Re: What Is Clear

1

Meh. He cheated, but everyone else is cheating too, even the nice guys. I'm with Yglesias.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 11:59 AM
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but whether we are bummed that a major record has been taken from a nice guy by a jerk ...who cheated (and oh yes, he cheated in any colloquial sense of the term, you legalistic "no controlling legal authority" hacktards).

Somehow this sounds like the thing about "raising the issue" whenever a blogger takes advantage of an OTR conversation. "Feel bad"-ism makes a comeback. Maybe this time something will come of our mournful faces.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:03 PM
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Twenty-four days, 4 hours, and 53 minutes until kick-off in Austin, Texas. No problem forgetting about Bonds here.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:10 PM
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Also cheating in the formal sense:
http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/eticket/format/memos20051109?memo=1991&num=1


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:11 PM
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This seems like one of those things that will forever divide people who care from people who don't, like whether aioli is mayonnaise or heliocentrism. I read a terrific little book in college that showed how baseball's declension narrative is as deeply rooted in the game as the bat. Professionalization was the ruin of the game according to goodol'dayers from the middle late 19th century, and so on. I wish I remembered the name of that book. I think I left some money inside it.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:13 PM
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It's all part of baseball. Twenty years from now we'll be nostalgic for these simpler times.


Posted by: Counterfly | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:14 PM
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"Death is a part of baseball." "Yeah, the main part."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:14 PM
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Did you see the cover of the NY Post today? (sadly, no good link.) Sometimes they amuse me.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:15 PM
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Who denies that aioli is heliocentrism?


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:16 PM
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w-lfs-n, probably.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:17 PM
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lightening?

(filling in for w-lfs-n)


Posted by: DaveB | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:18 PM
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4: Pathetically, the cheater-lovers say things like "an unenforced ban is no ban." (that's from the otherwise sensible Scott Lemieux, who apparently thinks that students at UVA and the Ivies should cheat on tests to their hearts' content).

I said it here the last time this came up, and I'll say it again: if you don't think that Bonds is a cheater, then your sense of ethics is smaller than his steroid-shunken testes.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:19 PM
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What Is Clear

Awesome.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:21 PM
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It's seems that the real problem is that Bonds is obviously both a cheater and so very fucking great. Either one or the other would be easy to deal with. The "asshole" thing, while also obviously true, is just a minor distraction.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:23 PM
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if you don't think that Bonds is a cheater, then your sense of ethics is smaller than his steroid-shunken testes.

What if you think the highest levels of any field are overpopulated by cheaters, and that it makes sense to look at the rules as those successful people find and follow them, not the rules that get offered to the public?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:25 PM
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More and better doping! Bionic athletes! Genetically engineered athletes! Who cares? Probably they'll all die young and in great pain. Fine with me!

It can be hilarious. Bonds is #1 in a whole long list of stats, but some guy found a stat where he was #3 and decided that that was the really important one.

Ogged, quit resisting. Juice yourself up and compete in the Olympics at age 40. You're one projecting motherfucker.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:29 PM
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The "asshole" thing, while also obviously true, is just a minor distraction.

I just read today the SI excerpts from Game of Shadows, and I was actually surprised to learn that he's a bigger prick than is generally portrayed, yelling at his friends and employees as if he's royalty. I'd bought at least somewhat into the "Oh, sports writers just hate him for not kissing their asses" narrative, but it's total BS - the guy is an unbelievable asshole.

That said, it's a totally secondary concern for me. Accepting that admired athletes may be scummy human beings is part of the definition of growing up.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:29 PM
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Pro-cheater, here. If we can celebrate asshole heroin addicts like Miles Davis, we can celebrate asshole roid monsters like Bonds.

You just can't have a sport culture obsessed with breaking past records and continually raising the athletic bar, and not have the steroids. The drugs aren't "cheating;" they're perfectly in keeping with the basic goal of professional sport, which is to provide spectacle and make money.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:29 PM
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Pwned by 16, I see.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:30 PM
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What if you think the highest levels of any field are overpopulated by cheaters, and that it makes sense to look at the rules as those successful people find and follow them, not the rules that get offered to the public?

That's just a fancier way of saying that you have no ethics.

I'm completely serious about this.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:30 PM
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Count me among the douchebags...

On the charge that Bonds is a jerk, that is largely a product of his refusal to tongue-bathe the media - which, in my books, is a big score in his favour...

On the charge of the asterisk*, I'll have a little more respect for the Bonds-naysayers once they apply the same standard to Aaron and the use of greenies...


Posted by: 3pointshooter | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:30 PM
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20: It is possible for sets of rules to become outdated. In sport, it's clear that something, somewhere, has to give.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:32 PM
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I was going to bring up Lemieux as another otherwise intelligent person who falls into the ethical hole, but JRoth beat me to it. And Brock is right in 14; it doesn't matter if Bonds is an asshole. A-Rod is a prick of the first order, but in the absence of any evidence that he's juiced, I'll be happy when he breaks Bonds' record.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:33 PM
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18: I'm pretty sure Miles' heroin addiction didn't cause people to overestimate the quality of his horn playing.

There is no meaningful sense in which Bonds can be said to be "better" than Ruth, Mays, or Williams. Just as no one compares pre-1965 basketball stars to today's. That's fine for the other sports - no one gives a shit about the 1940 Bears, or the 1960 Giants (except for people who actually recall them). People still care about Ruth, and there's virtually no one alive who ever saw him play.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:34 PM
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It's seems that the real problem is that Bonds is obviously both a cheater and so very fucking great.

Chuck Klosterman wrote quite a good essay with this as a major point. It reads really well with the current situation, even though it was written over a year ago to address his passing Babe Ruth in the lifetime home runs stats.

Still amazing to hear in more numerical detail how Ruth dominated the game back in his day.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:34 PM
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I'm completely serious about this.

Because I believe it to be a true description of the upper levels of almost any field, or because I think those are the rules to fruitfully apply?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:34 PM
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Still amazing to hear in more numerical detail how Ruth dominated the game back in his day.

Was he as dominant as Lance Armstrong was recently?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:35 PM
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It's telling that most of these apologias for Bonds are coming from people who, like MY, don't like or don't care for the sport at all.


Posted by: Cain | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:36 PM
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My problem is not with Bonds as an individual but the entirety of the last 15 years of baseball. Inasmuch as he exemplifies that era, I have a problem with him. But he's actually a more tragic than hateful figure to me, because I think that had steroids etc. never existed, he would have been one of the greatest players to play the game. I actually have a lot of sympathy for him if the narrative was anything like what various accounts have laid out. Here's this very talented guy watching one-dimensional sluggers with uneven skills and even some utility-level scrubs suddenly become fucking Mickey Mantle because they're juiced to the gills. I can't blame him for saying, "Fuck this, I'm doing it too". In fact, the guy was enough of a committed hardcase as a player that he clearly set to do the drugs more extensively and rigorously than the guys who just stoked up a bit at contract time to pad their power numbers.

Some of the Bonds apologists are surprising me with the bullshit they're laying out--like JRoth, I'm astonished to hear the argument that a ban that isn't strongly enforced with police powers is a ban you're free to ignore from Scott Lemieux--what kind of theory of law and normative behavior is that? Put your authoritarian foot on my neck if you want to stop me from doing something wrong, or you don't really mean it?

But I completely agree that Bonds is being made a scapegoat when it's other guys who should really be the target of fan anger: McGwire strikes me as a much more contemptible figure because the guy was willing to run around being Mr. America and being the media darling and all that while he was sucking down the juice at the same time. I feel way more disgusted down in my gut remembering the Sosa-McGwire race because I actually BOUGHT into it. It's like being a guy who called for invading Iraq because you actually believed that there was good WMD intelligence. Bonds has just gone about trying to play baseball as well as he can (nonjuice and juice versions alike).


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:36 PM
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21: 3-pointer, read the SI excerpt, and tell me again how it's just a "product" of the media. The guys who wrote that book had never dealt with Bonds before they started covering this story - they're not sports writers. Furthermore, Greg Anderson has gone to jail to protect Bonds, but even he portrays Bonds as a staggering asshole.

Just say it out loud, and you'll feel better: "Barry Bonds is an asshole, and it's no one's fault but his own. I'm still a good person."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:37 PM
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24: Bonds is different in that unlike Davis, his achievements are (in the narrow sense) actually quantifiable, which makes the case in his favour stronger.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:38 PM
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I can't blame him for saying, "Fuck this, I'm doing it too".

I can. He'd have been a hall-of-famer anyway, but now he's a big fat cheater regardless of whether he gets inducted.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:40 PM
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In sports where there are objective standards (track and field, swimming), today's stars dominate the old-time greats. Based on watching film, someone somewhere commented awhile back about the lack of athleticism in 60s basketball compared to today. baseball is probably the same.

Sports are inherently vicious. The gentlemanly myths had to be crushed for sports to flourish. The turning point came a long time ago.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:40 PM
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28: There are plenty of sports I do like and care about in which I'd say exactly the same thing. Suppose my favourite hockey player (currently that's Iggy) were found to be doping. Does that mean I'd accept arguments that this invalidated his achievements or athletic talent? No, I would not. I don't see any reason why baseball fans should accept reasoning that I'd reject in most any other context.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:41 PM
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Because I believe it to be a true description of the upper levels of almost any field, or because I think those are the rules to fruitfully apply?

The latter. The point of ethics is not determining how best to succeed, no matter what, but to behave well. Obviously, the most successful in many fields are unethical. Part of the whole point of sports is that there are umpires, right there on the field, to try to ensure that success is due to superior effort and athleticism, not inferior morals.

If the best thing that Bonds defenders can say is that he out-cheated everyone else, then I'm not sure why they're even watching the game. Perhaps they could watch 3-card monte videos instead?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:42 PM
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I'm with 16 and 21. I'm sentimental, generally, but there is, for me, such a thing as too much sentimentalism when it gets in the way of celebratory spectacle which is, ultimately, what pro sports are about.

As to the matter of Bonds being an asshole, I wonder how much race has to do with it. Do we demand that our white athletes "tongue bathe the media" in the same way we do our black athletes?


Posted by: rachel | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:42 PM
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I'm with the douchebags, mainly because there have been obnoxious assholes talking about what a jerk Bonds is online for the past eighty years or so. And I refuse to let the terrorists win.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:42 PM
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Bonds has just gone about trying to play baseball as well as he can (nonjuice and juice versions alike).

That's my position. I didn't read Lemieux's piece, but there are...perhaps only in all other sports, as I fall into the category that Cain describes, and don't follow baseball...all manner of forms of cheating that gets classified as OK, usually as "gamesmanship."

Does anyone who closely follows the NFL care about steroid use there?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:43 PM
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OK, fine. Keith Richard's entire oeuvre is invalid. Kick him out of the Hall of Fame.

Ted Nugent -- now there's a clean guitarplayer.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:43 PM
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8- Newseum.org provides visuals (link probably only good until midnight, however.)


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:44 PM
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35.2: Yeah, isn't that what pro wrestling is for?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:44 PM
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If the best thing that Bonds defenders can say is that he out-cheated everyone else, then I'm not sure why they're even watching the game.

As Cain notes, mostly they're not.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:44 PM
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. Suppose my favourite hockey player were found to be doping. Does that mean I'd accept arguments that this invalidated his achievements or athletic talent? No, I would not.

And if he were found to be cheating in some other way? Over-curved stick? Paid-off refs?

This isn't about the merits of steroids and hyper-athletic behavior. This is about cheating. Just because the equipment Bonds modified using banned techniques is his own body doesn't make it not-cheating.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:45 PM
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Bonds didn't out-cheat everyone else. He outplayed everyone else, including a lot of guys who were also cheating.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:45 PM
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Was he as dominant as Lance Armstrong was recently?

From the essay I linked:

For all practical -- and statistical -- purposes, Ruth wasn't a real person. In 1927 he hit 60 home runs, exactly twice as many as NL co-champs Hack Wilson and Cy Williams hit; when Ruth retired in 1935, he had hit 714 homers, more than twice as many as Lou Gehrig, the man in second place.

I'd say he was more dominant than Lance Armstrong. Though the king of all dominators is still Bradman.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:45 PM
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40: Awesome.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:45 PM
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Does anyone who closely follows the NFL care about steroid use there?

That I really wonder about. Football players look much weirder to me than baseball players, and in a way that I understand to be likely steroid related. But it doesn't seem to get talked about much. Do they really not use steroids, or is it okay for the NFL for some reason?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:45 PM
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I also find it amusing that the home of the Catbots is,as it turns out, so squeamish and legalistic about the rigidity of what constitutes "cheating" and the capacity of said "cheating" to undermine the legitimacy of a victory. Discrepancy in scope set aside, of course.


Posted by: rachel | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:46 PM
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Everything I've seen indicates that Bonds really truly is a grade A assholish jerk--it's not just about not playing nice with the media. But again, this doesn't really matter. Or shouldn't.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:46 PM
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Regardless of the argument, I can't listen to anything Sausagely says about baseball, he called the Gold Glove award the Golden Gloves (amateur boxing circuit, probably in his brain due to references in The Wire.) He's clearly watched more HBO than MLB.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:47 PM
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As to the matter of Bonds being an asshole, I wonder how much race has to do with it.

Read the fucking article, people. Someone who went to jail to protect Barry Bonds says that Barry Bonds is an enormous, raging, inflamed, hemorrhoidal asshole. Please stop pretending that all-powerful sports writers have created this myth.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:48 PM
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47: Football players test positive for steroids and no one really cares. Merriman is a pro-bowler.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:49 PM
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Gaylord Perry really was cheating in the games (spitball) but he's in the Hall of Fame.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:49 PM
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My impression is that steroid use in football was more prevelant in the 80s, that steroids caught on in the NFL before anywhere else, but that the league is now pretty heavily policed. Stuff probably goes on, but there's extensive testing.

Football players are big, but there are few guys with a head like Barry Bonds'. And you can get pretty big just with creatine and weights.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:49 PM
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Re the picture in 40, I know the dude's big, but I doubt he was shooting up with 60cc syringes.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:50 PM
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Bonds didn't out-cheat everyone else. He outplayed everyone else, including a lot of guys who were also cheating.

