How the Government Influenced A-Rod’s Suspension

If you see something, say something. |||Two good articles this week explain how Major League Baseball's historic suspension of all-time great Alex Rodriguez for issues related to performance enhancing drugs [PEDs] was inextricably linked to heavy-handed intrusion by the federal government.

The first, by ESPN's Howard Bryant, goes into great detail about how the MLB Players Association, once considered the strongest private union in America under the leadership of longtime executive director Marvin Miller, completely flipped its attitude and negotiating strategy toward disallowed substances over the past decade. The article makes clear that a number of incidents and factors went into this shift–not least the brazen lies of accused players such as Ryan Braun and Rafael Palmeiro, who had been defended as honest by their teammates and competitors. But government pressure played a definite role:

Never forget! |||Miller died in November 2012, but during the final decade of his life, he was adamantly against the union's decision to reopen an existing collective bargaining agreement to appease Congressional concern about the game's drug policies. Miller's position was that an agreement was sacrosanct and should be renegotiated only at its expiration. To do otherwise was to create dangerous precedent. There was no point in having a Basic Agreement, Miller said, if it was vulnerable to renegotiation. But between 2005 and 2009, the owners and the union reopened the Basic Agreement three times to amend PED provisions.

Huh. Didn't remember Freddie Lynn playing in Arlington. |||Focusing much more on the government side of the equation is Stephen Dinan of The Washington Times, who starts from George W. Bush's 2004 State of the Union address:

Nine years later, analysts say Major League Baseball may never have reached the point this week where it issued the biggest suspensions in 90 years had official Washington not turned the spotlight on performance enhancing drugs

Dinan's piece (I'm quoted in it) reconstructs Washington's role in events like congressional hearings and star show-trials, and includes chest-pounding quotes from participants:

Gawd, the Aughts sucked. |||"Those hearings basically changed the game," said former Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, who was chairman for the 2005 hearings and ranking Republican for a second round in 2008. "Without them, it's hard to see how you were going to get any changes." [...]

"When we brought it up originally, we were fought tooth-and-nail by the baseball establishment — owners, presidents, unions, everybody," Mr. Davis said. "After the hearings [Commissioner Bud] Selig called up and said thanks a lot. He said this was tough for us, but we got through it. We all wanted it cleaned up."

Davis's ignorance here might be even more breathtaking than his definition of what constitutes "Government Oversight and Reform," which was the name of the subcommittee he so bravely led into urinanalysis. Bud Selig did not fight Congress "tooth and nail," he begged Congress to gin up public outrage so that baseball employees would feel pressure to invite more stringent drug testing and penalties onto themselves. Here is Selig's quote in December 2004 after nanny statist Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) threatened to introduce legislation mandating a much harsher and more intrusive drug testing regime for this private professional sporting league:

Seriously, there's a statue of Bud Selig in Milwaukee. Infinite D-baggery. |||If we cannot resolve this issue privately, I gladly will accept whatever help is offered by Sen. McCain to achieve our ultimate goal....While I would prefer to resolve this problem directly with the Players Association and jointly implement a much stronger drug-testing policy in Major League Baseball, one modeled after our program in the minor leagues, I understand the need for swift and resolute action.

This was before Davis's hearings, mind you. I'm sure the ex-congressman believes his subsequent bill (thankfully killed) mandating a first-time suspension of two years in all professional sports was opposed by drug-test-loving Selig, too.

I have written about this issue way too much over the past decade, including a column from two months back, "Baseball’s Steroid Collusion With the Feds."

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  • John||

    Nine years later, analysts say Major League Baseball may never have reached the point this week where it issued the biggest suspensions in 90 years had official Washington not turned the spotlight on performance enhancing drugs

    That is horseshit full of weasel words and meaningless qualifiers. What "analysts" say that? Who? And what does "may" mean? If it hadn't been for 911, the country may not have felt so patriotic and thus payed less attention to baseball and PEDs. Clearly it is the terrorists fault.

    Every single sport in the world from soccer to cycling to the Olympics to even golf has PED testing. Baseball was a total outlier. Baseball didn't reopen the agreement because of government pressure. Baseball reopened the agreement because their fans demanded that PEDs be banished from the game. If the fans wanted PEDs to be a part of the game, baseball would have no interest in PED testing. Indeed, back in the 1990s when most fans thought PEDs were not effective for baseball players and thus didn't care about testing, baseball didn't have testing. Testing only happened after Bonds and company crapped all over the record books and the fans realized that yes PEDs do work in baseball and demanded something to be done.

    Get over it Reason. Baseball fans for whatever reason do not share your tastes. They don't want PED ball. You do. But sorry the market doesn't owe you your tastes.

  • Fluffy||

    Baseball reopened the agreement because their fans demanded that PEDs be banished from the game.

    That is unequivocal bullshit.

    Attendance and other revenue sources rose for baseball all through the steroids era in baseball.

    There is absolutely no evidence that fans "demanded" anything of the kind.

    The only evidence of fan opinion that counts for anything - AT ALL - is showing up and paying for a ticket, or in some other way providing revenue for MLB.

    You're basically like a feminist on this issue. You "know" what fans "want", even though the behavior of actual fans indicates the opposite.

    The clear historical record is that the owners only moved because they felt threatened by the Congress.

    Next you're going to tell me that the movie ratings system reflects the genuine desires of movie exhibitors and "fans", and has nothing to do with government.

  • John||

    Attendance and other revenue sources rose for baseball all through the steroids era in baseball.

    That is because at the time the players denied using and the fans believed them. Once the truth came out in the early 2000s, the fans looked at it very differently.

    You're basically like a feminist on this issue. You "know" what fans "want", even though the behavior of actual fans indicates the opposite.

    Yeah that is why Mark McGwire is so popular and people are demanding that Barry Bonds get into the Hall of Fame. The fans hate steroids and users are considered pariahs. All the players denied using in the 1990s and the fans thought the numbers were legit. That is why they came. If the fans had believed that the players were on steroids, those attendance numbers wouldn't have looked like that.

    So try again.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I think there's some truth to what John's saying. There was a backlash. That may not be the whole story, but it's definitely part of it.

    As for Alex Rodriguez, who cares? He fucked up by playing for Satan's team.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Agreed, his suspension should be doubled just because he played for the Yankees.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Everything was groovy when he was with the Mainers and the Rangers. Then he renounced goodness and justice and signed with the Yankees. And went down the dark path.

  • ||

    I just have to ask: you all know that your hatred of the Yankees is just delicious, delicious salty ham tears to Yankees fans, right? That it just confirms the dominance of the Yankees, right? That you would be better off hating the Mets, because no one cares, right?

    It pains me that I even have to ask these questions. Also, the Mariners are terrible.

  • Pro Libertate||

    First, they're next to irrelevant this year. In any case, they can have whatever delusions they want to have about why people don't like them. A similar contempt is leveled at the Cowboys, who haven't won anything of note in quite some time.

    There is good, and there is evil.

