August 08, 2002

Players Accept Steroids Testing: This issue was a loser for the players, so they did the smart thing and accepted testing. As a result, will we see fewer home runs next year? Is Bonds' HR record unbeatable?

posted by shackbar to baseball at 12:57 AM - 9 comments

Keep in mind this is very far from a done deal. Instead, the players' union has sent a counterproposal to the owners, who may or (more likely) may not accept it. More interesting to me is the assertion, buried deep in the article, by Vernon Wells of Toronto, that the claims of Caminiti and Conseco are solely responsible for the widespread belief that steroid use is rampant in baseball. Meanwhile, back in the real world, the problem is too apparent, and I have to welcome any move towards curtailing it. Let's forget about home runs and spend next season in a race for RBI records. Or on-base percentage. Something, anything, that represents a player's ability to participate in the game of baseball--a team game, I'd like to remind Mr. Bonds--rather than the raw power of his muscles.

posted by kjh at 02:25 AM on August 08

I'm not surprised the players are finally accepting steroid testing. The smart ones moved on to human growth hormone and the likes, which are much harder to detect. The penalties for performance enhancing drugs should be severe. Two years ban for the first offence, and a lifetime ban for the second. It's the rule in athletics, and it should be the rule in every sport.

posted by salmacis at 04:39 AM on August 08

At least its a good symbolic move, and may help lend the players some more credibility.

posted by insomnyuk at 08:51 AM on August 08

I'm not sure why you are ragging on Barry Bonds, kjh. If you haven't noticed, he's about to obliterate the all-time single-season on-base percentage record. If you think his home runs would be based on his "muscles" only, you're sadly mistaken. He has one of the best "batting eyes" in baseball history, and he is just forcing pitchers to give him a ball to hit. Don't get me wrong. I'd like to see steroid testing as well. But cheap shots at one of the 5 greatest players in the history of baseball is something I can't let slide.

posted by grum@work at 09:39 AM on August 08

Baseball is not a team game. Baseball is about one guy at a plate facing one guy on a mound, trying to hit past one guy in some portion of the outfield. Your teammates can't help you pitch better, can't help you hit better, can't help you catch or throw better. The only part of it that is vaguely team oriented is the throw to first base, really, and maybe the catcher's throw to second on a steal. To put it another way: What exactly could Bonds do that he's not already doing to make his team better? Is he supposed to hold their hands while they are at the plate like dads at T-ball? Pitch like Ruth? Play shortstop and left field and third base all at the same time? Bonds has just had the greatest offensive season of all time, and did it against guys like Maddux, Schilling, and Johnson. You can't ask for much more than that.

posted by tieguy at 10:59 AM on August 08

Bonds has just had the greatest offensive season of all time Second-best. And he also did it against guys like Wilfredo Rodriguez and Chan Ho Park. Which is not to take anything away from Bonds: whether steroids are responsible for his bulk or not, they're not what makes him a great player.

posted by yerfatma at 11:44 AM on August 08

OPS isn't a perfect measure of the best season ever. But Ruth does have the higher OBP so I'm not going to argue it. What really burns me is the argument that Bonds isn't a "team player", because he's not friendly to the media, so the media dumps on him (a la Rick Reilly when he's out of ideas and deadline's coming up). As opposed to someone like Jeff Kent, who the media love, and even gave the MVP over Bonds in 2000 (a close call, admittedly, but I think Bonds' 100+ point lead in OPS make up for Kent's tougher defensive position), who actually broke his wrist while riding a motorcycle, in violation of his contract-- which I think is more selfish than having your own trainer or PR guy or whatever else Reilly accuses Bonds of doing. In the sports media, terms like "selfish" and "clubhouse cancer" usually mean "star player who doesn't like giving interviews".

posted by nath at 03:18 PM on August 08

Reilly accused Bonds of many things, including skipping a team picture. What he failed to mention was that his hero Jeff Kent skipped the same picture the year before. Reilly's got a bug up his ass about Bonds because he blew him off years ago from an interview. In general I like reading Reilly's stuff because he can be very good, but in this case he's just a jerk. And was more so about the Sammy Sosa steroid test question too.

posted by grum@work at 03:33 PM on August 08

Bah. OBP. OPS. So... primitive. Check out the list by Win Shares. That's the Modern Way. ;) (I was actually referring to slugging percentage in my original post, which is probably even more primitive ;)

posted by tieguy at 07:23 PM on August 08

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