Meaningless semantics. Does a player with a corked bat out-hit his opponents? Does a sign-stealing team out-play their opponents?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:51 PM
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Barry Bonds is an enormous, raging, inflamed, hemorrhoidal asshole.

By most accounts so is Clemens. I wonder if there will be a celebration of his achievements at the end of his career.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:51 PM
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51: Yo, I'm not saying he isn't an asshole, or a racist motherfucker, or a mean guy. I'm saying its possible that people wouldn't give so many shits about whether or not he's an asshole if he were white.


Posted by: rachel | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:52 PM
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56- Sign stealing is totally legal, if you're too dumb to have complicated enough signs, that's your problem.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:52 PM
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56: If they were also using corked bats, then yeah, he did.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:53 PM
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I'm with 36 and 37 - too much sentimentalism indeed. And I'll take a back seat to nobody in my appreciation for baseball, thank you.

I'm a contrarian by nature, and if the media hates Barry, then all the more reason to root for him. If the CW is that he's a cheat and a jerk, then it is probably wrong (althoug, frankly, I don't really care whether he juiced or not, and I like to celebrate his amazing accomplishment). I've had it with the hysterical puritanical cries about Barry, when the fact is that drug use is rampant in all of sport, and has been for a long time:

*Do you really think Shawn Merriman was one of only a handful of NFL players who juiced last year? Is it solely the product of a carb-heavy diet that has changed the NFL from a league where 300 pounds was exceptional, to one where it is the norm?

*For all the talk of the glory days of Mantle, Mays and Aaron, where's the outcry of their rampant use of amphetamines? Why is this any different than steroid use?

*Or how about hockey? Why was Sudafed taken with the same regularity as Gatorade?

So, to the Bonds-haters, start addressing these issues, and I'll have a little more respect for you when you heap scorn on one of the greatest players to don an MLB uniform (with or without juice).


Posted by: 3pointshooter | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:53 PM
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I'm pretty sure Miles' heroin addiction didn't cause people to overestimate the quality of his horn playing.

But neither did Bonds' steroid use cause anyone to overestimate his ability to hit baseballs. He really can hit them as well as it seems he can. Steroids are a much more indirect way of cheating than, as mentioned above, spitballs, or bat-corking, or any number of offense we would laugh at.

I think the difference is--and I'm being serious here--that steroids mess up the aesthetic of the game. We don't want baseball players to look like Barry Bonds looks now. We want them to look like Barry Bonds used to look. Steroids makes that impossible. Football players are going to look like bricks anyway.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:56 PM
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62 was me.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:57 PM
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You are nuts, JRoth. Yes, a guy with a corked bat outplays his opponents, if he's a good player. He may get some small advantage, but he still has to be good.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:57 PM
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The thing is, other than the fact that he's a monumental asshole, why does Bonds get to be the fall guy for this? Where's the anger at Giambi or Neifi Perez or (insert juice rumor player [Clemens] here)? Perez is a marginal major leaguer to begin with; I can only imagine what he'd be like unjuiced.

I think what Lemieux, who is a baseball fan, is reacting against has to do with the ways in which Bonds is refusing to engage in the narrative of remorse that Giambi took a half-hearted stab at.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:58 PM
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Sign stealing is totally legal, if you're too dumb to have complicated enough signs, that's your problem.

I meant the kind with centerfield telescopes and such, which I'm pretty sure actually is against the rules. If the baserunner on 2B figures out what the next pitch is, that's different.

57: By most accounts so is Clemens.
58: I'm saying its possible that people wouldn't give so many shits about whether or not he's an asshole if he were white.

Well, I've always thought Clemens was a huge asshole, and Bostonians certainly have since 1996. I think that the media has pretty well portrayed this, even tho' he's white. That said, Bonds' surface contempt for the media (and all others around him) makes him pretty unsympathetic with all but the most friendly press coverage. If the only thing a guy says to the press after a game is assholish, then that's what people will get from it. There's a million cliches Bonds could avail himself of if he wanted more neutral press. I don't think that race forced him to choose a prickly public persona.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:59 PM
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62 is interesting.


Posted by: rachel | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 12:59 PM
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I feel so lonely when I look around and see all the perfectly respectable nerds who grew up to like sports. People, the gentleman athlete is a myth. Everyone who plays or likes sports just wants to give you a wedgie. Go see some live theater. Especially, you, the one who wants to communicate better with the masses. They will always smell your fear.

A guy in the stands at a baseball game once yelled at me, "Do those sunglasses come in men's, too?" And I could say nothing, because indeed, I was wearing women's sunglasses.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:00 PM
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"There's a million cliches Bonds could avail himself of if he wanted more neutral press."

Right, like the obsequious black athlete, for one.

68: Screw you.


Posted by: rachel | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:02 PM
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And if he were found to be cheating in some other way?

Training technologies and paying off the ref are not comparable, sorry. Especially when they're training technologies that are already widely in use.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:03 PM
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People, the gentleman athlete is a myth. Everyone who plays or likes sports just wants to give you a wedgie.

Nonsense -- the terrifically self-mythologizing Curt Schilling, who gives it up only for Jesus and George W. Bush, is a World of Warcraft addict who owns a wargame company he bought from Avalon Hill. Also, poet laureate Donald Hall ghostwrote a memoir by Dock Ellis. So nyah.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:03 PM
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Baseball is the premiere sport for nerd fans. Who else do you think came up with stats like SLOB and WARP3?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:05 PM
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Someone who went to jail to protect Barry Bonds says that Barry Bonds is an enormous, raging, inflamed, hemorrhoidal asshole.

So I just skimmed the article, and the only quote that jumped out at me like that from Anderson was the one where he complained about Bonds being too nice with the media. Did I miss another one?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:06 PM
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I'm with Brock (It's seems that the real problem is that Bonds is obviously both a cheater and so very fucking great. Either one or the other would be easy to deal with. The "asshole" thing, while also obviously true, is just a minor distraction. and, god help me, Emerson (Bonds didn't out-cheat everyone else. He outplayed everyone else, including a lot of guys who were also cheating.).

Dude is a prick, we're told, and a cheater, we assume, but he still hit 756 home runs, including 73 in a season, and just mauled the ball for a long time there.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:07 PM
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54:

HGH, baby.


Posted by: keatssycamore | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:07 PM
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What's with all the equivocation? It doesn't matter if Bonds is an asshole. It doesn't matter that Miles Davis used heroin, or if football players take steroids, or if some Bonds-haters are racist. It doesn't matter if cheating is rampant, or that Gaylord Perry cheated, or if Yggy is a baseball fan, or how baseball's reputation was tarnished in the 90s. Bonds sustained and enhanced an already great career by taking steroids, and I call that cheating. And you can call me sentimental, but my daughters are getting interested in the game, and I'd like them to believe that they can compete based only on their skills and their determination. They can learn later about how much the world sucks.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:08 PM
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76: I'm not a fan, so I have no investment, but given that there seem to have been a whole lot of people using steroids, isn't there something off about treating Bonds as a particular pariah, just because he was the best player among the many who cheated? Avert your eyes in disgust from MLB generally, but why pick on Bonds?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:10 PM
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*Do you really think Shawn Merriman was one of only a handful of NFL players who juiced last year? Is it solely the product of a carb-heavy diet that has changed the NFL from a league where 300 pounds was exceptional, to one where it is the norm?

*For all the talk of the glory days of Mantle, Mays and Aaron, where's the outcry of their rampant use of amphetamines? Why is this any different than steroid use?

*Or how about hockey? Why was Sudafed taken with the same regularity as Gatorade?

So, to the Bonds-haters, start addressing these issues, and I'll have a little more respect for you when you heap scorn on one of the greatest players to don an MLB uniform (with or without juice).

I don't give a shit about the NFL, so stop trying to change the subject. And I have no idea what you're talking about with Sudafed in hockey (?!) so, again, stop changing the subject.

Amphetamine use is actually very different from steroid use. Let me count the ways:
1. Amphetamines make no lasting changes to physique
2. Amphetamines have no impact on strength
3. Amphetamines don't promote accelerated healing of the body
4. Amphetamines don't improve eyesight (Bonds told Greg Anderson that the "clear" improved his eyesight)
5. Amphetamines are closer in function to their "natural" substitute - caffeine - than steroids are to theirs (protein shakes, I suppose).
6. All players using amphetamines were getting the same product; Bonds was using custom-synthesized drugs that aren't actually available to 98% of his peers.
7. FWIW, amphetamine use was much more widespread in baseball than steroid use, meaning that the playing field was closer to level within the era, at least. The Emersonian line is false, because no one thinks more than half the league was on steroids, and most estimates are below 1/3 (plus the physical evidence suggests that very, very few players pursued muscle gain as obsessively as Bonds did)


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:10 PM
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Training technologies and paying off the ref are not comparable, sorry. Especially when they're training technologies that are already widely in use.

Training technologies is a brilliant euphemism for breaking the law of the land and the rules of the game to get an artificial advantage.

Barry Bonds broke the rules of baseball. Apparently, he chose a method that enthuses a lot of people.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:14 PM
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77: Right, that's what bothers me too. I grant that, say, in a parenting discussion at this particular moment, it would be difficult to make Bonds anything other than emblematic of an object lesson about rules and hard work, but there is a lot of adult indignation in this thread that has little or nothing to do with how we talk to our kids. Equivocating might not be appropriate when teaching children lessons about ethics, but the world of commercial sports, race and athleticism, philosophy about the human body and its ideal purity, etc, is a good deal more complicated than a child can be expected to grasp.


Posted by: rachel | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:14 PM
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78.4- Is improving eyesight cheating? Are baseball players not allowed to get laser eye surgery? Tiger Woods famously has something like 20/10 vision due to surgery, are we going to throw out what he does when he breaks all of Greg Norman's records? (Leaving aside the argument over whether golf is even a sport.)


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:15 PM
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Apparently, he chose a method that enthuses a lot of people.

You know, I'd have a whole lot more respect for your side of the argument if you didn't say shit like this. Nobody here (other than Emerson) is enthusiastic about steroid use.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:16 PM
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77: We're "picking" on Bonds because he's broken two of the four most revered offensive records in baseball, and we already know that he's a cheater. McGwire and Sosa weren't known to be cheating in 1998 - and despite ex post facto tales to the contrary, they weren't widely suspected in the popular press or in the stands at the time, either. Since then, people have been pretty unhappy with both, but without a lot of opportunity to boo them. Barry keeps giving us the opportunity.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:17 PM
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Wait, caffeine is more natural than steroids how? Amphetamine is a different drug that does different things, but to the extent that those things are performance-enhancing, I don't see the relevant difference here.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:17 PM
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81: right, this is interesting as it gets to the question of how much of the appeal of sports has to do with some kind of fantasy about the purity and perfectability of the body. And what, exactly, impugns that purity.
Ultimately, though, it doesn't matter to most people having this conversation. See bolding in 79. Fettishizing the rules may be more satisfying that interrogating the conditions surrounding those rules.


Posted by: rachel | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:18 PM
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79- As I understand it, your bold something still debated. His juicing may have occurred before the baseball steroids policy was in place. If something is illegal, is it also against the rules of baseball without an explicit line in the rulebook saying so?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:18 PM
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You know, I'd have a whole lot more respect for your side of the argument if you didn't say shit like this. Nobody here (other than Emerson) is enthusiastic about steroid use.

DS dismissed it as a "training technology," as I exceprted in the very comment to which you're responding. "Enthusiasm" may be a bit of snarky overstatement, but Bonds defenders are clearly on record that this form of cheating doesn't count, somehow.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:18 PM
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Wait, caffeine is more natural than steroids how?

Dude, don't tell text about coffee.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:19 PM
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His juicing may have occurred before the baseball steroids policy was in place.

Please go to the link in comment 4. Been explicitly banned in baseball since 1991.

The fact that Bonds apologists have obscured this simple fact is one of the most infuriating things to me about this issue.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:20 PM
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McGwire and Sosa weren't known to be cheating in 1998 - and despite ex post facto tales to the contrary, they weren't widely suspected in the popular press or in the stands at the time,

Really? Because again, I'm not a baseball fan, but I was kind of aware of the 1998 homerun race because I was living in a Domincan neighborhood with a running tally of Sammy's HRs in shaving cream on the windows of half the cars. And even kind of aware, I knew Sosa was assumed to be juiced, and McGwire might be. (Maybe I'm transporting later memories of seeing the allegations back to the summer of 1998, but I don't think I was paying attention other than while it was happening.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:21 PM
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isn't there something off about treating Bonds as a particular pariah

No. A person may rightly think that the home run record is ridiculously revered (given changes in equipment, and training, and the game itself), but it's one of baseball's sacred numbers, and anyone who challenged it and was suspected of juicing would have come under the same scrutiny (even white people).


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:21 PM
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78:

Either that is a parody, or you have absolutely no shame...or, as some might say, ahem: "ethics".

Either illicit drug use is or is not "cheating" or unethical. After having read such lines as:

Pathetically, the cheater-lovers say things like "an unenforced ban is no ban."... I said it here the last time this came up, and I'll say it again: if you don't think that Bonds is a cheater, then your sense of ethics is smaller than his steroid-shunken testes.

The point of ethics is not determining how best to succeed, no matter what, but to behave well...If the best thing that Bonds defenders can say is that he out-cheated everyone else, then I'm not sure why they're even watching the game.

This is about cheating. Just because the equipment Bonds modified using banned techniques is his own body doesn't make it not-cheating.

I would have thought you to be an absolutist. It turns out you're only a Bonds-hating absolutist...


Posted by: 3pointshooter | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:23 PM
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86:

I think baseball officially banned steroids in 1991 after some intense whispering and obtuse referencing about rampant steroid use in the media due to the Cansecos and Dykstras and Luke Perrys of the 80s.

This quieted the steroid whispers long enough for Fay Vincent to go, Bud Selig to take over, the strike to happen and for the Homer Run chase to save baseball without so much as a mention of anything other than McGwire's bottle of andro.


Posted by: keatssycamore | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:24 PM
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I am with the D-baggers. If I was in Bonds' shoes watching everybody go nuts over McQuire, I would juice up too.