    By the way, you never talk about the Mariners even though you're delusional about the Seahawks. Why is that?

  • WTF||

    Yeah, those 39 American League pennants and 27 World Series championships have nothing to do with people's envy hate.

  • ||

    Because the Mariners are abominable?

  • Pro Libertate||

    You must embrace them and their conveniently located field.

  • Another David||

    We hate the Mets too, but the Mets are utterly without relevance, and made fun of as such. The Yankees are fucking assholes, which is different.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I can hate whoever I want to hate.

  • KDN||

    Agreed, his suspension should be doubled just because he played for the Yankees.

    So your position is the MLB should help the Yankees as much as possible? You should be saying that his suspension should be halved, because that would hurt the Yanks far more.

  • Pro Libertate||

    He is getting up there. I didn't realize he was nearly 40. How time flies.

  • John||

    ARod should have retired before they could suspend him. His hip injury changed his gate which causes the rest of his body to break down as he compensates for it. Basically no one with that injury could ever be an elite athlete again. He is done.

  • KDN||

    Bo Jackson was a superathlete that came back from a worse hip injury to be a competent DH. A-Rod is a better player in every way (even discounting for roids), I don't doubt that he could do the same.

    He's done as anything but an emergency starter in the field, though.

  • KDN||

    Then again, Bo was still young. I still think A-Rod is capable of OPS+ing between 105 - 115 over the next few years. Not a star and on a deplorable contract, but still useful.

  • John||

    Arod will never hit over 230 again.

  • KDN||

    Arod will never hit over 230 again.

    I'll take that bet.

    And note, Bo didn't have a very long career. He played what two or three years?

    Yes, but A-Rod didn't need a full hip replacement. I'd need to do more research on the injury before being certain, but he sshould still be able to produce 15-20 HR's with a 260/340/400 line. Not great, but useful.

  • John||

    Different hip injury. And Bo was younger and thus his body breaking down didn't hurt him as much. And note, Bo didn't have a very long career. He played what two or three years?

  • John||

    The fans don't want PEDs. The players don't want PEDs. Who other than Reason is standing up saying Ryan Braun shouldn't be suspended? All MLB cheered when he got suspended. If you stopped testing and went back to PEDs, attendance would go through the floor. No one would give a shit that Braun was about to hit his 75th home run. Once the public found out that the numbers were done with PEDs, they stopped respecting them or wanting to see people achieve them.

  • Pro Libertate||

    To Matt's point, though, the government has interfered. It has no business whatsoever doing so. None.

  • Fluffy||

    Who other than Reason is standing up saying Ryan Braun shouldn't be suspended?

    Now there's a ritual about it, where All Good People Agree, so of course nobody is saying anything.

    If you stopped testing and never mentioned it again, nobody would notice.

    The testing regime is something you hope hits some other team's players, or a weapon you keep in your pocket to use to run down some other team's players in conversation. And it gives the sports talk radio guys some content to talk about, and heaven knows they need THAT. That's about it.

  • John||

    Now there's a ritual about it, where All Good People Agree, so of course nobody is saying anything.

    No. Bullshit. People are expressing their preferences. I am going to take their actions at face value. If people wanted PEDs in the game, they would be cheering Braun as a hero. Instead, even Brewer fans hate him.

  • Fluffy||

    No, the sportswriters hate McGwire. The sportswriters hate Bonds.

    The fans in St. Louis and San Francisco stuck with those guys to the bitter end.

    I knew damn well that Manny Ramirez was on steroids and so did every other Red Sox fan down to the pink hats and the six year old kids Jerry Remy sends hot dogs to during the game. I didn't give a damn and neither did they. When you're old and broken down and the league decides to make an example of you, THEN the fans turn on you.

    The fans knew what was going on and they showed up. If the testing regime had never been implemented, no one would have given a damn or batted an eyelash. Half the players were on amphetamines for decades and nobody gave a damn, even the fans who knew about it.

  • WTF||

    It's no surprise that the St. Louis and SF fans are willing to excuse their own guys cheating. However, baseball is largely a game about statistics, and comparisons to past greats, and the majority of fans hate Bonds and McGwire for breaking records by cheating.

  • John||

    The fans knew what was going on and they showed up. If the testing regime had never been implemented, no one would have given a damn or batted an eyelash.

    That is just completely fucking untrue. You are just pretending everyone thinks the same as you. They don't. Barry Bonds, despite being statistically the greatest hitter since Babe Ruth, couldn't get a job endorsing pooper scoopers in this country. In contrast, the guys like Jeter and Cal Ripkin who are not tainted with steroids are huge draws and celebrities.

    And again, you telling me that baseball really doesn't know what their fans want. You fluffy know better. Doubtful. Baseball is in the business of making money. And if they thought going back to PED ball of the late 90s would make them money, they would come up with some sham testing program, give the players a wink and nod and go from there. But they don't do that because they know doing that would kill their attendance and drive away a huge part of their fan base.

    Get over it fluffy. Sometimes tastes and businesses don't just cater to you.

  • Libertymike||

    John, Barry Bonds can't get a job endorsing pooper scoopers because is one nasty dude. He is not, nor was he ever, likeable.

    During the so-called steroid era, why did the fans continue to flock to the ballparks? This phenomenon continued long after March of 2005.

    As for Red Sox fans, Fluffy is right. Why was Fenway banged out, night after night, even after Manny was traded?

  • Invisible Finger||

    So because Jeter and Ripkin kiss media ass they are clean?

    So naiive.

  • John||

    Doesn't matter if they are clean or not. People think they are. And thus, they are not pariahs. If it came out that Jeter was using, he would be done.

  • Robert||

    Actually, yes, at this point the movie ratings system does reflect market desires, although the individual cases don't. Since movie censorship was knocked out legally, there is no remaining gov't handle on them.

  • Libertymike||

    John, upon what basis do you assert that the fans do not want PED ball and that it is only because of fan pressure that baseball decided to attack PED use?

    Its as if you overlook the FACT that baseball patrons packed the parks in ever greater numbers throughout the 1990s and well into the 2000s.

    Thus, if we are to measure what the fans want, why would we not include attendance figures and accord a great deal of weight to those numbers?

    The same reasoning applies to other metrics such as merchandising and cable tv contracts. All throughout the so-called steroid era, fans bought more and more merchandise. TV and cable packages grew bigger and bigger.

    Keep in mind that in 2002, the commish and MLB was insisting upon a much stricter testing regimen and the players' union balked. Eventually, as you may recall, a deal was reached in late August of 2002 under the terms of which the players agreed to some testing.

  • John||

    John, upon what basis do you assert that the fans do not want PED ball and that it is only because of fan pressure that baseball decided to attack PED use?

    On the basis of how the fans treat known users and the reaction to the revelations about what was happening in the 1990s. You guys are rewritting history worse than liberals. People in 1998 thought Sosa and McGwire were legit. And when they found out they were not, they turned on them both. McGwire is a piriah in baseball who can barely get a job as a hitting coach. Bonds and Sosa can't even get that. None of them are going to the hall and few if any fans care. If fans wanted PEDs in the game, they would love McGwire and Bonds like they did when they thought they were clean. Same goes for Clemmons. All the known users were beloved right up until it came out they were users.

