December 13, 2007

Cancel all your baseball memories.

They were all on steroids.

56 comments:

Trooper York said...

My personal heroes such as Babe Ruth, Billy Martin, Denny Mclain, Mickey Lolich and David Wells were definitely not on steroids. Unless of course they are to be found in hops or barley.

Simon said...

If all the players were on steroids, would it not follow that none of them could have gained a performance enhancement relative to any of their opponents from the steroids? ;)

Danny from Milwaukee said...

This kind of thing is totally ruining baseball. Steroids need to be legalized NOW. It's so ridiculous that people want to push this stuff under ground just to make it easier to compare Alex Rodriguez to Babe Ruth. Who cares about that? All these arbitrary prohibitions tilt the playing field and make the game unfair, they drive the drugs under ground, and it would be more fun to watch better players playing the game. And steroids make better players. And who knows how these drugs would develop if there was a legitimate market for them and drug developers were working on making them safer instead of less detectable. Would it not be a better world if all of our grandkids could bench press 400 lbs.?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Can someone tell me why this was an issue that Congress needed to be involved in? Last time I checked, use of roids other than for legitimate medical reasons was illegal. Why wasn't this simply turned over to local prosecutors and law enforcement?

John Stodder said...

Actually, from looking at a list a baseball blogger extracted from the Mitchell report, it appears that more than half the players fingered are significantly less than star quality.

The sad names to see on the list were Eric Gagne, because his performance on the Dodgers in 02-04 was so magical; and Andy Pettitte, because he seemed like the last type of person you'd expect.

But Marvin Benard? Nook Logan? F.P. Santagelo? Players like that are all over the list. I guess a lot of marginal players used the stuff to make them just barely good enough to play in the major leagues.

But Ann, your sweeping statement (which I don't think you really meant seriously) isn't the case. A lot of the biggest stars in the game emerged untainted. A-Rod's not on the list. Albert Pujols. Vladimir Guerrero. Ichiro Suzuki. Ivan Rodriguez. Randy Johnson. Greg Maddux. John Smoltz. Johan Santana. Pedro Martinez. Roy Halladay. Mariano Rivera. And many others.

Baseball will survive this. Perhaps their a-hole Commissioner Bud Selig won't, but he won't be missed. If this shakes up the players' union, that would also be a good thing.

Richie D said...

Congress has jurisdiction because baseball is excluded from anti-trust laws

MadisonMan said...

Wouldn't you think Bud Selig would resign over this? And Donald Fehr?

My memories are of getting chicken on the hill with Will, so no worries there. And also the fabulous Roberto.

SteveR said...

Any real investment I had in baseball went into decline with the rise of free agency. To adopt the "libertarian" attitude of so what with regard to steroid use, to the extent its valid, hold no appeal to someone like me.

So baseball to me is no longer alive, there's nothing new to talk about only a rich history with debates about Ted Williams and Micky Mantle, not these guys.

dix said...

But Marvin Benard? Nook Logan? F.P. Santagelo? Players like that are all over the list. I guess a lot of marginal players used the stuff to make them just barely good enough to play in the major leagues.

The Bonds' and the Clemens' would have made the majors no matter what and in fact were pretty good prior to the steroid use. They didn't take anyone's job. The players above probably wouldn't have made it but through the steroids they kept somebody else out of the majors who instead of enjoying a few years of glory and six figure incomes are tending bar at the American Legion.

SteveR said...

Oh yeah MM, Roberto...

Christy said...

I had season tickets throughout the career of Cal Ripkin, Jr. My memories are intact.

Kirk Parker said...

Steve,

"Any real investment I had in baseball went into decline with the rise of free agency."

Well, don't leave out the evil of the Designated Hitter rule.

SteveR said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SteveR said...

I was an National League fan for the most part, so the DH was only a minor annoyance but I'll throw it in.

zzRon said...

Trooper York said..."My personal heroes such as Babe Ruth, Billy Martin, Denny Mclain, Mickey Lolich and David Wells"

Denny Mclain and Mickey Lolich? Do you have any Detroit connections? I remember the 68 world series like it was only yesterday....with Lolich winning 3 games while pitching on only 2 days rest. He is one of my baseball heros - along with the great Al Kaline.

Because I love the game of baseball, I have no choice but to remain a fan....but will choose to ignore the performances and records of those who freely decided it was necessary to "juice up" (cheat) in order be more competitive.

dax said...

So how should this impact the HOF balloting?

SGT Ted said...

To play Devils Advocate I submit that, for the record holding power hitters, steroids don't make that much of a difference.

Read this:

http://www.arthurdevany.com/webstuff/images/DeVanyHomeRunMS.pdf

What do you think about it?

dax said...

So how should this impact the HOF balloting?

SGT Ted said...

Ok it ate my link. Re-attach this split link to read the .pdf

http://www.arthurdevany.com/webstuff

/images/DeVanyHomeRunMS.pdf

vnjagvet said...

The study included both steroids and Human Growth hormone (HGH).

Some like Petitte are alleged to have used HGH while healing from an elbow injury. IMO, that seems less of a problem than constant use of steroids.

