Tagged: PEDs

Obligatory Roger Clemens Post

Roger Clemens is not guilty.

Great.

Can this be over now?

Of course it can’t.  It never will.  For now until the end of time we’ll still be talking about the steroid era and those who made it infamous.  Clemens is just one of many.

Still, I think it is safe to say his role in the overall picture of the steroid era is a bit larger than the rest.  He’s up there alongside Barry, considering his Hall of Fame credentials and repugnant personality.

Before any of this steroid silliness was known, I loved Roger Clemens.  He was a beast on the mound — a Nolan Ryan/Bob Gibson throwback.  Proud, nasty, BALLSY.

But the Mitchell Report tainted his reputation, whether guilty or not, and Roger then ruined it further himself by being an outspokenly whiny ass.  I understand the potential frustration that could come from having a tarnished reputation, but there are ways to handle adversity with class and there are ways to handle it like a jerk.

Clemens took the jerk route.

And undoing what ya done ain’t easily done.

Hate me ‘cuz you can, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

The Filibuster

Is pitching so good because guys aren’t juicing anymore or are pitchers just better than they were ten years ago?

Kathrine
Downers Grove, IL

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This reminds me of when people ask if the Civil War was more about slavery or the fundamental differences between an industrial North and agrarian South.  The answer to the baseball question is pretty much the same as the answer to the Civil War question.  It’s both.

The apparent decrease in the use of PEDs in baseball has had an effect.  It’s unlikely you’re going to see many more 70+ homerun seasons in the near future.  But it’s easy to forget that it wasn’t just the hitters who were juicing during that period.  Roger Clemens taking a jab in his pale, fleshy ass was just as much a part of the era as Barry Bonds’ application of random creams and gels.  More than that, assuming that players are no longer juicing just because there hasn’t been as much of it in the news is naive at best.  It’s more likely that they have simply discovered a different, less traceable form.

Meanwhile, there’s no denying that some spectacular pitchers are playing the game these days.  Beyond the hype of guys like Strasburg, Lincecum and Verlander, even the mid-range starters have gotten better.  When the Rangers can add Neftali Feliz as their number five starter, that’s a sign there’s some scary talent out there.  The Nationals have become a force mainly through the development of guys like Strasburg, Storen and Zimmermann.  Pitchers are pitching not only better but smarter and that’s causing problems for hitters.

These things are cyclical, though.  Just because pitchers are handcuffing batters this season doesn’t mean the sluggers won’t figure out what’s going on next year.  It’s an arms race (literally and figuratively) between the two sides.  But it’s not just because of one aspect or another.  It’s the entirety of the situation.  You know, kind of like the Civil War.

-A

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Two for One on Wordplay

I love analogies, similes, metaphors, allusions and every other word tool that allows us to paint a picture of the unknown using something we’re already aware of.  Some authors make entire worlds come to life with their words while others redefine things we thought we had always known.  That’s one of the joys in writing these posts.  Trying to think of new ways to describe political events using baseball terminology and vice-versa exercises the brain and occasionally leads to eureka moments.

So, you can imagine how excited I was to come across the following passage the other day:

“You can’t point to any one weather extreme and say ‘that’s climate change’. But a warmer atmosphere loads the dice, increasing the potential for historic spikes in temperature and more frequent and bizarre weather extremes. You can’t prove that any one of Barry Bond’s 762 home runs was sparked by (alleged) steroid use. But it did increase his ‘base state,’ raising the overall odds of hitting a home run.”

Hot damn!  Not only does that provide a great explanation of what climate change really means, it also presents Barry Bonds and his ever-present asterisk in a way I had never considered before.  That’s two for the price of one.  Too bad I didn’t think of it first.

-A

The Filibuster

Simplistic campaigns to hunt down public enemies (like Kony 2012) are all the rage these days.  When will you all be launching Selig 2012?

Brad
Annapolis, MD
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It is no secret that the authors of these pages hold no love for the staunch bureaucratic policies and seemingly never-ending reign of King Bud the Nosepicker.  Indeed, we’ve ripped the man’s decisions in every which way and have even gone as far as to say that George W. Bush would make a perfect Commissioner in comparison (no joke here, we really do think Dubya would be perfect for the job).  But to compare Bud Selig to the heartless, maniacal, baby-raping mass murderer Joseph Kony?  Um… that’s a bit much.