    So sorry, pointing to attendance statistics that occured before anyone believed the players were using is not proof of shit other than fans are gullible and the players lied.

  • Matt Welch||

    Fans are mean to Andy Pettitte and Jason Giambi? Must have missed that. Ditto the fan-love for Bonds, who was reviled by basically anyone who wasn't a hometown fan from the time he was in college. (Him being a total prick and all.)

    And anyone who thought Mark McGwire was hitting home runs without the use of substances to help him recover from workouts was willfully ignorant. Also, what does "barely get a job" mean, considering that he, you know, has one of 30 possible MLB hitting-coach jobs?

  • John||

    Fans are mean to Andy Pettitte and Jason Giambi?

    Yes. Both of them had to apologize. And people who are not Yankee fans always bring up the PED issue with regard to Pettite.

    And anyone who thought Mark McGwire was hitting home runs without the use of substances to help him recover from workouts was willfully ignorant.

    Of course they were. But that doesn't change the fact that the fans convinced themselves that McGwire was just lifting a lot of weights. McGwire denied using in 1998. And the fans loved him right up until he went before Congress and said "I don't want to talk about the past". And that was it. He and Sosa were done.

    They only guys you can name who are not hated for steroid use are guys like Pettite who didn't break any records and apologized profusely for their use. That is hardly good evidence that the fans want PEDs in the game.

  • KDN||

    But that doesn't change the fact that the fans convinced themselves that McGwire was just lifting a lot of weights.

    There's no facts there. I remember those times well, everyone at my 10th grade lunchtable was aware of what McGwire was doing, the debate was around whether it should be legal, and if it should be publicized.

    However, sports being what they are, it's not unlikely that my 10th grade lunchtable was more sophisticated than the reasoned discourse of national columnists and other opinionmakers.

  • John||

    The facts KDN lie in how differently McGwire was treated by fans after he got up and gave his nondenial denial before Congress. If everyone had already thought he was using, that shouldn't have changed their opinion of him. Instead, it ended his popularity. How else do you explain that other than that a lot of people believed he was clean?

  • KDN||

    They turned on him after the ride ended. There was a huge backlash against PED's after Bonds, contemporary sources were willing to turn a blind eye because they helped bring fans back to the game.

    David Ortiz is as guilty of juicing as at least 1/5 of the rest of the sport that was playing 10 years ago. But nobody cares even though he never issued any mea culpa because he's a gregarious guy on a popular team that still produces. If he was an egomaniacal media whore like A-Rod things would probably be different.

  • John||

    Public justice is not always fair KDN. The fact that you have to admit that Ortiz is popular despite his roid use, proves my point that the fans don't approve or want PEDs in the game.

  • KDN||

    The fact that you have to admit that Ortiz is popular despite his roid use, proves my point that the fans don't approve or want PEDs in the game.

    It doesn't prove that, but I've never argued that they currently do approve. My position is that those fans are luddites, hypocrites, or often a combination of both.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    The only reason fans turned against those players was because the media was spreading the government propaganda faster than Typhoid Mary. They could sell more eyeballs to ad merchants with scandal than by sticking up for sanity, so that's what they did.

    The public, left to its own devices, with truly neutral news sources, wouldn't have given a shit. But Big Bro steps in with his media mouthpiece holding the sign "What he says" and that's the only source of news the public had.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Matt, there are 60 MLB hitting coach jobs now.

  • Libertymike||

    John, one would have to have been an idiot not to know that McGuire was juicing in 1996, never mind 1998.

    How about Jose Canseco? In 1988, I knew that he was juicing. You will recall that he became the first 40 / 40 guy that season. In fact, I can remember folks like Eddie Andelman, dean of Boston radio sports talk, expressing the opinion that Canseco was juicing.

    You are making sweeping generalizations about all the fans believing that these guys were not using PEDs. I just told you I was not one of those fans. How about you? What did you think, at the time?

    You also are forgetting about the merchandise and TV contracts.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Count me as an idiot then. not that you needed the encouragement, but there was enough of a question, in my mind, that it was exciting watching those two (McGwire/Sosa) go head-to-head.

    There's no excitement in PEDs. There just isn't.

  • John||

    Yeah. And they got all of that because baseball fans were idiots and convinced themselves those guys were not juicing. The moment that lie was broken, all that stopped.

    Is it your contention that McGwire is as popular today as he was in 1998? You and I both know he is not. Why not? Why did people turn against him? They found out he was using and hated him for it. That is what happened. And there is no way to square the fan treatment of McGwire with the contention the fans want PEDs in the game.

  • Libertymike||

    Regarding McGuire, I'll concede that he is less liked today. I do not think that he was universally loved because he never was the most likeable guy to begin with, imo. Sure, not anywhere near as unlikeable as Bonds, but still, McGuire was never Derek Jeter or Darren Daulton or Big Papi or Kevin Millar.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Don't forget Bonds told the union to go fuck themselves so a lot of players hated him just for that.

  • John||

    But he was the guy who broke Marris' record. And that should have bought him a lifetime of respect. Hell, Frank Robinson is a serious jerk. But he is still liked and respected. Being a jerk doesn't prevent that.

  • Libertymike||

    Regarding McGuire, I never really liked him. After his congressional testimony, I was all done with him.

  • Matt Welch||

    If you actually read the article, John, you will see that I'm paraphrased like this:

    "He said he is conflicted by the efforts. As a baseball fan, he said, he can think of other reasons the records ballooned when they did, including smaller ballparks and league expansion, which traditionally is thought to benefit offense by watering down pitching talent.

    "Still, he said, if the league decides it wants to clean up, he is fine with that."

    I don't necessarily "want PED ball"; as I explained to the interviewer, my aesthetic preference is for how the game has been played the last five years, not the 1994-2003 slugfest. I also said it's difficult to determine where government action stopped and where players' genuine revulsion began -- read that ESPN article and you'll see a lot of genuinely fed-up union members.

    What I don't want is the government to intrude one way or another.

  • John||

    I don't either Matt. But I think it is just untrue to say there is PED testing because of government pressure. The fans are the ones driving it. When the fans were believing the lies about PEDs and buying the product in the 1990s, baseball was just fine with the union objecting to testing. When the jig was up and the fans felt that the 1990s were a fraud and turned on the players who perpetrated the fraud, all of the sudden MLB and the Union decided testing was just okay. If the fans hadn't cared when Conseco's book and the book about Bonds came out and kept cheering Bonds like they always did, baseball would still not have testing.

  • Matt Welch||

    As I said to the interviewer, it's hard to determine exactly what role government pressure played. But I think it played a role. As did, more than obviously, both the fan backlash and the Hall of Fame voting. Do read the ESPN article; it's really interesting on these issues.

