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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bad Day For Baseball

posted by on December 13 at 8:55 AM

The Mitchell Report—the long investigation of steroids and baseball—is set to be released in about an hour. ESPN is in full MAJOR STORY mode, and already the appearance of one big name in the report has been leaked:

Some folks on the union side have been hinting that the Mitchell investigators requested the company of big-time stars as they looked into allegations of performance-enhancing drugs. “Landscape-changing names,” said one agent. “Names that will change the way we look at the sport.”

It is unclear whether these players were merely asked as a formality or if, in fact, the investigators had some evidence that they wanted to present to the players for a response. The reason for the intrigue is not just to satisfy our gossipy curiosity: As we have seen with Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds, legacies — and Hall of Fame candidacies — can be devastated when a player is tied to the steroids mess. Based on early reports by ESPN, at least Roger Clemens’ name will appear in the report.

It’s going to be a long day for America’s pastime.

Update: ESPN is now reporting Andy Pettitte’s name is also listed in the report. Pettitte just signed a one year, $16 million contract with the Yankees.

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Reports are already saying that Andy Pettitte is named in the report too.

Posted by Matt from Denver | December 13, 2007 9:03 AM

Oops, used "report" and "reports" in the same sentence. My 9th grade English teacher will never forgive me.

Posted by Matt from Denver | December 13, 2007 9:06 AM

I'm still waiting for someone to tell me what the actual effects of steroid use on a BASEBALL player are -- how many home runs, exactly, how many strikeouts, and how that's different than the drugs that Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle took; or how trying to win with steroids is worse than trying to win with biomechanical research, high-tech composites in your shoes, and so forth; and what it says about the era immediately PRECEDING this one, when steroids were much more prevalent -- and more primitive -- but no one ever got caught.

And of course the coming era, which has probably already started, when players take substances that work ten times better than steroids but can't be traced or tested for. There's no test for HGH, even, and that's old school already.

Posted by Fnarf | December 13, 2007 9:12 AM

Fnarf, I've tried some of those methods, aND IT JUST AINT WORTH THE CASE OF FAUCET-ASS that follows. hey, you can reach me via the people who introduced us. Maybe yalk to ya later.

Posted by June Bee | December 13, 2007 9:16 AM

Fnarf, if you know your baseball history then you know that no one took steroids before the 80s because players and trainers believed that bulky muscles interfered with swinging. If the "drugs taken by Mantle and Ruth" are greenies, they're only known to reduce weariness but not improve athleticism.

Since steroids are illegal there's been no controlled study that I know of. But the investigative reporters who wrote "Game of Shadows" found enough anecdotal evidence that steroids allowed batters to swing just a bit faster - enough to make good contact, enough to power fly balls over the wall. They're also known to speed up recovery for repetitive stress injuries. Which is why Barry Bonds peaked in his late 30s, an age in which most ballplayers are out of the game.

Of course the real scandal about all this isn't the players doping, it's Major League Baseball turning a blind eye to the problem. I expect the report to go easier on ownership and the Commissioner than on the players and trainers.

Posted by Matt from Denver | December 13, 2007 9:21 AM

June Bee is annoying as fuck.

Posted by is june bee Will in Seattle2? | December 13, 2007 9:21 AM

Following up to my comment at 5, they should do a controlled study on steroids. Until they do, though, the anecdotal evidence will have to do.

Barry Bonds is the best person to look at because he was already a great player before 1999, he used to be thin and wiry but bulked up like the Incredible Hulk, smacked more homers than anyone in history, then quickly deflated once MLB (who had banned steroids years before but had no penalties or enforcement for the rule) started to get serious about it. We may never find the fire but there sure is a lot of smoke there.

Posted by Matt from Denver | December 13, 2007 9:25 AM

"@6 have you "seen" Bee Movie yet? I haven't. I heard something about a bee who's pissed off and taking on the world. Don't answer - I have a an idea - I may be able to google IMBM page or wikispeedia for the TRue synopsis."

- Will I. Yam what I Yam

Posted by June Bee | December 13, 2007 9:28 AM

I guess 'roid rage explains that Clemens/Piazza bat-throwing incident. What an asshole.

Posted by DOUG. | December 13, 2007 9:29 AM

Not a single name they provide will surprise me.

