era will win out over knee-jerk analysis from the worst of sports journalism.

I'm sorry to the Sox fans, but I don't see how we can look at their first win the same if two of the cornerstone players cheated.

When the Yankees signed the top 3 free agents over the summer, I said they were doing everything possible to buy a World Series. I guarantee no Yankee fans gave a damn. Since 2004 I've heard accusations that the Sox paid to break the curse more times than I can count, and the fan base is affectionally known as Pink Hat Nation' by other teams fans, because despite being the 3rd generation of Sox fans in my family, no one else rooted for them prior to 2004. I recently saw a comment on another site that said "sorry sox fans, you lost all the joy in your WS victory", as if they could somehow tell me how I feel about what's happened and that become my reality. Oh wait, I'm suppose to feel bad about 2004? Good to know.

I'm discussing this because I'm a baseball fan and it's an interesting, if frustrating topic. But I can't express how little I care how a Ranger fan, or Oriole fan, or Yankee fan, feels about 2004. It didn't matter then, doesn't matter now. So the apology is a little condescending and certainly unnecessary (and I would expect most fans to feel that way about their teams).

When the Sox beat a team with half their payroll, it bothers me a little. It doesn't feel right. Yes, I'd rather the roster of the 2004 Sox be completely clean, but that idea, because of the era, wasn't realistic. Do I lose sleep because the Sox won a World Series with players on PEDs beating other players on PEDs? Not a wink.

but the reality is that there's a lot of disillusionment out there among baseball fans about the roiding up that took place in this era. I think it's as deflating as the Black Sox scandal, and fans are likely to devalue every aspect of this era.

I think the era's statistics may be devalued; steroids will always be a part of it. But I haven't seen anything to show that fans are disillusioned. Crowds continued to get bigger (before the economic collapse), and Manny, who JUST got busted, is treated like a hero.

The average baseball fan doesn't give a damn about steroids. Reading around, even those that are taking joy in the Red Sox problems usually go on to say they don't care and wish the whole topic would just go away. I think it bothers the small fraction of fans that do care. A lot.

MLB tested anonymously in 2003 and there were somewhere between 5-7% positive tests. What evidence is there of 60% or 80%?

Again, I'm going by what Canseco said; 80 percent. Sportsfilter, and several members in this thread, have given Canseco a lot of credit as to telling the truth. David wells said steroid use was between 25 and 40 percent'. Those two probably have a little better idea of steroid use than you or I. But to be safe, let's take the lowest estimate. 25 %. That's 1 in 4 players on steroids.

I doubt they were all on the Red Sox. We knew it was the steroid era. But now two players are released from the list, and they happen to be Red Sox, and we're shocked? So did those in this thread now calling the Red Sox victory tainted believe no one on the Red Sox were using steroids? Even though the league as a whole had a problem?

From an article I can no longer find the link:

As lengthy as the list is, it likely includes only a fraction of players who used performance-enhancing drugs that year. The Mitchell Report said that the estimated 5-7 percent rate of positive tests "almost certainly understated the level of use'' because players knew that they'd be tested and because the test didn't check for human growth hormone, a less-detectable drug that had become a popular alternative to steroids.

--------

The whiny assholes like Dan Shaugnessy are loving that they can rip the hometown team and the great awful evil that was done by Manny and Ortiz... but it's all paper-selling bullshit.

He's one of the worst, though sadly, more the norm than the exception.

The thing is, I expect fans to approach it that way. I don't expect joe fan' to really give the topic thought, or to look at the history of baseball to get a better perspective, or to be fair. I don't think the average fan knows that much of MLB was using amphetamines for 20 - 30 years. But I expect more of journalists. You have to search for anything beyond knee jerk moralizing, and that's unfortunate.

Positive or Negative, There's No Changing History

And here's a take by Cliff Corcoran, who writes for Sports Illustrated but is also a huge Yankee fan and writes for a Yankee blog:

I'm chiming in late here without having read much of the preceding. I just want to say that, while the "Roid Sox" parody songs etc. are quite clever, there's a serious glass-house effect going on here. I suppose Red Sox fans can get some because they dealt some, but the main take-away from this for me is that no one's hands were clean, which we thought we know, but which it seems we're still surprised when we find out for sure. I don't mean there weren't clean players, but I don't think there were any clean teams. Not one. So to say the Sox's titles are devalued because of Manny and Ortiz or the Yankees' titles were devalued because of Clemens, Pettitte, Knoblauch, Justice, etc., it's really something of a Mexican standoff. And don't try to split hairs about how many players did what or how much it helped them or how important they were to the team's success. Integrity isn't saying "you cheated more so we're better," it's saying "we all screwed up, let's forgive, repent, and move on."

