PDA

View Full Version : Bonds Stirs Up The Emotions



Jpup
01-15-2006, 07:18 AM
I don't know if you guys are interested in reading about Barry Bonds or want to bring up the issue again, but I thought this was a good article. This will dominate the baseball news in 2006.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=caple_jim&id=2289730


By Jim Caple

So, with Barry Bonds a mere 47 home runs away from the most renowned record in baseball, and with the media poised to huddle nearby for breathless hourly news reports ("Barry is at his locker ... He's sitting back in his leather recliner ... He's picking up the remote ... I'm not sure ... but I think ... yes, now I'm quite certain -- Barry is definitely changing the channel ... Wait, no. He's just turning down the volume.''), there is one major question nearly as important as whether he passes Hank Aaron:

How will you feel about it?

Will you be caught up in the moment as you were in 1998 during the epic McGwire-Sosa home run chase, flipping open your cell phone every 10 minutes for an update, racing to the TV to watch every at-bat and paddling your dinghy into crowded McCovey Cove for the chance of catching a million-dollar baseball? Or will you ignore the chase and the hype because you stubbornly consider Hammering Hank the real king, the true hero who hit all those home runs the old-fashioned natural way? Or will you actively root against Bonds because you believe his numbers are tainted, heckling him every time he steps into the batter's box, telling him at every opportunity that he stinks and his mother dressed him funny?

We'll see what the nation's reaction will be as Bonds approaches Aaron (assuming he's healthy enough to do so), but here's one guarantee. It will not be the national lovefest McGwire and Sosa received in 1998, when those two sluggers captivated us amid gloomier news of a White House scandal and a falling stock market.

For one thing, there is so much hysteria over the steroid issue now that any player who looks like he might have ever ingested anything stronger than Wheaties is virtually considered a criminal. Why these same fans have no similar suspicions/concerns about the size and muscles of football players is unclear, but that's the way it is. People care about the numbers in baseball, so they are very sensitive anytime they may have to memorize a new record.

Secondly, whether their feelings are justified or not, most fans don't like Bonds. Whenever I write about Barry I'm flooded with e-mail from angry fans who consider him a cheat, a disgrace to baseball and a despicable person who probably doesn't return his videos on time. During his excruciating rehab last summer, I wrote that I missed watching Bonds bat, but based on the e-mail I received you would have thought I had called for replacing the national anthem with the pregame sacrifice of a dozen kittens. I get used to a lot of hate mail, but this was the first time that everyone disagreed with me, instead of just Yankees fans.

Well, that's not quite right. I did receive a compliment or two, but they were from fans in San Francisco.

Which is only natural. Fans always root for the hometown player. As long as the player continues to produce on the field, no one cares what he does off the field. They cheer Gary Sheffield in New York, and he apparently has the same alleged steroid history as Bonds. They cheered for Albert Belle in Cleveland. They cheered for John Rocker in Atlanta before he started blowing all those games.

So as long as Barry keeps sending fastballs into orbit, San Francisco fans will continue to cheer and applaud and bow before him as usual, while waving rubber chickens at any opponent who has the temerity to walk him. And if Bonds should break Aaron's record, there will be so many tears shed that they'll have to raise the span on the Golden Gate Bridge.

As for the rest of the country? I suspect some fans will get swept up by the drama and finally come to appreciate Bonds. Others will follow the chase with a detached interest for no other reason than it is the biggest record in sports. Others will openly root against Bonds, disparaging his achievements on talk radio and in blogs.

And most fans will follow the story (it will be hard to not do so, sports coverage being what it is today) with a good amount of interest, only wishing the whole time that it was Ken Griffey Jr. instead.

...but we will all watch.

GADawg
01-15-2006, 08:47 AM
yep if it were Junior closing in on the record I and the rest of the Reds nation would keep a permanent... uh, let's just say the makers of the little blue pill would take a big financial hit. Yes I apologize.

Bonds arrogance and attitude has produced most or all of the jeers he hears but personally I like the guy OK and always stop what I'm doing when he's at the plate. Until there's some sort of evidence that the roids improve hand-eye coordination I guess I'll be in his small little corner.

Red in Chicago
01-15-2006, 09:17 AM
if i were a major league pitcher and bonds was coming up to face me, the only way he would get on base, would be due to a little chin music, if you get my drift:evil:

Unassisted
01-15-2006, 09:32 AM
...but we will all watch.This fan won't be watching. I wouldn't walk across the street to watch Bonds. From the tone of the article, I would surmise that a lot of the people watching will be doing so to root against Bonds. I don't consider that kind of rooting interest to be a good use of my time. I'd rather watch players with skills I can admire.

TOBTTReds
01-15-2006, 10:37 AM
Until there's some sort of evidence that the roids improve hand-eye coordination I guess I'll be in his small little corner.

A lot of people use this argument, but here is my objection:

Obviously steroids improve your strength, and in some cases quickness. A bat's weight is a big issue for players, but the lighter the bat seems to a player, the quicker the swing will be, and the easier it will be to control his swing, there for making contact more.

As far as Sosa and McGwire, they struck out a lot. But Bonds' swing is much better than theirs, and he was very good when he was skinny too. So he def. has very good contact, but I still find it hard to believe his bat control and quick swing is all pure at this age. just a thought.

Marc D
01-15-2006, 11:58 AM
Bond's will most likely break the record and in an interesting twist help rewrite A-Rods legacy imo.

Think about it, down the road A-Rod's the one who can break the record Bonds sets and A-Rod's public image is squeaky clean good guy but a lot of folks dislike him for the contract and lack of championships.

Personally, I like the guy and don't hold either thing against him but you can rest assured if he comes to the rescue of baseball and and its fans by supplanting the black mark Bonds puts in the books he'll go down as one of the most revered players in MLB history.

I know I'll be tuning in and cheering for the guy when it comes time.

BoydsOfSummer
01-15-2006, 02:58 PM
Why walk him with four,when you can drill him with one?

Dom Heffner
01-15-2006, 02:59 PM
Until there's some sort of evidence that the roids improve hand-eye coordination I guess I'll be in his small little corner.

The hand-eye coordination was there to begin with. Steroids merely makes him stronger, allowing the ball to go farther when hit.

Add steroids to me, you'd get a guy who still couldn't make the major leagues, but I'd be stronger. I could bench press more, I would become bigger.

Add them to a major leaguer, and they simply become stronger as well, which is a little different scenario, because unlike me, a major leaguer can already hit a baseball. Now the ball goes a lot further and balls that would have been long fly outs are homeruns.

No one is arguing that steroids is improving hand-eye coordination, so your premise seems a bit flawed.

Jpup
01-15-2006, 03:06 PM
This fan won't be watching. I wouldn't walk across the street to watch Bonds. From the tone of the article, I would surmise that a lot of the people watching will be doing so to root against Bonds. I don't consider that kind of rooting interest to be a good use of my time. I'd rather watch players with skills I can admire.

Explain to me why the Giants have had the one of the best road attendance figures over the past few years. It's not for Marquis Grissom or JT Snow.

They will be watching. We all will.

TeamBoone
01-15-2006, 05:54 PM
They will be watching. We all will.

Not me. Never have; never will. Barry Bonds holds no interest to me whatsoever, for so many reasons.

Jpup
01-15-2006, 06:43 PM
Not me. Never have; never will. Barry Bonds holds no interest to me whatsoever, for so many reasons.

I'm not saying there aren't exceptions to the rule, but most people are still in awe of his abilities that they will stop and watch. We all knew that McGwire and Sosa were on the juice, but we still watched. Barry Bonds is better than either one of those guys. He has a presence that can't be denied.

westofyou
01-15-2006, 06:56 PM
Not me. Never have; never will. Barry Bonds holds no interest to me whatsoever, for so many reasons.
Yes he does, he just got you to reply to this post. :evil:

TeamBoone
01-15-2006, 07:20 PM
I'm not saying there aren't exceptions to the rule, but most people are still in awe of his abilities that they will stop and watch. We all knew that McGwire and Sosa were on the juice, but we still watched. Barry Bonds is better than either one of those guys. He has a presence that can't be denied.

It has nothing to do with his talent or presence. Rather, it has a whole lot to do with his holier-than-Thou, the-world-owes-me-a-living, I'm-too-big-for-this-sport attitude that he flaunts constantly in his actions.

WVRedsFan
01-15-2006, 07:26 PM
Not me. Never have; never will. Barry Bonds holds no interest to me whatsoever, for so many reasons.

That's at least two of us, TB. My interest in Barry Bonds ended a long, long time ago. I can only wish that he somehow misses the record.

Jpup
01-15-2006, 08:50 PM
Yes he does, he just got you to reply to this post. :evil:


:lol:

KronoRed
01-15-2006, 08:57 PM
This fan won't be watching. I wouldn't walk across the street to watch Bonds. From the tone of the article, I would surmise that a lot of the people watching will be doing so to root against Bonds. I don't consider that kind of rooting interest to be a good use of my time. I'd rather watch players with skills I can admire.
Same.

In the Krono record book he was thrown out of the game 3 years ago :devil:

Redsland
01-15-2006, 09:16 PM
Not me. Never have; never will. Barry Bonds holds no interest to me whatsoever, for so many reasons.
Same here. He used to be a scrawny punk on a division rival, and from there he became a surly, me-first cheater.

I never liked him, I never watch him, and if you ask me in a year or two who the all-time HR hitter is, I'll tell you it's Hank Aaron.

Jpup
01-15-2006, 09:27 PM
Same here. He used to be a scrawny punk on a division rival, and from there he became a surly, me-first cheater.

I never liked him, I never watch him, and if you ask me in a year or two who the all-time HR hitter is, I'll tell you it's Hank Aaron.

Ole Hank probably never used "greenies".

BoydsOfSummer
01-15-2006, 09:29 PM
"Are you sure Hank done it this-a-way..."

Dom Heffner
01-16-2006, 02:08 AM
We all knew that McGwire and Sosa were on the juice, but we still watched.

Actually, no we didn't. We thought Big Mac was on andro, and he even made a point to let us know he wasn't juicing.

A few years later we put him under oath and he pleads the fifth.

I think about that night with Maris' family and his son and I just wanna go take a bath.

We were duped.

Jpup
01-16-2006, 02:10 AM
Actually, no we didn't. We thought Big Mac was on andro, and he even made a point to let us know he wasn't juicing.

A few years later we put him under oath and he pleads the fifth.

I think about that night with Maris' family and his son and I just wanna go take a bath.

We were duped.

really? :dunno:

KronoRed
01-16-2006, 05:32 AM
Bath? a shower is more hygienic

:D

RedFanAlways1966
01-16-2006, 07:52 AM
I won't be watching. Anything he does carries a big scarlett letter on it... and that letter is "S" for steroids.

I won't be watching. Anytime I think or hear his name I think of his arrogant ways. I think of the terrible way he treats other human beings. Mean people suck.

I won't be watching. I am afraid I might see his son cry if he breaks the HR record. He has told us that "we" make his kid cry. So for the sake of his poor son, I will not watch.

Red in Chicago
01-16-2006, 09:40 AM
why is it that i feel like a racist for not wanting him to pass the bambino? i would love to have had junior do it...no problem with arod doing it...personally, i'm glad that big mac was never able to do it...whenever i hear the name bonds, i just want to vomit...i won't be watching...it's a sad state for baseball...

registerthis
01-16-2006, 10:13 AM
I have no use for Bonds, his arrogant attitude, his steroids-riddled biceps or his one-man-team personna. I firmly believe that he did use steroids, and as such I believe his records are fraudulent. Regardless of what number of homeruns he ends up with, he won't assume the title of "Home Run King" in my book.

RFS62
01-16-2006, 10:37 AM
I've never liked him. I have always thought he was a self-absorbed punk.

But I'll watch him hit any time I can. He's got the greatest stroke of all time, and the greatest plate discipline.

Doesn't mean I respect him as a man. Doesn't mean I think he didn't juice. I would bet the farm that he did, with hgh and who knows what else designer stuff.

But he's the greatest offensive machine ever produced, and I love to watch his stroke.

Dom Heffner
01-16-2006, 10:46 AM
really?


I hardly think all of those people cheering him on were like, "We know he's on steroids, but who cares...."

These records mean too much to people, and frankly, this generation of ball players has really done themselves in with regards to records.


But he's the greatest offensive machine ever produced,

Even though it's a result of steroids, something undoubtedly that makes you respect him less as a man?

Roy Tucker
01-16-2006, 10:49 AM
RFS's "self-absorbed punk" sums it up well.

The problem is, he was probably a Hall of Famer before steroids and would have gone on to an Aaron-ish kind of career. Longevity, great stroke, probably no more than 40 HR's a year, but an exceptional eye at the plate, and overall great talent. And he would have been regarded as a great player without steroids.

While steroids may have turbo-boosted his power, he's still a self-absorbed idiot and he does cheat. For the longest time, I defended him. But like Pete Rose, the accumulation of evidence over the years turned me against him.

Cyclone792
01-16-2006, 10:59 AM
Babe Ruth was a womanizer, Ty Cobb was a jerk and Mickey Mantle was an alcoholic. That doesn't mean I don't wish I had the chance to watch them all play baseball.

I'll likely go to about two dozen Reds games this season, and when the schedule comes out, the first series I'll look for will be at home against the Giants.

registerthis
01-16-2006, 02:03 PM
Babe Ruth was a womanizer, Ty Cobb was a jerk and Mickey Mantle was an alcoholic. That doesn't mean I don't wish I had the chance to watch them all play baseball.

But the honesty of their accomplishments on the baseball field was never in doubt.

Bonds' are.

Cyclone792
01-16-2006, 02:17 PM
But the honesty of their accomplishments on the baseball field was never in doubt.

Bonds' are.

Gaylord Perry says hello ;)

In all honesty, part of me has more of a problem with Perry than steroid use prior to the regulations being put in place (after the regulations, ala now with guys like Palmeiro, that's not necessarily the case). I don't know, maybe I take a weird position, but it's difficult for me to retroactively speculate on a player's potential steroid use in past years and penalize that player when those suscipicions occurred before the game even had regulations against it, especially when such behavior is still speculation. I don't know if Bonds used steroids or not and few people do. When also taking into consideration there were no regulations in the game prohibiting steroid use, I just can't penalize him. Guys like Gaylord Perry broke known rules that had been in place for decades to gain an advantage.

Heck, the 1919 Reds World Series squad had Hod Eller in their rotation, and he knowingly used a shine ball shortly before it was outlawed. Not only that, but then Chick Gandil and his pals then decided to toss some games our way for their individual financial benefit. In the end, the Reds win the World Series and that banner still hangs alongside the other four championships, despite the validity of that accomplishment occurring under some doubt.

savafan
01-16-2006, 02:42 PM
I have to believe that if there is any justice in this crazy world of ours, Bonds' guilt will eventually be found out. Even if it isn't, he will have to live with himself knowing what he did. Barry Bonds has no one to blame for making his kids cry than himself. All of the hatred, all of the doubt...he brought it upon himself.

If he hadn't broken McGwire's single season homerun record so soon, I don't know that I'd have thought something illegal was going on.

westofyou
01-16-2006, 02:53 PM
Heck, the 1919 Reds World Series squad had Hod Eller in their rotation, and he knowingly used a shine ball shortly before it was outlawed.The 1919 Reds had at least 2 starters who doctored the ball, Eller, Fisher and perhaps Ruether too.

registerthis
01-16-2006, 03:10 PM
I don't know if Bonds used steroids or not and few people do. When also taking into consideration there were no regulations in the game prohibiting steroid use, I just can't penalize him. Guys like Gaylord Perry broke known rules that had been in place for decades to gain an advantage.

I just can't by this line of arguing--that simply because it wasn't illegal by baseball rules (even though federal drug rules cover the purchase and use of anabolic steroids and the like) means that his records are somehow legit. Even if baseball had no specific rules banning them, steroid use was--and remains--illegal. His use of them gave him a clear advantage over the competition, illegally. And, for the record, I am comfortable making the leap in judgment that bonds used illegal steroids during his career. I find it beyond suspicious that his record-setting HR years came immediately after the McGwire-Sosa steroid war, and as a precursor to baseball's crackdown on their use. I also find it highly suspicious that his first significant injuries in years occured after baseball's harsh crackdown on steroid use made their continued use by ballplayers dangerous. This is not even taking into consideration his ties to BALCO and his own personal trainer's problems with steroid charges.

Additionally, the use of certain things to "cheat" the system--such as spitballs, sandpaper, pine tar and cork--while presenting an advantage to the user in that particular instance, do NOT present an ongoing advantage over the player's entire career. Aside from the obvious strength benefits, steroid use--for a time, anyway--helps the player remain healthy and bounce back more quickly from injuries. True, over time, steroid use generally catches up to the player (see Ken Caminiti), but the player who uses steroids has an inherent advantage in raw power, bat speed and endurance over players who are not using performance-enhancing drugs--even those who cork their bats.

Finally, the precedent of permissable questionable behavior does not excuse future behavior, and does not bind us to accept it or recognize it. Even if there was established precendent in MLB of allowing the records of known steroid abusers to stand alongside the records of known "clean" players, there's nothing to imply or suggest that such a trend should or will continue. The use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs casts a pall over the individual ballplayer and his accomplishments, and as such the baseball records achieved by said individuals are questionable, at best, or fraudulent at worst.

