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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Chat Transcript 11/21

Thanks to everyone who participated in the chat today. Feel free to add to the discussion here and I'll do my best to chime in.


Anonymous said...

Dan, ( this is " Class ") Since I didn't get to respond to you on BP, I'll respond here.

" Question = Loaded but I'll take a stab at it. Yes, I've bashed Bonds because of his cheating and obviously in my humble opinion deservedly so. What he did was morally wrong and undermines the core product that baseball is selling - fair competition. Some have argued that Pete Rose's gambling was a much worse sin but I don't buy that. Both PEDs and the influence of gambling make it so the fan can't trust what he sees and therefore should be treated the same. What makes Bonds' (and McGwire's if you think his "I'm not here to talk about the past" mantra was a tacit admission) sins worse from a baseball perspective (not a moral one) is that they have tainted the most visible numbers in the game, and ones that will always therefore stain the game. "

Dan, I think you misunderstand the fear in Gambling. In gambling, the fear is that the results of the game have been sold to a third-party, and that there is no legitimacy to the on-field results. That the very spirit of competition doesn't exist any more. The intent of the gambler is to profit in a way unrelated to competition.

Cheating is part of the spirit of competition. An ugly part, but it's reality. Even little kids learn about the "quick count" to start a race with a one step headstart. PED-abuse is a form to gain a competitive advantage. The intent is to be better at the sport.

PEDs have the potential to hurt other players (putting them in a cheat-to-compete mode) and observers who follow the examples of the role-model players. Gambling has the potential to destroy the legitimacy of the entire sport.

Moreover, the original punishment for using steroids when Bonds or Mcgwire possibly used steroids was a referral to counseling and if counseling was refused a short suspension. This right here clearly indicates that in 1991, when the drugs were banned, health was the sole issue - It wasn't until many years later where cheating became an issue. Now, ask yourself, why was gambling banned, and what is the immediate penalty?

" But your point is about other forms of cheating and in regards to amphetamines specifically, I don't think they enhance performance to the same degree but they do enable and so for the sake of argument I'll grant your premise. To the extent that these other forms of cheating break either the rules of the game or the laws of the country then yes, I hold them in the same regard from a moral perspective. Do all of them have the same impact on baseball as an institution or on its records? Obviously no, and so from that perspective some of them are less serious in the same way that while we explain to our kids that a sin is a sin we also explain that some sins have greater impacts than others. "

Well dan, you don't have to take my word for it, but you should take Anti-Doping expert Gary Wadler's word.

" To many anti-doping experts, as well as players, there is no question that amphetamines enhance performance. A landmark 1960 study at Harvard University found that among swimmers, throwers and runners given amphetamines, 75% of the athletes showed improvement in their performances.

"Yes, they actually work," Wadler said. "

And another...
" Gary Wadler, a board member of the World Anti-Doping Agency and a professor of medicine at New York University, has argued that amphetamines may be more performance-enhancing than steroids, and habitual use of amphetamines can result in addiction. They also can lead to diminished appetite and sleeplessness. "

There's really no arguement on whether or not Amphetamines enhance an athlete's performance. They clearly do. Now if you want to argue degree, then I'd agree with you. Steroids are " better " due to the fact that to reap from it's benefits it takes hardwork, where as Greenies are just popping a pill. Steroids also provide better long term effects.

But to deny that Greenies enhance performance is flat out wrong, and those like Mike Schmidt and or Hank Aaron ( if he used more than he said he did) most likely benefitted from these drugs. And the actual impact of these drugs will still not be known that well, as with steroids, because like steroids, there are undetectable Amphetamines.
" Dr. Gary Wadler of the World Anti-Doping Agency says undetectable amphetamines are already available "

And statistically, an arguenent could also be made that the banning of doctored pitches had a larger effect on the numbers then the banning of steroids.

I would make the post myself, but it would take up too much space - So here is a link to a poster on the redszone forum who makes a fantastic case.

Any way dan, your entitled to your own opinions, if you want to view steroids as the equivalent of gambling, and as " much worse " than Ampehatmines, doctored pitches, corked bats, etc, be my guest.

