Can't win with 'em
Can't win without 'em
I feel there is a real failure of the sabermetric community for not quantifying the impact of many of the changes in the steroid era such as smaller parks, maple bats, juiced balls (even Tango agrees the ball was livelier) and smaller strike zones. The few studies I have seen have been weak.
There is a perception that the inflated offense was due primarily to the steroid use of a handful of players known or suspected to have used, and statistically thatís not possible.
When you consider that Tony Gwynn at age 37 and 38 had career highs in HR then something besides steroids was going on. Consider also the drastic jump that occurred almost overnight in the early 90′s. The distribution of HRís hit shifted to the right so guys who used to hit single figure HR were hitting HR in the teens, tens to twenties, twenties to thirties, etc. BABIP likewise jumped across the board.
If this becomes clearer, folks will be more likely to discount steroid use. Especially if they were to become aware that the number of players who used steroids was likely far higher than the number of known suspects and not limited to HR hitters or power pitchers. It was probably across the board so much so that using was not cheating as much as leveling the playing field.
Right now there is a perception that steroids caused more of an effect than they probably did. And while there is no question individuals benefited, how much was from the steroids alone and how much the motivation that caused them to use steroids which also meant spending more time in the gym during the offseason.
Since steroid testing began, has anyone noticed players getting smaller? HRís being hit shorter distances? Pitchers velocities dropping? Sure, HR are down and so is offense, but that could be attributed to a less livelier ball (the specs are so large the difference in how far a ball travels in the 400 ft test at the high and low end of the spec is 50 ft).
MLB has sought to encourage the belief that steroids were the root cause of the jump, but thatís probably to cover up their juicing the ball to increase attendance and revenues.
That's a pretty incredible feat in itself, not likely to ever be repeated.
This "first ballot" stuff really just makes the voters look silly, IMO.
Biggio should've gotten in on this vote (and Larkin should've gotten in the first time too).. It's just so silly the voters feel the players have to "Bide their time" when they've already been retired so long.
Thank you Walt and Bob for bringing winning baseball back to Cincy -- it was nice while it lasted..
Nov. 13, 2007: One of the greatest days in Reds history: John Allen gets the boot!
We know three things happened that had nothing to do with steroids:
1) The game expanded twice, which meant a lot of iffy pitchers were suddenly throwing a lot of innings. Not coincidentally, 1998 was the second of those two expansions, and that's the point at which the homers really blasted off.
Even during the pitching heavy '60s, we saw power spikes every time there was a round of expansion. That's how Maris got 61. The difference between the '90s and '60s is that there was a greater depth of hitting talent in the '90s and a greater depth of pitching talent in the '60s. So overall scoring went in different directions during those eras.
2) Smaller parks came into vogue.
3) Hitters learned to hit the other way for power (thanks to growing up with aluminum bats). Suddenly you couldn't rob a guy of his power by pitching on the outer half of the plate. Mix that with a higher number of bad pitchers and smaller parks and you've got a recipe for a power explosion even without a single chemical enhancement.
And there's probably a lot of credence to the lively ball theory. We saw MLB experiment with the ball in the late 80s. In 1987 offense suddenly exploded like it was the 1930s all over again. Then, just as suddenly, in 1988 it was like the return of the Deadball Era. It split the difference after that, but it's entirely possible that after 1994 the league placed a bet on chicks digging the longball.
So a lion's share of the power spike very well could have been non-PED-related. After all, if pitchers and hitters were using roids in fairly even numbers, then you'd be looking at a bit of a cancelling out effect.
Raisel Ghul, the Demon's Head
Make that a thing.
"MLB has sought to encourage the belief that steroids were the root cause of the jump, but that’s probably to cover up their juicing the ball to increase attendance and revenues."
like traderomor, I was sympathetic till this came out. The notion that baseball is in any way benefiting from this pr black eye is pretty silly.
"Even a bad day at the ballpark beats the snot out of most other good days. I'll take my scorecard and pencil and beer and hot dog and rage at the dips and cheer at the highs, but I'm not ever going to stop loving this game and this team and nobody will ever take that away from me." Roy Tucker October 2010
All those things are still true. The only thing changed has been the crackdown on the PED's. Still have small parks and expansion pitchers, etc..
0 Value Over Replacement Poster
"Sit over here next to Johnathan (Bench)...sit right here, he's smart."--Sparky Anderson
1943 - dead
Both balls were replaced when they were too extreme
This article covers the latest juiced ball thoughts
Physicist Alan Nathan is among those who believe that the ball has changed. Nathan, whose credentials include chairing the Society for Baseball Research's Baseball & Science Committee and serving on a scientific panel advising the NCAA on issues related to bat performance, is quite familiar with Sherwood's study and his laboratory, having served as part of a scientific advisory committee for a 2002 study of bats (more about which below) that was done at the Lowell lab.
Of the Zavagno scans, Nathan says, "What he shows is that the construction of baseballs has changed. There's no question that the construction has changed, the pill has changed, the percentage of wool in the windings has changed, some of it's synthetic now. There are structural differences between the baseballs." In Nathan's eye, showing that isn't enough. "Structural changes do not necessarily imply performance changes."
Also some of the newest parks - Citi Field, Petco, Target Field - are pitching havens.
And it should be noted that HR levels are still really high. NL teams averaged 152 HR last season. In 1992 (the last season before the double expansion and it conveniently ends with a 2), NL teams averaged 105 HR. Interestingly scoring is only up to 4.22 from 3.88 despite that, which makes a great case for the importance of speed (OB and BA are essentially flat, SB are down 25 per team). NL teams averaged 162 HR in 2002 (the last season in which there was no PED testing of any kind and it conveniently ends with a 2). So if everything else was flat and the only difference was PEDs are gone, then the power difference is pretty small.
Last edited by M2; 01-10-2013 at 05:45 PM.
Raisel Ghul, the Demon's Head
Make that a thing.
For those who somehow-someway are in denial over PEDS...
"I think it's kind of unfair, but it's the reality of the era we played in," Biggio said. "Obviously, some guys are guilty and other guys aren't. It's painful for the ones that weren't, and hopefully this situation will all pass and move on and we'll have something possibly good to talk about maybe next year."
Please do not act like it did not happen. Please do not act like many players would take something that is all BS in helping them (LOL). Please do not act like all those 60+ HR seasons were not relative to PEDs. Oh yea, probably just a coincidence and related all to a juiced ball. Please do not act like places like BALCO were not in existence and did not have a line of athletes wanting their products. I guess Lance Arnstrong's blood tranfusions were health related and not relative to hiding something that made him a 7-time Tour de Franace champion too.
We all have our opinions, but the denial thing (that it does not matter or help) just amazes me.
Small market fan... always hoping, but never expecting.