But just a bit.

The good news is, people are getting educated on Kony’s crimes.  And they’re doing something about it (unless *this* derails it).  However, when it comes to the tyranny of King Bud, we already know about the bevy of shenanigans.  There’s just nothing we can do about it.

If I may break from the usual ‘ol crotchety me for a moment, I would like to point out that, in my opinion, the overall state of our national pastime is as good now as it’s ever been.  Seriously.  If you turn your head from the silliness that is King Bud’s All-Star Game, and if make yourself forget about that whole Ryan Braun cheating thing, and pretend like the overall muscle bulge of the 90s and early aughts was caused by “supplements” that can easily be purchased at your local GNC, then you might conclude that, indeed, baseball’s vibe is very good right now.

The networks are fighting to get in on the expanded playoffs.  Parity is slowly squeezing its way into all divisions.  And the Pirates still suck!

More than that, people are still paying money to watch Adam Dunn play.  Erin Andrews is still showing up in dugouts.  And Tampa Bay seems to be in the playoff picture every year now, despite the fact that no one in Tampa Bay seems to care.

But most importantly of all, the St. Louis Cardinals are World Champs!

So for now, I can take a couple more years of bassackwards politickin’ from the usurping Milwaukee millionaire.

But I swear, Brad, if he reigns for more than two more years, you, me, Mr. Krause and the entire baseball universe are taking to the streets with Louisville Sluggers and Molotov cocktails (not to be confused with pet names for Kevin Millar).

Hate me.  I don’t care.  Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

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Moonbases and Porn and Franchises, Oh My!

As electoral campaigns get rolling and as the candidates feel a need to distinguish themselves, the quotes become more and more interesting.  Sure, there is the obvious craziness of Newt Gingrich and his moonbases but that’s just a drop in the bucket.  You expect that sort of thing from a bipolar former Speaker of the House.

But what about Rick Santorum’s pledge to ban pornography in the United States?  Number one, anyone who feels this strongly about so many “vices” must have a real problem.  Has he even heard of Mark Foley or Ted Haggard?  Number two, the states that most support Santorum, the so-called “Red States” who revel in their religiosity, also happen to be the largest consumers of porn.  Are you really going to tell me that they’ll let Mr. Santorum take away their dirty little secret?

Finally, how would you even go about doing away with porn?  Are you going to start censoring the internet and blocking sites that you consider “morally reprehensible”?  The only place I’ve ever visited where they’ve been even moderately successful with this approach is Saudi Arabia.  I don’t exactly see that as a model for the US.  Besides, you’re going to have about as much luck banning porn in the US as MLB has had in banning PEDs from baseball.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and as long as boys and ballplayers are around, there will always be a will to access porn and PEDs.

Luckily it’s not just Mr. Santorum who’s divorced from reality.  In an effort to prove that he, too, is just a regular guy, Mitt Romney recently let us know that he loves sports just like us.  In fact, he has “good friends” who own NASCAR and NFL teams.  Now, I don’t know if Mr. Romney enjoys car racing or football but there’s a pretty major difference between enjoying sports and being friends with people who own the teams.  If you can’t make that distinction, you probably ought to go back and audit Running for Office 101.

I realize that I’m being pretty hard on the Republicans here.  But, since they’re the ones in the middle of a heated primary fight, they tend to also be the ones making the ridiculous statements.  I’m sure Obama will come out with some of his own once the general election gets underway but for now, he can just sit back and let the other side say what they want.  Sounds like a plan to me.  Moonbases and porn and franchises, oh my!

-A

Lies, Lies, Lies

In an election year, it should be no surprise that we US Americans are being bombarded with a barrage of twisty little lies.  Whether it’s the Obama camp’s magical math making unemployment numbers “plummet” or Rick Santorum and his imaginary friend pretending that the whole American Revolution and subsequent Constitution thingy isn’t really what it seems, we cannot escape the onslaught of fibbery.

But such fibbery is expected from the political lot.  It is when such vitriol enters the baseball universe that I get extremely pissy.

For example…

“We were able to get through this because I am innocent and the truth is on our side.”
— Ryan Braun

Um… no.  You were able to get through this ‘cuz you’re a multi-millionaire with legit counsel and a Mark Fuhrman wannabe handling your bodily fluids under the direction of King Bud.  Exoneration in this case does not equal innocence, Mr. Braun.  It merely suggests there is reasonable doubt.  You still got more testosterone in you than Kim Kardashian at the NBA All-Star Game.  And it seems just as… icky.