Posted by heywhatsit | December 13, 2007 9:33 AM

Why should I care any more about whether a baseball player uses steroids than I care about whether an actress has a boob job? If they want to mess with their bodies in order to provide a better entertainment experience for their audience, then that is their business.

Posted by Fritz | December 13, 2007 9:33 AM

I think Baseball should be a veritable performance enhancing drug free-for all. I think teams should have their own labs, and should always be looking out for exciting and new drugs to pump into their star players. And if one or two of them spontaneously melt into a gob of pulsating goo in the infield, so what? Those kind of risks go with a $12,000,000 per year contract....

Posted by NapoleonXIV | December 13, 2007 9:35 AM

I put the over/under of 2001 Mariners on the list at 5. Boone, Edgar, Ryan Franklin, Mike Cameron and Paul Abbott are my guesses.

Posted by DOUG. | December 13, 2007 9:56 AM

Based on Bonds' stats, it looks like steroids can give a player about 14 extra homers a season.

Prime career years
yr - HR's
92 - 34
93 - 46
94 - 37
95 - 33
96 - 42
97 - 40
98 - 37
99 - 34

avg 38

suspected steroid years

00 - 49
01 - 73
02 - 46
03 - 45
04 - 45

avg 52

Posted by L-Train8 | December 13, 2007 9:56 AM

Any bets about how many current Seattle Mariners are on the list.

Posted by Heather | December 13, 2007 9:59 AM

I know David Segui's name (late 90s 1B) was leaked. It would help explain his locker room blowup with Randy Johnson.

Posted by Matt from Denver | December 13, 2007 10:04 AM

That's still all anecdotal evidence.

Greenies don't enhance athleticism? Maybe you've never played baseball hungover, as Mantle did most days.

Napoleon, you already have your wish. That day is NOW. There is no way to detect any of the new drugs coming online.

Posted by Fnarf | December 13, 2007 10:11 AM

Free Barry!!

Why am I not surprised that Clements is on this list?

Yeah, but no one is putting asterisks on the rocket.

This is all crap. They wanted to spice up the game for the casual fans who wanted long balls and now theyre getting all puritan and shit.

Free Barry!

Posted by SeMe | December 13, 2007 10:16 AM

@3, local derek zumsteg has a good analysis of the statistical advantage to users in his book 'the cheater's guide to baseball.' in addition to @14's point, he's got stats by month to show the user's off weeks.

Posted by robespierre & maurice | December 13, 2007 10:17 AM

There's a difference between perking up so you can play the game after partying all night and actually improving athletic skills such as steroids can do.

They can't prove the link between aluminum and Alzheimer's either. Do you believe therefore that aluminum is safe? The same logic applies.

Posted by Matt from Denver | December 13, 2007 10:23 AM

heavens to betsy! next thing you know, they'll allow aluminum bats!

Posted by max solomon | December 13, 2007 10:27 AM

Aluminum IS safe.

Posted by Fnarf | December 13, 2007 10:33 AM

Well, at least you're being consistent, Fnarf.

Posted by Matt from Denver | December 13, 2007 10:35 AM

Fritz @ 11 speaks for me.

I have been a baseball fan all my life and will die a baseball fan and











Posted by ivan | December 13, 2007 11:02 AM

@24, agreed. but wouldn't it be preferrable if they went back to moustaches and cocaine?

Posted by robespierre & maurice | December 13, 2007 11:13 AM

The nerd in me--the one who watched Twilight Zone religiously--hopes that it leads to a bunch of interesting (if not ironic) mutations.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | December 13, 2007 11:54 AM

The effect of performance enhancing drugs isn't necessarily to make you stronger, but to help you recover from wear and tear faster... in effect, increasing the amount of time a player gets to perform at close to full strength.

For example, a home run hitter may start hot but naturally lose strength as the long season progresses and thus reduce the rate of home runs. But by taking HGH and roids to recover, he is able to continue swinging at full strength, and so the hot start becomes a big season.

As for the report, I think this is actually the tip of the iceberg, not that the rest of the iceberg will actually be exposed, ever. I think many of these guys will simply become public scapegoats for the bigger problem.

Posted by Gomez | December 13, 2007 12:08 PM

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