A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Jim Caple Day


Is it all that shocking that steroids were around the league for a while now? When baseball players went from looking like Ozzie Smith and beer league softball players to Mr. Universe look-a-likes, did no one question what was going on? We all know from the report that people did in fact know what was going when you read the various sections about players like Dykstra, Gagne, and LoDuca. What is also so interesting is how haphazard the players were about it and how they basically did not care who knew.

You would have to be dumb to not get what was going on when guys like Anderson came into camp looking a lot different than last year while blasting fifty homers after never hitting more than sixteen in a season. Only Roger Maris, Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Hank Greenberg, Hack Wilson, Ralk Kiner, Mickey Mantle, George Foster, Willie Mays, Cecil Fielder, Johnny Mize, and Albert Belle managed to hit fifty homers prior to 1996 and Brady managed to do that at age 32 while on the downside of his career. In fact, the only other players prior to 1996 to hit fifty or more homers for the first time during the year they turned 30 or older was Johnnie Mize and Hack Wilson.

Mize at least hit 40 earlier in his career, but Wilson's season was more of an anomaly because he showed good power, but not great until that one prodigious year. After 1996, McGwire, Bonds, Luis Gonzalez, Anderson, David Ortiz, Jim Thome, and Greg Vaughn all topped fifty homers for the first time after turning 30. Of course some of those guys had legit power and other factors were at play and probably did not do steroids, but it should be noted regardless since a good number of those guys did juice. From 1920 to 1995, nineteen guys hit fifty or more homers. From 1996 to 2005, eighteen players hit fifty or more homers. In '06 and '07, two guys hit fifty or more in each season.

I just wanted to credit Jim Caple for that above link because I do not want anyone to get the wrong idea about what I go searching for on the internet.

Also from Jim Caple's link:

Jose Rijo: This is actually his second time on the ballot; he was also on the ballot in 2001 after missing the previous five seasons to injury. He received one vote, then returned to win five more games before retiring for good after the 2002 season. This is something Pete Rose might want to consider to get the clock ticking again on his eligibility. (By the way, Rijo is Juan Marichal's son-in-law, giving the two of them 359 combined victories at family gatherings.)

One fucking vote? Seriously. Who was the guy who voted for Rijo and why is he allowed to vote? Joke vote or not, that is just ridiculous.

Also, Caple brings up a great point when talking about runs scored.

I don't understand why the run total is so undervalued. It is the only statistic that matters in the outcome of a game yet all the glory goes to the batter who drove the runner the final 90 feet home rather than the man who got himself in scoring position in the first place. Given that a batter can only score one run per plate appearance but drive in as many as four, run totals should be more highly valued than RBIs. Please explain then why it is considered more of a feat to drive in a run than to score one.

You could make the argument that a guy like Jeter benefited from exceptional offenses, but I guess he deserves some recognition for getting on base consistently in the first place. That is not to say runs should be the only metric considered when some certain player's time comes, but Raines had a pretty substantial body of work to support his candidacy.

Caple also lays it down about Bonds:

When Barry Bonds was indicted on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice there was a fair amount of speculation on how the indictments will affect his Hall of Fame chances. Bonds pleaded not guilty last Friday but the final verdict won't influence my vote either way. I'll vote for him.

For one thing, most of us already suspected that Bonds lied to the grand jury about never knowingly taking steroids, so I don't see why the indictments should change our opinion. A player who many considered a liar is now formally charged as such. This is like the government charging Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria with being cheap. Making it official shouldn't really change your opinion. Either you already felt that Bonds deserved to be in the Hall or not.

Booo-yah!!! I love what he wrote and I wholeheartedly agree. Some will not agree with his next statement, but I again agree with the brilliant Jim Caple.

