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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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Yes, Bonds Is Still a Hall of Famer - In Baseball, Anyway
2006-03-09 09:09
by Jon Weisman

Barry Bonds hit 613 home runs in his career, including 73 in 2001, before baseball prohibited steroids and began testing at the start of 2003. His performance was as permissable, however much some may want to say it was immoral, as stealing signs.

So for this period of his career, as much as I may deplore what he did, Bonds was not a cheater. J.A. Adande of the Times covered this ground this morning, capturing for the most part what I had been thinking.

Baseball let Bonds do what he pleased - failed to nip it in the Bud, so to speak - and baseball has to live with it. Bonds was a joyrider, but baseball is what let him - and others - run amok.

You can't rewrite all the history you want. You can't erase all the bad because it feels wrong. The best you can do is learn.

Barry Bonds is part of history. Baseball is a game with runs, hits and errors, and he represents all three. Let his deserved presence in the Hall of Fame be a lesson to baseball. It wasn't just Bonds. Baseball took steroids.

* * *

On a happier note in the Times, just as I proposed last week - I had nothing else to do with it - Bob Timmermann made Morning Briefing.

Bob Timmerman, a contributor to the DodgerThoughts website, heard an interesting exchange between ESPN basketball announcers Lou Canellis and Bucky Waters on Saturday. It came during the Atlanta Sun Conference tournament championship game between two Nashville, Tenn., schools. Belmont defeated Lipscomb, 74-69, in overtime.

Near the end, Canellis said, "If Belmont wins, they get to buy some new shoes because they are going to the Big Dance."

Said Waters: "Actually, Belmont is a Southern Baptist school that prohibits dancing."

* * *

The history and future of Jerry West as the iconic NBA logo is detailed in a freelance piece by David Davis at

"I found the original photograph in the archives of Sport Magazine (where Schaap later worked as editor in chief)," (designer Alan) Siegel said. "It was an action shot of Jerry West dribbling down the court from one of the Lakers' games. I sketched it, cleaned it up a bit and stylized it. I streamlined the tracing I made — (and) slimmed it down a little bit — so it would work in all applications." ...

Siegel said that he had no ulterior motive for selecting the photograph of West and that his main consideration was the image's aesthetics. Jerry West, however, was no ordinary player. ...

There is talk that the NBA would consider changing the logo.

Does the present logo represent today's brand of the NBA? If not, should the NBA retire it and bring in a sub?

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban thinks that the logo works fine, but he says the league needs to improve its marketing efforts. "(The logo) represents the NBA, but it's how you enable the brand that matters, not the logo itself," he said. "It's a much more competitive environment (today), and we've got to work harder at it. Unless we have a good marketing program, the logo is irrelevant."

Thanks to L.A. Observed for the story link.

* * *

Finally, I have a new column up at on the World Baseball Classic. While the WBC seems to be generating interest, it only appears to be doing so in places where baseball is already popular, such as the U.S., the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. Given that the mission of the WBC is to expand baseball's audience around the world beyond its existing hot spots, I've proposed some changes to the format, so that the game has a better chance of growing new roots.

Comments (149)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-03-09 09:34:55
1.   Bob Timmermann
I've been Larry Stewarted!
2006-03-09 09:52:58
2.   Daniel Zappala
Bob, does this go on your resume?
2006-03-09 09:56:33
3.   Colorado Blue
Good column Jon and I like the team draft idea: "...the Tommy Lasorda team, the Sadaharu Oh team -- heck, even the Ziyi Zhang team."

Now, if you could get Fidel Castro to participate as the special-guest drafter I'll bet the ratings would really take off!

2006-03-09 09:57:09
4.   Daniel Zappala
Oh, and nice article, Jon. I like your idea a lot, and it would probably get me watching.

I will start the campaign now: Jon Weisman for baseball commissioner!

2006-03-09 09:58:03
5.   OaklandAs
Jon, nice article at, but I must say I disagree. First, I think the level of competition has been fairly balanced. Maybe not all 16 teams have a realistic chance of getting out of the first round, but I think at least 12 or more do. I think there are at least 6 or 7 teams that think they can win it.

Second, I think the interest would be much lower if the teams weren't divided by nationality. If the players were just drafted to fill random teams, I think no one would have a rooting interest in any of the games (including the players). And, I'm not sure that the competition would be any better anyway.

Third, even if some countries like China or South Africa are getting thrashed,I still think this may be a necessary step in a country's baseball development. We saw a similar effect in basketball in the '88 Olympics, but just 10 years later, a lot of countries had made great progress.

2006-03-09 09:59:05
6.   Bob Timmermann
I don't think I'll be putting Morning Briefing on my resume. Especially since the quote wasn't verbatim. It was pretty close.
2006-03-09 10:08:41
7.   Penarol1916
5. I don't think the basketball in the Olympics is a very good comparison. For one, basketball was already incredibly popular in many parts of the world when it started, two while teams have improved, those countries that have beaten the US are those where the sport was already popular.
I think the problem really is that it is very hard to interntionally market a sport from the top down like this. Look at all of the attempts to make Soccer the 4th big sport in the US, it has been miserable because it has been a top down attempt.
I'm not sure Jon is correct either though, when it comes to whether or not getting killed in international competition dampens the potential for growth of the sport in a country. Basketball and soccer are growing tremendously in China, and in both basketball and soccer, China gets crushed in international competition.
2006-03-09 10:12:34
8.   Jon Weisman
5 - You make a good point - and certainly, things look more promising for South Africa against the U.S. today than they did yesterday. But what makes a great World Series, for example? Most of us don't have a rooting interest in the World Series, so our interest in watching depends on how great the games are and how compelling the individuals are.

The All-Star Game gets a lot of grief, but it's still watched by a national TV audience (not cable) even though no one's "team" is playing in the game.

While I'll watch the Dodgers play anybody, most people outside of Los Angeles won't, and certainly people who have never seen a baseball game won't. Parochial interests serve the already-passionate or the short-interest fan. Baseball seems to want something more.

Also, by opening the rosters up beyond nationality, you can bring in players from more than 16 countries, which I think is important to market the game.

But if baseball wants to turn this into a true World Championship, with national teams and players at peak performance, I'd change my tune.

2006-03-09 10:14:32
9.   ScoobyGoo
Finding out Bonds (and all these other guys) took steroids is like finding out your girlfriend has fake're just disappointed that something so perfect could be untrue...


2006-03-09 10:15:20
10.   oldbear
I like that the teams are split up by nationality, but I think there needs to be some consistency. How can A-Rod play for the US, but Piazza play for Italy? Werent they both born in the US?

I think they should keep the nationality (sort of like the olympics), but just have fewer teams.

Since Baseball is no longer an olympic sport, I guess this is the next best thing.

2006-03-09 10:18:05
11.   Jon Weisman
7 - If basketball and soccer are growing in China, it's despite getting crushed in international competition. I don't expect that's helping. I expect what's causing the growth is that people in China are seeing the best teams in the world play on TV.

So as far as baseball goes, the WBC doesn't change that. They're still seeing the best; China not happening to be among them. China's participation is basically irrelevant at this point. My theory is that if a Chinese player were on a championship team, that might jump-start interest more quickly.

Perhaps an example is Hines Ward of the Steelers. Apparently, his performance in the Super Bowl caused a sensation in Korea. I bet that did more for football in Korea than if the Korean national football team had been given a wild card berth.

2006-03-09 10:19:31
12.   Monterey Chris
I wonder if Bob will sign my copy of the LA Times for me.
2006-03-09 10:22:45
13.   Bob Timmermann
My brother pointed out to me that the last time the U.S. played Mexico in soccer and baseball, the U.S. won 2-0 both times.

As for the nationalities, they did so some creative shuffling, but that's a long tradition in international sports I'm afraid. The Irish soccer teams rarely have guys who have lived there. The U.S. soccer team in 1950 had guys who qualified because they were considering thinking about getting U.S. citizenship (and some never did). The English were none too happy about that.