Of course, that went into the blog, because there's not enough outrage to get it noticed in the national media. I can respect both sides of this argument, but I have to admit I'm much more comfortable knowing I'm more on Corcoran's side than Shaugnessy.

posted by justgary at 03:14 PM on August 03

I was wrong about greenies. Looks like they've been around since the 40s.

"Players use amphetamines to be the player they can't be when they're tired," said the veteran, who asked that his name not be used.

For decades, amphetamines "speed" on the street have helped baseball players face the rigors of their sport: Six-game weeks. Day games immediately following night games. Cross-country flights. Hundreds of repetitions in the batting cage and batter's box, on the mound and in the field. The stress of a pennant race in the August heat.

"It's going to have a lot bigger effect on the game than steroid testing," said Chipper Jones, the Atlanta Braves' All-Star third baseman. "It's more rampant than steroids.

In recent years, players have estimated that between 50 and 80 percent of ballplayers have used amphetamines. A USA Today survey last year found that 35 percent of players thought at least half were using them. The ban will heighten the physical and mental strain of the season, the aforementioned veteran said.

"The manager comes to you and what are you going to say?... 'Oh, no, sorry. I can't go today.' I used it on days when I felt shut down, to keep my name in the lineup," he said. "You're going to see a lot of guys asking the manager for a day off."

Greenies, a nickname coined by ballplayers because of the color of the pills, were introduced to the game in the 1940s. These amphetamines speed up the heart rate and have been proven to fight fatigue, increase alertness and sharpen reaction time. Athletes have used them to challenge the limits of endurance and mask the accompanying pain.

"I know if I walk in the clubhouse tomorrow morning and I say, 'I'm not going to be able to get on the field until I have some,' I feel fairly certain I could find some," Jones said of the pills. "Until recently, it's been sitting up in plain sight. ... You see what you see."

Greenies have long been baseball's worst-kept secret. They were considered harmless pep pills until 1970, when the drug that doctors classify as "artificial adrenaline" was made illegal in the United States without a prescription.

"I've seen a guy who may or may not pinch hit in the eighth or ninth inning pop two before the game and another in the fifth inning," Jones said. "It's part of their pre-game ritual. Some guys have to have it."

Bouton said the testing will have a widespread effect that may be difficult to discern.

"You're not going to notice it the reason is amphetamine use is so widespread it's going to affect everybody equally," he said. "So many guys take it, it's going to balance itself out in the end."

"You needed to perform your best and you were going to use everything that's legal to help you do it," Kiner said. "You worked to get that job and you wanted to stay in the lineup. If you got out of the lineup, you might never get back in."

Where's the outrage?

posted by justgary at 03:26 PM on August 03

the fan base is affectionally known as Pink Hat Nation' by other teams fans

Not sure that's affection :)

But I can't express how little I care how a Ranger fan, or Oriole fan, or Yankee fan, feels about 2004. It didn't matter then, doesn't matter now. So the apology is a little condescending and certainly unnecessary

As noted in the Corcoran quote, "I suppose Red Sox fans can get some because they dealt some". There were definitely Sox supporters talking trash when several Yankees ended up in the Mitchell report. So it's a bit of schadenfreud, I'd say. Do I think the Sox WS wins are tainted? No. Do I think the steroid stuff is just a bunch of bloviating and fake outrage? Yes. Am I glad that Red Sox are finally showing up in the (non-Mitchell) steroid investigations? Yes.

posted by inigo2 at 04:33 PM on August 03

justgary, you win the thread. Your comments have been articulate, thoughtful, and thorough. I wish I'd have done half as well with my lengthy vitriol laden posts, but at least you were here to admirably carry water for the "let's have some perspective" camp. :)

posted by hincandenza at 10:57 PM on August 03

This is circular. He offered his services so cheaply because he wanted to play baseball, but collusion was preventing him from playing.

