Archive for the 'Hall of Fame' Category
Lincecum edges Wainwright and Carpenter in the closest vote ever. Makes history as first to win Cy in first two full seasons.
More this weekend…..
History made tonight. Matsui becomes the first Japanese-born player to win a World Series MVP, and a World Series, period.
Congratulations to the Yankees.
UPDATE: As I said yesterday, today’s game was all about Pettitte commanding the strike zone, and even though he walked five tonight, in the actual game situations, he was putting the ball exactly where he wanted to. Joe West was a bit inconsistent with his ball and strike calls, but Pettite refused to give in, and, in the end, with the early three-run lead, he was able to make sure that the pitches the Phillies swung at, the pitches that the Phillies hit, were the pitches he wanted them to swing at, the pitches he wanted them to hit. The pitches he wanted to them to hit, were thrown to the hitters he wanted to allow to have a chance to hit. All in all, the difference in the game was that Andy Pettitte commanded the strike zone, and by doing so, he won his 18th postseason game.
By the way, any talk about the Hall of Fame for Andy Pettitte (229-135 regular season record) must now consider the 40 postseason starts ( a whole extra seasons worth of work), and the 18-9 postseason record –which would raise his overall record to 257-144– was compiled at the highest, most demanding, pressure-filled level. Andy Pettitte has now won 5 postseason series clinching games. He’s now won 3 World Series clinching games. To suggest that he is the same pitcher as Jack Morris, as I read several times this week, is absurd. He’s had more than three times as many postseason wins as Morris, and he’s now won five –FIVE– World Series Championships.
Andy Pettitte did, in fact, command the strike zone, and, as I predicted, the Yankees did get to Pedro Martinez; and, as I predicted, if a Yankee hitter had an otherwordly game, he would steal the MVP from Mariano Rivera; and, as I predicted, if those things happened, the Yankees would be World Champions. And, they are.
Just the penultimate moment of the World Series, and Fox immediately cuts to a commercial instead of staying with the Sandman moment as Mariano comes in. Disgraceful.
Two recent articles involving steroids caught my eye, my attention, and drew my ire. The first one was in the NY Times, having to do with the attorneys in the Bonds case:
…. Barry Bonds is at home, awaiting trial and hoping that a major league team will ask him to play again. The prosecutors overseeing his case have gone back to working on other investigations. And one of Bonds’s lead defense lawyers has spent time helping to determine who the prosecutors’ next boss will be.
…. Whoever eventually becomes the United States attorney — the highest law-enforcement official in the Bay Area — will have an important decision to make in the Bonds case.
…. “I can see the concern that it looks worrisome,” he said, “but there are many layers in this decision, there are a lot of people on the committee — there is no direct decision-maker — it’s Boxer’s call, it’s Obama’s call and it’s subject to review of the Department of Justice and Congressional approval.”
Expressing more concern than the legal experts was Travis Tygart, the chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, which oversees the testing of all Olympic athletes and promotes clean competition in all sports.
“Right or wrong, perception can become reality and the perception here is not good,” Tygart said. “Hopefully, this will not have anything to do with the truth of Barry Bonds’s doping from coming to light and his tainted home run record being expunged.”
…. Since prosecutors began scrutinizing Bonds in 2003, there have been three United States attorneys for the Northern District of California. The current United States attorney, Joseph P. Russoniello, said in an interview Wednesday that he wanted to remain in the post after his term expired in December 2011.
…. Russoniello declined to say whether the government would move forward with the case if the appeals court does not let them use the disputed evidence. But he took issue with those people who have criticized his prosecutors for going after professional athletes.
“With all people we expect that when we put them in front of the grand jury they will be truthful,” Russoniello said. “It would be wrong to impose different standards because they were celebrities; we prosecute regardless of who the people are. We prosecute what is in front of us.”
ello said that since he took over as United States attorney, in 2007, he has developed a greater appreciation for the Balco investigation and how the use of performance-enhancing drugs by athletes can influence teenagers.
“Stan Musial was my hero when I was a kid, and he smoked cigarettes,” Russoniello said. “I smoked cigarettes. Did I smoke cigarettes because of him? Well, there was not anything that he did to deter me from smoking cigarettes.”
That's two people charged with important decisions, being in important jobs, who are either lying or idiots. If Tygart really thinks that way, he's not an executive running an organization. he's a crusader wit a vendetta, who cares more about image than facts, and he should be fired.