  • John||

    I think the Congress was just jumping on the band wagon. The only reason Congress got involved was because they thought it was a popular thing to bash on Bonds and such. Again, had the public not cared, do you think Congress would have seen it as such an opportunity?

    Look at it this way, they have been catching steroid users for years in the NFL. And NFL fans, unlike baseball fans, really don't hold it against the players or care much one way or another. Ans sure, Congress to my knowledge has never been interested in steroids in the NFL.

  • Libertymike||

    The fan backlash is overstated. Way.

  • Lyle||

    Amen!

  • Killazontherun||

    MLB Players Association, once considered the strongest private union in America

    Hard to convince the senate and modern day Bobby Kennedy wannabes to look the other way if your union boss doesn't look like this.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Don't risk the asterisk!

  • Killazontherun||

    When will there be one for the eighty years that ball player snorted coke before going out on the mound?

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    A-Rod looks like a pumpkin wearing purple lipstick.

  • John||

    And for the record Marvin Miller was an egotistical fanatic more interested in his legacy and reputation as a tough guy than the interests of his members. And this was even more true of his sad little successor Donald Fehr. By refusing to test in the 1990s, they made every player of that era guilty until proven innocent. Since there was no testing, every single innuendo about PEDs is believed and every single out of the ordinary performance is now considered proof of use. If there had been testing, the players would have had some way to show they didn't use. But since there wasn't, they are screwed.

    The fans were okay with testing. The voters for the Hall of Fame, which is really important to the players demanded it. They were already being tested for drugs. So spare me the privacy issues. And as we know now, most of the players were fine with testing and didn't want PEDs in the game. But Miller and Fehr ignored all of that because their pathetic egos couldn't bear the blow of actually giving into the owners on something.

  • Fluffy||

    This is also ludicrous.

    You know why? Because the testing regime will be pointless in the end anyway.

    That's what's really comical. That you think that somehow the PED era will now end.

    You seriously don't think Arod has ever been tested since 2003? His number never came up?

    They tested him over and over AND HE NEVER CAME BACK POSITIVE.

    The Biogenesis records apparently prove that Arod and the rest of these guys were beating the tests.

    You don't think somebody else is beating the tests right now?

    You don't think everyone will look at Bartolo Colon's performance and say, "He was definitely on PED's, he just beat the tests"?

    If they had instituted testing earlier, the players would have beat the tests earlier.

    Again, you're like a progressive here because you think that because you got a regulation through, you can pat yourself on the back and declare yourself victorious. The subjects of your regulation will react to it. And they care more than you, so they will find a way to defeat your regulatory attempt.

    The PED era will never end.

  • John||

    Sure, they could have beat some of the tests. But the tests would have given the players something to use.

    No, you are being the prog here. You just can't stand the fact that the market is catering to shit you don't like. The market prefers drug free baseball and so that is what MLB provides. You hate that so you try to make it into some government conspiracy or freedom issue when in fact it is just the market catering to other people's tastes.

  • Libertymike||

    I think that John conflates the view of fans with that of the likes of Bob Costas, Dan Shaughnessy and Mike Lupica.

    There is no doubt that much of the anti-PED hysteria has been lead by sportswriters and broadcasters who view themselves as the moral gatekeepers of America's pastime, the great game. Much of their motivation is rooted in their envy of the ballplayers. Curt Schilling has described this phenomenon and has applied it to Shaughnessy, a long time Boston Globe columnist who is a well known cranky, curmudgeon.

    Schilling's take is that there are too many scribes who loathe 20 and 30 something millionaires, in part because of the money and, in part, because the writers think of themselves as intellectually superior to the ballplayers.

  • John||

    I think that John conflates the view of fans with that of the likes of Bob Costas, Dan Shaughnessy and Mike Lupica.

    Yeah, that is why McGwire is such a hot commodity on Madison Avenue. The fans still love him. Come on Mike. Do you really believe that McGwire, Bonds and Clemmons are not despised by a huge majority of baseball fans?

  • Fluffy||

    A huge majority of baseball fans don't like the stars who play for other teams, and if the Congress, the Commissioner, and the sportswriters whip up a lynch mob against those players, the fans are happy to join in.

  • John||

    BS fluffy. Derek Jeter plays for the Yankees, the most hated team in baseball, and he is not "despised" in the way those guys are. Just stop it and stop denying the obvious. Bonds, McGwire and Clemmons are total pariahs to nearly all baseball fans not named fluffy. You don't like that. But it is true.

  • Libertymike||

    John, as I said above, I agree that McGuire is not as well liked today.

    However, wouldn't you agree that he was never the most likeable guy to begin with? Sure, he was not as unlikeable as Bonds, as few are.

    Roger Clemens? Last Tuesday night, he received a standing ovation from the Fenway park fans. Later, he was in the booth with Joe Castiglione and Dave O'Brien, the Red Sox radio guys. Both of them just fawned all over Clemens as the reminisced about April 29, 1986 (the first of his two 20 strike out games).

    I have never thought that Clemens was the most likeable guy either. He certainly was no Kevin Millar or Big Papi of Ken Harrrelson. w

  • John||

    But Bonds was never that disliked in the 1990s. He was just sort of your typical jerk super star. I think his being a jerk made people less likely to forgive him. But again, they didn't like the PEDs or there would have been no need for forgiveness.

    And for the record, I like Bonds more than McGwire. According the book, the only reason Bonds started juicing was that he was pissed off a mediocrity like McGwire could juice and get so much love. Bonds, who was a thousand times the talent McGwire ever was, said fuck it, you want to see what juice can do, here you go. I can't help but kind of like him for that.

  • robc||

    I "hate" Jeter more than McGwire, and I hate the Cardinals more than the Yankees.

    *note the lack of scare quotes around the 2nd hate.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Yeah, that is why McGwire is such a hot commodity on Madison Avenue.

    This is joe-level passive aggressiveness, trying to change the subject because he had his ass handed to him logically.

  • John||

    It is a valid point. McGuire broke one of the most hallowed records in sports. He should still be a popular and hot commodity like other old jocks are. Instead, he has almost no marketability. That is very strong evidence that yes the fans really do object to PEDs.

  • Invisible Finger||

    The fans were okay with testing.

    And Boston was OK with a police lockdown, too.

  • John||

    So what? MLB is a private organization. They can run it to please their fans. So your analogy fails. There is no freedom issue here. Nothing says MLB has to let its employees use PEDs

  • Invisible Finger||

    My point is YOU DON'T KNOW what the fans really want anymore than you know what the citizens of Boston really want.

    And I have stated here and elsewhere that MLB is less reliant on casual fans than before because they have been able to sell more to their core fans.

  • John||

    My point is YOU DON'T KNOW what the fans really want anymore than you know what the citizens of Boston really want.

    No I don't. MLB does. And if they don't think their fans want it, I am prepared to believe them. Regardless, even if MLB is wrong, so what? It is still their business.