Yes, it is. If you believe he was still an asset to a club and that he wasn't a mess in the locker room. I also don't know why the word "collusion," is being thrown around so much. Collusion and blacklisting are two entirely different things. Definition of collusion:

Collusion is an agreement, usually secretive, which occurs between two or more persons to deceive, mislead, or defraud others of their legal rights, or to obtain an objective forbidden by law typically involving fraud or gaining an unfair advantage. It is an agreement among firms to divide the market, set prices, or limit production. [1] It can involve "wage fixing, kickbacks, or misrepresenting the independence of the relationship between the colluding parties."[2] All acts effected by collusion are considered void.[3

Barry Bonds being unemployed certainly does not suggest "collusion."

posted by tselson at 11:43 PM on August 03

Where's the outrage?

Focused on shit that has happened in our viewing lifetimes. Forty or fifty or sixty years from now do you really think there will be "outrage," regarding the steroid era?

posted by tselson at 11:53 PM on August 03

Or, rephrase, focused on stuff that started, in our viewing lifetime.

posted by tselson at 12:23 AM on August 04

It is an agreement among firms to divide the market, set prices, or limit production. [1] It can involve "wage fixing, kickbacks, or misrepresenting the independence of the relationship between the colluding parties."

I would say that teams agreeing to not pursue a player would fit the emboldened portion of that definition. Besides, you're just arguing semantics.

If you want to say that every team has decided that Barry Bonds is unemployable even at league minimum, then fine. I find that scenario hard to accept given the talent and production from Bonds and agree with those in this thread who believe that that action was encouraged or directed by MLB. That sounds like collusion by your definition, but whatever you call it, singling Bonds out is pretty shady.

posted by bender at 10:02 AM on August 04

Doug Glanville on "The List".

posted by yerfatma at 05:21 PM on August 04

But I can't express how little I care how a Ranger fan, or Oriole fan, or Yankee fan, feels about 2004. It didn't matter then, doesn't matter now. So the apology is a little condescending and certainly unnecessary (and I would expect most fans to feel that way about their teams).

Condescending? Red Sox fans weren't the only ones who cared about or were caught up in the team's storied 2004 World Series win. It was one of the biggest stories in the game the past 10 years. My apology was offered because I feel bad about this development and I'm not even a Sox fan.

As for the rest of us not caring about opinions outside our fan base, I think that the narrow focus of the typical Yankees and Red Sox fan isn't as bad most other places. I grew up a Rangers fan, but the team's younger than I am. A lot of fans in Dallas were supporting other teams in the '60s and earlier.

The fact that the Sox were a sentimental favorite across baseball in 2004 should not have been lost on you. It is probably the last time that will ever happen, since the Sox, like the Yanks, are a big-spending team excessively adored by the national media that are easy to hate if you do not root for them.

posted by rcade at 07:31 PM on August 04

Oh, who's going to hate on a team from New England? I think we're universally loved across the country.

posted by yerfatma at 08:47 AM on August 05

Doug Glanville is just wrong. Not to be glib, but "Oh, think of the poor players who only agreed to the test because they thought it would be confidential!" isn't a very convincing argument. The fallout from their positive tests would be decidedly muted, given the number of names and the fact that we've likely seen some of the biggest ones already. It would be a pretty minor punishment given that they, you know, deliberately broke the rules.

posted by SpiffyRob at 09:34 AM on August 05

Really? I thought that might be the most important point in his piece, specifically,

"But we need to pay close attention to our outrage because the precedent set by allowing confidential and anonymous collectively bargained tests to be completely breached is a bigger problem. It creates the impression that agreements between employers and employees on policies and procedures can be thrown out at any time, just because someone felt they had the right to know. In such a world, what would prevent your employer from taking your drug test result at C.V.S., at I.B.M. or maybe the hospital you work for and slap it up on the Internet tomorrow?"

posted by yerfatma at 10:57 AM on August 05

Well, sure, that argument would be watertight if names hadn't already been leaked, but (probably) most of the big ones already have. (Canseco's Hall of Famer claims notwithstanding.) Isn't it a bit like trying to get the cows back in the barn at this point? Do we really want whatever assholes are leaking these to keep dangling that over us for who knows how many years to come?