The analogies to cheating on a test don't work. the better analogy would be to the use of amphetamines or Ritalin to study for a test.


Posted by: joeo | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:24 PM
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I don't think I'm on the record as saying this type of cheating doesn't count. I think I'm saying I don't know what it counts for. It's clear that for many people, its "counting" means the new record breaks a "revered" record in an impure, unsportsmanlike manner. Which amounts to it being emotionally unsatisfying. For you. I'm not emotionally unsettled by the new record, and am in fact emotionally gratified at having been a spectator to it. The steroid issue "counts" for me int hat it is part of the discourse of the record, part of the conversation, and raises new questions about pro sports.


Posted by: rachel | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:24 PM
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Fettishizing the rules may be more satisfying that interrogating the conditions surrounding those rules.

Sports don't exist without rules. Adhering to them isn't "fettishizing" them, it's participating in the sport.

As for interrogating the conditions around those rules, I'm completely satisfied that the rules about steroids are very close to where they belong. They are dangerous, and even if they were permitted, there are still more dangerous things that athletes would try (and have tried) in order to gain an advantage. Sadly, we cannot have modern athletics without PED policies, unless we wish to consign athletes to guinea pig status.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:25 PM
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Bonds apologists

This is what I find most annoying about JRoth in this thread. I'd like to be able to say something like, "Yes, Bonds cheated, but he did so in context, and so our response to HR number 756 should take that into account," without being called a Bonds apologist.

Christ, dude, it's baseball. I'm a fan, too, but save your highest horse for things that matter.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:25 PM
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And even kind of aware, I knew Sosa was assumed to be juiced, and McGwire might be.

Yeah, the notion that no one thought McGwire was juicing in '98 is, well, not true. Baseball writers were bringing up his andro usage back then.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:25 PM
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(Maybe I'm transporting later memories of seeing the allegations back to the summer of 1998, but I don't think I was paying attention other than while it was happening.)

You're totally doing this. McGwire was caught with Andro - a non-banned but dubious substance - late in the season, and it was viewed as surprising and near-scandalous, not as a confirmation of widely-held assumptions. I'm sure people had their assumptions, but I followed the chase and watched them play live, and the chatter was not "they're both juiced, but who cares?"


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:27 PM
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Jroth:

The fact that Bonds apologists have obscured this simple fact is one of the most infuriating things to me about this issue.

The fact that Bonds haters fetishize a rule that was more of a suggestion (no adequate testing method) than a threat is similarly infuriating to people who believe Bud Selig is clearly the douchiest douche of this entire saga.


Posted by: keatssycamore | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:28 PM
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We're "picking" on Bonds because he's broken two of the four most revered offensive records in baseball, and we already know that he's a cheater. McGwire and Sosa weren't known to be cheating in 1998 - and despite ex post facto tales to the contrary, they weren't widely suspected in the popular press or in the stands at the time, either. Since then, people have been pretty unhappy with both, but without a lot of opportunity to boo them. Barry keeps giving us the opportunity.

This I don't get at all. If steroid use is common--and I think the low estimate somewhere upthread was 33%--records are going to get broken all the time. Records get broken all the time even without the chemical help. We'd all like to believe in a world in which success comes from talent, hard work, and clean living, but the available evidence suggests pretty strongly that we're not living in that world, and it seems a little silly to hold Barry Bonds responsible for shattering illusions that we oughtn't be clinging to in the first place.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:29 PM
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Training technologies is a brilliant euphemism for breaking the law of the land and the rules of the game

Nice try, but the reason Ogged had to use "cheating" in the colloquial sense in his post is AFAIK that Bonds hasn't broken any laws or extant "rules of the game." If Bonds has actually been using illegal substances, then fine, let him be charged. As for the "rules of the game," if they're hypocritical they needn't be regarded as sacred. I think given the obsession of pro sport with spectacle and records, rule against doping -- which basically is a training technology, it's description, not a "euphemism" -- are hypocritical.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:29 PM
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96: You're not in a position to adhere to the rules or not as (I assume) you aren't an MLB player. When you want to close off all debate by saying the bottom line is that Bonds broke the rules, insisting that there isn't anything else about the conversation that can possibly matter, that is fettishizing.


Posted by: rachel | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:29 PM
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97 is right.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:30 PM
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The idea that no one suspected Sosa and McGwire in 1998 is crazy. Here's an August 24, 1998 news article discussing Sosa's rumored use of illicit training substances. You can read the whole thing for $2.95, if you so desire. There are plenty of others.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:30 PM
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JRoth:

I should, however, acknowledge that my ethics are always situational.


Posted by: keatssycamore | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:31 PM
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I'm not sure I have a principled opinion on this, but part of the worry about steroids isn't just the strength they helped Bonds gain, but the years they added to his career, allowing him to break what's essentially an endurance record.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:31 PM
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I would have thought you to be an absolutist. It turns out you're only a Bonds-hating absolutist.

You asked a question, pretending that amphetamines are indistinguishable from steroids. I answered it. I didn't tell you how I feel about those players. Note the FWIW distancing myself from difference 7 - I'm not thrilled with the argument, but it's a clear difference between the two banned drugs.

But, to reiterate: steroids confer an illegal advantage far different from and far greater than that conferred by amphetamines. It is only rational to be more concerned with the greater transgression. This, too, is part of ethics.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:32 PM
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This, too, is part of ethics.

Ethics != professional sports


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:35 PM
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Dude, don't tell text about coffee

Dude, for sure, but from what I have heard about coffee, it is something humans create through modification of their environment. Deep breaths are in order.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:36 PM
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"Only" 1/3? You make my point for me. 1/3 is not "only". 1% or 2% is "only".

Sadly, we cannot have modern athletics without PED policies, unless we wish to consign athletes to guinea pig status.

No one's consigning anyone. These are adults, and this isn't E. Germany.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:37 PM
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This, too, is part of ethics.

So, for that matter, is the avoidance of hypocrisy. If you're not willing to subject your standards for what constitutes or should constitute an "illegal advantage" to any scrutiny, you sabotage your ethical positioning.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:38 PM
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Dude, don't tell text about coffee.

Or HGH.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:39 PM
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Alright, I'll admit, I'm worked up about this. As I said, I'm angry about this situation. Less about Bonds per se, and more about things like 86 and 102 - 80 and 100 posts after the link in #4, people are still in denial/clueless about the facts of the situation. So we're having this whole discussion with people saying things like "maybe he didn't cheat, so what's the big deal, man?" when we know - for all practical purposes - that he cheated. It becomes a pointless - and frustrating - discussion.

And, frankly, when you have people saying absurd things like bans don't count without rigid enforcement, I think the term apologist is called for. Certainly not for everyone who's pro-Barry in this, but for a lot of them.

As for Sosa & McGwire, 2 things:

1. Evidently, I really was naive, and there was more chatter than I noticed all the time;

2. BUT, there was nothing like the current common knowledge that they were juiced up.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:40 PM
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Dude, seriously? The link in 4 refers to illegal drug use. It has not to my knowledge been established that Bonds used an illegal substance. One of the reasons you're finding this frustrating is that your sense that the case is open-and-shut is at least potentially false.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:43 PM
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JRoth, to violate the analogy ban, how do you think this compares to the Tour de France, where it seems evident that all the top bikers were juicing one way or another?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:45 PM
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One more thing on "training technologies" - HGH isn't actually about training. It's about reversing/delaying some of the effects of aging, and about effectively eliminating the weight training necessary to maintain muscle mass. IOW, Barry took HGH in lieu of training. In '99, he was worn down during the season by having to keep lifting weights. So instead he took HGH, and didn't need to lift weights, except for 15 daily minutes of reps to make sure all the groups stayed active.

Oh, and on Lasik - it's legal. It's within the rules. I'm not actually thrilled with it for players with naturally good vision - for my own reasons of traditionalism. But I know it's not cheating.

Unlike steroids. Which Barry did. Because he's a cheater.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:45 PM
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The issue is much different if you think that sports are intrinsically mean, but also fun. The athletes I like the most are good and enjoy the game, but don't take it very seriously. There are LOTS of shitty, borderline psycho guys in sports -- steroids or no.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:48 PM
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117.1 isn't about training, it's about splitting hairs.

Again, is there some evidence I'm not aware of that Bond used an illegal drug. The link in 4 refers to illegal drugs.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:49 PM
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. So instead he took HGH, and didn't need to lift weights, except for 15 daily minutes of reps to make sure all the groups stayed active.

My point was that HGH is at least as "natural" as caffeine. Or,as a fall back, at least as natural as amphetamines, which I gather are nearly as natural as caffeine, so that makes it alright.

I'm still curious as to whether you think people will be celebrating Clemens achievments at the end of his career. I might have missed your answer; if so, I apologize.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:50 PM
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Or HGH

I'm old enough to know about Herdsmen's Gonad Hyperphagia, thankyouverymuch.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:50 PM
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Dude, seriously? The link in 4 refers to illegal drug use.

Including, explicitly, steroids. Are you going to seriously argue that Bonds didn't do steroids? His trainer and the drug maker both testified that they gave him illegal, untestable steroids. He testified that he took them, thinking they were flaxseed oil.

As for the Tour, I hated this year, and was utterly heartbroken by Vinokourov, but I was thrilled when Rasmussen was pulled out while in the yellow jersey. It was actually a very similar situation, where everyone pretty well knew that he had doped, but there was no test evidence (because he had skipped the tests). Finally, the lies grew to be too great, and he was fired by his team. The Giants should have such integrity.

Also, this year convinced me that Lance cheated. I always held out hope - and there is nothing like the anti-Lance evidence that exists for Barry - but no more. Fucking one-balled cheater.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:51 PM
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and there is nothing like the anti-Lance evidence that exists for Barry

You meant the opposite of this, right? Or is the evidence against Lance more damning than I realize? I don't following cycling so the latter is a real possibility.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 1:54 PM
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Calling caffeine a PED is like calling sugar a PED. Use some common sense, people. I know you're trying a reductio here, but it's not working. And the point of HGH, of course, is to add it back into the body when the body stops making it.

I might add that there's other shit that he took. Can we agree that maybe cow hormones aren't natural for humans? I talk about steroids and HGH because they're better known, but the full range of what he took is quite impressive. The man was nothing if not dedicated.

As for Clemens, I did mention him before. He's in the suspected category, and clearly an asshole, but there's not much evidence that I'm aware of, which makes it harder for people to get riled up. Furthermore, the dynamic for pitchers is different - you rarely go to a ballgame hoping the opposing pitcher does great, because that means you lose. It's easy to hope that you see Griffey hit a landmark HR but still expect your team to win. Point being, visiting (venerable) pitchers are rarely cheered the way visiting (venerable) sluggers are. But I rarely hear Clemens mentioned without the word steroids, and I don't think he's treated the way any other 350 game winner would be.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:00 PM
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It was named after Horatio Herdsmen and that's all I care to discuss in polite company.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:00 PM
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You meant the opposite of this, right? Or is the evidence against Lance more damning than I realize? I don't following cycling so the latter is a real possibility.

Damnit, I knew that was poorly worded. But I didn't want to go on and on.

Anyway, I meant what you think - there's very little evidence that Lance doped, and none of it is as clear-cut as Barry testifying under oath that he ingested the "clear."

But he was a fucking doper.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:02 PM
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Caffeine is simply a drug that has few harmful effects and which, due to its relative harmlessness, we consume in great quantities. It's cheaper to make than steroids, but the important distinction is harmful v. not harmful, not natural v. unnatural.

Try thinking whether, if steroids were derived from a plant, that would make your thinking on the issue any different. I very much hope the answer is "no."


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:06 PM
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Bonds ate meat while pursuing his record. It's well known that the ingestion of protein increases muscle mass. Need I say more?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:09 PM
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people who believe Bud Selig is clearly the douchiest douche of this entire saga.

Shit, I missed this. Comity!

Actually, Donald Fehr is pretty much shoulder to shoulder with him on this issue, but Bud takes teh cake for a dozen other reasons.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:11 PM
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Oh, come on. If you don't think it's a big deal that Bonds used steroids, that's one thing, but 'it's just like steak!' is a really dumb comparison.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:11 PM
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As with a lot of these situations with no bright lines, the attempt to draw a bright line is irrelevant to the behavior under consideration, which is clearly on the wrong side of any reasonable place you'd draw the line.

And I know you cheater-lovers are more cynical than thou, but of course it matters that he's a jerk. Everyone likes to see the "nice guy," the "fan favorite," the "class act" do well; it's part of the story of sports. You don't have to believe that Hank Aaron saves every kitten in every tree to take some pleasure in his success. I'd be sad even if Bonds broke the record without cheating, but the cheating is a twist of the knife.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:12 PM
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rachel deserves some sort of award for deploying English major-ese in defense of Bonds.

For me, it comes down to this. At some level of technological intervention, I lose interest in the sport. If players all had their arms surgically removed, and replaced with robot arms, then watching baseball would seem purposeless -- I might as well watch Robot Wars on cable. There are a lot of borderline cases, where I'm not sure which side of the line it falls, like Lasik, or amphetemines. But steroids are over that line, and with the relentless advance of chemistry that line is getting further and further behind it.

The steroid era hangs over every single aspect of baseball now. Before, it was McGwire and Sosa broke the home run record. Now it's McGwire + unknown chemical X and Sosa + unknown chemical Y broke the home run record. It's Clemens + Nobel-level chemistry that's the 350 game winner. I was thinking the other day about how A-Rod was the greatest shortstop of all time. But how do I know? Maybe it's A-Rod + the product of laboratory I haven't heard of yet.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:13 PM
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It's a dumb comparison, but I think the point is that this rule, like most rules, are fairly arbitrary in their parameters. They can be located within a set of values and ideologies, but those are also arbitrary. A high level of outrage implies a high level of confidence in the purity of the rules.


Posted by: rachel | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:16 PM
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JRoth:

Shit, I missed this. Comity!

Shit, I was going for comedy!


Posted by: keatssycamore | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:16 PM
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'it's just like steak!' is a really dumb comparison.