But in one of the early Olympic ice hockey tournaments, the British rounded up a bunch of Canadians called them Brits and they won the gold medal.

2006-03-09 10:25:53
14.   Bob Timmermann
BTW, Odalis Perez is starting for the D.R. against Italy in the WBC now. He gave up a run in the first, but the D.R. got two back in the bottom half due to some bad fielding by Italy.

I hope Perez enjoys his one day of guaranteed good run support.

2006-03-09 10:31:13
15.   Griffon64
Regarding the WBC format ... what makes ME watch is that I'm a South African, and I'm watching an all South African team play. I suppose it is different for those of us coming from a country where supporters are used to rooting for their country on an international stage, like all the major team sports in this country ( rugby, cricket and soccer ) gets played at the highest level.
2006-03-09 10:35:55
16.   OaklandAs
Jon, I think your last sentence in 8 is the way I'd like to see the WBC go. But I think for a first try, it's been pretty good. Even with so many players dropping out, there are still some very good teams out there.
2006-03-09 10:36:09
17.   oldbear
The Irish soccer teams rarely have guys who have lived there.

Ringers do take some of the enjoyment out of the game. Kind of like private high schools whom recruit all over the city, being in the same league as public schools.

2006-03-09 10:37:09
18.   Jon Weisman
15 - Are you already a baseball fan, or did the WBC get you interested?
2006-03-09 10:38:08
19.   natepurcell
darnit, ramon II with a homerun. come on robles, step up!
2006-03-09 10:38:19
20.   Bob Timmermann

China did make the World Cup final round in 2002, so its soccer team isn't hopeless. And they just missed out on the final round of Asian qualifying this time around.

At least we know South Africa will make it in 2010!

2006-03-09 10:40:23
21.   D4P
"Ramon II" is acceptable, but the preferred moniker is now "Lucille II".
2006-03-09 10:42:07
22.   Xeifrank
So for this period of his career, as much as I may deplore what he did, Bonds was not a cheater.

Personally, I consider it cheating. It may not have been against the rules, but what he did was against the spirit of fair play. If I had a vote, I would NOT vote Bonds, McGwire, Palmeiro, Sosa etc... into the HOF. I'm not exactly the type of person a defense lawyer wants in the jury either.
vr, Xei

2006-03-09 10:42:09
23.   ToyCannon
Those wily vets are knocking the snot out of the ball:)

So are those old prospects, could Ross be making things difficult? Until 2003 he was a very highly ranked prospect who had a nasty injury and never seemed to regain his skills.

So are those highly touted prospects. In fact this has been a fun spring so far for all types.

2006-03-09 10:42:23
24.   Jon Weisman
16 - The WBC has exceeded my expectations, and I hope it doesn't appear I'm trashing it. I just think that baseball is caught between two missions with it.
2006-03-09 10:45:28
25.   oldbear
Alomar has 2HR's.
Martinez's 1HR.
Cody Ross has 3HR's...

I guess I was wrong about the Dodgers lack of power...

2006-03-09 10:48:35
26.   Cliff Corcoran
On the Bonds tip, your "don't hate the player, hate the game" sentiment is very much the crux of Howard Bryant's Juicing the Game, now out in paperback. Yes, I am a shameless shill, but in the words of Steve Winwood, if you see a chance, take it.
2006-03-09 10:49:03
27.   Jon Weisman
22 - The implication is that pre-2003 steroid use was wrong, even when it wasn't against the rules, because it puts unfair pressure on non-using players to inject themselves. But isn't that exactly what this week's revelations tell us happened to Bonds? Bonds wasn't a born steroid user. Bonds, to quote from "And the Band Played On ..." was not the Ground Zero steroid user. He did not bring steroids into the game. He followed what many others were doing. And yes, others followed him. But what are you going to do? Baseball, which will call you out for excessive pine tar on your bat, sandpaper in your pocket, was not telling these people steroids were wrong. It was distasteful, but it was fair play.
2006-03-09 10:49:37
28.   Xeifrank
20. Yes, China is actually pretty decent in soccer. The women are great, the men are slightly below average. Soccer is popular in China from what I could tell, but of all the sports popular in the west, basketball was by far the most popular and I got the feeling that alot of that was due to none other than their very own 7-7 star playing for the Houston Rockets. vr, Xei
2006-03-09 10:50:50
29.   underdog
I'm not among the Repko bashers here but still I'm kind of rooting for Cody Ross to unseat him. (Or heck, at worst, the Dodgers could trade one of them to fill another need - not sure what that would be - or for a draft pick.) If nothing else, Cody R will obviously end up playing somewhere by season's start.

As for the US WBC team - Al Leiter?
Well, if Clemens and the US can't beat South Africa then... why bother?


2006-03-09 10:50:57
30.   Jon Weisman
26 - It's on my desk at home, begging to be read!
2006-03-09 10:52:49
31.   dzzrtRatt
Re: Bonds. I respect your viewpoint and Adande's (and don't want to be caught agreeing with Plaschke), but as you know, Barry Bonds is not a Hall of Famer unless he is voted into the Hall of Fame. There is no automatic standard for getting into the Hall, and voters do not have to justify their votes. If enough voters think Bonds' cheating was egregious, and Bonds and the Giants do nothing to dissuade them, he will not get into the Hall of Fame, and steroids will be the reason why. That would ignite a controversy, but the refuseniks will have plenty of support, in and out of baseball.

I don't see Bud banning Bonds from the ballot as he did Rose. Bud, as you say, is far too complicit in Bonds' behavior, and it would also be unfair to single him out. But just because he's on the ballot doesn't guarantee him anything.

Is the case for Bonds also the case for Palmeiro? Palmeiro is not as productive as Bonds, but he compares well with other Hall members. But I bet few here think he'll make it, and steroids will be the primary reason why not. If the voters can look at Palmiero's records and say, "Not you, you cheater," what's to stop them from reaching the same conclusion about Bonds? Nothing.

If Bonds wants to make the Hall of Fame, I think his only hope is to:

A) retire now
B) come completely clean with all the facts, including the most pertinent fact, when did he start?
C) completely cooperate with the various investigations, as well as the internal investigation Bud Selig should have launched a long time ago.
D) apologize to fans, teammates and opponents who were affected by his cheating
E) turn over the equivalent of his '99-'05 combined salary to a relevant charity, i.e. to dissaude kids from following his example.

Then, maybe, his pre-'99 records combined with his clear desire to do penance would win over voters I suspect he would not win over now.

2006-03-09 10:53:45
32.   oldbear
Or heck, at worst, the Dodgers could trade one of them to fill another need - not sure what that would be - or for a draft pick.)

Baseball is the only professional sport that prohibits teams from trading draft picks. Do the historians on here have a reason why? I always found this strange.

2006-03-09 10:53:51
33.   Bob Timmermann

For the record, I warned people about Al Leiter being on the US team. If he pitches again for the US, the game better be out of hand.

Odalis Perez has given up 3 runs so far in 2 innings and change to Italy.

2006-03-09 10:55:44
34.   Xeifrank
27. imho, I don't think a player (or fan) can make the excuse that it was "fair" because others were doing it first. I'm not saying baseball executives were innocent either, but just because others cheat or turn a blind eye to it, doesn't make it ok for you to be a cheat. vr, Xei
2006-03-09 10:57:12
35.   Eric L
Be careful Jon, the steroid zealots over at BTF may label you a steroids apologist (not that you care).
2006-03-09 10:57:52
36.   Jon Weisman
31 - Can't really argue with you. I do think your five-point plan is unrealistic, of course, especially E).
2006-03-09 10:58:36
37.   underdog
33 Yikes, not a good sign. Maybe he's just working out the kinks. Good thing he won't have to face many Italians in the majors this season!