Also: My desire to see the full list released has nothing to do with outrage, and nothing to do with me feeling like I have the right to know. It's simply a question of getting it all out so we can move on. It's clear nobody's going to be punished for appearing on the list, thanks to the A-Rod precedent, so continuing to hold the names back at this point just stretches out this blight on baseball. If the list actually was confidential, it should stay that way. Since it's not, it should be done like a Band-Aid: RIGHT OFF!

posted by SpiffyRob at 12:39 PM on August 05

Well, sure, that argument would be watertight if names hadn't already been leaked..

What plenty of you seem to forget is that whoever's leaking the names on "the list" is breaking the law. What these athletes have done should not be forgotten but they're only causing harm to themselves if they're abusing drugs but the individual(s) that felt the need to leak these names for whatever purpose will be going to jail once it's found out who exactly is leaking this information. Don't foget: No one is innocent here

posted by BornIcon at 12:53 PM on August 05

individual(s) that felt the need to leak these names for whatever purpose will be going to jail once it's found out who exactly is leaking this information.

If it's found out. Not once.

And I think it's pretty naive to think that names won't continue to be leaked. MLBPA has the power to ease the burden placed on a few by sharing it among the many.

Of course it's illegal to be leaking this stuff. Releasing the list is the only way to stop it that I can see.

posted by SpiffyRob at 01:09 PM on August 05

I tend to agree with you that things would calm down if they just released the whole damn list because it would prevent these games of "Gotcha!" that one or more people are playing with the names on the list, but it's completely unfair to the other people on the list to expose them to prevent someone else from committing more crimes.

That would make for a pretty crappy thriller movie: "I'm sorry ma'am, but this serial killer has been targeting blond women like you, so we're going to have to kill you to stop him."

posted by yerfatma at 05:27 PM on August 05

And I think it's pretty naive to think that names won't continue to be leaked

No one said that these names won't continue to be leaked. That's pretty much a given but it still doesn't make it any less illegal and whichever person that took it upon themselves to release these names although the player's were under the impression that this test was supposed to remain anonymous, that person or persons will be going to jail.

It doesn't take away what these player's have done to the game of baseball but it still doesn't change the simple fact that "the list" was supposed to remain sealed and someone decided otherwise.

I tend to agree with you that things would calm down if they just released the whole damn list because it would prevent these games of "Gotcha!" that one or more people are playing with the names on the list

If "the list" were released, the player's should get together and sue MLB or the MLBPA because they were told that their names would remain anonymous.

By the way, the movie "Gotcha!" with Anthony Edwards was a pretty chessy flick but for whatever reason it's on TV, I find myself sucked in by the cheesiness.

posted by BornIcon at 08:05 AM on August 06

It's hard to find a good paintball movie.

posted by yerfatma at 09:09 AM on August 06

Focused on shit that has happened in our viewing lifetimes. Forty or fifty or sixty years from now do you really think there will be "outrage," regarding the steroid era?

posted by tselson

Well, that was my point. Also:

1. The game was never pure. Players were always looking for an edge. Why didn't players in the 50s use steroids? Because they didn't have the choice.

2. Amphetamines were a problem until very recently. And in the article (did you read it?) Chipper Jones says he could get some right now if he wanted it.

So to be outraged against steroids you have to be one of two things (or both). One, ignorant of baseball history, or very selective in what you're outraged about.

The fact that the Sox were a sentimental favorite across baseball in 2004 should not have been lost on you. It is probably the last time that will ever happen, since the Sox, like the Yanks, are a big-spending team excessively adored by the national media that are easy to hate if you do not root for them.

It's not lost on me. I just never cared, nor did I ask for it. Didn't ask for other fans to root for the Sox, or for the media to make it the story of the decade.

Again, I hear this all the time. There's been many articles written on how everyone rooted for the Sox in 04, but now they're JUST like the Yankees, and everyone hates them. If non-sox fans got caught up in 2004 great, and if they're disillusioned in 2009, that's fine also. I admit, it was nice when strangers came up to me and told me they were rooting for the Sox to beat the big, bad, Yankees. All I'm saying is this: It doesn't affect me. And I'm guessing because of 2004, when all the fans jumped on the feel good train, they seem to believe that when they jumped off in 2009 (or 2005, or 2007) they should have more say in how history views the Sox, and how Sox fans should feel, than they do the 2006 cardinals; because they weren't a part of that team.

Everyone loved the Red Sox when they were the lovable losers, and now they hate them after 2 world series wins. Despite what the media would have you believe (Sox fans now lost and without identity now that they're no longer a tragic story...) I'll gladly take the hate and the world championships. That's an easy choice.

