Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Catching up

I've been putting off writing about the whole steroids issue until I have time to really sit down and think about what I'm going to write. Clearly that's never going to happen, so I'm just going to do some stream-of-consciousness. What the hell - it's a blog.

I agree with Sully that had the Mitchell Report not included any names, there's a good chance we would have already stopped talking about it at this point. And it is true that the Report is just that - a report of what people said, not an absolute proof of guilt in a court of law. It is unfortunate that these guys could have been lying about some or all of the players, so I am a bit conflicted about it.

My theory about Clemens (and some of these other guys as well), is that it's possible that McNamee and Radomski were lying, but that the players took steroids anyway without those guys' knowledge. Even if Clemens is telling the truth that McNamee never injected him with steroids, that doesn't mean he never took them. At this point, I just assume everyone was using.

I think this idea that the culture of steroids was pervasive throughout baseball helps Barry Bonds. When people look back on the steroid era, I suspect they'll see it as something that swept over all of baseball, including many of the pitchers that Bonds faced. But that might be wishful thinking - even with Clemens' name coming out, Bonds is still the (giant) face of the scandal, and the fact that he's a jerk doesn't help his cause.

The Mitchell Report add yet more evidence that, despite people's imaginations, pitchers used PEDs as much or more than hitters did. Yet it still seems like the public's wrath is focused on the Popeye-like hitters. I think people find guys like Bonds and McGwire just unnaturally freaky, but it's harder to get worked up over the builds of guys like Gagne and Clemens, even though these guys are monstrous in person. (Everyone of course is humongous when you're a kid, so it didn't really dawn on me how huge even seemingly "normal-sized" baseball players are until I saw Turk Wendell up close during spring training one year. He was immense.) But it's certainly possible that not only did more pitchers use PEDs than hitters, but that its effects are more important for pitchers. I think we're still stuck in this belief that the biggest problem was the "giant sluggers hitting 500-foot home runs".

1 comment:

Ross said...

Clemens would be the first pitcher that could get people worked up at all like Bonds, McGwire, and Sosa. We don't get worked up that much when a guy gets caught when he's hitting .260 with 12 home runs instead of .235 with 6 home runs.

It's the record book.

It Palmiero being one of the few 3000 hit, 500 home run guys. Baseball is such a numbers and history game, but a middle relief pitcher with an ERA of 3.78, is going to be forgotten by history anyway.

Bonds, McGwire, Sosa and some of these others, (and Clemens if he doesn't get his name somewhat cleared), those are the ones that matter to us as there names are prominent in the record books.