Your thoughts on PEDs and baseball

The current thread on Manny Ramirez and talk about HOF chances for PED users made me want to know: what is your personal opinion of how PED users should be judged by baseball history?

Missed the edit window and meant to expand:

My opinion is that the outrage is somewhat overblown. Baseball players have been looking for an edge forever. Spitballs, corked bats, amphetamines, cocaine. Yes, they are all cheating. My outrage meter for PEDs doesn’t get too high. It’s just the modern way of getting an edge. Do I like it? No. Does it make players like Clemens, A-Rod, Bonds into superstars when they wouldn’t normally be? No. Keeping sure-fire hall-of-famers out for it? I say no. How do you feel about it?

It’s slimy. It’s (now) against the rules. However, you can’t blot out an entire generation of baseball because some high profile people got caught and others didn’t. You can’t also blot out the journeymen that happened to stick around longer and heal faster because of it, but would never get int the Hall of Fame.

You let them all in, I don’t care if there’s a needle sticking out of their ass during their induction ceremony.

Nope. No cheaters in the HoF.

That goes for those pitchers who return to the mound after their manager pinch-hits for them, too.

And the managers who send the pinch hitters in.

And the Pinch Hitters who Pinch Hit several times during the game (for the same player, no less!).

And the umpires who don’t throw them all out of the game.

And the owners who put up with it.

And the Commissioner of Baseball who also puts up with it.

Screw it. Until the abomination known as the “Designated Hitter” has been purged from the National Pastime for say, twenty years, nobody gets in except Vin Scully.

Anybody who liked watching the McGwire-Sosa race needs to shut up, okay? We all knew it all along. We liked the effect it had on the game. We even joked about it. Let’s quit pretending to be outraged about it now.

There are a bunch of people in the Hall from the Amphetamines Era. There deserve to be a bunch from the Steroid Era too. Let’s cut the shit.

If the league didn’t have a rule against it at the time of the use, then the user shouldn’t be fired for it, or have their retirement plan cut, or anything like that. If the substances were legal at the time of use, the users shouldn’t get in trouble with the government. But even if they were legal and/or permitted by the league, they’re unsporting, and the Hall of Fame is supposed to be for people worthy of being honored. I have no problem at all with PED use being a factor against inclusion in the Hall, or even outright disqualification.

But would you want to expel every “unsporting” person already in the Hall too? What criteria would make the word applicable to an actual decision?

It doesn’t bother me in the least. The only thing that gets on my nerves about baseball is the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on stadiums that are now just as empty as the ones they replaced if the team isn’t very good (looking at you, Camden, Jacobs Field, Minute Maid Park, etc).

The HOF represents a group of writers and their opinions. Good for them. I don’t care who is in their Hall, so they can elect every loser out there. I have my own personal list of players who are in my personal ‘Hall of Fame’.

Hint: Bonds and Clemens ain’t in it.

I think that the outrage over PED’s is a little overblown for a couple of reasons. First of all, I’m not convinced that they were as big a factor as a lot of folks make them out to be in the explosion of home runs. A factor, yes, but one of several. We’ve also seen a wave of mostly HR friendly new parks, thinner pitching talent, a strike zone that shrunk down over a period of years, and the increased use of bullpens (which are mostly made up of mediocre pitchers).

Second, hitting the ball out of the park has as much to do with recognition and reaction as it does raw power. I remember a story a couple of years ago where Bonds’s teammates were telling of him sitting in the dugout during a game watching the opposing pitcher, and calling nearly every pitch in advance correctly. Either he spent a lot of time studying opposing pitchers, or steroids also gave him ESP. If you know what’s coming when you’re at the plate, I think that gives you a much larger advantage than any chemical enhancement can.

I had also read a story a few years ago that hitters were starting to have Lasik surgery to enhance their eyesight, even when they already had normal vision. Is that cheating, too?

I strongly suspect that this issue would have died as a topic of fan conversation a long time ago if it weren’t for the fact that a few of the poster boys for this were insufferable assholes (Bonds & Clemens immediately come to mind). It’s easier to get all bent out of shape over guys like that bending or breaking the rules than if it had been some mid-level guy trying to get back from an injury a little faster (which probably accounted for most of the PED use).