* The Sox are 4th the league in payroll this year. The cubs and mets spend more. Which shows you're not hated for a high payroll. Payroll + success = hate.

** The sox were second in the league in payroll when they won in 2004. The Red Sox haven't changed. Perception has changed.

posted by justgary at 01:37 PM on August 06

And in the article (did you read it?) Chipper Jones says he could get some right now if he wanted it.

Yes. The article is over three years old. These are the main points I got out of the article.

The abuse dates back to World War II, when pilots and infantrymen were given pills to help them stay alert in battle. They were legal, sold over-the-counter and used to treat everything from asthma to fatigue.

By the late '60s, amphetamine use worldwide was rampant, especially in sports.

They were considered harmless pep pills until 1970,

When Congress passed the first legislation to combat drug abuse, the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, amphetamine prescriptions dropped 88 percent within two years

He said most players used greenies to recover from hangovers and instill confidence.

Without a greenie boost, players will seek alternatives to get them through the season. Coffee. Energy drinks. Eating better. Working out more.

I just don't compare these to steroids. Their use doesn't alter the entire past 70 years of baseball history, for me. Steroid use certainly alters my perception of some rather monumental recent events baseball. I am "outraged," at the steroid use because it made me feel foolish. Was there a juiced ball era? Were the bats made differently all of a sudden?

There are enough debates, stories, theories and urban myths about bats to fill a bookstore. There are even competing legends of how the maple bat craze began in 2000.

One is that Barry Bonds hit his 49 homers in 2000 and 73 homers in 2001 with a maple bat made by the Sam Bat company of Ottawa and players started ordering maple bats en masse. Another theory is a player in the 2000 offseason used one bat all winter for batting practice and it didn't break. Word spread. Maple saves money; buy maple.

No, some players just found a sneaky way to cheat. They made me feel stupid trying to find a reason for the sudden spike in home runs. They injected performance enhancing drugs to enhance their performance. They weren't trying to get over a hangover.

posted by tselson at 11:30 PM on August 06

So to be outraged against steroids you have to be one of two things (or both). One, ignorant of baseball history, or very selective in what you're outraged about.

You're really painting anyone who isn't happy about steroids into a corner, here. I take steroid abuse and the resulting joke it caused on recent baseball history seriously and personally. If that makes me "selective in what I'm outraged about," okay. I choose to be selectively pissed about people tainting a game, whose records I held dear. Or, I'm just ignorant of baseball history. Do you want me to just say baseball has always been a joke so this little steroid bit is just par for the course?

I just don't get what the point is when it comes to "greenies," versus steroids. Google greenies. It's a dog treat now.

posted by tselson at 12:03 AM on August 07

Yes. The article is over three years old.

Which means what? It has an expiration date? You said "Focused on shit that has happened in our viewing lifetimes." They started testing in 2006 for amphetamines. I believe that qualifies as our lifetime.

You're really painting anyone who isn't happy about steroids into a corner, here. I take steroid abuse and the resulting joke it caused on recent baseball history seriously and personally. If that makes me "selective in what I'm outraged about," okay. I choose to be selectively pissed about people tainting a game, whose records I held dear. Or, I'm just ignorant of baseball history. Do you want me to just say baseball has always been a joke so this little steroid bit is just par for the course?

Since the 40s amphetamines have been prevalent in baseball, so many of the records you hold so dear were made by players on speed; up until just a few years ago. Chipper Jones says it will have a 'bigger' effect on the game than steroid testing. Another player says he used it to 'keep himself in the lineup', that you'll see a lot of players 'asking for days off'. A 3 time all-star (in your lifetime) says ""Players use amphetamines to be the player they can't be when they're tired".

amphetamines speed up the heart rate and have been proven to fight fatigue, increase alertness and sharpen reaction time. Athletes have used them to challenge the limits of endurance and mask the accompanying pain.

Fight fatigue, increase alertness, sharpen reaction time, challenge endurance, mask pain. But we're gonna ignore that.

So yes, you're being selectively outraged. You seem offended by that. I'm not sure why. You have that choice.

* Most of my comments have to do with team accomplishments, not individual. I have no dog in that fight (ex. home run record). Mainly because I've never given much credence in comparing records from the 20s to now. I realize some do.

posted by justgary at 12:50 AM on August 07

Yes. The article is over three years old.

