Don’t let some ruin everything that you have loved for the last few decades…
Everyone has the right to be skeptical with anything that they have witnessed over the past two decades. Anyone and everyone that has played baseball is going to be associated, their cleanliness will be questioned.
So in no way am I dismissing anyone from cheating during a period where cheaters were so prevalent.
But there were clean players. Optimism is the way that I feel when saying that. There were plenty of players that did things “the right way.” Plenty of players that should not be “tainted,” yet are, unfortunately.
Which players you say? That I cannot say with any real conviction. But some had to say to themselves; is money worth going bald and breaking down physically at an earlier age? Once my career is over, am I going to be satisfied after abusing steroids and having my muscles deteriorate on me?
Watch “The Wrestler.” A very well made movie by the director of “Requiem For a Dream.” And Mickey Rourke gives a great performance, one that is well-deserved of all that praise that his playing of the character Rodney “The Ram” has received.
And take it from me, I have never watched wrestling in my life. Never–other than flicking by it. I dislike it. And I dislike having the outcome already established. But the wrestling part of it should not turn anyone away. The film is greater than just some guys throwing each other around in a pre-determined fashion.
Anyway, it is a good example of what can happen after steroid use. The abusing of PED’s are just a part of the downfall of Rourke’s character, but nevertheless, part of the reason wrestlers lives decline at an earlier age.
Back to baseball…
Some think that everyone used, that it was a “level-playing field.”
Adding in amphetamines—which IS cheating, believe it or not. And it is just as much cheating as steroids are, whether one agrees or not–increases the percentage of “cheaters,” definitely.
Focusing on positives in the era is what we naturally seem to avoid doing, when surrounded by negativity.
However, leave it to me to throw some optimism in your faces, as you willingly listen.
There are two players that seem to stick out in an era of questions, to me, that I would be very, VERY surprised if they injected needles into their bodies to try and hit more home runs.
Amphetamines, maybe, but how can I suggest anything like that without knowing?
And there are plenty of other players that were most likely clean, but since these two carry star-power, then I will use them as examples of what I believe to be positive outliers during a negative time
Again, I am not sure, so I am not dismissing them entirely simply because I believe their body types were not changed, while others physique’s DID change.
And the two chosen candidates are…
Ichiro Suzuki: For everyone who questions his motives, who questions how much of a team player he is. At least understand that Ichiro plays the game in a way that should be modeled after. Ichiro plays defense, very well at the corner. Ichiro steals bases, although not enough for everyone to be happy. But Ichiro refrains from “taking off” so much because he doesn’t want to be caught.
Believe me, followers of “Sabermetrics” understand how valuable this is. Now maybe Ichiro doesn’t want to be caught, simply because he does not want to fail. But it seems like anyone who steals bases and succeeds over 80% of the time, is looked upon negatively (see: Tim Raines). Getting caught takes a man off the base-paths. If a player is going to steal, then they better be pretty confident that they will make it.
And everyone also negatively points out that Ichiro could hit for more power. Could? Well, what kind of power are we referring to? Are we talking about 35-40 home runs power? Because I doubt that. I doubt Ichiro would eliminate the power from his swing so that he could “succeed” a higher percentage of the time by trying to hit more singles.
I mean, maybe he could hit for more power, but come on. If Ichiro thought that he could do significantly more damage hitting more home runs, wouldn’t he have changed his approach? Maybe the increase in power and decrease in average/OBP would kind of cancel each other out.
Because even Ichiro understands that the glamour of the home run is what a lot of players strive for. And why wouldn’t Ichiro partake in the “dinger fest” that fans seems to love?
So, maybe Ichiro is arrogant. Maybe he “tries not to fail as often as possible,” rather than “failing more, but doing more damage when succeeding.”
If “trying not to fail” were the objective, which it normally is, wouldn’t Ichiro take more walks?
Ichiro may be be a terrible teammate, I really don’t know. But I am confident that he has not abused steroids, and hopefully people will glance at that, rather than focusing on all of his negatives—which I am sure he has–just as everyone does, and every baseball player, too.
Hopefully I am right in thinking that Ichiro was clean.
The other player that I want to “call out” in a positive light, and hope to be right about is…
Anyone who reads my blog knows how much respect I have for this guy. And that is simply because I have said multiple times that I have so much respect for him. I don’t do this to garner respect from Yankee fans. I do this because I believe it. I believe he plays the game in a way that should be commended, emulated.
I don’t want to go into it all that much as to why I like the way Jeter plays the game. I just do. His mental prowess. His “respect” for the game. His ability, and understanding, as to why a batter should hit to all fields. Etc, etc, etc. Derek Jeter has had a great career, period.