32 You can trade players for a draft pick, though, right? Or you can't even do that?

2006-03-09 10:58:51
38.   Benaiah
I am sorry but I disagree wholeheartedly about Bonds. Ok fine, baseball hadn't expressly banned steroids. On the other hand, steroids are illegal (at least the way Bonds was taking them), so it seems like baseball didn't need to ban things that are banned by the government. Andro is one thing, since it is legal and the rules didn't say it was wrong. But Bonds was taking cattle steroids and a bunch of other stuff that is banned universally. He was cheating, even if baseball was moving to slowly to make the rules as such. Right and wrong exist and hope with all my heart that Bonds will just go away and not make the game look even worse with his foul presence.
2006-03-09 11:01:20
39.   ToyCannon
I'm loving the WBC and hoping for a 1-0 Mexican victory today. Bet Robles, Russel Martin, and Gagne are wishing they had made a different decision if Canada & Mexico get to the 2nd round. Robles still won't make the team and Martin is destined for AAA. Gagne I understand because he's rehabbing but it must be driving him nuts not to be able to help Canada.
2006-03-09 11:02:38
40.   Jon Weisman
34 - But they weren't cheating. Before 2003, what makes it cheating?
2006-03-09 11:03:27
41.   Bob Timmermann
Perez is having trouble with Menechino and Catalanatto, but he's handled Piazza.
2006-03-09 11:07:38
42.   Jon Weisman
38 - That's why it's a baseball problem. Baseball doesn't have rules against criminal behavior.

Believe me, I'm happy to have Bonds go away too.

2006-03-09 11:07:59
43.   Telemachos
But if it wasn't cheating, why bother to hide or attempt to hide taking these substances? It's a gray area from a legal perspective, but clearly it was frowned upon as being antithetical to the game.

I think that Bonds could best help his image by coming clean and offering to actively help clean up this mess. Of course, knowing Bonds, this will never happen.

I really hope these latest revelations turn the heat back up on McGwire, Sosa, etc. Bonds deserves to get nailed for this, but so do others who've repeatedly ducked the issue.

2006-03-09 11:08:55
44.   underdog
41 How's he done against Lee Mazzilli and Sal Maglie?
2006-03-09 11:09:12
45.   oldbear
You can trade players for a draft pick, though, right? Or you can't even do that?

Cant do that either. No trading of picks, or selected players until I think 1yr of minor league service time.

Its really an archaec system that hurts the small market bad ball clubs IMO.

2006-03-09 11:10:38
46.   Bob Timmermann

The Americans couldn't rally against Scott Mathieson and Steve Green, so I think Gagne's absence wasn't a big deal this time.

Although the U.S. can be eliminated without its last result being important, keep in mind that Canada didn't gain much of an advantage by winning either. They gained a slight advantage, but not huge. If Canada had pitched well against South Africa, they would be in good shape.

But you can't stop Paul Bell, you can only hope to contain them.

And Canada used its ostensibly good pitchers against RSA and then the scrubs agains the USA.

2006-03-09 11:11:38
47.   Ryan Jerz
I just finished reading Juicing the Game. It made me seriously doubt my love of baseball.
2006-03-09 11:14:31
48.   Eric L
43 Wouldn't he still have to hide the stuff because he was in possession of a controlled substance? He may not have been busted by baseball, but he still had to worry about Johnny Law.
2006-03-09 11:14:58
49.   underdog
JD Drew just hit a home run for LA, 6-zip. Now that homer is good news.
2006-03-09 11:16:56
50.   dsfan
Just finished Dewan's "The Fielding Bible" and recommend it. Here's an interesting statement from Dewan: "A good part of a player's defensive evaluation is based on visual observation and, as much as I like to use numbers to support my arguments, these observations still carry a great deal of weight in evaluating players."

Dewan writes that he "mixed in the subjective evaluations, my own personal evaluations, and all the numbers in this book that I can assimilate in my brain at one time when thinking about a player."

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-03-09 11:19:06
51.   Daniel Zappala
Drew with a homer for the Dodgers today. Too bad the Dodgers don't play in Boston this year. Would be nice to see Grady Little back in Fenway.
2006-03-09 11:21:44
52.   dsfan
Dewan on Choi: Has soft hands and displays good footwork around first. He has almost no range or reactions.

Beltre is first on his three-year rankings for all third basemen.

In 2004, Izturis was his No. 2 SS overall (behind) Everett. Drew is third overall in three-year rankings for RFs.

The book is very good and I expect it to become a staple for baseball fans in years ahead.

2006-03-09 11:22:37
53.   dzzrtRatt
My point is, whether it was technically cheating or not, the perception is that his use of steroids is responsible for his record-breaking performances of the past several seasons. If I had a vote for the Hall, that would make me really uncomfortable.

Let's not also forget perjury. Mark McGwire's stock as a potential HOF'er declined quickly after he so obviously maneuvered to avoid a perjury trap in testifying before Congress. Bonds might be prosecuted for perjury. That's all still to come. So, yeah, technically maybe he didn't "cheat." But he might be convicted of violating one law to cover up his violations of other laws, all on matters relevant to his performance. I don't see the Hall in Barry's future.

2006-03-09 11:25:17
54.   Jon Weisman
53 - We're at the crossroads of what we think should happen and what we think will happen. I agree that Barry may well have lost his spot in the Hall this week. I'm just not sure I agree that he should.
2006-03-09 11:25:42
55.   Telemachos
48 But that makes any Hall of Fame argument even weaker... if Bonds (and others) were committing felonies, even if baseball didn't have a specific steroid policy, the juiced players were operating outside the law.
2006-03-09 11:29:25
56.   Faramond
Jon, I love this site, and usually I think your writing is the best baseball writing I've seen anywhere, but ... I'm disappointed you followed the lead of nearly every other US sportswriter and bashed the South African team and questioned their ability to compete. P.S. 103 vs. Yankees, is it?

Well ... "P.S. 103" did about as well against Canada as the "Yankees" did. What's sad is that even after scoring more runs against the same two teams that America has played, the South African team still gets trashed. It's still assumed that the US will easily win against RSA by the mercy rule, but where is the evidence to support this? Apparently the only evidence needed is the names on the front of the jerseys.

2006-03-09 11:33:31
57.   Jon Weisman
56 - I certainly plead guilty to underestimating the South Africans. However, I still think the odds are against them. There was some logic to the assumption, wasn't there?

But absolutely, they deserve credit for their performance. I did leave open the possiblity for a Miracle on Grass, and if that come-uppance comes, I'll certainly cop to it.

2006-03-09 11:34:15
58.   Marty
For me, the most interesting thing in the Bonds saga is to watch and see if he can manage to pass Aaron with all the scrutiny/legal problems and without the juice. I think he will break down before he gets to Aaron, but I'm guessing he'll make it past Ruth.
2006-03-09 11:35:37
59.   Jon Weisman
55 - The Hall of Fame has never shown that breaking the law - or moral turpitude, if you will - is a disqualifying criterion for election. We all know that several members of the Hall of Fame have shown questionable morality and ethics.

I'm not saying you have to like it, but I don't think it helps not to be aware of it.

2006-03-09 11:36:49
60.   Jon Weisman
58 - I think Aaron is about out of the question at this point. I think Bonds retires after this season.
2006-03-09 11:37:18
61.   Bob Timmermann
After Tuesday, I learned not to make fun of the South Africans. It seems that Australia is the Antipodean Afterthought in the tournament.

Italy is hanging tough with the D.R. today mcuh to my surprise. I think the D.R. may have a bit of a hangover after the win over Venezuela.

2006-03-09 11:39:05
62.   dzzrtRatt
47 based on this recommendation, I looked up the "Juicing the Game" book on Amazon. I will have to get this book.

As far as still being a fan is concerned, well, at least the Dodgers can't be said to have benefitted much from this scandalous period. And even Bonds' misdeeds still haven't resulted in a World Series ring.

But I do think Bud Selig has to be called to account for his misrule of the game, along with many of the team owners. The sooner the better. The game needs to put this story firmly in the past.