It was supposed to be. Sorry. I agree with ogged:

the behavior under consideration ... is clearly on the wrong side of any reasonable place you'd draw the line

Of course, it might be a useful exercise to look at the entire intake of these gentlemen and balance the impacts. It's well known, of course, that Mantle and Ruth took vast quantities of a performance-depressing drug while dominating the game. Clearly, we should up their stats by an appropriate percentage. If it turns out that Bonds has been not only doping but abjuring alcohol and eating healthily, we should knock him down likewise. Then our numbers would be more nearly comparable.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:17 PM
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Some people think the steriods didn't even do much to help him hit all those homeruns.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:17 PM
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I used steroids to improve my comment nastiness.

I do have a bottle around, obtained legally. Pretty mild stuff. It's about 5 years old, I should throw it away.

I never cared much about the home run record. My youth was a low hitting era, and I would rather watch singles and base-running anyways. That steroids could improve home-run hitting just proves how unimpressive pure power is. People impressed with that shit probably like monster-trucks and drag-racing. Indianapolis vs Le Mans. Typical America assholish. "It is really big and hard and went really far. Way up there. Wow"

Ty Cobb was the best.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:17 PM
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And I know you cheater-lovers are more cynical than thou, but of course it matters that he's a jerk. Everyone likes to see the "nice guy," the "fan favorite," the "class act" do well; it's part of the story of sports.

Which is why the sports industry works so hard at manufacturing those "nice guys" and "fan favorites" and "class acts," the better to fleece the rubes. I'm not saying that Bonds is admirable. I'm saying that the right answer is "fuck big-time sports," not "fuck Barry Bonds."


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:21 PM
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Everyone likes to see the "nice guy," the "fan favorite," the "class act" do well

You know what I'd like to see banned in sports? The word "class" and all its derivatives.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:21 PM
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Generalizations about people who like sports or like home runs, e.g. those in 68 and 137, nicely fulfill all the stereotypes the conservatives have about us. Lovely. And nuanced.


Posted by: rachel | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:21 PM
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Sorry, slolernr. Missed the sarcasm.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:22 PM
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Anyone who thinks that steroids didn't help Bonds hit those home runs is a moron.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:24 PM
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141: Too subtle and urbane for you?


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:24 PM
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For those who know baseball. I was a White Sox fan in the mid-to-late 60s. They had nothing, man, except Hoyt Wilhelm. Tommy John was a kid. No hit, no pitch, few SB's, and almost won a pennant.

Easy to win when you have a Yasztremski, Killebrew Or Denny McClain.

The Greatest Team in the History of Baseball. I am not kidding. They accomplished more with less talent than any other team.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:24 PM
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I missed it too. What was the point again?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:24 PM
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Caffeine is simply a drug that has few harmful effects and which, due to its relative harmlessness, we consume in great quantities. It's cheaper to make than steroids, but the important distinction is harmful v. not harmful, not natural v. unnatural.

Try thinking whether, if steroids were derived from a plant, that would make your thinking on the issue any different. I very much hope the answer is "no."

This part of the discussion seems to be very far off from what I was getting at. I wasn't trying to draw some artificial (ha!) distinction between natural and unnatural PEDs, with natural=good. I was merely pointing out that AFAIK taking one amphetamine has virtually identical effects to drinking a pitcher of coffee, or whatever - it's mostly a scale issue WRT to a ubiquitous and, as you say, essentially harmless drug.

Whereas steroids are not merely a more intense version of a protein shake or meat. No amount of legal subtances like steak or amino powder will have the effects of Deca-Durabolin (even though some of these substances are similar to natural body products, that doesn't make them harmless or normal in these applications). This is part of why amphetamines don't freak me out as much - if you don't want to take them, you can approximate their effect through quotidian, legal, and (effectively) harmless means - if your bladder can hold up.

Up above somewhere I referenced the things that some athletes try to take if they can - completely illegal substances that can't even be prescribed for the terminally ill as experimental therapy. If you lift the steroid ban, then what do you do about those who use these dangerous, illegal drugs? Note that this is why I do, in fact, have a pretty high level in confidence in where this line has been placed. Steroids are controlled for everyone, because that's what medical ethicists and researches recommend. Lasik is available to everyone for similar reasons. I'm ok with that, even tho, as I said, my inner George Will doesn't like Lasik for ballplayers.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:25 PM
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Extended excerpt from 136, for those who won't click through:

In 1961 there were 2730 MLB home runs hit in 1430 games with 1.909 home runs per league
game, 0.041 home runs per player game, and a maximum 61 home runs by a single player.1 Forty
years later, in 2001, 5458 home runs were hit in 2429 games with 2.247 home runs per game, 0.0413 home runs per player game, and a maximum of 73 home runs by a single player. Home runs per at bat are the same in both years, 0.075 for players with 200 or more at bats.2 Home runs per hit are 0.110 in 1961 and 0.125 in 2001, both well within a standard deviation of the 40 year average. Babe Ruth's record was exceeded in both years.

The annual variation in home runs is driven by the great performances of a few players as in the
Maris/Mantle/Gentile year of 1961 (61, 54, and 46 home runs respectively) or the McGwire/Sosa
years of 1998 (70 and 66 with 56 from Griffey) and 1999 (65 and 63 with 45 from Vaughn). Or the
Bonds/Sosa/Thome year of 2001 (73, 64, and 49). Bonds, McGwire and Sosa are truly exceptional.
Their hitting is 10 standard deviations above the mean (but, caution, home run hitting does not
follow a normal distribution so the standard deviation is a measure over the sample, not a property of the distribution itself). Relative to hitters with 200 or more at bats, their performances are about 7 standard deviations above the mean. These guys are profoundly different from the average player. But, this is true of Ruth, Foxx, Gehrig, Greenberg, Williams, Mantle, Maris, Mays, Kiner, Aaron, Schmidt, and all the well-known hitters.

Every big time home run hitter hits far above the average player, who hits just over 3 home
runs per year. Even Barry Bonds record-setting 73 home runs is a smaller leap in his performance
than was Roger Maris' 61 home runs. Mark McGwire's (then) record 70 home runs was only 12
home runs above his 58 of the year before (scattered over both leagues because of a mid-year trade) and just 1.5 standard deviations above his mean. (Remember, these are only sample statistics since the standard deviation of the distribution does not exist. I use them only because they are familiar to most readers.)

Among the premiere home run hitters, home runs per hit has hardly changed for more than
40 years; if anything there was a slight dip in the 1970s and early 1980s. The notable exceptions
are Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, and Sammy Sosa. McGwire's home runs per hit has always
been larger than life, never less than 0.303 from 1987, rising into the 0.4 range from 1995 and
on, with a peak of 0.52 in his shortened 2001 year. Bonds and Sosa also consistently were above
0.3 with Bonds reaching his career high of 0.467 in his record setting year of 2001. But, in earlier
years, Killebrew, Maris, Mantle, Kingman, Schmidt, Aaron, Jackson, Stargell, Fielder, Buhner, and
Williams exceeded 0.3 home runs per hit and hit from 40 to 61 home runs. The less extraordinary
hitters in the 20th, 50th, 70th, and even the 90th percentiles in home runs per hit have not changed
over 40 years of MLB hitting.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:27 PM
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143: Too witty.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:28 PM
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Some people think the steriods didn't even do much to help him hit all those homeruns.

I'm not even allowed to play a statistician in regional theater, but I can spot the holes in DeVany's argument. It's a really weak piece (I read it in its entirety the last time you linked it).

Furthermore, this, from a couple years back, is quite persuasive on the benefits of bulking up for HR-hitting.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:29 PM
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Ross Rebagliati is my favorite cheater. By sacrificing a measly gold medal, he legitimized marijuana as a performance-enhancing substance.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:29 PM
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If you don't think it's a big deal that Bonds used steroids, that's one thing, but 'it's just like steak!' is a really dumb comparison.

But it's not entirely wrong, though I suppose it would be more accurate to say that Bonds is himself just like steak.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trenbolone


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:31 PM
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So the difference is that steroids are a more effective performance-enhancing substance than those used in the past. I suspect this is true, but haven't seen much actual evidence for it. I think we rely on the vast differences in apperance in the roided players as a kind of heuristic: steroids make you look much different, bigger, more imposing. Amphetamine use is basically invisible. So steroids must have a greater effect.

We can all hate Barry Bonds, I don't particularly care, but I suspect that part of why you want to hate him is that now his head looks like a beach ball, and that's not fun for anyone.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:32 PM
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When baseball fans (such as JRoth) get upset about Bonds, it is often the result of running together two separate questions.

1. Is Bonds a cheater?
2. Is Bonds the world class/greatest hitter his statistics might indicate?

I would agree with JRoth that yes, in some sense Bonds is a cheater. Whether or not it was enforcable, and whether or not most other players were also doing it, he did break the rules in juicing up.

So we can condemn Bonds for that. How much condemnation? As much as we would give to anyone else who cheats in a similar manner--which, given the prevalence of juicing (and really most other forms of cheating except intentionally throwing games--notice how few people were really concerned about Sosa's bat being corked) is not that much.

So the real issue is about the second question. And here the question is not whether Bonds is a cheater, but whether his cheating artificially inflated his performance so that we should not consider him as great a player as his statistics indicate? This is a much more complex issue. For instance, if 40-70% of ballplayers were juiced (the number estimated by an ESPN sportswriter a couple days ago), wouldn't there be a cancelling out of any advantage? Also, questions about greatness are attempts to compare across eras. So what about other social factors that affected performance in different eras, especially things such as the exclusion of African-Americans and Latino players, or amphetamine use, or the increasing sophistication of training methods, or even the introduction of the split-finger fastball?

I am not sure how you would rank these, so it seems unfair to Bonds to claim that his records and statistics are uniquely different in being affected by the structure of baseball itself.


Posted by: Sabina's Hat | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:33 PM
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149: yes, it's a silly paper. But it's fun! Hmm... I wonder why the three shining superstars of Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, and Sammy Sosa all just *happened* to be on steroids? Pure coincidence, obviously.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:34 PM
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If players all had their arms surgically removed, and replaced with robot arms, then watching baseball would seem purposeless

I might not watch it, but Fantasy Robot Arm Baseball League would be awesome. Get Bill James on the horn, we'll make some Robot Arm League sabremetrics.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:38 PM
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153: The question of course, is whether, say, a pitcher or fielder taking steroids balances out a hitter taking steroids.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:39 PM
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146- Ban trips to the bathroom during games!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:39 PM
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Homerun hitters suck. They strike-out too much, walk too much, kill rallies, cost too much, can do damage to people & property in the stands, waste baseballs, make the rest of baseball seem boring to the infantile...homeruns are the exact equivalents of slam-dunks in basketball. Freak-shows.

Ban homeruns. Anything fair out-of-play that does not hit the ground (GRD) should be an out.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:42 PM
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156- I'm pretty sure the answer is no. There was some article about why all hard throwing pitchers top out at almost exactly the same speed (98 to 100 mph)- it has to do with the mechanics of the human arm and joints, no matter how much muscle you put on it's simply impossible to accelerate a ball to a velocity higher than that. So juicing pitcher might have better endurance or recovery times, but their pitches will still be about the same as non-juiced pitches.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:42 PM
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Comments like:

, but there's not much evidence that I'm aware of,

the attempt to draw a bright line is irrelevant to the behavior under consideration, which is clearly on the wrong side of any reasonable place you'd draw the line

but of course it matters that he's a jerk.

it's mostly a scale issue WRT


drive me nuts. Clemens has had a much longer high-level career than expected, had three (IIRC) shitty seasons about when expected, bulked up substantially and regained his form. And, IIRC, someone has claimed knowledge that he used steroids. Less evidence than against Bonds? Certainly. Less than I see deployed against Bonds in most of these arguments? Mmm, no.

The reason people care about where to draw the line is because they are suspicious about why we are suddenly observing the line. And we know that factors that most people admit are irrelevant to judging a career--he's a nice guy--play a part in determining when we decide to apply the rule and observe the line. I mean, "It's only a scale issue." Seriously? That's the argument against considering the use of amphetamines to be cheating?

I don't doubt that Bonds cheated. I doubt that he's the only one, and that it's the obviousness of his cheating that makes now the time to rain downobloquy on his head.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:45 PM
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160: This, exactly. If the behavior is something that maybe a third of the players are doing, while I'm not going to argue that that makes it not cheating, and not an indication that the rules should be better enforced, and so on, it does mean that there's no particular reason to call someone who does it a bad, bad man, whether or not they're setting records doing it -- if a third of the players are doing it, it's part of how the game is played.

Or, IOW, what DaveL said:

I'm saying that the right answer is "fuck big-time sports," not "fuck Barry Bonds."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:50 PM
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160: This, exactly. If the behavior is something that maybe a third of the players are doing, while I'm not going to argue that that makes it not cheating, and not an indication that the rules should be better enforced, and so on, it does mean that there's no particular reason to call someone who does it a bad, bad man, whether or not they're setting records doing it -- if a third of the players are doing it, it's part of how the game is played.

Or, IOW, what DaveL said:

I'm saying that the right answer is "fuck big-time sports," not "fuck Barry Bonds."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:50 PM
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2. Is Bonds the world class/greatest hitter his statistics might indicate?

I know Ogged will get mad if this turns into a baseball thread, so I'll keep it brief:

Bonds had a very clear track record as a Top 15 all-time hitter before he started juicing. His stats/performance uniformly skyrocketed starting exactly when he started juicing. This is plain to see. What's frustrating in all this is the obfuscation of this fact. Pre-99 Barry doesn't get mentioned alongside Ruth or Mays. Very near, but not alongside. But then along comes Beachball-head Barry, and suddenly we hear about how maybe he's better than Ruth, and clearly better than, well, pretty much everyone.

And that's the bullshit. I suppose that Beachball-head Barry is, in some sense, better than those other players. But, then, Carl Lewis was faster than FloJo. What the hell does that tell us?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:53 PM
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160:Nah, Tim, the home-run record really was special, in part because so many of the other records were, or seemed untouchable. The doubles record stood for how long? Does it still stand, or was it broken in the steroid era?