There are many admirable traits about Barry Bonds' baseball skills. Indeed, as many have stated, his skills and numbers put up prior to the late-90s warrant HoF induction. But his cheating and use of performance enhancers since that time, unfortunately, call into question his entire career. Now, he is prepared to embark on the quest of a title that many will consider to be fraudulent if he is successful. His use of performance enhancers undoubtedly provided him the opportunity to pursue this goal; thus there's no justification for rewarding him for achieving it.

Jpup
01-16-2006, 03:14 PM
I just can't by this line of arguing--that simply because it wasn't illegal by baseball rules (even though federal drug rules cover the purchase and use of anabolic steroids and the like) means that his records are somehow legit. Even if baseball had no specific rules banning them, steroid use was--and remains--illegal. His use of them gave him a clear advantage over the competition, illegally. And, for the record, I am comfortable making the leap in judgment that bonds used illegal steroids during his career. I find it beyond suspicious that his record-setting HR years came immediately after the McGwire-Sosa steroid war, and as a precursor to baseball's crackdown on their use. I also find it highly suspicious that his first significant injuries in years occured after baseball's harsh crackdown on steroid use made their continued use by ballplayers dangerous. This is not even taking into consideration his ties to BALCO and his own personal trainer's problems with steroid charges.

Additionally, the use of certain things to "cheat" the system--such as spitballs, sandpaper, pine tar and cork--while presenting an advantage to the user in that particular instance, do NOT present an ongoing advantage over the player's entire career. Aside from the obvious strength benefits, steroid use--for a time, anyway--helps the player remain healthy and bounce back more quickly from injuries. True, over time, steroid use generally catches up to the player (see Ken Caminiti), but the player who uses steroids has an inherent advantage in raw power, bat speed and endurance over players who are not using performance-enhancing drugs--even those who cork their bats.

Finally, the precedent of permissable questionable behavior does not excuse future behavior, and does not bind us to accept it or recognize it. Even if there was established precendent in MLB of allowing the records of known steroid abusers to stand alongside the records of known "clean" players, there's nothing to imply or suggest that such a trend should or will continue. The use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs casts a pall over the individual ballplayer and his accomplishments, and as such the baseball records achieved by said individuals are questionable, at best, or fraudulent at worst.

There are many admirable traits about Barry Bonds' baseball skills. Indeed, as many have stated, his skills and numbers put up prior to the late-90s warrant HoF induction. But his cheating and use of performance enhancers since that time, unfortunately, call into question his entire career. Now, he is prepared to embark on the quest of a title that many will consider to be fraudulent if he is successful. His use of performance enhancers undoubtedly provided him the opportunity to pursue this goal; thus there's no justification for rewarding him for achieving it.


all I can say is that he took the tests and past them. what else do you want?

registerthis
01-16-2006, 03:19 PM
all I can say is that he took the tests and past them. what else do you want?

Do you honestly think it's impossible for a steroid user to pass a steroid test?

Cyclone792
01-16-2006, 03:45 PM
Reg, my problem with isolating steroid use away from every other form of cheating is that it introduces a vast grey area. To me, cheating is cheating, and steroid use is a function of cheating. Doctoring a baseball is also a function of cheating. Using a doctored baseball has dramatic effects on the movement of the ball, and if a player continues to throw doctored baseballs it will have a dramatic effect for his career. Ray Chapman was beaned and killed in 1920, and speculation is that Carl Mays threw a doctored baseball that beaned him.

Steroids and their effect on a player's career totals is simply too grey for me. Sure, one can make the argument that Bonds' 708 home runs are a questionable total. Someone else can then make the argument that Babe Ruth's 714 home runs are a questionable total because it came against an all white league. Gaylord Perry cheated, and he won 314 games ... again an argument can be made that his career is questionable. Once you introduce the premise that one player's career stats are to be questioned because he cheated or had some unnatural advantage, it just opens the levee to start questioning scores of statistics and results due to similar unnatural or circumstantial advantages. I just can't sort out the cheaters into groups and claim "this is ok and I'll let it slide ..." and "this is not ok, I won't let it slide ... "

Prohibition was in effect in the 1920s, yet players would routinely show up and play in games while drunk, including known Hall of Famers. Unless a player is in prison or physically cannot play, government laws applied to individual players really have little bearing on how the game manages itself. It's how players such as Ty Cobb could skip around different states and run from the law while at the same time starting the next game in center field. It's how Ryan Freel can get nailed with a DUI, then days later be back in the starting lineup. It's how Paul Molitor claims to have used cocaine and still get elected to the Hall, despite that being illegal. Again, it's the grey area ... if I'm penalizing one group, I must penalize all groups.

Baseball manages itself; always has and always will. If you bet on a game, you're gone for good. If you commit some sort of crime, well as soon you're physically able to play, you'll be back in the lineup. Now, if test positive for steroids, you're suspended for a significant amount of time. A third offense and you're gone for good. A few years ago that wasn't the case, and at the same time there are probably far more players who did use steroids a few years ago that we'll ever know about.

savafan
01-16-2006, 04:01 PM
Prohibition made it illegal to purchase alcohol, not to drink it. Two very different acts.

Dom Heffner
01-16-2006, 05:07 PM
To me, cheating is cheating,

No, it's not. That's why there are different punishments for different types of cheating.

Scuffing a ball with a nail file and ingesting illegal perfromance enhancing drugs are not on the same level of cheating. Take two players- one who continually throws spitters and one who continually takes steroids. Which one do you think will get thrown out of baseball sooner?


Someone else can then make the argument that Babe Ruth's 714 home runs are a questionable total because it came against an all white league.

No one is saying that the record isn't legitimate. They may question the talent he played against, but no one is saying Ruth's numbers are tainted because he cheated.


Gaylord Perry cheated, and he won 314 games ... again an argument can be made that his career is questionable.

No one believes that scuffing balls wins 300 games. No one.


Once you introduce the premise that one player's career stats are to be questioned because he cheated or had some unnatural advantage, it just opens the levee to start questioning scores of statistics and results due to similar unnatural or circumstantial advantages. I just can't sort out the cheaters into groups and claim "this is ok and I'll let it slide ..." and "this is not ok, I won't let it slide ... "


This argument would be true if all cheating was the same, but it's not.

In fact, your argument promotes cheating because it tells the athletes that we'll just stand by and let them cheat because, hey, a lot of people cheat. Let's just celebrate and be happy about Barry Bonds and his new illegally obtained home run record because Gaylord Perry threw spitballs and Babe Ruth played with all white people who were apprently drunk when they were playing.


Prohibition was in effect in the 1920s, yet players would routinely show up and play in games while drunk, including known Hall of Famers.

Alcohol would impair performance. Alcohol is not listed, anywhere, on a list of performance enhancing drugs. No one thinks that by ingesting massive quantities of Jack Daniels that you can improve your performance. No one is questioning the stats from the prohibition era as being tainted due to alcohol.

You seem to be confusing personal morality with statistics.

Are you serious here?


Again, it's the grey area ... if I'm penalizing one group, I must penalize all groups.

This may be your own written code, but you don't have to penalize them equally, which is why your argument is unfounded. A corked bat does not equal 20 lbs of illegally enhanced muscle mass does not equal a spitball does not equal being a racist, drunk, or cocaine addict.


If you bet on a game, you're gone for good.

I thought all cheating was the same? Are you gone for good if you put pine tar too high on your bat?


Baseball manages itself; always has and always will.

Except for that time they turned a blind eye to steroids. Should we all just turn a blind eye, too, because Gaylor Perry scuffed some baseballs?

Cyclone792
01-16-2006, 06:36 PM
No, it's not. That's why there are different punishments for different types of cheating.

Scuffing a ball with a nail file and ingesting illegal perfromance enhancing drugs are not on the same level of cheating. Take two players- one who continually throws spitters and one who continually takes steroids. Which one do you think will get thrown out of baseball sooner?

In what year? 2001? You'd get suspended for scuffing a ball in 2001, but would receive no penalty for using steroids. How many games was Perry suspended or ejected for scuffing balls? How many games has Bonds been suspended for using steroids?


No one is saying that the record isn't legitimate. They may question the talent he played against, but no one is saying Ruth's numbers are tainted because he cheated.

Not allowing African Americans to play for several decades likely changed the outcome of every single major league game that was ever played prior to integration. What's the main argument against steroids? That they change the outcome of the games due to certain players having unfair advantages. Excluding specific people to play also changes the outcome of games because players have an unfair advantage of not playing against the best level of competition.


No one believes that scuffing balls wins 300 games. No one.

Scuffing balls provides an unfair advantage. Using steroids also provides an unfair advantage. Perry doctored balls and won 314 games. How many would he have won without doctoring balls? How many home runs would Bonds have hit if he didn't "supposedly" juice himself? Nobody knows those answers.


gument would be true if all cheating was the same, but it's not.

In fact, your argument promotes cheating because it tells the athletes that we'll just stand by and let them cheat because, hey, a lot of people cheat. Let's just celebrate and be happy about Barry Bonds and his new illegally obtained home run record because Gaylord Perry threw spitballs and Babe Ruth played with all white people who were apprently drunk when they were playing.

You're missing my point, which is that I'm looking for consistency when judging known cheaters.

I'm not promoting cheating at all. I'm promoting people to cast players in the same consistent ray of light. You want to downgrade Bonds' performance due to his speculation of steroids, then you're more than welcome to. At the same time, to be consistent, you must also downgrade Perry's performance and every other known cheater. Why someone refuses to simply be consistent and actually acknowledge that Gaylord Perry, Whitey Ford, etc. cheated to gain an unfair advantage boggles me. Instead excuses are made to cast doctoring a baseball as being perfectly acceptable. Bonds is blacklisted and free passes are handed out to Perry and Ford. Is that acceptable to you?

Listen, I'm not pro-Bonds, but I'm also not anti-Bonds. I'm neutral on Bonds, which by default seems to group me in an inaccurate pro-Bonds group. I don't know if Bonds did or did not take steroids so I don't bother with it. I just find it incredibly flawed to claim that Bonds cheats while absolutely refusing to acknowledge that players such as Gaylord Perry or Whitey Ford cheated. Would Perry have given up more than 1,846 earned runs in his career if he never cheated, or would he have given up more?


I thought all cheating was the same? Are you gone for good if you put pine tar too high on your bat?

Any practice that breaks a rule of MLB to gain an unfair advantage is cheating. Doctoring baseballs is cheating. Corking bats is cheating. Finally and thankfully, using steroids is cheating. Each has their own individual system of penalties, but they are all cheating.

The caveat is if you used steroids prior to it being illegal in baseball, you were not cheating per the game's rules. Steroids were illegal in society, fine. So was cocaine. Both are illegal in society but not in baseball so what's the difference? Do government laws suddenly decide what constitutes cheating in MLB? Do olympic committees suddenly decide what constitutes cheating in MLB? Baseball decides for itself what constitutes cheating and what does not constitute cheating, not anybody else.


Except for that time they turned a blind eye to steroids. Should we all just turn a blind eye, too, because Gaylor Perry scuffed some baseballs?

But shouldn't you also hold baseball executives just as accountable as you do Barry Bonds? Since there's such a large public outcry to remove steroid using players from the game, where's the large public outcry to identify and remove every baseball official that covered up steroid usage?

Believe it or not, Dom, but I imagine you and I actually agree on this more than we disagree. All I'm looking for is consistency when people are asked to judge known and speculated cheaters who cheat to gain an advantage and put such cheating in proper perspective. I'm frankly confused with this mass of people who lead the charge that Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, Rafael Palmeiro, etc. are the worst thing to ever happen in baseball but at the same time say nary a word about the validity of Gaylord Perry's record. If anything, I see those very same people joke about Perry rather than chastise him. It's ridiculous.

Marge'sMullet
01-16-2006, 06:46 PM
The hand-eye coordination was there to begin with. Steroids merely makes him stronger, allowing the ball to go farther when hit.

Add steroids to me, you'd get a guy who still couldn't make the major leagues, but I'd be stronger. I could bench press more, I would become bigger.

Add them to a major leaguer, and they simply become stronger as well, which is a little different scenario, because unlike me, a major leaguer can already hit a baseball. Now the ball goes a lot further and balls that would have been long fly outs are homeruns.

No one is arguing that steroids is improving hand-eye coordination, so your premise seems a bit flawed.

I bet Wily Mo is as strong as Bonds, but he can't hit like Bonds. I don't know what Barry Bonds has done. I don't really care either, and any other player for that matter. It doesn't ruin the game for me.

If your not cheating then your not trying. I applaud everyone of the steroid players for trying.

Dom Heffner
01-16-2006, 07:47 PM
All I'm looking for is consistency when people are asked to judge known and speculated cheaters who cheat to gain an advantage and put such cheating in proper perspective.

If you are looking for consistency, then you need to make a more consistent analogy. Comparing steroids to scuffing balls is not consistent with reality.

It isn't even close.

I never want to have people who cork their bats or who scuff baseballs to be placed in the same category as steroid users.

While I appreciate your need to put things in perspective, I kinda prefer it the way reality has it right now, which is that steroids are worse than corked bats and spitballs.


I bet Wily Mo is as strong as Bonds, but he can't hit like Bonds. I don't know what Barry Bonds has done.

No, but give a great hitter like Bonds more strength and, voila- new home run king.

Cyclone792
01-16-2006, 08:06 PM
If you are looking for consistency, then you need to make a more consistent analogy. Comparing steroids to scuffing balls is not consistent with reality.

It isn't even close.

I never want to have people who cork their bats or who scuff baseballs to be placed in the same category as steroid users.

While I appreciate your need to put things in perspective, I kinda prefer it the way reality has it right now, which is that steroids are worse than corked bats and spitballs.

That doesn't really answer the question ... do you consider doctoring baseballs cheating, and is it acceptable? I find it hard to believe you'd answer no/yes, but your post sort of implies that.

Why isn't doctoring baseballs remotely close to steroids?

And because I'm curious ... when do you think Bonds started using steroids?

TeamBoone
01-16-2006, 08:30 PM
If your not cheating then your not trying. I applaud everyone of the steroid players for trying.

That's one of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen written here.

I was informed this was a joke via a neg... I guess I'm supposed to be a mind reader.

Dom Heffner
01-16-2006, 10:57 PM
That doesn't really answer the question ... do you consider doctoring baseballs cheating, and is it acceptable? I find it hard to believe you'd answer no/yes, but your post sort of implies that.

I do think it is cheating, yes. I think it's about on the level of a manager stealing signs from the other team. I don't think anyone truly thinks a spit ball has had any effect on the legitimacy of baseball stats.

I think it's like comparing me looking at your hand in cards versus me fixing the entire deck to give me a much better hand.

We have a handful of hall of famers who threw a trick pitch and yet on the other hand we have seen the season home run record fall three times in the course of two seasons and the number of fifty home run seasons represented as many times in the course of one decade as in the entire history of baseball combined and you want to say cheating is cheating.

I'm wondering if the spitball is so effective, how could anyone hit that many homeruns?

If all one had to do was throw spitters to win 300 games, people would be doing that instead of taking steroids. It would be safer and would get you less time on a suspension.

Since you were the one equating all types of cheating, let me turn the question around on you:

If you were a young pitcher trying to improve your performance by giving it an unnatural edge, which would you choose, ingesting steroids or learning how to throw a spitter?

Which do you think would give you the best chance of success?

Using your logic, each should provide an equal amount of success, yet there is no way you can answer with a straight face that you would master the spitball in lieu of taking SEDs and come up with the same results.

I'm not going to waste hours worth of time explaining the obvious physical advantages that PEDs give an athlete and then place that up against a ball with vaseline on it.

What are we going to talk about next, how the grounds crew alters the pitching mound to favor the home team?


And because I'm curious ... when do you think Bonds started using steroids?

Because Bonds used steroids, he doesn't get the opportunity to turn this around on us like you are doing. One doesn't get to cheat on the level at which he did and then shift the burden of the argument on us to say, well I cheated but if you can't tell me when it started, then I'm innocent.

It doesn't matter when he started- he was on them by his own account, and if you want to believe that he did it accidentally, then you are entitled to your opinion.

If it was sometime midway through his career versus early, what does it matter?

Cedric
01-16-2006, 11:31 PM
"Listen, I'm not pro-Bonds, but I'm also not anti-Bonds. I'm neutral on Bonds, which by default seems to group me in an inaccurate pro-Bonds group. I don't know if Bonds did or did not take steroids so I don't bother with it. I just find it incredibly flawed to claim that Bonds cheats while absolutely refusing to acknowledge that players such as Gaylord Perry or Whitey Ford cheated. Would Perry have given up more than 1,846 earned runs in his career if he never cheated, or would he have given up more?"

You seem to know a ton about the history of baseball from your hall of fame posts. Just take a cursory look at Bonds statistics after the age of 35 and compare it to ANYONE in the history of the game. You have your obvious answer on steroids.

Cyclone792
01-16-2006, 11:33 PM
I do think it is cheating, yes. I think it's about on the level of a manager stealing signs from the other team. I don't think anyone truly thinks a spit ball has had any effect on the legitimacy of baseball stats.

I think it's like comparing me looking at your hand in cards versus me fixing the entire deck to give me a much better hand.