    I don't understand why you people can't get it through your head. MLB doesn't owe you PED baseball. They can run their league as they want to.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    But there is no reason to believe an enterprising group of enrepreneurs couldn't just start up a league from whole cloth which not only permits, but endorses and encourages the use of PEDs!

  • Pro Libertate||

    How could they? Baseball can do anything it wants to crush competition. Special anti-trust exemption.

  • ||

    If there is another Major League strike/lock out you might see something like that.

    More likely it'll end up like the XFL though.

  • John||

    Sure they could. And if there was any real interest in seeing such, someone would.

    When Boxing stopped being interesting and violent enough, someone invented MMA to compete with it. And sure enough there was a market. If there is a market for PED baseball, someone will fill it. And in fact, that someone might be MLB.

  • Invisible Finger||

    WTF???

    Boxing stopped being interesting when local governments started putting more and more regulations on it.

    MMA is completely boring compared to what it was 6 years ago, and for the same reason.

  • John||

    Boxing stopped being interesting when the top athletes stopped doing it, especially at the heavy weight division.

    and MMA was never interesting to me, so I will defer to your judgement.

  • robc||

    The minor leagues make it almost impossible to start a 2nd major league.

    Its the same reason replacement players work better in football than in baseball.

  • sarcasmic||

    Sports shmortz.

  • ||

    None of this, of course, means that steroids and PEDs should be permitted in the game. Politicians are opportunistic dirtbags, it's in their self-interest to grandstand and talk tough to protect America's children and the integrity of sports.

    I agree this is a private matter that should never have been look at by Congress, but just because some Congresscritters say PEDs are bad for the game doesn't mean they are wrong.

    The article makes clear that a number of incidents and factors went into this shift–not least the brazen lies of accused players such as Ryan Braun and Rafael Palmeiro, who had been defended as honest by their teammates and competitors.

    I still say this was the biggest factor. Fans felt betrayed. Teammates and other players felt cheated. With or without Congress meddling this would warrant serious disciplinary action by the League to protect its image. Why should liars and cheaters be allowed to prosper?

  • ||

    Because they were smart enough to beat the system? Jesus, dude, this whole "fairness" shit is like--to borrow from Fluffy above--a progressive bleating about inequality. What the fuck difference does it make? It's not like PEDs turn you into Superman, they give a slight advantage. So what?

  • Brett L||

    Which is why you see 2 classes of player using them: the guys who can't quite make the show and the superstars who are trying to land one more big contract or get those two good seasons needed for the Hall of Fame. If you're a solid but unremarkable daily player, you'll stay a solid but unremarkable daily player.

  • ||

    We aren't talking about mandating fairness in real life. We are talking about a bunch of adults who get paid to pay a game.

    It's a privilege, not a right, to play Major League Baseball and when you agree not to use a list of banned substances you should suffer the consequences when you willfully violate those rules.

  • ||

    And if you can get away with flouting those rules, you get away with it.

  • Invisible Finger||

    And NONE of these guys failed a piss test. Including ARod.

    They really picked the wrong time to go after ARod. Braun still thought he could get another contract after his current one expires, so he was willing to eventually go along.

    Arod knows how hated he is and he has no more chance of getting another contract after this one runs out, so at worst the same people will still hate him and since he's being harangued on a JDA violation rather than a CBA violation they can't void his contract.

    I think it's funny how many MLBPA members are OK with Selig et al trying to violate the contract terms of the JDA. Of course, then-current players didn't give a flying fuck about Curt Flood.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    What the fuck difference does it make? It's not like PEDs turn you into Superman, they give a slight advantage. So what?

    I think the issue is that it calls into question what these guys could have accomplished if they hadn't juiced.

    Drugs have been a part of the game for decades. I recall reading about all the guys taking speed in the 60s and 70s because the grinding schedule just wore them down. It hasn't gotten any better recently with the expanded playoffs that leaves the season going all the way into November. I think there's a legitimate argument to be made that the owners and Selig have enabled PED use to take place because they really don't give a shit about the long-term health of their players.

    But we're never really going to know if Canseco would have been a 40/40 guy without steroids, or if Bonds would have had the same ridiculous OBP and hitting numbers if he hadn't juiced. And that's what gets people--the idea that the ultimate measuring stick of a player's talent was clouded by enhancing themselves with horse testosterone and other substances that no ordinary person would put in their bodies.

  • KDN||

    There's evidence of dead ball era players juicing with horse testosterone. This isn't some new phenomenon; hypercompetitive guys will do anything possible to win.

    Its been said that there is already at least one PED user in the HOF (Rickey Henderson is the most likely candidate, imo). All this handwringing is an exercise in shutting the barn door and lighting it on fire after the horse has already gotten out and drowned.

  • John||

    That is going to be the interesting part. Eventually it is going to come out that someone already in the HOF juiced. When that happens, how do you keep Bonds and company out? I don't see how you can.

    I think they should just discount the numbers and judge accordingly. Someone like Sosa shouldn't get in. He hit a lot of home runs on roids and not much else. Someone like Bonds or Clemmens should because even after discounting for roid use, they are still worthy.

    Voters discount numbers from different eras all of the time. An ERA in the dead ball era or in the 1960s is not judged the same as an ERA in say the 50s or the 90s. It is not hard.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Costas has publicly stated that the Hall should just let in whoever statistically deserves to be in, draw a line around the years where PEDs allegedly were rampant, and move on.

    For all its faults, a list of the guys with the top WARs in baseball looks a lot like a list of the guys you'd want in the Hall.

  • John||

    And you can compare people to how far they were above the average of their era. Bonds didn't just hit 50 home runs. He hit 72. He was so far above the averages of his era that you can't deny how great he was.

  • robc||


    When that happens, how do you keep Bonds and company out? I don't see how you can.

    By admitting you are applying a double standard.

    Its easy, that you cant see it is weird.

  • Fluffy||

    Fans felt betrayed. Teammates and other players felt cheated.

    Until Congress scared the owners and the union, baseball didn't even have a rule against PED use.

    So no one had any grounds to feel betrayed or cheated. If I do something that is not against the rules, I am not cheating.

  • John||

    Until Congress scared the owners and the union, baseball didn't even have a rule against PED use.

    Are you sure you got the causation right there? Congress didn't get involved until they saw it was popular. The fans threw a fit. That is what caused all of that.

  • np||

    I'm sure the ex-congressman believes his subsequent bill (thankfully killed) mandating a first-time suspension of two years in all professional sports was opposed by drug-test-loving Selig, too.

    If a sports league explicitly allowing (not just looking the other way) and promoting PEDs and human modification were formed, I'm sure Congress would once again hold hearings and this time it and/or states will pass legislation banning it.

    Since you cannot get them OTC, because steroids and all such drugs are already illegal outside medical use, and they will simply escalate the penalty to a serious felony.

    I already highlighted the massive interference by government in heavily restricting and completely changing MMA for the worse in a previous thread: http://reason.com/blog/2013/07.....nt_3900991

    Now that we're dealing with drugs that are already highly restricted i.e. illegal in most context, it is ridiculous to think that there will not be further interference, should an organization form to promote it.

