Tag Archives: PEDs

Worst Idea of the Day

Over at Huff Po, Dave Hollander has a–and I’m trying to be charitable here–“novel” idea for exposing and punishing steroids users in baseball. He talks about it to Padres right-hander Chris Young:

So, why don’t clean players who’ve unfairly suffered sue the dirty players who unfairly profited?

I’ve wondered that myself. I mean that’s something that has crossed my mind. I think there is potential for a class action lawsuit. I don’t know why guys haven’t done it yet.

I like the class action idea, but I could also see a cause of action for individual players. For example, in 1988 and admittedly steroidal Jose Canseco won the AL MVP while Mike Greenwell, who had a career year, was the runner-up. What would it have meant to Mike Greenwell’s contract if he had won the MVP?

First, Mike Greenwell wasn’t even the MVP of his own team in 1988 (never mind what the voters thought about it). Second, I can’t imagine a more cumbersome, unprovable, unquantifiable, onerous, untenable, imbecilic clusterf**k of a lawsuit than the one Hollander is dreaming up.

Maybe there’s something to be said for peer-reviewed blog posts …

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The Case Against the Case Against Barry Bonds

Barry Bonds’ terminally looming jury trial has been postponed, perhaps until the fall. At some point, though, he’ll probably be dragged in front of his peers on four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice. All of it, of course, traces back to the many-tentacled BALCO scandal, which has been too much with us for the better part of a decade. But it’s going to end soon, and this will almost certainly be the closing scene: Bonds’ walking out of the federal courthouse in San Francisco a free man.

Here’s why he’s going to do just that …

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Two Must-Reads and a Must-Watch

First, Pitchers and Poets has an exceptional piece on Jaime Irigoyen, a promising young pitcher murdered by a Mexican drug gang:

The memorial at the stadium did not happen quite as I imagined. The real version is much more organized. Jaime Iriguyen’s casket is brought to home plate on the shoulders of his teammates. The teammates, dressed in jeans and their blue caps and jerseys crowd alongside family and friends. There are strangers there, come to mourn the death of a pitcher, the death of potential, the state of a nation so unraveled it could let things come to this. Photographers from local and national newspapers take pictures, and reporters try to make themselves invisible but still get a sense of things.

Next, the great Joe Posnanski profiles Albert Pujols for SI. Pujols is framed as baseball’s great post-steroids hope, but it’s also a celebration of his human side. In the midst of lots of great writing, we get this wonderfully succinct analogy:

He’s like pizza: Even when he’s bad, he’s good.

Since Pujols is my favorite player on my favorite team, I feel sanctioned to make this declaration: Albert Pujols’ new nickname is “Pizza.”

Finally, the Council on Foreign Relations has a compelling multimedia package devoted to politics and the Olympics. The dulcet tones of Frank DeFord serve as your guide.

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Where’s the Outrage?

I’m not sure why I’m surprised when the media soft-pedals the NFL’s problems, but here I am again: confounded as to why this story isn’t getting more play. Here’s what Terry Bradshaw had to say recently on Dan Patrick’s radio show:

“We did steroids to get away the aches and the speed of healing. My use of steroids from a doctor was to speed up injury, and thought nothing of it. … It was to speed up the healing process, that was it. It wasn’t to get bigger and stronger and faster.”

In and of itself, this isn’t shocking. After all, the Steelers of the 1970s were a veritable Medellin Cartel in the locker room. In fact, in recent years seven former Steelers have died of heart failure, all before the age of 60.

Now, blaming all those deaths on steroid use would be confusing correlation with causation, but it’s still a noteworthy coincidence.

Actually, what I find most interesting about this is that you’ve got Bradshaw, quarterback of a team that won four Super Bowls, admitting that he was among the many Steelers using steroids. Imagine, if you will, similar revelations about one of baseball’s signature dynasties. In that instance, the bloviating that followed could be heard from space. Yet because it’s the NFL, it’s somehow infinitely less troublesome. Why?

Football is a sport that depends, to a great extent, upon raw muscular strength, which distinguishes it from baseball. Baseball is more about hand-eye coordination, fast-twitch reactions, and muscular control. Sure, brute strength plays a role but not to the extent that it does in football. So it’s no great leap to assume that football players benefit more significantly from the anabolic (i.e., muscle-building) properties of steroids than baseball players do. As well, I also have trouble believing that anything in baseball–even during its reputed “opium den” days of the 1990s–could compare to what was going on in the NFL in the 70s and 80s.

I acknowledge and appreciate that baseball is more vital to the American narrative than football is, and it’s true that baseball records have a patina of sanctity that football records lack. As well, people likely suffer the NFL’s iniquities because, well, you can’t blame these gladiators for doing what they must do to in order to survive the workaday terrors of the sport. That’s all well and good, but the practical concerns carry the day. To wit, if the use of steroids in football affects competitive integrity (it does), and if it creates coercive pressures on other players to use (it does), then football is owed at least as much righteous indignation as baseball.

If I could go to Vegas and place a prop bet on that never happening …



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Heed the Advice of Counsel

The feds are going to extremes in an attempt to nail Barry Bonds. This isn’t breaking news. It’s one of those career-making cases for an ambitious U.S. Attorney, and that lends itself to zealotry, boundary-pushing, and a dedication of resources that outstrips the seriousness of the crime. The latest instance of all of that is the feds’ attempt to lean on the wife of trainer Greg Anderson. But don’t take my word for it. Craig over at Shysterball, who’s a lawyer with a degree and a secret handshake and everything, is of a similar opinion. Money quote:

“That said, the level of overreaching, coercion, and out-and-out intimidation I have seen from federal agents in recent years has been shocking, both in this case and in many others. Is it legitimate for the feds to exert pressure on someone in order to get someone else to do something else? Sure, in the abstract. It’s actually pretty effective law enforcement. But such tactics are easily abused, and in the instance of Anderson, Gestas, and Bonds, I believe power is being abused.”

Couldn’t agree more. But unlike my take, which has the whiff of laity all over it, Craig’s opinion on this issue actually merits your serious consideration.

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MLB, Steroids, and the Clueless Congress

Once again Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Ca.) has MLB in his sights. According to Yahoo! Sports, he recently wrote commissioner Bud Selig and union head Don Fehr and asked them whether players and owners conspired to skate around the drug-testing process back in 2004. Specifically, Waxman’s committee has information suggesting that players were tipped off in advance of what was supposed to be a round of random testing and that testing was halted for a period of time.

Breaking, scandalous news? Only for Waxman. As the author of the Yahoo! piece, Josh Peter, and J.C. Bradbury of Sabernomics (among others) have pointed out, all of this was in the Mitchell Report. You know, the same Mitchell Report that Waxman and the rest of Congress held hearings on back in January and, one would hope/assume, had vetted even before that. So it’s hard to figure why Waxman was so recently thunderstruck by this information.

Well, the narrative within Waxman’s office is that, yes, certainly, of course, he knew about the allegations at the time of the Mitchell Report hearings, but George Mitchell had scurried off before he had a chance to ask him to expound upon them. Maybe. But you’d think this sort of malfeasance–artificially deflating the number of positive tests–might warrant “before lunch break” treatment at the hearings. Apparently not.

Or maybe Waxman is just hopelessly uninformed …

Yeah, let’s go with “hopelessly uninformed.”

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