We have a handful of hall of famers who threw a trick pitch and yet on the other hand we have seen the season home run record fall three times in the course of two seasons and the number of fifty home run seasons represented as many times in the course of one decade as in the entire history of baseball combined and you want to say cheating is cheating.

I'm wondering if the spitball is so effective, how could anyone hit that many homeruns?

If all one had to do was throw spitters to win 300 games, people would be doing that instead of taking steroids. It would be safer and would get you less time on a suspension.

Dom, sorry but history doesn't exactly parallel what you're claiming here.



Year AL ERA
1905 2.65
1906 2.69
1907 2.54
1908 2.39
1909 2.47
1910 2.52

--- Lively ball introduced

1911 3.34
1912 3.34

--- Doctored pitches begin to be more commonly used to fight off the lively ball effect

1913 2.93
1914 2.73
1915 2.93
1916 2.82
1917 2.66
1918 2.77
1919 3.22

--- Doctored pitches rendered illegal

1920 3.79
1921 4.28
1922 4.03
1923 3.98
1924 4.23
1925 4.40


The average AL ERA from 1905-1910 was 2.54. The introduction of the lively ball in 1911 pushed ERAs up to 3.34 for two seasons, however, pitchers fought back and began throwing even more doctored pitches than ever to offset the introduction of the lively ball. The result was that from 1913-1919 the average AL ERA was back down to 2.87. In February, 1920, doctored pitches were declared illegal (except for a handful grandfathered to continue using it), umpires were ordered to maintain clean balls in play and the AL average ERA jumped up to 4.12 over the next six seasons. That's over a 40 percent increase in AL ERA.

Seems like a rather steep jump in sudden offense that coincidentally just so happens to occur immediately after all forms of doctored pitches are outlawed.


Since you were the one equating all types of cheating, let me turn the question around on you:

If you were a young pitcher trying to improve your performance by giving it an unnatural edge, which would you choose, ingesting steroids or learning how to throw a spitter?

Which do you think would give you the best chance of success?

Using your logic, each should provide an equal amount of success, yet there is no way you can answer with a straight face that you would master the spitball in lieu of taking SEDs and come up with the same results.

Knowing how much pitchers DOMINATED before 1920, I'd be putting everything I possibly could on the ball well before considering injecting myself with a drug. People act as if the recent level of offense is unprecedented; it isn't. In the 1920s and 1930s, directly after doctored pitches were outlawed, offense was at an all-time high. The entire NL in 1930 batted .303/.358/.448 and scored 5.68 runs per game. Is it merely coincidence that the highest scoring period in the history of baseball occurred in the two decades immediately after outlawing doctored pitches?


Because Bonds used steroids, he doesn't get the opportunity to turn this around on us like you are doing. One doesn't get to cheat on the level at which he did and then shift the burden of the argument on us to say, well I cheated but if you can't tell me when it started, then I'm innocent.

It doesn't matter when he started- he was on them by his own account, and if you want to believe that he did it accidentally, then you are entitled to your opinion.

If it was sometime midway through his career versus early, what does it matter?

Dom, I hope you're not looking for an argument more than a simple debate ... but ... :rolleyes:

I've already plainly stated that I'm neutral on Bonds. I'm not pro-Bonds, nor am I anti-Bonds. I do not know if Bonds used steroids, and I will not claim to know one way or the other. I want to know when you believe Bonds started on the juice because I'd like to know which of Bonds' seasons you consider legit and which you don't.

Cyclone792
01-16-2006, 11:34 PM
You seem to know a ton about the history of baseball from your hall of fame posts. Just take a cursory look at Bonds statistics after the age of 35 and compare it to ANYONE in the history of the game. You have your obvious answer on steroids.

What may be the obvious answer to me may not be the obvious answer to somebody else. :p:

westofyou
01-16-2006, 11:36 PM
Just take a cursory look at Bonds statistics after the age of 35 and compare it to ANYONE in the history of the game. You have your obvious answer on steroids.

That just makes him an anomoly, before him Ruth and Wiliams AND Aaron were the anomolies.

There has to be harder evidence than that IMO.


CAREER
AGE BETWEEN 35 AND 40
AT BATS >= 2000

OPS DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE AB
1 Barry Bonds .533 1.312 .779 2164
2 Ted Williams .366 1.102 .737 2209
3 Babe Ruth .343 1.116 .772 2405
4 Hank Aaron .259 .977 .718 2739
5 Edgar Martinez .189 .963 .774 2909
6 Tris Speaker .173 .945 .772 2742
7 Cy Williams .172 .930 .758 2473
8 Ty Cobb .169 .942 .773 2845
9 Willie Stargell .163 .883 .721 2091
10 Andres Galarraga .160 .931 .771 2674

Cedric
01-16-2006, 11:42 PM
WOY- I would agree usually. But the sheer increase in his numbers and the absolutely incredible numbers compared to anyone else after 35 and it's pretty close to a sure thing. Just my opinion.

RedFanAlways1966
01-17-2006, 07:51 AM
I have some "circumstantial evidence"...

* Many people who have seen Bonds hanging at BALCO.
* Gary Sheffield's words reagrding Bonds and his BALCO cream, etc.
* The words of Barry's mistress.

I understand when people say there is not enough evidence. However, there is plenty of circumstantial evidence. This evidence is not as damning as a failed drug test or a confession from Barry. But we must remember that we are not talking a court of law (ask Pete Rose). This is a sports game and the fans of the game are allowed to make judgments as they see fit. Barry may not fail a urine test, but he has failed the test given by many in the public. And for that he will forever carry the scarlett letter of many people saying he cheated.

BALCO & BONDS. Say them together enough and that start sounding rhythmic and they sound as one-word. No shock there.

Dom Heffner
01-17-2006, 11:48 AM
In February, 1920, doctored pitches were declared illegal (except for a handful grandfathered to continue using it), umpires were ordered to maintain clean balls in play and the AL average ERA jumped up to 4.12 over the next six seasons. That's over a 40 percent increase in AL ERA.


You see, now we are talking about two different things. You and I were talking about Gaylord Perry, not the entire pitching staffs of all major league teams from the early 1900s being allowed to throw dirty balls pitch after pitch.

I wasn't arguing that if baseball permitted the doctoring of the ball it would have no effect.

I'm saying under the current rule system, which Perry pitched under, it simply isn't that effective, and here's why.

First of all, Perry never threw a spitter when it was legal, and that makes all the difference in the world when comparing him with another era.

Secondly, in the doctored ball era, these guys were using balls that were allowed to remain in play after they had been damaged and discolored by ordinary use.

Perry did not pitch under these conditions.

Since the spitter was illegal when he played, the umpires were ruling under different circumstances than in the early 1900s: the balls used would have been clean and they were on the lookout for balls coming across the plate with suspicious movement and discoloration. There is no possible way that Perry was throwing this pitch every single time nor with as much frequency as they did back in the early 1900s when the spitter was legal.


Knowing how much pitchers DOMINATED before 1920, I'd be putting everything I possibly could on the ball well before considering injecting myself with a drug.

Again, this simply isn't plausible. The pitchers dominated when the doctored ball was legal, and now it is illegal to throw such a pitch. To think that one could dominate throwing a scuffed ball intermittently is preposterous.

As well: Not all of, but much of Perry's success came during the "Big Strike Zone" era, which lasted from 1963-1968. Four of those six years he posted an ERA under 3.00.


People act as if the recent level of offense is unprecedented; it isn't. In the 1920s and 1930s, directly after doctored pitches were outlawed, offense was at an all-time high.

Well, you see, we didn't outlaw any such pitches in the 1990s, so this isn't the reason it's happening now.

What was the rule change in the 1990s that allowed for as many 50 homerun seasons in one decade as in the entire history of baseball combined?

When you have guys like McGwire and Bonds who we can certainly ascertain took steroids (Bonds admitted he took them "unknowingly" and McGwire pleaded the Fifth while under oath) and these guys hit over 70 homeruns in a season, one has to wonder.

Here's a list of guys who took steroids and won MVP awards:

Ken Caminiti
Jason Giambi
Mark McGwire
Barry Bonds
Jose Canseco


I want to know when you believe Bonds started on the juice because I'd like to know which of Bonds' seasons you consider legit and which you don't.

I look at this question like the legal system looks at lying under oath on the stand. If I catch you once, I can discount everything you said.

I don't need to know when he did it and when he didn't, I just need to know he did it once.

Because Bonds has shown that he cheated, we really don't have to go sift through his career and say, well on this day he was on something, on this day he wasn't.

The burden does not suddenly shift to the public, it shifts to Bonds, which he is finding to be a rather difficult situation.


I do not know if Bonds used steroids, and I will not claim to know one way or the other.

Again, you keep saying you don't know whether he did or not, but Bonds has already told you he did in sworn testimony.

Do you not believe him? ;)

Jpup
01-17-2006, 12:37 PM
Do you honestly think it's impossible for a steroid user to pass a steroid test?

no. of course not.

registerthis
01-17-2006, 01:43 PM
no. of course not.

Then Bonds never testing positive through MLB-sanctioned testing is certainly not rock-hard proof that he never used steroids. it just means that he wasn't caught.

Cyclone792
01-17-2006, 05:21 PM
You see, now we are talking about two different things. You and I were talking about Gaylord Perry, not the entire pitching staffs of all major league teams from the early 1900s being allowed to throw dirty balls pitch after pitch.

I wasn't arguing that if baseball permitted the doctoring of the ball it would have no effect.

I'm saying under the current rule system, which Perry pitched under, it simply isn't that effective, and here's why.

First of all, Perry never threw a spitter when it was legal, and that makes all the difference in the world when comparing him with another era.

Secondly, in the doctored ball era, these guys were using balls that were allowed to remain in play after they had been damaged and discolored by ordinary use.

Perry did not pitch under these conditions.

Since the spitter was illegal when he played, the umpires were ruling under different circumstances than in the early 1900s: the balls used would have been clean and they were on the lookout for balls coming across the plate with suspicious movement and discoloration. There is no possible way that Perry was throwing this pitch every single time nor with as much frequency as they did back in the early 1900s when the spitter was legal.

Using entire league data before and after the outlawing of doctored pitches is key to statistically be able to generate the effect that doctoring the baseball had on league ERAs. It’s a mountain of data readily available and the change in league ERAs directly correlates to the change in rules.

The mean of AL league ERAs from 1913-1919 of 2.87 compared to the mean of AL league ERAs from 1920-1926 of 4.10 is statistically significant. There’s no denying the correlation.

Using data from 1905-1935, here’s an approximation of the league ERA increase with each of the three lively era effects included:

Lively ball introduction: increase of 0.35 ERA
Doctoring pitches outlawed: increase of 0.50 ERA
Clean balls instituted: increase of 0.70 ERA

Without accounting for minor noise, the accuracy of the model is well over 99 percent.

Of course there’s always minor noise, but when you also consider that not every pitcher who was pitching may have doctored the ball, then those who did doctor the ball likely had an even greater influence.

Given the data, your previous claims that “I don't think anyone truly thinks a spit ball has had any effect on the legitimacy of baseball stats” is plainly inaccurate and not supported whatsoever by the evidence at hand. There is a strong significant statistical correlation that clearly shows otherwise.


As well: Not all of, but much of Perry's success came during the "Big Strike Zone" era, which lasted from 1963-1968. Four of those six years he posted an ERA under 3.00.

Wait, what is that? Much of Perry’s success came from 1963-1968?



Year Win Shares
1964 19
1965 6
1966 21
1967 20
1968 19

1969 26
1970 24
1971 17
1972 39
1973 24
1974 30
1975 21
1976 17
1977 16
1978 18
1979 16
1980 11
1981 7
1982 10
1983 6


If much of his success came from 1963-1968, then tell me why Gaylord Perry’s five best seasons occurred after 1968? Again, you’ve made a patently false claim that’s clearly not supported by concrete evidence.


Well, you see, we didn't outlaw any such pitches in the 1990s, so this isn't the reason it's happening now.

What was the rule change in the 1990s that allowed for as many 50 homerun seasons in one decade as in the entire history of baseball combined?


Expansion of four teams
The arrival of Coors Field
I will venture a guess that the average park in say, 1998, was more of a hitter’s park than the average park in 1988
Steroids

I won’t deny that steroids have made some impact on increased run scoring during the 1990s, however, laying onto the implied claim that it’s the only reason is misinformed. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if expansion is the number one factor. I'm surprised and disappointed at the same time that you failed to even account for expansion when asking what rule changes occurred since 1990.

The park factor effect is an educated guess, though I'd love to see some proof that it's incorrect.


I look at this question like the legal system looks at lying under oath on the stand. If I catch you once, I can discount everything you said.

Well, you’ve already stated that you don’t think doctored pitches have any effect on baseball stats, and that’s clearly inaccurate. You’ve also stated that much of Gaylord Perry’s success occurred before 1968, and that’s clearly inaccurate.

You’ve made two important claims now that have both been determined to be highly inaccurate. If you're making baseless claims, why in the world should I believe you given your earlier baseless claims? I've been asking for evidence that Bonds cheated; you refuse to show it. Before I even bother continuing this discussion, you're going to have to start getting your facts lined up.


I don't need to know when he did it and when he didn't, I just need to know he did it once.

Because Bonds has shown that he cheated, we really don't have to go sift through his career and say, well on this day he was on something, on this day he wasn't.

The burden does not suddenly shift to the public, it shifts to Bonds, which he is finding to be a rather difficult situation.

I want you to present some actual evidence here, statistically, that supports the fact that Bonds may have used steroids. You’re making claims and have nothing to support them. Why should I believe you? Show me why I should believe you.

I’m looking for the evidence within his statistics. You’re making a claim based on speculation and circumstantial evidence that he used steroids. If that claim is true, it should show up in his stats.

Show me the stats. Show me what I should be seeing. And before you say “He hit 73 home runs in one season,” I’ll already tell you that it’s going to take much more than that simple statement. Bonds’ 2001 home run total can easily be classified as a statistical anomaly much the same as Maris’ 1961 home run total.

Dig deep. Show me that you actually know why Barry Bonds has been such a great hitter throughout his career. If it’s steroids, like you claim, then you should be able to draw up at least a reasonably convincing argument.


Again, you keep saying you don't know whether he did or not, but Bonds has already told you he did in sworn testimony.

Do you not believe him? ;)

Do you have a copy of his sworn testimony? If so, please do share it.

Nobody else I know has ever produced a copy of any testimony that contained an admittance from Barry Bonds that he used steroids. Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, the authors of the original Chronicle Bonds grand jury stories, have not written anything in any of their stories that is an admittance from Bonds. I invite you to actually email the writers yourself and ask them straight up if they have ever written that Bonds confessed.

Barry Bonds confessing to a grand jury that he used steroids is a myth, not fact. Claiming that Bonds actually confessed is another inaccurate claim. If you don’t believe it, read the wording of the stories word for word. No language within those stories contains a confession from Bonds.

What’s the importance of the language of those stories? It blows up your claim that Barry Bonds has shown that he’s cheated. No confession from Bonds = no burden of proof on Bonds that he cheated.

Cyclone792
01-17-2006, 05:46 PM
The park factor effect is an educated guess, though I'd love to see some proof that it's incorrect.

For the sake of it ...


[b]Year Park PF
1988 Wrigley 106
1989 Wrigley 107
1990 Wrigley 108
1991 Wrigley 105
1992 Wrigley 102

Average 106

1993 Wrigley 102
1994 Wrigley 98
1995 Wrigley 101
1996 Wrigley 101
1997 Wrigley 104

Average 101


1988 Riverfront 104
1989 Riverfront 104
1990 Riverfront 102
1991 Riverfront 105
1992 Riverfront 102

Average 103

1993 Riverfront 100
1994 Riverfront 99
1995 Riverfront 99
1996 Riverfront 100
1997 Riverfront 101

Average 100

Both parks selected at random.

It's amazing how welcoming vast new hitting parks has an effect on long standing parks that remained identical in structure. What used to be hitter's parks in the late 1980s were suddenly neutral parks in the mid 1990s.

Dom Heffner
01-17-2006, 05:53 PM
The mean of AL league ERAs from 1913-1919 of 2.87 compared to the mean of AL league ERAs from 1920-1926 of 4.10 is statistically significant. There’s no denying the correlation.

I did not deny this. We were discussing Gaylord Perry's use of the spitball, not early 20th century usage when the entire league used them every single day.

I said that Perry did not pitch when these pitches were legal, so comparing him to that period is statistically irrevelant.

Perry did not throw a spitter on each and every pitch he threw, nor did he throw them a vast majority of the time.

Gaylord Perry occasionally using a spitball is not a fair comparison to an entire league that used it all of the time, legally.

Again- the definition of a spitball has changed, sir. In the early days, a spitball could have been a ball that was used in play after it was spit on, scuffed, and discolored to the point that it looked gray when crossing the plate.

When the league outlawed them, the balls had to remain essentially white (the lively ball you erroneously refer to) to be kept in the game.

Gaylord Perry never pitched with discolored baseballs.

To compare someone that occasionally threw a spitball to an era where it could be thrown all the time, is not relevant.

If you want to do a scientific comparison, the conditons have to be similar or the results will be flawed, just like your argument.

Anyhow, your tone has become such that this discussion is over for me.

westofyou
01-17-2006, 06:09 PM
(the lively ball you erroneously refer to)What's erroneous about it?