Both he and Ichrio play hard, and play with a sense of pride, a sense that they can do anything on a baseball diamond. These are players that hopefully subscribed to ARod’s “never felt overmatched on the baseball field” theory. And hopefully the aforementioned duo of players subscribed and held up to that standard regarding PED’s (refraining from partaking in the unnatural enhancement).
Again, no one is dismissing anyone. But I like to believe that Ichiro Suzuki and Derke Jeter went about things the right way, in an era when many chose to do it the wrong way.
Alex Rodriguez is about to address the media…
Of course, Alex supposedly took steroids between 2001-2003.
During his last interview he tried to tear apart SI writer Selana Roberts’ credibility, only to retract his distaste for her, and apologize to Roberts in a private setting.
By Alex’s side are Cashman and Girardi…
Alex is nervous…this live blog is lame, I know
A pre-written statement. How scripted…
Alex has to explain himself, yet anyone who knows baseball knows he would have been great anyway. However, no one knows how much greater steroids made him. Because popular belief may think steroids made AROD, but actually all they did was most likely make him a little better.
I guess he asked his cousin for permission to include him in this. I hope so anyway. I wonder if cousin is to prevent him from being associated with Jose Canseco. “Only God knows” I guess (Pudge).
Forget baseball games, all my live blogging will be done for press conferences. This is oh so exciting (sarcasm).
Alex has a little smirk on his face, I don’t know what that was all about.
That smirk was odd, what was it about? A smirk to hold back tears? A smirk because his teammates were lucky that they weren’t caught and ARod is taking all the punishment that some of them partook in? Not all of them, as Jeter is one of the least likely to have used among stars I would think. After all, steroids do change ones body-type, and Jeter doesn’t seem to have suffered from what Ken Griffey Jr drank in “The Simpsons” baseball episode.
And maybe The Simpsons were onto something. Maybe the juice that Griffey drank was because James L Brooks was the first to realize that players were using. Griffey ended up in a wheelchair with a giant head. So Brooks was obviously just skipping all the positive effects of steroids and showing baseball players that ultimately they will end up broken down and ineffective if they used.
That or Brooks was trying to hint to Griffey to start stretching, since he was notorious for not doing so…
Steroids have nothing to do with Girardi’s love for swinging earlier in counts…
I do love Girardi’s passion and work-ethic, but trying to get hitters on this team to swing earlier, ultimately changing an approach that didn’t need to be changed is stupid. The offense has never been the problem. And while the Yankees may not have the BEST offense in the AL this season, as they did for many years it seemed, it should easily be top 3. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it were number 1 though.
Does Girardi know how frustrating the patient approach can be? I love watching Dice-K, and I love watching Red Sox-Yankees games, more than anything in sports, and it isn’t really all that comparable with anything else. But when Dice-K goes up against the Yankees I am very nervous, because his nitpicking plays right into their hands.
If a pitcher like Beckett is on top of his game, and throwing strikes, then the Yankees really won’t be able to do much. But that goes for any team in baseball. A great pitcher on top of their game will give any offense troubles, whether they are free-swinging or not.
I actually kind of stopped paying attention to the press-conference…
I wonder if Rodriguez is telling the truth about only using for three years. I personally don’t lie, at all, less than other human beings. But if ARod used and admitted to using for say, the last 9 years, then his career is screwed (if it isn’t to some already).
Speaking of Selena, Alex. Apparently the private apology didn’t go over. Maybe it was the lawyer of Selena speaking, but someone wants a public apology.’
Someone is speaking spanish, and I don’t speak spanish…
Again, Arod is tainted, but there is little doubt in my mind that he would have been great. I think that the era in general, lloing back, sucked. The entertainment was great, but something fishy led to that entertainment. Maybe I would think very hard before voting for the players that used, but I think I would vote them in anyway.
I think ARod just contradicted the “Texas heat” statement by saying that he isn’t blaming Texas anymore…
I am bored. I am going to the gym…
To give credit, I must. I must give at least a little to Alex Rodriguez.
Alex Rodriguez admitted to using PED’s for a three-year period.
Did Alex have to admit that he used for so long? Or could he simply have stated to the public that he used only in the year that he was caught?
This caught me by surprise, as I just came across it after disturbing my computer from its “sleep mode.” Like every other baseball player, it seems that Rodriguez simply could have admitted to using in a very short period of time, during whichever time period he was caught–2003 in this case.
I have to hand it to the man, at least he came out and made it sound truthful. And maybe it is, maybe he is telling the truth. But of course, as a viewer, from afar, I am skeptical by nature as to if it was in fact three years. But saying that it was “three years,” definitely scores points, seeing how there may not have been any legal ramifications involved in admitting to longer than he had to.