Everybody knows that no one will hit .420 again, and nobody cares. They should be ashamed. Instead we have POWER records, to comfort the brain-damaged and aethetically-challenged.

Babe Ruth ruined baseball.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:53 PM
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164 is wrong. If anyone seriously threatened to hit .400, it would be a gigantic media circus. Stephen Jay Gould wrote a whole essay on how despite all evidence, he believed that Wade Boggs would hit .400. Ichiro is a baseball superstar, even though he hits about as hard as your average T-baller.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:57 PM
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There was some article about why all hard throwing pitchers top out at almost exactly the same speed (98 to 100 mph)

There was one in Slate a couple of years ago. And yeah, that's the gist of it--if pitchers try to throw any faster, their tendons start snapping.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:58 PM
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Whoops. Link for 166.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 2:59 PM
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All this bonds-partisan rhetoric and technical jargon is beside the point. The point being, Matthew Yglesias doesn't know shit about baseball, and should be mocked.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:00 PM
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BTW, this is proof that Bonds was a cheater even before the steroids accusations.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:02 PM
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Clemens has had a much longer high-level career than expected, had three (IIRC) shitty seasons about when expected, bulked up substantially and regained his form. And, IIRC, someone has claimed knowledge that he used steroids. Less evidence than against Bonds? Certainly. Less than I see deployed against Bonds in most of these arguments? Mmm, no.

That's a lot of IIRC, Tim. And even that would be more anti-Clemens evidence than I'm aware of. But, as I said, he's pretty universally presumed juiced. What's the problem, again?

"It's only a scale issue." Seriously? That's the argument against considering the use of amphetamines to be cheating?

No, Tim, the scale of the transgression relates to the scale of the outrage. Amphetamines don't distort the game in the way that steroids do (I can back that statement up; can you counter it with anything stronger than "nuh-uh"?). Therefore, I'm more bothered by steroids - while still being unhappy about amphetamines! Furthermore, I'd probably be pretty pissed if it was 1962, I was 12 years old, and amphetamines became a known issue. Instead, that era and those players largely predate my birth. But if that goddamned hopped-up Mickey Mantle comes to town, I'll boo the motherfucker.

You know, I don't blog about Teapot Dome much, even though I understand it to have been quite scandalous. Am I a hypocrite?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:02 PM
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I wonder is whether Bonds will get any sympathy if in 10 years he develops some serious disease known to be related to steroids- heart problems in particular.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:02 PM
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165:Ain't gonna happen. Why not?

I said .420, which like 61, is near the record. .424 is the record. That is a record, like Cobb's lifetime .367, that Jroth isn't foaming at the mouth about. He wants to see big bangs.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:02 PM
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if pitchers try to throw any faster, their tendons start snapping.

Pussies.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:04 PM
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Homerun hitters suck. [...]

YM "Strikeouts are fascist." HTH. HAND.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:05 PM
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164 is wrong. If anyone seriously threatened to hit .400, it would be a gigantic media circus. Stephen Jay Gould wrote a whole essay on how despite all evidence, he believed that Wade Boggs would hit .400.

The Gould essay is really interesting. His argument is that there likely won't ever be another .400 hitter again because the players are too good. The best players have always been at about the same level near the top of physical capability, but back in the day there were more bad players that the good ones could essentially take advantage of. A .400 hitter is a statistical fluke, in other words.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:06 PM
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Ah, you have me all wrong, Bob. I'm a small-ball man. Part of my annoyance with the steroids era is the worship of the long ball. I'm tired of hearing about how a slick-fielding SS batting .275 is a liability because he doesn't knock 20 over the fence every year.

Now that I think about it, I'd probably be pretty annoyed if a known amphetamine user hit in 57 straight, or batted .430. The relationship between greenies and that kind of achievement is a lot more clear.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:07 PM
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back in the day there were more bad players that the good ones could essentially take advantage of.

Well, we have an entire team of them here in Pittsburgh. Why do you think Pujols does so well every year? 19 games against the worst franchise in sports.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:09 PM
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I'm a small-ball man.

Please, we don't need to know this.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:10 PM
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And I know you cheater-lovers are more cynical than thou, but of course it matters that he's a jerk. Everyone likes to see the "nice guy," the "fan favorite," the "class act" do well; it's part of the story of sports.

Ogged, what do you think of Allen Iverson?


Posted by: WillieStyle | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:10 PM
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The name Jimmie Foxx is dropped by baseball "fans", but does anybody remember Al Simmons, who, IIRC, hit .392 and .401 beside Foxx in the order? Or the Waner Brothers?

Why isn't Cobb the best ever, because of his .367? Because he didn't have the POWER.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:10 PM
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I've read this entire thread, as I read the last thread on this issue. What I find fascinating is how this conversation, as before, provides an opportunity for the "the douchebags" to call out "professional sports" as a bad thing in its current form -- in a way emblematic of our money-driven, power-glorifying, juiced-up world -- and to simultaneously identify with just that world, something they do not usually get to do. That is, the Bonds-defenders -- at least those of the "but what *is* a rule, anyway" variety -- would probably usually distance themselves from Bonds and what he represents -- and indeed in some cases have admitted to not following baseball at all. But now is the chance to do it, and the best part is one gets to (a) defend a good example of what could be called late-capitalist insanity and (b) do it in the style of an intellectual or academic accustomed to raising doubts about "idyllic beginnings" or the stability of normative values -- that is, in the style of deconstruction.

In short, many, though not all of those defending Bonds here are wrong for the same reason deconstruction is wrong (at least as it has been put to use by American academics): acknowledging there are such things as "rules" and acknowledging that such rules can change over time does not remove or limit my capacity to say "Bonds cheated, and that is wrong."


Posted by: dan | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:13 PM
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Or the Waner Brothers?

Or the Waner sister, Dort? Sorry.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:13 PM
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Ogged, what do you think of Allen Iverson?

Iverson's a complicated character," right Part thug, part child, part soft-hearted meanie. I basically like the guy, although I think he's pretty immature.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:14 PM
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Jesus, we know Bitch hates these threads, but she sticks around all afternoon just waiting for her moment.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:14 PM
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That's a lot of IIRC, Tim.

What I'm recalling. What I want to know is how you expect Clemens to be treated (a) the next time he does something remarkable, or (b) when he's eligible for the HOF, or (c) when he retires. That's a genuine question. My suspicion is he won't be the subject of anything like the anger directed at Bonds.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:15 PM
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Objectively, hit for hit, a home run is better than a single. Babe Ruth is considered the best ever because contributed more to his teams winning than Ty Cobb.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:16 PM
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Iverson's a complicated character," right Part thug, part child, part soft-hearted meanie. I basically like the guy, although I think he's pretty immature.

Isn't he a more interesting sports story than "nice guy" Tim Duncan?
In fact, haven't the most compelling sports stars not been all that nice? Barkley, Ali, Cobb etc.
I think your problem with Bonds is that he isn't charismatic, not that he isn't nice.


Posted by: WillieStyle | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:18 PM
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Man, 181 gets it exactly right. This post started as an even more inflammatory claim about Bonds' apologists manifesting all the worst traits of American imperialism (you would have loved it), but dan's comparison is much better.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:19 PM
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175:Maybe. Maybe I should read the article, or do a statistical analysis. There were not that many .400, but there were enough players above .350 or above .375 that it wasn't that great a statistical fluke in those particular eras.

Those eras, especially immediately around 1930, were flukish enough to be suspicious. I don't trust Ruth's stats.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:22 PM
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184: I clicked on the comment link by accident, having forgotten what the thread was going to be about.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:24 PM
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I think your problem with Bonds is that he isn't charismatic, not that he isn't nice.

Hmm. I don't have a problem with the distinction, and sure, there are lots of troublesome charismatic players who I do like, but I wouldn't object to Bonds if he were merely nice and uncharismatic.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:25 PM
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188: Complete this sentence: "Lance Armstrong's extraordinary accomplishments were based in part on _____."


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:25 PM
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163: There are always league factors that affect player's performance. It wasn't really a surprise when Bonds hit 73 HR's because everyone was hitting more homeruns and he was already the best player in baseball. Are we supposed to just completely discount hitters such as Gehrig, Dimaggio, and Foxx because they played part of their career in the 1930's, where it was possible to both hit over .300 and below the league average?

It is possible to have interesting conversations about whether Bonds is the greatest (he isn't), but surely this is not a matter of ethics. The moral outrage about cheating or ruining the game just doesn't seem warranted by Bonds's actions. A justified claim that Ruth is better would result from a comparison of skills, or performance, or contribution--not from a moral evaluation of his character.


Posted by: Sabina's Hat | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:26 PM
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I'd enjoy reading that post, ogged. I'm not sure where I stand on this. Though I was once an aspiring jock, I don't enjoy watching sports so much any more.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:27 PM
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or anymore.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:28 PM
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185: Sorry. I wasn't really trying to cast doubt on your IIRCs, Tim.

Anyway, that still remains less evidence than is against Barry; if something more concrete than Grimsley's did-he-even-say-it accusation - even though I believe it - comes up, then Clemens will get a lot more shit. But I think that it's funny that he just reached 350, and I didn't hear a word about it (and I read the NYT baseball pages pretty regularly). It's not as iconic as 300, but given that only 8 have reached it before - and only 2 have reached 400 - I would have expected a much bigger deal to be made about it if Clemens wasn't under suspicion.

So I dunno. Clemens is setting no records, so he's simply not in the spotlight that Barry has now been in twice. And the guys he's passing - Tim Keefe? Kid Nichols? - are nobodies, so it's just not the same story. At the same time, it's more of a quiet campaign rather than full-throated outrage. But without harder evidence, how much outrage can there be? We can't even convince people here that a rule established in 1991 applied in 1999.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:28 PM
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186 was me.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:31 PM
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186:Average aside, as player/manager one can hardly say Cobb did not comparably contribute to his teams titles.

Looking at the hitting alone, 240 hits IIRC, means 1.5 a game, every game, (2.5 in 100 games with 54 no-hit games, or some other combination) might mean as much as 50 homeruns.

(Long small-ball argument)

To me, the home-run hitter is very like the 40-pt scorer in basketball. Doesn't mean much by himself


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:32 PM
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"Tim Keefe? Kid Nichols? - are nobodies"

WTF? Hits with dog-eared baseball encyclopedia.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:34 PM
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"Lance Armstrong's extraordinary accomplishments were based in part on _____."

I don't know what Tim thinks ogged will say about it, but I do want to note one thing about my longtime credulity:

In bike racing (specifically climbing), weight is the enemy. Lance had been world-class before the cancer, but commentators always said that he needed to lose 20 lbs to compete in the Grand Tours. Merci, cancer.

But it's all too clear that effectively everybody was doping in the Lance years, and I simply can't believe that he was good enough to beat the best in the world while they were juicing and he wasn't. It would be like an old Negro League anecdote, with Satch walking the bases loaded and sending his fielders into the dugout to strike out the side. No one's that good (except, apparently, Satchel Paige).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:34 PM
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WTF? Hits with dog-eared baseball encyclopedia.

Oh Bob, you know what I mean.

Although, in truth, I've heard of Nichols but not Keefe. Serves 'em right for playing 120 years ago.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:36 PM
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"his ability to declare his steroid treatments as part of the legitimate treatment for his cancer, and his work ethic."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:36 PM
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BTW, Tim, why were you reading Smizik about Clemens 2 years ago? The man's a complete tool, but a decent analyst maybe 2/3 of the time.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:37 PM
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Timbot is on a quest to get me to say that Lance was doping, but I have nothing to add to what I've already said on the topic, namely [meaningful look].


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:38 PM
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The problem with Ogged's condemnation of Bonds for not being either charismatic or popular is that Hank Aaron was not a particularly loved or charismatic player either.

And JRoth, I think Clemen's 7 Cy Young's is a pretty significant record.


Posted by: Sabina's Hat | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:40 PM
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203: He's the first hit for Clemens and steroids, I think.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:41 PM
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From 204 we can only conclude that Ogged knows for a fact that Lance was doping, but cannot confirm it because he would be legally implicated. What was your role, Ogged? Phlebotomist? Drug mule?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:45 PM
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I think Clemen's 7 Cy Young's is a pretty significant record

I couldn't have told you how many he has, how many the record was, or who held it. Whereas I can probably give you the name and final totals for the top 5 HR hitters (sorry, Bob).

Not all records are created equal.

204: Sorry, Ogged. You've got to man up and accept it. A week ago last Monday was a grim day for me, but I made it through.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:45 PM
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198: and everyone knows Ty Cobb could have hit tons of home runs if he wanted to.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:49 PM
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205: Clemens only holds the record for Cy Youngs because they didn't exist when Cy Young (duh) and Walter Johnson played.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:50 PM
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I'm not sure why McManus is bringing up Al Simmons (and when did he hit .401?) as an example of small-ball. When he was hitting those high averages alongside Foxx he was also hitting lots of homeruns (over 30 three times and over 300 lifetime).

And as for the Waner brothers, while Paul should be recognized as a deservedly great player, Lloyd has to be one of the least deserving HOFer's. While he did hit for average but he did so with no power and no walks and during an era with artificially high batting average. No thanks.


Posted by: Sabina's Hat | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:50 PM
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I think Clemens won all his Cy Young's before it became conventional wisdom that he was using steroids. If he were contending for one now, or if he were to hang on to top 373 wins, you'd hear a lot more negative press.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:53 PM
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And as for the Waner brothers, while Paul should be recognized as a deservedly great player, Lloyd has to be one of the least deserving HOFer's. While he did hit for average but he did so with no power and no walks and during an era with artificially high batting average. No thanks.

I almost said this. But I didn't want y'all to think that I care too much about baseball.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:53 PM
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208: Then I am afraid I'll have to agree with McManus that you are overly obsessed with homeruns. For all its glory as a record, in 1961 Maris wasn't even the best hitter on his own team.



Posted by: Sabina's Hat | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:58 PM
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nailed by 211. Been 40 years since a baseball fan.

Buried in baseball-reference.com, can say no more.