But so are the results of the test that was supposedly anonymous. Those results are from a 2003 MLB drug test, does that make this story any less insignificant?

I just don't compare these to steroids. Their use doesn't alter the entire past 70 years of baseball history

What's the difference? It's still a performance enhancing drug regardless of what steroids does to the body. The only difference is that steroids can make a persons physique more muscular if that person trained hard enough. Greenies allowed the player to go out and continue playing when he/she were not able to on their own. Same difference.

posted by BornIcon at 09:27 AM on August 07

Since the 40s amphetamines have been prevalent in baseball, so many of the records you hold so dear were made by players on speed ...

There's no comparison between the effects of amphetamines on an athlete's performance and the effects of steroids. The analogy borders on the absurd. You might as well say that steroids aren't a big deal because Mickey Mantle started his day with five cups of coffee. Caffeine is a drug. All drugs are the same!

What Bonds did on steroids destroyed the scale of the single-season home run record and rewrote the rulebook on how hitters perform in their late thirties and beyond. Show me anywhere the same can be said of "greenies."

posted by rcade at 02:13 PM on August 07

And I'm guessing because of 2004, when all the fans jumped on the feel good train, they seem to believe that when they jumped off in 2009 (or 2005, or 2007) they should have more say in how history views the Sox, and how Sox fans should feel, than they do the 2006 cardinals; because they weren't a part of that team.

You're overthinking this. I don't think I have "more say" in how history views the Sox because I was invested in the 2004 Series. I never tried to tell Sox fans how they should feel about their team. When I said that the win would be cheapened by cheating, it was my personal expression of how history will ultimately judge the major accomplishments of the roid era.

My observation had nothing to do with your internal dialogue of what's important and unimportant within Sox fandom and whether outside opinions of your team matter to you. I am not clear on how that became an issue here.

posted by rcade at 02:27 PM on August 07

amphetamines speed up the heart rate and have been proven to fight fatigue, increase alertness and sharpen reaction time.

I remember taking a non-prescription diet pill (amphetamines) as an aid to cramming for finals one year (1962 or 1963). I was able to study all night, and an extra pill in the morning had me bright and alert all the way through 2 exams (differential equations and electrical machinery, if I remember correctly). Unfortunately, the pills did not have the desired effect of making me any smarter.

posted by Howard_T at 04:12 PM on August 07

There's no comparison between the effects of amphetamines on an athlete's performance and the effects of steroids. The analogy borders on the absurd. You might as well say that steroids aren't a big deal because Mickey Mantle started his day with five cups of coffee. Caffeine is a drug. All drugs are the same!

Agreed. Steroids have been linked to Murder Suicide and Brain Tumors among other major health issues. And, as LBB pointed out above, that's the real reason for need to ban steroids.

And unless MLB is going to invalidate every World Series victory from 1995 on, I don't see any reason to consider the Red Sox victories any differently than any other team's in this era.

posted by cjets at 05:12 PM on August 07

There's no comparison between the effects of amphetamines on an athlete's performance and the effects of steroids.

I'm not saying they're equal. I don't know. And neither do you. I'm saying they're both performance enhancers that have affected the game, one far longer than the other.

Chipper Jones has been around a long time and says coming down on amphetamines will have a bigger effect than steroids. I realize that's an appeal to authority. He could be wrong. But I'm thinking he has a better idea of what's affecting play than you or I.

1. It's easy to see the effect of steroids. Home runs totals go up, and they're being hit by players getting larger and stronger with steroids. Steroids = bad. Amphetamine use would be far more difficult to quantify in such a way.

A. If a star player A appears in X games less because he can't be hopped up on greenies, you don't know that.

B. If a star player isn't quite as alert in october or fatigued and can't get around on a fastball like he could in June, you wouldn't know that.

So I fail to see how you're making your comparison with any validity. Honestly, are you actually saying that a drug that may help with fatigue and reaction time doesn't belong in the conversation? A player on steroids may hit more home runs, but he can't hit home runs from the bench. Pointing to a handful of players that made a mockery of the home run record as any proof of which drug has a more general, wider affect on the game is a weak argument.