    However, IF it were allowed, like I mentioned previously, I'm sure there WILL be fans--lots of fans in fact, for any sport. Maybe the old timers won't support it, but just like how many fans of MMA did NOT come from traditional boxing, new and especially younger fans of enhanced performance sports arise.

    Hell, in the future, how wouldn't want to see bionic baseball, or bionic combat MMA?

  • np||

    In fact, one has the ask, why the hell are there even state athletic commissions that regulates all sports organizations?

  • Robert||

    Actually in the USA they don't regulate many sports, just horse racing, boxing, and wrestling AFAIK. The commissions were a compromise over bans on these sports that existed previously in many states when done professionally or for stakes. It was widely believed (because it was widely true) that these sports were rigged, so the commissions, whether they admitted it or not, were there to help the gambling industry.

  • Killazontherun||

    In the future, there will be an eighteen foot statue of Pete Rose in front of the building at 25 Main Street in Cooperstown. There will be a wing of the Museum dedicated to the Hall of Shame consisting of character attacks on his detractors, government employed attention whores, sports writers, and jealous players and power mad League reps.

  • Brett L||

    Separately, this is a great book about the season that saved baseball. And basically, you can thank the Philadelphia Athletics and NL Central.

  • Matt Welch||

    Wow, that looks great, thanks!

  • Killazontherun||

    Holy crap, the title has everything.

  • Brett L||

    BTW, there's an IFTTT.com script that will email you when a new book hit's Amazon Kindle's Top 10 free books. That's where I found this one and the one yesterday on gunsmithing and several others. There's a high level of crap you have to go through, but the winners are worth it to me. I haven't found IFTTT scripts to be super useful to me outside that, but others might. It is a good idea.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Where/how are you getting this "free"?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    What happens when your favorite "100& natural" hitter goes to a world-renowned opthalmologist for eye surgery to help him see the ball better?

    I hope you say BAN HIM. If not, why not?

  • Gray Ghost||

    Brooks, Greg Maddux sang the praises of LASIK for helping his career rebound from a slump. Should that be illegal, particularly when it improved his eyesight over what he had from corrective lenses?

  • ||

    That's funny, because I am considering LASIK mostly to improve my tennis game. Oh noes, I'd be a cheater! How dare I see better!

  • Gray Ghost||

    It's fantastic, Epi. Run, don't walk, to get it done. Amazingly short recovery time, and you'll see better with the surgery done than you ever did with glasses or contacts. It won't fix age-related lens hardening, which I'm starting to experience, but it's some of the best money I ever spent.

  • Invisible Finger||

    It hurts and is disappointing losing your job to someone who cheated.

    Evan Longoria will have no one to blame but himself when he sees how much the owners are going to cheat.

  • Invisible Finger||

    I'll also point out that these idiot players can't make up their minds WHY they're pissed off. I know Longoria isn't referring to Barry Bonds, but Barry Bonds was not a member of the union.

    Some star players will simply drop out of the union and negotiate full contracts with teams and screw the CBA boilerplate. And some teams will be desperate enough to sign off on a contract that disallows any sort of drug testing.

    If you're not cheating, you aren't trying hard enough to win.

  • John||

    Without the CBA, the teams would be free to do anything they liked, including test whenever they wanted to.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Dependent on the individual contracts, of course.

  • John||

    No. Depending on MLB rules. the teams have to abide by MLB rules. And without a CBA MLB could make whatever rule they liked.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Yeah, and the rule can't trump an employment contract that specifically sates assuch.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    & %

    Speaking of blindness.

  • T||

    The intersection of baseball and shitty government policy? I have to say, Matt, this is a story tailor-made for you.

  • Matt Welch||

    I used to have a column at a site (now owned by Forbes) called True/Slant, which I called "Blood Diamond: The gruesome intersection of politics and sports," or some such. It was fun, but I didn't have enough time for it....

  • Fluffy||

    But that doesn't change the fact that the fans convinced themselves that McGwire was just lifting a lot of weights

    The really galling thing is that...McGwire WAS lifting a lot of weights.

    The people who oppose PED use do so because they're fucking scientific illiterates who think PED's are magic and as soon as they hit your bloodstream you turn into the Incredible Hulk.

    PED's help you build muscle mass after you work out. They improve your recovery time after you work out or if you are injured. They slow down the degeneration of your body once you have improved it by working out.

    I could shoot up with every PED known to man and I will never, ever, ever hit a baseball as far as Manny Ramirez.

    And to me it's absolutely sociologically and culturally indisputable that if a food was discovered tomorrow (maybe some deep sea creature or anenome or something) that would boost muscle mass growth rates and recovery times if you ate it while working out, eating it would be totally OK and nobody would give a damn. THAT would be "fair", like eating spinach or drinking raw eggs or something. Because the hysteria over PED's is a result of the fact that your average American is the equivalent of a naked jungle savage when anything that sounds medical comes up. Unpleasant food = totally fair character builder. Injectable substance = unfair scary black magic.

  • ||

    The really galling thing is that...McGwire WAS lifting a lot of weights.

    The people who oppose PED use do so because they're fucking scientific illiterates who think PED's are magic and as soon as they hit your bloodstream you turn into the Incredible Hulk

    Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire were both Hall of Famers before they went on the roids.

    But both paled in comparison to the raw athleticism and talent of Ken Griffey Jr. Griffey never took PEDs and his body broke down because he played so hard. PEDs were what helped Bonds and McGwire achieve such longevity in their careers.

    That's not insignificant at all.

  • Gray Ghost||

    But both paled in comparison to the raw athleticism and talent of Ken Griffey Jr. Griffey never took PEDs and his body broke down because he played so hard.

    [Emphasis added]

    How do you know? I don't think anyone could be thought to be above suspicion in that era. The only people that I wouldn't think could have used them were the people playing when steroids etc didn't exist.

  • John||

    If Griffey took PEDs he didn't take very good ones or take any in his 30s. Griffey's body breaking down is very inconsistent with PED use.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Griffey's body breaking down is very inconsistent with PED use.

    Tell that to Ken Caminiti. That was a guy who would shoot anything to get high or stronger, and he ended up injury-riddled during the end of his career. Speaking of another injury-riddled muscular player, I'm waiting for the tell-all from Jeff Bagwell.

    The point is, you can't know. All the comments of "He has to be clean!" stem from the eyeball test. He looks like he should be clean. Yet weedy guys like Neifi Perez used PEDs (amphetamines, but still.)

    Let them in, get it above board, and start figuring out which stuff guys can take to last longer, and which stuff kills you off like a WWE freak. And stop it with the rending of garments just because an utter asshole like Barry Bonds managed to break a few of the game's records.

