Meth freaks, take note: proof that speed actually causes your head to grow bigger

January 11th, 2007 → 11:51 am @

In today’s Daily News, T.J. Quinn (the same reporter behind the weirdly ignored revelation that, in 2001, a bag linked to Juan Gonzalez and a Cleveland Indians trainer was discovered filled with ‘roids), breaks the news that Barry “I have never failed a drug test” Bonds tested positive last year for a “serious stimulant”…the kind which was recently banned by MLB. (Except for folks suffering from ADD. Got that, D-Lowe?) So that’s what explains the difference between Bonds’ cap size in Pittsburgh and his one in San Francisco. Take note, pep pill fans: pop too many greenies and you’ll be spending lots o’ dough at your local milliner.

This promises to make Bonds’ pursuit of Hammering Hank’s all-time HR record even more fun! If Bonds is shown definitively to have lied — something which, to be sure, could also come out in the federal investigation regarding his grand jury testimony in the Balco case — it also could very well give HoF voters just the out they need to withhold a vote for Barry without needing to pass judgment on everyone who played in what will be known as the steroid era. (See: McGwire, Mark.)

Post Categories: Barry Bonds & Greenies & Hall of Fame & Mark McGwire & Steroids & T.J. Quinn

Sorry, Jim Ed

January 9th, 2007 → 3:28 pm @

I would have voted for you. Even if I didn’t have a well-articulated reason to support my position.

Yes, folks, for the thirteenth straight year, Jim Rice was not voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, meaning he now has only two more shots to get a plaque at Cooperstown. (Or at least two more shots to be voted in by the writers — a surly bunch, to be sure. After that, he’ll be dependent on the Veterans Committee. For those who are interested, there are plenty of people who have laid out their reasons for why Rice should be in the Hall.)

Goose didn’t get in either — only Cal Ripken, Jr. and Tony Gwynn did. If it provides Rice any colsolation (and I’m sure it won’t) there were eight writers who felt that even Ripken didn’t deserve a spot in Cooperstown.

Oh, and Big Man? Not even close. Told you so.

Post Categories: Hall of Fame & Jim Rice & Mark McGwire

Big Mac, revisited: still not worth much more than a QP with cheese.

December 30th, 2006 → 11:57 am @

Ah, yes: Hall of Fame voting. For folks not living in New England, this year that means a debate about Mark McGwire. I don’t think McGwire deserves to get in, for reasons I’ve explained before. (CliffsNotes version: if I had a vote (I don’t and never will) I’d settle the whole steroids issue thusly: players I think would be HoF players without ‘roids — Barry Bonds, et al — would get a check mark next to their name; players who wouldn’t — McGwire, Sosa — would not.) I also have a philisophical problem with voting for anyone who makes Jose Canseco look honest in comparison.

For anyone about to go on about how good McGwire was regardless, I call major shenanigans. I’m not the first person to point out that, sans juice, McGwire resembled Dave Kingman more than he did Willie Mays. McGwire is, after all, a guy who hit .220 over what should have been the prime three-year period of his career: his 25 to 27 years. And Kingman, a one-dimensional slugger, to be sure, was pretty good in that one dimension. When he retired in ’86 with 442 long balls, he was 19th on the all-time list.

Some other fun ‘roid-related stuff: in going through my archives, I found, among other humorous posts, likely the only one that marries Jason Giambi and the First Amendment. It also wins the award for one of my favorite headlines: Jason Giambi is a Gutless, Steroid-Using Punk. I’m also glad to see I was correct in calling bullshit on Jayson Stark’s mildly hysterical piece in the wake of the Rogersgate (or whatever you want to call it), when Stark wrote that “It wasn’t just his pitching hand that Rogers soiled on Sunday night. It was, regrettably, his whole sport. And that’s a stain that will take a lot longer to wash off.” Out damned spot, indeed.

Finally, in yet another air kiss to one of my favorite baseball writers in the country, make sure you check out Joe Posnanski’s column in tomorrow’s KC Star.

Post Categories: Hall of Fame & Joe Posnanski & Kenny Rogers & Mark McGwire

Big Mac: Worthy of the Hall? I think not…and here’s why

November 28th, 2006 → 9:46 am @

For all the sturm und drang surrounding this year’s voting, the Hall of Fame has always had its share of ridiculous members. Two players — Johnny Evers and Joe Tinker–were inducted for no other reason than the fact that their names were included in a popular ditty. (Hell, even Murray Chass has been honored by the Hall.)

Still, this year’s voting will be especially interesting. Mark McGwire, who was a lock for a first balloter as recently as two years ago, now looks like he won’t make it in. (I’d bet he gets even less votes than Jim Rice.) This, of course, is because pretty much the entire world assumes McGwire’s transformation from Dave Kingman to Babe Ruth was chemically enhanced.

I certainly understand that school of thought. I also understand other sides to the issue. Put aside the fact that steroids are illegal — reason enough to consider steroids differently from other performance enhancing medical options, but stick with me for the sake of argument. How are steroids different from, say, Lasik eye surgery? Or Tommy John surgery? Don’t you think there are plenty of guys from any previous era that could have had their careers prolonged by a decade or more if they’d had these options available to them? And wouldn’t at least some of these guys have made it into the Hall?

What’s more, if McGwire — who has never tested positive — doesn’t get your hypothetical vote, how do you evaluate other players of what’s already known as the steroid era? Does this affect how you think about guys like Roger Clemens, who’ve been the subject of persistent rumors? Or, for that matter, Barry Bonds?

I’ve thought about this for a while, and have settled on a doctrine articulated to me by the Kansas City Star‘s Joe Posnanski (for my money, perhaps the best baseball columnist in the country). If I had a vote — and there’s absolutely no danger of that ever happening — I’d vote for guys like Clemens, and even Bonds, because they seem like Hall of Fame-caliber players regardless of whether or not they used steroids. (If it were ever established definitively that a player used, said player would not get my vote, because ‘roid use in the absence of medical necessity, unlike Lasik and Tommy John surgery, is illegal.) And I wouldn’t vote for guys like McGwire, who is the very model of a player who would never have even sniffed the Hall were it not for a remarkable mid-career surge that seems, on top of all of the other anecdotal evidence, to be the result of a healthy regimen of PEDs.

It’s an imprecise formula, to be sure. But I’m not sure if I can think of another one that makes any more sense.

Post Categories: Mark McGwire & Steroids