2. Amphetamines have been around for so much of baseballs history you have no idea what baseball looks like without it. Barry Bonds reportedly flunked a test not too long ago. According to this report they're still being used. So regardless of which affects play more on a daily basis, there's not question amphetamines have had a far longer effect on the game.

You might as well say that steroids aren't a big deal because Mickey Mantle started his day with five cups of coffee. Caffeine is a drug. All drugs are the same!

Well, that's a nice strawman argument you have there, but just for fun...

When I was in college my sleep schedule was awful, and so was my study schedule. So though I needed to pull all nighters, I simply couldn't do it. I tried coffee and energy drinks. Those work to a point, then nothing.

My girlfriend at the time had ADD. One night when I really needed to pull an all nighter I 'borrowed' one of her pills (I know, bad...). I felt like I could run a marathon. I didn't need sleep. I couldn't sleep. I also couldn't study. It was amazing, and scary. It was absolutely nothing like coffee.

I guess the key is using them properly.

Used properly, amphetamines increase alertness and physical ability.

So yes, if you're saying that taking amphetamines is similar to drinking coffee my comparison is absurd, because your comparison is absurd.

posted by justgary at 07:28 PM on August 07

Yes. The article is over three years old.

Which means what? It has an expiration date? You said "Focused on shit that has happened in our viewing lifetimes."

No it was in response to the following:

And in the article (did you read it?) Chipper Jones says he could get some right now if he wanted it.

In the article Chipper said he could get some right now. The article is old. That's all. I rephrased the above quoted comment because that wasn't exactly what I was trying to say and my use of the word shit could be conceived as combative/derogatory etc. certain things I wasn't trying to portray. So, I think that's the second time you have used that quote "against" me, I hope you will at least consider my attempt to rephrase.

* Most of my comments have to do with team accomplishments, not individual. I have no dog in that fight (ex. home run record). Mainly because I've never given much credence in comparing records from the 20s to now. I realize some do.

Hey, I'm a fan whose interest was spiked by the pursuit and glorification of these highly regarded personal achievements. I'm a Reds fan. 1990 was surprisingly, a long time ago. What can I say.

Amphetamines have been around for so much of baseballs history you have no idea what baseball looks like without it.

Gary, believe it or not, that was kind of the point I was trying to make.

posted by tselson at 12:24 AM on August 08

I am not clear on how that became an issue here.

It was the apology, which I guess I misinterpreted. So here's my apology.

So, I think that's the second time you have used that quote "against" me, I hope you will at least consider my attempt to rephrase.

Point taken.

Gary, believe it or not, that was kind of the point I was trying to make.

Yeah, I realize that. Greenies were flat out a part of baseball. That's an even ground. Steroids comes along, and records were broken because players had an edge that previous players didn't have. I get what you're saying.

posted by justgary at 01:06 AM on August 08

I'm not saying they're equal. I don't know. And neither do you.

What I know is what studies have shown about the effects of steroids and similar performance enhancers, and what McGwire, Sosa and Bonds did while taking them. I haven't seen a single news story about the effect of amphetamines on athletic performance. Until I see something that quantifies the unfair advantage of amphetamines, I think it's fair to compare them to caffeine as a substance with a negligible impact on the game.

posted by rcade at 09:35 AM on August 08

Wait, amphetamines aren't comparable to steroids but are comparable to caffeine? You can't have it both ways, either you know what they're like or you don't. Both amphetamines and steroids allow a player to appear in games their body wouldn't normally be able to play in at that level of competition. Steroids have additional positive effects, like building encouraging muscle growth, rather than just being a one-time boost. If I had to choose one to enhance my athletic prospects, obviously steroids would be the choice, but it's not like amphetamines don't help.

The only time I ever took anything like that was some "energy" pill back in the 90s before a lacrosse practice. It didn't do shit for me at practice, but 5 hours later when we almost got in a group fight with some townies (before an evening lecture by a monk, no less), I could see my heart beating through my shirt. Given a high schooler could buy whatever that was over the counter in the 90s, what kind of uncut crap could a doctor/ trainer/ team have gotten hold of in the 50s?

None of this should be taken as me trying to excuse the Red Sox players that took steroids, I just think the idea this scandal is unprecedented is either naive or agenda-driven. And as much as I like Hank Aaron, he probably shouldn't push too hard to be the voice of God for baseball here lest people look at what he was ingesting back then (I originally saw the amphetamine/ steroid comparison in re: Aaron's supposed usage of greenies).

posted by yerfatma at 10:29 AM on August 08

Show me studies or media accounts that quantify the effect of amphetamines on athletic performance. I'm not aware of any.