  • John||

    Yeah but Caminiti was a monster. He broke down because of obvious really intense use. Griffey never looked like that. So it seems unlikely that his body broke down due to use. There are physical signs of use. And Griffey never had them. Maybe he used. But it seems unlikely.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Not only do you not know if Griffey took PEDs or not, I would say there's a 99% chance he DID take PEDs simply because cortisone has been prevalent in ALL sports since the 1950's.

    You can't pretend that there are NO approved PED's. There's hundreds of 'em.

  • John||

    That is just it. You love PEDs and don't like it that other people don't. I don't know. Maybe you are right. But that is not my point. My point is that your tastes are not everyone's tastes. And PED free baseball is the result of MLB meeting the demands of its customers, not some grand government conspiracy.

    Sometimes the market doesn't give you what you want. Get over it.

  • np||

    Except as I stated above John, there is NO free market currently to prove that ALL fans ONLY want PED-free baseball as you want, and that NEW fans will not arise should it be explicitly sanctioned.

    You are making the assumption that the status quo--formed out of continuous government interference and influence, small an large--will continue as a result of market demand. I say that's bullshit.

    LEGALIZE PEDs and human enhancement i.e. make them OTC, and get rid of state athletic commissions that all sports leagues need to comply with, THEN we shall see about your claims

  • John||

    Except as I stated above John, there is NO free market currently to prove that ALL fans ONLY want PED-free baseball as you want, and that NEW fans will not arise should it be explicitly sanctioned.

    Sure there is. Someone could start another league that didn't test right now. It wouldn't be MLB at first. But it doesn't have to be. There are independent leagues not affiliated with MLB all over the country. Go start one that doesn't test. And if that is what people want, it will make money. But no one has done that. Maybe that is because people are just stupid. But more likely it is because there isn't much of a market for it.

    Has it ever occurred to you that MLB might know its customers better than you do? That maybe they are making a rational business decision here? Isn't that more likely that some grand government conspiracy? I just don't get why it is so hard to admit that most baseball fans don't share your tastes. So what? Who says baseball fans are right and you are wrong?

  • np||

    You are ignoring my point.

    Looking the other way does not cut it. I'm referring to a league that explicitly sanctions it, to make it clear to all fans what to expect.

    And in that, there is no free market. How can there be since it is currently ILLEGAL? You cannot get steroids and other drugs for recreation, only prescription, injury recovery. The rest is all gray/black market.

    You are making the wrong assumption, projecting current MLB supporters who want PED-free game into the future vs fans who wouldn't mind or who watch pro-PED games, where it was up-front that everyone is juicing.

    It's just like early MMA detractors, traditional boxers and wrestlers saying people saying don't want blood sports. A private organization did form and did early on promote no-holds-barred fighting. Guess what happened? The government cracked down HARD (see my linked thread above).

    Again, get RID of state athletic commissions; make PEDs OTC, then we'll see how the market responds.

  • John||

    And baseball fans still won't want PEDs.

  • np||

    C'mon John, you know you're just assuming what "everyone" wants at this point.

    I would watch, so that's one already.

    There is a faction of MLB fans who don't want it all, and another who don't purely for fairness reasons.

    Yes, the former faction who wants an all-natural game will not watch a pro-PED league. But the later might, if they know the rules up-front. More importantly, NEW fans will arise, if given the opportunity (just like with MMA)

    I seriously doubt it will be allowed to happen. I remember when Ma Huang (ephedra) was legal and OTC. My workout buddy was taking it. Then virtually overnight it was banned.

    However, if legalized, it will spur and entire industry around human enhancement. With a profit motive and fully legal market opportunity, I predict will lead to surgical and bionic enhancement market as well

  • John||

    C'mon John, you know you're just assuming what "everyone" wants at this point.

    I never said everyone. I said enough to make it worthwhile for MLB to go after PEDs. It is a business decision. You guys are just pissed MLB won't give you your pony. Too fucking bad. Start your own league.

  • Invisible Finger||

    I'm referring to a league that explicitly sanctions it,

    MLB sanctions hundreds of PEDs.

    That why John's arguments make no sense.

  • robc||

    And it still isnt a free market due to government subsidized stadiums.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Hopefully Voros will come in and share his thoughts.

    One thing not accounted for is that the ball itself changed dramatically during the steroid era. See, for example, this article at Deadspin, and this post at baseball think factory from the height of the era. Then there's expansion diluting pitching talent, the proliferation of smaller ballparks, etc...

    I agree with Fluffy in that anyone who thinks that PEDs are out of baseball is fooling themselves. At the most, it's just ensuring that idiots get caught. As to the players wanting PEDs out, sure. I can see the majority of players not wanting them, maybe, but I can't see the players' union leadership agreeing. Why? Because PEDs, especially HGH, disproportionately benefit older players. It enables them to eke out one or two more years---or more, like Clemens---years with a much higher average salary than the players who would otherwise replace them. And since roster slots are a zero sum game, for every old fart hanging around, a new kid has to keep cooling his jets in AAA.

    I'm waiting for the PED hammer to fall on the NBA next. HGH, anabolic steroids, EPO and blood doping---why not, basketball is very much an endurance sport---all of it.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It turns out that most basketball players would be under six feet except for the use of PEDs. True story.

  • John||

    I as very surprised that a few Miami Heat players were not seeing the guy in Florida that ARod was.

    And yes, the NBA is next. They are way too big and way too fit to be doing that naturally. I am honestly not sure how basketball fans will react.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Yeah, nutrition, etc... is a part of it, I'm sure. But look at the builds and the body fat percentages. These guys are ridiculously fit.

    They've all of the reasons that baseball players had to use them and more. The NBA season is renowned for being an utter physical grind to get through, and the one thing PEDs allow you to do is recover faster. Also, why wouldn't NBA players, in a sport that requires you to bust your ass near continuously for 40 minutes plus a game, also partake in endurance assisting tech like EPO?

    I think people are only seeing the tip of the iceberg as to how widely distributed this stuff is in sports. I'm also baffled by how people with the money and other resources that pro athletes have, can't hide their tracks any better than they do. How hard is it to pay cash?

  • John||

    That is a good question. How could ARod be so stupid as to deal directly with this guy? They really are jocks and just not bright.

  • Libertymike||

    Another angle:

    Are you aware that the late, great Bill Walsh did not favor guys that were too ripped and muscle-bound? He supposedly had a bias against players that looked "too fit".

  • Gray Ghost||

    See, e.g, Aaron Hernandez. You'd think they---or more likely, their agents---would have a cutout or five.

    A miracle during the whole PED scandal is that someone like Manny Ramirez managed to keep his cycling consistent enough to pass all of the tests that he did. Probably helped that he played for the Red Sox.

  • KDN||

    The NBA turns a blind eye to doping. They have a limited number of drug tests in a year and once you reach that point it's game on, both recreationally and for performance. The playoffs basically end up as the steroid olympics.

  • Invisible Finger||

    From ESPN article:

    Colon was suspended for 50 games last season for testing positive for a banned substance. Without him, the A's lost a deciding fifth game of the American League Division Series to Detroit

    Without Colon "cheating" the first 2/3 of the year, the A's don't even make the playoffs.

