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Yankee Panky # 36: Fallout Boys
2007-12-22 04:10
by Will Weiss
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

It's been more than a week since the Report's release, and the Yankees have been at the center of the coverage and analysis. Of the 86 names released in the 409-page document — how many of you have downloaded it? — 22 were Yankees, either past or present, with Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte at the forefront.

What surprised me at the outset was the experts' surprise at Clemens' inclusion in the report. Ever since BALCO broke four years ago, Clemens' name has been sprinkled among prominent players on the accused list of PED (performance enhancing drug) use.

"I don't want to believe it," John Kruk said during the Mitchell Report special aired on ESPN that afternoon. He then contradicted himself by saying that as players age, they should not get better, and that since Clemens did, that's a possible indicator of foul play.

"In my days as a general manager, I had heard rumors of Clemens using steroids, but I always attributed his success to his tremendous work ethic," Steve Phillips said on the same program.

Curt Schilling's Dec. 19 post on 38pitches.com was interesting, gripping and will certainly be a talking point for a while. In his 3,200-word post, he wrote that if Clemens is found guilty, he should return the four Cy Young Awards he won in the time frame of the era in question, but that if he's clean, he should come forth and declare it, as Albert Pujols did in response to WNBC-TV's indefensible release of incorrect names two hours before Senator Mitchell's press conference. If you're going to scoop someone, at least make sure you have the facts and corroborate the sources.

The evidence presented by Jose De Jesus Ortiz in the Houston Chronicle supports that. Ortiz wrote that Clemens' name was wrongly included in an LA Times story published last year on the players included in Jason Grimley's affidavit, which at the time were redacted.

A few of the accused have, in fact, come forward and admitted their usage, like Brian Roberts, Jay Gibbons, and most notably, Pettitte. Pettitte's admission was strange, particularly the "if what I did was an error in judgment" line. HGH was still illegal to obtain without a prescription in 2002, so yes, committing a crime was an error in judgment. "It seemed like a good idea at the time," is akin to the Chewbacca defense.

On ESPN.com, Jemele Hill called Pettitte's admission a farce, comparing the statement to "smoking weed for glaucoma." Her analogy may be a bit extreme (doctors in more than a dozen states can prescribe medicinal marijuana to glaucoma patients), but I understand Hill's skepticism and the tone of her reaction. Every player who admits guilt or professes innocence will have his words interpreted 12 ways from Sunday, dissected for tone and leaving us to question the athlete's contrition.

I credit Pettitte for issuing some sort of response to defend himself, given that one of his closest associates, trainer Brian McNamee, sold him out. And judging from my interpretation of Pettitte in covering him for two years, I believe he was sincere.

The media will be split in their interpretations of the admissions and their perceptions of the players who come forward — or don't — because of their inclusion in the report. Friday's opening of Kirk Radomski's sealed affidavit, as well as Grimsley's, could lead to an even bleaker picture of the game. In addition, journalistically and legally, the public release of those documents could change the way we access information, regarding what becomes public record.

* * * * *

In terms of overall coverage, ESPN had the broadest and covered the most angles. I'm actually surprised they haven't developed a microsite within the MLB index solely devoted to the Mitchell Report. The timing of ESPN forming its investigative team could not have been better. T.J. Quinn, Mark Fainaru-Wada, Shaun Assael, Howard Bryant, and Mike Fish were all over the report and finding stories behind the stories. It gives me hope that good journalism, even in the sports field, where traditionalists and professors still cringe at the juxtaposition of sports and journalism, exists.

The reporting has been generally well-founded, and I'm surprised that since the Report was released, fewer writers have rushed to the morality soapbox. That's been left to the politicians. As a fan and a realist, I'm not a fan of the romanticization and preservation of the myth of purity in baseball or any other sport. Regardless of how much testing there is, or how severe the penalties are for the athletes who test positive, there will always be cheating. People will always look for an edge. It doesn't just occur in athletics, it's everywhere.

* * * * *

David Justice's inclusion in the report is surprising on one hand, but then not, when you look at the sharp decline after the 2000 (age 34) season. Declaring his innocence on Colin Cowherd's ESPN Radio show is not exactly a way to boost credibility, either. (I apologize to fans of The Herd, but the way he treated Sean Taylor's death was disgraceful, and having a segment called "Spanning the Globe" when all the news within the segment comes from within the U.S. is an insult to our intelligence.)

YES has not stated whether it will keep Justice as an analyst next year. How they treat the situation, and how KHTK Radio in Sacramento handles the broadcast career of F.P. Santangelo, may determine how other outlets who have hired ex-players named in the Report deal with the analysts and the allegations made against them.

* * * * *

In other Yankee News, Buster Olney writes that the Yankees might be coming around to the Joba Chamberlain bullpen theory I've advocated in this space for several months.

Alex Belth has the full excerpt below.

Finally … Alex Rodriguez's "60 Minutes" interview was illuminating, particularly the description of the depth of his rift with Scott Boras, and his admission that opting out of the contract was a mistake. But even though he came across as sincere, I had to laugh when A-Rod called the opt-out scenario and the subsequent series of events "a bad nightmare." As opposed to the good kind?

Here's to hoping you all have a safe holiday free of bad nightmares, PEDs and long legal documents.

Comments (86)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-12-22 17:37:53
1.   JL25and3
Nice, clear-headed column by George Vecsey: http://tinyurl.com/26agn4
2007-12-22 21:37:42
2.   Jorgie Juiced One
As a Yankees fan, in looking back on 1996-2001, one fact that has struck me is the absence of any "oversized" hitter on the Yankees, as was the case for so many of their competitors. Thus, as highly regarded core players such as Jeter, Bernie and Posada are, I've considered them to be even better than their numbers relative to their peers, considering the environment in which they played. That has not changed.

The only Yankee of any significance to be cited during the Yankees championship seasons is Clemens in 2000. I'm sorry but Canseco, Neagle, Hill, Manzanillo (?!), Naulty (?!?!), etc., were not in any meaningful way "Yankees." But here's where things become intriguing, with respect to Clemens PED use being most identified with his time with the Yankees.