You'll read and hear about how the Hall of Fame ballot instructs voters to consider a player's "character and integrity" but that's just a convenient dodge. Integrity? Gaylord Perry bragged about cheating much of his career -- he "wrote" a biography titled "Me and the Spitter" in between winning his two Cy Youngs -- and writers still voted him into the Hall. Character? We happily vote in players who we know cheated on their wives. The Veterans Committee voted in Orlando Cepeda who did time for trying to smuggle marijuana with the intent to distribute. Racists such as Ty Cobb and Cap Anson are in there, along with owners Tom Yawkey and Charles Comiskey who worked to keep out blacks as long as possible.

Integrity and character are good traits but if they were truly considered by voters, the Hall would have a lot fewer members.

Of course we all understand guys cannot be taken out of the HoF, but a lot of people certainly do not believe that having 'bad' people in the HoF already should be the reason for future transgressions to be ignored and you can certainly find value in that statement. But the fact remains people knowingly voted for players that cheated in the past and players will continue to cheat in 2008 and beyond in some way, shape, or form. It sounds like a copout to say cheating will always be in the game, but sadly enough it will. There will be some borderline guys who maybe got that extra bump they needed to get into the HOF by cheating and there will be guys that were sure fire HoFers that cheated as well. I guess that is up to the voters to make that judgment call and this scandal will certainly affect some players bid for the Hall while not hindering other players bids.

Finally, he also dabbles into the BBWAA and how slowly they move and how slowly they have been to embrace internet writers. The funniest part is how their website is very indicative of how they have been a bit behind in regards to this newfangled internet fad. I think it is safe to say they could have gone to this site and been up and running with something that was not vicious on the eyes for under $30 I presume.

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  • Pot meet kettle. Kettle meet pot.

    "I heard a few names on the list and wow,'' said Strahan at Thursday's Giants practice. "Guys have been sitting at home sweating for a long time when they knew this was coming out and now for it to come out it just kind of tears up the sport."

    Giants teammate Osi Umenyiora had a similar reaction.

    "It is sad; to be honest with you, to see how many people were involved with it and that type of thing," he said. "Everybody is looking for that edge and I guess they went about it using steroids, but it is very, very difficult to sit back and see that so many people cheated in the baseball world.

    "I don't understand how they weren't caught before now, but maybe they were. I just don't understand it to be honest with you."

    There are no performance enhancing drugs in football at all. I hope someone goes after football so they can post that on the side of Giants Stadium. And for those of you who think that this report would have stopped trades from happening, players getting signed, etc., think again.

    "Our goal is to field the best team possible based on information we have in hand," general manager Doug Melvin said in a statement. "While we were disappointed to see information from 2004 related to Eric in the report, we still firmly believe that his addition to the club makes us a much stronger team as we head into the 2008 campaign."

    These GMs are not the morality police and are trying to win ballgames above all. It should not be shocking to see this report have no effect on how most teams go after players. It might drop someone's value a bit, but not much will happen in regards to these guys finding work if they are still capable and looking for it.

    Also from the above link, it appears as if some players might have gotten advanced warnings of steroid testing.

  • Ian O'Conner thinks December 13th, 2007 was the second best day baseball has ever had.

  • You knew Jose would speak out and he has.

    "It's a slap on the hand," he told Fox Business Network. "The report proved nothing. It just proved what we already knew."

    Not inflammatory enough for you? Got you covered.

    Prodded further about players not included, Canseco said this of Alex Rodriguez: "All I can say is the Mitchell Report is incomplete. I could not believe that his name was not in the report."

    It seems like a lot of the guys that got caught were not all that smart about it being they left impressive paper trails of canceled checks and shipping labels. However, I am sure there were a lot of guys that were much more discreet and intelligent about their usage.

  • David Justice was on the Michael Kay show. Basically he said MacNamee gave him HGH and he did not take it. He gave it back. 'Mac' approached him and said he could help his groin injury with HGH and that doctors prescribe it. He had no idea what it was and said OK. When he found out it had to be injected, he gave it back. He did however say if it was a pill, he probably would have taken it because he felt it came from a trusted source that knew what they were talking about, but Dave don't do needles.