2006-03-09 11:39:43
63.   Jon Weisman
As someone - I forget whom - brought up - turning baseball into a one-and-done tournament changes the game dramatically.
2006-03-09 11:43:22
64.   Daniel Zappala
60 I wouldn't be surprised if Bonds retires before the season starts or during the season. Partly due to increased negative publicity, partly just to not deal with this any more.
2006-03-09 11:47:05
65.   D4P
I'd like to get a hardcore libertarian, capitilistic, free-market type person's perspective on steroid use in baseball. From what I can tell, steroids are good for profits, and involve the exercise of one's own free will to engage in an activity that may harm oneself, but does not directly harm others (anymore than, for example, drinking alcohol does).
2006-03-09 11:49:36
Given that the mission of the WBC is to expand baseball's audience around the world beyond its existing hot spots

Am I right to conclude that the WBC is an attempt by a businessman (Bud Selig) to promote his product (baseball) to a new market (those places that dont already consider baseball a major sport)?

So of the teams that arent baseball hotspots, we got Italy, Holland, South Africa, and China. Im assuming that Japan, Mexico, Panama, Canada and South Korea already get major exposure to baseball.

For Holland and Italy and Europe in general, every sport is compared to soccer. I live in Europe and while there are many fanatics, I was amazed by how many people cannot stand watching soccer. They find it too slow and boring to watch. These are the people who are attracted to the European basketball league and NFL Europe. Baseball is not going to take off in Europe simply because it is too slow.

For South Africa and other commonwealth countries (Australia and India for example), I doubt whether baseball can thrive in countries that already play cricket. Is there enough differentation between the games to create interest while not threating the native game? Cricket has historical roots in the country. So for those South Africans who dont watch cricket, I would assume their distaste, despite the peer pressure to like cricket, is strong enough to rule out other slow bats and balls games. I suppose cricket lovers could also like baseball but the more zealous cricketers(?) might find a game so similar threatening.

China is the interesting case and the potential chinese market might be the main target of the internationalization of baseball. If Bud Selig went to China and saw a kid with a BigMac, nike soccer shoes, and a Yao Ming jersey, he probably thought that if all these american things could be accepted, baseball could too. However, a smarter businessman who saw the same things might of thought that with all these american things already here, its going to be tough to push a distinctly american product in a market that could already be saturated with them.

Essentially the problem with internationalizing baseball is twofold:
1) baseball is not particularly distinct or enticing (cricket exists and the game is slow) and 2) in the places that baseball does not yet exist, it is behind in the process of internationalization in comparison to soccer, basketball, football, and even hockey.

2006-03-09 11:52:49
67.   Ryan Jerz
62 There are still too many problems in baseball to say that the Dodgers, or anyone, didn't benefit. Not to get too technical, but the fact that testing for HGH is still not being done, there are doubts I can't get over. Jeff Kent? Great year, improved in a tougher ballpark, at 38? I have questions about that. I was prejudiced against user from the beginning, and many of my suspicions were confirmed in that book. I have felt steroids were cheating since before they were banned. Mainly I felt that way because of the "unfair advantage" angle, but it seems like it wasn't unfair now, because everyone could be doing it.

I guess I'm just depressed right now about baseball in general because of this. Thank goodness for March Madness. Here's to a rematch of my Nevada Wolf Pack with UCLA in the tourney. You won't get us again.

2006-03-09 11:55:53
68.   Jon Weisman
66 - Interesting. Thanks.
2006-03-09 11:57:02
69.   grandcosmo
55. So should Willie Mays and Willie Stargell be kicked out of the Hall of Fame because Dale Berra, Dave Parker and John Milner testified in open court that they were given amphetimines by the two Hall of Famers?
2006-03-09 11:57:18
70.   Jon Weisman
Beltre - early WBC MVP candidate?
2006-03-09 11:59:16
71.   Sushirabbit
Sorry to burst the provincialist bubble, but Dancing is allowed at Belmont, there is in fact a Dance Team (cheer team) that supports the teams. I think both Belmont and Lipscomb are pretty decent schools. Maybe it's because I know people that teach there, of course, they are Catholic. But anyways....

I agree with Jon on Bonds. Buck O'Neil said something similar, basically that players have been trying to get the upperhand on one another for a long time. Whether it was tobacco, or green meanies, hollowed bats, vaseline balls or whatever. As much as I dislike Bonds, I do see a certain bias against him, sometimes, which seems to just stem from his "F-- You" attitude. I mainly feel sorry for the guy, because I don't see how his body can last if he did that much steroids and that often.

2006-03-09 12:03:31
72.   Sushirabbit

I think the point was that during this time the Dodger weren't that great.

2006-03-09 12:03:33
68 Thanks.

I'd like to get a hardcore libertarian, capitilistic, free-market type person's perspective on steroid use in baseball

Thats hard since the labor agreement precludes a true free-market. Hypothetically though, if I were a players agent, I would demand that the player got financially compensated for taking steriods. 100$ for each balm application, 500 for each pill popped, 1000 for each syringe injection. Oh, wed be raking in the dough, and then his head would explode.

2006-03-09 12:26:28
74.   Jon Weisman
Pac-10 Tourney Thoughts may begin ... now!

Stanford jumps out to an early lead it will have trouble holding.

2006-03-09 12:28:01
75.   rageon
It's not often I disagree with Jon, but today I make an exception. Number 38 beat me to what I was going to say. Baseball didn't need to ban steriods, they were illegal. To me, that's banned enough. I'll grant you the issue of "proof" of steriod use during that time period, as testing might be the only way to be 100% certain. However, baseball isn't the criminal justice system, and just because Bonds wasn't convicted criminally doesn't mean that baseball couldn't make its own determination that Bonds was involved in illegal behavior in order to further his game.

I haven't read the entire baseball rule book, but I'm, guessing there's no specific rule banning the threatening of the opposing pitcher's family in order to induce him to give a batter easy pitches. Now lets say that there's a player who for years have been telling pitchers that unless he gives him easy pitches, he will kill his family. Let's say that he's a genuinely crazy ballplayer with a criminal past. We can call him "Albert." Technically, Albert didn't break any baseball rules. But he certainly broke the law. And lets say Albert did this for anm entire season and in that season he hit 75 homeruns. Would his cheating be sufficient to undo his record? I say yes.

Bonds broke the law. Bonds cheated.

2006-03-09 12:29:03
76.   Ryan Jerz
72 I got that, but my counter is that while the team wasn't winning titles, there were some very good individual performances that we hold up.
2006-03-09 12:29:57
77.   overkill94
74 Without Adams, I don't know how well Arizona can come back today. They look really flat coming out of the gate, I think the freshman (Williams) needs to have a great game for them to win.
2006-03-09 12:31:18
78.   gcrl
re: the logo

what is this "nba" you write about?

anyway, you can't live in minnesota without being constantly (or at least intermittently) reminded that harmon killebrew is the mlb logo.

2006-03-09 12:32:57
79.   dsfan

Well said.

2006-03-09 12:33:59
80.   Jon Weisman
75 - What we have is a siutation where baseball knew that multiple players were threatening the families of opposing pitchers - and baseball ignored it. That's the difference.
2006-03-09 12:35:58
81.   Telemachos
Jon, I don't think necessarily there should be an outright ban on HOF candidates who've also abused steroids. But I definitely think that if they're voted in, their steroid saga should be mentioned along with their stats.

In terms of legal problems not being a barrier to the HOF, that's certainly true. However, very few of these prior problems affected and/or damaged the game... and the one case I can think of which did -- Pete Rose -- has been dealt with harshly.

2006-03-09 12:39:31
82.   Xeifrank
40. I guess it depends on the definition and interpretation of the word "cheating" that you are using. If it is 'Against the Law", like a previous poster stated, then it's pretty much implicitly "Against the rules" too. Bonds = Cheater = Good Riddance
And that's all I have to say on this matter.
vr, Xei
2006-03-09 12:41:27
83.   Griffon64
80 - In response to your earlier question, I've been a fan since about May 2005, when my fiance introduced me to the team I love and support ... the Dodgers! So the WBC didn't introduce me to baseball. But I was very pleased when I found out that South Africa is partaking in the WBC. It gives me a very rare chance to see both the country I love and a sport I love together on the world stage!