Lacking that, I think it's a dodge to bring up amphetamines when we're talking about two more prominent baseball players linked to steroids. There's a reason that steroids blew up in baseball when stimulants didn't. Steroids blew up the record book.

posted by rcade at 10:48 AM on August 08

There's a reason that steroids blew up in baseball when stimulants didn't.

Other than that it's 60 years later, a different media environment and a much more cynical world?

Really enjoyed the 15 seconds or Ortiz's presser I watched, wherein the new MLBPA head said, effectively, "David wanted to address this issue right away, but we suggested he wait 10 days until he was in New York City and I was by his side with my hair completely unbrushed, my eyebrows looking slightly more menacing than Satan's and my shirt unbuttoned to my navel. We felt that would be better for him."

posted by yerfatma at 01:23 PM on August 08

Steroids have been linked to Murder Suicide and Brain Tumors among other major health issues

ABUSE of steriods can lead to those things. If a licensed doctor is the one administering the proper dosage, abuse of steriods can be avoided.

posted by BornIcon at 11:28 AM on August 10

If a licensed doctor is the one administering the proper dosage, abuse of steriods can be avoided.

The risks can certainly be reduced, but I don't think completely avoided. Too bad most of the guilty parties didn't have the smarts to actually employ a doctor for the task, instead entrusting their shoot-me-ups to a friend or cousin or teammate.

posted by BoKnows at 12:34 PM on August 10

There's a reason that steroids blew up in baseball when stimulants didn't. Steroids blew up the record book.

Is this a riddle? I don't think I really get the question. But one, blowing up the record books isn't the only way to affect baseball, and two, comparing how something in the last 15 years affected baseball to something that's been around since when our fathers were young isn't a fair question, and I don't think it's proving anything.

Until I see something that quantifies the unfair advantage of amphetamines...

Until I see something that quantifies the unfair advantage of amphetamines, I think it's fair to compare them to caffeine as a substance with a negligible impact on the game.

You haven't looked. There are a ton of studies on the effect of Amphetamines on athletes.

From Medical Aspects of Boxing:

- Amphetamines have been proven to "delay the point of fatigue" with the most dramatic effects are when "performance has been reduced by fatigue".
- In a study Smith and Beecher found that Amphetamines improved the performance of 75 percent of athletes.
- Oral amphetamine effects can appear in half an hour and last for 3 hours (hey, perfect for a baseball game).
- the study showed an improvement in athletic skills requiring a maximal exertional effort
- low does amphetamines can show improvement in tasks requiring prolonged attention, even in non-fatigued situations.

In Dying to Win studies showed:

- confer a "significant competitive edge in sports"
- Amphetamine versatility is remarkable as they "enhance acute bursts of strength as well as the ability to cope with prolonged challenges to endurance.

Of course, there are studies less conclusive, and if you want to find reasons to doubt, you can find them. It It isn't black or white, beyond that it does help with fatigue. This isn't much different than steroids, where no one argues that it helps build muscle mass, but beyond that effects are debatable.

Studies have also shown that Amphetamine aided improvement is not the same across the board, helping some athletes and not others. Which is no different than steroids, where also ran MLB players and career minor league players used steroids with no luck.

You're pointing at 4/5 players that broke the home run mark as the be all end all to this discussion, which seems simplistic. And improvement in fighting fatigue in a game by game situation (something I don't think many fans acknowledge) simply isn't as easy to quantify as home run statistics.

I agree with yerfatma. If I'm a player today and I have a choice I'd take steroids. But steroids doesn't turn an average player into superman, and I haven't heard anyone claim so. I just don't see the huge gap you're seeing. You're using a couple of players to prove the effect of steroids and asking for studies to back up Amphetamines as performance enhancers. The home run records, season and career, are not the be all end all gauge as to what drug affected baseball most. The most dramatic effect isn't necessarily the deepest.

The effect of steroids is in your face, easy to quantify (big players, lots of home runs), the effects of Amphetamines isn't. And giving your comparing Amphetamines to coffee, I don't think you're interested in a fair comparison.

Anyway, here's a short history of greenies for anyone interested.

posted by justgary at 11:55 PM on August 13

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.