And to address one more point - You say that Bonds knew it was " cheating " because he never went public with it - Well dan, how many people go public about using illegal drugs ?

Do you think players who smoke pot brag about it ?

Did Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Mike Schmidt brag about using amphetamines during their majorleague careers ?

The only drug cheat I know that brags about it is Jose Canseco - And he didn't admit to it until he retired.

Note: Dan, I posted this post in the wrong spot, so I copied and pasted it so I could place it here.

Dan Agonistes said...

Thanks for taking the time to respond and I appreciate your thoughts.

1) You make a good point about gambling but I'm still not buying that it is necessarily worse. Both destroy the atmosphere of fair competition and so both are rightly condemned. I don't think there is any reason to go any further than that.

2) I'm not denying that amphetamines enhance performance, I'm sure they do. My argument (and yes, training is required for steroids to provide that benefit) is that steroids in the case of Bonds and possibly McGwire particularly have had a larger negative effect on the game because they've also tained the records. I'd be a little careful about comparing the results of other sports and baseball since baseball requires a more refined set of skills and as George Will said baseball "is not a game you can play with your teeth clenched"

3) Agree about banning doctored pitches having a larger effect than steroids or greenies overall. That was a fundamental rule change.

4) With regards to going public, that's exactly my point. Drug users, players popping greenies, and using PEDs don't go public with it because they know it's wrong.

Thanks again, and for the links too.

Anonymous said...

Dan, No problem - This is a topic that will be discussed for many years, and it's a good thing to have baseball fans discuss cheating in their favorite sport.

Regarding Gambling, we'll have to agree to disagree there.

And I agree that for certain players, as Bonds and Mcgwire, steroids had a large impact. This is ofcourse not adjusting for the fact that they almost certainly faced juiced up pitchers who use and benefitted from steroids. This isn't to excuse them, what they did was clearly wrong - But you can't just sit there and deduct how many homeruns were " steroid aided " or not, and ignore pitchers who they faced who were juiced. That's the problem with the steroid issue, it doesn't just boil down to Mcgwire and Bonds - They ( especially Bonds) just stick out like sore thumbs because they broke records. It doesn't mean they benefitted from it the most, talent's the issue here. Someone like Jason Grimsley or Jeremy Giambi could of benefitted immensly from steroids, and yet it wouldn't seem like it because they didn't post eye popping numbers. Of course, you'd also be assuming that the records that Bonds and Mcgwire set weren't aided by any PED, or other types of cheating - But Until there's proof, I agree that we shouldn't speculate too much, and slum players careers.

Regarding Greenies, How would they aid a ballplayers performance ? - For starters, the increase energy and stamina would help. There have been reports of pitchers increading the velocity of their fastball after taking a greenie - Of course, it's too small of a sample size to know for sure, but I don't doubt they they do help, or players wouldn't be taking them know the negative side effects they pose. As with steroids.

And Dan, I agree that players don't go public about it because they know it's wrong. But however, it's wrong and illegal. I myself think that if it wasn't illegal, players wouldn't be so secretive about it. Then again, maybe they would of - After all, I don't think Mcgwire wanted anyone to know he was using andro - And when he was caught, he had to face questions about whether or not his numbers were enhanced or not - And admitted to taking one supplement, usually leads to rumors about taking another. No no further than Clemens who admitted to using vioxx, and then suddenly faced allegations of steroid use.

Anonymous said...

Dang, my last post had a lot of stupid errors, and spelling mistakes - There's no way to edit it after you post your response ?

Tangotiger said...


Elias comes up with 4 categories for each position. For example, SS might be AVG, RBI, R, Assists. For OF, it might be AVG, RBI, HR, G, etc, etc. The guy with the highest AVG in his position gets a "1", next guy gets a "2", etc. You do this for each of the 4 categories, and you average it out. A guy with a perfect "1.00" average gets 100 points. If he's at "2.00", he gets 99 points.

It's somewhere along those lines, and I'm not really sure of each category used for each position.

Needless to say, it's both:
a - crap
b - illuminating how you can take just about anything, merge it any way, and still come out with something reasonable

All this from memory from 25 years ago, so take it with a grain of salt.