The WBC reaches the front page of the sports sections here, and it does give exposure to a sport that is not well-known in Africa. Yet, South Africans are a sporty lot, and we even have woman's softball teams competing in amateur leagues. Hand a South African a ball, and they play game!

I'm quite happy that my team is so far doing better than the higher regarded Team Australia insofar as a comparison can be drawn accross pools! I suppose people default to "Australia? Well, have heard of THAT one. So they must be better than ... South Africa? Where is that, anyway?" ;-)

2006-03-09 12:41:49
84.   dzzrtRatt
Hmm... Could a libertarian really argue that a steroid user's behavior "doesn't harm others" if the use is designed to give one player an advantage over another in a competition? It's not like someone use a substance to alter their consciousness or have fun. In essence, by introducing steroids into the sport, the user gives his competitor only two choices. Take the same substance and incur the same health risk as me, so we can compete on a level playing field; or choose not to, and watch me beat you.

I would think that would violate the spirit of the contract between MLB and individual players.

Also, most of the commentary about Bonds focuses on his individual stats. But what about his "win shares?" Didn't his chemically-altered presence in the lineup affect the standings during the years in question? The Dodgers, D-backs, Rockies and Padres are all victims of this victimless crime, and if not for Scott Spezio, so would the Angels have been.

2006-03-09 12:42:23
85.   Eric L
81 I certainly think that the late 90s and early aughts will be marked as the steroid era. There has been enough literature (the upcoming book about Bonds and other books mentioned in this thread) that I don't think it will have to be mentioned with their stats. I'm pretty sure that people will know that Bonds, McGwire, Palmeiro and others juiced.

There is nothing mentioning Gaylord Perry's cheating (or Don Sutton) on their plaques but we still know the guys liked to doctor baseballs.

2006-03-09 12:45:31
86.   Eric L
83 I thought that Australia would do better than South Africa because a handful of guys from Australia have played professionally in the states. I assumed that Australia (as a country) had a stronger baseball foundation.
2006-03-09 12:47:02
87.   Suffering Bruin
80 Great to see you responding on this site, per usual.

I am weirdly attracted to side issues during major controversies and my side issue is this: there is no doubt baseball ignored what was going on before 2003 but what about the media during that time? This is ground that has been covered before, I know, but the media doesn't look great here, does it? The argument was always the right one--absent proof, one is innocent 'til proven guilty--but the standard of proof always seemed to be "unless I see the needle going in, it ain't a sin!"

In retrospect, is it not incredible that the outcry over McGwire, Sosa and Bonds wasn't ten times louder than it actually was?

2006-03-09 12:48:32
88.   dsfan

Elaborating on your point, can the Padres be considered "victims" of the Bondsian Giants when the Padres were likewise benefiting from Ken Caminiti's exploits?

2006-03-09 12:49:32
89.   Eric L
84 Back to what Jon said.. there were enough guys on steroids that perhaps guys on the Dodgers, Padres, D-backs, and Rockies may have juiced and affected standings.

Scott Spiezio may have been juicing in the '02 and '03 seasons. They are certainly outliers in compared to the rest of his career.

2006-03-09 12:49:43
90.   Griffon64
86 - A handful of guys from South Africa got into the minors for various organizations over the years ( including one guy for in the Dodger farm system a few years back, if I remember correctly! )

I don't know if they were much good or not, but various difficulties in being granted work visas have, in part, been keeping them out of baseball in America.

2006-03-09 12:51:17
91.   dsfan

Agreed. Many in the media, including Olney, have said they should have done a better job. You can find examples of steroid queries and speculation dating to the Canseco A's, but they are rare.

2006-03-09 12:52:46
92.   Jon Weisman
87 - No, the media doesn't look great, though it did ask questions on a semi-regular basis, and certainly made the public aware of the potential problem. Maybe the dots weren't connected, so to speak.

I think reporters could have looked at Bonds and McGwire and Sosa's HR runs as shams, but overwhelmingly, baseball insiders and the general public indicated that they were enjoying themselves.

2006-03-09 12:53:34
93.   Fallout
I do not care about a player taking Andro because it was legal to purchase over the counter. I do care about a player taking steroids because it was illegal to buy and could only be purchased by some underground means. There is a big difference between the two. Andro is not a true steroid. If it was, why not take just Andro and instead Stanozol and the like? My feeling is that once a player moves on from protein shakes,
amino acids, and even Andro to Seroids, a bright line has been crossed. That person knows that he is cheating. Of course now that Andro has been banned from baseball it would be cheating to take it now.
2006-03-09 12:55:08
94.   dsfan
In the big picture, were steroids good for baseball?

The mercantilists would say yes.

2006-03-09 12:55:59
95.   dzzrtRatt
Maybe baseball needs two leagues, one for juicers and one for those who don't want to partake. That would be a libertarian solution. Let the market decide!
2006-03-09 12:58:10
96.   Eric L
92 I seem to remember that some of the more serious fans suspected McGwire of juicing. It seemed impossible for someone to get that big without a little (or alot) of help.

Funny story.. I remember a game during the '97 season where McGwire just unloaded on Giambi for not tagging up on a fly ball that McGwire hit. The joke around my buddies was the McGwire was prone to fits of 'roid rage.

2006-03-09 12:59:10
97.   dsfan

IIRC, andro was banned by the IOC and the NCAA at the time Mac's infamous bottle was spotted. Baseball was behind the times, not suprisingly. So does that exempt Big Mac from blame? Was he just being smarter than the poor dope, no pun intended, who was using Dianabol or Stanozol?

2006-03-09 13:01:46
98.   dzzrtRatt
Here's another way to look at this: Would you be any less inclined to go to Cirque de Soleil if you know many of its amazing performers were taking steroids? (Which for all I know, they might be.)
2006-03-09 13:01:48
99.   dsfan
We'll never know, but if Bart Giammatti had lived another 15 years, would he have been more progress, more pre-emptic than Selig where steroids and andro are concerned? And if Bart was so inclined, would owners and the unionr have given him enough rope to get results?
2006-03-09 13:06:52
100.   dsfan
It is interesting that the outcry over the exploits of not only Sosa and Mac didn't created more of an outcry. Same with the Canseco's Athletics. There were whispers, yes, that the mighty A's were ingesting more than protein shakes to augment their weight raining. But even George Will, a smart man who had reported on shady enterprises of many types, attributed Oakland's success to a finely tuned meritocracy. IIRC, Will rated the A's of 89-91 superior to that of the great modern teams, including the Reds of the 1970s. Canseco was a marvel, but not one who inspired chemical theories from George.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2006-03-09 13:08:03
101.   dsfan
Sorry for the rushed typing in 99.
2006-03-09 13:10:47
102.   Fallout
97. dsfan
Was he just being smarter than the poor dope, no pun intended, who was using Dianabol or Stanozol?

If he didn't use a true steroid and obtain illegal products through underground sources then he didn't cross the bright line where everyone can agree is cheating.

2006-03-09 13:11:43
103.   Telemachos
Actually, from a strict libertarian-esque perspective, I would not necessarily have a problem if MLB and the players union decided steroids should be legal. The point is, at the time in question, they were illegal substances according to US law and also banned from practically every other sport. Baseball decided to "ole" the situation and not do anything, and now the chickens are coming home to roost. IMHO, getting things out in the open now -- despite short-term ugliness -- will be beneficial to the sport. Otherwise this issue will continue to come up until the last of the HOF-possible 'roid era players retires.

The issue of whether or not they should be considered "wrong" when cortizone shots and other substances shouldn't be is a separate issue.

2006-03-09 13:14:35
104.   Fallout
94. dsfan
>>>In the big picture, were steroids good for baseball?

The mercantilists would say yes.<<<

Is that like gaining the world and losing your soul?