Does this clear Alex for the past four seasons? No, it does not. There are undetectable substances, there was a questionable testing program in place, and there are lingering questions that we have about whether there is a simplistic way to avoid getting caught.
Digress: My Dad makes a good point. Is there a document that states the exact testing plan that MLB has put forth? Because I did some light searching and could not come up with anything. If anyone has any information, please let me know.
Back to the subject at hand. So, yes. ARod will always be “tainted” because of this, but now that he has come clean for three years, rather than one, people will have a little more respect for him.
And because none of us were Major League baseball players, don’t just come out and dismiss everything that everyone has done. If you wish to do so, then I guess that is your opinion. But had we been in that situation, how would each of us, as individuals have handled it? I have not shied away from letting people know that I was dangerously close to flirting with steroids–And that was simply to get bigger and stronger for no reason other than to look good. At least baseball players are doing this to improve their game.
Was it cheating? Yes. But come on, let these guys have a second chance to redeem themselves as people. The game was embedded with steroid and amphetamine use. Both are forms of cheating, and the percentage was mighty great, in my opinion, of how many players were using either/or. Steroids to a lesser extent, but I have to believe that many people were either popping amphetamines, or stocking up on syringes.
Alex Rodriguez cheated. He then lied to us on 60 Minutes. Does he have personal flaws? I would definitely agree with anyone that thinks that he does. But as far as this steroid culture–that is hopefully passing us by–many athletes cheated, some were caught, some weren’t. And hopefully the testing program is the answer that all of us fans want—not just digging through the past and trying to find every wrongdoer.
I will hope Rodriguez fails as a player. It impacts how the Boston Red Sox finish in the division.
But I also find a very positive thing in Rodriguez admitting to that “three-year” period.
I will question what he has done, and what he will do. But I WILL NOT dismiss it.
I guess that I should have watched the video, rather than just skim through the article as I did. But Rodriguez came off as saying that he “did not know” what he used. Now this may be accurate, maybe he didn’t know. But that makes it sound a little suspicious, as if maybe he is implying that he wouldn’t have used had he known that it was a banned substance.
Disappointing, if true. I know that I am a Red Sox fan, and maybe I should get some satisfaction out of this. But other than the occasional verbal jab at Yankees fans whom I work with (in good fun), I really don’t want this to be news.
First, let me begin by saying that 104 players were apparently found using performance enhancing drugs according to this report. Even if we simplified the amount of players, multiplying 25 by 30, (the amount of players on the 25 roster) X (the number of teams). The result would be 750.
So I am not exactly sure how the testing worked, but if every player were tested of those 750, and 104 came up positive, then that would end up as roughly 14%. 14% would actually be much lower than I would have guessed, but unfortunate anyway. That however, does not include all of the users that were abusing undetectable PED’s. Of course, that number we will never know I suppose.
According to my very quick, and possibly inaccurate research, there were approximately 1400 players that experienced time in the big leagues in 2003, however limited that time may have been. That would cut it down to only 7% of players using, an even more digestible number. Whatever the number should be, it was much lower than I would have guessed (30% would probably have been my guess).
There are a few unclear aspects of this.
One is why only Rodriguez? Did Sports Illustrated come across all the names and choose to release only ARod’s so that it could drag this out as long as possbile? ARod will probably be the biggest attention attracter of all the names. So I don’t find it impossible that maybe SI released his name, will let that sink in for a few days. Then, when it does start to sink in, the other names will be launched at us. That may not be accurate, but I wouldn’t put it past anyone.
The other is how the magazine came across this information and whether or not it is accurate. I am not going to deny that Rodriguez used, I have no clue whether he did or not. But how accurate is this? Just because the story broke, does not mean it is 100% true. I would definitely lean toward it being true, but forgive me for being a little skeptical of any of these type of stories.
And before a Red Sox fan wants to throw a Yankee fan under the bus, remember, if the other names are released, even our hearts may ache a little afterwards.
(Just for the record, I will not be ridiculing any Yankee fans)
The Five Best at the “Hot Corner” in the game of baseball today are…
- Alex Rodriguez: Once his career is all said and done, I won’t mind if people say that he wasn’t the greatest ever. But I will mind if they don’t include him in that discussion. Some put a lot of emphasis on the postseason, and rightfully so, but even if he never has the great postseason that everyone expects from him, it will be tough to make a valid argument against 700+ home runs from an infield position other than first base. His value on an individual basis has been diminished slightly because he moved off of the more difficult position of SS. But 3B aren’t exactly supposed to be this great offensively, either. If Alex Rodriguez is again the best player in baseball in 2009, as he was in 2007, then I will definitely not be surprised. He has been the best player in baseball multiple seasons already.
