Day Three: The situation’s looking worse all the time for Roger

December 16th, 2007 → 12:41 pm @

Roger Clemens, through his lawyer, has been sticking with his Casablanca-evoking outrage that he was fingered as a ‘roids user. He shouldn’t be surprised, and neither should anyone else. (Compare this picture of a middle-aged Clemens to this one when he was in Boston. It certainly looks like his body went through a Bonds-like transformation.) I’ve been curious as to why more people weren’t asking questions about Clemens since last January, when Boston was in the hunt for his services.

In the last two days, the situation for Clemens has, remarkably, gotten even worse. There ex-big leaguers like C.J. Nitkowski defending Brian McNamee after he was called “troubled” by Clemens’ lawyer–a remarkable breach of the unspoken code of omerta among current and former ballplayers. There’s Curt Schilling, who looks up to Clemens as an idol, saying “I believe it” when asked about the contents of the Mitchell report. There’s the results of ESPN’s Jerry Krasnick’s informal poll of Hall voters–a full two-thirds of whom say they either wouldn’t vote for Clemens or are undecided.

And now there’s Andy Pettitte’s classy confirmation of McNamee’s revelations about his use of HGH. (Classy so long as his statement that there were only two times he used are, in fact, true.) Not only did Pettitte not say that McNamee was troubled, he confirmed exactly what McNamee had told investigators.

The steroid mess isn’t going to be one of those Watergate/Monica situations where the cover-up is worse than the crime…but it may be a case where the public, and the press, is a lot quicker to grant absolution to guys who come clean on their own. I’m willing to be dollars to doughnuts that Pettitte gets the biggest ovation of any player when the Yankees are announced on opening day at the Stadium.

Post Categories: Andy Pettitte & Hall of Fame & Roger Clemens & Steroids & The Mitchell Report

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

In which I refuse to take a position on the whole Jim Ed in the Hall debate

December 30th, 2006 → 12:13 pm @

I grew up loving Jim Rice. I found him to be nothing but pleasant when I was working on Feeding the Monster. And he’s one hell of a snazzy dresser.

But I just don’t feel I know enough to make any kind of informed decision about whether he deserves to be in the Hall. I know: ignorance doesn’t keep many writers from voting (*cough* George King *cough*). And I see both sides of the argument here. Rice has the MVP award (which isn’t worth a whole lot in my book) and it’s not hard to see the merit in the viewpoint that he was the most dominant hitter in the AL for about a decade. I also see the merit in the argument that if you take Rice out of Fenway, he’s not nearly as fearsome a force.

Finally, I think Dwight Evans was a better player, and nobody’s talking about him going in the Hall. He was more durable (20 seasons vs. 16), had a higher OBP (.370 vs. .352) and had three more career homers (385 vs. 382). And during those 10 years in which Rice was the dominant hitter in the AL, Dewey was the best rightfielder. He deservedly won eight (out of 10) Gold Gloves between 1976 and 1985, and that was playing in perhaps the toughest right field in the game. There were many more ways in which Dewey could alter a game.

Anyway, there it is. I know lots of you have passionate views about this. So have it.

Post Categories: Dwight Evans & Hall of Fame & Jim Rice

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