Sam

Posts Tagged ‘Steroids’

Why yesterday’s players were better

In Uncategorized on June 15, 2011 at 12:12 am

I don’t know how many times I have gotten into arguments with people who insist that professional baseball players nowadays are stronger, faster and overall better athletes than ballplayers of an earlier era. Even experienced broadcasters and analysts adhere to this belief. The facts however just don’t support this mis-guided point of view. A case in point: in the history of Tiger Stadium from 1912-1999 only four players hit the ball over the left-field roof: Frank Howard, Harmon Killebrew, Cecil Fielder and Mark McGwire. McGwire’s scandalous record speaks for itself. Although Cecil Fielder’s name has never been linked to steroids he did play in an era which was defined by steroid use and it would not, therefore, be unreasonable to suspect that he may also have used steroids at some point. Frank Howard and Harmon Killebrew, on the other hand, played when performance enhancing drugs were non-existent in American professional sports, and one could argue that they are the only two players who legitimately hit the ball out of Tiger Stadium in its 97 year history.

Similarly only three players have managed to hit the ball completely out of Dodger Stadium: Mike Piazza , Mark McGwire and Willie Stargell who in fact did it twice. Only Stargell’s and McGwire’s drives left the park on the fly. Piazza’s HR hit the roof in left field and bounced into the parking lot. Once again, McGwire’s record speaks for itself. Was Piazza’s home-run legitimate ? Probably not, for he also has long been suspected of using steroids. Willie Stargell on steroids ? Forget it.

In fact, if you google the older ballparks and the longest HRs in those parks, you will see that the longest HRs were hit by players going back one or two generations e.g. a Ted Williams HR at Fenway in 1946 that was measured at 502 ft – regarded as the longest ever HR at Fenway – or a Dave Kingman shot at Wrigley Field in 1976 which almost hit the scoreboard. In the history of Shea Stadium 1964-2007 only one player ever hit a ball into the third deck in LF. That was Tommie Agee in April of 1969. Not even Mark McGwire on steroids could accomplish that.

If today’s players are better athletes then why don’t they hit the ball as far as players in the “old” days ?

The answer: they can’t.

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The morally bankrupt Texas Rangers

In Uncategorized on March 17, 2010 at 2:58 pm

The big story in baseball today is that Texas Rangers Manager Ron Washington tested positive for cocaine last year.  The bigger news, to me at least, is that the Rangers are standing by Washington and allowing him to keep his job. This is a reprehensible stance on the part of the Rangers management. 

Just a few days ago an American couple who worked at the US Embassy in Mexico were brutally gunned down as they returned home from a child’s birthday party.  Their own 1-year-old child, in the back seat of the car, was unhurt but there was a profoundly tragic image of a Mexican policeman holding the child as his colleagues went through the bullet riddled SUV. The violent mexican drug wars that the media have been reporting recently are the direct result of an insatiable US demand for Cocaine among other drugs. This is acknowledged by both the US and Mexican governments.   In a sense then it is recreational Cocaine users like Ron Washington who are indirectly responsible for the murder of the US diplomat and her husband. For they are the ones creating the demand.  Not only is it absurd to allow Washington to keep his job after he tested positive for Cocaine ( he is after all a manager and managers are not supposed to fail drug tests), but given the fact that the spate in drug related violence is happening on the Texas-Mexico border one would expect  the Rangers management would have terminated Washington’s contract immediately,  if  for no other reason than to send a message to their own community that they do not condone any activity that has led, even indirectly, to the deaths of thousands of innocent Mexican and American citizens since the drug wars began in 2006.  

A final thought on this post: I wonder what the Rangers’s first ever manager would say about all this were he still alive. That would be Ted Williams of course.

Ah, Spring is here….

In Uncategorized on March 9, 2010 at 8:43 am

I see that A-Rod is in hot water again, this time for his association with a Canadian doctor who is suspected of providing HGH to US athletes.  Here we go again. Although some people in baseball- because of the implementation of more stringent drug testing – have declared the Steriod Era over, the use of performance enhancing drugs (funny but doesn’t PEDs  sound like PEZ ? ) like HGH will continue to destroy the National Pastime. There is still no test for HGH and I suspect that many ballplayers who used steroids have simply switched over to HGH.  In fact, I was watching the Chisox-Cubbies Cactus League game the other day and every guy in the White Sox lineup looked like Popeye, even diminutive Omar Vizquel.   In short, one just does not know anymore if what occurs on the field is legitimate or not.  The only way to restore integrity to the game would be to impose widespread mandatory drug testing and then to issue lifetime bans to repeat offenders.  If a player knew that his livelihood was on the line, I am sure he would think very hard about using a performance enhancing supplement.  But of course MLB will never take these steps. The Players Union would have nothing to do with it and the entire season ( and all the gate receipts) would be subject to a strike and cancellation.  So this season, once again, with every home run we will wonder  “was that legit?.” Sadly, the answer will be “probably not.”

Not feeling so patriotic today

In Pet Peeves, Satire, Traditions, Trivia and Nostalgia, Uncategorized on July 4, 2009 at 12:43 pm

Wasn’t planning on writing anything today. It is after all The Fourth of July. But then I tuned into Fox’s Game of the Week ( Dodgers-Padres) and found that their coverage of Manny Ramirez’s return to the Dodgers lineup warranted an entry.

It is as if Fox and MLB were celebrating Ramirez’s return. There was Manny all primped up in a pre-game press conference saying how nice it was to be back. No mention anywhere about why Manny had been out of the lineup. When Manny came up for his first at bat, Dick Stockton and Eric Karros fawned on him – again no mention really of why he had not been in the lineup for two months.  I could read the lips of one girl in the stands who was yelling “come on Manny,”  perhaps unaware that Manny had been suspended 50 games for drug use ( it being more likely that she knew but just didn’t care). When Manny hit a HR Stockton’s, call betrayed nothing but unbridled  joy while Karros added how incredible it was that Manny can return to the lineup and be back in top form so quickly.  All the while the fans cheered ( even though this game was being played in San Diego) adding to this sick feeding frenzy.

You wonder what kind of message this sends to people, particularly to young kids or to players at the lower levels of professional baseball who are trying to crack ( no pun intended, Manny ) a major league lineup ? The message I think it sends is that, hey, it is OK to cheat.  If you are good enough people don’t really care how you get there and they will still cheer for you. This is America.

A final irony. As were all the players on the field today, Manny wore a patch commeratiing the 70th anniversary of Lou Gehrigs famous Fourth of July speech at Yankee Stadium. This juxtapositon of class and no class was so funny that I could not help but chuckle before getting up to turn off the TV. I had had enough.

Happy 4th of July.