As for Russoniello, he's a disgrace to Italians everywhere. I can't even believe a grown man would allow himself to think something so absurd, and to allow himself to say it aloud, in front of a reporter is embarrassing. “There was not anything he did to deter me from smoking cigarettes.” I'm sorry that Stan Musial never told him not to smoke. Wow.
I'll get to the second one in a day or so. I just had to point put the absurdity.
UPDATE: Speaking of Bonds and absurdity, here's the headline to this article about Bengie Molina:
Giants’ Cleanup Hitter Is No Bonds (That’s a Good Thing)
…. Is there a more improbable full-time cleanup hitter in the major leagues? In his first 80 games, Molina batted .259 with 11 homers and 50 runs batted in. He was on a pace to hit 20 homers and drive in 91 runs.
Those projected numbers would be decent, but Molina, 34, is hardly a fearsome or dependable slugger. He was hitting .239 with runners in scoring position and had walked a shockingly low three times. Molina had a .432 slugging percentage and a .267 on-base percentage, which was worst in the National League.
Yeah, who needs a guy who gets on base half the time, has the highest slugging percentage in the league, and is generally the best hitter alive?
That piece was written by Jack Curry, just one more slam job by a cadre of reporters and mass media idiots who are obviously under some obligation to relentlessly continue their attacks on Barry, even when there's no reason whatsoever. Disgraceful.
Jonathan Sanchez, fresh off the scrap heap, the rumor mill, and possibly the bullpen; took his spot start and just missed a perfect game. Between his 2-6 record, his Dad seeing him pitch live for the first time ever, and Lincecum's near miss last night, that was some performance.
…. Among his many talents, Tim Lincecum also is a prophet. On Friday afternoon he said, “Someone might throw a no-hitter and it might not be the ace of the squad. It might be an unsung hero kind of guy. Anybody can do anything.”
A few hours later, anybody did something, and it was remarkable.
On a slightly cool but comfortable night for baseball at China Basin, Jonathan Sanchez pitched the Giants' first no-hitter in 33 years, beating the San Diego Padres 8-0. Only a Juan Uribe error stood between Sanchez and a perfect game.
…. So good was Sanchez that he nearly threw the 16th perfect game in the history of modern baseball. He was five outs shy when Uribe muffed an eighth-inning chopper by Chase Headley and could not pick up the ball. Headley was the only Padre to reach base against Sanchez, who struck out 11 to set a career high.
UPDATE: Peter G (Peter Gammons?) mentioned that I called the no-hitter:
…. As one might expect from a team with so little offense, the Giants came within a hair’s breath of being no-hit today. Not for nothing, but this team is pretty much a no-hitter waiting to happen.
I'm assuming that was tongue-in-cheek. ;-)
I am, however, on record as saying that Lincecum is a no-hitter waiting to happen. Not in writing, but out loud, with my loud mouth.
Nonetheless, this team is starting to seem a little bit special, or should I say, it seems that maybe, just maybe, this team is coming to be more than the sum of its parts. At this point, Sabe
an cannot trade Sanchez anymore –obviously– and perhaps he shouldn't trade anyone.
Uribe puts a pretty good swing on it, Sandoval is a terrific hitter, Molina is back from the grave, Rowand is having a solid season…. Hmmmmm, let me look at something….
The Giants scored 118 runs in June, in 27 games. That's 4.37 runs per game, better than the NL average, and almost a half run better than they had been scoring heading into June. In July, they've scored 43 runs in 9 games, that's 4.7 runs per game. Another way of looking at it is to say the Giants are scoring 4.5 runs per game since the start of June, 161 runs in 36 games. During that span of 36 games, the pitchers have allowed 108 earned runs, 117 runs in total. That's 2.75 runs per game. (read that sentence a few times) That's an expected winning percentage of .721. (read that sentence a few times) A team scoring and allowing that many runs should have gone 25-11 since the start of June. They've been just a bit below that, 23-14 according to ESPN's standings page, but that's still an outstanding run of over .600 ball, for almost a quarter of a season.
They have the second best record in the NL, a two game lead in the Wild Card, have a league-leading 13(!) shutouts, twice as many as any other team. Perhaps they have found just enough offense. The defense is suspect, (although they seem to have committed a lot of errors recently, including the loss of the perfect game last night, in reality, they have only 46 this season, which is one of the lowest totals in the league); but since they are also leading all of baseball in strikeouts, their pitching makes up for a lot.