Clemens' career ERA apart from the Yankees is 2.85. His Yankees ERA is 4.00. His ERA in the time immediately preceding and following his stint with the Yankees, with the Blue Jays and Astros is 2.37. Thus, not only was his performance with the Yankees not "enhanced," but it was actually the worst of his career by a significant margin. I'm not saying that Clemens wasn't a good pitcher with the Yankees, especially relative to his era, but if his performance for his entire career had been the same as for the Yankees, we wouldn't even be talking about the HOF.

But, even looking closely at his pre and post-Yankees time is interesting. First of all, other than his 10-13 record, he actually had a very good year with the Red Sox in '96. His ERA was 3.63 (lower than all but one of his Yankees seasons) during a season when the league ERA was 5.05 - the highest of the entire period. He also had 257 Ks. Furthermore, he had a thoroughly dominant season in '97 - 2.05 ERA and 292 Ks, when there is no indication of steroid use. In addition, after his thorougly dominant time with the Astros, he returned to the Yankees this past season and had a 4.18 ERA. Other stats relevant to effectiveness, such as H/IP also match the ERA and Ks.

Here we do not have an average to above-average player having a remarkable single season performance (Anderson 96, Gonzalez 01), nor do we have productive players suddenly shattering records (Sosa, McGwire). We don't even have an all-time elite player exceeding his already exceptionally high achievement level - Bonds. We have an all-time great player who, during a time when he was supposedly using PEDs, consistently performed at levels far below his career norms.

I'm not sure what all the numbers mean, and I'm not saying that Clemens didn't use steroids. But what I do know is that this is obviously not the case of a great player declining and then taking PEDs to not only peform at, but even surpass, previous levels.

Quite frankly, I find this much more interesting and even curious. It might even make for some interesting writing and reporting if among the thousands upon thousands of words written and spoken it were acknowledged.

2007-12-23 02:04:59
3.   Mattpat11
1 These articles always come off as trying to remove any personal responsibility from people. Baseball had no specific rule against it, so these men just blatantly breaking American law to cheat is baseball's fault.

Furthermore, if these don't wish to be held to the standard of a role model, they're more than welcome to trade all their money, fame, photo ops, celebrity hobnobbing and charity galas and become my garbage man.

2007-12-23 02:52:13
4.   OldYanksFan
I wish we could 'break out' each person on the list and examine and judge their behavior on it's own, without lumping everyone together and labeling them.

Yes Matt 3 , Pettitte did break the law. Have you every broken the law? Between speed limits, drinking, drugs, tax returns, smoking cigarettes, gambling, sexual activity and a host of other activities, I guess 90% of Americans have broken the law and many continue to do so. So what?

Did Andy 'cheat'? Yeah, I guess so. Not very long and not very well... but yes. Between greenie, PEDs, corked bats, scuffed balls, stolen signs and the rest, a good portion of MLB players have cheated at one time or another. So what?

The is now no shortage of material for all the sanctimonious virgins out there who LOVE to jump on the band wagon and judge others, as opposed to examining and taking care of their own behavior. But for how PED usage has really impacted Baseball, there is ONLY ONE true question here that is REALLY of concern. How many players used PEDs specifically to enhance their career and their career numbers?

If you did some 'uppers' in college, I don't consider you a 'speed freak'. If you had a bad month and did some binge drinking for a bit, and it ends there, I don't consider you an alcoholic. If you drive 70 MPH on the highway a lot, I don't consider you a criminal (although by the letter of the law, you are). And for the players that did small quantities for a very short period, that had little to no effect on their performance, I can't consider them PEDs users.

This all goes back to the 'witch hunt'. The desire to take a huge problem (PEDs in baseball) and sweep under the rug, all the systemic mistakes made by Selig and Fehr, as well as the hundreds (or more) of players who in some form or manner 'cheated', and use our collective anger and denial to 'burn a very few players at the stake'.

Let's not worry about the vast sums of money made during the steroid era. The new stadiums. The new fans. The cable TV contracts. The 'growth' of baseball. After all, MLB does NOT want to give any of that back, nor have the motivation for ignoring this problem for over a decade examined.

No, let's instead take a very few players that actually got caught (as opposed to the majority who are still unnamed) and publicly shame them. Let's all be 'Moral Shillings' and call for their records to be exsponged. Let's make them into 'bad people' and use them as examples to our children. Let's get real creative and see how we can punish these bastards. Let's tar and feather them, give dozens of sportwriters hundreds of easy articles to write damning them to hell, so the rest of us can feel better.

The we can go back to business as usually. Just look at our government and corporate bahvior. This, after all, IS the American way.

2007-12-23 05:43:56
5.   The Mick 536
What is the Chewbacca defense? Did I sleep through that class in law school?

Good work? Left out was the stupid op ed piece in yesterday's NYT.

Howie Bryant has the best perspective. He documented all ya need to know, without the attendant preachiness, in Juicing the Game. If you follow his lead, you want to jump on everyone. Come clean, will ya. Everyone. I mean, I mean, like everyone.

Are we going to maintain the code of silence? Buddy was so scared that his game was going into the crapper, he and his boys ignored the problem. Managers didn't report what they knew saw or heard. Players wispered. Agents. Canseco kept getting signed and resigned. Are we going to buy the line that only a handful of people provided the drugs?

I just still haven't heard what I am supposed to do with all the information. In the world of stats and heroes, how many of my squad rank higher or lower due to their use of performance enhancers or someone elses?

Having a lot of problems with it, I am.

2007-12-23 06:32:01
6.   JL25and3
3 Matt, that's way too reductionist. Vecsey certainly didn't take your moralistic stance, but he didn't exonerate anyone. Sure, they should take responsibility, under the law and the rules (really, under the rules at the time, but that's a different story). He's just saying that they're human, and we shouldn't be so outraged and hurt to discover that they act that way.