It was lively, in 1920 following WW1 the wool used in the ball changed to Australian wool and was known to cause the ball to be able to be wound tighter than before.


"From my observation and in my judgement the ball in use for the season is livelier than any ball that has been used during all my years in Baseball."

Charles H. Ebbets 7-1921

1921 also happens to be the first year a ball cleared the fence at Redland (Crosley Field)

Cyclone792
01-17-2006, 06:18 PM
I did not deny this. We were discussing Gaylord Perry's use of the spitball, not early 20th century usage when the entire league used them every single day.

I said that Perry did not pitch when these pitches were legal, so comparing him to that period is statistically irrevelant.

Perry did not throw a spitter on each and every pitch he threw, nor did he throw them a vast majority of the time.

I really only have to know that he used it once ...


Gaylord Perry occasionally using a spitball is not a fair comparison to an entire league that used it all of the time, legally.

Again- the definition of a spitball has changed, sir. In the early days, a spitball could have been a ball that was used in play after it was spit on, scuffed, and discolored to the point that it looked gray when crossing the plate.

1920:

In event of the ball being intentionally discolored by any player, either by rubbing it with soil, or bay applying rosin, paraffin, licorice, or any other foreign substance to it, or otherwise intentionally damaging or roughening the same with sandpaper or emery paper, or other substance, the umpire shall forthwith demand the return of that ball and substitute for it another legal ball, and the offending player shall be disbarred from further participation in the game. If, however, the umpire cannot detect the violator of this rule, and the ball is delivered to the bat by the pitcher, then the latter shall be at once removed from the game, and as an additional penalty shall be automatically suspended for a period of 10 days.

At no time during the progress of the game shall the pitcher be allowed to: 1) Apply a foreign substance of any kind to the ball; 2) Expectorate either on the ball or his glove; 3) Rub the ball on his glove, person, or clothing; 4) Deface the ball in any manner; 5) or to deliver what is called the "shine" ball, "spit" ball, "mud" ball, or "emery" ball. For violation of any part of this rule the umpire shall at once order the pitcher from the game, and in addition he shall automatically be suspended for a period of 10 days, on notice from the president of the league.

Now I could be mistaken if there's been some minor modifications, but as far as I know that rule is still in effect today. If Gaylord Perry is guilty of any of the above, then he flat out cheated.


When the league outlawed them, the balls had to remain essentially white (the lively ball you erroneously refer to) to be kept in the game.

1911:

Ball: Cork-center balls are used for the first time as regulation balls in all games.


Gaylord Perry never pitched with discolored baseballs.

If he applied a substance himself, then he pitched with discolored baseballs.

registerthis
01-17-2006, 06:22 PM
For me, the cirumstantial evidence is far too great for me to honestly believe Bonds has never used steroids. In addition to his tremendous spike in numbers and--until recently--durability, his ties to BALCO, the actions of his personal trainer, the testimony of those close to him, and his own admittance that he "unknowingly" used undetectable steroids (source: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=1937594)--in addition to his near-superhuman production during an era where steroid use was known to be common, if not rampant--is enough for me to say with conviction that Barry Bonds is a steroid user.

As such, the discussion shifts away from whether to Bonds was a steroid user, to whether or not he should be allowed into the HoF.

The argument that "cheating is cheating" regardless of how it is done falls flat, however, due to baseball's own variable penalties for cheating in its various forms. A player who steals signs, for instance, though technically cheating will suffer no repercussions (other than perhaps a beaning his next time at the plate.) A player who uses too much pine tar on his bat or puts spit on the ball may be called out or ejected from the game. A player caught corking his bat, or using a foreign substance on the mound, may face a multi-game suspension. A player who gambles on baseball games risks a lifetime suspension. And so on.

Notice that the highest penalty for cheating--for gambling--is in place because it calls into question the very integrity of the game. A player or manager who gambles on games--particular his own--raises questions about performance, intent and effort. It throws all results into question.

Steroid use, likewise, raises questions as to the integrity of the game and its records. Why should Bonds' single season record of 73 HRs be considered legit if he required the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs to achieve it? The same cannot be said for spitball pitchers, bat-corkers, and similar ilk, who cheat on an event-by-event basis.

As such, I, personally, would never vote Bonds into the HoF--although I admit my opinions on this are just that, my opinions. Others may--and most certainly do--feel differently about such things. And that's probably why guys like McGwire and Bonds will make it in.

Cyclone792
01-17-2006, 06:31 PM
What's erroneous about it?

It was lively, in 1920 following WW1 the wool used in the ball changed to Australian wool and was known to cause the ball to be able to be wound tighter than before.

1921 also happens to be the first year a ball cleared the fence at Redland (Crosley Field)

Branch Rickey said the same thing, but I've also read that baseball stated the ball's performance shouldn't be effected due to the change. Still, I'd venture to say that it's likely true that the performance did change ... so that adds a third variable to the table alongside outlawing doctored pitches and using more balls per game.

I am convinced that all three variables each had their own individual impact on juicing offense, and the sum of those three variables produced the 1920s/1930s scoring rates.

Dom Heffner
01-17-2006, 06:45 PM
What's erroneous about it?

It was lively, in 1920 following WW1 the wool used in the ball changed to Australian wool and was known to cause the ball to be able to be wound tighter than before.

This may be debatable - and according to this article the cork was instituted in 1925- but according to Bill James:


"Most baseball fans believe that there was a change of baseballs that was instituted in 1920, a 'lively' ball that was adopted which made possible the home run explosion by Babe Ruth, who hit the unimaginable total of 54 in a season.

"There was no such switch in baseballs. A better quality of yarn was available after World War I, and this may have accidentally increased the resiliency of the ball, but that was incidental, and its effect was not dramatic."

James argued that the explosion in offense was due to the outlawing of spitballs and a few other rule changes.


That ended in 1921 when the spitball was banned and clean balls were kept in play. Pitchers complained not only about the whiteness of the balls, but that they were slick and hard to hold. "The clean, new balls were incidentally much more 'lively' than old, soiled, battered and spit-upon baseballs of the previous decade," Bill James wrote, "but that was not initially the purpose of their use."

And again, talking about Gaylord Perry being able to use these pitches to the same extent that these players did is simply not plausible.




In the oral history, "The Glory of Their Times," the player Fred Snodgrass said, "We hardly ever saw a new baseball, a clean one. If the ball went into the stands and the ushers couldn't get it back from the spectators, only then would the umpire throw out a new one."

Snodgrass also said all infielders chewed tobacco and licorice and spit into their gloves to help make the ball as dark as possible for their pitchers.

Do those sound like the conditions that Gaylord Perry was pitching under?
Did he get to keep baseballs for innings on end? This would have taken a mass conspiracy where everyone would have had to darken baseballs for just Gaylord Perry.

The difference in the color of the ball was the key here, and to think that he could do this at will and with the same frequency and effect as did players in the early 20th century and only get caught once in his 20 plus years defies logic.

http://www.sportingnews.com/archives/sports2000/moments/147989.html

Cyclone792
01-17-2006, 06:49 PM
For me, the cirumstantial evidence is far too great for me to honestly believe Bonds has never used steroids. In addition to his tremendous spike in numbers and--until recently--durability, his ties to BALCO, the actions of his personal trainer, the testimony of those close to him, and his own admittance that he "unknowingly" used undetectable steroids (source: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=1937594)--in addition to his near-superhuman production during an era where steroid use was known to be common, if not rampant--is enough for me to say with conviction that Barry Bonds is a steroid user.

Reg, what's fascinating to me is the language in the original article by the original writers is different ...

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/12/03/MNGGFA0UDU65.DTL

Chronicle: "Bonds testified that he had received and used clear and cream substances from his personal strength trainer, Greg Anderson, during the 2003 baseball season but was told they were the nutritional supplement flaxseed oil and a rubbing balm for arthritis, according to a transcript of his testimony reviewed by The Chronicle."

ESPN: "Bonds told a U.S. grand jury that he used undetectable steroids known as "the cream" and "the clear," which he received from personal trainer Greg Anderson during the 2003 season."

The Chronicle article does not refer to the substances as "the cream" or "the clear" like the ESPN article does (without authors). This is an important distinction ... Per the Chronicle wording, I could receive a cream substance from a trainer to treat a skin irritation. Per the ESPN article that isn't the case.

I'm very curious as to this slight change in wording because it is important. The original is not damning while the second story is damning.


As such, the discussion shifts away from whether to Bonds was a steroid user, to whether or not he should be allowed into the HoF.

The argument that "cheating is cheating" regardless of how it is done falls flat, however, due to baseball's own variable penalties for cheating in its various forms. A player who steals signs, for instance, though technically cheating will suffer no repercussions (other than perhaps a beaning his next time at the plate.) A player who uses too much pine tar on his bat or puts spit on the ball may be called out or ejected from the game. A player caught corking his bat, or using a foreign substance on the mound, may face a multi-game suspension. A player who gambles on baseball games risks a lifetime suspension. And so on.

Notice that the highest penalty for cheating--for gambling--is in place because it calls into question the very integrity of the game. A player or manager who gambles on games--particular his own--raises questions about performance, intent and effort. It throws all results into question.

I wholeheartedly agree that gambling is wayyyy up top, with everything else well below it.

Steroids is far far closer to doctoring baseballs than it is gambling, though. Doctoring balls has carried a 10 game suspension for 85 years. Baseball's original steroids policy was not that different from its doctoring baseballs policy. Public reaction forced them to change it, that's it. If we see a pitcher in 2006 go 31-5 with a 1.15 ERA and 400 strikeouts, then comes out and says he doctored balls all year, I'd have to imagine public pressure would also force baseball to change that policy.


Steroid use, likewise, raises questions as to the integrity of the game and its records. Why should Bonds' single season record of 73 HRs be considered legit if he required the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs to achieve it? The same cannot be said for spitball pitchers, bat-corkers, and similar ilk, who cheat on an event-by-event basis.

The effect doctored baseballs have had is just too real for me to ignore. The AL ERA increase after 1920 was around 43 percent. Stanley Coveleski's ERA only jumped about 30 percent. Coveleski's two best seasons occurred in 1917 and 1918 when everyone legally threw what they wanted. After 1920, only he and 17 others were legally allowed to throw what they wanted. His two best seasons were before 1920, yet his ERA only increased about two-thirds what everyone else's increased. Common sense tells me the doctored pitches he was allowed to continue to throw is the difference.

Coveleski maintained real and significant value because he was able to continually throw doctored pitches. Anybody else afterward, such as Gaylord Perry, picked up that value too when they messed around with the ball. The only difference between Coveleski and Perry is the game gave Stan the permission to do what he did. It gave no such permission to Perry.


As such, I, personally, would never vote Bonds into the HoF--although I admit my opinions on this are just that, my opinions. Others may--and most certainly do--feel differently about such things. And that's probably why guys like McGwire and Bonds will make it in.

They'll make it, just like Gaylord Perry did. It may not be on the first ballot, but they'll make it ... as they deserve to do.

westofyou
01-17-2006, 06:51 PM
and according to this article the cork was instituted in 1925Nah, that was 1911 in fact that season took a HUGE offensive spike.

I don't think the ball alone was responsible, just like I don't think that steroids themselves are why Bonds numbers are so out of site.

A little of this, a little of that and this might change and this bends and so on... the game is mallable, it changes before you know it. The players approach, the equipment, the players diet, overall talent swing etc... all of it makes it muddy.

Sure Bonds numbers could be all because of steroid use, but then again maybe it isn't?

Dom Heffner
01-17-2006, 07:19 PM
Sure Bonds numbers could be all because of steroid use, but then again maybe it isn't?


What about Caminiti? McGwire? Giambi? Palmeiro?



The effect doctored baseballs have had is just too real for me to ignore. The AL ERA increase after 1920 was around 43 percent.

I would honestly like to know how a pitcher pitching today could ever duplicate the conditions by which the players had so much success back in the early 1900s.


The only difference between Coveleski and Perry is the game gave Stan the permission to do what he did. It gave no such permission to Perry.

And the fact that Perry didn't have an entire infield chewing tobacco and spitting in their gloves to help darken the ball and he didn't get to use the same ball for innings on end, and batters could ask for new balls....

These conditions are simply not similar.

westofyou
01-17-2006, 07:36 PM
What about Caminiti? McGwire? Giambi? Palmeiro?

What about them? What to do?

Cyclone792
01-17-2006, 08:40 PM
I would honestly like to know how a pitcher pitching today could ever duplicate the conditions by which the players had so much success back in the early 1900s.

Dom, they could not duplicate conditions from pre-1919 baseball, but that does not mean doctoring the baseball does not give a pitcher a significant advantage. Doctoring the ball gives the pitcher a significant advantage over not doctoring the ball, and it's an advantage that can be seen in any era.

During the offseason between 1919 and 1920, at least three documented changes occurred which likely resulted in the extreme spike in run scoring the very next season.

Outlawing doctored pitches
Using more balls per game
Different wool type used in manufacturing the ball itself

The immediate spike in run scoring was huge. We're looking at nearly 1.5 runs scored per game and over 1 run per game in ERA, and the bulk of that change occurred over one season. The most reasonable explanation for that spike in run scoring is due to the sum of all three of the variables above.

You're making the mistake of trying to assume that the spike in run scoring was due only because of one or two of those three variables rather than all three as a sum. In fact, it's relatively easy to see that you've attempted everything possible to not factor in the variable of outlawing doctored pitches. I'm taking a look at all three factors, and I'm trying to come up with at least a reasonable assessment of how much weight to apply to each variable. I do not believe all three variables are equal, and I also do not believe that outlawing doctored pitches is the most important variable. But I do believe a portion of the spike in newfound offense was a result of that variable.

** In regards to the third variable and changes to the ball, MLB denied during that time that the changes in the ball itself changed the performance of the ball. That is a fact up for debate, but I'm likely to assume that some of the spike in offense occurred as a result of that change based on anecdotal evidence of the people in the game, such as Branch Rickey.

What it all comes down to in regards to doctoring pitches is how much of that 1+ run increase in offense and ERA is a result of doctoring pitches? Is it 10 percent? Is it 25 percent? Is it 50 percent?

You've been making the argument that 0 percent of that increase in offense and ERA is a result of eliminating doctored pitches.

For all the data that is available, that simply is not reasonable.

On the other hand, it is not unreasonable to believe that approximately 25 percent of that spike in offense occurred as a result of doctored pitches. Is it really 20 percent? Is it closer to 40 percent? I do not know, but it is a variable that holds some weight. With all the data I've seen, 25 percent seems like a reasonable percentage. Converted to raw ERA, that's about 0.33 runs.

Likewise, 0.33 runs in 1920 is not the same as 0.33 runs in 1970 (it's probably closer to 0.25 runs in 1970). Again, what that means is it is not unreasonable to assume that Gaylord Perry may have saved an additional 0.25 runs off his ERA during his career. Suddenly, instead of having a 3.11 lifetime ERA in a league with a 3.63 ERA (117 ERA+), we have something more along the lines of a 3.36 lifetime ERA in that same league context (108 ERA+).

Over the course of 5,000 plus innings, a nine point difference in ERA+ is huge. With all those extra runs that Perry would give up, does he win 300 games? Does he have the gaudy counting stats that put him in the Hall of Fame? Is he even Hall worthy?

My answers to those three questions are 1) I don't know, 2) I don't know and 3) Probably not.


And the fact that Perry didn't have an entire infield chewing tobacco and spitting in their gloves to help darken the ball and he didn't get to use the same ball for innings on end, and batters could ask for new balls....

These conditions are simply not similar.

Stanley Coveleski pitched from 1912-1928. Through 1919, he had those conditions you're referring to with having infielders helping destroy the ball for him.

Starting in 1920, he did not have those advantages with using the same ball for the entire game, but he was still allowed to throw doctored pitches. Stanley Coveleski in 1920-1928 was pitching in essentially the same environment as Gaylord Perry per the rules regarding doctoring the baseball and replacing scuffed baseballs with new, clean balls. From 1920-1928, infielders were not permitted to spew chewing tobacco on the ball or do anything to darken it. When Coveleski was on the mound, the only player on the field that was allowed to do so was Coveleski. The only difference vs. Perry was Coveleski was permitted to do so while Perry was not.

I put in two years with Spokane, and then one with Portland in the Pacific Coast League, and I guess that year with Portland - 1915 - was the turning point. I was twenty-five years old, was in my seventh year in the minors, and was starting to wonder if I'd ever make it to the Big Leagues. I had good control, a good curve, a good fastball and a good slow ball. But evidently that wasn't enough.

One day I was watching one of the Portland pitchers throwing spitballs. "By Gosh," I said to myself, "I'm going to try to throw that."

I started working on the spitter, and before long I had that thing down pat. Had never thrown it before in my life. But before that season was over it was my main pitch, and the next year I was up with the Cleveland Indians. That pitch - the spitball - kept me up there for 13 years and won me over 200 games.

I got so I had as good control over the spitball as I did over my other pitches. I could make it break any of three ways: down, out, or down and out. And I always knew which way it would break. Depended on my wrist action. For the spitball, what you do is wet these first two fingers. I used alum, had it in my mouth. Sometimes it would pucker your mouth some, get gummy. I'd go to my mouth on every pitch. Not every pitch would be a spitball. Sometimes I'd go maybe two or three innings without throwing one. But I'd always have them looking for it.