That's the good.
Renteria moves so slow, he looks like he's wearing a suit of armor. Uribe is a bit less than sure-handed. We still are at the bottom of baseball in home runs, Randy Johnson is still old, and Barry Zito is still expensive.
That's the bad.
Not quite as much as there used to be, no?
In an ugly, error-filled game, Tim Lincecum failed to beat the worst team in baseball, as the Giants lost to the Nationals to fall back to .500. After 50 games, the team has scored and allowed almost the exact same number of runs, and without a major trade, will be lucky to maintain their current pace for much longer. No pitcher can carry the load of having to be perfect every game, just ask Johan Santana, who has been given the worst run support imaginable the last season and a half. The Giants pitching staff has been dealing with this kind of pressure for a couple of seasons now, and there's not much real hope for the rest of '09.
By the way, for everyone who keeps insisting that the Dodgers can be had, they've allowed almost the exact same number of runs the Giants have. Of course, they've also scored 100 more runs. Not to belabor the obvious, but that means they are outscoring the Giants by 2 full runs per game. Just in case you haven't had your coffee yet, let me elaborate…. if the Giants traded Travis Ishikawa straight up for Albert Pujols, they wouldn't make up that difference. If they traded Ishikawa for the 2003-05 version of Bonds they wouldn't score two more runs per game, although they'd probably come close. ;-)
My point is that the real contenders are the teams that are outscoring their opponents. Forget about won loss records, just look at ESPN's upgraded standings page, and check out the runs differential column. That'll tell you everything you need to know. 50 games in, we know who we are. 50 games is a large enough sample. I just read explaining that the number of teams who've made the playoff after being five games below .500 at the start of June is three:
…. Here are the facts. There have been 104 teams to make the playoffs in the 13 full seasons of the wild-card era. Exactly three of them, or 2.9 percent, were worse than five games below .500 when June began. Here are the three outliers:
1. 2005 Astros (19-32 start; 89-73 final record).
2. 2007 Cubs (22-29; 85-77).
3. 2007 Yankees (22-29; 94-68).
That's just another way of saying the same thing. Over the course of a season, the teams that outscore their opponents by the largest margins will be the ones that –with the occasional exception–make the playoffs. So here's a different way of looking at those three teams, looking at where they were on the morning of June 1st of those seasons:
2005 Astros 18-32 -48 runs differential Expected Won-Loss 18-32
2007 Cubs 22-29 +11 runs differential Expected Won-Loss 27-24
2007 Yankees 22-29 +24 runs differential Expected Won-Loss 29-22
You wanna know how Houston made up that deficit? They outscored their opponents by 132 runs over the last 112 games of the season, which is normally a full seasons' worth of extra runs for a contending team. In fact, only one team in the NL outscored their opponents by more than 132 runs that year, the St. Louis Cardinals, who didn't make the Series in what was widely considered an upset. But, from June 1st on, the Astros were the better team. Over those last 112 games, the Cardinals runs differential was only 116. The Astros won 5 more games than the Cards over that stretch, and then won the NL pennant before falling to the White Sox in the Serious.
As of today, no team is significantly outperforming their expected winning percentage, a couple should have a few more wins, notably, the Nationals, who should have about four more, and the Tampa Bay Rays, who are also about four or five wins worse than they should be. Most teams are right where they should be, which is another way of saying this:
The Giants have no chance of competing for a championship this season.
The minor league system has been restocked, and there should be help, in the form of real hitters, coming up next season, and hopefully we will see the Giants become a team that has a steady supply of good, young talent in the future. It's important that Brain Sabean remembers that championships are built, not bought. He knows that the Yankees recent dynasty –contrary to
popular belief– was built upon the nucleus of home grown talent, by the maturation of Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Bernie WIlliams, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera, who all came up through the Yankees system. That Yankee team was built upon that core group of All Stars, who were then surrounded by key free agents and savvy veterans; think along the lines of David Wells, David Cone, Wade Boggs, Paul O'Neil, Scott Brosius…. those kinds of guys. In fact, it was only when the Yankees began to swing for the fences, signing the best free agents out there, when they began to look like an All Star team, that the dynasty started to falter.
The Giants should be sellers, not buyers. They should be looking to unload the collection of overpaid mediocrities masquerading as middle of the order talent. They should be looking to trade Winn, and Rowand and Molina, and Renteria, and collect even more minor league talent, young talent. They should wash their hands of these money sucking role players, and start looking to 2010, because none of these players will be around when Giants players are pouring champagne on each other.