Similarly, his point wasn't about the players not wanting to be role models. It wasn't about them, it was about us; if we expect them to be morally superior, then we're damn fools.

As I said, let them take responsibility for their actions. But if people peg their moral certainty to baseball players and the players fall short, they shouldn't have to bear that responsibility. Our illusions (or delusions) are our own, not theirs.

It really is possible to see the players as having responsibility for their actions and to place those actions in a context that makes their meaning more ambiguous. But from what I've seen, ambiguity may not be your strongest suit.

2007-12-23 07:40:51
7.   JeremyM
2 Great post, and this is stuff that the mainstream media has chosen to ignore or outright lied about. Clemens did not "get better with age." The best parts of his career were in Boston as a younger man. The years that throw people off, I believe, are the Houston years. But considering he went from the war zone that is the AL East to the NL Central, it's not inconceivable (that's the Princess Bride defense for those new to law school).

And Clemens' career was not on life support in 1996. If you can ignore the relatively pointless stat (for a starter) of wins and losses, then you can see he had a good year. Toronto didn't sign him for four-years at top dollar just for his name.

And people are saying you can look at him and see steroid use. But pull up his baseball cards through the years and there is gradual change, but there is no sudden leap that most suspected steroid users have. Of course, if his use was limited to the three periods mentioned, then there wouldn't really be that.

I don't know if he used or not, and my head tells me he probably did. But I think a lot of the things the media has put forth as evidence have been pure garbage.

2007-12-23 08:32:34
8.   JL25and3
7 Another part of the story that seems to be accepted is that the Red Sox were correct in their decision to let Clemens go, that he was in a steep decline that was masked by steroids.

But McNamee's story - assuming it's true - gives every indication that Clemens started using steroids in 1998. That's when Canseco came to Toronto, and McNamee describes Clemens getting his basic education at that point.

So what about that 1997 Cy Young?

2007-12-23 09:29:22
9.   alterity
5 The Chewbacca defense is a South Park creation. Wikipedia entry here: http://tinyurl.com/63jlb. There used to be a YouTube video of it, but apparently it's been taken down.
2007-12-23 10:33:19
10.   OldYanksFan
Roger speaks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vD0GHx980CU
2007-12-23 11:50:37
11.   overkill94
Sounds like they're hoping to pull a Billingsley on Joba next year. While it did limit his innings for the year, it might have screwed the Dodgers out of a playoff spot considering how many starts were given to Mark Hendrickson and Brett Tomko.

Luckily, Kennedy and Hughes are much better bets than Tomdrickson, so I think it would be wise to start him in the bullpen. Not only does it give you a dominant setup man, it allows you to further evaluate the youngsters in the rotation.

2007-12-23 14:23:44
12.   Mattpat11
6 They're human. And there are consequences to a human's actions. When I do something wrong, there are consequences to my actions. Andy Pettitte did something knowing full well what the consequences might be if and when he was caught. I don't blame baseball. I don't blame society. I blame Andy Pettitte, and no half assed, insincere apology is going to change that. He's a very good pitcher, I'm glad he's pitching for my team. But much like Roger Clemens and Alex Rodriguez before him, I really so no reason to ever believe a word that comes out of his mouth. I certainly don't want to hear people citing his strength of character as a reason for why he does anything any more.
2007-12-23 15:19:02
13.   OldYanksFan
12 Yes? Every time you have exceeded the speed limit, you got a speeding ticket? Ever smoke any pot and go to jail for it?

How many people do you think would be walking the streets now if everyone that ever 'broke the law' were punished for it?
Sometimes when my daughter broke a rule I told her to 'not do it again'. Might that be a fair punishment for some of these players?

Furthermore, while Andy and other have 'confessed', and while others haven't, none have been convicted by a court of law.

And in 2002, what were the consequence of doing HGH? Did anyone know what the consequences were back then?

Yes, there are consequences for human's actions. Unless you are Bud Selig or Donald Fehr. Sometimes, depending on circumstances, a consequence is amnesty and forgiveness.

Do you think maybe you are being a tad pious?

2007-12-23 16:13:10
14.   The Mick 536
No help yet, but I will keep pleading with you all. Please make some sense of what is going on. Perhaps, I am not clear (get it, clear) in my thoughts.

It is 1998. Baseball having some problemos. Yankees have a sweet team. No big superstars. Solid group of professionals. Win regularly. But, what am I following everyday? The assault on Roger's record (Maris not Clemmens). Andro and creatine found in his locker. Sammy all bulked up. The league buries the supplement story, allowing the race to go on. Writers threatened with banishment if they scribe on it. Sammy and Mark. Mark and Sammy. Arm in arm. Kisses to Mom. Bashing forearm. My heart. My heart. How may today?

I am so upset that I devoted the time to the story and that they took the record from some humble guy who will never get into the Hall of Fame, but who, in my estimation, holds the most sacred of season records. And look at the crap he put up with as he socked his way to 61.

How do I erase the memory of that season? Is it simple enough just to say what?

2007-12-23 16:16:48
15.   The Mick 536
13 I think that the supplements that were used had been banned in football, basketball, and T&F before 1998. The effects were known. Baseball, management and union, chose not to deal with it.
2007-12-23 17:02:46
16.   OldYanksFan
In 2002, all illegal drugs were against MLB policy (duh). So doing HGH was like smoking Pot or tooting Coke. Were any Pot smokers disiplined for smoking Pot or doing Coke? I don't know.

David Justice did a long, detailed interview with M.Kay. He had some illuminating things to say about McNamee. Unfortunately, we have opened a can of he said-she said, so we have no idea who to believe, and maybe can't believe anyone about anything.

Even Mitchell recommended amnesty.
This whole report and issue haved turned into a real pile of sh*t.

2007-12-23 17:13:18
17.   Mattpat11
Pettitte obviously knew there were consequences. Or he wouldn't have had to secretly obtain HGH illegally, kept it secret for almost six years and been worried about possible interviews on the subject.