Ron said...

Lolich? Hooked on donuts!
McLain? He wound up way more evil and in jail than Bonds will ever be?

Ruth? The definition of Unrestrained Id.

Martin? Violent, boozy thug, he somehow managed to get Yogi Berra in trouble in a fight at the Copa, Copacabana!

David Wells? Nice guy...

MadisonMan said...

I guess I'm pretty old, 'cause the other memories I have are the '82 Brewers: Gumby, Robin, Mollie, Simba and Coooop and stormin' Gorman.

Eli Blake said...

Meanwhile, Pete Rose remains banned for life because he made a bet. On himself, to win.

Using drugs to enhance performance in baseball are also nothing new. Dock Ellis threw a no-hitter in 1970, and the secret was that he was cranked through the roof on LSD.

Here is another question: Given that McGwire, who used steroids when they were still legal, didn't get into the Hall of Fame last year, do you think that Clemens can get in with this blot? Probably not.

One other name I didn't see on that list, unless I missed it: Sammy Sosa. Yeah, he may have corked a bat (that tactic goes back to at least the Ruthian era) but if he didn't use steroids then one has to revisit his 66 home runs in 1998 with a bit more respect than he's been given before.

Lawgiver said...

I didn't see Sammy Sosa's name mentioned. Did I miss it or was he "clean"?

rhhardin said...

Stanley Cavell on baseball rules .

The tension in the duel between pitcher on steroids and batter on steroids.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Killjoys. Next they'll tell me that Christopher was on caffeine.

Ron said...

In '93 the 400+ lb Denny Mclain waddled out to the mound for the 25th anniversary of the Tiger-Cardinal World Series...Let me put it this way...

Jabba the Hut would have probably had a better breaking ball, and would have looked as elegant as Astaire by comparison to Mr. McLain...

And this doesn't even get to the evil parts!

Eli Blake said...

Maybe by amazing good luck, I've always lived in minor league towns, have only visited major league cities during the off-season or on weeks when the homies are out of town, or otherwise never gone to a major league game (though I've watched hundreds on TV, and watched over a hundred minor league games.)

And sometimes double-A ball can be more entertaining than the bigs. At the very least, the players give it their all on every pitch, because they know if they don't then next week they might be out of baseball and looking for a job as a night cook at Denny's.

Paddy O. said...

Sosa is on the list.

joe said...

You guys ain't old. My memories begin with the Don Larsen perfect game - the actual memory consists solely of my grandfather plunking me down in front of the tv at that age of 4 and telling me this was history, a perfect game in the Series... the real memories are of him taking me to Yankee Stadium from the late '50's into the late 60's.

Eli Blake said...

lawgiver:

Interesting you had the same observation as I had, at the same time. Apparently the only mention of Sosa is that at one point he refused to answer questions for the committee (though it's hard to get guys to rat on their teammates whether they are clean or not, so that in itself says very little.)

I figure either one of two possibilities:

1. Sosa is in fact clean, and the world owes him an apology for all the steroid rumors that were in fact not justified by facts,

or

2. The trainers and purveyors of such substances in the Dominican Republic are a lot more tight-lipped when talking to American investigators than are similar purveyors in the United States.

The problem is, either of those explanations is plausible.

Eli Blake said...

Paddy O:

No, it turns out he's not.

The clarification can be found here.

Sammy Sosa's name is absent, other than a brief mention that he declined to answer Mitchell's questions.

The list you linked to was a list of players named in the report, not players found to have used steroids.

Paddy O. said...

Eli, that's great. Thanks for the correction.

I think Sosa should get a lot of acclaim. To have competed at that level while staying clean is amazing.

Good for him. We can keep some memories.

joe said...

No guarantee that people not on the list are clean. But I think most on the list probably used, in that there must be evidence that put them there.

Lawgiver said...

Thanks Eli.

Jason. said...

Ms. Althouse, I generally love your blog, but this post appears to be incomplete. As a professional ballplayer (very close to the big leagues, too), I'm not so much offended as I am concerned that this story has been rounded off.

And, honestly! you're going to link us to the NYT version of this story?! A generally credible news source, yes, but also one eager to castigate athletes en masse.

I'll shamelessly toot my own horn and say that my opinion is at least more thorough, and at most more provocative. ;)

Trooper York said...

No Motown connections, just that the Tigers are a real baseball franchise like the Yankees, Red Sox and Indians. It’s just that Mickey and Denny belong to the international brotherhood of fat bastards who love beer, donuts and baseball. When Lolich retired he opened a bakery. That’s an American success story. I’m tearing up a little.

Trooper York said...

The reason the list is New York centric is that the chief informant was based in the Met's clubhouse, lived on Long Island and sold mainly to Yankee and Met players. They did not develop any other leads other than the Balco ones already set up by the Feds. If the investigations spread, there will be a lot of other distributors, trainers and strength coaches involved. More to come if anyone cares to look hard enough.

Daryl said...

Danny: I agree that science should move forward with non-harmful ways to boost human muscle/fitness, but steroids aren't the most promising way. They cause too many side effects.