The Giants have two studs right now, two. Cain and Lincecum. Pablo Sandoval looks pretty good, albeit a little rough around the edges. Perhaps Burriss grows into an everyday second baseman. Fred Lewis will be 29 years old at the start of 2010, and he's done exactly, what? Maybe Jonathan Sanchez will be part of a contending Giants team. Maybe. Who else in yesterday's lineup will be?
The Giants need three or four elite players to come up through the system in the next two seasons. A first baseman, Posey, and an outfielder or two would be perfect. Then the players that Sabean is so fond of would actually have real worth. Signing the Aaron Rowands and the Randy Winns of the baseball world would be a fine strategy if the Giants got 90 home runs and 250 runs batted in from their first baseman, left fielder and their catcher.
Trading anybody younger than 28 years old in an effort to make the playoffs this season would be a huge mistake, because you'd be betting half your stack knowing that you're a 10-1 underdog. Trading a player as valuable as Matt Cain would be catastrophic.
UPDATE: I just have to….
Many major media outlets continue to insist that the Yankees surge to the best record in baseball is somehow tied to A-Rod's return, or to the terrific defense they've been getting from Melky Cabrera and Mark Texeira, or from their pitching staff finally coming together. Here's none other than OBM supporter Peter Gammons:
…. Recently, the Yankees have gone on a big-time roll and taken first place in the AL East, all after the return of Alex Rodriguez. However, the key difference hasn't been offense, although the tandem of A-Rod and Mark Teixeira is similar to what David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez once were with Boston. With A-Rod and Teixeira in the order, the Yankees' runs per game have only risen slightly. The Yankees' ERA, though, has dropped by more than two runs, as CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Joba Chamberlain and Co. have come together as a power rotation.
The Yankees' rotation is made up of hard throwers who get minimal hard contact, and put little pressure on the defense. Teixeira, the owner of two Gold Gloves, has made the infield much better, and Melky Cabrera's defensive matrix is the best of any major league center fielder.
None of that is true. Well, it's not that that's not true, it just overstates the case. The Yankees were 14-15 on May 8th, the day A-Rod hit the first pitch he saw for a three-run homer. In those 29 games, they had a run differential of -16, having allowed a staggering 178 runs in those 29 games, over 6 per game. But they'd allowed 44 of those runs in just three games, the three games Chien-Ming Wang started before they put him on the DL. Take those games out, and the Yankees gave up 134 runs in 26 games, or just over 5 runs per game. Over their last 23 games, they've allowed 91 runs, around 4 runs per game. This improvement, in fact, can and should be attributed to better defense, and the pitchers starting to reach mid-season form.
This is why Brian Cashman signed Burnett, Sabathia and Texiera. Those players are delivering.
The latest steroid scandal is old news. I wrote about teams bringing in doctors to talk to players about the positive aspects of using steroids years ago, and the Mitchell Report mentions it as well. Nonetheless, it is refreshing to hear a player, even one who is out of the game, talking candidly about the issue:
…. Merloni’s exact quotes, according to The Boston Globe, were: “I’m in Spring Training, and I got an 8:30-9:00 meeting in the morning. I walk into that office, and this happened while I was with the Boston Red Sox before this last regime, I’m sitting in the meeting. There’s a doctor up there and he’s talking about steroids, and everyone was like, ‘Here we go, we’re going to sit here and get the whole thing — they’re bad for you.’
“No. He spins it and says, ‘You know what? If you take steroids and sit on the couch all winter long, you can actually get stronger than someone who works out clean. If you’re going to take steroids, one cycle won’t hurt you; abusing steroids it will.’
“He sat there for one hour and told us how to properly use steroids while I’m with the Boston Red Sox, sitting there with the rest of the organization, and after this I said, ‘What the heck was that?’ And everybody on the team was like, ‘What was that?’ And the response we got was, ‘Well, we know guys are taking it, so we want to make sure they’re taking it the right way.’ … Where did that come from? That didn’t come from the Players Association.”
Steroid Nation’s piece goes on:
…. In fact, there were occasions when physicians presented steroids in a favorable light, in particular Dr. Robert Millman, of Cornell. Here is what John Rocker said about a presentation:
The loudmouth former reliever said he and then-Rangers teammate Alex Rodriguez, among others, were advised in spring training of 2002 by management and players’ union doctors on how to use steroids in a way that is “not going to hurt you.”