I think its all but certain that no one is actually going to be punished by baseball. Selig dropped that ball ten years ago. Andy Pettitre isn't going to be punished by baseball. He's going to pitch and I hope he pitches well. And I'm sure Yankee fans will forgive him.

But I'm not going to be stupid enough to forget all this. I've already been sucked in by two separate baseball con men in the last five years. They're carnies and I'm not going to let myself be fooled a third time. I'm sort of tired of being burned.

2007-12-23 18:05:54
18.   Jeb
Its not that I don't believe that the yanks listed didn't juice, but what bothers me is getting a red sox employee to write the report. The fact that no current sox or members of the 2004 team were listed seems intentional to me. Senator Mitchell had a horrible conflict of interest and obviously there was no chance that any current sox would be named. That's what erodes the credibility of the report to me. Why wasn't this assigned to John Dowd?

Incidentally, a bit off topic, but does anyone know when single game tickets go on sale?

2007-12-24 04:30:08
19.   williamnyy23
12 That's nonsense. For starters, in 2002, not only was HGH not banned by baseball (so he wasn't cheating), my best google searches show it was only illegal to possess with intention to distribute (so he didn't break the law).

At the time he did, taking HGH was not a major issue. Was it wrong? Sure. But so are a whole myriad of other minor offenses that most normal people commit in a society of laws.

You are blowing what Pettitte did way out of proportion. I wont judge Pettitte's true character because I don't know the man personally, but so suggest he is inherently dishonest for experimenting with HGH is ridiculous.

2007-12-24 04:33:55
20.   williamnyy23
17 It seems like your problem is you are looking at these guys as heros. They are professional baseball players who are employed by a team for which we all root. The only thing they owe me as a fan is their best effort on the field. I don't need them to be a role model, to profess their love for me or my city or to just be an all-around good guy. Instead of taking out your frustation on players when they prove to be imperfect, maybe you should lower your exectations of them.
2007-12-24 04:35:01
21.   williamnyy23
18 To the general public on February 29.
2007-12-24 05:26:29
22.   JL25and3
12 , 17 It sounds like you have way, way to much invested in the moral purity of baseball players. What were you "sucked into?" What was the great trust you put in Pettitte to begin with? And why? If you no longer believe anything he says...so what?

For that matter, as far as we know Pettitte hasn't lied. I don't think he ever denied using PEDs before, he just never said anything about it one way or the other. As for his image as a paragon of virtue, that was something that other people said about him; he never claimed it for himself.

If there's a moral lesson to be learned from the Mitchell report, it's this: don't believe a word that any of them say about PEDs. Be skeptical about every single one of them.

Curt "Sanctimonious Prick" Schilling may talk like an anti-steroid crusader, but just because he says it doesn't necessarily mean it's so. I like to think that Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams didn't used PEDs - but maybe they did, even if it was only once.

That's one reason I think it was a mistake to release the names. I don't give a crap about protecting the players who were named, but I fear that everyone else has now been implicitly exonerated.

Finally: the report was really intended to be about systemic issues, not individual ones. You want to blame the players, fine, but that shouldn't let the Commissioner, owners and media off the hook. There's plenty of blame to go around, and you shouldn't let your bitterness towards the players obscure that.

2007-12-24 05:45:51
23.   JL25and3
18 You don't really believe that, do you?

Mitchell didn't choose to follow certain leads and ignore others. There were no others. Radomski and McNamee, New York sources, happened to be the guys who were talking to the feds. If Dowd or anyone else had investigated, they still would have had access to that information and no more.

Mitchell wasn't a great choice to run the investigation because of the appearance of impropriety. But I think it's ludicrous to suggest that there was a deliberate snow job.

2007-12-24 06:04:24
24.   Mattpat11
22 Thats what I meant. I made the mistake of believing in the Texas Con Man in 2003. In 2007 I was dumb enough to think Alex Rodriguez might have actually cared about someone not named Alex Rodriguez.

And what Pettitte did bothers me a lot less than than lame as "apology" that showed how little he really thinks of the people that supported him.

I need to stop believing in these men. They're carnies. Its my mistake.

2007-12-24 06:21:46
25.   horace-clarke-era
I'll start with season's greetings before disagreeing with my usual disagreers! I do value the discussion, just stayed out of it for a few days as we were (and still are!) tending to just repeat ourselves.

OYF says, "Even Mitchell recommended amnesty.
This whole report and issue haved turned into a real pile of sh*t. "

Yes, Mitchell did say this and it isn't an 'even' it is, to my mind, at the heart of his report, built around the need to go forward AND the necessarily selective nature of the names involved. He is (properly) treating these as REPRESENTATIVE not exhaustive, a function of the limited sources made available to him (in part because of stonewalling, which in turns reflects - as others have said - the union deciding it needed to protect the cheaters not the non-cheaters). I'd have thought acknowledgements by Pettitte AND Brian Roberts would have stopped at least SOME of the dump-the-messengers stridency.

The pile of shi*t is the cheating not the report on it, surely. The bigger pile will come soon as congress jumps in with subpoenas. Doesn't anyone else realize this sets us all up for ENDLESS testimony with exactly the implications of Bonds's perjury charges waiting for everyone who can - at ANY point - be found to be lying? Want to imagine a mess that makes Mitchell look like what it is (a restrained suggestion the game get its act together, because a LOT of bodies can be named)?

William, who is always emphatic, says: "That's nonsense. For starters, in 2002, not only was HGH not banned by baseball (so he wasn't cheating), " This is simply (I won't say nonsense) untrue. Read the report, William. It was a prescription drug, used off-prescription (it could not even be OBTAINED by prescription for 'speeding injury recovery') and as such was banned by the game. Why are we still even discussing this one? It amount to smokescreen talk, especially when you use words like 'nonsense'!

Having said all this, I will fall right in line with you guys calling for Selig's head if he starts to try for sanctions against the selective list offered by Mitchell. Among other things the can of worms has to then include greenies through the pre-steroid years (and into them). Punishment irregularly applied is NOT justice, deterrence can't work backwards.