2006-03-09 13:19:19
105.   Brendan
I think, at the least, Baseball has to officially acknowledge the Steroid Era and the records produced during that time. I don't know how you go about doing that but something officially has to be said about it and it needs to become a part of the official history and record book of baseball.

I agree with Dratt in saying the HOF voters can vote as they see fit. Unless the voting parameters are changed, it is an individual voters call.

The fact that baseball does not test for HGH is a joke. This BALCO testimony was already known and they still didn't include HGH in the testing. That is incredibly incompetent or incredibly telling.

2006-03-09 13:26:56
106.   Jon Weisman
105 - I think it should/shall be acknowledged in the same way it's acknowledged that an entire class of people was once banned from the sport. Whatever you feel about steroids - and keep in mind, I'm against them like you are - the pre-1947 era was a morally grimmer era.
2006-03-09 13:29:12
107.   Brendan
98Here's another way to look at this: Would you be any less inclined to go to Cirque de Soleil if you know many of its amazing performers were taking steroids? (Which for all I know, they might be.)

Baseball, like no other major american sport, is defined by its numbers and it's records.

The fact that you could compare players (realistically) from 1939 to players in 1989 on those numbers is a big part of the charm of baseball. I know your example above was thrown out there as a another way to look at the issue.

2006-03-09 13:32:15
108.   dsfan

IIRC, there is no reliable test for HGH. Supposedly one is in the works.

2006-03-09 13:33:42
109.   Jon Weisman
David Pinto of Baseball Musings passes on the news that Jim Bowden's contract was extended in Washington through the end of the season.
2006-03-09 13:38:15
110.   dsfan

I brought up Giamatti earlier and tend to think he care more about the sport's soul than Selig (even if I can't spell Giamatti's name right).

Industry revenues have grown fabulously on Selig's watch, a result that carries the day in many reviews of his tenure. But at what cost?

2006-03-09 13:38:31
111.   D4P
Regarding the "Even though steroids weren't against the rules of baseball, they were still illegal; therefore any player who used steroids shouldn't be allowed into the HOF" doesn't really make sense to me. It seems to suggest that "Any player who did something illegal shouldn't be allowed into the HOF."

Since what has that been a criterion?

2006-03-09 13:39:24
112.   Eric L
107 Do we know what affect greenies had during that time period? When did greenies become the official "pick me up" of baseball?
2006-03-09 13:39:40
113.   Marty
From what I'm reading it sounds like the Nationals are disintegrating already.
2006-03-09 13:41:25
114.   Marty
Giamatti produced a pretty decent actor too.
2006-03-09 13:49:19
115.   rageon
111 I think the point was not that any player who did something illegal gets banned from the hall of fame, but that a case could be made against those players who did something illegal that directly related to their play on the field.
2006-03-09 13:54:10
116.   D4P
But if it directly related to their play on the field, it should have been against the rules of baseball. The fact that it wasn't against the rules (and that the baseball powers-at-be were negligent in making it against the rules) is an indictment of baseball, not individual players.
2006-03-09 14:01:37
117.   D4P
In other words, it doesn't seem fair for the same institution that (knowingly, in all likelihood) allowed players to engage in an activity to then ban players from that institution's HOF for engaging in said activity.
2006-03-09 14:02:16
118.   Eric L
115 Then you get into a "where do you draw the line at" situation. You could probably make a case that Babe Ruth still drank during prohibition and his drinking affected his play on the field.
2006-03-09 14:03:28
119.   Sushirabbit
I think this is a really great 'conversation'. As usual, I am pretty impressed. One thing, along the lines of the "Albert" analogy, was all this stuff really up to baseball? I mean if "Albert" was doing all these things, wouldn't MLB/Selig and friends, be contacting the US Attorney or something? In other words, given enough 'evidence' wouldn't they pass that along to the "proper" authorities?

As soon as I ask that, I can see that, well, maybe they wouldn't in certain circumstances, in order to protect their "product", but with Bonds, and alot of this cutting edge stuff, I can see thinking "Holy Crap, we couldn't prove this in the 9th District, so we sure as heck can't try make the players association come to the table on it."

Personally, I think it was still wrong and a cop-out, but I can see that side of it. In other words, was it really Baseballs responsibility to develop tests for catching Bonds' behaviour, when even federal authorities either were incapable or were uninterested in doing so?

(I can't believe I am defending Selig or MLB!)

2006-03-09 14:07:53
120.   Fallout
... however much some may want to say it was immoral, as stealing signs.

There are diff ways to steal signs. If it is done on the field by a player or coach I have no problem with that. It is part of the game. The way some of the pitchers act when they think a runner on 2nd is stealing signs is just unbelievable. Change signs and move on.

But, if signs are being stolen by someone in the scoreboard or crowd then that is illegal.

2006-03-09 14:11:39
121.   D4P
In other words, was it really Baseballs responsibility to develop tests for catching Bonds' behaviour, when even federal authorities either were incapable or were uninterested in doing so?

That brings up a further question:

Was baseball negligent in its failure to:

a. Have a rule that specifically banned steroids?


b. Have and successfully enforce a rule that specifically banned steroids?

In other words, if they had a rule on the books and either didn't enforce it or tried to but weren't very successful in enforcing it, would they be considered less culpable than if they didn't have a rule at all?

2006-03-09 14:17:10
122.   rageon
116 If baseball had to make a rule against every single thing that was illegal and could affect their play on the baseball field, wouldn't the rules begin to look quite a bit like, well, this country's laws? And how many volumes big would this new rule book have to be?
2006-03-09 14:21:28
123.   Jon Weisman
121 - I think one could more easily forgive baseball the difficulty of enforcing the rule against steroids if they had the rule in the first place.

In other words, once it was obvious that steroid use would create such a negative reaction - and that was obvious years ago - baseball should have moved more quickly to do something about it.

2006-03-09 14:45:26
124.   dzzrtRatt
106 Jon, now you're talkin'. Pre-1947 records are not entirely sacrosanct because the competition wasn't all it was supposed to be.

Bringing up the baseball color line is also a perfect segue to one of the things that has motivated Bonds to do what he's done, his sense of missionary zeal to undo what he sees as an injustice. Babe Ruth set his home run records against only some of the best pitchers of his era, competing with only some of the best hitters. I've heard Bonds say this fact undermines Ruth's legitimacy. He clearly does not share the baseball world's reverence for Ruth, and I assume the whole pre-1947 record books.

That plus his perception that McGwire was getting away with cheating. Bonds has made a tragic error in trying to redress some valid grievances. Who anointed him the redeemer?

I see no reason why we shouldn't close the books on pre-1947 records, have records for the period from 1947 to whenever we think steroids became ubiquitous (1989?), declare those 14 years (til '03) the Steroid Era and keep those records separate, and then start anew with last season on a new era that might be comparable to the '47 - '89 period.

Viewed that way, Aaron's record will not be broken by Bonds or any player who played from '89-'03. Ruth is the champ of the segregated era, and gets a big asterisk. Bonds is the champ of the steroids era, and gets another big asterisk. The one-season records are held by Ruth, Maris and Bonds respectively, with Maris' the target for post-steroid players, not Bonds.

2006-03-09 14:57:47
125.   Jon Weisman
124 - I just think it's easier to accept baseball, considerable warts and all. History was never meant to be sanitized. Do our history books say that Germany didn't successfully invade Poland because we don't like the result? Do we white-out (no pun intended) all our slave-holding presidents?

What happened happened, and a record book is just a record book. It records what happened. It is not, by any stretch, an endorser of morality.

2006-03-09 15:16:02
126.   Brendan
106 124

To say baseball doesn't acknowledge the lack of black players in baseball pre1947 is not entirely correct. Do they acknowledge it as much as they should or as much as we would want? Not for me but there is acknowledgment. We have no acknowledgment from baseball on steroids. There is time but it seems like baseball is interested in ignoring it, so far.

Again, I don't know how to acknowledge the Steroid Era(although 124 isn't bad) I'm just saying it has to be done.

Maybe this will spur a look at how perceive pre1947 era as well as this chemical era. That wouldn't be a bad result.