They outlawed the spitter in 1920. Said only certain established spitballers coul continue to throw it after that. Me and sixteen others was all. Maybe the great year I had in 1920 had something to do with it. I don't know. They wanted to shift the odds more in favor of the batter.

-- Hall of Famer Stanley Coveleski, The Glory of Their Times

37red
01-17-2006, 08:54 PM
He doesn't deserve the record, nor do many players in the last 10 years. I don't have anything against him personally, he's just not a smile glitter kind of guy, I didn't and don't like Neon Deon or people like him. Steroids, I hate that it ever came to that. I'll bet every sport has problems with them but baseball has a more blatant visibility. Every one seems to be doing some kind of drug, or at least TV and the pharmaceutical companies tell us to be. If I could pitch to him I would. No way would I throw at him, I'd much rather try to get one past him.

Dom Heffner
01-18-2006, 01:25 AM
Starting in 1920, he did not have those advantages with using the same ball for the entire game, but he was still allowed to throw doctored pitches. Stanley Coveleski in 1920-1928 was pitching in essentially the same environment as Gaylord Perry per the rules regarding doctoring the baseball and replacing scuffed baseballs with new, clean balls.

Except that, by your own admission, Stanley was allowed to throw it.

If you could make the argument that Gaylord Perry was allowed to throw the spitter and most everyone else was not, then you'd have something.

Perry did not have the luxury of throwing the spitter without fear of penalty. Covelski did.

This changes everything.

Cyclone792
01-18-2006, 06:46 AM
Except that, by your own admission, Stanley was allowed to throw it.

If you could make the argument that Gaylord Perry was allowed to throw the spitter and most everyone else was not, then you'd have something.

Perry did not have the luxury of throwing the spitter without fear of penalty. Covelski did.

This changes everything.

Dom, I'm trying to quantify how much advantage a pitcher may have over somebody else. That's it, nothing more. There is an advantage to throwing the doctored pitches they have thrown, and it doesn't matter if they threw them in 1905, 1925 or 1975. You're looking for any excuse in the book to not believe there is not some sort of quantifiable advantage, which doesn't make any sense, but whatever.

You want to make the argument that it "changes everything" that one player was allowed to throw doctored pitches and another was not? Fine. Everybody who used steroids in the 1990s was allowed to do so per the game's rules without fear of penalty, because there was no policy or rules against steroid use within baseball.

That changes everything.

registerthis
01-18-2006, 12:13 PM
Perhaps the corked bat = steroids argument would fly better with me if i could accept the idea that the player that used a cork bat on every single at bat, season after season. I don't accept that premise--I stand by the assertion that cheating, such as scuffing the ball, corking the bat, etc.--affects the game in the same way that steroid use does- which presents a player with a number of advantages that continue for an indefinite period of time.

In your scenario with the pitcher, it's highly unlikely that a pitcher who went 31-5 with 400 K's would achieve that simply by doctoring a ball all year. The odds that he would get caught if he doctored the ball on every pitch--as is the implication, if we're comparing it with the advantage gained by using steroids--are astronomical. Steroids, as we all well know, can be undetectable, or nearly so. Additionally, steroids help with far more than control--which is what doctoring a ball would do, or power--which is what corkign the bat would do. Perhaps more than anything, it allows for endurance. During the latter part of the season, when most players are tired or injured in some way, the steroid user has an inherent advantage over everyone on the field. He'll be faster, stronger, and more durable for everyday playing. Those are advantages that normal "doctoring" of balls an dbats can't offer.

Puffy
01-18-2006, 12:23 PM
Hey, do you guys know that steroids were a legal sustance until the 1980's. And do you know that MLB didn't have a specific rule barring them until even more recently?

Since you now know that information do you guys realize that "the integrity" of records then could thereby be compromised because prior to them being declared illegal anyone could have used them?

And one of the reasons that people did not use them for baseball, originally, was because they weren't thought to make baseball players better, since its hand eye coordination. It was only once they started using them that it was discovered they actually did make a difference in a baseball player.

Listen, I don't care, steroids to me are a non-issue. The reason steroids are banned in all these sports and in general is because of the serious health risks to each individual (the liver mostly). So if someone is stupid enough to use them, so be it.

Maybe I'm the only one who doesn't care, but Bonds has amazing baseball skills - thats what I care about.

Dom Heffner
01-18-2006, 01:02 PM
Hey, do you guys know that steroids were a legal sustance until the 1980's. And do you know that MLB didn't have a specific rule barring them until even more recently?

So baseball permitted the use of illegal steroids?

That Anti-trust thing is nice. ;)

Baseball's silence on the issue does not mean they were permitted. Baseball probably doesn't have specific rules banning lots of things that are illegal in the U.S., but that doesn't mean they permit them. An absence of a rule would only mean no one caught using them could be punished. It doesn't mean baseball was fine with their usage.

These players were not forthcoming, letting everyone know they were on them. It was a secret, which, if baseball had no rule against them, why is that?

Puffy, I love ya buddy, but if your children ever come home after they get caught with some cocaine, I hope you give credence to their argument when they explain to you that it was legal at one time and that our drug laws stem from racial stereotypes perpetuated close to a hundred years ago.

I always told my parents that if George Washington could use marijuana, then why couldn't I?

Puffy
01-18-2006, 01:08 PM
So baseball permitted the use of illegal steroids?

That Anti-trust thing is nice. ;)

Baseball's silence on the issue does not mean they were permitted. These players were not forthcoming, letting everyone know they were on them. It was a secret, which, if baseball had no rule against them, why is that?

Because they weren't allowed to do it, that's why.

Puffy, I love ya buddy, but if your children ever come home after they get caught with some cocaine, I hope you give credence to their argument when they explain to you that it was legal at one time.

Ahhhh, don't get me wrong Dom - I'm not giving credence to them. Just addressing the "integrity of the game" issue. Not saying it makes it right, nor justified, just that all thru the history of the game (since steroids were "founded") people had the opportunity to use them and pad their stats as well.

And steroid use is way down on my list of evils one could do to themselves, thats all.

registerthis
01-18-2006, 01:51 PM
And steroid use is way down on my list of evils one could do to themselves, thats all.

On a personal level, sure.

As far as criteria for Hall membership, it's pretty high for me.

Cyclone792
01-18-2006, 03:17 PM
So baseball permitted the use of illegal steroids?

Baseball's silence on the issue does not mean they were permitted. Baseball probably doesn't have specific rules banning lots of things that are illegal in the U.S., but that doesn't mean they permit them. An absence of a rule would only mean no one caught using them could be punished. It doesn't mean baseball was fine with their usage.

Except that baseball's responsibility is enforcing its own rules and regulations, of which there were zero regarding steroids until very recently. It is not baseball's responsibility to enforce public laws. It is the responsibility of law enforcement agencies to enforce public laws.

Cyclone792
01-18-2006, 03:17 PM
Hey, do you guys know that steroids were a legal sustance until the 1980's. And do you know that MLB didn't have a specific rule barring them until even more recently?

Since you now know that information do you guys realize that "the integrity" of records then could thereby be compromised because prior to them being declared illegal anyone could have used them?

And one of the reasons that people did not use them for baseball, originally, was because they weren't thought to make baseball players better, since its hand eye coordination. It was only once they started using them that it was discovered they actually did make a difference in a baseball player.

Listen, I don't care, steroids to me are a non-issue. The reason steroids are banned in all these sports and in general is because of the serious health risks to each individual (the liver mostly). So if someone is stupid enough to use them, so be it.

Maybe I'm the only one who doesn't care, but Bonds has amazing baseball skills - thats what I care about.

Excellent post, Puffy. :thumbup:

Cyclone792
01-18-2006, 03:21 PM
Perhaps the corked bat = steroids argument would fly better with me if i could accept the idea that the player that used a cork bat on every single at bat, season after season. I don't accept that premise--I stand by the assertion that cheating, such as scuffing the ball, corking the bat, etc.--affects the game in the same way that steroid use does- which presents a player with a number of advantages that continue for an indefinite period of time.

You might enjoy this article :D http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/361-in-61/


In your scenario with the pitcher, it's highly unlikely that a pitcher who went 31-5 with 400 K's would achieve that simply by doctoring a ball all year. The odds that he would get caught if he doctored the ball on every pitch--as is the implication, if we're comparing it with the advantage gained by using steroids--are astronomical. Steroids, as we all well know, can be undetectable, or nearly so. Additionally, steroids help with far more than control--which is what doctoring a ball would do, or power--which is what corkign the bat would do. Perhaps more than anything, it allows for endurance. During the latter part of the season, when most players are tired or injured in some way, the steroid user has an inherent advantage over everyone on the field. He'll be faster, stronger, and more durable for everyday playing. Those are advantages that normal "doctoring" of balls an dbats can't offer.

If steroids are undetectable, then I have to wonder what good any type of steroid testing does. If nobody believes a negative test result when it occurs, then it's a waste of time to even bother testing in the first place.

Cyclone792
01-18-2006, 04:01 PM
I have some "circumstantial evidence"...

* Many people who have seen Bonds hanging at BALCO.
* Gary Sheffield's words reagrding Bonds and his BALCO cream, etc.
* The words of Barry's mistress.

I understand when people say there is not enough evidence. However, there is plenty of circumstantial evidence. This evidence is not as damning as a failed drug test or a confession from Barry. But we must remember that we are not talking a court of law (ask Pete Rose). This is a sports game and the fans of the game are allowed to make judgments as they see fit. Barry may not fail a urine test, but he has failed the test given by many in the public. And for that he will forever carry the scarlett letter of many people saying he cheated.

BALCO & BONDS. Say them together enough and that start sounding rhythmic and they sound as one-word. No shock there.

Since everybody loves to play commish when it comes to Bonds, let's all play commish under a different scenario.

Here's some hypothetical evidence that is, at the very least, circumstantial, and possibly more concrete than even circumstantial:

Player A accuses a star player, Player B, of betting on a baseball game a few seasons earlier.
Player A has letters in his possession outlining the details of an actual bet on a game and submits them to the commissioner's office. One letter was written to Player A from Player B, with Player B stating in the letter that he attempted to make a bet, but was unsuccessful. The other letter from a separate player verifies the claim of Player B's unsuccessful bet attempt and also includes a check to cover for other players that did bet.
Player B admits all content within the letters is true, but denies betting on baseball and denies attempting to bet on baseball. However, he does admit having prior knowledge that a bet on that game did occur between other players involved in the game. He did not report that prior knowledge to any league official.
As soon as the evidence hits the commissioner's desk, Player B is suddenly released by his team, with the only reason given being that he demoralized his franchise. He then suddenly drops from the limelight and disappears from the press.

Dom, Reg and RFA ... if you're the commish in charge and this evidence is brought before you, what do you do?

1) Ban Player B for life
2) Let Player B walk without any penalty
3) Other (explain)

If this player is clearly a Hall of Fame caliber player based on his playing record, do you permit him to be elected into the Hall of Fame?

registerthis
01-18-2006, 04:16 PM
You might enjoy this article :D http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/361-in-61/

Interesting article, I did enjoy it. I was not familiar with Mr. Cash's story. I suspect, however, that your reason for posting it had to do with the corked bat issue. However, it didn't say that he used the corked bat in every at-bat, only "that year." And, you know, Sammy used a corked bat in 2003...just not in every at-bat.

There is, of course, the literal fact that "...There is no good evidence that corking a bat actually provides physical benefit to a batter; the advantage gained in bat speed is counteracted by the advantage lost in bat mass. "


If steroids are undetectable, then I have to wonder what good any type of steroid testing does. If nobody believes a negative test result when it occurs, then it's a waste of time to even bother testing in the first place.

Certainly not all steroids are undetectable, and as testing becomes more and more streamlined the odds that it will weed out those who think they are "beating the system" increases. I certainly see the value in steroid testing. It is, however, unlikely that every single steroid user can or will be caught. Some will go undetected--by the testing labs, the media and the fans. It doesn't mean the idea of testing should be scrapped. And with Bonds, as I outlined above, there is far more evidence than simply "he could test negative and still be juicing" that implies he is on steroids.

registerthis
01-18-2006, 04:24 PM
If this player is clearly a Hall of Fame caliber player based on his playing record, do you permit him to be elected into the Hall of Fame?

Well, if we're comparing this situation to bonds...I would require more evidence than was presented to make a decision. I would interview more players/managers/personnel, go through the player's personal records and file, and attempt to determine whether or not the player actually did bet on baseball games. If the evidence supports the notion that Rose bet on baseball as a manager but not a player, i would support banishment from baseball, but allow HoF election. If the player bet on baseball while a player, i support banishment from baseball AND a banishment from ever being elected to the HoF.

In the example you gave, the evidence did not support Player B betting on baseball. With Bonds, I believe the evidence DOES support his steroid use.

RedFanAlways1966
01-18-2006, 04:44 PM
Well, if we're comparing this situation to bonds...I would require more evidence than was presented to make a decision. I would interview more players/managers/personnel, go through the player's personal records and file, and attempt to determine whether or not the player actually did bet on baseball games. If the evidence supports the notion that Rose bet on baseball as a manager but not a player, i would support banishment from baseball, but allow HoF election. If the player bet on baseball while a player, i support banishment from baseball AND a banishment from ever being elected to the HoF.

In the example you gave, the evidence did not support Player B betting on baseball. With Bonds, I believe the evidence DOES support his steroid use.

I have to agree with register word-for-word. That is not enough evidence. I think there is a lot more evidence agianst Barry, which leads me to my next paragraph...

I wonder (as some others may) if there is more damning evidence against Barry with his steroid usage. Would MLB cover things up (for lack of a better term) to protect one of their top "ticket-sellers"? Surely someone in the MLB offices knew about Barry's new friends at this place called BALCO. And that leads me to the next paragraph...

Steroids, as many people mention, were not banned by MLB until recently. I believe (and I am a real fan of the game) that MLB knew about steroid usage all along and decided that the big-fly-game that it produced was worthy of the revenue it generated. I have no evidence of this, but I like to believe that the MLB offices are a bit smarter than they let on about steroids. We have even read stories from former trainers who claim it has been around for a long time.

Barry Bonds busted and suspended for steroids? That would not sound good for the game when the guy is right on the doorstep for passing Ruth and then right down the street from Hammering Hank. Barry represents a lot to the game as a "never been caught type". He represents real BIG problem if he goes down as a steroid user.

Cyclone792
01-18-2006, 04:44 PM
Well, if we're comparing this situation to bonds...I would require more evidence than was presented to make a decision. I would interview more players/managers/personnel, go through the player's personal records and file, and attempt to determine whether or not the player actually did bet on baseball games. If the evidence supports the notion that Rose bet on baseball as a manager but not a player, i would support banishment from baseball, but allow HoF election. If the player bet on baseball while a player, i support banishment from baseball AND a banishment from ever being elected to the HoF.

In the example you gave, the evidence did not support Player B betting on baseball. With Bonds, I believe the evidence DOES support his steroid use.

Well, this is the precedent that you're working from ...

... no player that throws a ballgame; no player that undertakes or promises to throw a ballgame; no player that sits in a conference with a bunch of crooked players and gamblers where the ways and means of throwing games are planned and discussed and does not promptly tell his club about it, will ever play professional baseball.

You interview Player B. He admits having knowledge of a fix in that specific game. He even claims to seek out a person everyone "can trust" so that a fix can be made. He fully admits, confesses, in your interview that he acted as an intermediary in laying a bet. However, he never tells anybody, not his club, not any league official, about acting as an intermediary. He also fails to explain the letter he wrote to Player A, especially the damaging content.

Here's the damaging content of that letter:

[We] are considerably disappointed in our business proposition, as we had $2,000 to put into it and the other side quoted us $1,400 and when we finally secured that much it was about two o'clock and they refused to deal with us, as they had men in Chicago to take the matter up with and they had no time, so we completely fell down and of course we felt badly about it.

It was quite a responsibility and I don't care for it again.

If the precedent includes no player that sits in a conference with a bunch of crooked players and gamblers where the ways and means of throwing games are planned and discussed and does not promptly tell his club about it, and then the player confesses as to acting as an intermediary in placing an actual bet without ever telling his club about it, do you think he's guilty?

registerthis
01-18-2006, 04:50 PM
Barry Bonds busted and suspended for steroids? That would not sound good for the game when the guy is right on the doorstep for passing Ruth and then right down the street from Hammering Hank. Barry represents a lot to the game as a "never been caught type". He represents real BIG problem if he goes down as a steroid user.

I generally avoid conspiracy theories and such, but there's a part of me that believes this to be true. For a game in recovery, after it's "heroes" of 1998 were exposed as frauds, to have the sports biggest name (and soon-to-be-crowned HR king) go down as a steroid user would be traumatic.

I'm not saying that's what's happened, as there isn't any evidence to support that. But it sure woul dmake a lot of sense.