2007-12-24 06:21:48
26.   JL25and3
24 Again, I think your judgments are harsh and moralistic. I don't think they're "carnies," they're just guys. I think that Rodriguez probably cares for other people, but he's always got his self-interest in mind as well. So do we all. He may be more self-absorbed than many, but it doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing proposition.
2007-12-24 06:27:15
27.   horace-clarke-era
Quick addition:

William: "You are blowing what Pettitte did way out of proportion. I wont judge Pettitte's true character because I don't know the man personally, but so suggest he is inherently dishonest for experimenting with HGH is ridiculous."

I completely agree. Pete Abe, and others, as OYF has pointed out, are just wrong for not applying a continuum of 'guilt' here. Having said that, it is a continuum, not exoneration, and I still hate phrases like 'hung out to dry' as if players are children or being 'scapegoated', and the blind eyes of owners, union, commissioner, fans excuses them. They were cheating their peers.

2007-12-24 06:47:27
28.   Mattpat11
26 Roger Clemens lies and tries to fool people almost as often as he actually pitches. I can't think of a better word than carny. I'm sorry.

And after the debacle that was 2007 where he treated everyone from his wife to team management to supposed friends on his team, to the sport itself, to his own agent like shit, I'm sorry, I don't think Alex Rodriguez gives a damn about anyone else. That doesn't change his ability. I still would like to see him break the homerun record. But I'd rather not hear how sensitive he is any more.

2007-12-24 07:05:11
29.   JL25and3
27 To me, the essential part of the scapegoat is not that it is innocent. It's that it's used to absorb and remove the sins from others.

So I definitely think tha players are being scapegoated, but that doesn't mitigate their behavior. But their guilt is being used to deflect blame from the other parties.

2007-12-24 07:36:33
30.   Jeb
23 18 you're damn right I believe it! I'm glad you think senator Mitchell is honest and beyond reproach. However, there's a reason that there's conflict of interest rules that prohibit lawyers from representing clients with whom doing so would cast an appearance of impropriety. He had an absolute conflict of interest. As a lawyer, he should have known better.

If dowd or someone without a stake in one particular team had written the report it would be received with some credibility.

I knew there was no fucking way that papi and company would ever be named before that piece of shit released his report.

2007-12-24 07:53:38
31.   monkeypants
I toggle between Yankees sites (especially this one) and NY Giants sites. With four comments of any post any NY Giants blog, the "discussion" devolves into a "debate" over "Eli Sucks!!!" I'm noticing a strikingly similar trend on the ol' Banter these days.
2007-12-24 08:08:57
32.   Mattpat11
30 It really is odd that, especially with the burden of proof to make it into this report being "semi corroborated gossip" that not a soul from that 2004 Sox made it.
2007-12-24 08:17:40
33.   Jeb
32 with all due respect, I don't think its odd in the least. Who here, if they were hired to write such a report, wouldn't be tempted to make a value judgment and leave Andy out. I suspect that red sox management, who Mitchell has access to, knew who juiced (my evidence being the Theo email about gagne). If the report was going to be based on accusation and heresay, then why not interview Theo and put tat list of players? Hell, Mitchell did just that with the email. What was needed was someone with no allegiances and certainly not an actual employee of one club. I bet the report would have read differently if Brian Cashman had been the author.
2007-12-24 08:19:13
34.   Jeb
32 hearsay....big Duh.
2007-12-24 08:19:56
35.   OldYanksFan
28 Matt - you make so many huge, sweeping assumptions about others people's feelings and motivations, it's impossible to have a sane discussion.

25 Hoss - Willaims 'nonsense' statement is right on. Yes, HGH and all illegal drugs were against the rules, but we had thousands of players doing greenies, drinking to excess (and driving), smoking pot and all kinds of other 'rule breaking'. MLB did not go after these guys. It is not MLB's job to search for Pot smokers, people who speed on the highway, and other 'law breakers'. MLB enforced rules that were SPECIFICALLY called out as being against MLB policy.

How can you call out Andy (or anyone else) who broke the 'general rule' of prescription drugs, used off-prescription when Willie and EVERYBODY in baseball was doing Greenies for DECADES!?

This is not (or should not) be a MORALS issue.
This is not (or should not) be a about policing 'illegal' personal behavor.
This is not (or should not) be a about breaking the rules.
From Babe drinking during prohibition to the present, a huge portion, IF NOT THE MAJORITY PORTION of MLB players have been breaking rules, doing something illegal, or cheating. This is, and always has been, part of MLB.

We need to clarify that for the fans, this IS (or SHOULD BE) about players who have 'gotten an edge' and/or 'inflated their numbers' by using PEDs. (And lets face it, we don't care the slightest about the Juan Pierre types who have used PEDs and still stink).

We can not really discuss this and come to any concensus until we define what the discussion/issue is.

Why talk about CHEATING when it has been a part of MLB history forever, and HOFers like Whitey, Perry and others have openly talked about it, or written books about it?

Why talk about USING NON PRESCRIBED DRUGS when it has been a part of MLB history forever, and was absolutely rampant (Greenies) for decades and used by Willie and probably every other great player?

Why talk about MORALS when MLB has it's share of wifebeaters, drunk drivers, and a history of descrimination against Blacks and other minorities?

This is (or should be) about PED usage.
And that should include Selig and Fehr's 'don't ask don't tell' policy that would STILL be happening if Congress didn't get up Bud's ass.

It is not fair to single out a handful of players when there are THOUSANDS of offenders in a system that promoted this behavior.

People really need to come down from their moral perches and recognize that this report, and the choosing of Mitchell (when there were many better choices) is simply a political move by Bud to 'put the spotlight' on individual players instead on the institutionalized PEDs usage that Bud allowed for over a decade.

Bud allowed and silently encouraged this because baseball prospering financially was more important to him then the integrity of the game.

Fehr allowed and silently encouraged this because individual players prospering financially was more important to him then the integrity of the game.

If you don't see this, then you have 'smoke in your eyes'.