    Athletes are pathetically stupid.

  • Invisible Finger||

    From ESPN article:

    "The pure competition is winning out," an NL player said. "The extra wild card rewarding division winners, all of it. We're not going to be protecting guys trying to get over on other guys."

    This guy probably voted to sell international players down the river for the international draft and bonus limits. IN 6 years when those international players start making the major league rosters, you think they're gonna have union solidarity with the people who crippled their earning power early on?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Should that be illegal, particularly when it improved his eyesight over what he had from corrective lenses?

    If you are going to ban natural substances which aid muscle growth and healing, how can you not ban surgical modification of body parts?

    Eye surgery, relocation of ligaments (or whatever it is they do for pitchers) in the elbow....

    Why not implants of some sort? Why not vat-grown spleens?

  • Killazontherun||

    When body augmentation becomes cheap and plentiful, everyone will have high end athletic ability within their easy reach. Professional sports will die out as our own lives become more interesting to invest in than viewing someone else playing on your television screen. The real question is, how far will government go to dampen that prospect down with regulation that adds unnecessary costs. Will it be twenty years before you see cheap augs, or one hundred? They effectively kept cable television off the market for seventy even though its technology predates broadcast.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Professional sports will die out as our own lives become more interesting

    Never. People love gambling.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    They are way too big and way too fit to be doing that naturally.

    "Look at those FREAKS! They must be cheating!"

  • John||

    Well yeah. I mean it is not hard to figure out. We have nearly a hundred years of big time professional sports in this country. We thus have a pretty good idea what great athletes look like and how their skills erode and their body breaks down as they get older. When more than just the once in a generation freak starts breaking the established trends, it is a pretty good indication something is throwing off the sample.

  • Pro Libertate||

    See, the problem is doing it all half-assed. Either be clean or go total freak.

  • Seamus||

    "Those hearings basically changed the game," said former Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, who was chairman for the 2005 hearings and ranking Republican for a second round in 2008.

    Tom Davis? Wasn't he Al Franken's partner on SNL? (Well, sounds like he's a comedian in any event.)

  • Killazontherun||

    BTW, why are we talking about baseball while this isn't getting any play?

    Terrorists depend on the idea that we’re going to be terrorized. And we’re going to live our lives. And the odds of people dying in a terrorist attack obviously are still a lot lower than in a car accident, unfortunately. But there are things that we can do to make sure that we’re keeping the pressure on these networks that would try to injure Americans. And the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing I think about when I go to bed is making sure that I’m doing everything I can to keep Americans safe.

    Shouldn't there be some tut tuts about the president expressing that the American people just don't appreciate what their tax dollars are being used for in the theater of security absurdity and abuse because not enough of us are dying? Hey, say, what you want about how Virginia ran things, but she at knew how to be properly morally indignant.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Don;t you understand what John is trying to say? Baseball fans are being terrorized by cheaterzz!!!

  • John||

    No. I am saying baseball fans don't want the same kind of baseball you do. Funny how you guys turn into a bunch of paranoid authoritarians when things don't go your way.

  • Invisible Finger||

    I rally can't believe John doesn't see this for what it is - the trial balloon for government piss-testing for ALL employees at ALL jobs. (most employers do not give a flying fuck about what their employees ingest as long as they perform their jobs).

    Basically pissing all over the 4th amendment. Look how many crybaby baseball players suddenly show their true colors: "please protect me from competition for one of 750 jobzzzz!!!"

  • John||

    That is crazy. MLB is not the government. They can run their game as they see fit. If they don't want their employees using PEDs, that is their business. If you don't like PED free baseball, don't watch.

    There is no 4th Amendment issue with private actors. And as I said above, MLB only cares because the fans do. Look at the NBA. Their drug testing program is a joke. Every NBA player smokes weed. And last I looked weed is just as illegal as steroids. But NBA fans don't care that the players smoke weed and thus the NBA doesn't bother to stop players from doing it. If NBA fans some day went crazy and decided that they didn't want the players smoking, the NBA would be testing.

    Just accept the fact that people for whatever reason don't like PEDs. Maybe they are wrong about that. But stop blaming MLB for giving their customers what they want.

  • Invisible Finger||

    There is no 4th Amendment issue with private actors

    Until the government compels all private employers to piss test their employees.

    Look how much other bullshit government compels private employers to do.

    If you can't see the DHS mission creep here you're not to be taken seriously.

  • John||

    Look how much other bullshit government compels private employers to do.

    The government didn't compel MLB to test or the union to agree to it. It is their fucking business. They don't owe you PED baseball. MLB can test its employees however they like.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Um, doesn't MLB still have their anti-trust exemption? The one given to them by Congress? Then how can you argue that Congress didn't compel MLB to do anything?

    You've a lot of good points, but claiming that MLB doesn't jump when Congress says so is just silly.

  • John||

    Sure. But that is not what happened here. MLB reacted to the demands of their fans. And the only reason congress ever took an interest was because they thought it would be popular to do so.

  • Gray Ghost||

    (most employers do not give a flying fuck about what their employees ingest as long as they perform their jobs).

    Their insurers, however, do. If AIG has to pay out because Joe Knucklehead plowed into a bus full of nuns holding puppies because he was strung out on day 4 of a crank bender, they're going to raise premiums for companies' umbrella policies. And they'll give discounts to companies that piss test, if they feel that piss testing lowers the chances they'll have to pay out.

    It gets silly. Piss testing is endemic in the oil and gas industry, IME. This can be funny, when they're piss testing people who are nowhere near the production or exploration side, like contractors doing a legal document production. Stunned me when my friend said she had to pee in a cup in order to sit at a computer and click privileged/not privileged over a gazillion corporate e-mails.

  • John||

    My friend had to pee in a cup to get a reporter job. The whole thing is insane. But what are you going to do? It is their business.

  • Invisible Finger||

    It isn't a stretch to think that today's insurance boilerplate is tomorrow's legislation.

  • Robert||

    Did somebody just saw Waxman's head off in that picture? If not, what is that thing?

  • Seamus||

    It's the wooden frame to Davis's chair, and the metal rivets that attach the leather upholstery to the frame. But since you mention it, sawing Waxman's ugly head off might not be such a bad idea. Putting a bag over it, anyway. And gagging him so we don't have to listen to him.

  • Seamus||

    For the benefit of any cops reading: That was not what you call a "true threat" that needs to be investigated. That was political hyperbole. I actually love Henry Waxman like a brother and hope he lives a long and prosperous life. (And for the benefit of everyone else: I know they aren't "rivets"; they're probably just tacks. I don't know jack about upholstery.)

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    I was really kind of hoping for cycle suggestions from Warty, but I guess this discussion is okay too.

  • MuyBienPatricio||

    Because our government has to have its hands in every single institution in this country. I mean heaven forbid those private professional leagues do things without the superior guidance and regulation of our wonderful and infallible federal government......BARF!!!

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