WebScorpion
01-24-2006, 11:10 AM
I'm sure Bonds has done steroids. What really bothers me as a fan is not that his record is tainted, it's that he cheated me out of seeing what he could have been without steroids. The young Barry Bonds who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates was a fantastic all-around talent. He could play the field, hit for average, power, and steal a few bags...he did it all. He might have still broken Aaron's record, but we'll never know. When it comes to his upcoming chase, I'm sure I'll be totally apathetic. I really was hoping that he'd just hang them up and leave his numbers where they are out of respect for Ruth and Aaron, but with his personality I knew that was too much to hope for. I predict that he'll be upset by the lukewarm, or more likely, downright antagonistic reception to his 'historic' chase. He'll more than likely play the 'race card' at some point too... classic Barry Bonds. :thumbdown

RFS62
01-24-2006, 03:45 PM
Interesting that Bonds has backed out of the WBC. A lot of talk today on XM about how the drug testing isn't just a urine test, but a blood test too.

Dom Heffner
01-29-2006, 01:08 PM
Interesting that Bonds has backed out of the WBC. A lot of talk today on XM about how the drug testing isn't just a urine test, but a blood test too.

I think he is more worried about himself breaking the record than the steroids test. He doesn't want to get hurt.

RedsBaron
01-29-2006, 02:14 PM
I'm sure Bonds has done steroids. What really bothers me as a fan is not that his record is tainted, it's that he cheated me out of seeing what he could have been without steroids. The young Barry Bonds who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates was a fantastic all-around talent. He could play the field, hit for average, power, and steal a few bags...he did it all. He might have still broken Aaron's record, but we'll never know. When it comes to his upcoming chase, I'm sure I'll be totally apathetic. I really was hoping that he'd just hang them up and leave his numbers where they are out of respect for Ruth and Aaron, but with his personality I knew that was too much to hope for. I predict that he'll be upset by the lukewarm, or more likely, downright antagonistic reception to his 'historic' chase. He'll more than likely play the 'race card' at some point too... classic Barry Bonds. :thumbdown
I agree. If Bonds plays the "race card" should he break Aaron's career mark for HRs, that would really be something since Aaron is African-American and really did face racially motivated threats when he was closing in on Ruth's career record.

KronoRed
01-29-2006, 02:17 PM
I'd just walk him, no matter what.

I'd LOVE to see Bud try and order teams to pitch to him ;)

RedsBaron
01-29-2006, 02:26 PM
WOY- I would agree usually. But the sheer increase in his numbers and the absolutely incredible numbers compared to anyone else after 35 and it's pretty close to a sure thing. Just my opinion.
Yeah, and the Bambino and Teddy Ballgame never had their peak seasons after age 35. Ruth and Williams had some remarkable seasons after age 35, but they still were not quite as good as they had been in their twenties. Barry Bonds had four seasons from 2001 through 2004, after he turned age 36, that not only surpassed any seasons he had with the bat when he was younger, but that far, far surpassed those seasons. IMO Bond's's numbers in those seasons are phony and I'd consider him for the HOF after Pete Rose, Shoeless Joe Jackson, and a host of others are inducted.

paintmered
01-29-2006, 02:31 PM
Then Bonds never testing positive through MLB-sanctioned testing is certainly not rock-hard proof that he never used steroids. it just means that he wasn't caught.

That's right. The absense of evidence proves nothing.

westofyou
01-29-2006, 02:36 PM
Barry Bonds had four seasons from 2001 through 2004, after he turned age 36, that not only surpassed any seasons he had with the bat when he was younger, but that far, far surpassed those seasons.
Here's Bonds vs the league


BARRY BONDS

YEAR TEAM AGE G AB R H 2B 3B HR HR% RBI BB SO SB CS AVG SLG OBA OPS
1986 Pirates 21 -13 18 -19 6 0 6 1.43 -3 21 32 23 -1 -.039 .022 -.002 .021
1987 Pirates 22 6 24 -3 7 5 9 1.63 -11 -2 -1 16 -3 -.008 .073 -.010 .063
1988 Pirates 23 31 37 22 7 2 14 2.40 2 25 3 2 -5 .026 .115 .048 .163
1989 Pirates 24 0 26 -3 7 2 6 1.09 -7 36 0 18 -3 -.006 .048 .030 .077
1990 Pirates 25 20 40 24 9 0 21 3.92 54 44 5 38 -7 .036 .168 .075 .243
1991 Pirates 26 10 32 20 6 1 13 2.59 57 58 -9 30 -6 .034 .128 .085 .212
1992 Pirates 27 30 57 32 15 2 25 5.16 54 85 -2 28 -3 .052 .242 .131 .374
1993 Giants 28 40 61 46 14 1 33 5.87 59 78 -2 17 -7 .065 .264 .122 .387
1994 Giants 29 24 38 21 -1 -2 26 6.51 33 38 -21 21 -5 .038 .218 .085 .302
1995 Giants 30 13 40 15 5 4 19 3.60 40 71 -6 19 -5 .024 .156 .091 .247
1996 Giants 31 25 52 26 2 0 27 5.11 64 102 -15 28 -2 .038 .193 .122 .315
1997 Giants 32 14 50 15 -1 2 25 4.57 32 92 -9 24 -2 .021 .160 .104 .264
1998 Giants 33 13 45 22 16 4 21 3.65 51 75 -8 18 -7 .034 .184 .099 .283
1999 Giants 34 1 38 -5 1 0 22 6.16 32 33 -2 7 1 -.014 .173 .038 .211
2000 Giants 35 29 61 24 4 1 33 6.65 41 66 -6 2 1 .033 .241 .089 .330
2001 Giants 36 52 68 42 9 0 58 11.81 79 134 11 6 1 .059 .423 .175 .599
2002 Giants 37 68 72 60 13 0 36 8.31 67 163 -15 3 1 .104 .376 .242 .618
2003 Giants 38 47 63 41 3 -1 34 8.33 44 113 -4 2 2 .072 .318 .189 .506
2004 Giants 39 54 84 49 10 1 34 8.69 59 199 -18 1 1 .092 .375 .268 .643
2005 Giants 40 2 3 1 -1 0 4 8.82 5 5 -1 -1 0 .017 .239 .065 .304
TOTALS 467 908 432 132 21 464 4.94 751 1435 -69 300 -50 .034 .198 .106 .304

Here's the number of seasons that a player had a slg% .250 above the league plus a OB% .100 above the league.


ALL LEAGUES & TEAMS
ALL YEARS
ALL POSITIONS
SLG >= .250
OBA >= .100


1 Babe Ruth 10
2 Ted Williams 6
3 Barry Bonds 5
4 Lou Gehrig 4
5 Mickey Mantle 3
T6 Larry Walker 2
T6 Mark McGwire 2
T6 Jimmie Foxx 2
T6 Rogers Hornsby 2
T10 Ross Barnes 1
T10 George Brett 1
T10 Norm Cash 1
T10 Ty Cobb 1
T10 Fred Dunlap 1
T10 Todd Helton 1
T10 Jeff Bagwell 1
T10 Willie McCovey 1
T10 Carl Yastrzemski 1
T10 Stan Musial 1
T10 Tip O'Neill 1
T10 Manny Ramirez 1
T10 Mike Schmidt 1
T10 Frank Thomas 1
T10 Jim Thome 1
T10 Nap Lajoie 1


Babe Ruth is still the biggest anomoly in baseball history, if he was playing today the steroid thing would follow him around too I guess.

RedsBaron
01-29-2006, 02:48 PM
Here's Bonds vs the league


BARRY BONDS

YEAR TEAM AGE G AB R H 2B 3B HR HR% RBI BB SO SB CS AVG SLG OBA OPS
1986 Pirates 21 -13 18 -19 6 0 6 1.43 -3 21 32 23 -1 -.039 .022 -.002 .021
1987 Pirates 22 6 24 -3 7 5 9 1.63 -11 -2 -1 16 -3 -.008 .073 -.010 .063
1988 Pirates 23 31 37 22 7 2 14 2.40 2 25 3 2 -5 .026 .115 .048 .163
1989 Pirates 24 0 26 -3 7 2 6 1.09 -7 36 0 18 -3 -.006 .048 .030 .077
1990 Pirates 25 20 40 24 9 0 21 3.92 54 44 5 38 -7 .036 .168 .075 .243
1991 Pirates 26 10 32 20 6 1 13 2.59 57 58 -9 30 -6 .034 .128 .085 .212
1992 Pirates 27 30 57 32 15 2 25 5.16 54 85 -2 28 -3 .052 .242 .131 .374
1993 Giants 28 40 61 46 14 1 33 5.87 59 78 -2 17 -7 .065 .264 .122 .387
1994 Giants 29 24 38 21 -1 -2 26 6.51 33 38 -21 21 -5 .038 .218 .085 .302
1995 Giants 30 13 40 15 5 4 19 3.60 40 71 -6 19 -5 .024 .156 .091 .247
1996 Giants 31 25 52 26 2 0 27 5.11 64 102 -15 28 -2 .038 .193 .122 .315
1997 Giants 32 14 50 15 -1 2 25 4.57 32 92 -9 24 -2 .021 .160 .104 .264
1998 Giants 33 13 45 22 16 4 21 3.65 51 75 -8 18 -7 .034 .184 .099 .283
1999 Giants 34 1 38 -5 1 0 22 6.16 32 33 -2 7 1 -.014 .173 .038 .211
2000 Giants 35 29 61 24 4 1 33 6.65 41 66 -6 2 1 .033 .241 .089 .330
2001 Giants 36 52 68 42 9 0 58 11.81 79 134 11 6 1 .059 .423 .175 .599
2002 Giants 37 68 72 60 13 0 36 8.31 67 163 -15 3 1 .104 .376 .242 .618
2003 Giants 38 47 63 41 3 -1 34 8.33 44 113 -4 2 2 .072 .318 .189 .506
2004 Giants 39 54 84 49 10 1 34 8.69 59 199 -18 1 1 .092 .375 .268 .643
2005 Giants 40 2 3 1 -1 0 4 8.82 5 5 -1 -1 0 .017 .239 .065 .304
TOTALS 467 908 432 132 21 464 4.94 751 1435 -69 300 -50 .034 .198 .106 .304

Here's the number of seasons that a player had a slg% .250 above the league plus a OB% .100 above the league.


ALL LEAGUES & TEAMS
ALL YEARS
ALL POSITIONS
SLG >= .250
OBA >= .100


1 Babe Ruth 10
2 Ted Williams 6
3 Barry Bonds 5
4 Lou Gehrig 4
5 Mickey Mantle 3
T6 Larry Walker 2
T6 Mark McGwire 2
T6 Jimmie Foxx 2
T6 Rogers Hornsby 2
T10 Ross Barnes 1
T10 George Brett 1
T10 Norm Cash 1
T10 Ty Cobb 1
T10 Fred Dunlap 1
T10 Todd Helton 1
T10 Jeff Bagwell 1
T10 Willie McCovey 1
T10 Carl Yastrzemski 1
T10 Stan Musial 1
T10 Tip O'Neill 1
T10 Manny Ramirez 1
T10 Mike Schmidt 1
T10 Frank Thomas 1
T10 Jim Thome 1
T10 Nap Lajoie 1


Babe Ruth is still the biggest anomoly in baseball history, if he was playing today the steroid thing would follow him around too I guess.
Ruth had his greatest seasons at ages 25-29, and 31-33--Ruth didn't suddenly at age 36 start hitting at a much higher level than he did when he was younger. A few players have been able to sustain their greatness after age 35--nobody but Barry Bonds suddenly became a much better player after attaining that age.

RFS62
01-29-2006, 02:49 PM
Occams Razor

Cyclone792
01-29-2006, 03:48 PM
Ruth had his greatest seasons at ages 25-29, and 31-33--Ruth didn't suddenly at age 36 start hitting at a much higher level than he did when he was younger. A few players have been able to sustain their greatness after age 35--nobody but Barry Bonds suddenly became a much better player after attaining that age.


Nap Lajoie turned 36 during his 1910 season, his greatest season.
Honus Wagner was 34 during his 1908 season, arguably the greatest single season of all-time by anybody, and he had about 30 percent more win shares that season than any other season during his career. The following season in 1909 was also one of his peak seasons, during which Wagner was 35. At the age of 38, Wagner put up a 35 win share season.
Lefty Grove led his league in ERA at the ages of 35, 36, 38 and 39.
Ted Williams turned 39 during his 1957 season.
Tris Speaker had outstanding hitting seasons at the ages of 34, 35, and 37.
Willie Mays was 35 in 1966.
Sam Crawford had a pair of outstanding seasons at the ages of 34 and 35.
Robin Yount turned 34 during his 1989 MVP season.
Roger Clemens turned 43 in 2005.
Johnny Mize comes back from three seasons off to WWII, then at the ages of 34 and 35 has a pair of monster seasons in 1947 and 1948.
Luke Appling had a pretty stellar run after the age of 35.

That's just off the top of my head, but those are quite a few examples of great players having some of their best seasons at an old age.

People have had a fondness for looking at Bonds circa 1993 and comparing him to what he looked like by 2001. What nobody ever mentions is that his swing in 2001 is much more refined than it was in 1993. Bonds in 1993 had an exceptionally long, inside-out swing. By 2001, his swing had changed into a much shorter and powerful pull-hitting swing that we see today.

In fact, to be even more precise, I remember seeing Bonds beginning to change his swing in the mid to late 90s. By 1999, his swing had evolved into what we see today, possibly also as a side-effect to his elbow injury that occurred around that time. I was at a game in Cinergy where Bonds hit two mammoth shots (both off Denny Neagle, IIRC) and I remember uttering at the time that I had never seen such a perfect, short and powerful swing. This is a massive change for a hitter and could drastically affect their hitting performance.

People make the mistake of assuming 2001 was the season where he had this surge in newfound power late in his career, but that's incorrect; it was actually 1999. His power levels in 1999-2000 and 2002-2004 match his power levels from 1993-1994 so that wasn't unprecedented for him.

Bonds' swing is reason number one for his late surge, and reason number two is an inhuman ability at plate discipline and strike zone judgement, and that is a proven fact that plate discipline and strike zone judgement increases with age instead of declining. Bonds very rarely swings at balls not in the strikezone. Bonds also only swings at strikes not in his zone when he's forced to protect. Bonds almost always gets ahead of pitchers in the count, and his ridiculous plate discipline is a large reason why. It's a plain fact that average hitters become all-star hitters when the count is in their favor (average hitters also become Tony Womack when the count is in the pitcher's favor). Bonds can get that advantage in the count during almost every PA now. He's just simply doing what other hitters do when they get ahead in the count, and that's hit much better than above their norm.

2004 Hitters ahead in the count: .341/.478/.581
2004 Hitters behind in the count: .214/.223/.319

Bonds' ability to judge the strike zone is unlike anything else I've ever seen in any other player. He gets ahead of the count more than any other hitter, thereby having that advantage much more often that turns all hitters into all-stars. The strike zone is the most important part of a baseball game, and Barry Bonds just proves it every time he's at the plate.



Year Team HR BB PA Avg OBA Slg OPS PA/HR PA/BB
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1986 PIT 16 65 484 0.223 0.330 0.416 0.746 30.3 7.4
1987 PIT 25 54 611 0.261 0.329 0.492 0.821 24.4 11.3
1988 PIT 24 72 614 0.283 0.368 0.491 0.859 25.6 8.5
1989 PIT 19 93 679 0.248 0.351 0.426 0.777 35.7 7.3
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1990 PIT 33 93 621 0.301 0.406 0.565 0.970 18.8 6.7
1991 PIT 25 107 634 0.292 0.410 0.514 0.924 25.4 5.9
1992 PIT 34 127 612 0.311 0.456 0.624 1.080 18.0 4.8
1993 SFN 46 126 674 0.336 0.458 0.677 1.136 14.7 5.3
1994 SFN 37 74 474 0.312 0.426 0.647 1.073 12.8 6.4
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1995 SFN 33 120 635 0.294 0.431 0.577 1.009 19.2 5.3
1996 SFN 42 151 675 0.308 0.461 0.615 1.076 16.1 4.5
1997 SFN 40 145 690 0.291 0.446 0.585 1.031 17.3 4.8
1998 SFN 37 130 697 0.303 0.438 0.609 1.047 18.8 5.4
1999 SFN 34 73 434 0.262 0.389 0.617 1.006 12.8 5.9
------------------------------------------------------------------------
2000 SFN 49 117 607 0.306 0.440 0.688 1.127 12.4 5.2
2001 SFN 73 177 664 0.328 0.515 0.863 1.379 9.1 3.8
2002 SFN 46 198 612 0.370 0.582 0.799 1.381 13.3 3.1
2003 SFN 45 148 550 0.341 0.529 0.749 1.278 12.2 3.7
2004 SFN 45 232 617 0.362 0.609 0.812 1.422 13.7 2.7

Also, FWIW, Bonds in 1992 and 1993 was greater than Bonds in 2003. The argument can also be made that the only Bonds season greater than 1993 is his 2001 season.

If anyone wants to see the data on every pitch Bonds saw during each one of his 617 plate appearances in 2004, by all means, ask and I'll provide it. All it'll do is backup my assertion that Barry Bonds was ahead in the count far more often than he was behind in the count ... and we all know what happens to every hitter when they get ahead of the count.