2007-12-24 08:31:41
36.   pinstripemike
Dave Justice will be back on YES as posted on my blog on 20 December.

http://nyyu.blogspot.com/2007/12/justice-at-yes-for-dave.html

Unlike most of the media, YES will not convict someone without undisputed proof or based on hearsay.

2007-12-24 08:37:30
37.   OldYanksFan
36 Dave did a long, extensive interview with M.Kay that I thought was important (in light of what's going on) and very worthy of discussion. Have most of you heard this interview?
2007-12-24 09:31:01
38.   Mattpat11
35 I don't think its some uncalled for to look at how Alex Rodriguez behaves and declare he's a self involved prick. There's only so many horrible misunderstandings and whacky coincidences I'm willing to accept before I take note of a trend.

And as for Roger, I'm not the one that nicknamed him the Texas Con Man. That's been following him around for a long time.

And when did we decide that Pettitte wasn't using HGH to get an edge?

2007-12-24 09:38:45
39.   monkeypants
"Why talk about CHEATING when it has been a part of MLB history forever, and HOFers like Whitey, Perry and others have openly talked about it, or written books about it?"

You can do better than that, OYF. Just because players cheat and have done so for a long time does not make it not cheating. The fact that admitted cheaters are in the HOF is a red herring--the HOF is an independent organization with its own standards and rules of admissions. The fact that such cheaters are glorified by society in general, and that this same glorification is used to rationalize more cheating, is a sad indictment of our society. But it's still cheating.

2007-12-24 10:03:53
40.   Raf
The problem is not that Mitchell is on the Red Sox payroll, the problem is that a report was needed to be generated. Nothing more, nothing less.

39 Regardless, the fact that cheating has always been accepted in baseball makes the current public outcry a bit hollow. "OMFG, TEH PL4Y3Rz WERE 0N JuIC3!!11!!1!"

So what, BFD. Steroids in MLB has been around since at least the '60s; "Former pitcher Tom House describes past steroid use"
http://tinyurl.com/2b97s4

So where were the crowds with the torches and pitchforks back then?

At the very least, PROVE that steroids has an effect. Yes, Palmiero failed a test, but so did Neifi Perez. Other luminaries like Damian Moss, Alex Sanchez, and Matt Lawton tried PEDs too. So we have all kinds of players along the spectrum juicing, from superstars, to all stars, to the last man on the roster. So why am I supposed to get up in arms about Bonds, but Matt Lawton gets a pass? Sorry, I don't do outrage because it's the "in" thing to do...

"Cheating is baseball's oldest profession. No other game is so rich in skullduggery, so suited to it or so proud of it." - Thomas Boswell

2007-12-24 10:21:15
41.   JL25and3
38 Apparently all the evidence suggests that HGH does absolutely nothing to help athletes.

http://tinyurl.com/2gs9o5
http://tinyurl.com/3ab3c7
http://tinyurl.com/32gavv

2007-12-24 10:23:02
42.   monkeypants
40 "So where were the crowds with the torches and pitchforks back then?"

Also a red herring. Failure of past generations to be outraged is not a strong argument against the current reaction. By that logic, we should not be outraged by racism in baseball now because in the old days there was lots of racism and everyone knew it and was proud of it.

""OMFG, TEH PL4Y3Rz WERE 0N JuIC3!!11!!1!""

This IS funny, though.

2007-12-24 10:48:45
43.   Mattpat11
41 Those same reports say it does nothing to speed up recovery time.

Maybe Andy just has a needle fetish.

2007-12-24 11:00:13
44.   OldYanksFan
38 You mean ARod is selfish because he wants as big a payday as possible? That describes 95% of all MLB players. And it was Boras who was responsible for the Opt-out mess (although I'm sure to want to put it on ARod regardless of the evidence). It took ARod all of 7 days to make it straight. One of his close friends said he was in tears over the way Boras handled it. ARod knew Boras for 16 years... half his life. He was a surrogate father. But ARod did what was necessary... and as you see, we haven't heard a peep from Boras since.

His (previous) contract called for him to make $27m in 2008 and $32m in 2009 and 2010. He signed for an AAV of $27m. I'm not saying it was a steal for the Yankees (10 years and all), but ARod thought it was fair all around.

Pettitte: If indeed he used it twice (or 3 times or 4 times) in a ONE MONTH period, when he was injured, how much of an edge did he get? According to what I've read, HGH alone has little to ZERO PED qualities. Even the Mitchell report specifically said that.

Justice said MsNamee 'sold' him on using HGH as a 'miracle cure' for injuries. Justice believed his trainer and was going to try it. When he saw a needle, he said forgetaboutit. He said if it was a pill, hw WOULD have taken it, bacause he didn't know what it was, and a trainer he respected, highly recommended it.

McNamee has a very shady past, including doping a female Yankee employee with so much date-rape drug, it was almost fatal. Have you done any research on McNamee that Pettitte and everyone else are liars, but this guy is pure as driven snow?

As for Roger... he's always been an asshole, but at least works hard to his craft. A con-man? Why? I consider him just an asshole... not because he may have done steroids. He was an asshole WAY before that.

2007-12-24 11:03:17
45.   OldYanksFan
39 Are you forgetting Greenies? Red juice? It's not just Perry and Whitey. An entire generation of players illegally did 'speed'.

What Pettitte did was wrong. But so is driving 68 in a 65 MPH zone. Shall we crucify him for it? In the context of ALL the other players in the game, both past and present, just how high a 'crime' was it?

I'm not saying it was OK, or right. I'm just saying it was small potatoes in the scheme of things.

2007-12-24 11:08:25
46.   monkeypants
45 "Are you forgetting Greenies? Red juice? It's not just Perry and Whitey. An entire generation of players illegally did 'speed'"

This fits into my point point exactly. The HOF argument is a red herring. That past generations cheated without outraged response is a red herring.

I'm not calling for Pettitte's crucifixion or his exoneration or anything in between. Rather, I am merely pointing out what I think are highly flawed arguments, and, if anything, I am calling for an end to this tired "debate" 31 .