I'd settle for an official notation. Like the classification of the Dead Ball Era. Have Racial Exclusion Era and the Steroid Era

108 No reliable test for HGH? That can't be true. I don't know either way but hard for me to believe that the Olympics can't reliably test for HGH.

2006-03-09 15:29:15
127.   natepurcell
brazoban pitched today. did pretty horrible.

theres the boxscore.

broxton pitched horrible, lowe continues to be dominant. guzman strikes out again. drew homers.

2006-03-09 15:46:56
128.   Jon Weisman
126 - I never said that baseball does not acknowledge the lack of black players pre-1947. But they don't have asterisks or labels or anything like that. You do get that Deadball Era isn't an official term, right? It's a common term, but it's not like MLB labels things by it. About the only thing baseball does is sometimes distinguish pre-1900 records, before the forming of the American League, when the rules of the game were quite different.

I really think you're underestimating the power of common knowledge. People were already adjusting McGwire's and Sosa's accomplishments downward before this week. If anything, my sense is that recent statistics will be devalued as much as you could dream of.

2006-03-09 15:48:22
129.   dzzrtRatt
126 Just to be clear, I believe baseball now acknowledges its complicity in the racism of America during the pre-'47 period from a social perspective, and has made room in the HOF for Negro League players, as it should.

Bonds takes it a bit further, however, into a controversial area. What I've heard Bonds say, and it's hard to argue with, is that the records of that period lack complete legitimacy because Ruth, Cobb, Gehrig, W. Johnson etc. didn't play against all the best players of their era. Imagine how many homers Bonds might have had if you removed all Latin-American pitchers from all rosters, forcing teams to fill the gap with inferior pitchers. That's analogous to the advantage Ruth had in his era, as Bonds sees it.

2006-03-09 15:58:20
130.   Telemachos
129 Whatever the case may be in that regard (and I agree there's substance to it), it's ridiculous to use it as an excuse or reason why he juiced.

(I realize Bonds has not made that specific argument).

2006-03-09 16:19:16
131.   Andrew Shimmin
Good thread, sorry I missed it. Especially the part where Jon got scolded for underestimating South Africa's baseball team. I bet that'll learn you!

I think Jon's right about common knowledge taking care of Bonds's future evaluation. Pete Rose has more hits than any other player; anybody want to argue that he's the best hitter ever? We understand, intuitively, that there's a contextual problem with taking Barry's numbers as is. Other people will, too. I hope one of them will come up with a useful conversion method.

Barry belongs in the HOF, but he's another guy I'd like see get in posthumously. It should be called the Moses Method. Yes you were important, yes you belong, but you'll never see the day. Enjoy the rest of your non-HOFing life, you miserable blood clot.

2006-03-09 16:55:31
132.   Linkmeister
129 "that the records of that period lack complete legitimacy because Ruth, Cobb, Gehrig, W. Johnson etc. didn't play against all the best players of their era."

Well, to be devil's advocate, you could equally say that none of those pre-Robinson, Doby, and even Satchel Paige players from the Negro Leagues who've been elected to the HOF played against all the best players of their era, either.

Works both ways, I think. Not admirably, but that's the way things played out.

2006-03-09 17:00:19
133.   Michael Green
It seems to me that in the home run debate, statistics can tell us a lot about individual greatness, but we can't afford to rely upon them exclusively.

Who is the greatest home run hitter of all time? Hank Aaron has the most, but when he was approaching Babe Ruth's records, many baseball experts, historians, etc., maintained that Ruth remained the greatest. It's easy to make points in favor of each of them: Ruth played in a stadium that suited him, but not for almost the first decade of his career, when he wasn't a full-time hitter and Fenway Park was not designed as well for a left-handed power hitter. Aaron played in Atlanta's launching pad and had 162-game seasons, but he clearly took better care of himself and had to play at night, when it could be argued that it's harder to hit (they used to say that when the Dodgers had their great pitchers in the 1960s, the lights in Dodger Stadium were about as good as the lighting in a cave).

The point here is that to the generation that saw him, Ruth is the greatest. To others, Aaron is the greatest. Bonds has played in a different era--apparently with some "extras" that helped him. But as was noted the other day, if you throw out what he did the last few years, he still has had a Hall of Fame career.

I hate to say this as a Dodger fan, but I will. I think Bonds also gets a bit of a raw deal. I can't help but think of Ted Williams. The Boston writers detested him because he wouldn't kowtow to them and gave him a far worse reputation than he deserved. Tom Lasorda was hardly a great manager, but he got away with a lot because the writers loved him. I'm not saying Bonds didn't make his own bed, hasn't used steroids, and isn't a thoroughly miserable person--I don't know all that--but I also seem to recall something about innocent until proven guilty.

2006-03-09 17:54:47
134.   Brendan
126 - I never said that baseball does not acknowledge the lack of black players pre-1947

I could have sworn you had but upon a reread all you said was that MLB should acknowledge the steroid era the same as they have the pre1947. crazy how I totally misinterpreted what you wrote, my apologies. I agree with that post and shouldn't have responded to it. I think I mixed 106 and 124 in my mind and it came out all wrong. I think I should have left the record books out of my post and just kept with official acknowledgment.

You do get that Deadball Era isn't an official term, right

No, I did not know that. I guess I always miss the discussion where everyone tells everyone else that the Dead Ball Era is not an official term(LOL). I though it might be on Hall of Fame plaques, exhibits etc. but looks like i'm 0 for 2. I'll go away quietly.

2006-03-09 17:56:59
135.   DaveP
123 - I may be missing something about this whole "he didn't cheat because it wasn't against the rules" argument. Unless I'm wrong, baseball has had an anti-steroids policy since 1991. I grabbed this quote from some summary of the congressional hearings fiasco last year:

"In fact, the league asserted this authority when the Commissioner unilaterally established a steroids policy in 1991. This policy banned the use, sale, or distribution of any illegal drug, controlled substance, or prescription drug for which the player did not have a valid prescription. It also provided that the league would conduct testing for steroids if a player has admitted to or been "detected" using steroids."

Seems to me that Bonds did in fact explicitly cheat and baseball looked the other way, for what it's worth.

2006-03-09 18:40:52
136.   passing through
"Commissioner Fay Vincent's memorandum included the following provisions: The possession, sale or use of any illegal drug or controlled substance by Major League players and personnel is strictly prohibited. Those involved in the possession, sale or use of any illegal drug or controlled substance are subject to discipline by the commissioner and risk permanent expulsion from the game."

That was 1991. Was there something that made this non-binding?

2006-03-09 18:41:23
137.   passing through
haha, GMTA!
2006-03-09 20:16:56
138.   Jon Weisman
My understanding is that Vincent's memos weren't ratified by the MLB players in any way.

See this quote from Vincent himself:

"The memo I sent was an attempt to be on record that if we controlled the whole thing, this is what we would do," said Vincent. "And we did it, but only for the people that were not covered by the Collective Bargaining Agreement. ..."

2006-03-09 20:18:03
139.   Jon Weisman
134 - no harm done :) Hasn't been my best day, either.
2006-03-09 20:28:49
140.   das411
So then in the 1988 ALCS when the Boston fans were chanting "Steroids!" at Canseco and he laughed and flexed at them, was he "admitting" then? If so (and according to his book it was a poorly kept secret) then why did MLB not begin testing him, McGwire, hell, even Rickey starting in 1988?

Jon's point in 125 I think is the key:

What happened happened, and a record book is just a record book. It records what happened. It is not, by any stretch, an endorser of morality.

Pete Rose IS still the all-time hits leader, Bonds IS currently #3 all-time in HRs. Argue all you want about different "eras" of the game, feel free to sound like Bob Costas and Billy Crystal, but to build on MG's point in 133 none of the top three played under identical conditions:

Ruth had advantages over Aaron and Bonds (Negro League, no night games) and disadvantages (park factors, Dead Ball era).