    As for Radomski, he kept calling him 'Dombroski' or something and said he could not pick him out in a crowd. He said if someone says something untrue about him, he would not hesitate to stand up and defend himself and said he would have talked to Mitchell had they contact him. After the initial contact with them, he changed phones twice and his house burned down. He said if they followed the proper channels, he would have spoken to them happily to try and clear up his name.

    What do I think? Nothing! No one cares if David Justice did it for a few shitty years at the end of his career.

  • Haren to the D-Backs? Impressive. A trio of Webb, Haren, and Randy is not bad at all to head into battle with and Beane got a nice package in return.

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  • Thursday, December 13, 2007

    Names Have Been Named

    Well, names have been named and fingers have been pointed. Also, I admit I was wrong when I said this report was pointless. It was completely worth the reported $20 million it took to compile as the sheer entertainment value of this thing was off the charts. Maybe I would not feel this way if it had been laden with more prominent Mets than Yankees, but I do not believe in playing the ‘what if’ game. The fact is, the Yankees had a lot of guys named and it is swellicious.

    As for the effects of steroids and player performance, can we just stop all this silliness that it has not been proven to enhance anyone’s performance? Hundley never hit more than sixteen homers and tops forty the year he starts taking steroids? Todd seemed to think that was the reason because he took Radomski out to dinner afterwards.

    However, the highlight of my day was this quote:

    “I’ll continue to use Mac [McNamee] to train me. He’s one of a kind.”
    ~ Roger Clemens

    Of course, ‘Mac’ is the guy that Clemens had inject him with steroids in Toronto and was then hired by the Yankees in 2000 after Clemens had persuaded them to do so.

    Brandon Smith, an apprentice trainer with the Yankees, describes Roger Clemens’ day as follows: “He’s one of the first players in every morning, runs, does his program with Andy Pettitte, does the team program workout, goes to the weight room, leaves, plays 18 holes of golf and finally meets (trainer) Brian McNamee at 6 .. . . and a few other players – for another workout. It’s incredible how much energy Roger has.”

    That one never gets old. However, his tune has changed today and McNamee has gone from ‘one of a kind’ to a 'troubled man'.

    "I have great respect for Senator Mitchell. I think an overall look at this problem in baseball was an excellent idea," Hardin said in a statement. "But I respectfully suggest it is very unfair to include Roger's name in this report. He is left with no meaningful way to combat what he strongly contends are totally false allegations. He has not been charged with anything, he will not be charged with anything and yet he is being tried in the court of public opinion with no recourse. That is totally wrong.

    "There has never been one shred of tangible evidence that he ever used these substances and yet he is being slandered today," said Hardin, who called McNamee a "troubled man.”

    Let the spin begin!

    Paul LoDuca was all over this report like AIDS on a Brazilian transvestite. My friend has told me that he was implicated in getting twenty players steroids with his contact. I have no idea if that is true or not, but I’m going to repeat it as if it is the truth anyway. Also, his portion of the report was one of the more telling ones for me.

    Lo Duca was reported to have said: “If you’re battling for a job, and the guy you’re battling with is using steroids, then maybe you say, ‘Hey, to compete, I need to use steroids because he’s using them . . . Don’t get me wrong. I don’t condone it. But its a very tough situation. It’s really all about survival for some guys.”

    According to the notes of an internal discussion among Los Angeles Dodgers officials in October 2003 that were referred to above, it was reportedly said of Lo Duca during the meetings:

    Steroids aren’t being used anymore on him. Big part of this. Might have some value to trade . . . Florida might have interest.. . . Got off the steroids . . . Took away a lot of hard line drives. . . . Can get comparable value back would consider trading. . . . If you do trade him, will get back on the stuff and try to show you he can have a good year. That’s his makeup. Comes to play. Last year of contract, playing for 05.

    First, this really gives some insight as to why it can start like wildfire. There was just so much at stake that some people probably felt compelled to do it. I mean, you had back-up catchers like Todd Pratt and Greg Zaun in this report. However, if the roids mean you get to be a $500,000 to $1,000,000 back-up or a minor league org guy for $30,000, you can understand why they took steroids.