RedsBaron
01-29-2006, 04:14 PM
Lajoie, Wagner, Ted Williams, Clemens, Grove, Willie Mays, et al, maintained their greatness after age 35 for a time, but they didn't suddenly after reaching that age begin pitching or hitting at a much higher level than they did in their twenties. Their performance was not out of context with their career.
Barry Bonds's career had been proceeding at a "normal" rate up until the 2001 season. He had reached his career high in SLG in 1993 with .677 at age 29, and his career high in OBP in 1996 with .461 at age 32. His numbers in those statistical categories were fairly consistent. 1990-96 SLG: .565, .514, .624, .677, .647, .577, .615. 1990-96 OBP: .406, .410, .456, .458, .426, .431, .461. The peak numbers are coming about where one would expect. The 1997-2000 numbers show some incresed HR% but are not out of context.
Then came 2001. Bonds didn't do, say, a Willie Mays circa 1965, when Willie's .317 average and 52 HRs at age 34 don't look out of place with his 1955 numbers of .319 and 51 at age 24 or his 1962 numbers of .304 and 49 at age 31. No, Bonds, who had never before hit 50 HRs in a season, at age 37 suddenly hit 73.
From 2001 through 2004, at ages 37, 38, 39 and 40, Bonds had SLG of .863, .799, .749, .812 and OBP of .515, .582, .529 and .609.
Babe Ruth was still a great player at age 37, but he didn't abruptly exceed his prior single season hgh in HRs by 24 and have an 84 HR season. Ruth then faded and had his last season at age 40, hitting .181. Yes, Ted Williams hit .388 in 1957, the season he turned age 39 late in the year, but he didn't suddenly start hitting for far higher averages than ever before or have a 67 HR season, which would've been necessary for him to exceed his career high by 24.
You can find players who were able to put up numbers close to their peaks after age 35. The players who have far, far exceeded their prior peak seasons only after age 35 are one: Bonds.

Cyclone792
01-29-2006, 04:16 PM
RB, the only thing Bonds has ever consistently increased since the beginning of 2001 is his BB rate. He had an abberation in HR/PA in 2001, then in 2002 went straight back to his 1999-2000 level of performance.

It's plate discipline. That's the reason for his late career spike.

RFS62
01-29-2006, 04:22 PM
It's plate discipline. That's the reason for his late career spike.


I think it's more than that.

Body armor and eliminating the inside strike is one thing. An improved stroke, very short and direct to the ball is another.

Personally, I think he's the greatest hitting machine ever. I also think that his stamina and increased muscle at this late stage in his athletic life is from hgh, just as the leaked grand jury testimony indicates.

And yes, his plate discipline is remarkable. But the scarlet letter will be forever associated with his name and any records he sets, regardless of ever being proved one way or another, IMO.

And I think he'd be in the hall without it, which makes it all the more shameful.

Cyclone792
01-29-2006, 05:24 PM
I think it's more than that.

Body armor and eliminating the inside strike is one thing. An improved stroke, very short and direct to the ball is another.

Personally, I think he's the greatest hitting machine ever. I also think that his stamina and increased muscle at this late stage in his athletic life is from hgh, just as the leaked grand jury testimony indicates.

And yes, his plate discipline is remarkable. But the scarlet letter will be forever associated with his name and any records he sets, regardless of ever being proved one way or another, IMO.

And I think he'd be in the hall without it, which makes it all the more shameful.

I definitely agree on Bonds as a hitting machine, no question. Quite a few people have never liked Bonds throughout his entire career due to his demeanor, and I wonder how much of that has to do with their views on him now.

It's possible he's been on hgh, but until there's definitive evidence then I just don't worry about it. Perhaps it's because I know guys in MMA, know some of the diets they're on and see the conditioning and increased muscle mass they gain without even the benefit of supplements, much less performance enhancements ... it's just regular food (the UFC does test for steroids).

Randy Couture's 42-years-old, and may be in the best shape of his life. If those guys can do it without help, then I'll always maintain that baseball players can also do it without help. That's just why it's going to take some hard evidence for me to definitively believe Bonds had help.

Cedric
01-29-2006, 06:31 PM
I guess hard evidence would be you in his bedroom seeing him shoot up? No offense man, but I don't think you could ever convict a human being for any crime unless you were the eyewitness.

Cyclone792
01-29-2006, 06:45 PM
I guess hard evidence would be you in his bedroom seeing him shoot up? No offense man, but I don't think you could ever convict a human being for any crime unless you were the eyewitness.

Nah, I just want a positive test from him.

Cedric
01-29-2006, 06:55 PM
But we are arguing about his past and his legacy. You know they didn't test for this stuff a few years ago right? If he was held up to olympic standards the guy would be banned from the sport right now. They don't need tests, just common sense.

Cyclone792
01-29-2006, 07:01 PM
But we are arguing about his past and his legacy. You know they didn't test for this stuff a few years ago right? If he was held up to olympic standards the guy would be banned from the sport right now. They don't need tests, just common sense.

Puffy stated it better than I can earlier in this thread ...

http://www.redszone.com/forums/showpost.php?p=873632&postcount=72

Cedric
01-29-2006, 07:09 PM
So basically who cares if he used steroids because it wasn't technically against the league's rule? We obviously have different opinions on cheaters, nothing more to add to this thread from my view.

Cyclone792
01-29-2006, 07:15 PM
So basically who cares if he used steroids because it wasn't technically against the league's rule? We obviously have different opinions on cheaters, nothing more to add to this thread from my view.

What's your take on betting in baseball vs. steroids? I'm tempted to put up a public poll on the issue with the question being "what's worse, betting on baseball or steroids?" It'd be very interesting to see the results of that ...

There's more evidence that Ty Cobb bet on baseball than there is that Barry Bonds used steroids. If Cobb was banned when his situation surfaced, his records and legacy would look slightly different than what they currently are. If Cobb was banned immediately after the game(s) in question, then his playing career would look FAR different than it does now.

You see, Cedric, it's not so much a "who cares if he used steroids because it wasn't against the league's rule," but moreso an approach that, if you're on a mission to ensure baseball's past, its legacy and all its records are legit then you better be prepared to accept a wealth of changes that disagree with a player's official stat line and MLB's official record book.

In all seriousness, be careful what you're wishing for ... because the game and its history is far uglier on the inside than just recent steroid allegations.

Cedric
01-29-2006, 07:17 PM
Actually I realize I have no influence over anything. I just take a common sense approach that the dude was juiced. I'm just glad most people agree with me and the guy's legacy is tarnished.

Cyclone792
01-29-2006, 07:28 PM
Actually I realize I have no influence over anything. I just take a common sense approach that the dude was juiced. I'm just glad most people agree with me and the guy's legacy is tarnished.

But see, you apparently have no problem with Ty Cobb's records and Ty Cobb's enshrinement in the Hall of Fame, even though there's more evidence that Cobb bet on baseball than there is that Bonds juiced up. And it's simple why you don't have a problem with, primarily because I'm guessing this is the first time you've ever heard about it. There's nothing wrong with that, in fact, 99 percent of baseball fans don't know about it. In 80 years, baseball fans' stance on Bonds and steroids will likely be similar to fans' stance today on Cobb betting on a game: they won't know and/or won't care.

If Ty Cobb was thrown out of baseball soon after he bet on the game, then Pete Rose doesn't break the hits record in 1985. He doesn't even break the hits record as a Cincinnati Red. Instead, he breaks Hank Aaron's hits record in 1982 as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies (in reality, Rose didn't even break the record on the night people believe he broke it in Sept. 1985, but instead broke it three days earlier in Wrigley Field).

Cyclone792
01-29-2006, 07:52 PM
This column does a pretty solid job at summing up my viewpoint on the whole situation ...

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/my-big-fat-steroids-column/



My Big Fat Steroids Column
by John Brattain
February 11, 2005

First came BALCO, soon Jose Canseco’s book, now Jason Giambi met with the New York media ...

Oh goody.

Right now the good folks in the media are simultaneously gnashing their teeth while licking their chops like sharks in a feeding frenzy inside a pool full of spasmodic hemophiliacs who neglect to clip their finger and toenails. Since hanging by the neck, drawing and quartering, and beheading is considered bad form in our enlightened age--ah if public flogging were still de rigeur that would take care of it--the intrepid knights of keyboard are making sure that the filthy blaggards that have permanently besmirched the national pastime are properly pilloried in the press (whew) detracting from the saintly aura given the game by such deacons of decorum as Ty Cobb, Hal Chase and Cap Anson. [editor‘s head explodes]

Don’t let the filthy bastards into the Hall-of-Fame, kick them out of the game, erase their names from the birth registry, round ’em all up, put ’em on the space shuttle and launch them into the sun where they’ll never be given the opportunity to sully the lily white plaques of Gaylord Perry, Don Sutton, and Lefty Gomez who’d never stoop to bending the rules to gain a competitive advantage.

Oh why, oh why did Jason put that syringe into his keister? Why did Barry rub that “flaxseed oil” on his knee? Couldn’t they have done something less destructive like betting on their own team or following the example of Swede Risberg and Chick Gandil who found a tamer way of displaying the seamier side of their personalities?

Burn ‘em all at the stake and let the ghost of Judge Landis sort them out.

Or, just for laughs we could get a little perspective on this mess.

To begin with, I think steroids in baseball is bad form. I’d be thrilled if the only things ballplayers used to enhance their performance was Wheaties--with a generous helping of wholesome white milk in a bowl--and spinach (separately of course you bloody literalists). What’s done is done and instead of going off half cocked (see the preceding part of this column) let’s go to wider angle lenses to look at the problem.

To begin with: none of the Black Sox are in the Hall-of-Fame and rightly so (although I‘d be easily persuaded to change my mind about Buck Weaver). However the Black Sox scandal didn’t happen in a vacuum. The question isn’t why Joe Jackson is not in the Hall-of-Fame but why is Charles Comiskey in? He knew about the fix going in, he did his part to try and cover it up, and his pecuniary practices towards his players sowed the seeds of the scandal in the first place.

Bottom line, the problems that caused the Black Sox scandal were institutional in nature: low wages relative to their contributions (read: money), owners who looked the other way as players gambled and covered it up when it surfaced, and various lowlifes being given easy access to players right within the stadiums.

It’s a little hypocritical to demand the players be banned for life while the people who created the environment are given a free pass.

What factors have led to the current mess? Money, lack of drug testing/monitoring, lack of penalties when players were caught with drugs, an overprotective union, owners looking the other way when beefed up sluggers were bringing fans to the park.

One executive that I feel should be in the Hall-of-Fame is Marvin Miller, yet it was Miller who recently said: “I disapprove of all kinds of testing unless there is probable cause to believe that the person being tested has done something wrong.”

And:

“If you tell me it will help the performance of a football linebacker — maybe. If you tell me it would help a professional wrestler — maybe. If you tell me it would help a beer hall bouncer — maybe. If you tell me it will help someone become governor of California— maybe, but hitting major league pitching more often and farther? You’ve got to have more evidence than I’ve seen.”

Marvin Miller has always been staunchly anti-drug testing and vigorously defended players found guilty of drug violations….did this stance contribute to the problem? Only recently has Don Fehr--at the urging of his constituents--agreed to a stiffer drug policy….guilty or innocent? Bud Selig loves money regardless of how it reaches the game of baseball, so despite public proclamations about steroids, did nothing for years. Fans packed the ballpark, networks paid billions, advertisers did likewise (remember “chicks dig the longball” ads?) to be associated with baseball and the owners threw this largesse at players who were at the pinnacle of their profession regardless of how they reached the summit. We’re guilty too. Did you spend a nickel on baseball when you first suspected players were juicing?

Bottom line, if we want to start throwing around scarlet letters, we’d better reserve one for ourselves. If we wish to get rid of everyone who contributed to the drug problem we may as well deep six everyone associated with the sport since the 1960's (if not earlier).

We live in a consumer culture where we judge each other by the amount of jack in our pockets/wallets/bank accounts. We set the standard of what's considered important. I think it was Will Rogers who said: “The dollar will never fall as low as people will stoop to acquire it.” People peddle in kiddie porn for money, creeps hang around our schoolyards trying to sell our kids drugs for money, people will sue at the drop of a hat for money, people will fill your e-mail and phone lines with fraudulent business schemes for money, people will scoop children off the streets and force them into prostitution for money, people will lie, cheat, screw family members over, look forward to when mom and dad kick the bucket so we can get our inheritance, betray, defraud, misrepresent for money. What about us law abiding folks? Ever enter the lottery? How about sports betting? Poker? Vegas? Be less than forthcoming on our income tax returns? Why did we do this? Now we’re acting all surprised an indignant because some ballplayer puts something in his body for money?

Did we cheer every blasted home run? Did we go to the park early to watch Mark McGwire take batting practice? Home run Derby is a popular part of the All-Star Game--how did that happen? The fans enjoyed it and folks were willing to pay money to make it happen. Did we celebrate when a prominent slugger was signed by our team as a free agent? Up to the last collective bargaining agreement there was no drug testing, there was no penalty for using performance-enhancing substances, and teams were handing out nine-figure contracts.

What would you do?

Now be honest.

Have you ever dreamed of playing in the big leagues?

Have you ever dreamed of being rich?

How far would you be willing to go to achieve this--especially were it a distinct possibility?

Now be honest and bear in mind what certain parents will do to their children to increase the possibility of their kids becoming a pro athlete.

I’m not condoning what certain players have done, I’m trying to understand why they did so. I know it’s a touchy subject, especially in view of Barry Bonds’ assault on Hank Aaron’s record but even that is a waste of emotional capital.

Why?

Who would you say the greatest pitcher of all time was?

What if I said “Ed Walsh”? After all, Walsh had a career ERA of 1.82 (1st all time), he threw a 20th century record 464 innings in 1908 and won 40 games that year and even posted six saves in 17 relief appearances.

Pretty amazing eh? Best career ERA ever.

Of course he played in a different era, where the spit ball wasn‘t against the rules. We adjust for that. Even after the spit ball was outlawed some pitchers continued to use it to gain a competitive advantage and some used it to punch their ticket to the Hall-of-Fame. There was a time in the very recent past where performance-enhancing substances weren‘t against the rules, and after they were outlawed some players continued to use them to gain a competitive advantage.

Yes, some sacred records fall but the history doesn’t change. Ed Walsh isn’t the greatest pitcher of all time….he couldn‘t carry Pedro Martinez‘s jock on his best day. Roger Maris wasn’t as great a slugger as Babe Ruth. Barry Bonds isn’t in Ted William’s territory. We make adjustments due to the era: the dead ball/spit ball era, the 20’s and 30’s, WWII, the hitting drought/pitching rich 1963-68, the stolen base-happy 70’s-early 80’s, and the performance-enhancing era we have now (and are hopefully working our way out of). Hank Aaron has Babe Ruth’s record but not his legend. Now Barry Bonds will have Aaron’s record but not his legacy.

Baseball goes through cycles, some through external forces, some from internal pressures. Baseball changes. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Baseball adjusts and goes on, so should we. Anabolic steroids, HGH, TGH, and other performance-enhancing drugs (amphetamines anyone?) became part of the game because everyone was complicit: from the offices of the commissioner and the MLBPA, through team owners, managers, and players on down to the fans. It was allowed to continue because people like you and I made it profitable for the media, advertisers, and others to associate with the sport. We’ve suspected steroids for years but still came out with our money in hand ready to cheer. We cannot fairly pin all this on players who have used. We made it profitable to do so. Deep Throat said “follow the money”; do that and more often than not, you’ll find the reasons why something happens.

This is no different.

Think about this: We--the fans--always had the power to rid baseball of drugs. If nobody came to the park, if nobody watched the games on TV, if nobody bought any merchandise and souvenirs, and the stated reason is that we objected that the sports was tainted with drugs--how long do you think it would take for everybody involved in baseball to rid the sport of performance-enhancing substances?

Remember, when we point a finger, we’ve got three pointing back at us.

Performance-enhancing substances are now against the rules. Those found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt will be disciplined according to the rules. Those rules came into effect in 2002 and were strengthened in 2004-5. Let’s avoid the urge to engage in our own particular version of vigilante justice and remember not to punish retroactively. For those of you who feel strongly about the “character” and “integrity” issues that go into Hall-of-Fame considerations remember this: the baseline for this standard was set with the very first election where Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth were among the charter members of the institution.

Pitchers and catchers report soon. Let’s get back to the good stuff.

TeamBoone
01-29-2006, 08:27 PM
I didn't know about steroids until the past 2-3 years... and I read this board religiously every day.

And if nobody went to the park, no one would attribute it to the fans protesting steroid use. They would attribute it to the unpopularity of baseball in general.

MWM
01-29-2006, 09:23 PM
The amazing thing about Bonds is just how consistent he was in his prime throughout the 90s. He came into his own in 1990 at age 26 with his first +.900 OPS season. For 10 seasons you could set your clock to Barry Bonds’ performance. He never veered much higher or much lower than his average over that stretch. From 1990-1999 his average OBP, SLG, and OPS were .432, .602, and 1.034 respectively. Also over that stretch he had over 6,000 plate appearances. That’s a HUGE sample.