Rocker said a doctor hired by the Players’ Association pulled aside himself, A-Rod, Ivan Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro following a spring training lecture and candidly told them how to use steroids.
“Look guys, if you take one kind of steroid, you don’t triple stack them and take them 10 months out of the year like Lyle Alzado did,” the doctor told him, Rocker said yesterday during an interview on the Buck and Kincade Show on WCNN-680 The Fan in Atlanta. “If you do it responsibly, it’s not going to hurt you.” (italics, mine)
My steroids category link is taking too long, but I’ll find the piece I wrote back in ’03 or ’04. Old news, but still good news. I’m all for transparency. The people who profited from the home run explosion, the owners, GM’s, and baseball officials who are pointing fingers need to be put to the same scrutiny players have been. About time.
So new we learn that one more player was willing to do whatever it took to win, one more player who took the mantra that winning isn’t just everything, it’s the only thing as seriously as a heart attack.
One more reason for all of the talking heads to wring their hands, declare themselves the last bastions of decency and all that’s good, to remind us that while Manny Ramirez doesn’t care about saving the children, they sure do. One more overwrought response to an overblown issue, by one after another overweight and underpaid hacks.
The NY Daily News has nine articles related to Ramirez, this from a paper that considers itself the anti-steroids locus operandi of the sports world, but is, in reality, a joke; running one more innuendo-filled smear after another. Or, if smear jobs aren’t enough, the News will run flat out attack pieces, with enough anonymous quotes to make Selena Roberts blush. Here’s John Harper:
…. Unless you think that cheating the game shouldn’t matter, you continue to cross the names off the list of future Hall of Famers. Not that deleting Manny Ramirez’s name from consideration is particularly painful.
It was always going to be hard to vote for someone who quit on his team as transparently as Ramirez did with the Red Sox last year, when he forced his way out of Boston. So in this case, Ramirez’s suspension for using a banned substance just makes it easier to say no.
Or the poster boy for calling everyone a cheater, Lupica:
…. Ramirez talks about some doctor doing this to him. What doctor? He doesn’t give us a name on his doctor any more than A-Rod gave us the name of that Nurse Betty-cousin of his. Manny and Boras also fail to mention that there is a hotline ballplayers can call, one that tells them exactly what drugs they can and can’t use.
So, in a one-paragraph statement, Ramirez manages to give us a story as full of holes as the one Rodriguez gave in Tampa before he choked himself up.
Again, baseball officials and sportswriters know, FOR A FACT, that virtually every baseball player for the last fifty years has used performance enhancing drugs of some kind during his career.
Let me write that again, so you understand how disgraceful all of this posturing and hand-wringing really is:
BASEBALL PLAYERS HAVE BEEN USING PERFORMANCE ENHANCING DRUGS FOR THE LAST FIVE DECADES:
…. Here’s what Gilbert wrote FORTY YEARS AGO!!!!
…. “A few pills—I take all kinds—and the pain’s gone,” says Dennis McLain of the Detroit Tigers. McLain also takes shots, or at least took a shot of cortisone and Xylocaine (anti-inflammant and painkiller) in his throwing shoulder prior to the sixth game of the 1968 World Series—the only game he won in three tries. In the same Series, which at times seemed to be a matchup between Detroit and St. Louis druggists, Cardinal Bob Gibson was gobbling muscle-relaxing pills, trying chemically to keep his arm loose. The Tigers’ Series hero, Mickey Lolich, was on antibiotics.
Bob Gibson? He’s one of the heroes these guys keep going on and on about. He’s one of those guys who would never, ever have used steroids, right, Lupica?
…. “We occasionally use Dexamyl and Dexedrine [amphetamines]…. We also use barbiturates, Seconal, Tuinal, Nembutal…. We also use some anti-depressants, Triavil, Tofranil, Valium…. But I don’t think the use of drugs is as prevalent in the Midwest as it is on the East and West coasts,” said Dr. I. C. Middleman, who, until his death last September, was team surgeon for the St. Louis baseball Cardinals.
Tim McCarver was Gibson’s catcher, wasn’t he? When is McCarver gonna come out and tell the truth? When is McCarver gonna be asked a tough question? He and Joe Morgan can sit there during games and drone on and on about how horrible it is that this player or that player is cheating…. WHEN WILL THEY COME CLEAN?