2007-12-24 11:12:14
47.   OldYanksFan
Matt - Do you think it was a coincidence that so many of McNamee's players used HGH? Do you think McNamee made any money off his players? Do you think he was a drug dealer? Or Pusher? Do you think McNamee told all his players that HGH was indeed ILLEGAL, before he handed it out? Justice said McNamee highly recommended it as a MIRACLE CURE for injuries. Maybe Andy doesn't like needles. Maybe he just believed a TRAINER he respected.

Cortizone is a STEROID. For whatever reason, it is legal. Like Schilling, Sheffield, Giambi and dozens (hundreds?) of others, when they were NOT ABLE TO PLAY EFFECTIVELY due to injury/pain, they got up to 4 shots in a year. Yet this is fine. But doing HGH is a HIGH crime? Don't you see some inconsistancy in this?

2007-12-24 11:16:13
48.   monkeypants
47 I think that it is inconsistent that a scorer can't assume a double play but also cannot award an RBI on a DP. But those are the rules.
2007-12-24 11:18:50
49.   Raf
42 The public isn't outraged by racism in baseball either, or at least when Sheffield or Bonds complain about it...
2007-12-24 11:21:42
50.   monkeypants
49 So, then by your logic racism is OK? I mean, that's the argument you're making. Again, I am increasingly bored by the whole discussion, but I do think that the argument you proposed is deeply flawed.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-12-24 11:27:08
51.   Chyll Will
42 "By that logic, we should not be outraged by racism in baseball now because in the old days there was lots of racism and everyone knew it and was proud of it."

But we are outraged, yeahhhhh? >;) Now that I think about it, I don't know if I support that analogy, since the issue with race obviously was not about bending or breaking rules to get an edge over the competition, but denying fair competition among equals based on social construct. Which was ultimately more damaging to the moral fabric and history of the game?

My point is, morals aside (and they only matter to those who believe they have no control over the situation, i.e fans), everyone directly involved with the presentation of baseball benefitted from the results of play, regardless of how they were achieved.

Me personally, I am no longer outraged by what players do short of murder or other capital felonies, but by the idea that any of these investigations, reports and reactions are supposed to be for the benefit of the fans. NO it's not, it's for the benefit of business. Is that wrong? Then why lie about it?

2007-12-24 11:28:33
52.   OldYanksFan
48 OK. I'm done. Although nobody is talking about anything else. And with the 'Roger Event', this will be in the news and discussed (ad nauseum, I agree) for many weeks and months yet.
2007-12-24 11:29:43
53.   Chyll Will
43 Needle fetish, eh? Get a tattoo, or acupuncture, or watch all those blasted Hellraiser movies...
2007-12-24 11:30:00
54.   JL25and3
47 Corticosteroids and anabolic steroids aren't the same thing.
2007-12-24 11:30:18
55.   OldYanksFan
50 Nobody is saying it's OK. What we are asking is "How bad is it" given the context of this whole situation?
2007-12-24 11:32:39
56.   OldYanksFan
54 No... correct. Corticosteroids have a far greater PED effect then HGH. HGH 'theoretically' promotes faster healing. A cortizone shot can take a guy who can't swing a bat on Monday, and allow him to hit a HR Wednesday.
2007-12-24 11:32:57
57.   JL25and3
50 So how do you feel about a Betemit-Duncan platoon at first base?
2007-12-24 11:32:57
58.   OldYanksFan
(Oh God... make me stop!)
2007-12-24 11:34:05
59.   OldYanksFan
57 How about Duncan and Miranda at the bag?
2007-12-24 11:41:14
60.   Chyll Will
59 Stereotypical police references? For shame! >;)
2007-12-24 11:46:07
61.   Chyll Will
56 No... iirc, cortizone allows free movement; in that if a player was hitting home runs before, he can ostensibly continue. Cortizone does not add strength, but allows freer range of motion in regards to injuries to joints and tendons.
2007-12-24 11:47:19
62.   Chyll Will
(hello... is this thing on?)
2007-12-24 11:51:27
63.   monkeypants
57 I think that a Betemit-Duncan platoon will be a disaster, because despite their platoon splits, the more they play the more they will be exposed. I think the two are GREAT bench players, though. I only wish that the FO could manage to find one stinkin' decent bat to shove at 1B.
2007-12-24 12:04:01
64.   Mattpat11
44 If Alex Rodriguez is willing to step on anyone in his path, including alleged friends on his team in order to get a pay day, yeah he is selfish. And more power to him. But don't whine about how sensitive you are. And no, I don't believe for a second that Rodriguez and Boras weren't in on it the whole time. Nothing Alex Rodriguez likes more than being the top story. It wasn't until after it all blew up in their faces and no one wanted to deal with them that the decision to throw Boras under the bus came out. Now everyone gets what they want. Boras gets his money, A-Rod gets his, A-Rod gets to play the victim (something he does remarkably well, I might add). It all works out so nice.

Roger Clemens will spit in your face and tell you its raining.

And if Andy Pettitte knew that HGH had no positive effects, why the hell was he getting stuck with it? Maybe he really does have a needle fetish. Obviously he thought he was going to benefit in some form. And the idea that he was naive to the reputation of HGH in mid 2002 is unbelievable to me, I'm sorry. That's what bothers me most. His "apology" treats his fans like slack jawed yokels that are just going to believe whatever trash he wants to spew out.