Except that I once loved the "Irish Era" of baseball. Saw pictures of the 90s NYGs, they all look like bouncers with handle-bar stashes, matching their reps. Baseball as collision-sport.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:58 PM
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214 - No one in history except maybe Maris' mom has thought otherwise.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 3:59 PM
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Then I am afraid I'll have to agree with McManus that you are overly obsessed with homeruns.

Nah, I just have a decent recall for numbers. But even so, the record for most Cy Youngs is meaningless.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 4:01 PM
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Timbot is on a quest to get me to say that Lance was doping, but I have nothing to add to what I've already said on the topic, namely [meaningful look].

Actually, I was trying to pithily suggest that dan was exactly wrong. If there's a broader indictment to be made, it's not against capitalism run riot, but against the nearly foundational American myth that "Great Men walk among us," which leans its back against "American Exceptionalism" and "Only good men are great." And, to the extent the lit crits are involved, it's in the way in which they were right: given a series of narratives that explain a set of facts, the one that's chosen is chosen for reasons that bear examination.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 4:03 PM
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and everyone knows Ty Cobb could have hit tons of home runs if he wanted to

Damn you, I'd managed to bury my memories of that particular thread.

Hm, that reminds me. Has /R/L/M discovered blogs? I haven't seen him trolling over at Baseball Think Factory or USS Mariner.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 4:04 PM
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Pete Rose should be in the Hall.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 4:07 PM
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Pete Rose should be in the Hall.

He will be. It's only a lifetime ban.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 4:08 PM
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I just realised that my youthful preference for the McGraw Cobb baseball era is an unconscious expression of my obsession with 1875-1925.

I'll bet there was a previous life or reincarnation or something.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 4:19 PM
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We're here to help you work through your issues, Bob.

Now talk to us about your father.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 4:22 PM
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Anyone interested at all in the early days of baseball should read this. It's really really good.


Posted by: Counterfly | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 4:39 PM
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Ullrich defrauded no one. Nor did Lance. Certain medical treatments are necessary to go for the GC in the Grand Tours.


Posted by: Willy Voet | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 4:43 PM
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218 gets it exactly right. And this:

Man, 181 gets it exactly right. This post started as an even more inflammatory claim about Bonds' apologists manifesting all the worst traits of American imperialism (you would have loved it), but dan's comparison is much better.

Is bullshit. Nobody's really defending Bonds. We're saying that you and JRoth and the rest are a bit silly to have your knickers in such a twist. You're pissed off at the world for being what the world is, and a particularly trivial example at that. Get over it.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 5:07 PM
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DaveL, it's impolite to call someone else's joke "bullshit". Etiquette calls for a polite laugh, and then a quick change of subject (usually to Harry Potter).

Anyway, bitching that something is too trivial for an Unfogged thread must surely be a bannable offense.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 5:09 PM
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DaveL, it's impolite to call someone else's joke "bullshit". Etiquette calls for a polite laugh, and then a quick change of subject (usually to Harry Potter).

Shame on me. I've been so busy trying to figure out when Brock Landers is serious that I wasn't reading the Wily Lur carefully enough.

And ban me if you must, but my objection to sports isn't that it's too trivial for an Unfogged thread.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 5:16 PM
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This may help, DaveL.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 5:31 PM
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Sadly, no.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 5:39 PM
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What about Dock Ellis, who pitched a no-hitter under the influence of LSD?

I have to think that may be the greatest achievement in the history of baseball.


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 5:42 PM
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224:Read the Ritter when it first came out. It, the Cobb autobiography, and The Baseball Encyclopedia are the only baseball books I remember reading. I used to spend hours normalizing stats on pencil & paper,

Looking up the Ritter made me wonder when Terkel started interviewing.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 5:47 PM
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Ah, well, the thread's moved sort of past me by this point, but I should acknowledge to JRoth that yes, under current rules Bonds is indeed escaping "cheating" charges on a pretty thin technicality. I was too sanguine on that particular point earlier. However, I still do think there's a fundamental contradiction between those rules and the basic objectives of modern sport which the growing prevalence of doping illustrates.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 6:03 PM
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65 ChiSox

avg leader = .283
hr leader = 18
rbi leader = 78
2 guys with more than 10 stolen bases
1 starter with anything close to HoF potential
1 decent reliever, 1 HoF reliever

Won 95 games. This was my team, this was my kind of baseball. This was exciting.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 6:28 PM
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218: Well, I'm still at work, so here goes. I will concede that many here are not actually defending Bonds (226), but only if the other side admits that the critics are not themselves defending the notion that "Great Men walk among us." I'm not trying to be obnoxious here, but that is the quintessential "lit crit" move -- draw the sacred myth box, put your opponent in it, and then point out the obvious: there are no sacred myths.

I don't disagree with that, nor would I resist the critical examination such narratives. The problem is that you and others are as obsessed with knocking down sacred myths as you accuse ogged of being with the Bonds issue. In the process of telling us how there was never the great, honest ball-player of yore, you essentially let "capitalism run riot" -- which has always already destroyed these myths -- get away with whatever it wants. You tell me there's no Great Men, no Good or Evil? Fine, but there's still good men and bad men.


Posted by: dan | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 6:50 PM
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Fine, but there's still good men and bad men.

And we care deeply about which category a baseball player falls in because...?


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 6:56 PM
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I am defending Bonds and also advocating steroids and glue. But glue only after games, not before.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 7:20 PM
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You tell me there's no Great Men, no Good or Evil? Fine, but there's still good men and bad men.

I wouldn't (and didn't) claim that neither Good or no Evil exist, nor that there are no good or bad men. I claim that there is plenty of reason to believe that--and here, pick your villain: the media, baseball fans, etc.--do a poor job of sorting the good and the bad, and the failures are usually a function of factors that everyone acknowledges as irrelevant ("he's not nice," or whatever). As I said above, Barry Bonds is a cheater. What's not clear to me is how much that distinguishes him from other players today or great players of yesterday, and whether that amount of distinction can be said to justify the level of anger and outrage to which he's been subjected.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 7:37 PM
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227 is me.

I think calling Bonds a bad man for cheating is overshooting the mark. I can imagine other forms of cheating that wouldn't bother me so much. But I'm under no duty to care that he broke Hank Aaron's record.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 7:45 PM
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But I'm under no duty to care that he broke Hank Aaron's record.

Comity!


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 7:46 PM
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235, 238- How did we get from Barry Bonds back to Harry Potter?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 7:57 PM
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Potter corked his broom.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 8:12 PM
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ATM.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 10:26 PM
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I hope y'all just watched Mythbusters prove, using Science, that (a) corking bats doesn't actually help you hit better; (b) humid balls are deader; and (c) Roger Clemens is a Great Pitcher and also, kind of a total jerk even when he's trying not to be.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 11:28 PM
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humid balls are deader

You're really chafing under your reputation for urbanity, aren't you?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 8-07 11:43 PM
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I know I'm not allowed to comment on sports, but defenders of Bonds are just wrong, sorry.

I've only read up to comment 100, so maybe this has been pointed out, but keatssycamore, a rule isn't only a suggestion just because there's no testing mechanism, unless (if Charles Taylor doesn't deceive me) you're Locke.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 12:08 AM
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/The following post has been written at the end of the day, under the influence of too much fucking Bonds coverage and beer, and is cranky/

What we really need is a two tier system: one bonds thread for the actual baseball fans, and one for the moral philosophers among us. Bonds may represent the influence of unbridled capitalism on the working man, but I do not personally give a fuck. The man is a baseball player: his primary significance is in the context of baseball. Whatever he may signify outside of the park is not my concern. Inside it, he is a cheat. He is not the only one, nor will he be the last, but at the moment he is the most egregious cheat extant. He has shit on his own record and profaned statistics. May he rot in hell, where all umpires and pitchers are blind.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 12:08 AM
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Also, the Easter Bunny is a total fraud.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 12:33 AM
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It's easy to hope that you see Griffey hit a landmark HR but still expect your team to win. Point being, visiting (venerable) pitchers are rarely cheered the way visiting (venerable) sluggers are.

My dad and I saw Roger Clemens pitch one of his last games for the Bosox against the Tigers. While we normally enjoyed watching Tiger games from the right or left field porches, we got great seats behind the plate so we could watch Clemens pitch (not hard to score those seats - the Tigers were woeful). As I usually do, I scored the game. By the 7th inning, I started to get people crowding around me to check the growing strikeout total - for it turned out, that the Rocket was on pace to equal or break the k record. By the 9th inning, the fans were actively rooting for him to break the record - even at the expense of the hometown Tigers: I remember the 5,000 fans who watched the game (bad team - late September) booing in unison when Alan Trammel (otherwise a deity in Detroit - at least prior to managing the team) flied out to left instead of striking out. When Roger got a k to end the game, it tied his own record of 20. He got a standing ovation from the crowd, me included (I think that with that game Roger also set the Bosox record for shutouts and wins).

But he's still a jerk.


Posted by: 3pointshooter | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 1:24 AM
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245: Nothing is more urbane than being a baseball geek. Sorry, slol.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 4:56 AM
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249: Oh, I wasn't trying to say that good baseball fans don't enjoy watchng a great visiting pitcher - a couple years ago, I was in awe watching Pedro mow down my beloved Bucs. And a great performance, like a 20K game, will get the home crowd rooting for the visiting pitcher. But I just don't think the dynamic is like the visiting slugger dynamic, where the home crowd will boo its own pitcher for not serving up something on the fat part of the plate.

That's fucking hilarious about Trammel. But I think it's safe to say that those 5000 fans were pretty self-selected.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 5:59 AM
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This is good and true:

The man is a baseball player: his primary significance is in the context of baseball.

And is why I don't understand the casual Bonds defenders out there. If you think that that ogged (who's just in it for the sense of righteousness and strict ethics) and I are wound up over nothing, why do you care at all?

Baseball is something that I choose to care about: I enjoy it, and it engages me. Therefore, I care about individual aspects of it, like whether or not a major player is cheating. By contrast, the corrupt ref in the NBA hasn't cast a single shadow in my life, even tho he may have thrown a playoff series. But I wouldn't arrogate to myself the position of saying to NBA fans "Get over it, it's just a game."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 7:08 AM
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foolishmortal, only someone subject to the effect of unbridled capitalism on the working man would say something like that.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 7:27 AM
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Baseball is something that I choose to care about: I enjoy it, and it engages me. Therefore, I care about individual aspects of it, like whether or not a major player is cheating.

Because it seems unjust to me that you're focusing on the sins of a particular player, when the type of cheating he's been doing has been normalized as a significant part of the game. Get disgusted with MLB, sure, demand that it all be cleaned up, but if a third of the players Bonds is up again are also juiced, getting tense about Bonds' record and not about every stat in the game seems unfair. (My understanding of the facts may be all wrong, but that's my thinking.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 7:58 AM
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Well, Bonds does now own the two most "prestigious" records in the sport; records he showed no sign of challenging before he ballooned.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 8:07 AM
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Have you seen the head on Phelps? Juicer.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 8:11 AM
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But if the current state of play is that lots of people juice, then you could probably say the same about any stat from the last ten or fifteen years. Getting particularly disgusted with Bonds for being a great player who cheats rather than one of the myriad good players who cheats seems off to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 8:11 AM
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w-lfs-n,

Imagine the rule/law against speeding had no enforcement mechanism (ie no radar detectors allowed for the police and the police were told when hired, "If you see someone who you think is speeding, don't stop them, we don't write tickets or stop people for speeding anymore"). However, the law remains on the books and when driving you still see all the normal speed limit signs posted around your 'burg.

Now imagine that knowing those facts (as baseball players certainly knew through their union), a police officer stops you on the street and says, "w-lfs-n, don't speed!" Is that more like a suggestion (as I suggested) or is it more like a threat?

I say it's more like a suggestion and that I doubt anyone would consider a rule without enforcement to be a threat. And isn't the threat of punishment the reason rules are obeyed (in the main, of course, not for ethicists like JRoth and, perhaps yourself)?

And wouldn't Fay Vincent and Bud Selig know this? Donald Fehr and the player's union certainly seemed to grasp the concept fairly easily. That's why Bud Selig is the douchiest douchebag of them all!

All of which is a long way for me to say that if you want to have a semantic argument about what is a "rule", then you need to look for someone other than myself. As I'm the guy who, with touching honesty I thought, wrote in #106:

I should, however, acknowledge that my ethics are always situational.

Just one more thing, what's the deposed leader of Liberia know about rules anyway?!?


Posted by: keatssycamore | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 8:12 AM
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I agree with what LB is saying, but my point isn't really so much that Bonds-haters are getting too worked up about stuff, so much as to point out that while the situation is deeply emotionally unsatisfying for you, for reasons that have to do with interpretation of rules w/in an athletic community, sentimentality about revered records, history of personal investment in the sport, whatever, that does not make it objectively emotionally unsatisfying for everyone. Nor does my emotional satisfaction make me some sort of traitor to baseball, or insincere baseball fan.


Posted by: rachel | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 8:26 AM
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If he were able to, Barry Bonds would spy on you.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 8:27 AM
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you could probably say the same about any stat from the last ten or fifteen years

The only record of consequence broken in the last 1-15 years is the single-season home run record (now owned by Bonds) and when Sosa and McGuire were chasing it, there was a lot of suspicion, but enough plausible deniability that the fans were able to hold on to the thin reed of hope. It become undeniable, with the congressional hearings and some other things, that they had been cheating, and McGuire had the good sense to retire, but Sosa came back, much smaller, no acne, also unable to hit nearly as many home runs, to be traded away by the team in the city that had loved him, and to derision and some boos. Bonds is the first one to break records when it's already undeniable that he's cheating, and because the records he's breaking seem unbreakable without cheating, it seems as if he's left a stain on the record books forever.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 8:35 AM
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Two issues, ogged:

The only record of consequence broken

Consecutive games?

the records he's breaking seem unbreakable without cheating

What is this supposed to mean? Were those who set the records initially cheating? (In which case they're already tarnished so who cares.) Were they superhuman? Why on earth would you suppose they could be set but not broken? This makes me very angry.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 8:39 AM
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Why do you care at all?