Only once over that stretch was he more than 10% from those averages, and that was the very next year (1991), when he was below it by 10.6% with an OPS of .924 (his last time below 1.000). If you look at his average OPS from 1992 (his first +1.000 OPS season) through 2000 (the year before he hit 73), he never varied more than 6.7%. That’s a 9 year stretch cover over 5,400 plate appearances. Here’s the numbers:



Age OPS Dif
1992 28 1.070 0.6%
1993 29 1.135 6.7%
1994 30 1.073 0.9%
1995 31 1.008 -5.2%
1996 32 1.076 1.1%
1997 33 1.031 -3.1%
1998 34 1.047 -1.6%
1999 35 1.006 -5.4%
2000 36 1.128 6.0%

Average 1.064


Then he turns 37 in 2001, and all of a sudden he’s OPS’ing 33% higher than his average OPS over the previous 10 seasons and 6,000 plate appearances? He was 33% higher the next two years, folowed by 21% and 37% higher. This isn’t a situation where a guy took a few years to adjust to major league pitching before he reached his potential. This is a guy who was born to a major league father and played since he was old enough to hold a ball. He played in college, the minors, and then for 12 years and 9,000 CAREER PLATE APPEARANCES!!!!!! I think it was safe to say that by 35 years old and that long in the majors, he was the player he was. Add to that the remarkable lack of variation in his numbers and the picture becomes as clear as a bell. It would be different if he made marginal improvements, but he became an entirely different player and in into a universe never before seen in the game. Below is a graph of his OPS track beginning in 1990.

Let’s be real for minute. How does someone who’s played ball their entire life, including 12 years and 9000 plate appearances in the majors all of a sudden become a completely different player? It’s just not plausible even for an athlete as great as Barry Bonds. Add to that the change in the bone structure of his face, the incredibly sudden and massive change in muscle mass, the grand jury testimony, and the record of the people he was dealing with, and I just don’t see how any reasonable person could conclude it was anything other than steroids.

Now, you can say that you don’t care. That’s fine, I have no problem with that. Some people enjoyed watching it even if it was chemically produced. But just say that. Don’t sit there and try to convince everyone else that there’s a chance it was natural. It’s insulting to be honest with you. Bonds and steroid is every bit as clear as OJ and murder. You can still appreciate it, just don’t kid yourself into believing he was clean.

RFS62
01-29-2006, 09:30 PM
If it does not fit, you must acquit.

Redsland
01-29-2006, 11:35 PM
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/08/0330chewbacca.jpg

Cyclone792
01-29-2006, 11:46 PM
The amazing thing about Bonds is just how consistent he was in his prime throughout the 90s. He came into his own in 1990 at age 26 with his first +.900 OPS season. For 10 seasons you could set your clock to Barry Bonds’ performance. He never veered much higher or much lower than his average over that stretch. From 1990-1999 his average OBP, SLG, and OPS were .432, .602, and 1.034 respectively. Also over that stretch he had over 6,000 plate appearances. That’s a HUGE sample.

Only once over that stretch was he more than 10% from those averages, and that was the very next year (1991), when he was below it by 10.6% with an OPS of .924 (his last time below 1.000). If you look at his average OPS from 1992 (his first +1.000 OPS season) through 2000 (the year before he hit 73), he never varied more than 6.7%. That’s a 9 year stretch cover over 5,400 plate appearances. Here’s the numbers:



Age OPS Dif
1992 28 1.070 0.6%
1993 29 1.135 6.7%
1994 30 1.073 0.9%
1995 31 1.008 -5.2%
1996 32 1.076 1.1%
1997 33 1.031 -3.1%
1998 34 1.047 -1.6%
1999 35 1.006 -5.4%
2000 36 1.128 6.0%

Average 1.064


Then he turns 37 in 2001, and all of a sudden he’s OPS’ing 33% higher than his average OPS over the previous 10 seasons and 6,000 plate appearances? He was 33% higher the next two years, folowed by 21% and 37% higher. This isn’t a situation where a guy took a few years to adjust to major league pitching before he reached his potential. This is a guy who was born to a major league father and played since he was old enough to hold a ball. He played in college, the minors, and then for 12 years and 9,000 CAREER PLATE APPEARANCES!!!!!! I think it was safe to say that by 35 years old and that long in the majors, he was the player he was. Add to that the remarkable lack of variation in his numbers and the picture becomes as clear as a bell. It would be different if he made marginal improvements, but he became an entirely different player and in into a universe never before seen in the game. Below is a graph of his OPS track beginning in 1990.

Let’s be real for minute. How does someone who’s played ball their entire life, including 12 years and 9000 plate appearances in the majors all of a sudden become a completely different player? It’s just not plausible even for an athlete as great as Barry Bonds. Add to that the change in the bone structure of his face, the incredibly sudden and massive change in muscle mass, the grand jury testimony, and the record of the people he was dealing with, and I just don’t see how any reasonable person could conclude it was anything other than steroids.

Now, you can say that you don’t care. That’s fine, I have no problem with that. Some people enjoyed watching it even if it was chemically produced. But just say that. Don’t sit there and try to convince everyone else that there’s a chance it was natural. It’s insulting to be honest with you. Bonds and steroid is every bit as clear as OJ and murder. You can still appreciate it, just don’t kid yourself into believing he was clean.

MWM, thanks for the detailed numbers :D I'm just giving numbers that could possibly show details that others may be missing. You can look at them however you wish. If you're insulted by that, my apologies.

I'm mainly looking for the connection that everything started in 2001 since that's what everybody concentrates on. Everything I've seen suggests that the increase in muscle mass and the increase in HR rate started several years before 2001.

I'm going to use your own chart to add on here ...



Age OPS Dif Weight PA/HR PA/BB
1992 28 1.070 0.6% 18.0 4.8
1993 29 1.135 6.7% 14.7 5.3
1994 30 1.073 0.9% 12.8 6.4
1995 31 1.008 -5.2% 19.2 5.3
1996 32 1.076 1.1% 16.1 4.5
1997 33 1.031 -3.1% 190 17.3 4.8
1998 34 1.047 -1.6% 206 18.8 5.4
1999 35 1.006 -5.4% 210 12.8 5.9
2000 36 1.128 6.0% 220 12.4 5.2

2001 37 1.379 29.6% 228 9.1 3.8
2002 38 1.381 29.8% 228 13.3 3.1
2003 39 1.278 20.1% 228 12.2 3.7
2004 40 1.422 33.6% 228 13.7 2.7


The weight figures are from Allen Barra's Brushbacks and Knockdowns. As you can see, the increase in weight and muscle mass started occuring before the 1998 season. The HR rate starts to increase in 1999 when he's up to 210lbs. In 2000, the HR rate remains the same as in 1999 while his weight increases to 220lbs. The only constant here is his BB rate, as it remained steady from 1992 to 2000.

The kicker is that Bonds' peak that everyone refers to took off primarily when his BB rate had a spike. Sure, he had one massive spike in HR rate in 2001, but immediately after in 2002-2004 the HR rate just went back to his 1999-2000 levels. His BB rate got even better. Was he being pitched around more? I don't know, but if he was then his BB rate should have gone up even higher, I think.

His weight and muscle mass started increasing in 1997. His HR rate started increasing in 1999. His BB rate remained the same through 2000. His offensive performance doesn't get off the charts until 2001, when his BB rate spikes and his HR rate spikes again. Starting in 2002, his HR rate falls down to his 1999-2000 levels, but his BB rate remains the same as it did in 2001. You and everybody else can take those numbers how you wish, but I just don't see the clear line that everything changed from 2001-2004 when his weight and HR rate increase started well before 2001.

One thing I do know is that in 2004, Bonds saw 2,424 pitches. He swung and missed at only 84 of those pitches. You've gotta admit, that's not bad plate discipline. ;)

Another interesting article ... http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/sbbw5215.htm ... this is from 1997. What's of specific interest is him stating he lowered his body fat from 12 percent to 8 percent during one offseason. I know during his run from 2001-2004 Bonds lowered his body fat even further down to 6 percent.


Bonds on the loose: Slugger gears up for special season
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - A fly ball sails to left field and the outfielder makes a glove-hand snatch of the ball, finishing his catch with a long sweep of both arms, like a bird spreading his wings. Later, the player rockets a towering 440-foot home run over the right-field wall, nearly hitting a bus parked outside. He walks seven steps, watching the ball sail into the cloudy Arizona sky, then claps his hands before breaking into a slow home-run trot.

All that, just for a blast against one of his own teammates in an intrasquad game. ''That must have been Barry Bonds,'' says an elderly fan watching the home run. That was Barry Bonds. Part theater, all performance. A player who gives no quarter to any opponent, any teammate . . . or himself. How else can you explain what Bonds did this offseason?

BARRY BONDS CAN BE RUDE and intimidating, or he can flash a million-dollar smile and thoughtfully answer questions in a gentle, soft-spoken manner - if you wait until he's ready. You've got to play by his rules.

''Barry's Barry,'' says San Francisco Giants manager Dusty Baker.

Bonds grew up in major league clubhouses, playing in godfather Willie Mays' locker when he was just 4. Today, Bonds has Mays' cubicle at 3Com Park. ''Barry might make two or three mistakes over the course of the year,'' Mays says one bright day at Scottsdale Stadium before a Cactus League game, ''and that's when I talk to him. Other than that, he knows what he's supposed to do.''

Yet even Mays recognizes that his godson has an attitude. A TV crew asks Mays to intercede for them in getting Bonds to answer questions about a new stadium in San Francisco. "Not Barry - Barry's in his own (bleeping) world,'' Mays says.

Players from Mays' era didn't wear dangling gold earrings, so it's probably hard for the Hall of Famer to relate. Yet, Bonds, to his credit, was in the clubhouse doing a radio interview.

Bonds justifies his arrogance with his numbers. He's only the sixth player in major league history to hit 250 homers and steal 300 bases in his career. And he's only 31. The others were Mays, Bonds' father Bobby, Joe Morgan, Andre Dawson and Vada Pinson.

Heading into this season, Bonds is just eight home runs shy of 300. Perhaps more significantly, he's more physically and mentally sound than in any other year.

In an offseason in which much of the world anointed Seattle's Ken Griffey Jr. as the game's top player, Barry Bonds gathered himself to make this a special season.

He devoted himself to a masochistic offseason workout regimen, increasing his strength and stamina: He doesn't want a late summer slowdown. He's resolved his personal life: A much-publicized divorce is finalized. And he's aware of his image: He doesn't want to spoil any chance he might have of winning a fourth Most Valuable Player award.

This spring, he acts more weary of the clubhouse buffet platters of cold cuts than routine questions from the media. ''You can't get under my skin no more,'' Bonds says to the small crowd of reporters in the clubhouse. ''My life is a lot different and better now.''

But some things never change, completely. After the intrasquad game in which he homered, a reporter asks if the blast was significant. Bonds responds no, saying the game was for the pitchers. The reporter presses, trying for a better quote. Bonds has nothing more to say. End of story.

After all, this home run doesn't count toward his career stats.

Baker, however, says Bonds is trying to work on his image.

''He's made a conscientious effort - I've seen him signing autographs more this spring,'' Baker says. ''Sometimes Barry is tough to deal with, but most of the times he's a gentleman. He ain't phony or fake about anything.''

Says San Diego's Tony Gwynn: ''I think what happened to Albert Belle last year (surliness probably cost Belle the MVP award) made him realize that sometimes you have to open up and let people get close.

''He fights the media off, and he does it with players in the league, too.''

During last year's All-Star Game in Texas, which was Bonds' fifth such appearance, Gwynn, Ozzie Smith and Bobby Bonilla tried to assure Bonds it was OK to talk to the press, who were more focused on Hideo Nomo than the Giants' outfielder.

''We were telling him, 'Man, you've just got to loosen up, you've got to relax and be yourself. Let them see what you're all about,' '' Gwynn says. ''I said, 'Here's an opportunity for you to let these people get close, but will you do that? No.' And he said, 'You're right - I won't.' I know what's going on up there (in Bonds' head) and I can be a little more sympathetic than most people. I still say he's the best player in our league, without a question.''

BONDS HITS, HE HITS WITH POWER, he drives in runs, he plays a great left field - with the exception of one play last June - and he's a great baserunner. Bonds does all these things well and does them consistently well. He's won three MVPs. He wants a fourth. He's put together three 30-30 seasons. He wants more. Maybe 50-50?

''No, I don't think so,'' Bonds says, smiling at the possibility. ''I'm not that strong.''

Yet his workout regimen, supervised by personal trainer Raymond Farriss, who also trains former NFL running back Roger Craig and all-world wide receiver Jerry Rice, suggests he might be.

In four months, Bonds lowered his body fat to 8% from 12%, and is bench-pressing 315 pounds, up from 230. There were sprints to be run, and run, and run. He looks more muscular, more defined, more powerful. His biceps stretch his jersey's sleeves to the limit.

''I thought I was in great shape the way I worked out before because I was putting up the numbers I did,'' Bonds says in the clubhouse, ''but I was out of shape. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it and I'm happy with the results, but it doesn't guarantee success. I don't care how many weights you lift - you can lift until you're blue in the face - it doesn't guarantee success.

''I don't put a whole lot of emphasis on my training program. I don't say that it's going to win me an MVP.''

What will win it for him? Bonds' numbers are becoming routine for him. He hit .294, with 33 homers, 31 stolen bases and 104 RBI in '95, which would be career years for most players. That was in a shortened 144-game season.

''I'm like Tony Gwynn now,'' Bonds says, laughing again. ''If he hits .340, it's like, 'So? That's Tony.' If Barry Bonds hits 30 home runs and steals 30 bases, it's 'So? That's Barry.' It's harder for people to recognize it now because if somebody has one good year out of his career, it overshadows what I do consistently.

''Don't get me wrong - I'm happy for him. But sometimes you feel like a boxer should be knocked out before he's punched out.''

''The years he didn't win the MVP,'' Gwynn says, ''if I had those years, I'd probably win it. That's the hole you dig for yourself. If you're more consistent than anybody in the National League and you do the same thing for five years, sometime around the third year, there's no glamour to it. He's just doing what he should be doing.

''It's going to take an ungodly year,'' Gwynn says. ''In Barry Bonds' case, it might take 50-50 for him to be an MVP again. That, and the fact that he could do that and his team would probably have to win, too.''

It would be feasible - maybe - if Bonds didn't draw 100-plus walks, which he has done four of the last five seasons.

''If I ever did try to do that,'' Bonds says of a prospective 50-50, ''I'd hit about .220. You'd have to be willing to give up something for it and I'm not willing to give up anything. I like the 30-30 and hitting .300 and driving in 100 and scoring 100. To me, that's as complete as you can be.''

It puts him in select company. Only 14 players in the majors have reached the 30-30 mark, doing so 24 times. Bonds, who put together such stellar seasons in 1990 and '92 for Pittsburgh, is the first 30-30 player for the Giants since his father Bobby in 1973. The senior Bonds is the only ballplayer ever to have five 30-30 seasons. Imagine if Bonds plays at this pace five more seasons until he's 36; he could have 440 homers and nearly 500 stolen bases. That's more impressive than one 50-50 season.

WHAT MAKES BARRY BONDS so good are his baseball smarts, partly inherited from his dad and partly developed through hard work. ''He sees things quicker than any other player except Hank Aaron,'' Baker says. ''He sees a pitcher flaring his glove on a changeup and he'll come back to the dugout and say, 'Did you see that?' Other guys don't see that until the sixth inning, if they see it at all. And once you can see it, you'll always be able to see it.''

''I just know the game well, I guess,'' Bonds says with genuine modesty. ''I don't try to evaluate every little thing that other people are doing. I just try to keep myself mechanically sound and if they make a mistake and put it within that square, then if I'm mechanically sound, it doesn't really make a difference what they throw.''

Last year, Bonds produced an RBI every 4.9 at-bats, sixth best in the National League. He batted .325 in the clutch. Over the last five seasons, only one player equaled Bonds in hitting in late innings or close games - Seattle's Edgar Martinez. But when you throw in hitting with runners in scoring position during that time, Bonds stands alone and unequaled.

''He's probably more comfortable in those (clutch) situations than he is with nobody on in the first inning,'' says teammate Matt Williams. ''Playing against him and playing with him for the last couple of years, nothing he does surprises me. The more you see, you just accept that he's a special player.''

''I think it's just that I don't like to lose,'' Bonds says. ''I want to be up in that (clutch) situation to have a shot at it, but I don't have dreams about the World Series or having the bases loaded or nothing like that. My dreams are 9-0 and we're winning in the World Series rather than having a situation where there's a noose around my neck. I try to look at things a little easier than stressful.''

He is special.

''It's like in hockey in an overtime game, you anticipate Gretzky will score,'' Baker says. ''In basketball, you know Michael Jordan is going to take the shot. In football, you know Jerry Rice is going to catch the pass. That's the real superstar - when everyone knows he's going to get the ball and he still scores or makes the play.''

And Barry Bonds is a superstar?

''Correct,'' Baker said.

The first player ever to win three MVPs in four seasons, Bonds might be able to fine-tune his physique, but his image is another thing. He's had to take a back seat to Ken Griffey Jr., who is more personable - Junior is certainly more visible in his endorsements. But they play different positions in different leagues and have different styles. Will Griffey ever be the basestealer Bonds is? Bonds might not have Junior's smile, but he has the numbers to back up his boasts and it doesn't matter to him what anyone says.

''I feel the press puts a stamp on certain players and once they stamp you as a 'bad person,' then that's what they feed on and there's nothing you can do about it,'' Bonds says. ''I know in my heart the type of ballplayer I am and the type of person I am.

''Every time they say, 'Well, people say,' everyone knows it's just, 'The press says.' I mean, be honest - they didn't do a survey, they didn't really ask anybody.

''As many people as they say don't like you, I have that many people who do like me, so I don't worry about it.''

It's probably about 50-50.