Think about that when you listen to these guys talk about their heroes being so full of love for the kids, so true and honorable that they saved people from burning buildings before hitting the game winning home run. We know, KNOW that all of these guys, Reggie Jackson and Cal Ripken and Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays and Tom Seaver and Joe-fucking-Morgan ….. all of these Hall of Fame players absolutely, positively used speed to play baseball. And we know, for a fact, that the only reason they didn’t use steroids is because they weren’t readily available.
And we know that the sportswriters and broadcasters knew as well.
Instead of another article quoting Cal Ripken as being disappointed or shocked, I’d love to read an article in which Ripken lists, in detail, every single thing he ever took to play in 2130 games in a row.
…. “I don’t know what people would think. You stand for what you stand for. If you’re asking me whether I juiced, the answer is no.
When different people are suspected or popped, there’s a kind of shock that runs through your system. This falls in the shocking category.
You can only control what you can control. You have to live your life and live it as consistently as you can, the way you believe.
Instead of looking at it from a pessimistic point and saying it’s dragging the game down, I still would like to believe most players are making the right choice and right decision based on who they are. That’s how I choose to look at it. Whether it’s going to prove out to be wrong, time will tell. The truth will come out.
Yeah, don’t ask him a real question, like, what did you take, at any point during your career, to take the field? Or better yet, did you ever use speed, or anything stronger than ibuprofen, EVER?
This is all bullshit. It’s all lowest common denominator, pander to the idiots, race to press and make sure everyone knows that you stand for honor. And it’s all a lie.
Having just learned that A-Rod will undergo surgery for a cyst in his hip, my mind wandered back to a story, or perhaps it was a rumor that another Yankee had undergone a similar procedure. Was it in “Ball Four,” that I had read that Mickey Mantle had a cyst in his hip –caused by an infection due to a dirty needle used for a vitamin B shot– that caused him to miss significant time?
Using Baseball-Reference.com, I can see that Mantle missed significant time in 1962 and 1963. Was that what happened?
And if it did, doesn't it raise the question of whether A-Rod's cyst was caused by an infection? An infection that could have started because of a dirty needle?
Two questions come to my mind:
1. Now that we know that forty years ago, elite athletes were already well aware of the powerful effects of steroids, isn't it possible that Mickey Mantle may have been experimenting with steroids?
2. How come no major news media outlet has taken the steps to ask what, exactly, is the cause of the cyst that A-Rod has?
A few answers come to mind right away. First off, none of these so-called “keepers of the flame” will investigate whether their hero could have been sullied by the steroids cloud, so the Mantle question will be left for us to ponder. And as for the question about A-Rod, no one has asked it because nobody thought of it, until now. All I ask is a plug from the writer who picks up this thread. ;-)
UPDATE: Well, no plug. ;-)
The NY Daily News did some investigating, and came up with this:
…. “Because A-Rod kept changing his story about his steroid use,” said Dr. Lewis Maharam, the medical director of the New York Road Runners Club, “it made us skeptical about his hip issue, thinking it could be steroid-related. It is not. Avascular necrosis of the femoral head is linked to steroids and sometimes described by the lay public as a cyst. This is not what he has.”
Meanwhile, two former players have come out with their own personal tales of steroid woes. The first one is an in this Philadelphia Daily News story by Paul Hagen:
…. He was, he said, largely unaware of steroids when he signed his first professional contract. Of course, back then his fastball was consistently in the mid-90s and he could throw it effortlessly and without pain.
That was before the elbow operations. Still, he persevered. He worked his way through the minors. He said he still knew little about performance-enhancing substances. He reached the majors and began to have some success. Then he began to have more problems with his elbow and shoulder and faced further surgery. He worried that he might not make the team the following spring. He began looking for ways to recover more quickly.
“I felt pressure that I put on myself,” he says. “It wasn't external. When you struggle for a while, you realize that maybe your performance isn't up to par because you were playing through some injuries. But the bottom line is, the performance wasn't that good. “I had surgery right after the season. And spring training was only 6 months away. So I was looking for something to help speed up that process, to try and regain my health as quickly as possible. Because I felt that pressure of having to perform and compete and throw the ball well right out of the gate or I was going to lose that job.