“My loyalty is here (Texas). This is where I’ve been, this is where my family has been. I would love to be here.”
— Josh Hamilton

Now I don’t want to go picking on Josh Hamilton because he’s not very bright, but I do want to pick on him for spittin’ the same stupid lie as every other potential free agent baseballer lookin’ to get paid: ENOUGH ALREADY.  “My loyalty is here”… pshh.  PLEASE.  Your loyalty is wherever they pay you the most.  That’s how it works and we all know it.  Your family is not going to have too much of a problem moving to a different city to chase that pay-puh.  Determine who will give you the most money with the most years and that’s where you’ll go.  To say anything different is a slap in the face of cold, hard fact.  I’m an adult.  I can handle the truth.  Maybe.

“The guy (Alfonso Soriano) works his butt off all the time.”
— Dale Sveum, Cubs Manager

Okay, Dale.  I’m gonna help you out with this one.  YOU NEED SOME NEW GLASSES, BRO.  See, I’ve been following Sori’s career since he was a young pup.  And from New York to Texas to D.C. to the Chi, Alfonso Soriano is THE LAST PERSON ON THE PLANET I would say “works his butt off all the time.”  ESPECIALLY while in Chicago.  In fact, there is an entire faction of Cubs fans who want him crucified!  They wouldn’t flinch an inch if Sori ceased manning left field tomorrow.  Forever.  For good.  Why, Mr. Sveum?  Because Alfonso Soriano is the absolute KING of lollygagging.  His defense is atrocious and he is NOTORIOUS for gazing at might-be homeruns that are actually doubles that drop in for long singles because he doesn’t hustle out of the box.

If you’re here to fix the Cubs, Mr. Sveum, you might want to know what they’ve been used to the last 103 years: PAIN.  SUFFERING.  AGONIZING PAIN AND SUFFFFFFFFEEEEERRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING.

And goats.

Hate me.  Fine.  Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Don’t Blame Braun

I feel a little sick to my stomach when I hear about someone getting off on a technicality.  Illegal search, improper handling, failure of the arresting officer to read the suspect their rights.  The list of possible screw-ups is endless.

But you know what’s even worse than seeing someone get off on a technicality?  Watching someone get convicted for a crime they truly didn’t commit.

I’ll be honest, just like all of you, I have no idea whether or not Ryan Braun is guilty.  He claims he’s innocent, MLB implies he’s guilty and the fan is left to wonder what the real story is.  But whether he’s an innocent charged with a crime he didn’t commit or a ne’er-do-well who got off on a technicality, the fact of the matter is that Braun has been cleared and this story never should have been in the press in the first place.  More than that, if Braun was guilty of using PEDs, MLB has no one to blame but itself for his exoneration.

The reason courts and commissions have procedures is so that at the end of the process, you can be absolutely sure that the person was dealt with fairly and deserved the consequences of their actions.  Even though it makes me sick when a criminal goes free because a DNA sample was mishandled, you can’t put that on the criminal.  It’s the fault of the lab or the officers who did the mishandling.

Same goes for Braun.  This isn’t a story about him using PEDs.  No, this is a story about MLB screwing up a procedure that was set in place to assure fairness and impartiality inthe judgement.  MLB has no right to disagree with the arbitration panel’s findings.  If the organization had done their job correctly we’d either just now be finding out that Braun was a cheater or we’d have never heard anything at all.

I don’t like the Braun case.  Whether he juiced or not, this story taints him, taints MLB and taints the game.  However, instead of attacking Braun, the mob should be pointing their fingers at the only known guilty party, an organization that again and again fails to deal appropriately with the issues it faces.  Don’t blame Braun.  Blame Bud.

-A

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After a grueling off-season training regimen, the Filibuster comes back even bigger and badder then ever next Sunday.  Maybe you want to know what the RSBS crew thinks about divisional realignment.  Perhaps you’d like to make Allen see red by asking his feelings on pink team caps.  Or maybe you’re just wondering why asking Jeff the question “Boxers or briefs” leads him to respond “Depends.”  No matter what the query, send it to RSBSBlog@gmail.com and we’ll let you know what we think.