2007-12-24 12:34:35
65.   OldYanksFan
64 Exactly who did ARod step on? and just how? Did Toru Hunter step on someone? Zito? How about Posada? Mo?
2007-12-24 12:43:33
66.   weeping for brunnhilde
What's the Chewbacca defense?
2007-12-24 12:45:58
67.   Mattpat11
Alex Rodriguez completely blew off the Yankees, refused to even listen to their offer, refused to return their phone calls. He also refused to return the phone calls of his supposed friend and protégé Robinson Cano. Or teammate Johnny Damon. Or anyone for that matter (Cashman and Torre) But he's really sensitive and stuff. If you're going to just blow people off for no good reason to make more money, I don't want to hear how sensitive you are. I'm sorry. I have no idea what part of THE EVIL Boras and the poor innocent A-Rod's masterplan involved blowing off Robinson Cano and Johnny Damon. It certainly showed me how much his friends were worth to him.
2007-12-24 14:34:46
68.   Raf
50 Racism aside, do you think the color line was broken because MLB (or the Dodgers) felt the need to rectify social ills, or because there was a readily available source of talent that was waiting to be tapped?

The argument I am making isn't flawed, just acknowledging what has been going on for years. Everyone's dirty; the owners and the players. Everyone knew something was up; the owners, the players, and the fans. Everyone conveniently looked the other way.

My problem from the beginning is that everyone wants to crucify Bonds, Clemens, and Pettitte, but when players like Alex Sanchez, Damian Moss, Neifi Perez, Matt Lawton, etc were busted, there was nary a peep from the crowd.

If there's going to be gnashing of teeth, and rendering of garments over steroids in baseball, cheating, and whatnot, the least the "torch and pitchfork" crowd could do is be consistent. If it's bad for one, it's bad for all.

2007-12-24 14:46:45
69.   monkeypants
68 I agree--it's bad for one and for all. The reaction is more vocal for the big stars because they are, well, the big stars. Thus, all of their exploits (HRs, Ks, extramarital affairs, public statements, rivalries, etc.) receive greater attention. I actually think that this is justified to a degree. As I have argued before (and OYF for one disagreed strongly), when Joe Shlobotnik or Matt Lawton take the juice, maybe they improve their performance, maybe not--any improvement is what? An increase from 15 to 17 HRs?

When Clemens or Bonds uses the juice, maybe it helps maybe not. But if it does help, it could have historical implications (historical measured by sports standards, of course).

So, to answer your implied question: yes, it is just as bad for each and all. but that does not mean that the emotional reaction to the same action will be (or even should be) the same. To answer your second implied question, I personally would have suspended all of them for a significant number of games, from Neifi Perez to Barry Bonds. But, that horse is long out of the barn.

2007-12-24 14:48:11
70.   51cq24
i think the yankees' insult to joe torre was an insult
2007-12-24 14:50:27
71.   51cq24
sometimes you try to make a stupid joke and mess it up and then you regret automatically unchecking the preview comment box.
but seriously let me know when we're done talking about steroids i can't take it anymore.
2007-12-24 14:53:09
72.   monkeypants
70 71 You shouldn't have posted your second comment. The first was funny all by itself!

I Agree!

Merry Christmas folks, I'm outta here for a few days.

2007-12-24 15:04:14
73.   Raf
69 That's something else that bugs me about this issue; if we're not sure that it helps, then what's the big deal? Is it about the children? Is it about feeling bad that these athletes are poisoning themselves? Is it about the "integrity of the game?"

Have a safe trip, enjoy the holiday!

2007-12-24 16:42:34
74.   horace-clarke-era
You know, I was finding monkeypants a scholar and a gentleman and solidly good at dissecting weak arguments (though a very bad name-chooser) but then he went and also named the immortal Joe Shlobotnik ... and, well, he's just aces with me now! It is hard to exalt someone named monkeypants, but he's earned it. Give him a multi-year deal, Alex.

Best of season to all banterers.

2007-12-24 17:06:50
75.   Just fair
Merry Christmas all. My tree is HGH free (I think), but I still need to water it every few days.
2007-12-25 08:01:29
76.   Shaun P
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

I'm sad to say that the only PEDs (Portliness Enhancing Delights) under our tree are a box of Belgian chocolates and a bag of Lindt truffles. Santa must know we are trying to watch our weight this year!

Safe travels to anyone out and about.

2007-12-25 08:04:11
77.   Chyll Will
Merry Christmas, Family!!! >;)
2007-12-25 09:28:59
78.   OldYanksFan
Happy Festivus!
FWIW: Over at RLYW, they ran some projections for how Santana going to the Sox vs. Santana going to us plays out.
Of course, Santana improves whatever team he is on, but the difference is surprising little, and could easily be made up by getting another impact player (like at 1st base).

If this is accurate, and assuming that next year (and the immediate following years) are both the best for Santana and the worst for Phil, and considering the cost of Santana's contract both in $$ and Years, it appears to be a no-brainer to NOT get Santana.

Earlier, I ran some scenerios using WinShares, and again, getting an impact batter (and not losing Phil or IPK) was actually better then getting Santana.

And again, this doesn't talk about 4 years from now, when Santana may possibly be a lesser pitcher.

Yeah... I know... "But what about the Post Season"?
So who was our 'Santana' from 1996-2000?

SAVE PHIL HUGHES!

2007-12-25 13:23:20
79.   JL25and3
I just wanted to wish Happy Birthday to the best BR/TL position player in baseball history.
2007-12-25 15:38:05
80.   Chyll Will
79 Was this whom you were referring to? And if so, how come you didn't tell me earlier, Bama?? We could've wrote him into the HoF a long time ago >;)

http://tinyurl.com/2eltde

2007-12-25 18:59:05
81.   JL25and3
80 No, I think he batted lefty as well.

I was talking about http://tinyurl.com/2526xl

2007-12-25 20:56:48
82.   Chyll Will
81 Funny, I actually kinda knew that without looking it up. A Christmas miracle! >;)
2007-12-25 21:03:48
83.   Chyll Will
81 Well, one thing is certain: he's the only person who, whenever he left, was always right >;) (despite the Ralph Waldo Ellison treatment, it's good to be back!)
2007-12-25 21:10:13
84.   weeping for brunnhilde
69 Well said, mp.
2007-12-25 21:11:21
85.   weeping for brunnhilde
71 Pitchers and catchers is a long, long way off yet, to say nothing of Opening Day.

:(

2007-12-26 06:42:43
86.   Raf
85 There's always winter ball.

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