- David Wright: What can’t David Wright do? Play defense? Check that off. Hit among the best players in baseball? Color in the according circle. Field questions from the media while no one else seems to as your team is collapsing? Circle me silly. And yet, it still isn’t enough. Kind of reminds me of AROD actually, except Wright doesn’t make well over $20 million a year, which people definitely despise Rodriguez for doing. Over the past three seasons, David Wright has three of the top 6 Win Share totals among 3B. The other three belong to Miguel Cabrera (2), and to Alex Rodriguez (1). So what can’t David Wright do? Apparently, he cannot hit in the clutch, or so some think, even though Wright has batted .307/.407/.483 in “Late and Close” situations in his career.
- Chipper Jones: The thing that separates Chipper from the top 2 3B is not performance, necessarily, but performance over a period of time. Chipper is 36 now, and isn’t exactly staying on the field that much. The past two seasons, Jones has played in 128 and 134 games. But the two previous seasons, 2004 and 2005, Jones played in only 109 and 110 games. If Chipper could stay healthy he may move up a slot, but he hasn’t been on the field enough the past four seasons. Don’t take what I am saying the wrong way, because Chipper IS a Hall of Famer. But he happens to slot in nicely at number 3 in this ranking, rather than higher up. When we think of Chipper, think Edgar Martinez, except for one thing, Jones could field third well enough to stick around there, meaning he has/had more value.
- Aramis Ramirez: This is where it drops a little, but far from a ton. Aramis Ramirez, believe it or not, is a really good player. He definitely gets less coverage than the first three 3B mentioned, but that is because two play in New York; one is a Hall of Famer already and appeared in 11 straight postseasons at one point. Chicago is a media haven, but New York is even greater when talking about coverage. Oh, and the other three 3B are better, which may be helpful in adding to why Ramirez gets less props. But Ramirez has five straight seasons of OPS+ of 126 or greater. His defense used to be regarded as semi-atrocious, but apparently he worked on it, and now he is good enough to be regarded as not “semi-atrocious.”
- Ryan Zimmerman: This is where it gets dicey. Evan Longoria may pass Zimmerman this season, but I have one season at the Major League level to analyze Longoria. Zimmerman isn’t the hitter–or hasn’t been yet–that Longoria is most likely going to continue to be. But one thing that Zimmerman does well is his field the position. And three seasons of fielding the position well and batting a little above the average is greater in a ranking like this, than that of one good season. Don’t forget either, Zimmerman is merely 23 years old, Longoria is 22. Both are very young and BOTH have most likely not had the best seasons of their career yet. I do however believe that Longoria moves into the top 5 after another season, might even move up to number 4.
As I was lying in my bed, drifting to sleep–and by drifting to sleep I mean thinking about baseball, which happens from time to time–I was reminded, by my own thoughts, of something Bill James wrote in what I believe was his 2008 abstract. James said “I’m not saying that Magglio Ordonez was the MVP, I am simply saying that I am surprised that he did not get more support.” That is not an exact quote, I read those abstracts at Barnes and Noble, rather than actually buying them. But it is a little bit odd that Magglio Ordonez only received two first place votes after the 2007 season. Alex Rodriguez was the more deserving candidate; A 3B with an OPS+ 10% better than that of a corner OF, well, you do the math, and don’t forget to make the positional adjustment while you are at it. But Magglio batted .363 and won the batting title that season. And to add to that, the Tigers were a good team and weren’t far from the playoffs. Granted, the Yankees actually made the playoffs, so the voters gave bonus points to Rodriguez for that, but it wasn’t as though Magglio played great on a poor team.
Alex Rodriguez was the best player in baseball that season, all of baseball, not just the league in which he played in. But two things: Magglio Ordonez was actually a better candidate than some people made him out to be. It wasn’t as though they created Magglio as a “bad” candidate, just that the separation between he and Rodriguez seemed to be probably more than it should have been, in regards to reputation and voting. The second thing is that any stats that take into account all-around game, offense and defense, show that Ordonez and Rodriguez weren’t really that far apart. They were apart, but not so far that it was as clear-cut as everyone seemed to think.
Bill James was on to something though, as he typically is. As he thinks and I think too, Alex Rdoriguez WAS the MVP of that season. But a hitter who bats .363 and hits for plenty of power on a winning team isn’t exactly unworthy. And it is even more confusing why MVP voters who have always taken into account batting average, seemingly, all of a sudden ignored it. And it isn’t helping Joe Mauer any, if they keep this philosophy up, that is for sure. But then again, voters have always been enthralled with the Home Run, too, so maybe it isn’t that confusing to begin with.