I don't know much about the science, but myosin blockers seem like a much more promising route to powerful, healthy bodies for all of us.

Titusluvsu said...

I seriously do a summer cycle of winstral, which is one of the steroids Clemens is accused of taking.

For me, it is absolutely wonderful and I have read every article I could get on it.

Also, I usually look amazing, feel great, and have great sex.

I don't get acne or rage. My balls don't shivel either. So all in all it is a win win.

Michael_H said...

Hank Aaron owns the home run record, alway will.

It took a butt load of steriods for anyone else to match the record, and that is a false, tainted record.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Congress has jurisdiction because baseball is excluded from anti-trust laws

Um I'm sorry but WTF does anti-trust law have to do with illegal drug use? Does that mean a baseball player(s) who commits murder/rape/robbery has to go before a Congressional commission?

Bilby said...

What's insidious about the use of performance enhancing drugs which ugly side effects is that athletes are left with the choice of joining the others and ruining their health or not being able to compete. IMO that makes it a pretty big deal

rcocean said...

Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs using performance reduction drugs, i.e. beer and hot dogs.

Ruth also had a bad knee that was never operated on, and was told by all the "experts" not to lift weights (musclebound) or run (wear out your legs). However, smoking cigars was OK.

amba said...

No surprise, but still sad.

To adopt the "libertarian" attitude of so what with regard to steroid use, to the extent its valid, hold no appeal to someone like me.

So baseball to me is no longer alive


That's about how I feel. Is there no middle ground between "leave me alone to do any bad thing I want" libertarians, and nannies of the left and right? (The nanny state and the nunny state.) Nobody's listening to Edmund Burke:

Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites...
Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without.


But then, everything (in mainstream culture) is on steroids these days.

michilines said...

"Cancel all your baseball memories."

Ann, clearly you don't have any idea about baseball. Your commenters are a mixed bag. Where's your normal crowd? Closet weenies I imagine.

Good for hits. Have you firgured out that hits mean weight? If so, you are behind the curve. Hits mean little, especially when you have no clue about the topic.

Please post a vlog of you at a batting cage and then get back to me. That goes for reader_iam and all the armchair generals that reside here.

Prosecutorial Indiscretion said...

Further objective proof that the Yankees suck.

dax said...

CANCEL ALL YOUR LEGAL MEMORIES.
Yesterday 4 attorneys were charged with having sex with minors.
They are all sex deviates.

hdhouse said...

My baseball memories go back to the Cincinnati Reds in the 50s and Crosley field and my first job as a 10 year old, cutting the ticker tape and taping it on sheets for Waite Hoyte the announcer to read. Sometimes when the Reds played away games, he would do the entire game by ticker tape and no one would know he wasn't there.

That was a time you might run into a player shopping at the store or with his kids at the school carnival (Gus Bell the centerfielder before Vada Pinson lived not far from us). These guys made $30,000 or less and were just regular people. A-rod just went for over 300 million.

i don't think the games are related at all - then and now - and frankly i have no patience for 4 hour baseball games when i grew up with 2:11 and complete games not pitch counts.

good riddance to the entire thing.

Roger said...

Rcocean: Which is precisely what the Bambino is a great role model for people like me!

HDHouse: Were not most ball games done that way (via ticker tape read to the listening audience by an adept announcer?) I used to listen to Dodger games in the mid-1950s and found out only later the announcers used sound effects for hits and crowd noises.

Wade Garrett said...

You're right, Althouse, the were ALL on steroids. That is in no way an overgeneralization. Just like its not an overgeneralization to say that ALL Republicans are racist assholes who support waterboarding because its being done to brown people.

hdhouse said...

Roger..I don't know actually because, living in Cincinnati, the Reds were the only team on radio or tv but I suppose so, specially with travel and expenses and all that at the time. We moved from Cincinnati in the summer of 1959 and my most prized and valuable possessions are not only a baseball with Hoyt's signature but 12 other hall of famers who he interviewed in the press box AND the granddaddy of all rare of rare's the Western Union Ticker tape of Harvey Haddix's 12 inning perfect game. I have each inning summary. I have no idea why I was allowed to keep that but I did.

I'm waiting for antiques roadshow to come to long island.

SGT Ted said...

That's pretty cool stuff hd.

Roger said...

HD: the harvey haddix perfect game--that has to be something special--one of the great pitching performances of all time and to lose it by one run in the 13th!

Trooper York said...

I had a Harvey Haddix card for the year after he pitched the perfect game when I was a kid. But I lost it, along with my Mickey Mantle rookie card. That was long before collecting became such a big deal. I always preferred spending my money on the games and have had season tickets for the Yankees for the past 30 years. A plan, not a full season pass, since my names not Rockafeller.

Kev said...

My hero when I was younger was Nolan Ryan; I even got to talk with him for a few seconds as a college radio guy. Needless to say, he's nowhere near the list, so my memories are also intact.

(But was it only a coincidence that a cool new metal sculpture of a saxophonist--given to me for Christmas by a student today--now sits in the spot formerly occupied by my Rafael Palmeiro bobblehead on top of my piano?)