“I was supposed to be in my prime for a pitcher. But my physical skills deteriorated to the point where it was like, 'OK, I've got to address this or I'm not going to be able to play at this level.' “
He began asking some of the veteran players if they had any suggestions. About this time, he also became acquainted with a guy who worked out at the same health club he went to during the offseason.
“He wasn't involved in baseball in any way, shape or form,” the ex-player says. “And just by looking at him, you knew he wasn't much of an athlete. He was a big guy who carried a lot of weight on him. Let's just say he was on the lumpy side and it was obvious he wasn't in the gym training for the next body-building event. “Over time we became friends, and as it turns out his work is focused on the health and fitness field,
as he had a master's degree in exercise science and nutrition. He ran a small practice out of a family doctor's office, where he counseled people on health and nutrition issues. He incorporated a lot of homeopathic and natural cures into his program, and I had become more interested in that.”
Eventually, he made an appointment. They talked at length about maintaining a healthy diet. And then the conversation moved to a different level.
“He started talking to me about growth hormone and anabolics,” the ex-pitcher says. “I was very ignorant about it at the time. But with this guy's educational background and experience, I really had a strong conviction that he understood what he was talking about. To my surprise, he talked about anabolics in a much more positive light than I had ever heard before.”
Well, of course that would be a surprise. The demonization of all drugs not endorsed for profit-making by the powers that be means that any information disseminated about them be made up of lies and distortions. We wouldn't want people to make informed choices when there's no money to be made.
And over the NY Daily News, Darryl Strawberry opened up his mouth and made headlines:
…. “Hell, yeah, I would have used (steroids). Are you kidding me?” Strawberry said as he kicked off a week as a guest instructor at Mets camp, during a defense of Alex Rodriguez. You know what, it's just the point of being in sports. In our nature we're competitive creatures. We have a tremendous drive and high tolerance and all of these things in us. I'm not saying that was the right thing to do, but if somebody asked me if I would have faced it, what would I have done if that was going on in the era of the '80s, it definitely probably would have been in my system, too. I probably would have been a part of it, too. And I wouldn't have denied it, because you guys know I don't deny anything.”
Refreshingly candid, although Darryl seems to have forgotten about his tougher times, when he did, in fact, deny a lot. But, hey, at least he's being honest, unlike Reggie Jackson, who clearly played in a time in which amphetamine use –at the least– was widespread throughout baseball; but Mr. Jackson wants us all to know that he's saddened by A-Rod's admission that he used PED's.
Yes, I'm sure Jackson never used anything to get an edge. I'm sure that during his whole career, he was a clean as the driven snow.
Here's an idea. If all of these sad ex-baseball players want to do something to help clean up the game, to end this charade, to make the stories be about baseball again, and not whether this guy or that used this or that; they should all come clean.
That's right, open your mouth, and have something come out that's worth listening to. Every living baseball player knows, absolutely knows that either he used something stronger than coffee, or he knows that most of his teammates did. If baseball's fraternity is so strong, then they should all line up together, and tell the fucking truth. They should all stand up and say something like this:
The truth is that elite athletes use anything and everything to gain an edge.
The truth is that if you're not in this world of elite athletic endeavor, you cannot understand, you cannot possibly fathom what goes on. You cannot come close to dealing with the pressures, the constant pain, the fear, and the rewards of an elite athlete. You cannot grasp what it's like to live the life of a superstar, nor can you really understand what it's like to be the 24th guy on the team.
We do. We're living it. We pay the prices, we reap the rewards, we make the decisions.
And then they'd ask the one question that ends any debate:
If you were told that you could take a drug that would earn you and your family millions of dollars, or even hundreds of millions of dollars, allowing you to reach the pinnacle of your dreams, would you use it?
If you were told that using this drug would enable you to stay in the game, after you started to notice you were on your way out if it, would you use it?
If you were good, but could be great, or even the best ever, would you use it?
No one could honestly answer that question unequivocally, either way. You couldn't say absolutely no, and you couldn't say absolutely yes.
You'd have to be there. And if you've never been there, and you still think you know the answer, all you're doing is yelling at the rain.
Greg Anderson has refused to testify, and it looks like he could be held in contempt again. I'm surprised, since Judge Ilston indicated earlier in the proceedings that she was unhappy to see that Anderson had already been jailed twic
e for refusing, asking prosecutors if they'd ever heard of someone being jailed twice for refusing to testify, to which he answered no.
Now the trial will be delayed more, maybe even several months, which, of course, will result in more money being thrown on the ground.
What a disgrace.