Do I think that PED’s should be legal? No. I think that if the game turned a blind eye to it, they would be acting irresponsibly. A lot of young players might otherwise think that the needle is their ticket to the big leagues, or worse, their only ticket to the big leagues. So yeah, there should be stiff sanctions for users. Keep them out of the HOF? I don’t think so, but given what we’ve seen so far with McGwire, I’m probably in the minority. But hey, we all like a good righteous indignation now and then.

I couldn’t care less. All the steroids in the world couldn’t help me hit a baseball.

What’s that you say? It gave them more power and better recovery times? Well, so? The Babe (and every left-handed/switch-hitting Yankee) had a chip-shot 296-foot porch that absolutely inflated his numbers. Mel Ott’s numbers were even more gaudy with lines a little over 250 in the Polo Grounds where fly balls became “Chinese” home runs. Every hitter in the early 1960s had watered-down expansion pitching, again in 1969, 1977 and 1992.

That’s not even to mention the gaudy pitching numbers from 1963 to 1969 due to the strike zone changes or the spitball pitchers that everybody knew existed but were never caught.

Do we penalize people for where they played? Do we penalize people like Sandy Koufax who took full advantage of the hitters’ misfortunes?

You can take steroids into account if you like, but the problem with baseball is people demand an apples-to-apples comparison of statistics that exists only in fiction. The circumstances change from era to era, with every stadium change, and when players turn over.

Since you can not prove who used and who didn’t, the era must be singled out. The HOF membership should have the records of the steroid generation designated as just that. A disclaimer saying the record shattering era was in some disrepute and all records during that time should be thought of as likely tainted.
That would eliminate singling out a player.

But they’d also be tainting players who most people believe were/are clean, like Ken Griffey, Jr., Derek Jeter, Greg Maddux, etc.

And Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza, Frank Thomas, the list goes on.

Aside from McGwire, Bonds, Clemens, Palmeiro and now Manny Ramirez, the entire list of PED-using Major Leaguers is a bunch of scrubs, one season wonders and guys like Giambi and Tejada who were great but flamed out long before they were caught.

Personally, I really don’t care either way. But what’s logically wrong with singling out the people who were caught? Both the “let them all in because cheaters are already in the Hall” and “don’t let any of them in because the era is tainted” arguments are equally bogus, in my opinion.

See how well those lines work the next time you get pulled over for speeding and complain that everyone was speeding and either you all should be pulled over or you all should be let go.

I care not what the HoF does with the cheaters. Whether they are allowed in or not, they’re still cheaters.

Because it’s an unequal application. That 2003 list was a random sampling of MLB players and was supposed to remain anonymous and later destroyed, and originated from an attempt to get a better handle on the scope of the PED problem. Not only is it unfair to target those players unlucky enough to draw the short straw in being tested, it is unfair to not target those who weren’t - since the findings themselves revealed that PED use was incredibly widespread. I’m not saying everyone did them, but I am saying that the culture allowed (and possibly even encouraged) by MLB made PED use not a big deal - just as amphetamine use had been for decades.

Sports are entertainment. I do not care if they are all on PEDs, if PEDs are allowed in the sport. If they aren’t, then yeah, penalize them.

I think holding congressional hearings over PEDs is silly.

I’m glad they are now testing. I think players that are caught by the testing program should be derided, and forced retirements and massive bans are completely justified.

However, I think that retroactively punishing players for something that was not tested for and was at least tacitly endorsed is foolish. And a Hall of Fame without Bonds and Clemens is worthless. Put them in and trust that the fans of the game will be able to educate future generations about the vagaries of the Steroid Era, just as we do the Deadball Era and the Color Line Era.

But since when is unequal application categorically unfair? Is it unfair when a drunk driver gets pulled over at a random checkpoint while lots of other people are driving drunk on other roads at other times with inpunity in a culture that encourages drinking?

That’s just an academic question. For the record, I don’t mind letting them in, but I wouldn’t be outraged if someone voted against them for PED use either.