Aaron had advantages over Ruth (162 game season, greenies?, expansion) and disadvantages (hate mail, night games, Koufax).

Bonds had advantages over both (1990s ballparks, weight training) and disadvantages (pitcher specialization, Candlestick Park, media jihad).

With all of those taken into account, the numbers currently stand at 755, 714, 708. If Bonds manages to pass one or both, that's all there is to it. Did Aaron or Ruth have to pass tests for steroids, or greenies or alcohol for that matter?

128 - But Jon, at what point do you just go into pure subjectivity? Will a Barry Bonds with 700 HRs miss HOF induction if he "looks" like he juiced, even if there is still no conclusive proof by then? How can you argue that he is less deserving than a "clean" 400 or 500 by someone like Frank Thomas or Fred McGriff, when there were no meaningful (or enforced) anti-steroid rules until 2003, and even when there were both were seemingly competing under the same system but one was pushing the rules farther?

2006-03-09 20:43:41
141.   dzzrtRatt
140 I guess I'm coming part-way round to your point of view. There's a different dynamic about records nowadays. The hubbub over Roger Maris' 61 home runs "erasing" Ruth from the record books seems very quaint now. There's no erasing Ruth from the record books. Every casual fan still remembers he hit 714 home runs, even though Aaron has way more at 755. They're both considered grand achievements, with neither one cancelling out the other. If Barry passes both of them, he'll be the guy with 775 home runs, who took steroids. If Jimmy Rollins should somehow pass Joe Dimaggio this spring, fans will still remember DiMag's 56-game streak.

I still think Barry will have a hard time getting into the HOF, especially if he's convicted of perjury. Like someone above said, maybe after he dies.

2006-03-09 22:57:35
142.   Jon Weisman
140 - "How can you argue that he is less deserving than a "clean" 400 or 500 by someone like Frank Thomas or Fred McGriff, when there were no meaningful (or enforced) anti-steroid rules until 2003, and even when there were both were seemingly competing under the same system but one was pushing the rules farther? "

Isn't that the opposite of what I have been arguing this entire thread?

2006-03-10 01:43:16
143.   tjted
I haven't read the entire thread here, so maybe I'm recycling something here. But, hasn't steroid use been illegal in the U.S. (and Canada too) for some time now? And wouldn't that make it illegal for baseball players to use them? I don't think it's a reach to say that if they were illegal in the entire country, then baseball players should have known not to use them. Now if they were only using substances that are legal but now banned by baseball (for example Andro), that's another story, but we're talking about horse steroids here. Believe it or not MLB is not the only governing body in this country.

Also, didn't our good buddy Bud send out a memorandum to all of the teams way back in something like 1992 (and again several years later) clarifying the fact that steroids were illegal?

2006-03-10 06:51:30
144.   Jon Weisman
143 - Yep, you should read the thread.
2006-03-10 11:13:03
145.   Linkmeister
My copy of SI arrived yesterday, and it sure doesn't make Bonds look like a decent human being, much less an honest ballplayer.

There are 1 3/4 pages of documented items from grand jury testimony and depositions which purport to show Bonds as a user. There's also a full-page essay from Verducci essentially telling all Bonds supporters to get over it; their guy's a cheat.

2006-03-11 20:06:39
146.   jeffw
As others have noted, you can't get past the fact that, even though baseball didn't ban steroids, use of them without a prescription is illegal. As in jail. Similarily, no sport has a ban against armed robbery. What baseball does have is typical contractual language about moral turpitude and HOF voting standards addressing integrity, etc.

Bonds fails on multiple counts. First, he is clearly a law breaker and, depending on how seriously the Fed takes these things—and there is some heat now on the US Attorney in SF about his casual treatment of the whole Balco deal—he is vulnerable to drug charges (if he's lucky, he'll get the Rush Limbaugh treatment), but then there are evasion of tax charges. IRS is like a dog after a bone. And Bonds is caught up in these.

Bonds is also a racist. A surly, nasty racist. He hates white people, even though he's been a child of privilege his entire life and has never been subjected to discrimination. In fact, he really hates all people. He is a despicable person. The closest parallel to Bonds in baseball history is Ty Cobb: great player, but with an incredibly flawed and skewed outlook on life, resulting in a terrible person. Difference between the two is that Cobb was not a law breaker—either of baseball rules or of US law—that we know of. Bonds is. Cobb also did not demean his sport and hold it up to ridicule. Bonds has.

Thumbs-down on Bonds for the HOF. Ditto for McGwire and Sosa. Why should cheaters be rewarded? Joe Jackson, one of the greatest players ever—far better than any of these juiced sweethearts—is not in the HOF, even though he was found not guilty in court.

Ruth stands alone as the greatest player ever. Also consider that, had it not been for five years of wartime service, Aaron would have been striving to break Williams's HR record. Bonds is no Ruth, Aaron or Williams. No Mays, either. Bonds is great, admittedly, and would have made the hall without chemical help. But he did it and he should pay.

2006-03-12 02:09:07
147.   timely2base
I'm really tired of hearing the defense that it wasn't against the rules at the time so he wasn't cheating. It's particularly disappointing when I hear it from supposedly knowledgeable sportswriters from ESPN, now CNNsi. People should not confuse there not being a testing policy with there not being a prohibition against steroids.

From ESPN:

In truth, steroids have been banned in baseball since 1991 -- in a policy baseball officials made little effort to publicize. A source provided a copy of the seven-page document to ESPN The Magazine on the condition of anonymity. Titled "Baseball's Drug Policy and Prevention Program," the memo was sent to all major-league clubs on June 7 of that year by then-commissioner Fay Vincent. He spelled out components of the program, and ordered, "This prohibition applies to all illegal drugs and controlled substances, including steroids."

On May 15, 1997, acting commissioner Bud Selig distributed a nearly identical version of the drug memo, again citing steroids and directing clubs to post the policy in clubhouses and distribute copies to players.

I know some will say, well, nobody took that seriously, the GMs looked the other way, it was encouraged, whatever. The reality is we were talking about steroids even before Mac's big season, the accusations were flying and EVERYBODY knew it was wrong and that it was cheating. It's why people like Mac were so sensitive even to relevations that he took Andro. Everybody understood, way back then, that if you were found out to be a steroid abuser you be viewed as a liar and a cheat and all of your records would be called into question.

Clearly, the fact that players were reluctant to admit to legal supplementation, let alone no players ever openly stating they were juicing, shows everyone was aware it was cheating.

If people want to make the argument that Bonds was a hall of famer before he ever started juicing, I'm more open to that debate. But the argument that he shouldn't be punished, ridiculed, ostracized, and stripped of his records because it wasn't against the rules anymore than sign stealing is way off base.

Bonds knew he was cheating, which is why he expressly denied taking steroids. Everyone knew it was cheating, and cheating in a big way, not like stealing signs, not even like corking a bat or cutting a ball. It was a prolonged attack on the integrity of baseball, he knew it, he knew it was illegal, he knew it was against the rules, and he did it anyway despite being arguably the best player in the game without them.

2006-03-12 22:28:38
148.   jeffw
Good catch, timely2base. I was not aware that baseball had actually done something right on steroids as far back as '91. I will make sure that everyone I know here in the SF Bay Area is made aware of this. Puts a whole new light on things.

You're right, too, about McGwire's reaction to the Andro disclosure. Now I recall, he was indeed embarrassed and angry. He knew that revelations of that he'd ingested any performance assisting chemicals would be viewed as diminishing his accomplishments. He was also likely afraid that it would open the door for more probing, perhaps getting too close to the steroid use, in which I think most of us now agree he was engaging.

The fact of a policy since 1991 also has to make one wonder just why Selig and the baseball hierarchy did absolutely nothing for all those years. Nothing, even though there would not have been a union issue. And of course, there are the good old SF Giants. Lots of management integrity there, eh? MacGowan, Sabean, Baker, Alou, et al, scumbags, all of 'em. Got their new park, though.

2006-11-27 20:58:42
149.   Jon Weisman
147,148 - see 138

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