Because you're being silly, and because most of us don't worship athletes. Sports are fun, mean, and dirty.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 8:40 AM
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But don't you care about the game, beyond the records? Widespread cheating, eh, not an emotional problem, you still love baseball, you watch the game under the circumstances you've got, so MLB with a pervasive cheating is still MLB. One of the many cheats sets a record? That BASTARD!

I guess, given that I don't care about baseball, that I shouldn't pick too hard about what exactly it is that those of you who do care about it feel, but the idea that MLB with pervasive cheating isn't all that upsetting, but that a record set in an era with pervasive cheating is, just seems peculiar to me. But I'll stop telling you all how peculiar you are -- I'm sure you've figured it out already.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 8:40 AM
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Alo, we suspect that JRoth and Ogged are failed juicers, sort of like Republican closet queens trying to divert attention from themselves.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 8:41 AM
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It's interesting (to me) that 265 is the first time I've really noticed (in this thread) Bonds described as setting a record, as opposed to breaking a record. I can't get my head around which matters more to people. As a baseball fan not upset, I care more about the setting. I guess ogged's original post suggests the affronted care more about the breaking?


Posted by: rachel | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 8:49 AM
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264, I mean.


Posted by: rachel | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 8:49 AM
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Re my 5: The book is Warren Goldstein, Playing for Keeps: A History of Early Baseball.

Now I must hurry back to one of the other threads. If rachel finds me here, she'll kick my ass. And possibly hang electoral failings on me.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 8:54 AM
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You're really chafing under your reputation for urbanity

You set me up to fail.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 8:56 AM
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Now you know how the incisive baa felt.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 8:59 AM
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Oh, indeed. But I did enjoy that.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 9:00 AM
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And is why I don't understand the casual Bonds defenders out there.

Because a lot of American males, including this one, love sports because they are a consensus metaphor for American society. And for a lot of people, baseball is the important sport for that purpose. So McQueen (IIRC) worries about how to explain to his kids that Bonds is a cheater and isn't really being punished. And I get irritated by the fact that there is something discretionary about the application of the rules, which makes me suspicious of strong claims that Bonds is destroying the game, etc. For example, the claim that Bonds's cheating is peculiarly bad (sotto voce: because he's a dick) parallels the claim that when LB gets angry she gets out of control (sotto voce: because she doesn't have a dick). It's infuriating (although LB is, obv., sort of out of control).

I actually am kind of in favor of competition run riot (or at least of the belief that it's always going to run riot). But if we're going to have that, it has to be governed by rules--both codified and not--and those rules have to be applied fairly.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 9:22 AM
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Well, LB, as I said, I'm a Pirates fan. Believe me, nobody on this sorry club is juicing.

Our best player in the post-Bonds era has been Brian Giles, who was a great, dynamic outfielder & power hitter. He left a few years back, just as Bush mentioned steroids in the SOTU, and people said, "well, Giles was obviously juicing" - the guy was built short & solid as hell - and I did get pissed. Like, what the hell was I rooting for?

But anyway, you're getting distracted by that 1/3 estimate - which, BTW, I had meant to indicate the upper bound of what anyone reasonable has claimed, not as the most likely number. Thinking that 1/3 of major leaguers are juiced like Barry is like thinking that, because 40% of high schoolers try pot (or whatever the number is), you've got 2 out of every 5 students wearing hemp and listening to Phish. A simple look at most major league rosters - filled with pudgy pitchers and whippet-like middle infielders - pretty quickly eliminates the thought that a significant proportion of players have altered their bodies and their playing level with PEDs.

What Barry did to himself changed the competitive balance on the field - he had offensive seasons that are literally unprecedented, and it was solely due to illegal drugs that he did that. That's what bothers me - he rewrote the record book by rewriting the rule book. Watching games over the past decade, while I see a lot more power than I did growing up (you could lead the league with 30+ HR just 20 years ago), it looks about the same. That's not true when Barry (or McGwire or Sosa, etc.) comes to the plate.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 9:24 AM
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Matt Morris is going to start juicing, just to make that shitty trade seem more worthwhile.


Posted by: rachel | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 9:27 AM
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258, and others:

The whole point of ethics - at least as commonly used, I know nothing of the Philospohy of Ethics or whatever - is that it's how you act when no one is looking. The phrase "It ain't cheating if you don't get caught," while a venerable part of the American sports tradition, is the exact opposite of ethical. So is breaking the rules because you have a reasonable expectation that the rules won't be enforced. You can parse it however you want, but it's not ethical.

Now, if the vast majority of players were juicing full time, then I would have the misgivings about the game that LB thinks I should, and I wouldn't much blame any individual (part of why I'm not het up on the amphetamine issue. I also don't object to drivers going 60 in a 55 zone). But the reality is that a minority of players have ever juiced, a small minority seem to have done so on an ongoing basis, and a tiny minority have significantly changed their performance level due to steroids. So it's not hard for me to look at the cheaters and say, "You cheated!"

Obviously, there are guys getting away with it, because it's subtle. But you know, I don't get worked up if a 2B hits 6 HR instead of 4 thanks to the juice. I mean, I don't like it - I'll be pissed at the player if he gets caught - but I don't feel the need to abandon the game or suspect every single player. That light-hitting 2B hasn't changed the game. B/M/S/C changed the game.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 9:40 AM
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Matt Morris is going to start juicing, just to make that shitty trade seem more worthwhile.

Wait til you see Rajai Davis at 210 of solid muscle, powering 40 HR a year.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 9:43 AM
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I should note that I hate baseball and would be perfectly happy if the league disappeared from the earth. Moving on...

Were those who set the records initially cheating? (In which case they're already tarnished so who cares.) Were they superhuman? Why on earth would you suppose they could be set but not broken?

Brock, it took 34 years for someone to beat Ruth's record by one. Bonds beat it by 13.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 9:45 AM
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So?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 9:46 AM
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Putting a finer point on the whole "rule" thing, it is clear to me that Vincent and Fehr agreed to the '91 rule because at that time there were, for the first time in the media, whispers and innuendo about juiced players and it was starting to dawn on fans that, "Hey, Lenny Dykstra used to look like a Waner and now he's more like Hulk Hogan. Perhaps something is rotten in baseball."

So they adopted a "rule" with no teeth so that they could continually claim to have an anti-steroid policy when asked and also go on the offensive against the whispering campaign by calling reporters out as "unethical" and "rumor-mongerers" whose irresponsible comments hurt the game.

This worked because within a year or two the despicable Selig was in charge, then there was NO WORLD SERIES and, by the time the Home Run chase with Sosa and Andro happened, fans were just glad baseball was back and media types had a better story that didn't require them to bash the hand that feeds them (MLB).

{Very similar to, for instance, the way the USDA tests for Mad Cow disease, they didn't design the testing methodology so that it always catches Mad Cow disease. They designed the test so that it won't catch Mad Cow disease. The U.S. can then claim it doesn't exist.*}

Ogged mentioned "plausible deniability" above and that was MLB's only position on steroids until Congress stepped in a few years ago. The steroid rules weren't designed to CATCH the cheating, they were designed to COVER-UP the cheating.

My outrage is simply that these facts aren't reported each and every time there is a steroid discussion. As a baseball purist it is much more outrageous that for 20 years the institution of MLB blessed a kind of cheating that ruined the meaning of statistics and records across eras. And artificially changed the way the game was played. And raised a cloud of suspicion over everyone who played during the steroid era. If you're a purist, you shouldn't even have enough outrage left for Bonds (or you should at least mention how douchie Seilg is when you post an angry rant about Bonds).

But I'm not a purist so I'd just agree with SCMT at 272, it's all about the little guy even when the "little guy" in question has a head the size of a large pumpkin.

*In 1998, Bud Selig was the United States and Sosa and Andro were the Mad Cows.


Posted by: keatssycamore | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 9:46 AM
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But the reality is that a minority of players have ever juiced, a small minority seem to have done so on an ongoing basis, and a tiny minority have significantly changed their performance level due to steroids

How would we know? We've already decided, in discussing Clemens, that neither increased size nor increased performance is sufficient to say someone is a cheater. Do I look at Ruth's extraordinary accomplishments and wonder if he cheated? Yeah, in the same way I wonder about Lance Armstrong.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 9:48 AM
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Ullrich defrauded no one. Nor did Lance. Certain medical treatments are necessary to go for the GC in the Grand Tours.

I meant to comment on this long ago. I have no idea what Jan may or may not have said in his defense, but Lance, if guilty of juicing, has indeed defrauded everyone. His horse is so fucking high on this issue that the fall will kill him.

As for "certain medical treatments," someone did say 50 years ago "Do they expect us to ride the Tour de France on Perrier water?" But bike racing is such a silly sport for juicing en masse, since any pro riding up the Alpe d'Huez is doing something amazing, whether at 20 kmh or 30. If everyone were clean, the sport would be exactly as entertaining. For most ball sports, increased athleticism does, in fact, equal increased entertainment, but in race sports, it's about balanced competition (which is why NASCAR has almost competely standardized their vehicles - I'm pretty sure at this point that even the fiberglass shells are uniform, and it's only a paint job that makes them resemble a Ford or Chevy "stock car").


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 9:50 AM
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To elaborate on 278, Ruth himself was miles ahead of everyone else in his day--significantly moreso even than Bonds today. Yet you don't assume that Ruth necessarily cheated.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 9:50 AM
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Geez, Brock, you are a troll.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 9:52 AM
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No, fuck you, ogged. There's no doubt that Bonds cheated, but that's not the point. You inane idea that "the records he's breaking seem unbreakable without cheating" is the point. It's stupid and false. Unless Ruth/Maris/Aaron were themselves cheating, someone would have broken their records eventually without cheating.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 9:56 AM
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Cheating is defined as doing something not allowed under the rules? Or doing something that gives them a significant unfair advantage?

I don't feel confident that Ruth, Aaron and others did not have some hidden advantage that allowed them to reach the achievements that they reached.

I just do not have faith that they didnt have some unfair advantage as well. Therefore, I cannot get worked up about Bonds. Indict him. Kick him out of baseball. Then, we can talk. Otherwise, I get tired of the bellyaching.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 10:02 AM
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Do I look at Ruth's extraordinary accomplishments and wonder if he cheated? Yeah, in the same way I wonder about Lance Armstrong.

I don't understand this, and you've said it a couple times now (Brock, too). We know that Ruth didn't do these things because it was medically impossible. That's the point. We can be awed by what he did because it was a human accomplishment. Whereas what Bonds did was a chemical one. It's no more impressive than if he did it with an aluminum bat.

And maybe I wasn't clear on Clemens. I'm willing to say that he's in the category of presumed guilty. I don't think the majority of fans are there, for reasons discussed above, but I think that the evidence is adequate. Part of this is because we have 3 elite players to look at for clues. Bonds, McGwire, & Sosa (B/M/S) all exhibited:

-Increased muscle mass after the age of 30, when athletes are generally struggling to maintain previously-achieved mass
-A jump in production
-No decline in production at an age when it should be expected

So those are my rules of thumb. I don't see a lot of players who meet that cut - fewer now than 10 years ago, with Brady Anderson and the like. There are certainly other manifestations of juicing that wouldn't be caught this way, but it's the only way I can judge. Furthermore, these are the ones that distort the game. Glavine has been much better the last two years than in the previous two. Did he juice? Conceivably, but the real change was that he started throwing more breaking balls. I don't see any distorting effects there.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 10:04 AM
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I just do not have faith that they didnt have some unfair advantage as well. Therefore, I cannot get worked up about Bonds. Indict him. Kick him out of baseball. Then, we can talk. Otherwise, I get tired of the bellyaching.

Aside from the fact that I don't see what the first half of this has to do with the second, you may not be aware of this, but angry bloggers don't get to kick players out of baseball. Personally, I would - I already said that I was glad the the leader of the TdF was thrown out without failing any drug tests. But it's a pretty absurd standard you've set.

"Impeach Bush, already, or stop bellyaching about him."

WTF?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 10:07 AM
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We can be awed by what he did because it was a human accomplishment.

Do we really know that he didnt have some other unfair advantage like caffeine (speed) or something else?

Comparing people of different generations is so hard because it just isnt apples to apples.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 10:07 AM
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JRoth:

My perception of the general size of baseball players pre-steroids era till 1970 and their general size post-steroids is very differrent from yours.

But maybe they just didn't discover weight training until 1980. Or the money got big enough to make off-season training worthwhile. I honestly don't know whether you are right, or if someone like Canseco is correct.

Keeping in mind that my ethics are always situational, I side with the 30% people due to my personal experience with steroids (this will now reveal me to be the most vain and the most shallow person to have ever commented on one of your Unfogged threads, which BTW I love...the threads, not being shallow and vain):

I've always been in the gym alot and have been an athlete and I was always the skinniest person no matter what weights I slung and shakes a chugged and creatine I forced down. Frustrated, I did a round of roids (oral with a mass building roid and a leaning out roid).

I did the round at very low doses (especially the mass builder because I wasn't having bloodwork and stuff done) and, in one 12 week round, I gained 12 pounds of lean muscle mass. Off the cycle, but on every legal supplement you can imagine, a gain of 1 pound of muscle in month while keeping off body fat would've been the best I hoped for. A low-dose of roids tripled my body's ability to make gains.

I never did another round because it's bad for the liver and my kidneys ocassionally hurt while on, but it was amazing to see what they did for my body and my workouts. If millions of dollars were on the line, I can easily imagine it would be overwhelmingly seductive. That's why I believe the bulk of today's atheletes are juiced.

But I hate appeals to personal authority and, therefore, concede that my own personal anecdote doesn't by any means settle anything. But I still think my size perception of ballplayers pre and post is more accurate than yours.



Posted by: keatssycamore | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 10:11 AM
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"Impeach Bush, already, or stop bellyaching about him."

More like, if you want to hold someone in jail because you say that they are clearly a terrorist, bring them to trial, prove it or let them go.

You are making the assertion that the achievement of Bonds is not worthy of the achievement of Ruth. All I know is the number of home runs each has hit. So that is all I can compare.

If you think you can compare, go ahead. But, on what evidence about Ruth?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 10:12 AM
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Cheating is defined as doing something not allowed under the rules? Or doing something that gives them a significant unfair advantage?