    In addition to that, that blurb by the Dodgers’ officials kind of lets us know that the team officials were aware of the steroid usage. There were other portions of the report that alluded to that, but this one is more implicit. That reads a lot like a scouting report and says getting off the roids took away a lot of his hard line drives. There was also a scouts comments about Gagne in 2006 that were pretty damning as well.

    But all this could have been avoided if Selig listened to Gary.

    In his book, Sheffield attributed the increase in home runs in Major League Baseball after the 1994 strike to widespread steroid use, and he claimed that at the time he asked the Commissioner to investigate the issue, only to be ignored. Selig denied that he ever received such a request from Sheffield.

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  • You took a dump in my mouth.

  • You think Eckstein is sorry he did not take the Mets offer?

  • I am not one for platoons. In fact, I hate them. All they do is try and cover up the fact that you have not one, but two shitty players not good enough to start. However, the Mets should at least give Kevin Mench a look for a one year scenario. I think Church might be a decent player and open some eyes, but Mench is a nice hedge in case Alou goes down as well.

  • $12 million + for Fukudome for four years and $12 million a year for five years for Rowand? This Milledge trade looks worse and worse because he would have been giving some solid production at a bargain price for a while.

  • "Everyone has needs," Randolph said. "You just hope it falls into place where it doesn't tear up your minor-league staff and/or get in the way of the right people to play next year. Would we like to improve and get better? Yes. But I think you have to be smart and not overreact to what's out there because really, when you get down to it, you know what's out there. There's not a whole lot."

    What is interesting about this statement is Willie’s desire to not tear up the minor-league staff. Why should he care who is down there if he refuses to use them?

  • A quick note on the new Royals manager:

    While the Royals' three-year, $36-million investment in Jose Guillen raised these eyebrows, their hiring of Trey Hillman as manager drew full approval.

    Hillman, 44, spent the past five years managing the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan's Pacific League. From 1990 through 2001, he managed in the Yankees' minor-league system, earning a great deal of admiration along the way.

    The Arlington, Texas native credited three Yankees officials for helping him most. Mark Newman, now the Yankees' senior vice president of baseball operations, gave him the chance to manage when he was just 27. From watching Buck Showalter in spring training, he learned about preparation. And from watching Joe Torre in spring training, he saw "the simplicity and the honesty with the way [Torre] dealt with players."

    That is a looooooong time of managing. One would have to assume he knows what he is doing and that is the type of guy I would like to see the Mets go after. I would tend to bet that he can out-manage Willie Randolph while on quaaludes.

    But of course, how can the Mets sign someone with no name recognition?
  • Labels:

    Naming Names

    The Mitchell Report will name about 50 names. 50 names! For me, this entire steroid fiasco is about fairness. I never felt Bonds' treatment was fair because most people acted like he was the only one. He receives the brunt of it partially because his attitude, but he still unjustly receives it.

    He was one of many. Now, they will name fifty names in total. I am sure they will have the low hanging fruits in there like Guillermo Mota, Jason Grimsely, Alex Sanchez, etc. which takes the total down a bit in terms of new names. So what we will have will be relatively short list of new names. Though we do not know for sure, it can be reasonably assumed that there were more than fifty offenders.

    Is it fair that these unlucky guys get named on the Mitchell Report while many skate by? Some would say yes because they still did the crime and just did not get away with it. I say no because it will impact public opinion for some while letting others go unscathed. There will be many suspected users that will simply keep lying and say, "I was not on the list and therefore that should end your suspicions".

    This should have been put to bed a long time ago with better testing and that way all the criminals could have remained anonymous. Now, it is just going to be mess with a few poster boys representing many being the sacrificial lambs. The moral of the story is to do your own house keeping before a maid comes in and steals a family heirloom and rapes the family dog while making you pay them for that pleasure.