Well, how do you want to define "unfair?" Rogers Hornsby - or maybe Williams - supposedly had 20/10 eyesight. In some sense that's an unfair advantage, but he was born with it - it's in the range of human physicality, and he came by it without technological aid. Meanwhile, a corked bat is clearly cheating, but its benefits are minor - someone upthread claimed nonexistent. I'm not going to get worked up over cheating that has no impact on the game. Contrary to the evidence of this thread, I have limited energy for outrage in baseball. I'm going to apply it to the guys who cheated to gain such a big advantage that they did literally unprecedented things.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 10:13 AM
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We can be awed by what he did because it was a human accomplishment. Whereas what Bonds did was a chemical one. It's no more impressive than if he did it with an aluminum bat.

Bonds isn't competing against Ruth, though. He's competing against the hitters and pitchers of today. The majority of whom have used performance-enhancing drugs, incredibly expensive and personalized nutrition and weight regimens, and/or surgeries to improve their performance beyond normal (LASIK, Tommy John).

It's obvious that Ruth is the greatest slugger of all time if you are comparing each man to his contemporaries. Meanwhile, we can't compare players who aren't contemporaries very well. This 756 is just a number which means different things in different contexts.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 10:14 AM
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in one 12 week round, I gained 12 pounds of lean muscle mass

Dude, I've got to get me some roids.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 10:14 AM
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What does cheating mean? Breaking the rules? Then, MLB should prove it or shut up.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 10:15 AM
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It's obvious that Ruth is the greatest slugger of all time if you are comparing each man to his contemporaries. Meanwhile, we can't compare players who aren't contemporaries very well. This 756 is just a number which means different things in different contexts.

I agree. I guess I just could care less to compare people from such different eras. The record book is simply a record book.

Bonds is darn good. Ruth was darn good. Beyond that, I don't care to argue over who was the best EVAR!!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 10:18 AM
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I'm going to apply it to the guys who cheated to gain such a big advantage that they did literally unprecedented things.

But this is a high-offense era for many other reasons. If Bud Selig had announced in 1992 that the mound would be raised, and all new stadiums would have to have outfield walls moved back, foul territory expanded, and other factors to reduce offense, probably Bonds would have at least 100 fewer homers right now even if he had taken drugs to make him the greatest slugger of the era. I sympathize with caring so much about the record books, but that leads to getting irrationally agitated about steroids in baseball while pooh-poohing it in all the other sports because they don't have hallowed halls of history that can be sullied by Shawne Merriman and the Carolina Panthers offensive line.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 10:19 AM
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My perception of the general size of baseball players pre-steroids era till 1970 and their general size post-steroids is very differrent from yours.

But maybe they just didn't discover weight training until 1980. Or the money got big enough to make off-season training worthwhile. I honestly don't know whether you are right, or if someone like Canseco is correct.

Frankly, I don't know either. Some of the explanations you've offered - like the big money making off-season workouts more worthwhile - are the ones offered during '98, and we know they were BS.

BUT we do know that players well into the 70s self-report having done NO weight-lifting, NO off-season training. Ted Williams went fishing. Ruth went binge-drinking (and, according to Brock and will, into a time machine where he got steroids from the future). You did have beefy guys like Ted Kluzinski (sp) and, IIRC, Jimmie Foxx, but they were blue collar/farm boys.

So I don't think that player size pre-1970 is an ideal baseline, because we know that, for the most part, they weren't even trying to be buff. Is 1980 a good baseline? Who knows if enough players were lifting by then to give an idea? We certainly know that, by the late 80s, we were seeing 'roided-up players like Dykstra.

I guess the real test will be if an onerous testing system comes into place, which would keep the vast majority of players clean (most minor leaguers can't afford test-clearing PEDs). But the culture of weight-lifting will be in place, and we'll see if the players shrink much, or just a bit.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 10:24 AM
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I haven't said and didn't mean to imply that Ruth cheated.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 10:27 AM
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The phrase "It ain't cheating if you don't get caught," while a venerable part of the American sports tradition, is the exact opposite of ethical.

In other words, the ethic of American sports is "win at all costs"

This is exactly why I keep my ethics situational. It allows for the flexibility I would need to compete were I to be drafted into Major League Baseball tomorrow, or become a businessman.


Posted by: keatssycamore | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 10:29 AM
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What does cheating mean? Breaking the rules? Then, MLB should prove it or shut up.

Dude, are you under the impression that I'm Bud Selig under an alias? MLB hasn't called Bonds a cheater. I (and ogged) did. Bonds also did, when he testified under oath that he ingested banned, performance-enhancing drugs (while absurdly claiming that he didn't know what they were). I don't know why MLB thinks that discussions like this are better than aggressively going after PED-users, but I also don't know why they think that their revenue sharing system is adequate.

Do you believe that Nixon broke the law, even though he was neither impeached nor jailed? Or is he just as innocent as Bonds? (different scale of wrongdoing, I know, but comparable evidence levels)


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 10:30 AM
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I thought Gerald Ford issued a decree that made the concept of "Richard Nixon being found guilty of a crime" a sort of paradox or logical impossibility.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 10:32 AM
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JRoth:

I meant 1980 when I typed 1970, so yes, I think pre-80 and post is decent.

And waiting for shrinkage seems like a wise control group, except that I am cynical enough to believe the chemists will always be ahead of the tests and the players will have incentives to find those chemists.


Posted by: keatssycamore | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 10:33 AM
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JRoth:

No top 10 GC rider in the Tour, Giro, or Vuelta defrauds any other racer.

Even if LA were doping, I wouldn't say he defrauded the public either. He was deceiving no one. He earned his Tour wins through insane amounts of training and attention to detail.

Less doping in cycling will mean less attacks. It will also mean guys recovering very poorly day after day in the Grand Tours. I actually think it will make the sport boring.

If you have ever done any full Tour stage (or even any mountain pass in the Alps or Pyrenees), you will realize the necessity of certain medical treatments. Doing 3 mountain stages back to back is insane. It's also very dangerous on the descents when you are that tired. After I rode over Mt. Ventoux during a 140km cyclosportif, on the downhill, I fully support some treatments. I haven't necessarily determined what is and what is not allowed, but the current regime is stupid.


Posted by: Willy Voet | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 10:35 AM
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> literally unprecedented things.

But this is a high-offense era for many other reasons.

But a high-offense era doesn't lead to unprecedented walk totals. Let's not focus too narrowly on the HRs - Bonds performed unheard-of achievements all across the offensive spectrum.

Again, it simply bugs me for people to say, as Yggles ignorantly did, "best offensive player ever" based primarily on things he couldn't have done without cheating. That's really all it comes down to (I'm not only looking at the records, but that's this discussion).

Similarly, when Jerry Seinfeld jumped the gun in the footrace in that one episode, that didn't actually mean he was faster than the other guy. Saying "But he crossed the finish line first" is kind of missing the point, as is "But they're clearly very close to each other in speed."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 10:36 AM
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JRoth:

I'm not equating you with Bud.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 10:38 AM
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Keats in 258, not all rules are laws.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 10:38 AM
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Yes, saying "best offensive player ever" is wrong. As I said, 756 is a number that means different things in different contexts. It means less in the current (high-offense, careers extended by medical treatment, top pitchers pitching fewer innings) context than it would in any other context.

One interesting piece of context is here.

Hank Aaron had over 1000 more plate appearances than Bonds does. And Bonds has almost 2000 more plate appearances than Ruth does. When you apply any context at all you find that Ruth's accomplishment basically cannot possibly be paralleled.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 10:42 AM
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Alas, Willy, I've never ridden in Europe at all (a country lane to the Bodensee, but I don't think that counted).

I was going to say in my previous comment that I think that a truly drug-free Tour would have to be designed differently, and that's OK by me. Is a 150 km stage inherently less exciting than 200km?

I'd also add that, since my concerns are largely about the desperately unhealthy things that cyclists do, I'm not sure that the ultra line of the WADA is appropriate. Hell, maybe amphetamines would be just fine for the athletes for the 3 weeks of a GT, then a purge period or whatever. Banning cough medicine is pointless, but banning nothing is too dangerous.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 10:42 AM
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306:

Very zen-mantic.


Posted by: keatssycamore | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 10:44 AM
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If millions of dollars were on the line, I can easily imagine it would be overwhelmingly seductive. That's why I believe the bulk of today's atheletes are juiced.

You see, this just proves that people are being motivated by the external rewards that just happen to be attached to some forms of baseball playing, and not by the internal rewards of the sport itself.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 10:44 AM
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I'm not equating you with Bud.

Alright, the blog war is off.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 10:45 AM
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Somewhat related to this topic, I have a great picture of my son with Tyler Hamilton at the Athens Games. He also gave my son his USA water bottle.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 10:50 AM
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He also gave my son his USA water bottle.

That's called "getting rid of the evidence." Is your son surprisingly fit?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 10:52 AM
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Ooh, Hamilton's a good example. It was so bad-ass the way he rode the whole Tour with a broken collarbone a few years back. Now, obviously, he was getting some percodan or whatever. But, given the subsequent evidence, he was probably doing something much more. And I'm a lot less impressed.

Like, I'm not impressed by the "athleticism" of the dude on PCP chucking trash cans around the park, either.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 10:59 AM
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Come on, PCP is just a training technology. What's your beef?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 11:00 AM
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w-lfs-n:

As with "not all rules are laws", isn't there a point where the motivations (external/internal) overlap?

I imagine rules/laws as two circles in the style of a Venn diagram, same Venn diagram for internal and external rewards.

Now how do I know when we're treading the overlapping areas, or in one of the pure aeas?

Where would we place Bonds on such a diagram?
Where to place "ban on steroids by official governing body of baseball" on such a diagram?

And if I don't know the answers to those questions, how can my pointing out of one external motivation for juicing ($), prove conclusively that external motivations alone drive such decisions?


Posted by: keatssycamore | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 11:04 AM
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You motherfuckers are hard to troll.

Harry Potter: juicehead?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 11:08 AM
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I've heard Harry Potter is a total hemorrhoidal jerk.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 11:10 AM
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Is drug-aided cuteness real cuteness?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 11:15 AM
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total hemorrhoidal jerk.

It's sitting on that broomstick.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 11:20 AM
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PCP is just a training technology.

Does anyone remember that arcade video game from about '88, where you were a cop facing pimps in El Dorados (they'd run your ass over), street thugs, etc.? The worst was the PCP guys, who would chuck Dumpsters on your head, and would take a lot of shots before they'd go down.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 11:23 AM
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321: I've had that experience in rural New Brunswick. Not in a video game, though.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 11:27 AM
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will: would you mind posting the picture? Hamilton is an interesting character. Swore on his dead dog that he didn't cheat.

JRoth: If you ride seriously, you have to visit the Alps sometime.

I agree that some things should be banned. Other things maybe not. The natural/unnatural debate is so ambiguous. EPO no? Altitude tents yes!

150k stages will by definition go over fewer passes. Also, the length doesn't matter because the pace will be just more furious - like some of stages we have seen in the Giro the past few years.


Posted by: Willy Voet | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 11:33 AM
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http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v181/wilsontuck/IMG_0841.jpg


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 11:36 AM
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My wife's family lives in Austria (hence riding to the Bodensee), and when we drive through the Bregenzerwald, we always see these staggeringly fit middle-aged people gliding up these big hills that our Volvo is struggling up. Lovely country.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 11:49 AM
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DS is a trailer park boy?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 11:54 AM
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Not that there's anything wrong with that.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 11:55 AM
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I'd guess Rut/gers grad.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 11:55 AM
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Just a pilgrim across this Great White North of ours, though admittedly I'd make a pretty good trailer park boy.

Re: 319, who needs real cuteness?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 12:34 PM
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Don't scare us like that, DS.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 1:10 PM
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Bérubé gives his usual interesting take here.
(Although I see that this thread is in the OT reconciliatory wind down phase.)

Out-of-context teaser:

At least one thing remains clear, however: the record for career home runs by a white guy is still owned by Harmon Killebrew.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 9-07 3:21 PM
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I'm late, but...I'm grateful to Bonds for risking his health and reputation to give us all the spectacle of the greatest baseball hitter ever. I found him thrilling to watch. No hitter has ever so completely dominated the game.

I think he instinctively understood that now that the game of baseball had incorporated drugs, he needed to take them to become the greatest baseball player of his era. So he did, he paid the price, as was indeed the greatest ballplayer of his era. Congrats, Barry.

I think the major lesson from Bonds is that baseball's rules on intentional walks need to be rewritten.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 08-10-07 10:20 PM
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What if a hitter took so many roids he could hit home runs with his forehead? With no helmet on? So he'd get, like, knocked out, but everybody would wait until he came to and ran the bases because they had to? Every home run a breathless spectacle! That shit would rule. Also: explosive spikes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-10-07 10:26 PM
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Whatever he may signify outside of the park is not my concern. Inside it, he is a cheat. He is not the only one, nor will he be the last, but at the moment he is the most egregious cheat extant. He has shit on his own record and profaned statistics. May he rot in hell, where all umpires and pitchers are blind.

Thank you. Exactly.

Bonds was probably headed to the Hall of Fame anyway, but he set his sights on the HR record and gave his career a "shot in the arm" (actually in the ass) at the point where it would naturally have begun to wind down. He proceeded to create a new physique that made him more powerful, more immune to injury, more impervious to pain and more driven than he was prior to 1999. The comparison doesn't have to be made between Bonds and any other player, living or dead. The comparison can be made between Barry Bonds at the top of his natural ability and Barry Bonds ... well ... ahem ... somewhat beyond his natural ability and certainly pushing the envelope of what could be expected at that age and that point in his career.

If Player A has x years in which to hit y number of pitches z distance, and Player B uses something other than his natural ability in order to extend x years to (x+n) years, giving himself an unnatural amount of time to hit more pitches, and if he also adds strength beyond his natural strength, decreases the natural time it takes him to heal from injuries, and wears a device that may arguably be giving him an addtional advantage, his eventual end-of-career statistics are skewed and can't reasonably be compared with Player A.

Some call it progress and technology. I call it being a cheating asshat.


Posted by: Kwach | Link to this comment | 08-11-07 9:45 AM
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